Rooted (Part 2)
(This article can also we found on our website at
http://www.bethelkingston.comunder the tab called "Blog")
This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.
No doubt, there are a whole host of decisions you will be making in the next seven days. Some of them will be unexpected decisions. Others will be ones you are even now thinking about as you read this paragraph. At Bethel we believe that there are three extremely important decisions we always need to be making: Growing in Intimacy with God, Growing in Intimacy with Others and Growing in Acts of Service. Today’s Touching Base is focusing in on GO (Growing in Intimacy with Others).
For some, this is perhaps the toughest decision to make. Building healthy community might leave a bad taste in your mouth. It might remind you of a time when you finally decided to open up and then got burned, confidence was broken, sensitivity was tossed aside and you resolved to never trust again. From then on, you were on guard, distant with most, sceptical of many and jaded to say the least. Now that doesn’t describe everyone, but it certainly could describe some.
What might be some experiences that you have had that has made building community difficult?
Why is it that sometimes in the church, we might have a hard time deepening our roots in relationships?
God’s word is pretty clear about the value and priority of our horizontal relationships. One of the key words in the NT is “koin”, a Greek root that means to participate in something. There are a number of words that are part of the “koin” family (adjectives, nouns and verbs) but all of them talk about participation, communion, and fellowship.
Connected with Christ
This Greek root word describes our relationship with Christ. Last week, we looked at this; we call it our “Growing in Intimacy with God” decision. God wants us to come to Him in faith and then pursue Him and deepen our roots. Check out last week’s TB for more on this. See Phil 1:7, 2 Peter 1:3,4, 2Cor 13:14.
Connected with each other.
The other relationship that this root describes is our connection with others. Acts 2:42 is a key text that talks about the early disciples not only committing themselves to grow deep in God, but to also grow deep in community. Because we share a common relationship with Christ, we are to commit to each other in all kinds of ways as we live out the values of Christ in the space He has called us to.
Now I know what some of you are saying, “This isn’t rocket science, I know this!” Yes, I hear you, but what seems so straightforward, is for many the toughest part of their faith to work out. Instead of being in community and developing deep roots with a few, they fail miserably at cultivating deep community. They equate “church” with attending, strange faces, and nice pleasantries but know nothing of the rich, life-giving community Christ has called us to. Unfortunately we live in a world where connectivity is at an all time high yet true community and relational depth is at an all time low.
You might be a senior, a student, married, a single non-student, male or female reading this TB. What are the greatest challenges you face this fall that could compromise you deepening or just starting to develop deep roots in community?
Let me talk about one “root buster” (things that can compromise or hinder deep-rooted communities) and challenge you to take this buster back to your existing groups, relationships or marriage and talk about it. You might find that the conversation helps your relationships go deeper.
Root buster – Fear… and the tunnel of chaos.
The reason some live in pseudo-community (vs. true community) is because of the fear that is involved in thinking about changing communities. We have already referenced some of that fear above.
“If community involves things such as knowing and being known, serving and being served, loving and being loved and celebrating and being celebrated then most relationships … are constantly devolving into pseudo-community. It’s the great temptation for small groups of people to slide into a state where they’re not quite telling each other the truth and they’re not quite celebrating each other. Instead they tolerate each other, they accommodate each other, and they settle for sitting on the unspoken matters that separate.” (Bill Hybels, Axioms p.101)
Isn’t that a terrible way to live? Yet if people think of three of their most significant relationships - spouse, family, close friends, there is a good chance that one or all three represent pseudo-community.
How do you move from unhealthy to healthy? One way is to be willing to enter into “the tunnel of chaos”.
The “tunnel of chaos” is a place of honesty, a place where the tough questions are asked and answered. It is a place where you dig down deep and say what maybe everyone has been thinking. It is a place where perhaps you make the first move. You go there because you are sick and tired of faking it, surface talk, skirting the issues and giving the answers everyone wants to hear. It is called “chaos” because it might feel like that for you personally at first and it might create some chaos as you decide to raise issues that have been buried or have never been spoken of. The tunnel of chaos is one of the ways we can break, or might I say, smash the ice, deepen roots and build some life giving community. It also can result in people fleeing to the hills, because some won’t want to engage at a heart level.
My bet is that you are part of at least one relationship where entering the tunnel of chaos would do your group or relationship a lot of good.
So if you lead small groups why not talk about the tunnel of chaos, draw it and have your group talk about how they can deepen community roots this fall.
If you are a leader of a ministry team, talk about the tunnel of chaos and how each and every person needs to have permission to jump into it when they need to. You will need to do this periodically to keep relationships healthy.
To all who attend Bethel, be sensitive to others in terms of how difficult it might be to do “community”, especially at first. Encourage, guide, instruct and contribute to others experiencing the deep rewards that come from deepening our roots in community.
Tim Kizziar said, “Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” You can be guaranteed that one of the commitments in life that really matters is deepening our roots in community. You won’t come to the end of life regretting that you valued people and relationships - I guarantee that!
Next week we will look at the third big decision we need to be making as we seek to fulfill our vision of Responding to the Heart of God; Transforming the Heart of the City, the Nation and the World.
Talk to ya next week!
If interested in joining or starting a small group contact firstname.lastname@example.org