In some recent conversations I've noticed that many people are connecting purely through their 'organized' church meetings. For some this is at a Sunday Church service, for others it is through a house church meeting and for others it is through a Life Transformation Group meeting. All of these encounters are good and necessary (Hebrews 10:19-25) but are missing an important element in building a true sense of community and authenticity.
In one chat with a friend*, I asked this person if she knew about one individual's family story whom we were discussing. She did not know anything about this persons background. I then asked if she had ever met with this person outside of a house church meeting in order to share their stories of how God had developed them throughout their lives. It was quickly evident that this sort of conversation had never taken place. Each week this wonderful woman had greeted her friend at a church meeting and even had dinner weekly at their house church, and yet, no deeper conversations had taken place. These people have been meeting for over a year and yet coffee or a movie or game night had never taken place. This may be because of the amount of people around, an 'agenda' that needed to be carried out or the pressures of a meeting, no matter how organic they may have seemed.
Connecting with people outside of formal settings is vital to authentic and committed relationships! Until we know each other's stories, pains, joys, dreams and passions, organic (natural) connections are not very possible. God certainly breaks through in these more organized meetings and strong ministry is given and received but friends don't only meet in formalized settings. Something needs to change. I wonder how normal this type of relationship that only happen in formalized settings are?
What do you think about this concept? Is it true in your experience? How can we move beyond 'organized' friends to 'organic' friends? What needs to shift in our mindset or lives to accomplish this?
*Some elements of this conversation were changed to keep the situation anonymous.