Church is fundamentally about three reciprocal relationships illustrated by the triangle below, involving God, me and others.......
Relationship from God to Me and God to Others
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Relationship from Me to God
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. – Mark 12:30
Relationship from Me to Others
Love your neighbour as yourself. – Mark 12:31
Relationship from Others to God and Others to Me
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.– Matthew 28:19-20
The three key relationships are all kept in balance by the operation of the five fold ministry Paul talked about in Ephesians 4.
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. -Ephesians 4:11-13
The evangelists pull us towards others and outreach, the shepherds pull towards me, whilst the prophets pull our focus towards God. When all five gifts are operated together they keep the three key relationships in a healthy tension, pulling the triangle in towards the centre. Trying to shrink that distance between Jesus and me and between me and you, and encouraging others to do the same, is the very essence of discipleship.
Jesus, of course, welcomes us into a friendship with the Trinity which was the original, eternal, ultimate three-way relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.