Tag Archives: friendships

The Routine Maintenance of Every Relationship

Tuesday Re-mix –

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…  Hebrews 10:24-25

As a teenager starting to drive, I spent one Saturday afternoon learning from Dad how to change the oil in my car.  It was actually pretty interesting to me.  I was fascinated with the whole process.  Dad was very careful to show me how to change the oil filter without damaging it, how to drain the oil and properly dispose of it, how to tighten the drain plug again without stripping it, and how to put the new oil into the engine.  It was a whole process.  I learned it all.

Then, by the time I was 40 years old, I had paid to replace two different automobile engines as a result of NOT changing the fluids regularly enough.  It seems that, while I did learn HOW to change the oil…I had not learned THAT I must change the oil regularly!  I am a slow learner.  🙂  The truth is, I have had a hard time learning about routine maintenance in lots of respects…appliances (both major and minor), household, landscaping, automobiles, computers…you name it, if I have owned it, I have struggled with routine maintenance for it.

Relationships have routine maintenance requirements as well.  All relationships do…even Christian relationships.  Relationships between really good people still need maintenance.  Relationships among experts on relationships still need maintenance.  Without that maintenance, even the strongest of relationships will tend toward breakdown.

I am always amazed in my counseling endeavors when I find two otherwise intelligent, personable, Christian leaders who spend little time actually nurturing their friendship with one another and who then seem befuddled by the …

Creating Meaningful Community: “You Are Not Alone”

Tuesday Re-mix – 

I believe that loneliness is sweeping our culture in epidemic proportions.  I also believe the church is uniquely positioned and empowered to cure loneliness.  We just need to figure out what genuine friendships look like in the face of life’s most painful circumstances.

I have not yet met a pastor or a church leader who thinks their church actually has too much community or too much in the way of genuine relationships.  The truth is, all of us are always looking for ways to develop a deeper sense of community among our members.  We all understand that there simply is no richer, deeper, more fulfilling sense of God’s love and grace than to be fully known and fully loved, i.e., to have someone know our darkest secrets and struggles and flaws and still love us!

I have found that kind of community in our church’s support group ministry.  It is the absolute best way I have ever seen to say to hurting people, “We understand you and we love you anyway!”  I have come to believe that the more church members we can get involved in it, the deeper our sense of community becomes.  Here is a great example from that ministry:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cqW0oe_h5c&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0]

The underlying message behind support groups is the same message which is at the heart of all genuine community: you are not alone. My church’s support group ministry is built on two simple foundational pieces: (1) God’s Word, and (2) friends who share your pain.  There seems to be no limit to how much healing can take place with those two elements working together in a person’s life.

Of course, there is much more to a good support group ministry than that.  But that is the core of it.  Anything about this message which …