Intentional Relationship Building

Women-having-coffee.jpgOne of the things I appreciate about Bible Studies for Life is the attention given to relationships inside and outside the local church. If we intend to connect people to small groups for fellowship and spiritual growth, we need to be alert to where such people are. Many are in the large group (the congregation) but are not connected to a small group.

Recent statistics from LifeWay Research show the intentionality with which current believers relate to others inside the church. Results of a 2013 survey finds 42% of respondents “agree” they “intentionally spend time with other believers in order to help them to grow in their faith.”

Simply, close to half of believers involved in church are making an effort to help others grow spiritually to some degree. This should not be discounted and should be celebrated.

The other side though, is that 58% of believers could not state that they were involved in intentional growth with other believers. That group is split between people who know they don’t spend time with others for spiritual growth, and those who cannot say for sure whether they do or not. It seems that if you are building relationships on purpose, you would know it!

How Can We Help?

How can we applaud the people already involved while encouraging others to begin participating in helping others grow spiritually?

First, we might realize some are not being intentional in building relationships due to fear or they simply don’t know how. They may not know how to help another person grow. Before jumping to condemnation, we might need a plan to help them.

Second, those who are already helping others grow spiritually can train those who would, but do not have the biblical knowledge. Helping other believers grow does not only mean young Christians just starting on the road of faith; it also means helping older believers take the next step.

Third, pastors and small group leaders can regularly suggest ways to build such relationships. People who have never been intentional may not realize how easy it is to meet someone for breakfast, grab coffee after church, start a men’s prayer group, or even a neighborhood Bible study. A few steps of guidance can reap a bountiful spiritual harvest.

Last, find ways to commend those who are helping others grow, and tell their story. Ask leaders about those making an impact in their groups, then use their stories as “how-to” examples in messages or leader training. Sometimes a real example accomplishes more than verbal instruction will alone.

We all have relationships. But being intentional about building relationships to further the kingdom is something we cannot forget or minimize. How will you be intentional in your relationships today?

Yours for the Great Commission,

Ronnie W. Floyd

Senior Pastor, Cross Church Northwest Arkansas

General Editor, Bible Studies for Life

Culture is Important to Our Future

Today, welcomes guest writer, Andy Wilson. Andy is the Executive Leader of Ministry & Operations at Cross Church.

Andy Wilson, Exeutive Leader of Ministry & OperationsCulture is a set of shared attitudes, shared values, shared goals and shared practices in your organization. The key word here is shared.

To create a culture in your church, business or not for profit organization, you must be clear about two things: vision and mission.

Vision is a future picture of what you see or what you want to become. Mission tells you why your church, business or not for profit organization exists and what it does.

At Cross Church, our missional vision is clear: To reach Northwest Arkansas, America and the World for Jesus Christ. Our staff knows it, our people know it. And we are passionate about it.

Once your mission and vision are clear, the next step is to establish a set of core values.

Core values and beliefs guide how we behave and how we treat others. Our values are our guiding principles. They guide us in our decision-making processes and help us align our decisions with the future we want our organization to experience.

At Cross Church our values and beliefs are:

  • Christ-Likeness
  • Relationships
  • Trust
  • Teamwork
  • Excellence

I believe you can impact your church and organization’s culture.

Jesus began with a group of disenfranchised people – His disciples. He told them in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth…” and in the next verse, “You are the light of the world….” Jesus changed their culture by giving them grace, unconditional love, and forgiveness.

As Christians, we have truly experienced Jesus’ love, grace, and forgiveness, just as the disciples did. We cannot help but share the wonder of this experience with others. As we share, every act of love we display to those around us, by forgiving our neighbor or act in grace to those who have offended us, we gently flavor and shine light on the culture around us.

I was fortunate to grow up at Walmart under authentic servant leaders like Sam Walton, David Glass, former CEO, and Don Soderquist, former Vice Chairman. All great leaders who had a passion for their purpose and who consistently practiced their values.

I was taught to lead from my heart as well as my head; to build long-term relationships with our associates, vendors, and customers. Leadership is relationship, and we had the self-discipline to get the results we desired as we integrated our business conversation with our values conversation.

To influence your culture, you must have the courage to do the right thing and the courage to change.

This takes a lot of hard work, and most of all, teamwork.

The presence of Christ-followers in our culture is good for our world. That is why we must step boldly into our leadership role in the church or organization we lead, with passion to unite others around us.

Authentic leaders know their true north.They have a moral compass and are prepared to stay the course despite challenges and disappointments. Authentic leaders are more concerned about serving others than they are about their own success or recognition.

No individual achievement can equal the pleasure of leading a group of people to achieve a worthy goal. When you cross the finish line together, there is a deep satisfaction that it was your leadership that made the difference.

As pastors, ministers, lay leaders, and business leaders, our goal is worthy: To reach our regions, America and the World for Jesus Christ.

Andy Wilson

Executive Leader of Ministry & Operations, Cross Church Northwest Arkansas