Last week I drove by a church I pass all the time. There was new sign on the lawn which simply read “Relationship Not Religion”. Okay, they are playing on the aversion to religion that is quite popular in our culture and society, the whole, I’m spiritual not religious motif. I glanced to see if the word “church” was still somewhere and sure enough, they are still a church. I know what they’re trying to do from a marketing perspective, but it’s really inauthentic to say you are not a religion when you are, well a religion.
I imagine there are some who might drop in, curious to see if it’s true. I imagine that it helps the faithful who gather there remind themselves that what they do is first about relationship: relationship with God, with Christ, and with the community that forms itself around the memory of Jesus.
The Christian religion, is all about relationship: relationship with God, relationship with Christ, relationship within the community of faith and relationship with people outside the community who might come to also live out the teachings of Jesus. We disciple people much as Jesus did: we invite them, we have conversations with them, we offering healing to them, we welcome them.
There is a prerequisite however to discipling other people and that is nurturing one’s one relationships: with God, with Christ, with other Christians. Without this foundation, the work of discipling beyond the