What does it take to be a thriving faith community? In the early days, Christianity grew in the Roman Empire at a rate of 40 percent a decade, growing from around 1,000 (0.0017 percent of the population) in A.D. 40 to nearly 34 million (56.5 percent of the population) in A.D. 350.1 The 2018 census tells us that in NZ, 38.6% are Christian and 48.6% hold no religion.1 The meaning behind these numbers is complex but certainly we would do well to learn from the early Christian communities’ experiences. The bible has a lot to teach us about being a thriving faith community. There are 47 ‘one another’ commands given to followers of Jesus,1 the most repeated one by far is ‘love one another’. Not only is ‘love one another’ good for us as a faith community, but our love for one another is what will make us stand out in the world as followers of Jesus (John 13:34-35).
How do you think we’re doing? We want to encourage you to keep taking the next step toward activating the ‘one anothers’ in our GBC family. What’s one small thing you can do this week that fulfils a ‘one another’? What’s one bigger commitment you can make this year? We’ve introduced Connections Corner to our weekly newsletter. This is designed to be a tool we can use to improve our ‘one anothering’. ‘One anothering’ does mean knowing and interacting with one another. Some of us find it tough to strike up a conversation with someone we don’t know or even harder to talk with someone we’ve been attending church with for years, but struggle to remember their name. Here’s a small thing you can do to improve our ‘one anothering’: check out the question in the Connections Corner of the newsletter and use it to start and conversation with someone you don’t usually speak to at church. In a church family the size of GBC, most of our ‘one anothering’ happens in smaller groups: ministry teams, life groups, interest groups. If you’re not in a life group of one kind or another, you’re missing out on a lot of the ‘one anothering’ we can offer each other. So, here’s a bigger commitment you can make this year to improve our ‘one anothering’: join a life group! It will change your life. Whatever steps you take, big or small, keep moving, increasing your ‘one anothering’ and showing the world His love for them through our love for others. Blessings as you continue to walk with Jesus in 2020, loving His fellow followers at GBC and the people in your wider community. Wendy Geerling