Monday, November 23, 2009

Why we share, how we share

Here's my take on the Why we Share, How we share questions:

Why we share:
1. To learn to be vulnerable (with people and God -- they are connected).
2. To get to know each other better, to build deeper relationships/community.
3. To learn to listen. To be heard. Encouragement.
4. To invite God into the situation and/or recognize His work in it in new ways.
5. To get outside perspective and see things we can't see alone.
(The picture of the "body of Christ" in Ephesians is a great image for a number of these ideas -- life and health comes from connection in the body and with Jesus individually and corporately).

How we share:
1. We try to listen and accept people without judging them. This doesn't mean we agree with all their choices or ideas or pretend that nothing is wrong when it is, but we are called to love first (and often this means being slow to speak and quick to listen).
2. We pray for each other. We believe (and have seen) that inviting God into situations and peoples' lives can make a difference, and is one way of loving each other and following Jesus.
3. Emotion is ok.
4. We will brainstorm and problem-solve with people if they want, but don't assume that can or should always follow sharing. We can't fix everything but we want to bring our resources to the table for growth, healing and mission.

What do you think? What other benefits or dangers do you see from having this as such a big emphasis?

Saturday, November 14, 2009


In our network we spend a lot of time sharing -- hearing peoples' stories, thoughts, struggles, dreams, etc. For example, in Goshen a couple weeks ago we ended up ditching 2/3rds of our agenda to make space for relationships to grow with new people (translate: sharing).

As I connect with other groups I'm realizing that we emphasize sharing more than most, and we do it in a certain way. While we overdo it sometimes, I think it's a very important aspect of who we are and are called to be as a network.

While we practice sharing pretty consistently, we don't always know why we do it. So, while we will grow from practice and repetition, it would help us to periodically step back and think about what we are doing and why.

So what do you think:

Why do you share?

How do you share? What are your "sharing values?" What assumptions do you have about how to treat people and God during sharing?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What do we really want?

In a recent post I said we're working at getting honest about where we're at and challenging people at all levels bring their perspective to bear on the challenges at hand.

So what are these challenges?

Well, there's always the felt needs and the deeper, hidden ones. Here's my take on both:

Felt needs:
1. To be more successful in our art.
2. To make a living doing our art.
3. To find new and better ways of developing community among people who follow Jesus.
4. To change culture.
5. To find new ideas.
6. To connect with famous and powerful people.

Underlying motivations:
1. To feel valuable, validated, important because we've accomplished something of significance.
2. To create something beautiful, meaningful, challenging and impacting.
3. To feel accepted, appreciated, challenged and part of something worth being a part of.

Let's be honest with God and each other about what we're really wanting -- about these underlying motivations. Let's be willing to live in the tension of the reality. Instead of focusing on success and money and the great and powerful, can we live today before God with the ache for significance, beauty and acceptance that we feel? If we will, I believe God will meet us in our need and transform us, our art, our relationships, and our culture in the process. But we can't skip out of the pain of longing by thinking that money, success or comfort will satisfy us. That is an illusion that Christ shattered with his words, his actions and his death.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Leadership Defended

I had a good talk with Bryan* recently and he challenged me about the Top Down Leadership post. He said something like "It's easy to set up a straw man that everyone hates and tear it down, but there's just as many problems with avoiding leadership as there are with bad leadership."

I think he's right.

Another friend recently told me that authority and responsibility are connected. This guy spent some time in the military. He said that while people are respected and honored for the their rank and titles, the people with real authority and those who have direct responsibility to lead you (translate: serve, direct, inspire).

I think part of what I was trying to get at with the Top Down Leadership post, is that often as leaders we forget or get confused about what our responsibility is (to raise vision, challenge people to become who they were made to be, serve, humble ourselves, be transparent and willing to be changed). And as followers we make similar mistakes regarding leadership -- we expect leaders to make our lives work, or we just want them out of our hair, when they are really there to help us become what we are called to be and want to be, but are just a little too afraid, discouraged, lazy or trapped to become by ourselves. The leader should bring a context to grow into those things in, and the challenge to grow.