The first skill is that of empowering others. They know how to spot, raise up, disciple, coach and mentor others into the mission of God. The second skill deals with sustaining those relationships..
2. They build and maintain healthy relationships.
The mission of God is a relational mission. His plan is to use people to reach people. His plan is to use frail human beings to supernaturally build his church and unlock the Kingdom of Heaven:
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19 NIV)
Missional leaders know that developing strong interpersonal skills is critical to their effectiveness. They must care for those who need care. They must listen attentively while others are speaking. When they are corrected they receive it humbly. When they need to be confronting negative behavior in others they speak the truth in love. They know how to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. The Bible is full of teachings on how Christians are to love those outside the church and those inside the family of God.
Missional leaders understand they are called to love (Mark 12:28-30) and called to build loving communities. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV) Francis Schaeffer in his book, “Mark of the Christian” makes this sobering comment on this verse, “In the midst of the world, in the midst of our present culture, Jesus is giving a right to the world. Upon His authority He gives the world the right to judge us whether you and I are born-again Christians on the basis of our observable love towards all Christians.” (pg 187)
Missional leaders rise to this challenge and do the tough work of building loving relationships throughout the church.
Questions for Reflection:
- How are you seeking to build redemptive relationships throughout your community?
- What are you doing to improve your interpersonals skills?
- What are you doing to improve your staffs or leaderships interpersonal skills?
- What practices do you follow to maintian healthy relationships among leaders and staff?
- Do you agree with Francis Schaeffer’s interpretation of John 13:34-35?
- What are the implications to Schaeffers’ interpretation in your current context?
Next Week: Build and Maintain Healthy Teams
Excerpt from NextSteps for Leading a Missional Church