Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Building Relationships

Some years ago I was in a conference with the late Harry Piland of the then Baptist Sunday School Board (LifeWay). Dr. Piland at that time led the work of Sunday School for Southern Baptists. During a Q&A session the question arose, “What is the cause of the high ministerial turnover in our churches?” Dr. Piland responded, “98% of our failures are relational.”
Everything in life is about relationships. Family, work, Church, leadership and even winning the lost are all dependent upon good relationships. Why is it then that we seem to work overtime at ignoring relationships?

Everyone needs relationships for encouragement, for support and for service to others. Yet, many are afraid to develop relationships. For you see a relationship requires that you give up something of yourself by investing it in someone else. At times this will place you at risk of being hurt. One pastor friend commented that he (intentionally) had no friends in his church. He was concerned that the relationship might harm his position. The risk of relationship building in the church is far outweighed by the reward.

Relationships take time and energy; they do not develop overnight but are well worth the cost. Often relationships develop by happenstance and not by design; these can be the most rewarding.

People need relationships with other people. No man is an island unto himself. Today the relationship may seem insignificant and totally to the benefit of another. However, there will come a day when you will need the support of others and that will happen as you have built relationships across the years.

Relationships with you family are most precious. It is sad how easily family relationships dissolve. Hurt feelings, selfishness and anger contribute to the dissolution of family relationships. Determine to be the person who will rise above these things and become the “glue” in your family relationships.

Churches need relationships with other like minded churches. No church can do all of the great commission by itself. A church that takes seriously the great commission must seek out and associate itself with other churches that have the same heart and same doctrinal commitments if it is to fulfill its task in the great commission. This is true from the smallest church to the largest church.

Pastors need relationships with other pastors. Oddly, this may be the most difficult of all relationships. Every pastor needs a friend who can be their counselor, confidant and encourager. While some think they are beyond this need, the day will come for each of us when we desperately need this relationship. Pastoral relationships often span age and philosophical barriers. Invest the time and energy in digging the well of pastoral relationships. There will come a day when you must drink from this well yourself.

Having said thus, the most important relationship of all is your relationship with Jesus. Begin your relationship by receiving Jesus as your Savior and work to keep that relationship strong and vibrant. Invest in your relationship by spending time in prayer and Bible study. Declare your relationship through personal soul winning. Enjoy your relationship in times of meditation and reflection. Share your relationship in the fellowship of your church. Treasure your relationship with Jesus above all others and he will be the friend the sticks closer than a brother.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

“When something is missing in your life, it usually turns out to be someone. “
~Robert Brault


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