This post is an excerpt adapted from Holding Up the Prophet's Hands: Supporting Church Workers by Bruce M. Hartung.
What would happen if a congregation encouraged its members to develop significant relationships with one another? What if those relationships grew deep and the congregation became a place of authentic personal encounter, with God in Word and Sacrament and with one another, the members of the Body of Christ? Person-to-person relationships create a context in which words of appreciation can be spoken and received as meaningful and truthful. To show true caring for one another requires that members feel safe in making their needs known. It also requires that those who hear about an individual’s need have the desire and the capacity to respond in understanding, practical, and empathic ways.
This post is an adapted excerpt from Without Flesh: Why the Church Is Dying Even Though Jesus Is Still Alive by Jonathan Fisk.
The Ancient Church saw martyrdom as an honor. Today, we cower in corners, bickering over the color of the carpet. The Ancient Church conquered the world by dying at its hands. Today, we are crushed in an overwhelming retreat of trying to fit in.
There are a lot of differences between Christian denominations—that's why there are denominations in the first place—but those differences run deeper than worship style or whether the minister wears a robe.
Churches and small groups are gearing up to start their fall Bible studies (or maybe yours has already started!).