Other Updates:

Reflections on Leading a GRIP Team Process

Introducing Discerning Direction Together

5 Reasons to Attend Set in Motion

Dissecting the Dotted Diamond

Resilience in Ministry

The Allure of Structure

Body Life Values:  Abiding

Individual Value:  I feel God’s presence when we are together. 

Shared Value:  We build one another up in shared worship.

Team Skills:  Sharing/Worshiping/Accountability

Biblical References:  Matthew 22:37-40; John 15:1-27; John 13:34, 35; Romans 12:10; 13:8; 2 Corinthians 13:11   

Body Life Result:  Growing Relationships with God and each other—Christ-centered unity 

We are in the relationship business. In fact, regardless of the stated purpose or mission of any organization or company, every enterprise is also in the relationship business. People must relate to coworkers, teammates, supervisors, subordinates, customers, suppliers, regulatory agents—you get the idea. In addition to all these relationships, we also have personal relationships outside of work including family, friends, acquaintances, service employees, repair technicians, customer service operators—the list goes on, including people we encounter only briefly in our daily living.  

Certainly, not all of these relationships are equal in importance. Our personal relationship to Christ is absolutely the most important relationship. Oscar Thompson illustrated this in Concentric Circles of Concern: Seven Stages for Making Disciples (Broadman and Holman, 1981, 1999). The center circle is our relationship to God. This is what Jesus referred to as an abiding relationship. (John 15:1-27)  To abide is to stay, remain, be constantly present. Abiding in Christ means having a constant consciousness of being in his presence and relating to him. 

One measure of the value we place on any relationship is the time and energy we spend nurturing that relationship. When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)  Later, he instructed us how to achieve that “all in” kind of love—by constantly spending time in our one-on-one relation with him, abiding in him. (John 15:1-27)  But it does not end there. Jesus added that a second commandment goes with the first, “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) 

As we learn to abide in Christ, we also learn to abide in the community of believers as the Body of Christ, the family of God. If our relationship to him is interrupted or impeded in any way, then every other relationship will be affected. In the same way, healthy relationships in each of the concentric circles depend on the health of relationships in the more inner circles. As we move along the scale from most intimate to most casual, each level of relationship affects all those that follow on the continuum. If my relationship with my spouse is in disrepair, it will affect every other continuing level. Effectiveness or fruitfulness in each level of relationship depends on the health of all the relationships in the preceding levels. It is hard to have a joyful, fruitful relationship with mere acquaintances if we have unresolved conflicts or unforgiven offences against family members, close friends, teammates, or coworkers.  

Jesus commanded us to love one another (John 13:34, 35; 15:12, 17) then he prayed for our unity, that we would be one even as he and the Father are One (John 17:20-22).  He knew that the only way we could be unified would be for us to learn to love one another. This love is then evident as we bear one another’s burdens and rejoice with one another in our fruitfulness. This requires spending significant time together, growing in our relationships—one-on-one with Christ in personal devotion and worship, and together with his Body.

How would you rate yourself on your personal discipline of abiding in Christ? Rate yourself on these evaluative statements:

  1. I spend regular time developing my relationship with God through personal Bible study and prayer.
  2. I adjust my attitudes and behavior to align with what I am learning from my personal time with Christ.  
  3. I am contributing to the fruitfulness of my ministry team as part of the Body of Christ.  

How would you rate your ministry team on the value the team gives to abiding in Christ?  Here are three evaluative statements you might use to stimulate your thinking:

  1. The presence and participation of the Holy Spirit is both sought and recognized in every team gathering and decision. 
  2. Team members are encouraged to share what they are learning in their personal practice of spiritual disciplines. 
  3. Our organization encourages and facilitates individuals and teams to spend time and resources for spiritual development.

So how are you and your team doing in the area of abiding in Christ? What actions might you need to take as a result of this evaluation?

© Copyright 2022 - GRIP-Birkman - a product of I to We, Inc