Practice the NT “One Another” Commands; Enjoy Communion
Yes, my friends in Christ, you are free to speak up, to console, correct and encourage one another, as Scripture requires.
Yes, Lord, we will avoid excessive monologue. We will encourage all believers to use the gifts you have given them to edify one another.
You must pay constant attention to sustain edifying relationships, because, from the beginning of the human race, the Old Serpent has left, deeply imbedded within the human heart, a powerful urge to destroy loving fellowship:
When mother Eve bore Cain and Abel, all were filled joy,
God wanted blood and Abel gave; Cain offered grain instead.
The “one another” commands include teaching one another, exhorting one another, consoling one another, and many more. Healthy church bodies practice mutually edifying interaction, serving one another with their many, diverse, God-given spiritual gifts.
Celebrate Communion regularly, and not simply as another teaching opportunity. Let believers sense the Presence of Christ, recalling, feeling and appreciating what He did for them. Let new believers share testimonies of what He means to them. This can be done wherever two or more are gathered with Christ, the bread, and the cup. It can be simple or formal, as the gathering is simple or formal.
Organize churches or cells, not by following organizational models, but around relationships, letting folk joyfully serve each other. Let Spirit-born love move all to use their gifts to enhance others’ gift-based ministries (1 Cor. chapters 12 & 13).
God’s statement that a church is a body — an organism — is no mere metaphor. The Holy Spirit actually enables believers to function as organs within the body of Christ, each one doing his part, so that the body works as a whole (Eph. 4:11-16; Rom 12:1-10; 1 Cor. 12).
When a traditional organization compartmentalizes or isolates ministries, it destroys that New Testament church body life. The apostles brought folk with diverse gifts into the same groups. A small group that performs all of the vital, NT ministries becomes much healthier than any group that specializes in just one ministry such as Bible study. For example, in traditional Sunday School classes, very few believers ever discern or employ their God-given gifts.
Practical love between congregations is common in the New Testament. An isolated cell group or congregation cannot function healthily, for it becomes ingrown and unbalanced. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Isolated churches lack such interactive love on an inter-church level.
If you lead a small church or cell group, then help it cooperate with other, similar groups. For example, if your group is weak in evangelism, do not always seek another, more effective, evangelism method. Rather, look for someone who can help you, someone in another group or church, who has a gift of evangelism and is willing to assist you, as you in turn aid that group in some way.
Do not schedule every minute ahead of time; allow time for folk to mix and to exercise their gifts. Let shy newcomers or visitors simply observe, if they prefer, while ensuring that someone befriends them.
Resources For While You …
Dialogue. The New Testament commands over sixty times that believers serve reciprocally, usually with the words “one another.”
Ward off wolves. A humorous portrayal of wolves alerts shepherds and all believers to recognize such predators by the tracks they leave as they prowl around your flock:
Explore Communion’s mystery. Watch a family wrestle with questions about Communion:
Remain a family. Some church bodies bog down spiritually when following a commercial, business model of organization. This penetrating study examines the organizational dynamics of healthy churches:
Safeguard your flock’s identity. Let a brief covenant identify what your new church or cell group is and does, and affirm it with a serious ceremony:
Common Traps To Avoid
Let excessive monologue stifle group discussion and interaction.
Segregate children by age, too much.
Let children develop normal relationships with those of other ages and with adults. Let obedient children disciple younger ones; this helps all grow in Christ and develop leadership skills.
Schedule an order of service so tightly that it leaves no time for spontaneous interaction. Leave room ofr the Holy Spirit to move and to speak.
View the Lord’s Supper rationalistically.
This keeps participants from experiencing the mystical Presence of Christ.
Failing to practice interactive body life between groups.
A group small enough to interact is too small to have all the spiritual gifts needed to do all the ministries that God requires. A small group must interact with other groups, to achieve all vital tasks. The New Testament letters reveal many instances of believers helping other churches.