Something we are going to seek to work at in the coming year at Grace Fellowship Church is what I like to call intentional spiritual friendships. We tend to let fear or fancy dictate most of our relationships - we avoid people that intimidate us and strain to cozy up to folks we think will make us happy. Neither of these motives is Biblical love.
When you join our church you enter into a covenant with all the existing members “to seek to watch over your fellow members, in brotherly love” and “to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling.” In other words, you declare your intention to get to know the other members and to build a relationship with them around the Gospel, not fear or fancy. That takes work. At least, it takes initiative, risk and some death to self. And that is wonderful.
So, the goal for our members to is to seek to cultivate relationships with other members that are centred on God. Intentional spiritual friendships.
Sometimes the most difficult aspect of this is the intentionality component. How do I get started? At our Members’ Meeting last night I listed a bunch of potential ways to do this and promised one sister I would post the list on the blog so it could be reviewed and hopefully spark some ideas. So, here you go!
- One woman gathers with others one morning per week to complete the new Missional Motherhood study by Gloria Furman.
- A brother looks on our (soon to be released) “Where I Work Map” for a brother who works in same geographical vicinity. Even though he has never met this guy before, he shoots him an email and suggests that eat their lunch together once a week and read through the book of Acts one chapter at a time.
- A couple asks another couple (or two!) to set aside one night a month to get together. Before each meeting they will all read one chapter of Tim Keller’s, The Meaning of Marriage, then spend time talking together about what they learned and how they intend to apply it in their own lives.
- A group of friends pull together a Truth Application Group then meet at a home every Monday night to discuss the previous week’s sermon.
- Five sisters decide to study True Womanhood 101 in our building on Wednesday nights while GraceYouth is going on.
- An older dad grabs five single young adult men and has them come over to his home every Sunday night after church service to talk about life and how they are progressing in their own sanctification.
- Man2Man / Woman2Woman. You join a group or start a new one.
- A couple with a young family decides that dad will meet with some brothers on the first and third week of every month and mom will meet with some sisters on the second and fourth. That way, one of them is out every week one night, but childcare is taken care of.
These are just a handful of ways to intentionally cultivate spiritual friendships. Can you think of some more?