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 Value: Authentic Sharing

In a safe community we nurture vulnerability through trust, humility, and honor. Over time the Spirit works with increasing freedom to build up and release his power through the boldness of the body.

Individual Value: Personal Safety

Shared Value: Vulnerability

Team Skills:  Trust

Biblical References: Philippians 2, James 5:16, Eph 4:25, Eph 5:21

Body Life Result: Boldness/Fearlessness

Although the topic of masks may immediately bring an association of pandemics, lockdowns, and political strife, they have a longer history that is filled with more culturally interesting and complex associations. During Mardi Gras, for example, one might wear a mask to hide one’s identity and avoid being associated with bad behavior.

In Native American tribal customs, masks were believed to help the wearer put on the characteristics of an animal or spirit – to assume their abilities. Like the wearers of traditional or dramatic masks, we too can be tempted to hide behind a false sense of security.  We obscure our identity behind a mask that hides who we really are, instead representing how we want others to see us.

How often do we hide our true self to those around us?

Allowing others to see who we really are or hear what we really think can be frightening. Taking time to truly see or hear someone can often get pushed aside for more pressing matters. It is also noteworthy that external forces of recent years have pushed us into manufactured isolation, which can be habit forming. When we fail to know and be known by those in our spheres, we lose a critical piece of the fellowship we were made for.

Is Sharing REALLY that Important?

The concept of sharing can often be confused with socializing. If we reduce this idea to frequent potlucks, we are not garnering the value of intended with this principle.  Sharing does not mean that we are in the same room with people. It means that we are intentional in nurturing an environment where trust is built, and everyone honored.  

So, when we choose to cheapen sharing and hide behind our mask, we do not operate in community and we become isolated. 

There are several shifts that take place in our lives when we are not authentic with each other: 

  1. From Altruistic to Egocentric: When the only life we think about is our own, we lose our ability to see beyond our own needs, views and opinions.
  2. From a Wide Viewpoint to a Narrow Focus: When we have only a few voices speaking into our perception of reality, we have a very limited view of what is really going on. 
  3. From Friendship to Isolation: Although we may have others around us, the lack of connection leaves a gap in our lived experience.
  4. From Spiritual to Secular: Possibly the biggest area of concern, not connecting with others is living against the way God designed us to operate. We lose our spiritual power meant to show others Christ in this world. This in turn keeps us from being a light for each other in times of confusion or fear and leaves us at risk for being led astray.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Ephesians 4:25

Where to Start: some foundational personal principles for sharing

If sharing were easy, no believer would feel lonely or isolated. Sharing takes time. Sharing can be scary. Sharing requires vulnerability and creates space for others to be vulnerable. 

This is a recent text from one partner in ministry:

“Can I ask you to give me feedback? Can you tell me when you think I am part of the problem and not part of the solution? I just don’t think my radar is working well right now.” 

This is a bold text, and it humbled me to receive it.  Would I be so bold to confront my blindspots, my fears, and my insecurities to learn out to lean in correctly? For us to have successful authentic personal interactions, both participants must have adopted a few key views of reality. Consider the following as a starting place for personal principles of authenticity:  

  1. I understand that I have blind spots and God can use the fellowship of believers to help me see them.
  2. I don’t believe that I have everything figured out, and God can give wisdom through the body of believers.
  3. I have an obligation to work on growing closer to God by removing areas of sin in my life.
  4. Because God made me in His sovereignty, I can have confidence to be vulnerable with others.
  5. As I am able to receive wisdom from others, I can also freely share wisdom with others.
  6. My brokenness allows points of connection with others through their caring and through their shared, alongside pain with me.


Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:18

How to Garner an Environment of Sharing:

Once we have experienced team authenticity, it can be frustrating to move among groups that don’t foster true transparency. In these moments, how can you show others the way to authentic sharing? Writing an all-inclusive guide for authentic sharing here would be impossible. However, there is one rule of thumb that will help in any situation: approach all interactions prayerfully. Ask God: How does He want me to show up in this situation? How can I model community-building vulnerability? Prayerfully consider the following:

If you are a leader or facilitator of a group that struggles to move beyond transactional interactions, you have the privilege of generating space for transparency:

  • Plan into your agenda time for sharing not related to the work at hand. Start small with 5 minutes at the beginning of a meeting or small group to have everyone share a high or low-point from their week.
  • Consider creating space at a meal or a retreat to learn something new about each other. A myriad of “getting to know you” questions are available online. Place them on cards and deal them out to teammates to discuss in pairs or as a group.
  • Affirmation bombardment should become routine practices.
  • Build off of one-on-one interactions you have, encouraging others to share wider when it would be meaningful for the group.  Create the environment needed to honor those who are sharing openly for the first time in a group.  

If you are a participant, look for opportunities to model appropriate, productive and authentic sharing. When you see a moment to take a risk to share that thought that is niggling in your brain that may be unpopular, prayerfully share it. Your behavior will become contagious for others. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • What is the purpose of the group and the information you want to share? Avoid contributions that will take the group off track in a non-productive way. 
  • Watch for sharing that is really about your own ego or desire to occupy air space. Are you sharing because you have a “humble brag” that you can’t wait to tell someone or do you typically find that your voice is one of the most often heard in the group? Self-monitor to be sure you are supporting the right tone. 
  • When you are sharing something that feels potentially risky, be sure to consider the audience. If your words might be considered hurtful, how can you provide clarity around your intentions without minimizing the message?
  • For those of you who tend to be less emotionally driven, how can you lean into your emotions to share how you are feeling?
  • When possible, ask follow-up questions to further sharing:  “Can you tell us more?” or “How did you respond/feel/react to that?”  

Areas for Reflection:

How can you foster more authentic sharing? Here are some thoughts to ponder: 

  1. Do you find that you leave meetings knowing way more about everyone else than they know about you? Or is your experience the opposite? What do you want your interaction to be?
  2. Have you ever let your colleagues see your less-than perfect side? Have you shared with them your goals for growing in certain areas so they can cheer you on or hold you accountable?
  3. Have you noticed that your partner in ministry tends to spend their free time in a particular activity? Do you know why? Do you know what it means to them?
  4. How have you offered encouragement to a ministry colleague this week? How have you responded when it was offered to you?
  5. Can you think of additional personal principles of authenticity to those mentioned earlier in the article?

Hear more on Sharing on the GB Coaches Cafe at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdwoozjmiIM
or listen on your favorite podcast provider: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1885604/share

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