A Shepherd & His SheepThe unique relationship between pastors and their congregations

The ultimate relationship we’re called to is a deep and personal relationship with Christ. But when we walk with Christ, we don’t walk alone. We walk alongside others. Community and relationships are a central part of our faith, discipleship, and growth.

In the creation story, the only thing God observed that was not good was the man living alone. Genesis 2:18 says,

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.'”

This verse’s context was the creation of the woman and the introduction of the God-ordained marriage relationship. Still, it points to an overarching principle that we were created to live in relationships.

When we are alone as an individual, we can feel small and insignificant. But united with Christians who challenge us to grow in our faith, we are strong.

And throughout the Bible, we see the importance of relationships with other believers. The New Testament has over fifty passages that use the phrase “one another.” The Word calls us to love one another (John 13:34), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16), and serve one another (Galatians 5:13).

We help each other in our walk with Christ. We’re brothers and sisters in Christ, and we’re in this together. As we mature in our relationship with Christ, we also see the value of the community. Consequently, we need to build and strengthen those relationships. 

If the relationships within your church aren’t as healthy as you’d like them to be, there is hope for improvement. Here are four ways to cultivate healthy relationships in the church. 


1. Set the example

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)

As a church leader, you have the opportunity to inspire spiritually healthy disciples. Your actions set an example for your staff and your flock. Together, we can make an impact for the kingdom of God by reinvigorating our church and local communities. So ultimately, we can all hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”


2. Promote Bible study groups

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The ideal way to build relationships is in a smaller setting. Small groups, Bible study groups, Sunday School, life groups, are all opportunities for relationships. When we are gathered together to discuss the Bible together can’t help but build relationships within the group.


3. Create opportunities for relationship building.

Encourage Bible study groups to do more than study the Bible together. Parties, mission projects, volunteering, and ministry opportunities can all bring people together.

Let a get-together or ministry project involve two or more generations. For example, as younger adults build relationships with senior adults, they can be mentored and disciple by someone with more life experience.


4. Ask for input and truly listen

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13

A good listener is the opposite of the fool described in Proverbs 18. He is patient, energetic, and focused, waiting to give his answer until after he has heard. 

As leaders seeking healthy relationships, we need to listen and work hard to understand the other person. Go out of your way to ask for input and truly listen to what wise counsel has to say.


These are just a few ways you can encourage healthy relationships within your church and congregation. If you’re not satisfied with the health of relationships in your church, do what you can to make an impact. Let’s create a space for healthy and God-honoring relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

By serving our fellow pastors and our community with humility, we can see clearly, lead confidently, and engage with immediate impact on the current church community.