PART ONE John17:21-23 "may be one" 1John3:1 "called the sons of God"
"Relationship" by definition is a significant connection or similarity between two or more things (people). One of the greatest helps to any pastor and church-member is their relationship toward each other. In almost all church conflicts it is the breakdown or nonexistent of relationships that are at the root. Everyone is in some type of relationship, good or bad, positive or negative.
Our first and foremost relationship responsibility is with the LORD (1John1:4-7). In many hurtful or broken relationships one can almost always trace it back to a weak or broken relationship with The Lord. Our Lord is always seeking a more intimate relationship with His children. And that His children would have a good and healthy relationship with each other. As parents we love to see our children having a good relationship with us and with their siblings. It's the believer’s part to except and respond to The Lord and move toward a closer relationship with Him as Savior, Lord and friend.
Relationships are not about pleasing everyone, but rather first pleasing the Lord and being a servant to others (Rom.12:18 / Pro.16:7). If we would practice this in our homes and churches it would go along way for having right healthy relationships. To me the church is a lot like a family, with all their problems, conflicts and troubles. But they also will have their times of joy, peace, unity, and good times. Both the church and family will need to work hard to maintain a good, healthy, and right relationship. This will include a lot of love, patience, and forgiveness which is always possible through Christ. (Eph.4:29-34).
In the next few weeks I would like to encourage pastors and their church members to have good workable relationships. I believe that all healthy churches have a Christ like spirit in their relationships. Right relationships are the groundwork of a church that is moving forward in the right direction in fulfilling its God given ministry. We will be looking at what it takes to get and maintain good and proper pastor / people relationships.
May The Lord help us to build and maybe rebuild good Christ-like relationships. This could revitalize any church in a great and positive way.
I. THE AUTHOR OF RELATIONSHIPS - 1COR.14:33 Someone has said that pastor and people relationships cannot be fully learned from a book or classroom. The skills for building any genuine relationship must be hammered out on the anvil of experience.
The pastor/people relationship is a combination of both understanding and working together toward a good and healthy relationship. For the most part many churches have not had the information, training or experience in how to have healthy relationships. I would encourage pastors and the church to avail themselves to materials that may help develop a good and healthy pastor/people relationship. Of course the Bible should be our main source along with godly examples and counselors. There are some things that we can learn from others, and avoid the bad experience of unhealthy relationships.
In pastor/people relationships the pastor should be the one to learn, practice and initiate healthy relationship. Everyone has areas where they need to improve in the way that they relate to others. It may be in communication, trust, acceptance, forgiveness or dozens of other areas.
Our relationship with God and with others will have direct impact with the health of our church. Ministry is God working through us to serve people. We can't control people and their relationship with us, but we can be controlled by the Holy Spirit and our relationship to them. If pastor/people relationships are so important to the health of the church why are we not paying closer attention to them? Then it may be worth asking The Lord to show us areas where we can improve our relations with others. This could be first proved in our home/family relationships.
II. THE AUTHORITY OF RELATIONSHIPS-1John 2:8-11 / 3:11,18 / 4:7-11, 21 / 5:1-2
Good pastor and people relationships are earned through love, time, honesty, transparency to name just a few. I have helped some churches without a pastor and after the morning service said that they loved me and wanted me to be their pastor. I told them that they didn't even know me and that they may need to see how much they loved and wanted me as their pastor after a business meeting or a tough sermon.
Though relationships are emotional at times, they are not founded or built on emotions. There will be many different types of personalities of both a pastor and people. They will by the grace of God take time to learn and grow toward a healthy relationship no matter what their personality. In most churches there is only a surface relationship between the pastor and the people. This is the cause of many conflicts because of the personalities and preferences of both pastor and people.
To get beyond the petty differences, the pastor and people relationship will have to go further than a surface relationship. The pastor/people relationship can grow and mature over time and with experience. This is why long term ministry with both pastor and people are important. By God's grace and with a sincere effort from both pastor and people a good and healthy relationship can be the outcome. But just staying in one church doesn't automatically build good relationships it takes time and well spent effort from both sides.
Maybe there should be more time and effort put into building good and healthy relationships in the church. Everyone is busy but we all have time and make an effort to the things that we really believe are important to us. And certainly good and healthy relationships are important for us, our families and the whole church. May The Lord help us to get better at building good and healthy relationships with our families, church members and even those outside of our church.