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:  How We Care

Individual Value:  I feel accepted

Shared Value:  We share in and out of brokenness

Team Skill:  Affirming / Confessing / Forgiving

Biblical References:  Colossians 3:12-14;  Matthew 18:21-35; John 15:13

Body Life Result:  Belonging – Christ-revealing unity

We long for a Christ-revealing unity.  One that is more than “It’s so good to see you” and more than “We really click as a group.”  We thirst for a belonging that generates boldness;  we hunger for personal care that will accept the flaws, quirks, and sins that tattoo our past (and present).  And, as team leaders and team members, we crave an environment where we can lean into each other in safety, trust, and positive movement toward our shared purpose. 

Today’s culture is peppered with phrases highlighting our challenge:  equity, inclusion, diversity, biases, superiority.  And Christ is the answer.  He always is.  But how does that work practically?

Beyond my tolerance of you and your differences is a place of acceptance saturated with love.  And in order to soak in the grace filled love, we must be willing to begin with softening the soil with affirmation.  

We often talk about affirmation in our I to We community.  We talk about the necessity of personal, direct, and heart-felt affirmations about how we see God powerfully using the person.  We talk about the role of receiving (even when it is extremely hard and potentially awkward initially).  The team rhythm of affirmation breaks down the walls sarcasm has built. It breaks the long-standing guardedness, and as a recipient, I can begin to believe that I am seen and known.  It builds the muscle of verbalizing what we are observing and sharing in a meaningful way.

Moving beyond this, however, are two categories we don’t cover as often, as they require much more trust, compassion, and willingness to be bold and vulnerable:  Brokenness and Confession/forgiveness.  In a healthy marriage, this is challenging.  In a team or group environment, it is truly rare.  

Brokenness is painful.  It is personal.  It is often perceived as “mine-to-handle.”  And yet, unity is built when we share our pain, and when we carry others in their pain.  In Paul’s letters, he didn’t  share his personal  journey (physically challenging, and spiritually maturing) from a place of happiness.  He shared from a place of pain, of suffering, and yet of joy.  His words connected people to him as a messenger of Christ.  They challenged others to be bold in their sharing, and transparent in their pain.  

For some of us it is hard to share.  For some of us, we don’t know what to do when someone has shared.  The simple action here is to push yourself one step beyond where you would normally tread.  Ask one extra question, or share one more detail.  

Secondly, we must learn to confess to one another and forgive.  The ideas of confession and forgiveness are now synonymous with weakness or failure.  Instead, as is often the case, the Bible presents it differently.  It is bold;  it is Christ-revealing;  it is expected.  

In the Old Testament, we see over and over where a king would confess their unwillingness to submit to God’s authority, and His favor is removed.  A nation returns to following God’s law through confession.  On the other side, the parable of the unforgiving debtor (Matthew 18:21-35) does not make forgiveness for those who have been forgiven optional.  It is required, expected, mandated.  And yet we do not practice this often, and more-often-than-not, we perceive it as personal or a private matter.  Some cling to grudges that create a  chasm in relationships, and break Body Life.   Again, how do we address this practically?

  1. Remember that we are forgiven by the King and then…
  2. Boldy forgive with the security of Jesus as our foundation, or
    Confidently confess with the eternal hope of God’s rich grace for us

In building Christ-revealing unity, affirmation is a foundational skill we must practice.  However, to measure your team’s progress in truly caring deeply for one another in a way that will show the world that Jesus is actively alive in us, we must share in brokenness, confess and forgive.   

These actions will lead to a belonging that is centered on Christ, secure in His love of us, and welcoming of those around.  This belonging yields a magnetic power to pull others to Jesus.  

It is Christ-revealing to be counter-cultural.  Share in and through your brokenness.  Confess sin, weakness, and fault.  Forgive readily as Christ forgave us.  Christ-revealing unity will ensue.    

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