I give you a new rule: Love one another. You must love one another as I have loved you. Then everyone will see that you are my disciples.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all will see that you are My disciples: if you have love among yourselves.
Love one another as brothers and sisters love one another. Always show that you have respect for the other.
Love one another with brotherly love. Go before one another in homage.
I meet my younger brother/sister every week.
It takes time to build strong and sincere relationships. God works through these relationships, far beyond our instructions and advice, to change both you and your younger brother/sister into the image of Jesus.
We encourage you to visit your brother/sister regularly at home, in their own environment. Although it is good that you also meet, for example, on Sundays in church or on Saturdays with football, you will probably keep a superficial relationship if that is the only place you meet. To really get to know a child or someone else, it is necessary to spend time with their family and friends and experience life together.
Here are some of the ways Alongsiders around the world spend time together with their younger siblings:
- Help with homework.
- Help with chores around the house.
- Going out together (hiking, cultural activities, fun activities in the neighbourhood).
- Sharing meals with each other and with others.
- Having a hobby together (sport, music, art etc).
- Praying together for challenges and opportunities.
- Helping each other overcome challenges.
Visiting your brother or sister every week may sound simple, but it is not an easy commitment. Apart from the fact that you may both be busy with work and studies, you may not know exactly what the future holds.
Sometimes unexpected situations arise in your lives: illness, divorce, loss of loved ones, loss of a job, or a study that has to be stopped. This can have far-reaching consequences for you or your younger brother or sister. Perhaps a move is necessary.
Your commitment is not meant to be something 'legal', but there is a recognition that a loving strong relationship needs time and you want to give it substance. Alongsiders who move to nearby cities for study or work may still find ways to meet their siblings regularly because they believe in the relationship.
As a 'group of 5' we meet every month.
Let us encourage each other, so that we continue to love each other and do the right thing. Also, keep coming to church. Some of you don't anymore, and that is wrong.
And let us take care of each other by stirring each other up to love and good works. Let us not neglect to meet together, as is the custom with some, but rather encourage one another, and that much more as you see the great day approaching.
Hebrews 10: 24-25
Each group of Alongsiders is committed to becoming a community of disciples who learn and grow together. They can uniquely support and 'nudge' each other because of their common calling. Normally the groups meet once a month, but some meet more often, and they also see each other informally in church and community.
Here are some of the things you do when you get together:
- Share stories and challenges of walking with their brothers and sisters.
- Look together at the Alongsiders challenges you took on last month. How do they help you follow Jesus with your younger brother/sister? What do you run into?
- Give and receive encouragement and prayer.
- Learn together.
Alongsiders movements are discipleship movements. This means that as Alongsiders you are disciples of Jesus - you do what Jesus did and taught and pass this on to your brothers and sisters.
As you disciple and be disciples in a loving and experiential way, you yourself will grow in your knowledge and understanding of what Jesus did and taught.
To help you on this journey, Alongsiders provides in-depth material for the challenges that you do together with your younger brother/sister: additional Bible passages, questions and inspiring activities. Some sections you can use as a group to work through together, and others can be done together or separately.
In this way, most of the training you will receive will take place within the 1-to-1 relationship with your brother/sister and within the group of 5. Much of the training is self-directed and when you are hungry to learn, you will embrace this as an opportunity to be further formed.
In addition, you will meet and receive training periodically at Alongsiders events. If one of your group of 5 cannot be there, you are expected to pass on to them what you have learned.
After each meeting, briefly share your feedback, encouraging events or questions with Alongsiders. Report problems that need to be addressed (such as possible abuse) or good news (such as a child coming to faith).
Practically speaking, the style, manner and duration of these meetings will vary for each group of 5, depending on the Alongsiders and their needs. Whatever you do, and whether you meet for an hour or three, you can achieve more and go further as a learning community than as individuals alone
I am available for my younger brother/sister.
It is important that your younger brother/sister can reach you. That is why you do not live far from each other. You prioritise him/her in your schedule and he/she can always come to you.
I want to be a good role model for him/her.
I am prepared to live sacrificially for the sake of my younger brother/sister.
According to Wikipedia, "Investment" is 'a sacrifice of money, time or manpower (personnel) for the sake of a goal that will only be achieved in the long term'.
As an Alongsider, what does sacrifice mean to you? The word 'sacrifice' has different connotations. In one case, you are making a sacrifice with the emphasis on what it is costing you and how hard it (might) be. In the other case, you give (something of) yourself as a sacrifice to God and it becomes an act of worship that results in joy for God, for others, for yourself and more of Jesus becomes visible in your life. Even if you cannot see the effect of this investment at this moment. Are you available?
The beautiful thing that I want to encourage you with is that we are being formed 'step by step' in the image of Jesus. Goals for 'the long run' are given in Wikipedia. Certainly. But if all goes well, a little more of Jesus becomes visible every day in your life and hopefully also in the life of your young brother or sister.
How will you invest?