Is EBC more like a bag of marbles or a bag of grapes? When it comes to how we relate to one another, the church can be viewed in one of two ways.
It can be like a bag of marbles. You throw a bunch of marbles into a bag, and they will impact each other. They will ricochet off each other. But when you take them out of the bag, each remains intact, distinct, and individual. When we as a church function like marbles, we get together on Sunday morning, worship together, and hear the Word of God together. Then following the benediction, we go our separate ways, and everyone is still the same as when they arrived.
The church can be like a bag of grapes. Put grapes into a bag, apply a little pressure, and the grapes break open and all their flavors get mixed together. The grapes “influence” the others and become one. They will never be the same individual grapes as when they began.
The marble mentality grows from individualism. Individualism is totally foreign to the New Testament church. It is totally foreign to the way God created us. We were made for relationships. We were made for family.
God never intended for us to live the Christian life on our own. It is God’s design for us to grow in the context of Christian community. Growth comes as we press up against each other and the juices of our lives as we do life together.
As your pastor, my heart for you is that you develop deep friendships. You have heard me say before that not only should we be a friendly church, but a church that makes friends. Only to a certain point, can we program this. We can provide opportunities for you to make connections, but it is on you to follow up on those initial points of contact to make friendships that flourish.
Here are some ways you can deepen friendships here:
Linger or come early for the coffee time between services (10:15-10:45).
Attend a community group.
Serve in ministry.
Invite someone to join you for a meal, or dessert, or coffee, at a restaurant or in your home.
Include others in something you are doing already (walking, hiking, exercising, some hobby or interest, etc.).
Be intentional in developing friendships. And remember, these will be forever friends.