Sunday, January 23, 2011

Growing in Love for One Another

I occasionally find myself listening to someone talk about their frustrations about the 'community dynamic' within their home church. Names are not usually shared but the experience often resonates with my own experiences after working with small group dynamics over the last 25 years. Lots of factors contribute towards this but when you 'boil it down', the consequence of genuine needs being neglected is always painful. It hurts and can lead to not just negative emotions but also faulty thinking and unproductive behavior.

We must learn to grow in love and to do so more and more as Paul says to the Christians in Thessalonica. I have come up with my own list of ways we can do this in our simple churches. Love is a choice, so why not take a look, reflect on those that 'hit home' and resolve to put some into practice more often, maybe even sharing that with another trusted friend who can give you feedback in a month or so as to how you're doing. Beware of trying to do too much though and then feeling self-condemned. Better to aim at 2 or 3 for a time.

Ok, so here's the list, in no particular order. Also, think about this in terms of your whole life, wherever and with whomever you find yourself;
  1. Respond to emails promptly about participation and contribution at the meeting

  2. Bring something to share of what is happening in your life

  3. Be more punctual - respect other people's time

  4. Take initiative to connect with others outside the group gathering so as to get to know them

  5. "Give first" - call people more, give a small meaningful gift, etc.

  6. Seek to become more accountable/vulnerable/real - remove the mask with some

  7. Listen well

  8. Be curious/dig deeper by asking open-ended questions and don't move on too quickly

  9. Don't be too quick to write yourself off as to the impact you may have on someone else

  10. Be ready to commit or at least explore with someone why that's hard for you

  11. Offer to help someone you see struggling - a little bit goes a long way

  12. Beware of triangulation - speaking badly about one person to another. If someone does that to you, interrupt and encourage them to address the person directly, offering to help if necessary

  13. Be a peacemaker

  14. Celebrate special occasions (birthdays and anniversaries) and other's achievements

  15. Pray for people - maybe just one a day or as at the Spirit leads you

  16. Offer to make/bring main dish at least once in a while -can be simple, maybe team up with another

  17. Offer to host

  18. Ask for help - shows you're real

Hope this helps us grow together and in the Lord. Let us not withhold the Spirit's life.

Comments and additions very welcome!

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