While it may seem unimpressive to those looking for high-powered and attractive programs, getting involved in church is really just a matter of simple, yet intentional relationships. It’s not that we are against having good solid programs – LBC has several programs that provide opportunities for you to help facilitate ministry on a weekly basis.
But if you’re committed to embracing a biblical view of the church, then you have to recognize that it’s possible for you to stay busy facilitating a church program and not ever really get involved in church.It's possible for you to stay busy facilitating a church program and not ever really get involved in church. Click To Tweet
This is why we are seeking to encourage each member of Lebanon Baptist Church to evaluate their relationships in the church on a couple of different levels:
- Hospitality (a breadth of relationships), and
- Discipling (a depth of relationships).
The great thing about these concepts is that you don’t have to sign up or get permission before loving other members this way! And, we don’t want to be a church where this stuff only happens when the staff schedules or runs it. That’s unhealthy.
So let’s consider the depth of your relationships and commitment to discipling others.
You want to get involved? Initiate and accept a discipling relationship.
What is discipling?
Well there are numerous ways of defining it, but we’ve tried to state it this way:
Helping others follow Jesus by prayerfully ministering the Word in the context of loving relationships
This should be the biblical norm for any church family – members help each other follow Jesus. Take note of just a few of the New Testament passages instructing us in this way.
- … You yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (Rom. 15:14)
- Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:1-2)
- Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. (Eph. 4:15)
- Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing … And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1 Thess. 5:11, 14).
- But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb. 3:13).
- Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. (Heb. 12:12-13)
- But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. (Jude 20-21)
There is no set program to get you into these kinds of relationships. You just need to move from a “church attender” to a church member committed to the health and growth of the other members. In fact, the most significant contribution you have to offer this congregation is not found in your abilities, but your commitment to helping others love and obey Jesus more.
- Arrive early and stay late on Sundays to pray with others and/or discuss the sermon.
- Meet weekly, or every other week, for 1-to-1 Bible reading.
- Discuss a Christian book from the seasonal recommended reading with another member.
- Ladies, offer to accompany young mothers as they run errands and discuss what you are reading in the Bible.
- Senior adults, invite a younger member to meet up with you each week and pray for each other.
- Younger men, offer to help older men with their yard work and ask them for counsel.
- Visit a shut-in to sing hymns, read the Bible, and pray for them.
- Moms, schedule “play dates” for your kids while you discuss a recent sermon.
Venues are flexible.
The important thing is that you actually make the commitment to pursue a depth a relationship with others.
But realize, it’s not about adding extra time to an already busy schedule; it’s deciding what you are not going to do in order to make the time for discipling others. So be intentional about loving other members enough to help them follow Jesus.Discipling is not about adding extra time to an already busy schedule, but deciding what you're not going to do in order to make time to disciple others. Click To Tweet
How do you begin establishing a discipling relationship in LBC?
No sign up or permission is needed! All you need to do is take the initiative to begin pursuing a discipling relationship with another member.
Here are some ideas.
- Be present when the church gathers … both mornings and evenings! Relationships are built on frequency and consistency. If you only gather with the church on Sunday mornings, you’ll find it difficult to establish deeper relationships.
- Offer and accept hospitality. Invite people into your life and start getting to know others. Over time you may build more of a deeper discipling relationship.
- Join a LifeStage Class and go out to lunch with others in the class to discuss the application of the lesson.
- Commit to a small group. Connect with others more openly in a smaller more relaxed atmosphere. Some of these are our Growth Groups that meet in homes. Some are Bible study groups that meet weekly in coffee shops. Others meet periodically in a church classroom. It’s a great opportunity for discipling relationships to begin.
- Contact one of the pastors. Because of schedules, geography, travel, etc. there are those who find it difficult to connect with others. In those cases, our staff would be glad to help get you connected with someone.
Whatever you do – do something intentional. You’ll find yourself developing some spiritual muscles that will help you and this church for years to come! And as we grow in purposefully helping each other faithfully follow Jesus, a depth of relational love shapes the church for the glory of God.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
Concepts for this post were inspired by chapter 7 of The Compelling Community: Where God’s Power Makes a Church Attractive, by Jamie Dunlop and Mark Dever.