Priority of Relationships

Without a cultural shift in our view of the priority of relationships–intentional, available, authentic (real) and accountable–individuals and the church will never be what God intended–a visible demonstration of His grace.

With all the diversity, dysfunction, discomfort and the disease of sin in our own lives only God’s grace and the Holy Spirit can change relationships.

Our job is to create the environment where people can learn how to be the church–be a biblical community–a biblical spiritual family.

We must create an environment that not only speaks about loving God and loving people but where people have the time to do it.

We must create an environment were unloving responses are not tolerated and because of love they are addressed, confronted and corrected–always with the desire of deeper more meaningful more productive relationships.

When the world around us sees this–they will be attracted to authenticity, they will want to be involved. They will know us by our love not our vision or methodology or doctrine.

Our foundational value–the glory of God proclaimed among the nations–must be supported, empowered and sustained by a deep love for God and for people.

This love is not soft or blind, on the contrary it is passionate, active and deliberate.

It overcomes a multitude of sins–but it does not ignore the sinner. It won’t leave the sinner untouched.

This type of relationship loves so deeply that it will refuse to sacrifice relationships for expedience, for the appearance of unity, for programs or purpose.

But it will not be sidelined by those who will not change–who antagonistically refuse to engage in loving relationships whether for a lack of understanding, or unwillingness to be uncomfortable or a desire for power or prestige.

These loving relationships must be at the core of all that we do–from committees, to boards, to staff teams, to program leaders, to teachers, to helpers–from clean up crews to leaders.

Love is the more excellent way.

Love is the mark of identity.

Love is the greatest command.

Love will endure.

 

I must love God

I must love my wife

I must love my children

I must love my neighbor

I must love the brethren

I must love the lost

I must love my co-worker

I must love my enemy

I must love my antagonist

I must love the least

I must love the hard to love

I must love!


How can we glorify God if we don’t make loving relationships the priority of the church?

How do we make relationships a priority not just a hopeful byproduct?

How can we make biblical community part of the process not just the outcome?

How can we evaluate our progress except through relationships?

When will we know if we are on target?

Show it–live it

Talk about it–teach it

Expect it–sacrifice for it

Program for it–change for it

4 thoughts on “Priority of Relationships”

  1. Steve

    What great words! There is a great discussion on “The Changing Face of Evangelism” at http://www.greg.drinkandflowblog.com/ that would surely benefit from some of your thoughts.

    My heart beats right with you when you say “How can we glorify God if we don’t make loving relationships the priority of the church?”

    Forward!!!

  2. Whoa Baby!! Someone get a fire extinguisher…this man is on fire! but not to sound like this is special, this is normal, as you are very well aware.

    it is interesting that the government is not going to pat me on the back for a perfect driving record, it is my duty as a citizen. knowing God and serving God is more than duty, but delight, oh the love that will flow.

    great thoughts to break up the ground of hard hearts but also for those who are going to be leading hard hearts through small groups or ABF’s or in life.

    keep ’em coming.

  3. Oh my gosh, I’m new to your blog, but did you write this Steve?? Freakin awesome if you did! I attended men’s D on Wed night two times so far, really enjoyed the challenging dialog…

    Anyway, this phrase of your passage grabbed me “This type of relationship loves so deeply that it will refuse to sacrifice relationships for expedience, for the appearance of unity, for programs or purpose.”

    I know people who have been asked to leave their churches because they did not conform to the programs and “purpose” that was being introduced into the church. Isn’t it amazing that it all comes back to love!!?? And how often we need to be, and should be, reminded of this need to love by our Lord, our Elders, and our teachers!

    That was me that started the discussion on the “The Changing Face of Evangelism” on Greg’s blog, and your blog reminded me today of my need to love, even before I judge, even though I believe I am judging fruit rightly, if I’m not always fervently loving through my words….. can you hear my clanging cymbal?

    Thanks man!

    Paul

  4. Paul,
    Welcome to my blog and to Calvary.
    Yes, I wrote the entry.

    And yes, it is a response to our need to apply what seems to be a central principle in Scripture but not something in that is cultural or easy for many.

    And I wouldn’t want to comment about what other churches have done.

    But notice the two sides of what I was trying to say. Yes, relationship are a priority, but the kinds of relationships that are a priority require us to confront.

    “This love is not soft or blind, on the contrary it is passionate, active and deliberate.

    It overcomes a multitude of sins–but it does not ignore the sinner. It won’t leave the sinner untouched.”

    So there are times when the loving thing to do is tough.

    We tend to stay at the extremes, pretend we love but never deal with issues or seek to confront or protect the purity of the church without demonstrating love, or when love is not the motivation.

    A good book on this is, “Leading with Love” by Alexander Strauch.

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