Spiritual Leadership

In our recent Remembrance Day ceremonies, we recognize that many of the war’s leaders emerged under fire from necessity. Not often enough, we recognize that many of the church’s leaders arise from the reality of the spiritual warfare we are involved in. In our November Leadership Forum we will be envisioning the importance of younger leaders rising up to embrace the future movement and impact of the church.

One of the standard works of leadership is Henry and Richard Blackaby’s Spiritual Leadership. The premise of their book is that spiritual leadership means moving people onto God’s agenda. This is a book which the members of our board of governors is working our way through.

The task of a spiritual leader involves the following at Faith and anywhere else where God’s men and women step up to this responsibility.

Spiritual leaders move people through influence to pursue God’s purposes. We are on a journey together toward the destination God has designed for his people. Change is an inevitable part of being in God’s family. It affects our attitudes and behaviours and requires us to exemplify the pattern and lifestyle for the vision we are embracing. Not everyone likes change but leaders need to learn to thrive in the midst of it. The church is continually handing off the keys to decision making to the next generations and that requires a humble trust with what the Holy Spirit is doing through those who walk beside and behind us.

Spiritual leaders use spiritual methods to move people and soon realize they are trying to accomplish spiritual change in people which only God can accomplish. Someone has wisely said, “Pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends on you.” God’s agenda for his church is often much larger than anything we can ask or imagine.

Spiritual leaders are accountable to God and this means that leaders don’t make excuses when their attempts to influence God’s people fall short. The leader is not successful until he has moved others onto God’s agenda. A leader can easily fill a position or role without accomplishing their purpose to move others onto God’s agenda. Faithfulness and fruitfulness are both essential.

Spiritual leaders focus on people even when having to consider budgets, visions and strategies. With so many introverts rising to influential positions it is important to recognize that leadership is not always a comfortable role. Leaders move toward people and with people and for people. When you sense yourself withdrawing or withholding it is wise to review the factors impacting your personality and action. It is ideal to enjoy people as those made in God’s image and as those whom Christ has called into partnership to finish the good work he began.

Spiritual leaders expand their influence over people beyond the borders of the church. Together, we are designed and purposed to reach out into the communities of our world. No matter what profession or place of work, God’s Spirit desires to reach and impact the lives who work there. Our significant influence nudges people toward God. Blackaby notes that “history is replete with examples of Christian men and women exerting spiritual leadership upon secular society.” He notes the examples of William Wilberforce in the abolition of slavery and cites Joseph’s role in setting up a grain distribution system to take Egypt through the famine years. Christ followers are invested in significant roles all around this planet.

Spiritual leaders find the foundation of their work in God’s agenda rather than in their own. “His purpose is to turn his people away from their self-centeredness and obsession with temporal, material concerns and to draw them into a relationship with himself so they are his instruments for accomplishing his purposes.” (p. 40) We often envision something we can control and manage whereas God is building something only he controls. We can develop “aggressive goals”, “grandiose dreams”, and “grand visions”, and then ask God to bless the work of our hands but this is not our role. We seek God’s will and agenda.

7. Spiritual leaders must be oriented toward God’s voice so they can hear and follow him. Developing a vibrant, dynamic relationship with the living God is vital before any good thing can be accomplished. Jesus is the perfect model of the spiritual leader and studying and imitating his life is a good start for understanding how to understand God’s agenda and how to influence others toward that agenda.

For Faith’s family, we understand that God is making multi-cultural, multi-generational disciples from all nations. Focusing on how we can do this together is the vision we continually embrace and follow. May God give you strength to lead in your area of influence and may you always know that you are loved more than you could ask or imagine.  Pastor Jack

Building a Church Family Culture

Faith Fellowship Baptist church people

September 8th Faith Fellowship’s family paraded around 62 flags representing the nations who had come to gather in worship. Three more countries had representatives but we didn’t have their flags – yet. We talked about courage – the courage of God for entrusting less than perfect people with a message of hope for the nations. We talked about the courage we needed to share that hope through the life and message we are called to live in the world in which God placed us.

Daniel Coyle, in his book, The Culture Code (The secrets of highly successful groups), states that “when you ask people inside highly successful groups to describe their relationship with one another, they all tend to choose the same word. This word is not friends or team or tribe or any other equally plausible term. The word they use is family. What’s more, they tend to describe the feeling of those relationships in the same way.” (pp. 6-7)

How do you know you’re a family if you’re not part of the same birth group? What characteristics are we striving for in a church family made up of diverse cultures, personalities, socio-economic levels, and professions?

Coyle says he found the same characteristics, whether he studied a special-ops military unit, an inner-city school, a professional basketball team, a movie studio, a comedy troupe, a gang of jewel thieves, and others who had proved successful. He says that there is an energy, an individualization and a future orientation. What he means is that “members invest in the exchange that is occurring; “they treat the person as unique and valued”; and “they signal the relationship will continue.” (p. 11)

What makes those of us in a church different than a gang, a team, or a group that has been drawn together for a common cause or goal? Certainly more than something psychological or experiential -although it could easily remain that way if we don’t understand the work of the Spirit, the Word and the Body.

Coyle says “when I visited these groups, I noticed a pattern of interaction. The pattern was located not in the big things but in little moments of social connection. These interactions were consistent whether the group was a military unit or a movie studio or an inner-city school.” (p. 7)

He made a list:

Close physical proximity, often in circles – (sounds like our small groups)

Profuse amounts of eye contact

Physical touch (handshakes, fist bumps, hugs) – sound familiar?

Lots of short, energetic exchanges (no long speeches) – after the service, lunches

High levels of mixing; everyone talks to everyone

Few interruptions

Lots of questions

Intensive, active listening

Humour, laughter

Small, attentive courtesies (thank-yous, opening doors, etc.)

All this only makes us feel safe as a group and makes us feel like we might be wanted and maybe even belong somewhere. The reality is that we have a common Spirit drawing us into one family; we have a common Lord who has paid the price for our sin and removed all the barriers that may have divided us; we have a common Father who created us for everlasting relationship with himself. Knowing this, we embrace each other, we flow into small groups for disciple making, and we pray earnestly for each other as we face our own brokenness in a broken world. No matter who you are or where you come from, you are welcome in Faith’s family.

Always remember: you are loved more than you could ask or imagine. Pastor Jack

Belonging, Becoming, Believing

Belonging, Becoming, Believing

Michael Whitmer’s book, Don’t Stop Believing ( Why Living Like Jesus is Not Enough) helps us to pause and reflect on the relationship of Belonging, Becoming and Believing. For as long as I can remember being part of a Bible-believing church the order for newcomers has been clear. Believe then you can belong and then become what you are supposed to be.

In order to believe, we were instructed to pray a prayer – confessing our sin, accepting what Jesus did on our behalf and embracing a relationship with God. Belonging meant getting baptized so we could join the church so we could be held accountable for our spiritual growth. Becoming meant staying obedient, pure and resisting temptation.

Many postmodern churches think that belonging should be the first step in our relationship with the church. Being missional is considered most important and we should be embracing others rather than condemning them.

Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch illustrate by saying that conservatives love to build fences to show who is in and who is out while missional churches dig wells and invite all to come and partake. “Rather than seeing people as Christian or non-Christian, as in or out, we would see people by their degree of distance from the center, Christ. In this way, the missional-incarnational church sees people as Christian and not-yet-Christian. It acknowledges the contribution of not-yet-Christians to Christian community and values the contribution of all people.” (p.101)

Some people have gone further in saying it isn’t how close you are to Jesus but in which direction you’re headed. They want the church to feel like a safe, hospitable community where they can belong. The believe that faith is a pilgrimage which we are all on.

In this later framework, we belong first, become and then learn to believe. “Evangelism or mission… is no longer about persuading people to believe what I believe … It is about shared experiences and encounters. It is about walking the journey of life and faith together, each distinct to his or her own tradition and culture but with the possibility of encountering God and truth from one another.”

Conservatives tend to focus on believe, belong, become because they emphasize the impact of the fall and so define us as sinners who need to repent. Our condition is that of fallen sinners; our goal is to convert; our means is to find answers and discover truth; our ministry is to confidently declare the authoritative truth and our church tends to cater to people who believe like us.

Missional churches see our condition as that of created seekers on a spiritual journey who are asking questions, wondering about truth. Believers humbly invite others to participate in the journey and welcome community members to join the larger faith family as they explore. We would love to see all of us engaged with Jesus, bringing truth, grace and love to those around us. (This is our vision statement).

Each of us might have a clear preference for one or the other option but Whitmer sees both options as inadequate. The missional church is too permissive – allowing a wide diversity of beliefs as long as one is inclusive and tolerant. The conservative view is seen as stifling and oppressive when one has to believe all the right things before being accepted.

Whitmer sees the missional view as positive for those on their journey toward faith and the conservative view as strengthening for those who have embraced the faith and what it stands for. He summarizes his teaching as follows (p. 108)

“When we combine both models in the way we do church, we will gladly admit that Christian and non-Christian alike are on a journey, but we will emphasize the turning point of repentance and faith to get on track. We will clasp the clear, life-giving answer of Christianity in one hand and raise a hand for questions with the other. We will expect new Christians to grow in love and righteousness, and we will compassionately embrace those who struggle. We will limit membership in the body of Christ to those who believe but welcome and make room for those who do not.”

Where do you think Faith’s family falls in helping believe to belong, believe and become? Regardless of where you fall, realized that you are loved more than you can ask or imagine. Pastor Jack

Wholemindedness

This week at Faith we talked about being wholeminded.

Wholemindedness, according to Paul in Philippians 4:4-9 happens when we align our character, confidence, contemplation and conduct. The only way alignment happens is if we live as if Jesus is near.

Our character becomes foundational when we align our character to become like Jesus’. This involves choosing joy in our circumstances and gentleness in our relationships.

Our confidence grows as we realize that Jesus is near and wanting to give us his peace in exchange for our anxieties. Through prayer, with thanksgiving, we make a deliberate choice to refuse worry because we are in Christ.

Our contemplation gets aligned with our character and our confidence when we filter our thoughts with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. This is more than positive thinking.

Our conduct gets aligned as we put what we’ve learned into practice after following the positive models in the Christian community. Being doers and not just hearers is an essential part of Christian community.

We invite all of Faith’s family to reflect on the source of their character, confidence, contemplation and conduct to see if they are aligned with the model set by Christ and other positive Christian models.

Join us every Sunday for Truth Talks. Through August we’ll be focusing on Psalms that touch the Heart.

Remember, no matter how aligned you are, you are loved more than you could ask or imagine. Pastor Jack

Why Christian Kids Rebel

Why Christian Kids Rebel

In his book, Why Christian Kids Rebel, Dr. Tim Kimmel reminds parents not to get fixated on the external appearances of a child who is just trying to fit into his culture. He says that if we understand ‘rebellion’ to refer to “actions or attitudes that contradict the core spiritual beliefs the child claims to embrace” we can look past the externals that might artificially put up barriers in our relationship.

In other words, we are talking about a “deliberate decision to do things, say things, or believe things that are contrary to the heart of God.” He or she is showing “deliberate antagonism toward God, God’s standards, or the people God has placed in authority in a child’s life.” (p. 31) Some youth practice compartmental rebellion where they still claim to follow Jesus but still choose to resist their parents.

Kimmel lists eight reasons kids rebel (pp. 33-50) He says Kids in Christian Homes Rebel Because:

  • They Are Actually Lost and Don’t Know Christ Personally.

Is there remorse, a desire for God’s Word, desire for fellowship with believers, sensitivity to the lost? Expecting an unbelieving child to react like a believer will create additional frustrations

  • They are angry at God.

Has there been a significant loss, a horrific personal violation, chronic pain, physical limitations, unfortunate incidents? When a child loses a sense of feeling control they may react strongly

  • They are mad at their parents

Could there be favoritism, poor financial choices with consequences, poor health, broken promises, nagging, toxic control, broken relationships, a lack of grace? We need to own up to our issues and mistakes and openly take responsibilities for our actions and choices.

  • The strengths of their personalities are pushed to extremes

Traits need to be used in balance. If a child is criticized instead of channeled there will be trouble

  • They are in a state of confusion or disillusionment

Transitions are tough – like gaining new siblings, starting dating, facing a new school or grade – confusion is part of growing up but without guidance and understanding it can go sideways

  • They are in bondage

Satan has some standard traps – “For security he offers money, sex, and materialism. For significance he offers popularity, sex and applause. For strength he offers control, sex, and abuse. The enemy starts with small compromises and then enlarges his territory of control.

  • It is an essential part of their spiritual pilgrimage

It is natural and necessary for a child to move from the faith embraced by their parents to the faith embraced by themselves. This may be hard for a parent to support them through.

  • They are reacting to flaws within the brand of Christianity they are being exposed to

Imposing unnecessary legalistic restrictions or practices can create an artificial environment which the young person will stand against. Almost every family faces the challenge of children transitioning through one of these phases. Parenting with grace through the growing up years is crucial as we grow in our culture of grace at Faith. May God encourage you as you realize you are not in this phase alone. No matter what happens, remember that you and your children (spiritual and physical) are loved more than you can ask or imagine.

Are we really One?

Faith’s family is made up of individuals from over 50 nations trying to worship, fellowship, serve, pray and give generously together for the glory of God.

C.S. Lewis, British author and apologist, argues that this life is a preparation for the life to come and that we should be preparing for the great sense of unity that is coming when every tribe and tongue and nation melds as one around the throne of Jesus.

Richard Neuhaus says “God is one, and all who are God’s are one. The church is a communal articulation of that truth.”

At Faith, we would love to see this played out in our life together.

I see a shadow of the great reality when our summer camp staff come together with volunteers to reach the children in our community. That means individuals from India, Niger, Korea, China, Philippines, Congo, Iran and even Canada are working together.

I see a shadow of the great reality in our New Hope childcare where staff from Guatamala, El Salvador, Fiji, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Canada work together to nurture and encourage children and families in our neighbourhood.

I see a shadow of the great reality when musicians and artists from many different countries gathered with volunteers to host our Canada Day event for the community where over 300 people joined with us in celebrating the country where we all have freedom to experience and explore our unity.

I see a shadow of the great reality when I look through our photo directory and see believers who have come from the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Denmark, Burundi, Honduras, China, St. Vincents, Mexico, Taiwan, Peru, India, Nigeria, India, Brazil and many other countries worshipping together as one body.

In a recent message from Philippians, it was clear that the key to unity came in valuing each other, in dealing with the barriers between us and in actually doing work together.

Through the years, we have done much together as God sent us opportunity and people who were gifted. More than any specific work we strive to do we want to preserve our unity as we move forward.

Charles Colson, in his book, Being the Body (p. 76), says “Non-christians aren’t looking so much at our tracts and rallies and telecasts and books as they are looking at us and how we behave. When they fail to see the unity of Jesus’ followers – the church – they fail to see the validation that Christ is indeed the Son of the living God.”

Colson says that our unity as the body of Christ “validates our faith and enables us to influence the skeptical world around us.” He reminds us that unity doesn’t mean ignoring the differences between us and others but in respecting those differences and in embracing the great orthodox truths we all share.

Kneeling before the throne of God on behalf of the world around us is the great equalizer where we all find ourselves desperately dependent on the God of grace and mercy. Regardless of how long you have walked this road toward unity, know that you are loved more than you can imagine. May God grant us his grace as we walk together.

Growing Gracefully

 “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” -Leo Tolstoy

“Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future” -John F. Kennedy

Great leaders recognize that change is inevitable and certain but that doesn’t mean we all embrace it.

One of the hardest things about living in our world is that everything and everyone is changing. There is a satisfying sense of control when we settle into having things around us which are predictable and reliable. Some of us like to anchor in place and then try to keep everything much the same. It might be wiser to adjust the set of our sails to flow with the changing winds around us.

Studies have shown that we resist change sometimes because our autonomy is impacted and we sense that we are no longer able to exercise our own power to effect a comfortable environment around ourselves. Humans don’t usually like feeling unsafe and moving into the unknown. A clear certain process with simple steps and a timeline help us make those incremental adjustments needed to move forward.

We like to be empowered to voluntarily take the next steps. When decisions are imposed on us suddenly so that we are surprised, it isn’t unusual for us to resist. Planting the seed of an idea and allowing it to grow under our community care is crucial. As creatures of habit, we humans live well with most routines – adjustments can be very discomforting. We don’t like confusion and we seldom like change just for the sake of change. We need to understand the why.

In our mutli-cultural, multi-generational community at Faith there is a strong investment in what we have been familiar with (whether that means the building, the leadership, the style of worship). Leaders responsible for getting us to where we are may feel sensitive about change beyond what they’ve engineered.  We need to celebrate those who have got us to where we are and to show dignity and respect for their faith and sacrifices. We also need to encourage those who are moving us forward.

Skepticism about vague visions of the future is common. Most of us need a lot of information, inclusion, support and assurance when dealing with change. Transitions that move too quickly are unnerving. Being stuck in the middle of change can often feel like a failure and leaders need strong support and affirmation to continue with the additional workload that change brings. Change is disruptive on relationship, programs, stability and resources and some pushback should be expected by those impacted.

All of us have experienced change that didn’t go well and we all have stories that impact what is happening here and now. Unless we experiencing true healing from our past trauma, it is difficult to share enthusiasm for what is currently being experienced. There are real threats with change which result is real pain. This is ultimately what we fight against for none of us desire to experience pain. Just as doctors communicate clearly about procedures and the resulting impact so change facilitators need to clearly share the realities of what change means to those involved.

All of us have fears about change. The key is talking openly about it with those who are involved in leading the change so that a more sensitive transition can be designed. While your input may not stop the change it may adjust the pace of the change. The key for us as a church is to walk through the path of change together under Christ. Our unity will speak volumes to those who are watching us.

Just remember, change or not, you are loved more than you can imagine.

Restorative Justice?

Years ago, I was part of a community which was given responsibility for the health, education, spiritual life and relationships of 500 students. We had 100 staff members working together to attempt to provide a sense of Christian love and care. Not everyone got this right and students felt the impact of the fallenness of their leaders and their peers.

That school is attempting to adjust its discipline system to one called restorative justice. Restorative justice, according to Howard Zehr and Henry Mika in their focus on principles, sees the primary issue is one of a violation of people and interpersonal relationships. As Christians, we would say that the main problem with the fall was not that Adam and Eve broke a rule but they made a choice which broke relationships. The purpose of restorative justice then is to move from punishment for a broken rule to restoration of a broken relationship. We see that God did all that was necessary through Christ to restore our relationship with Him.

We have a narrow view of rule breaking. The Apostle Paul and the Corinthian church wrestled with these realities in the area of church discipline. We don’t see that while there may be primary victims of a harmful action or offense there are also secondary victims – like family members, witnesses or others in the affected community. The ripples of the rock thrown in the pond of choice travel far broader than we imagine. All these relationships must be addressed in line with the harms resulting from the choice made.

Can this process work in a church as a way of thinking in line with the grace and compassion given to us by God through the gospel? Victims and offenders together provide input into the process so that restoration, healing, responsibility and prevention are all verbalized. Everyone involved is a part of the process so it doesn’t take much to see that there is a lot more investment by the community than one individual declaring the penance for the offender while the victim is left to find his own way toward healing and recovery.

The offender is responsible to make things right – as much as possible. Victims have a big say in what this looks like. The harm to individuals and to the community needs to be understood and processed. Ideally, the offender and victims participate voluntarily. The purpose of everything is to try and make the relationships right. While the process may be painful and humbling it is not designed to be vengeful. Restitution would be a primary goal in many instances.

Community support for victims of offenses, as a way to meet their needs, is accepted by all participants. The community carries the weight of care for members to provide a safe, welcoming and healing environment for all. Reintegrating offenders back into fellowship is a clear goal as is encouraging and reconciling the victim.

Restorative justice seeks to foster healing and reconciliation. The process may bring out “information, validation, vindication, restitution, testimony, safety and support” as starting points. Safety for the offended party is a priority and their input is maximized. Offenders must be involved in the repair of harm as much as possible. Some personal exchange of offender and offended may be anticipated but the offended sets the boundaries of how any verbal exchange may happen. Remorse, forgiveness and reconciliation is a desired outcome.

Offenders also may need to have their own needs for healing and integration into community addressed. The desire is for “personal change over compliant behaviour.” The resources of the community are crucial to this process so that the community is encouraged and strengthened. One goal of the process is to build enough awareness and sensitivity into the community that such actions are limited from happening again.

There is no cookie cutter solution to human relationship problems. Each may find its own unique solution and pathway for community integration and wholeness.

As we share the grace and compassion of the gospel with each other in our community it is good to remember that we are loved more than we can imagine.

Some of us love surprises and some of us don’t.

Some of us will do all we can to know all we can before it happens so we keep that illusory sense that we are somewhat in control of what is coming. One of our members tries to “stay ahead of the curve” by asking questions about everything she can think of. It helps her stay connected and helps her feel a little more in control.

This past week our children’s pastor had her daughter as scheduled. There were several surprises along the way that made this challenging. A doctor told her the child had abnormalities and we all lived with that “reality” for two months until another doctor looked at the test results and declared there was nothing wrong with this child at all. Indeed, the girl was born healthy and well. Although abortion was never an option, it made us wonder how many misdiagnoses end up resulting in the premature destruction of children by parents who are concerned.

The fun part about this birth is that the husband didn’t know he was having a daughter. Quite a few others knew but somehow managed to keep it to themselves so that the surprise was preserved.

On the day we announced the birth in the service we had the debut of our new church orchestra. Several of our members, who we hadn’t seen on the platform together, blended beautifully for the prelude and offertory and provided a great complementary addition to the contemporary youth team who led us in worship. Being surprised by the gifts of members is always a joy.

The day all this came together, we reflected back on the 75th anniversary of D Day and the sacrificial battle where young Canadians charged into the face of the enemy on the beaches of Normandy. We thanked God that our youth aren’t involved in current conflict like this but noted that many of them are involved in fighting for the environment in an age of waste; fighting for purity in an age of sexual delusion; and fighting for life in an age focused on the destruction of life.

I was pleasantly surprised by 13 of our members who completed the first half of our spiritual care for seniors series in partnership with Shannon Oaks and Baptist Housing. This kind of commitment to shepherding ministries can only result in increasing health and strength for our church family.

Our graduates are coming to the conclusion of their terms of study and some of their fields of study show incredible diversity and talent. We hope to be pleasantly surprised by how God uses them in their fields of expertise. One surprise we are hoping for has to do with the redevelopment of our building. I was surprised to find 75 people willing to gather for a dream luncheon to consider next steps after our engineer’s report suggested we had a limited lifespan on our building. 8 members further agreed to serve on a committee to focus us forward. We celebrated our 62nd anniversary and distributed the results of our luncheon. Not surprising, some members will hesitate to walk into anything that might have surprises. Others are relishing the adventure of what might happen next if we walk by faith and trust G

You were Beautifully Made for Relationship.

I read today that most Canadians consider marriage to be passé. At best, it’s a social event on a calendar designed to last as long as two people want it to. More than half of our country are not in a marriage relationship. Is it cost, culture, community or confusion which is pushing this trend?

Relationships all over the world are interrupted by guilt, fear and shame. The issues on the surface, which we think are driving us apart, are really covers for what is happening deep underneath. In our culture, fear of “not being enough” or of “being too much” are entry points for discussions about the heart of a struggle.

Gary Smalley, (The DNA of Relationships, p. 21) lists a wide diversity of core fears we might feel in relationship. Some of them include feeling ‘helpless, powerless, impotent, controlled, rejected, isolated, alienated, abandoned, left behind, disconnected, failure, unloved, defective, inadequate, pained, hypocritical, inferior, cheated, taken advantage of, invalidated, ignored, devalued, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, humiliated, lack of dignity, disrespected, manipulated or deceived.’ Identifying the core fear is an important part of understanding what is happening inside. If you had to circle two or three core fears which ones would you choose?

Jeremiah 17:9 states that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ”We may not understand ourselves as much as we think.

Smalley identifies a “Fear Dance” that we can easily get into in our relationships. A relational crisis might start when I feel hurt. I then want something. I fear the loss of relationship. I react in an effort to change the other person. Now they hurt. They want something. They fear the loss of relationship. They react so that I now hurt – around and around we go.

We can easily see the other person as the source of the problem and the source of the solution. We expect them to change so they can satisfy our needs or wants.

Smalley (p. 27) combines our core wants and fears when he says:

We want acceptance so we fear rejection; we want grace so we fear judgment; we want connection so we fear disconnection; we want companionship so we fear loneliness; we want success so we fear failure; we want self-determination so we fear powerlessness; we want understanding so fear being misunderstood; (see the rest of the list at the end)

You get the point. When we put the pressure onto someone else to deliver what we want we set up a tension which will ultimately get us dancing in circles with those we care about. The reason for this is that human beings in themselves are not able to deliver all we hope for on their own and this taps into their own fears.

A church is a body of believers all with their own wants and fears. If you’ve been in a church for very long you know that people you come to lean on will not always meet your wants and this will tap into your own fears. In addition, when you have others leaning on you then you will realize you are inadequate to meet their wants and this will tap into their fears. The easy solution tried by many is to run to another church and to replay this scenario over time – or just to isolate yourself and never reach out to anyone to avoid unmet expectations.

If we’re going to be one then honesty is key. What ‘wants’ are at the core of your life and what ‘fears’ do you seeing being played out in you and in the lives of those around you?

(The rest of the list)

  • we want love so we fear being scorned
  • We want validation so we fear being invalidated
  • We want competence so we fear feeling defective
  • we want respect so we fear inferiority
  • We want worth so we fear worthlessness
  • We want honor so we fear feeling devalued
  • We want dignity so we fear humiliation
  • we want commitment so we fear abandonment
  • We want significance so we fear feeling unimportant
  • We want attention so we fear feeling ignored
  • We want support so we fear neglect
  • We want approval so we fear condemnation
  • We want to be wanted so we fear feeling unwanted
  • We want safety so we fear danger
  • We want affection so we fear being disliked
  • We want trust so we fear mistrust
  • We want hope so we fear despair
  • We want joy so we fear unhappiness.