4.5 Kinship In The Early Church.


We are…called to community, a sharing of help, gifts, resources, and problems. The early Christians often met in one another’s homes, ate together, and took a practical concern for each other’s material needs (Acts 4:32). They helped each other with life’s many difficulties, “bearing each other’s burdens and … fulfilling the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Because of this closeness the early church was careful about conversational patterns like slander and gossip, recognizing how dangerous out of control tongues can be. They also knew how to keep confidences and protect each other. How were they able to live out this type of closeness? It appears they facilitated a common life through small groups, such as the churches that met in homes (Rom. 15:5, 14-15; 1 Thess. 5:27; Col. 4:15). Small groups are also the basis for Christian community today. Paul, in Ephesians 4:2, says, “Be completely humble and gentle with one another in love.” I have often thought, How can people love each other if they never relate personally? That is the point of small groups, they are where people can relate, can actually live out the gospel. In small groups we learn how to love the unlovely, thus fulfilling the command of Christ. Sometimes we are the ones in need of special love and support to get us through difficult times. John Wimber


In the beginning days of the Vineyard, small groups were called “kinship” groups. The word “kinship” has, for the most part, been lost in today’s church culture, but it might not be a bad idea to re-look at this word to see if we can restore a stronger aspect of community (koinonia) into our churches today.

Kinship is defined in dictionaries as “a connection by blood, marriage, or adoption; a family relationship.” As Wimber states here, small groups (kinship) is a place where folks can share “help, gifts, resources and problems” with one another.

Did you know that the New Testament writers share that you and I, as followers of Christ, are called to the concepts of kinship? Actually the New Testament Greek root word is allelon, and it is translated as “one another” or “each other.” Here are a few of those “one another” texts. Take a deep breath. Here we go:

  1. “Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
  2. “Wash one another’s feet.” ( John 13:14)
  3. “Love one another.” ( John 13:34, 35, 15:12, 17, Romans 
13: 8, 1 John 3:11, 23, 4:7, 11, 12, 2 John 5)
  4. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” (Romans 
  5. “Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
  6. “Live in harmony with one another.” (Romans 12:16)
  7. “Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
  8. “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.” 
(Romans 15:7)
  9. “Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
  10. “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (Romans 16:16, 1 
Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12)
  11. “When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (1 
Corinthians 11:33)
  12. “Have equal concern for each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  13. “Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
  14. “Carry each other’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2)
  15. “Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
  16. “Be kind and compassionate to one another.” (Ephesians 
  17. “Forgiving each other.” (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13)
  18. “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)
  19. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
  20. “In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
  21. “Do not lie to each other.” (Colossians 3:9)
  22. “Bear with each other.” (Colossians 3:13)
  23. “Teach…[one another].” (Colossians 3:16)
  24. “Admonish one another. (Colossians 3:16)
  25. “Make your love increase and over ow for each other.” (1 
Thessalonians 3:12)
  26. “Encourage each other.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11, He
brews 3: 13, 10:25)
  27. “Build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  28. “Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (He
brews 10:24)
  29. “Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)
  30. “Don’t grumble against each other.” (James 5:9)
  31. “Confess your sins to each other.” (James 5:16)
  32. “Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
  33. “Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 3:8, 
  34. “Live in harmony with one another.” (1 Peter 3:8)
  35. “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 
Peter 4:9)
  36. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.” (1 Peter 4:10)
  37. “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another.”(1 Peter 5:5)
  38. “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (1 Peter 5:14)

‘Nuff said.


Jesus, it will take a lifetime for me to become biblically obedient to just these ‘one-another’ texts of the New Testament. Forgive me, Lord, when I stray from these commands and place other ministries and works of the church over and above these powerful calls to kinship. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower your church to fulfill these words in my generation. For your name’s sake. Amen!


  • What might church look like if we started to take these thirty-eight “one-another” commands of the New Testament and started to act upon them, placing them at the top of our “to-do” lists in ministry?
  • Where am I failing to follow these commands, allowing other worldly activities to trump these simple instructions to agape (unconditionally love) allelon (one-another)?

So, what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?

Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!

If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others! 

Click here to go on to the next blog in this series…

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