I’m not a fan of Rick Warren, but this quote that appeared today in my Hubzilla feed is quite good and represents fairly well the type of relationship that the Lord provides us in the church of God.
If you are a member of a small group or class, I urge you to make a group covenant that includes the nine characteristics of biblical fellowship: We will share our true feelings (authenticity), forgive each other (mercy), speak the truth in love (honesty), admit our weaknesses (humility), respect our differences (courtesy), not gossip (confidentiality), and make group a priority (frequency).
The “group covenant” he speaks of might better be described as every saint’s commitment to obey the Lord and to love sincerely and intensely one’s family in Christ, 1 Pet 1.22-23:
You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart. You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
Other terms and phrases could also stand a tweak, but the above quote captures much of the interaction necessary to be a true people of God. Of course, Warren misses most of the biblical pattern for the nature of the church and the way of salvation, truths about which we must be receptive and honest before we can truly love the Lord and his people.