Notes from the leadership journey!

Interconnectedness

I just wrote this for our charge’s (monthly) church newsletter (November 2007) …

Currently our sermon series is based on Acts 2.42-47, which gives us a snapshot of what the first century church looked like. They were a faith community, living their lives together, giving away their lives to others.

Being together lends itself to the concept of interconnectedness. We are connected to one another and we are not complete without the other. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are one body (Ephesians 4.4-6).

Perhaps the image of a puzzle is helpful. Each piece of the puzzle is unique and distinct to itself, yet it is pretty meaningless apart from the whole. You rarely know what the completed puzzle looks like when seeing only one piece. But when all the pieces are connected, a complete picture emerges.

We’re connected to one another. We’re not complete without each other! Imagine those puzzle pieces are people, imagine yourself to be one piece of that puzzle. God designed us to connect with others.

In Acts 2, the believers connected to study the Scripture, to pray, for Holy Communion, to worship, and to eat meals together. They connected by pooling their material means and giving to anyone in need. Their connection was a witness and many came to know Christ because of it.

I hate when I put a puzzle together and there are missing pieces. It’s so disappointing after all that work! And yet there are pieces, people, missing from our life together as the church.

Do you sense their absence? They may be absent from our Sunday worship gathering. Their gifts may be absent from our midst. There are those absent for they have not yet recognized God’s saving grace. And there are those people groups who are absent for they have yet to hear the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Who are you missing?

One Response to Interconnectedness

  1. Mike O says:

    In my engineering career, part of the time was spent looking for submarines. I worked on the hardware and software for antisubmarine warfare. One quickly gets a sense of “what’s missing”, and also a sense of “where is he?” It helps, in building a church, to have that sense. But, in general, in the evangelical protestant church, large numbers of people are missing – that is, many personality types (MBTI) are grossly underrepresented.

    The second element is connectivity, and these tie together. Generally, people connect when they have both the ability to connect, as well as the ease to connect. Most people can connect with 250 friends. But, many have limited connective ability – they can only connect with 100 or 150 others. Given that a church is a subset of one’s friends (family, workplace and neighborhood are others), it is easy to find a church where each member has only a dozen church connections. Generally, those connections are all the same type of people – that’s the “ease” of connection.

    Occasionally, the core will connect with people in the medium-sized MBTI types. Usually it’s because they either are married to a core member, or they have dual links – they live nearby, or they work together. Logistically, it’s easy. But rare are the small MBTI’s – they just don’t get the chance to connect.

    Connections have a root in marriage. The church is the bride of christ, and almost everyone’s connections are benchmarked against their present marriage, or, their perception of a future marriage. The better a church regards marriage, the better the connections will be. Although divorce is a reality, it helps if the church upholds marriage, and looks at healthy marriage as a parameter in selecting leadership. In many cases, a “healed” divorced person can be a good leader, but avoid those who “wear their divorce on their sleeve.” Similarly, avoid wife-swapping groups in the church, and be careful with those on-line forums that recruit for wife-swapping.

    There is an old saying in engineering “You can’t improve it, unless you measure it”. Fellowship, connections, missing people are hard to measure, but they are important. The measurement tools are usually not very accurate, but they are very repeatable. You can tell if you are working in the right direction, and how well you are doing. There is a great deal of “analytical apartheid” in society today (even more so in the church), people love to hate the “numbers guy”. Be nice to the nerd, you may be working for him someday!

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