Mark Dever recently said to his church, “If you don’t have friends in the church, you deprive us pastors of some of our best tools for reaching out to you, especially when you’re hurt or beginning to stray.” Many talk about “community” and “koinonia.” But what do these consist of, if not God-established, Christ-focused, Spirit-empowered friendships?
Friendship is one of the primary means of grace the Lord uses to keep church members growing in grace and bound to one another—like the sinews between muscles. Friendship helps church members to fight sin, disciple younger Christians, and spur one another on to love and good deeds. After all, friendship is a bond of mutual affection, trust, and commitment; and two individuals will most quickly influence one another within the context of such affection and trust. It’s a basic fact of human nature, I believe, that we more quickly believe and follow individuals whom we know love us and are committed to us. Likewise, we’ll take greater care in encouraging those whom we love. That’s what friendship affords. So a pastor who practices and encourages healthy friendships in his congregation is building transmission lines between individuals for the free exchange of gospel goods.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
This is the opening Editor's Note from the January 9Marks newsletter. If you don't receive this on a monthly basis, I'd strongly encourage you to sign up (www.9marks.org) -- it's always well-done, thought-provoking and thoroughly biblical.