Discipleship Truth: In the upper room, Jesus prayed that friendships among all His followers would mirror the oneness that Christ enjoyed with His heavenly Father. “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent Me and that you love them as much as you love Me” (John 17:23). Jesus prayed for Christians to love, to worship, and to serve alongside each other in such a genuine way that the watching world would be irresistibly drawn to Him.
True Story: Elena and Mateo loved to host barbecues for their church’s small group. Elena and Mateo’s three kids would play tag with the other children in the backyard. The parents shared weekly times of fun and frustrations while munching on burgers. Everyone loved the bustle, the good food, and the connection each week.
The Chen family, who lived two houses down, hung onto these gatherings like a lifeline. The Chens had faced job disappointments, financial woes, spousal issues, and parenting hardships. The family had followed God for years, but they lacked positive, faith-building friendships. They were starving for fellowship and encouragement! For a season, their needs were great—they needed counsel, encouragement, and even financial help. At first, Elena and Mateo provided this support, but over time the entire small group rallied around them. Each week someone else offered the Chens assistance or prayer. The circle of friends demonstrated God’s love to this couple, even during inconvenient moments. The families’ kids became fast friends; they biked around the block like they owned the area!
This neighborhood small group eventually transformed the Chen family. They no longer felt afraid when finances looked tight. Over time, their circumstances stabilized. They gave full credit to the presence of genuine believers during personal crisis. Those steadfast friendships had built up their entire family. Two years later, the Chen family moved to another neighborhood, but they continued with the church’s small group. Determined to pass on the gift of community, they started their own neighborhood group as well.
Action Step: The New Testament reveals many “one another” principles of friendship and Christian fellowship. Romans 12:9-18 offers a great overview of love in action. These truths can be modeled within the daily flow of family life.
Talk with your children, encouraging them to look for opportunities to practice these “one another” principles daily. Do them together as a family. Continually seek ways to help kids apply these virtues with their friends, in the neighborhood, and at school. As you do, be prepared to observe new levels of personal growth, family harmony, and overall stability!
• Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
• Honor one another above yourself (Romans 12:10)
• Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)
• Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)
• Share with one another (Acts 2:44-45)
• Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
• Be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
• Forgive one another (Colossians 3:13)
• Build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
• Pray for one another (James 5:16)
• Be hospitable to one another (Romans 12:13)
Portions of this article taken from the ABCs of Family Discipleship booklet, available here.