A letter concerning Gospel Relationships

Dear Ladies (and men, and kids),

I have heard glowing reports from the retreat last weekend.  I’ve heard stories of new friendships forged and old friendships strengthened.  Best of all, this time of relationship building was centered on our ultimate relationship with Jesus Christ.  So with all of that in mind, I wanted to write to encourage you to continue to pursue those gospel centered relationships.  But as I encourage you to do so, may I also caution you a bit?

You see, I have a fear, and this fear may surprise you.  I fear that you might get the impression that you have to do more church activities to continue those relationships.  It’s not that I don’t want you to come to the worship services or Bible studies or small groups.  I just don’t want you to think that your Christian relationships are limited to those activities/programs.

I am writing this letter from Culcheth, England in the home of Trace and Ginger Donahoo.  They have moved their family to England to help plant Culcheth Community Church, in a community far different from ours.  It is a community that is antagonistic to the gospel.  That means the Christians here are intentionally living a different lifestyle with a different basis for relationships.  They understand very clearly that the church is not merely some place they go to for an hour or so on Sunday mornings.  They understand that they are not called to do church but to be the church.

For us in Trussville, the same is true.  We are not called to do church but to be the church.  That means many things, but for purposes of this letter, I will tell you that it means we are to live in gospel community with one another.  We do not merely see each other at church functions.  Instead, we are to live life together, not in a commune under one roof, but heart to heart.

As a pastor, one of the things that I enjoy most is seeing you together outside of church, whether it be walking down the street, sharing a lunch together, or visiting each other in the home.  This brings me back to my original purpose in writing this letter...ladies (and men and youth) please be encouraged to join in the activities of the church, but at the same time, please don’t think that is the way to nurture relationships.  I want to encourage you to live life together as sisters (or brothers) in Christ.  Know one another and be known by one another.  And know that as Jesus is transforming your heart, he is also transforming your relationships, all to his great glory.