One of the greatest things I am learning as I grow in my walk with God is the importance of community among believers. Over and over in scripture we see that biblical community is laid out as a must for the gathered church. But, I do believe there has been one group of people within the body of Christ that has either missed the idea of being in community or refuses to believe they NEED biblical community.
The problem is, this group is in desperate need of biblical community. What group of people am I referring too? Well, I am talking about pastors, staff, elders…whatever the first followers of the particular congregation are called.
See, this group of people are not the “elite” of the congregation. They are not the “employees” of the congregation. They do not have it all together. They do not live the perfect Christian life. Heck, they sin. And speaking from experience, are really good at sinning. They struggle, fight spiritual warfare and need encouragement like everyone else that is part of the body.
At Anchor, I am thankful that this local body allows and even demands authentic, transparent community among the entire congregation. Yes, it can be scary at times to be so real in front of the people I get to shepherd, but that has made shepherding so much easier.
I have spent several hours with several brothers who are on staff of churches who do not have this. I have been on staff of churches where I did not have this! I am thankful that I have also been on staff of churches where I did have biblical community, specifically with the Lead Pastor I was serving beside. But, my heart is heavy for my brothers who are right now, out on the island of church ministry all alone, with their family, fighting the spiritual battle.
I am aware that very few Lead/Senior Pastor types will read this. But, if that is you and you read this, listen to my pleading to you! See your staff as part of your biblical community, not as employees that you supervise! They need you! They want to be in community with you! They want to eat at your table and you eat at their table. They want to have time where they can just be together with no pressure of boss/employee relationship!
Church member – reach out to those who are shepherding you! Not in criticism, but in true biblical love. Try to not complain about the way things are going! Encourage your brother – shepherd your brother and his family!
Finally, I offer some biblical defense for why the brotherhood among first-followers is so important:
- To bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2)
- Exhort one another (Heb. 3:12-13)
- Encourage one another (Heb. 10:25)
- Confess Sin to one another and pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Build up one another ( 1 Thess. 5:11)
- Forgive one another (Eph. 4:32)
- Show hospitality to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
This list could go on as we read all of the “one another” passages in scripture! But, my point is this – we need each other. The brotherhood is a must!