NCD TOOLBOX (LOVING RELATIONSHIPS)
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35.
How loving is your church? As a leader would you describe it as a loving community of people? as we read in John 13:35, Loving one another is critical if we are to truly live out and be a disciple of Jesus. According to recent NCD results our church in South Queensland scores low in loving relationships and holistic small groups suggesting that we as a church and individuals that make up our communities are challenged when it comes to loving others. This includes simple things like talking to other church members about personal problems, affirming and complimenting others and being able to rely on others in the church when needed and as such small groups (including Sabbath School groups) and loving relationships go hand in hand.
So what can we do to intentionally raise the level of love in our personal relationships and church communities? Here are some suggestions you may like to try.
- Make up affirmation cards and encourage church members to leave a note of affirmation for someone else. You can even encourage them to affirm someone once a day and send them out in the mail. This needs to be real and genuine and not just for the sake of churning out cards though.
- Call someone who you haven’t seen at church for a while and encourage them, spend time in prayer and just listening to them. Just the thought and lending a listening ear shows love.
- If you are a pastor, elder or leader be sure to give praise and affirm those who volunteer around your church. This might be when you see them during the week or on the weekend, even affirm them up the front during the worship service. While they may be embarrassed, it will certainly make them feel loved and change the atmosphere in the church as one of praise and complements. While leading by example you are also fostering a culture of loving relationships.
- Be open, honest and share with one another any hurts or issues you may have. Share how you feel. This brings about trust and accountability while also builds love and friendship as it shows you care. If you have had a disagreement with someone else go to them and share the above in the same way.
- Assist others who are in need and may be facing problems in their life. This might include delivering meals and food parcels, buying their groceries, picking them up to go to the doctor or going out and buying a beverage together. The possibilities are endless.
- Think and be positive about your church and other members, positivity rubs off and creates an environment where the true sense of joy may be experienced in your church community.
- Share testimonies of how the Lord has blessed you in your spiritual walk and include how you have felt loved by other church members. This may include phone calls, visits, going out for a catch up, being assisted in moving, mowing, cleaning and other hard tasks that may cause you to need help. When we share our spiritual journey we invite others to experience our journey of love also.
- Use Intentional language and cultivate a culture of loving relationships. Interestingly as I visit and consult churches in regards to NCD, I have found those that score high in loving relationships and that are moving towards becoming healthy church communities intentionally use the terminology “family” and “together” when referring to their church and one another. They are intentionally seeking to build a loving culture, caring for one another as if they were family and seek to do life together from meeting together in a cafe, to shopping together to doing craft and other activities together, their events and calendars are almost always formed around relationship building initiatives.
Loving relationships. It’s so simple yet so complicated. May we do all we can to love as Jesus loved and let’s be intentional about cultivating authentic loving relationships that build one another up and encourages each one of us to live more meaningful lives as disciples of His kingdom.
Maybe you have implemented some simple ideas in your church or have some tips and initiatives that others of us could use to build loving relationships, we’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below.