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
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.
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