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A pastor received a call from a chronic alcoholic. He just couldn't seem to stay sober. He had tried several other churches, but they didn't seem to have anything to help him. Finally he called this pastor whose church had a reputation for not giving up on people. Of course, the pastor told him that they would be there for him.

So they did. They walked with him. They called him. They talked with him (and not just the pastor). He went up and down as alcoholics sometimes do. They kept him accountable in recovery efforts and, after a few months, the man was able to trust God to save him and slowly but surely his life turned around. He was baptized and there testified to a detail that no one knew (including the pastor).

When he made that desperate call, he had determined that it would be his last. If they couldn't help him, he was on the twelfth floor of a hotel and was going to jump if they couldn't or wouldn't help him. Fortunately they did and received him with open arms. They walked with him and wouldn't give up on him even though he had given up on himself. Through it all, he found himself as he found God.

And here's the thing: the congregation knew that they needed the man even more than the man needed him. If there is anything that koinonia means to God's people, it's that we need one another. The hurting, the lost, the broken, and abused is the lifeblood of the church. The church needs those who need us more than they need us. Without koinonia of this kind, the gathering becomes a social club.

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