Many people in the Christian movement of the western world have long used the term personal relationship to describe their experience of faith in Jesus Christ. I am one of them.
But along the way I came to believe that the scope of this idea of personal relationship was inadequate if it did not also imply a vigorous and a strategic personal relationship with Christ's people. In other words: love Jesus; love his followers. Oh, and be ready to explain what you mean by the word love.
Another term, Christian community, is useful in describing followers of Jesus who come together to do this loving. Now Christian community is a rather mallable concept and fits many kinds of gatherings from a monastic order where people live according to highly defined principles (a rule) to a living-room size group of people who pledge to gather regularly for prayer and conversation about the Bible.
The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, embraced Christian community when he came to insist that new ...1