A recent study by Lifeway Research (https://lifewayresearch.com/2019/08/05/churchgoers-hold-conflicting-views-on-the-need-for-other-christians/) gave some conflicting statistics on the need for one another within the context of the local church. While 75% indicated they needed other believers to help them in their walk with God, 65% said they can do their Christian life alone. So which is it? Have we really become that self-sufficient that we can “go it solo” or do we need each other? I believe there are a few things to consider when it comes to relationships in the Christian community and greater yet, the vital need of a discipleship ministry.
1. No one really stands alone. The Bible reminds us in Romans 14:7 that “…none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself." In other words, no man is an island unto himself. Is it not interesting to note the more people tend to isolate their lives, the more connected it seems they desire to be? Think with me of how society has changed dramatically. The neighborhood dynamics have changed whereby very few know their neighbors. More people live alone today than at any other time in society. The rise of kids and young adults sitting on their couch, alone, playing online video games instead of the old-fashioned family or friend day of playing monopoly. Yet, though so many are greatly inclined to seclude themselves, the tendencies of our culture show something different. Through all the social media outlets, people desire to be connected. Whether it is Facebook or Snapchat, we all still crave to be connected with one another. Why? Because Romans 14:7 is a truth of life… no one lives unto himself.
2. The Bible indicates that we truly need one another. To take this a step further, we actually do need one another. Look around in our general society and you will find that our lives are centered on the “others” concept. No quarterback can really do it all without an offensive line. No soldier can effectively perform his duties without the aid of fellow soldiers. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but Rambo is only a movie. There are no Rambo’s in the church. We truly need each other. In fact, have you ever considered the Bible’s use of the phrase “one another”. “Pray for one another”, “edify one another”, “love one another”, and “serve one another”, just to name a few. All of these are duties that we ought to consider in the context of the church. We truly do need each other.
3. God places people in our lives to help us. To further bolster the fact that we need each other, I am reminded of how I got to where I am today as an individual. I have had countless teachers from elementary school all the way through a master’s degree program who have taught me many things. I have been under the influence of coaches, pastors, relatives, parents, friends, mentors, etc. who have all invested a part of their life in mine. I am humbled but thankful for the impact they have made on me. When we reflect on the local church and whether people think we need one another or not, I say that the Bible shows something that is worth looking at. Every Saul needed a Barnabas who took this new convert under his wing and introduced him to the church body. Every Apollos needs the patience and gracious guidance of people like Aquila and Priscilla. Every young preacher like Timothy needs the wisdom and teaching of a mentor like the Apostle Paul.
So, do we need one another or can we do this Christian business all on our own? I am reminded of the simple fact that Christ gave Himself for the church, the community of believers. That community of believers is something God established for our growth and spiritual benefit. Are you just simply attending church or are you involved? It may be that you need to be discipled. Then seek it out with the guidance of your pastor. It may be that you are ready to invest your life in someone else. Then forge ahead. Someone needs you today.