One of the emphasis of the Charismatic Movement
and especially of the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement of the 1960’s
and 1970’s was the teaching on horizontal relationships in the Body of
Christ, that is, having a good relationship with our brothers and sisters
Many people felt horizontal relationships needed
emphasizing because of the “me and Jesus” mentality that they thought
they saw in Evangelical circles. They
thought Evangelicals were so
“me and Jesus” oriented that
they neglected the concept of community in the Body of Christ.
Whether you realize it or not, this emphases on
horizontal relationships as taught back then has had some impact on
certain parts of the church since. I
feel that the pendulum has swung a little too far towards our horizontal
relationships. Our vertical
and individual relationship with Jesus needs some strengthening. Church
history has shown that the pendulum is always swinging.
We have a hard time maintaining a balance.
For those who seek being joined to those people Jesus
has placed them with and functioning together with them in the service of
Jesus, our individual vertical relationship with Jesus is vital.
Without having a good relationship with Jesus our joints are merely
relational, that is, friendship based only.
It's simple humanism. It
is our relationship with Jesus that gives the added dimension needed to
make effective spiritual joints. Without this, we’re not much different
than anyone else who has friends. Individual
parts in the Body of Christ need Jesus’ life flowing through them to
other parts of the body. Only then can true functional ministry occur.
Also, for those who seek a 1 Corinthian 14 style of
gathering of believers, our individual vertical relationship is absolutely
necessary. If we don’t have
a good relationship with Jesus, we have nothing to bring to the table when
we gather. What we should
bring to the table is what we get from Jesus and not from ourselves. Our
gatherings should be like a “pot luck lunch” – we all bring
something to give away. If we
don’t have anything to bring, we might as well have a “restaurant
lunch” and be waited on, which is basically what happens in a tradition
So our individual vertical relationship with Jesus is
fundamental to the success of our horizontal relationships and to the
success of our gatherings. The
Body of Christ will not be healthy unless each part of the body is
properly connected to Jesus and passing on what it receives from Him to
those to whom we are joined.
We’ve got to come to the place where we receive
from Jesus sufficiently enough that we have something to give to others.
Too often we expect others and our gatherings to supply our needs, and
maybe at times this is needed, but the Scriptural norm is that we bring
strength to others. No, it's not “me and Jesus’.
It's “me receiving from Jesus and giving to others”.