Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Romans 12:10
And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. Luke 8:21
Obviously if we are talking about brothers and sisters (and 'brethren' are talked about throughout scripture) then family is a key word. What would you do for your family? Would you babysit to give a married couple a night out? Would you ignore your house for a day to go and clean an elderly relative's house? Would you change significant personal plans in order to help out in a brother's/sister's emergency? The answer is likely 'yes' to all those situations and more!
I have that relationship with only one Christian family at this point in my life. A few posts back I talked about the loss of my local church...but there were so many people in that church that called me a sister in Christ when I was there. We had fellowship together for 10 years and called it a church family. Why does that change when my beliefs in church government and ministry have grown to a be different? We're all still Christians, right?
Now that there has been some time and distance since leaving that church it is easier to see where things are broken - more so than when we were in the middle of it all. Our relationships were very shallow. Although fellowship events occurred regularly, we rarely spent time with other church members outside these events. We genuinely liked several people in the church, however we had very little in common besides our memberships. We never spent any time seeking to build our relationships - why would we when we saw each other three or four times each week at church.
That may very well be the heart of the problem. We spent so much time at organized church events that we had no desire to build a personal relationship outside of those events. We, especially the women, spent so much time organizing, serving, cleaning, etc. during these events, that we spent little to no time sharing our lives together. We were 'church family', but we were not friends.
There isn't anything wrong with having a full schedule of church events in which members work together. The part that is missing...the part that is important...the part that so many churches miss out on to build up their members is the relationship. Without growing relationships we have no foundation; it is a church built upon the sand.
For those of you who are fortunate to be part of a good, bible-believing church, stop collecting family members and start building friendships.