by Steve Cordle
There are some things we just canâ€™t do alone: get married, play football, andâ€¦ follow Jesus.
There are many today who would say â€œMy spirituality is private, I have my own beliefs, and I donâ€™t need to be part of a church to believe in God, and I can pray anywhere I am.â€
And that is partially true: we can indeed (and should) pray in all sorts of places, and church membership is not required in order to believe in God.
However, Godâ€™s intent for us is much more than to believe he exists or to pray from time to time. Godâ€™s intent for us is to become spiritually mature, and in order to do that we need to be connected to other people.
Ephesians 4:13 describes Godâ€™s goal for us: â€œâ€¦we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.â€
The passage mentions many other people who are involved in our maturing process. In verses 4 and 12 Jesus followers are called â€œthe body of Christâ€. That tells us we are not isolated spiritual free-agents, but connected parts of a whole.
If you saw a disembodied hand sitting on ground youâ€™d find it alarming! An unconnected body part is a sign of serious trouble. The scriptures tell us we are the Body of Christ: so a follower of Jesus unconnected to others in the body is also alarming!
If our only connection with other believers is in a corporate worship service, we will not have as much opportunity as we need in order to mature spiritually. The connection we require is both â€shoulder to shoulderâ€ and â€œface to faceâ€. That is, next to each other as we are focused on worship of God, and open to each other as we share our lives together. Cell ministry is an expression of the connection God designed us to experience as the body of Christ.