Church is more Family Relational Related than Institutional Relational Related.


Family life is built on an entirely different set of methods and goals than Institutional life. In a healthy family people are not cooperating as a means to an end, they are simply learning to relate to each other in love, acceptance and forgiveness. In a healthy family diversity is not only allowed, it is cherished. People don't relate to each other through lines of authority, but by functional gifting. If someone's computer started to malfunction they feel no compulsion to ask the older brother to attend to it. They will already know who in the family has the most 'computer savvy' and seek their help.

Healthy families don't press people to conform, but let people grow together at their own pace. They have the freedom to disagree without separating into multiple families. They share together in each other's journey, serving with their particular giftings, offering insights and abilities that are helpful, and supporting each other no matter what they go through.

Many believers today are finding fresh encouragement in 'one anothering' Scriptures that the New Testament encourages believers to one another each other. They are discovering that teaching, counseling, serving, offering hospitality, sharing confessions, praying for needs, admonishing the selfish, and all the rest are not things we hire a staff to provide for us, but what the body was meant to do for each other. As we live in Jesus together, He passes out gifts among the entire body that each can receive from the Holy Spirit and give to others. There is more 'Church' happening in life living than happens in Sunday-go-meetings because Church is living life and life living is not what happens in Sunday morning meetings.

If you've ever experienced genuine spontaneous, fellowship among a group of believers, you don't need me to tell you how spiritually rich it is. The joy of journeying together, of not having put on a pretense, of having people support you in your weakness and affirm you in your gifts is reward enough. And yes, a lot of that can happen among believers who gather in institutional environments, but only to a certain level and more often than not it is missing altogether.

The important thing is that you recognize family dynamics when you see them and embrace them wholeheartedly. However, we need recognize hurtful, institutional dynamics which have nothing to do with God's kingdom and take our distance from such practices, shamelessly, blamelessly and guiltlessly.

As much as Paul encouraged believers to get together in ways that encourage our life in Christ, he also told us to be free to walk away from environments that become destructive to Christ's life within us. If you sense God leading you away from such a group, don't accept condemnation either from them or yourself. You will not be leaving the Church at all, for to leave the Church is to leave Jesus. God may only be preparing you to find life in Him in a more authentic way than you ever dreamed possible. 

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