When he left Rivendell, Frodo didn’t head out with a thousand Elves. He had eight companions. Jesus didn’t march around backed by hundreds of followers, either. He had twelve men—knuckleheads, every last one of them, but they were a band of brothers. This is the way of the kingdom of God. Though we are part of a great company, we are meant to live in little platoons. The little companies we form must be small enough for each of the members to know one another as friends and allies. Is it possible for five thousand people who gather for an hour on a Sunday morning to really and truly know one another? Okay, how about five hundred? One hundred and eighty? It can’t be done. They can’t possibly be intimate allies. It can be inspiring and encouraging to celebrate with a big ol’ crowd of people, but who will fight for your heart?
Who will fight for your heart?
How can we offer the stream of Counseling to one another unless we actually know one another, know one another’s stories? Counseling became a hired relationship between two people primarily because we couldn’t find it anywhere else; we haven’t formed the sort of small fellowships that would allow the stream to flow quite naturally. Is it possible to offer rich and penetrating words to someone you barely know, in the lobby of your church, as you dash to pick up the kids? And what about warfare? Would you feel comfortable turning to the person in the pew next to you and, as you pass the offering plate, asking him to bind a demon that is sitting on your head?
(Waking the Dead, John Eldredge 190–91)