Friday, May 18, 2007

Are You Also Praying in Community?

It’s all about connection.

The theme of the whole Bible – the focal point of the work of Christ – what God had in mind from the beginning . . . is connection.

It’s our place of strength. Wealth flows primarily from connections. Although money is the currency of the world; connection is the currency of the Kingdom.

Connecting – with God and others – is our place of biggest reward.

Connection is also the greatest leadership test. It’s what the enemy is most focused on to destroy – especially with pastors.

As a pastor, you are the leader of the most powerful organization on the planet.

A leader doesn’t just tell the way – he primarily shows the way. Having true, deep, authentic relationships are what pastors should be specialists in.

Connection is the distinguishing characteristic of the active citizens in this Kingdom.

Yet, a recent article in Ministries Today, “Counterfeit Community,” reveals startling statistics:

  • H.B. London Jr., VP at Focus on the Family, disclosed that at least 70 percent of pastors in America claim they have no true friends.
  • 73 percent of evangelical Christians believe it is becoming more difficult to make lasting friendships. “It would appear that the stronger the alleged commitment to scriptural authority, the more severe the problem of our relationships.”
  • Author William D. Hendricks stated that 53,000 people per week who remain committed to Christ are leaving through the “back door” of America's churches. Many of those Hendricks interviewed cited a lack of fellowship and community in the church as a key reason for their departure.

A dear pastor friend of mine, Dr. Karl Barancik of Faith City Church recently commented, “Many pastors suffer from insecurity and therefore put up walls that keep them from being real with other pastors and with the leaders of their church. When we care more for helping our people grow than for our own reputation, we will open ourselves up for deep and genuine friendships.”

I love what Pastor Karl is doing in his church.

At 8:30pm Thursday nights – after dinner and key family time – he meets with a small group of men. He created an open, vulnerable environment by “showing the way.” The men laugh, cry and openly share issues in a safe, confidential environment. Sometimes they will journey through powerful “connection” books such as those written by the late Dr. Edwin Louis Cole.

Karl’s group has quickly multiplied to several groups of men – opening up, growing, connecting. Their strength of connection is felt by all in the church . . .and as a result, the church has grown significantly.

If you would like to email Pastor Karl (or call 810-750-2200) and discuss the details of what and how he did with connecting with his men, he would love to help you in any way he can.

As challenging, potentially hurtful and damaging as relationships may have been in the past, I want to encourage you to further develop close relationships with others. It’s the currency of the kingdom.

The essence of leadership is relationships.

Leadership frequently demands that you step through discomfort and pain (especially with relationships) to bring the healing, reconciliation, and abundance in the lives of those you lead and love. I encourage you to take that step towards deeper, heart-felt friendships.

Please consider reading the Ministry Today article, "Conterfeit Community" in its entirety.

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