Jesus began his Church as a FAMILY. It changed to an institution in Rome, a political view in Europe, and has become big business in America.
I have always been convinced of the importance of helping the members in our church family develop friendships. Since our very first year this has been a major emphasis of ours. Why? Because relationships are the glue that holds a church together. Friendships are the key to retaining members. And fellowship (koinonia) is the Biblical purpose to make it happen.
I read an interesting story once. A church took a survey of its members and were asked, “Why did you join this church?” Ninety-three percent of the members said, “I joined because of the pastor.”
When asked, “What if the pastor leaves? Will you leave?” the same ninety-three percent said “no.” When asked why they wouldn’t leave, the response was, “Because I have friends here.”
Do you notice the shift in allegiance? This is normal and it is healthy. It is also a vital reason why PCC is such a healthy church today.
It’s true, the more friendships (and mentoring relationships) a person has in a congregation, the less likely he is to become inactive or leave, and the more likely they are going to grow and flourish into a mature disciple.