Thursday, February 12, 2009

Only God?

I spoke at the high school Christian club today (SALT) about the importance of relationships. I'll summarize what I said. I believe that one of the reasons why 70% of 18-22 year-olds are dropping out of the church is due a lack of essential relationships with others only found in the church. I used Larry Norman and Ray Boltz as examples of two men who started out with a heart for God but had moral failings do to what I believe was a lack of essential relationships. That's it in a nutshell.

Let me quickly define what an essential relationship is before I go on. It is the relationship with other Christians as defined by the Bible. I'll do another blog on this to fully explain what I mean.

I was approaching the end of my....inspirational lesson? when one of the teens raised their hand and said "I don't think relationships with other Christians was Ray Boltz and Larry Norman's problem. I think they didn't have a relationship with God to begin with." First off, speculation without facts is ignorance. I didn't ask him, but I am quite sure he wasn't familiar with Larry or Ray who at one time had a great relationship with God. Second, I think this kind of thinking sets people up for a downfall.

We've heard it many times "All you need is God!" and to a certain extent this phrase is true. All we need is God to get to heaven. All we need is God to be forgiven of our sins. etc..., but this phrase shouldn't be applied to all of life. "All we need is God to have a relationship with God" is a phrase that sounds somewhat logical. The fact is, this is not how God has wired us. God has wired us to be in essential relationship just as he has exemplified through his triune nature. God himself is in essential relationship: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

If we think that "having a relationship with God" is all we need then we are wrong. God created us to have relationship with each other so that our relationship with Him can be strengthened. Plain and simple.

I wrote an earlier blog titled "Community, Ministry and Evangelism" earlier. It was based on a passage from the book The Essential Church (yes I commondeered the term "essential" when talking about relationships). The basic gist of the passage was if we are to grow as a community we must serve as a community. Serve? Yes, serve! We must serve God as a community, we must serve one another as a community and we must serve the world as a community. Why? Because we the Church is the bride of Christ. Not you as an individual, but the Church as a whole. The Church needs to be in relationship with Christ. In order to be a Church we must be in relationship with one another. Our relationship with Christ as a Church strengthens our relationship with Christ as individuals.

So I'm going to say it, and please don't take my words out of context. Only God? Not always! I believe that what God says needs to be done. He says to develop essential relationships with others. That's what I'm going to do because I am beginning to see that I need God working through others to strengthen my relationship with Him.

I'd like to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.


Louie said...

You are absolutely right! Why else is fellowship stressed so heavily in the New Testament? God knows we need each other as well as Him, that's why it's one of the purposes of the church and our lives to be in fellowship!

Gulmohar said...

First of all,am sorry for commenting at the wrong place (for I do not have a comment on this blog but on your profile description)

I like your words "I know where I am going and you may not" and the brimming confidence in it

Tonya Root said...

I do completely agree. I also think that the example given by Christ is very important in this equation. He was followed by masses, but He made certain that He often withdrew with His inner circle - the 12. We must have what you call essential relationships, but we can't expect that those will be forged with a large congregation.

Pastor Brian B Van Dyke said...

Hey Tonya, thanks for leaving a comment. I definitely agree with you. Our primary relationship is with Christ. That relationship should influence our other relationships which will in turn strengthen our relationship with Christ even more, but it starts with him definitely.