Dear Church Family and Friends,
If it “takes three to thrive,” then I would say that a lot of Christians are probably just “tolerable with two.” I mean, where the Bible describes a healthy Christian life lived in three directions – upreach, outreach, and inreach – it seems that a lot of Christians are only familiar with two of them. We’ve got upreach, or worship, because we know we’re supposed to go to church, pray, and put something in the offering plate. And we struggle with a low-grade guilt about outreach, because we feel we ought to be witnessing more than we actually do. But when it comes to inreach, we haven’t a clue.
Maybe that’s because inreach isn’t even a word, or, at least my spellchecker doesn’t think it is. So, I suggest a different word: one-anothering. I know, that’s not a word either. But as long as the Bible describes a large portion of our Christian lives lived in relation to one another, reaching to others within the Body of Christ, we’ve got to call it something! So, you go ahead and start using these words, and I’ll take it up with the lexicographer. We’ll see if we can get some new entries in the dictionary.
Until then, let’s do more than use these words; let’s actually live them! Let’s look to Scripture and begin obeying what God has said about the way we live our lives toward one another. Let’s take the Gospel and the meat of God’s Word and reach into the Body of Christ with it, strengthening one another with the grace of God, “speaking the truth in love.”
One excellent way to do this is through small groups. This refers to a small group of Christians, maybe 8 to 12, meeting together in order to reach one another. They discuss what they have learned from the Scriptures with one another, open up their lives to one another, pray for one another, and encourage one another. It’s a very one-anothering kind of gathering! And it’s a great way to practice inreach. In fact, I can’t think of another place where this part of the Christian life is practiced regularly in a safe, loving, and trusting way.
I’ll have to write another letter – or another dozen – to explain more about what I mean by this. But for now, let us consider how to love one another and to receive the love of Christ ourselves as it is offered through the other members of his body.
For His glory and your joy,