Practising Healthy Community
What’s wrong with this picture? Person A walks up to person B and begins to engage in conversation. In the conversation person A expresses some concerns about person’s B area of responsibility. They talk for a while about the situation and then it becomes clear that person A is not necessarily expressing his concerns but rather represents other individuals and their concerns about person B. Person A is really just the bearer of news.
Do you see what is wrong with this picture? I think there are several things -
A. Instead of the concerned person(s) going directly to person B they send their messenger. While this can be appropriate in some cases, often this illustrates a bigger problem where people don’t deal with issues face-to-face but rather talk to everyone but the right person. When this happens often resolution is replaced by issues going unresolved and being allowed to fester.
B. People miss out on an opportunity to engage. When we don’t go face-to-face with the person with which we may have a concern, the missed opportunity to engage can result in not getting clear understanding of the person’s position, not appreciating their style of leadership and not having the opportunity to build relationship. Problems, challenges, or concerns between two mature individuals can be great opportunities to grow a relationship and seek God together on the resolution.
C. We develop an unhealthy culture where people do not take responsibility for what they say. If people think they can say things without ever having to speak to the key person involved then we can in some ways create an irresponsible culture. They say that “loose lips sink ships”. When we feel we can just talk about so-and-so but never go face-to-face, the tendency is to sink ships!
D. The messenger can misrepresent the person(s) they are representing. Whether intentionally or not, sometimes things can get exaggerated, taken out of context or twisted to fit someone else’s agenda. Like, “Did you hear about the 12 pound pike I caught last week?” (when actually, it was only 7 pounds)
At Bethel, healthy community is important. Because it is important, you can be guaranteed that the enemy will try to inject dysfunction into our body. Let’s be sure to stand on guard, watch the gates and contribute to a healthy vibrant community. You can do that by encouraging people to go face-to-face with people. Encourage people to speak up and out to the right person.