This is the fourth of five principles regarding church as authentic community from Wayne Jacobsen's book, Finding Church: What If There Really Is Something More?
Be Intentional About Relationships
All we have to do is be aware of his moving in the people around us and gravitate to those moments that are real and engaging. Which conversations empower you to live more deeply in his love, inspire you to greater trust, and set you at ease in his working?
The possibilities are literally limitless.
Who stimulates your journey in Christ? Spend time with them.
Who needs a friend (believer or not)? Befriend them.
Who needs help connecting with God? Help them.
A few years ago I sat with a group of thirty people who were part of a “church plant.” They had purchased a coffee shop so the profits could serve the poor, and then they met there weekly for service. One month each summer they take a break from their Sunday meeting and I was with them as that month was concluding. They were perplexed. They told stories of how powerful their last month had been and the amount of growth they’d all experienced. They wanted me to help them explore ways to make their weekly meeting more engaging and relevant.
“If I were you,” I responded, “I wouldn't even try. I suspect the life of the church lies down the pathway you've been on the last month, not trying to figure a way to shoehorn that into a weekly meeting.” I reminded them that Jesus didn't spend his life in a lot of preplanned meetings and he touched people most deeply in life as it unfolded around him.
Church is not the means to an end; it is the fruit of those thriving in him. Go down that road. Yes, it is easier to plan a meeting than make friends. The latter requires significant intentionality on our part—to go where others are, to strike up a conversation, and to recognize those relationships God is inviting you into more deeply. As we grow secure in his love we’ll find ourselves increasingly free to engage others not for what we can get out of it, but simply to be a blessing to them. The best friendships begin here. You don’t have to force your way in. If God is making the connection, they will desire it as well.
From all of those places and many others, we enjoy a growing circle of friends that share a wide conversation about life in Jesus. None of us feel the need to organize any kind of weekly meeting; we just continue to grow in Christ and in friendship with one another. There are times he asks us to do tasks together and we've watched the church take expression among us, both in ways that have touched an area and in ways that have touched others around the world.
Jacobsen, Wayne (2014-10-13). Finding Church: What If There Really Is Something More (Kindle Locations 2690-2703). TrailView Media. Kindle Edition.