Have you ever heard a pastor say, “all you need is a personal relationship with Jesus to be saved, not a church, not beliefs, just Jesus?” Tod Bolsinger recalls times growing up where he heard this same message, now he’s raising questions about what this kind of message could mean if we’re called to be like a Triune God. Listen to him wrestle through this; 

“Unfortunately, what most of us heard in those kinds of messages is that we can have a personal and private relationship with Christ. I remember my youth leader giviing an invitation and saying, “There is nothing to join, you don’t have to be a church member. It’s just about having a relationship with Jesus.” And I wanted that. Not church, but Jesus. Shortly after I commited my life to following Christ, I bought a T-shirt that said “JC and me.” It was my not-so-subtle way of sharing my faith, and it described my new-found belief perfectly. This wasn’t my parents’ religion, this wasn’t about tradition or ritual, it was just about “JC and me” – a sentiment that always sounds good until you start reading the Bible.”

Have you ever noticed that when you read through the book of Acts the idea of coming to faith in Christ is always connected to coming into the ‘Church’. The language used to describe the Church in Acts 2 is all about community. To be like a God who is Triune – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is to be in communion with other Christians. Christianity is beyond privatism, and the Trinity is not an article of ‘intellectual tapestry’, its a call toward understanding God’s nature and our own nature as his image. To be without community means more than just opening the door to loneliness, it means becoming less human, less like God. One of the greatest things the Church can do to be missional is to live the Trinity, to live a healthy and holy community of hospitality, love, and sacrifice. A missional Church and an authentic Christian, are one and the same. For every mature Christian hospitality is a call toward joining in Christ’s labor of atonement (see Hans Boersma’s book for more on this), and hospitality can only become healthy and full in our lives if we are living in communion with one another, living the Trinity in our midst’s. This is why disunity and suspicion in the Church are so missiologically dangerous, as we lose the imitation of the Trinity we lose part of which enables us to display God’s saving acts in Christ. I think this matter is part of what drove the Apostle John in his letters to fall down so strongly on ‘loving your brothers and sisters’.

How can we as God’s new people live out his Triune nature in our communities? How are those who are without Christ around us, in need of a new sense of community, a new sense of family?