How Brotherhood Happens

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But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

-Jesus, Matthew 23:8

Jesus has an answer for hierarchy–it’s called brotherhood.

Unfortunately, many are unfamiliar with what brotherhood looks like. Far fewer know how to achieve brotherhood. Because brotherhood helps level the playing field, I think it’s important to answer this question: how do a group of believers become brothers and sisters?

First, the obvious: Brotherhood starts when you have the same parents. I know this seems elementary, but the church can only achieve brotherhood with other born again believers. There can be no brotherhood where God is not our Father through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s through Christ’s atoning death that we are adopted into the family of God as sons and daughters.

But once adopted, there is a practical reality that must be achieved. It does us no good to be brothers and sisters in name only. There are many churches that exist where everyone is called brother so-and-so and sister so-and-so, but the term is only one of false honor and doesn’t hold up in real life.

In my experience, once we’ve established the common ground of the cross of Jesus Christ as the rallying point for our family, the next step is to open up to one another about our weakness. But someone has to go first.  In every case, whenever I’ve had a group of believers around me and I haven’t been afraid to show the very ugliest parts of my life to them, it’s allowed them to see me as human. They help me. They lift me up. They are given courage to to show their weakness as well.

And this, friends, is the most basic form of communitas we can achieve as the church. We go from being people competing against each other for superiority into being people who love and support each other in our journey out of brokenness.  When we admit we are all messed up–all more ugly than we want to admit–and we all equally need a savior, this is fertile ground for true brotherhood to emerge.

And it’s this true brotherhood, this love that finds one another at the foot of the cross that protects us from  believing you or I are higher than the other. And it sustains brotherhood through the glories and successes because we know where we came from and we know we helped each other get there.

So, brothers and sisters, I know I sound like a broken record, but if you don’t have people like this in your life, please find some. Please gather together with broken people who have found Jesus and admit your brokenness. Bring it out into the light. This is what John is saying when he says this:

…[I]f we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another…

-1 John 1:8

Hierarchy ends when brotherhood begins. Brotherhood begins when we gather as broken saints around a saving cross. And this is the birthing of true fellowship.

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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

6 responses to “How Brotherhood Happens”

  1. Collin says :

    Thanks for your wisdom and insight. Always great posts from you!

    ~ Collin
    FoundWhoIAm.wordpress.com

  2. Plumbline Faith says :

    Good blog.

    I try to make it very practical among our fellowships: Esteem others above yourself, including their different gifts, callings, functions and motivations.

    This applies to all – especially those who serve as elders or in other oversight capacities.

    For example, if I can’t esteem the things in others that exceed my own God given abilities and give way to them as an elder so they can excel beyond my own abilities, then I am falling into the very hierarchy Jesus warned against.

    I have yet to meet anyone who is not better than me in something to do with God’s Kingdom. Only as we honor those differences can we become a community which is able to also function as His local assembly.

  3. Dan says :

    When we become a brotherhood of 24/7 community, we will have Ekklesia and not mere “church”.

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