One-anothering isn’t a real word, but it is a concept I’ve learnt more about recently… and I love it! I’m currently enrolled in a Pastoral Care unit at Bible College and of the standout things I have learnt is what lecturer, Dr. Murray Capill, calls ‘one-anothering’. You’ve probably heard reference to the many “one-another” commands in the New Testament? Put simply, one-anothering is about heeding these commands and following in the steps of the Good Shepherd, Jesus.  

In church terms, we usually call caring for others ‘Pastoral Care’, and I appreciate that sometimes this type of care will take place in more formal meetings with a Pastor or Church Leader. I also acknowledge that there are some who are specifically gifted and trained in counselling. But the truth is, all Christians are encouraged and challenged about the role we have in caring for one another. How then do we best do this? I’d like to offer three thoughts about how we can be best equipped for one-anothering. 

  1. Know God’s Word 

Knowing God’s Word is obviously a part of our day-to-day life as a Christian. The wonderful thing is that as we prioritise God’s Word in our own lives, we will be readily able to share it with others. Paul Tripp puts it this way, ‘God transforms people’s lives as people bring his Word to others.’  Colossians says, ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…’ (Colossians 3:16a) 

  1. One-Anothering Tools 

Sometimes we think we don’t have the capacity to care for one another. I get it friends, life can be busy. We want to be wise with how we steward our time and ensuring we’re making time for the right things is important. But instead of thinking we don’t have time, make use of varied ways (or ‘tools’) we can use to care for others. When there isn’t time for a lengthy coffee catch up and prayer, then take time to pray and send a message to let the person know. Send emails, make phone calls. If the person you’re caring for isn’t in the habit of attending Sunday services regularly, encourage them to. Organise to meet after a service to pray together.  

It’s also worth mentioning different mediums we can use to care for one another. Sometimes we may find encouraging and relevant Scriptures to share. Perhaps you’ve listened to a podcast you could pass on, an article you’ve read (a reminder to be spending time listening and reading things that draw us nearer to Jesus). I personally like sharing songs! A song coupled with God’s Word can bring hope, encouragement, and words of truth to a troubled soul. Bob Kauflin says, ‘Songs are de facto theology. They teach us who God is, what he’s like, and how to relate to him.’ I recently made a Spotify list called ‘Songs for the Soul’, maybe you’ll find something there you can share with someone?  

  1. Soul Care, Not Sole Care 

As we look to scriptures, we see that ‘one-anothering’ involves both practical care and more importantly, care for souls. However, soul care is NOT sole care. That is to say, soul care is not solely the responsibility of the Pastor… all Christians are called to love and care for one another. Nor is soul care something we should bear alone. As a church one of our priorities is Life Together, this is reflected in life lived in community with others. As we care for another, we shouldn’t think we are solely responsible for that person. If necessary, ask another brother or sister to pray into the situation. Encourage those you’re caring for to continue to gather at church services and other ministry events. When necessary, ask for prayer via our Prayer Email to involve even more of the church family. Reach out to the Oasis Care team if there are practical needs that need to be met. Ask individuals within the church who have journeyed through similar situations for wisdom and advice. Ultimately, we can rest in God’s sovereignty and His power alone to change, bring peace, equip, restore and reconcile.  

Friends, I love that I get to one-another with you all! I hope and pray that God will continue to equip us to love and care for each other as He has called us to. 

Love & Grace,