What’s Your Relationship Lens?

I say it often, because I think we have to be reminded of it often.  As the church, we are in the relationship “business.”  We build authentic, trusting relationships with people and through those relationships we gain the opportunity to share Jesus with them.  Then we might also gain the privilege of journeying alongside them on their discipleship pathway.

It is no secret that the church has become more and more focused on the relationships of the people who are already gathered in our buildings.  Being in relationship with our fellow disciples is also part of the “business” we are in as the church.  However, it is through these relationships with those of us in the already gathered community that we are to call one another into accountability for our on-going discipleship formation.  In discipleship formation, we come to understand that mature disciples become disciple makers.  In other words, mature disciples understand see through the lens of the responsibility and privilege of sharing Jesus with others.

It is readily apparent that the church has struggled with building new relationships with unchurched people in recent decades.  This is reflected in the on-going decline in the mainline church attendance.  We struggled with this when we were in our church buildings.  It is interesting how some churches continue to struggle in reaching new people when the church moved online while other churches were growing online.

Why are some churches growing in their online ministry while others are not?  I think it boils down to basically one primary factor.  The churches that are growing online are the ones that truly understand what “business” they are in.  They did not go online (or extend their online ministry) for the sole purpose of providing worship for those already gathered.  They are providing online ministries for both those already gathered AND to reach new people.  

When focusing on reaching new people, the ministry is carried out from a different lens.  Everything that is done, said, shared, viewed, blogged, planned, posted, and executed is filtered through the lens of how will this help us reach new people.