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Monday, April 16, 2012

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CHURCH

Good relationships are hard to form, harder to maintain, and easy to destroy, and it is no different in the Church. The New Testament clearly shows us how to rectify our differences (1 Corinthians 3:1, 3).  Paul spent a lot of time dealing with people problems. The following are some pointers to assist us in building relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
1.  LOVE
We must be genuine at heart for our brothers and sisters, not just for those who are close to us. We should try always to express true friendship to all.
Many conflicts in our relationships involve power struggles, people feeling excluded, and the absence of brotherly/sisterly affection. We should love and serve with the heart of a servant; then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2: 2-4 NIV)
2.   ENCOURAGEMENT
Positive relationships can easily be broken down by criticism. We should try at all times to encourage and not criticize, condemn, or complain. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4: 29; see also Colossians 4:5-6). Let us use our Spiritual gifts  for the building-up, encouragement and edification of the Body of Christ.

3.  RESPECT
As children of God we need to express respect to all we come in contact with, whether they are Christians or not. Respect is a very important part of the process of building positive relationships. Ephesians 4: 31b-32 (The Message)……. be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)-  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others

4. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY
We should strive not to be defensive and blame others for things gone wrong, but readily accept responsibility when we make mistakes.  The success and failure of the Body of Christ is not the responsibility only of our Pastors or Elders but also rests with us and how we respond. Finger pointing and fault finding will only magnify problems. Accepting responsibility does not mean taking all the blame for everything. It means to sit down, and with open attitude examine the issues and working to change those things that get in the way of building relationships.

5. BREAKING DEADLOCKS    
If our difficulties are allowed to escalate persons will stop talking to each other, stop attending Church, stay in their own corner. In situations like these the best thing is talking it out using the “I” instead of the “YOU”.  We should not be afraid to seek a confidential mediator when necessary. (I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life Philippians 4:2-3)……If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with every one (Romans 12:18 NIV)

6. MANAGE EMOTIONS
Managing your emotions is basically how we manage our thinking. In other words it is our ability to perceive, control an evaluate emotions. (In your anger do not sin Ephesians 4:26)

7. PRAYER
Prayer is very important to us as we build relationships in the Body of Christ. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6: 18b (The Message).

Henry Cloud and John Townsend in their book Safe People stated that
Healthy Relationships
Are Safe --- emotionally, physically
Have boundaries that are respected
Draw you closer to God – helping Christians…….. to grow spiritually
Do not compromise your Christian values

In healthy relations you will feel:
Built up – the relationships helps you become who God wants you to be
Draw closer to others in a healthy way
Mutual trust, respect, vulnerability, and balanced sense of give and take
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