The Connecting Life

The Connecting
Life

We should not . . . think of our fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, an optional addition to the exercises of private devotion. We should recognize rather that such fellowship is a spiritual necessity; for God has made us in such a way that our fellowship with Him is fed by our fellowship with fellow Christians, and requires to be so fed constantly for its own deepening and enrichment.

J.I. Packer

What does it mean to Connect in Community?

As followers of Jesus, we’re to connect with other believers. God never designed us to live out our relationship with Him apart from fellowship with His family. The New Testament knows nothing of a Christianity without community. Jesus followers who are in a love relationship with God will also have genuine love for one another.

The Bible teaches us that church is not an event we attend; church is a family to which we belong. Your brothers and sisters in Christ with whom you connect with in your city make up my local church and my spiritual family. You belong to Hope Church! But with the blessing of belonging also comes great responsibility.

Over 40 times in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit inspired a powerful phrase to describe our responsibility to each other as the family of God: “one another.” Rick Warren says of these “one another” statements that, “these are your family responsibilities that God expects you to fulfill through a local fellowship.”

For example,

  • “love one another” (John 15:12),
  • “serve one another” (1 Peter 4:10)
  • “encourage one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  • “give preference to one another in honor” (Romans 12:10)

As we abide in Christ and His life is lived through us, these “one another” principles and practices will be evident in our lives. These 40 “one another’s” describe what it looks like when Christ lives His life through us in fellowship with His family.

Our team of pastors at Hope Church spent several days studying together these 40 “one another” responsibilities in the New Testament, and reduced them to five defining statements. Each of these statements brings clarity to our responsibilities to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. These are defining marks of what it means to connect in community:

Love: (John 13:34-35) Because I belong, I am responsible to love others as Christ has loved me.

Honor: (Philippians 2:3-4) Because I belong, I am responsible to consider others as more important than myself.

Disciple: (Matthew 28:19-20) Because I belong, I am responsible to lead others to follow Jesus and obey His Word.

Serve: (1 Peter 4:10) Because I belong, I am responsible to meet the needs of others.

Reconcile: (Colossians 3:12-13,15 & Romans 12:18) because I belong, I am responsible to do all that I can to pursue right relationships with others.]

The Connecting Life

Start the Connecting Life!

The following are recommended resources for further study on connecting in community

The Gospel

Following Jesus is all about relationships. First and foremost, following Jesus is about an abiding relationship with Him. It’s about that wonderful, intimate fellowship between you and your Savior. And if you think that sounds kind of simple, you’re right! It’s supposed to be simple.

The Abiding Life

Following Jesus is all about relationships. First and foremost, following Jesus is about an abiding relationship with Him. It’s about that wonderful, intimate fellowship between you and your Savior. And if you think that sounds kind of simple, you’re right! It’s supposed to be simple.

The Sharing Life

Not only did Jesus have a love relationship with the Father that spilled into a fellowship relationship with His disciples, but those connections also overflowed into relationships with people who didn’t know God at all. The same should be true for us.