That’s one of the questions I am asking myself as I am trying to figure out what I believe at this point in my life; and I have an answer: like everyone else.
I enjoy people and connect with them wherever and however the opportunity arises. I don’t need a special meeting or program for that.
You can’t make relationships happen. A worship service where you are looking at the back of each other’s heads while attending a staged presentation won’t do it. Not even a small group will necessarily bring people together in meaningful relationships. The fact is they can happen anywhere, but you cannot engineer it.
I was a pastor for over twenty years and almost all of my relationships were with church people, because that’s where I spent most of my time. I developed lifelong friendships, but I was also surprised how quickly others fell away when I stepped out of the institutional church.
Part of the structure of Christian teaching has been to have believer friends for fellowship and non believing friends for evangelism. Now that feels a bit weird and manipulative. Some people are supposed to build me up spiritually and I am supposed to do the same for them. Others are a means to an end, I keep them as friends so I can witness to them and get them saved.
Here’s a different way of approaching friendships: act like a friend, love them, forgive them, help them, laugh with them, and cry with them. Work along with God is already doing in their life.
It really is the most transformative thing we can do. No membership, no program, no special training, no appointed hour, no special building, no certain kind of people are necessary.
Love. Just love.
I think a good goal is to try to never miss an opportunity to love.