Monday, 28 June 2010
It really is all about relationships
Everything I am reading at the moment tells me that it really is all about relationships !
Hague's biography of William Wilberforce makes it clear that Wilberforce was inspired,encouraged and helped in his desire to abolish slavery by the Clapham sect (though it was not a sect!)Out of this group of like minded Christians came charity schools in Ireland,relief of the poor in London,education initiatives in Africa,the Church Missionary Society ,the Sunday School union,the British and Foreign bible society .They founded a cancer hospital,2 eye hospitals ,sent Christan missionaries to India,and, of course ,the abolition of slavery, among many other things.
Here were a group of people who shared their lives together with the express intention of making a difference and they certainly made a difference!
It is powerful when Christians act like that and my desire for the church that I help lead is that we would have strong,intentional,accountable relationships among leaders (and indeed everyone) which seek to build the Kingdom of God among the places God has given us to serve in.
Our calling from God is to be disciples and make disciples and as Alan Hirsch reminds us in Forgotten Ways " For the follower of Jesus ,discipleship is not the first step in a promising career,but the fulfillment of their destiny to be conformed to the image of Christ" (Romans 8 v29)
It is often true in church life that we can get caught up with the petty and the insignificant but if we are called to be a disciple and make disciples what do we practically give our time to?
That's a key question that I am pondering at the moment. I am about to read a book on Christian mentoring) but the short( and all embracing answer!) is "to God and to people" How ? well the post below this one gives the answer in relationship to God. I quote
"Maintaining a healthy spiritual life that includes a deep, authentic relationship with God—one marked by prayer, humility, godliness, and the fruits of the Spirit"
Often we can try and meet other peoples expectations "go to this meeting ,represent the church there, support that church ministry,"but if we are called to be disciples some of this will have to go. In chapter 5 of his book Missional Renaissance Reggie McNeal spells out some of the adjustments leaders need to make, not least in terms of time, and I commend the chapter and the book to you
He concludes by emphasising the importance of intentional relationships- A church that ceases to be about people has become an institution. We must give our time to developing people ,to making disciples of Jesus.
Buildings,constitutions,committees have a place but they are not the key thing .It really is all about relationships! "Love God & Love your neighbour" Be a disciple ,make disciples
Sounds simple but there is a lifetimes service and ministry in there !
God give us strenghth to make the changes we need to make,in order to be the people we need to be!