Tag Archives: community

Intentional Connecting

“…Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition…” Philippians 1:27 (MSG)

We have all heard pundits, researchers, spiritual guides and thought leaders talk about how hard it is to make connections in globalized cultures. We are on the move, scheduled tight and unaware of our surroundings.

We have few friends besides friends related to our work. And because we change jobs more frequently, we loose those friends and have to make others. In short, we have few meaningful connections in the professional world today that go beyond specific situations. It is no different in the ministry context.

I have found that unless we take Paul’s challenge to the Philippians to stand united seriously we will be divided without even knowing it! It will simply happen out of neglect. I’m sure you have had experiences like that. Times when you thought you were in agreement with someone you hadn’t seen in ages and then get together only to realize that one of you has moved ideologically and are now in a new place. That wasn’t an intentional division between you, but without work, it simply happened.

I have realized that without intentional efforts to engage our chances of being united in Christ with those around are slim. So I have found a few things very helpful:

  • We found a church with a Sunday School class that is serious about community. This group is an amazing source of spiritual support, energy and friendship.
  • As I took on my CEO role at GMI, I found a group of Colorado Springs CEO’s that get together several times a year. This has been extremely helpful in understanding what other CEO’s are dealing with and connecting around common challenges.
  • I also got involved with the CLA’s Leader2Leader Mentoring program where several leaders of nonprofits get together to provide peer-to-peer mentoring to each other with a facilitator.

Each of these has been an intentional effort to engage with others and create connection, community and relationship. How are you intentionally engaging?

Discerning Together

Most decisions take more than one perspective. They come from a rich flow of input pouring out of people with very different backgrounds and approaches to the problem at hand. I think that is one of the reasons that God gave us the Church. He knew that participating in the forward march of the Kingdom would require us to take bold action in ways that were not understood by those outside of The Way. We would lack the confidence to make the decisions we needed to all on our own.

So the Church brings together people from all different personalities, walks of life and perspectives. God is at work in each person and is helping them to grow closer to Himself as they respond in obedience to their Savior.

It is in this rich environment that we Christians find ourselves placed. God calls us to discern what is right as we look to Him, study His word and work it out in community. We cannot discern His will completely without this holy input from those He has put in our midst.

Just today I found myself experiencing this very thing. One person in our community had been confronted with a decision. She wisely realized that it was not hers to make alone and brought it to a group of people who were part of the narrative. As we prayed, discussed and questioned together, an answer formulated. We left our time together feeling much more confident in what had to be done and I truely felt God’s direction in our decision.

I worry that this part of discernment is often being ignored today. We value the decision that comes from a mountain-top experience or a gut-level intuitive response much more than a decision that comes out of community. The individuality of most decisions almost ensures that they will be lopsided and out of balance.

Do you value making decisions with others? Do you see their input as part of God’s communication to you in the process?

If you have looked to a group to seek discernment, I would love to hear the story of how God used the experience.