Today I was teaching an introduction to ministry class at APU and taught 19-23 year olds on the concept of doing ministry within the context of

[relational] community.

I wanted them to understand that in ministry we are “better together.” I wanted them to personalize the “iron sharpens iron” verse. I wanted to help them see that when ministry lives are interconnected, there’s a relational power that will sharpen them.

Those of us who have experienced true community with co-workers, we understand the benefits.

A few benefits include:
>Sharp edges aren’t ignored—unfinished edges aren’t hidden.
>Being known by others.
>Being loved and valued (as you are known).
>Others enhance one’s spiritual growth.

It’s fun to teach young leaders, who are a little idealistic, and assume that developing “community” within a Christ-focused ministry/environment is easy.

I assured them that developing an authentic intimacy with others isn’t as easy as it appears. While it’s attractive, it’s definitely a challenge.

Here are 4 reasons I believe community isn’t easy:

1. The temptation for leaders to “fly solo” is very seductive

• When it comes to getting things done…it appears easier to do it yourself

• Accountability slows you down

• Relationships take time

• It’s difficult to feel safe when everyone wants something from you

2. Some Senior leaders don’t value community

• Top-down leadership influences a church staff/ministry culture

• If the senior leader doesn’t value community, it won’t become a staff value

3. Church is viewed as a “have-it-all-together” culture

• “Put on your Sunday best” often equals “Don’t show who you really are”

• We [subtly] teach people to wear a mask

• Where does a minister go if he/she is struggling?

4. Community is only as strong as honesty is real

• Accountability is over-rated if honesty isn’t there

• Honesty is essential for community to happen

I know community is possible! I’ve experienced it… many times, over many years. But, I’m also a realist to know that it’s not a “given” simply because one works with other Christians.

What do you think?

Question: What makes developing authentic, caring, relationships [a sense of community] difficult in your ministry setting? Share your thoughts here.


[Are you getting Doug’s daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.