One of the struggles I had in institutional church was the superficial or even non-existent relationship that I had with most of the people in the church. Most I did not speak to for months at a time. Many I don’t even know by name. Even those in my inner circle, I rarely saw outside of church service/class attendance and committee work. Often my only gauge of how they were doing was their attendance pattern at church meeting times.

So what’s the big deal? Well… If we are to be recognized as Jesus’ disciples, we will have to love one another as Jesus loved us. Simple concept… “Love one another.” Just one simple command seems to be the deafening refrain throughout the account of the first century church. Especially as it takes shape in the “one another” obligations. See the 48 passages in OneAnotherObligations.pdf for a compendium of one another passages.

Our only hope of achieving this ideal is to be in small groups, resembling families that are intimately familiar with each other, living life as a community, knowing what’s going on with each other, caring for each other, keeping watch. True, immature members of the family will be on the receiving end of much of the good will, but they will grow and mature and contribute with time and maturing.

In the same way that institutional church falls short of facilitating the “one anothers”, abandoning regular meetings of believers altogether misses the mark. We have to be in a family of believers to fulfill our “one another” obligations.