This is the first part of the mult-blog series titled, What I’ve Learned in Organic Church. To read the introduction to this series, CLICK HERE.
Brotherhood and Buddyhood: There is a Difference
In the Organic expression of the church, we share many things with each other. We share our homes, our personalities, our strengths, our weaknesses, and our lives. This leads quite naturally to strong friendships and deep bonds of love and trust with each other. Of course, this would be quite impossible without the common bond of Jesus Christ. For we come from an extremely wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, influences, and geographical locations. Without Christ as the center and bonding-glue, I can say without a doubt, we would not have fellowship.
But here in lies one of the first lessons of true organic fellowship.
In the natural, we make friends based on preference and common interests. If I’m into playing guitar and listening to rock music, I may make friends with others of the same interests. They can be Christian or not, and I still would thoroughly enjoy spending time with them. Many people make most of their friends this way.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with this. But if organic church is to work, we must take our relationship preferences to the cross. We must let them die and allow the Lord to resurrect them.
We can’t make church work the way we want it to. We can’t meet around the fact that we are all into rock music, working out, sports, outdoor activities, hunting, fishing, surfing, or a long list of other things. We have to meet around the Lord Jesus Christ and our common bond to see His eternal purpose seen on the earth; that He would have a place to dwell, a temple made up of brothers and sisters in Christ. Without that, we become just another club. And the church of Jesus Christ is not a club. It’s something much deeper, much more grand, much more precious, and holds much more responsibility.
Letting the Preferences Die
For me, I had a dream of what I thought OC what going to look like. In my mind, everyone was going to be so cool and so like me (key word here is me) and we were all going to have a great time together. But I quickly realized that the people I had joined in fellowship were all so different from me. They were polar opposites in many ways, at first glance. Even with that, they were quite different from each other too. It was like being in a bowl of multi-flavored jelly beans. So many different flavors and colors.
Letting our preferences in Christian relationship die isn’t as easy as it may sound. We live in a culture now that offers a vast array of different Christian “churches” that meet according to common interests. We have options now to satisfy our flesh. But is that really what our Lord is after? That is the question.
This is the difference in brotherhood and buddyhood. Brotherhood goes to the cross, dies to self in order to see the Lord’s goals are met. Buddyhood simply wishes to see others that I prefer to hang out with met. I’m not saying that we don’t become buddies in the church. We do. But it’s beyond that…much beyond.
In buddyhood we are more apt to see what we can get out of the relationship. In brotherhood, we are constantly looking to see what Jesus Christ can get, first, then what our brother or sister can get out of it. This is putting other’s interests above our own.
Buddyhood is conditional to how we may be treated, how the other person makes us feel, or whether or not we have fun together. But brotherhood is completely, 100% unconditional.
Brotherhood doesn’t allow natural differences like political beliefs, sports teams preferences, or even doctrinal differences determine fellowship. In Brotherhood, the fellowship is based, founded, and relied upon Jesus Christ. Nothing more, and nothing less (even though Christ is infinite).
The Reason for Brotherhood
We don’t become brotherhoods and sisterhoods over night. We also don’t become brother/sisterhoods without reason. The reason is because our Lord is after something. He’s looking for a spiritual house for His dwelling (1 Peter 2:5). We simply can’t be “built together” just so we’ll have some other like-minded Christians to hang out with. It is for Him, and we are included and we get to share in the blessing. But if nothing else in the entire Bible is clear, it is that without struggle, without death to self, there can be no blessing. A quick read of the story of Joseph, David, and Jesus will abundantly confirm this.
“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Ephesians 4:16)
Being “built together” isn’t always an easy task…maybe it’s never an easy task. Personalities collide, differing opinions clash. Brothers and sisters must let go of their ideas and opinions and allow the Lord to have His way. At other times, we must boldly proclaim our ideas and opinions even when others may disagree. It’s a matter of listening and obeying the Lord. But, as we should know, anything that is of Christ brings unity…not division (that is, He doesn’t divide spirit, but He does divide flesh from spirit).
To say it more plainly, what I’ve learned in Organic Church is that if I’m not willing to take my opinions and preferences to the cross, I will have a very difficult time. I simply won’t be able to go very long before I give up. But the cross leads to resurrection…and oh how beautiful it is! Words fail to describe the peace and life that come with resurrection from the grave.
It takes time, but it’s all been quite worth it. I’ve been in this group for 2 years, and I can’t wait to see what the coming years in Christ have to bring. The value of the cross is priceless.