By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
While we were in Jamaica, we were up in the hills, far from the beautiful resorts and more importantly, cellular service. I could get one bar, as I recall, but really didn’t want to pay the fees to call, text, or use data. We stayed busy enough that I did not miss the news much, and I figured Steph would let me know if anything significant with the family happened.
So, while I was connected, I was not as well connected as I’d like. I’m sure you’ve been there. Suddenly the video stops and that spinny thing just goes round and round on the screen. Or after a few minutes of not hearing a response on the phone, you realize you’ve been talking to no one.
Better connections matter!
They matter with phones, and they matter at church!
Be honest a moment, beyond your family, how well are you connected in the church? One bar, two, three, or four?
Scripture is full of calls for believers to love one another. Jesus’ words after he washed the disciples’ feet are some of the most potent…
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV11)
These loving connections are not just for the sake of God’s witness to the world, or the benefit of others, though this should be sufficient motivation for us; close connections are a blessing to you. David proclaimed…
“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!” (Ps. 133:1 NLT)
This is why we made a big deal of relationships in our Covenant Partner Vows. Read these slowly!
“I will connect deeply with Jesus’ followers, gather with believers regularly, accept the spiritual guidance of the church leadership, and walk in a spirit of Christian love seeking unity, purity and peace within this congregation.”
These commitments challenge us on the one hand to a very basic element of connecting, to show up to worship services. At the very least we need to be present on Sunday mornings. Yes, you can be a Christian and not attend, but you are essentially rejecting Jesus command to love your brothers and sisters.
These commitments also hit on some huge challenges. “Connecting deeply” means authentic, caring, honest, truth-telling relationships where we seek unity, purity, and peace. And when others, especially leaders, confront us or call us to change, we must humbly receive their words and seek to change.
Again consider my question, beyond your family, how well are you connected in the church? One bar, two, three, or four?
For those of you with three or four bars, it’s time to get out of your awesome huddle a bit more and walk with someone with one bar. Pray for God to help you identify Ms. Or Mr. One Bar and then give ‘em a call.
If you have one or two bars, now’s the time to be intentional. Don’t wait for Mrs. Four Bars to call. Step up and connect.
Not sure how to do it?
A. Call Pastor Doug and ask about finding or starting a small group.
B. Pray for God to open the door for you to connect with one other person. Then be courageous and make it happen.
C. Login to RightNow Media (www.altoreformedchurch.org/resources.html) and search “connect” or “relate.” I like John Maxwell’s videos even though they are dated. Let me know what you find helpful.
PRAY: Lord, help us build healthy, loving relationships with other believers. Help us listen carefully to others and admit when we are wrong. Help us be intentional about connecting with those with one bar. AMEN.
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