About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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Part 3

Horizonatl And The Verical 

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 in Jesus.

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 church meeting. 


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”. 



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