The church is a family. While it is not a family comprised of flesh blood, it is actually deeper than that. The church is a family made up by the Holy Spirit. At times there will be disagreements, busy seasons, and conflict, just like any family. However, it should always be filled with love. With that being said, here are 10 practical ways that you can love your church family.
One of the most loving things that a person can do for their church family is to pray for each other. Often in the church, you hear people say, “I will pray for you.” But what is that person did not merely say the would, but actually took the time to go to the Lord in prayer. Repeatedly throughout the New Testament church, the Apostles spent time in prayer for one another. As a result, the church became more healthy.
“Brothers, pray for us.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:25
In the age of the internet, technology, and social media. One of the ways that a person can love their church is to attend regularly. It’s fine to download podcasts, listen to music on Spotify, and stream worship, but the Spirit does something unique when all his people are in a room together. When the church gathers, it’s like a family sitting down for dinner together. We can get so busy running from place to place, but there is nothing like sitting at the table with the family, sharing a meal, prayer, and good conversations with those you love.
“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” – Hebrews 10:25
The word community is not just a buzzword, it’s a biblical word. 90 times through the New Testament, the phrase “one another” appears. The church is commanded by God to “greet one another,” “comfort one another,” “seek good for one another,” and so on. It is impossible for you to live out the commands of God, without living in community together. At Believers International, we want for our church to be a place where we can live out the “one another’s” in authentic community.
“Live in harmony with one another” – Romans 12:16
One of the best ways that you can love your church is by serving. Just like in any family, each person has a responsibility to show care for the family’ the church is no different. Serving the church is both needed and necessary. We can serve by showing up 10 minutes early to help new guests feel welcomes. We can serve by joining a team in a specific area. We can serve by being generous with our tithes. We can serve by opening our homes for community groups. It does not need to be complicated but simple and practical. Serving is one of the best ways to show others the love that God has shown us.
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9
In many cultures, honor and respect are essential. Sadly, American culture is not one of those cultures. In a family, the highest good is not for the self but for the family. Yet because we live in a culture of broken homes, most people think only of the individual needs and do not honor others. An argument could be made that American culture encourages dishonor. However, in the church, this should not be so. God’s family can show love by speaking words of honor where hone is due” for a job well done, for a servant-hearted friend, for longevity in faith, etc.
“Outdo one another in showing honor.” – Romans 12:10
Life is hard. Encouragement goes a long way. Recently, I heard one of our community group members say that they had a stressful day and out of nowhere, one of their group members messaged them encouragement for the day. The person said that a simple text helped them get through their difficult situation. In a fallen world, hardships are all too frequent. God has put us together as a church family so that we can encourage one another.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
If you are looking for a perfect church, you will never find it. And if you do find it, leave because you will ruin it as soon as you join. Conflict is, unfortunately, a part of any family or church. However, one thing that we cannot do is give up on the church just because we have a disagreement. The family of God can love each other by repenting regularly and forgiving freely.
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another,
forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” —Colossians 3:13
A good family is one that knows how to enjoy each others company and have fun. I think sometimes people forget that the church is supposed to be fun. When you look at the life of Jesus, you can’t help but feel that his life was filled with joy, excitement, and fun. His first miracle was at a wedding. He had a good group of friends, and kids loved to spend time with him. If you are familiar with children, you know they only want to be around people they think are fun. As a church, we should model after the pattern our big brother Jesus set before us, the church should be fun.
“Everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.” —Ecclesiastes 3:13
Our father is Truth. Our big brother Jesus is the way and the Truth. The Bible is the truth. The Christian faith is built upon the truth. As the family of God, we should strive to speak the truth. This does not mean that we are to be jaded, religious, or off-putting, but that we should talk about the truth in love. We should use our words not to tear down, but to build up, pointing people towards their righteousness that is found in Christ.
“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” —Ephesians 4:15
God is love. A critical way we can love our church is by pursuing godliness. This means turning from our sin, leaving our unrighteous behind us, and seeking the Holy Spirits help to enable us to overcome temptation and experience life-change through Jesus. Pursuing after godliness over time will allow the Holy Spirit to bring new life, new identity, and a new direction to your life.
“Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” —2 Peter 1:5–7
Just like any family takes intentionality and effort to love and get along with, the church requires the same. While we are not perfect, we are loved. Therefore let us love one another as Jesus has commanded.