Alternatively titled: A Brave New World (with apologies to Aldous Huxley!)
I’ve been reflecting on many different conversations I’ve been party to in recent times and there seems to be one or two things becoming apparent:
One is that my faith, and by that I mean my understanding of what it means to be a Christian, has shifted. Quite some way. I’ve been trying to write something about this that doesn’t sound too self-indulgent or narcissistic without success so far! I might get there…
The other is about collaborative working. I read somewhere recently an article headline the gist of which was: Collaborative working makes us weaker. And this got me thinking. I’m a real believer in collaboration: we get the best out of ourselves, often, when we work in a team; I think church leadership should be undertaken with a team that leader can call upon; and I know that I am at my most creative and productive when I am working with others. But working with other people can also make us weak. Weak in the sense of worn-out; weak in the sense of feeling inadequate; weak in the sense of undefended and vulnerable; weak in the sense of flavourless or watered down when our voice is the only dissenting voice in the crowd.
Here’s the thing: God does his best work through us when we are at our weakest. And we are indeed often at our weakest when working with other people, dare I say it: other Christians!
The truth is we ought to be better at this. Jesus exhorts us over and over to Love Our Neighbour, to pray for those who upset and oppose us, to be humble, meek, to put others before ourselves. But the fact is while there are those who do these things with grace; most of us are not very good at it.
And then God steps in. Time and time again I have seen/felt/heard God stepping in when I myself am at my lowest ebb, or when the team I am working with is down to one or two people for that month’s event. You can probably tell me story after story of the same (and I would love to hear those in the comments if you have time to share!).
So I want to encourage all of you who are working with others, especially if you’re in a team with people who are difficult to predict or manage, or who have very different expectations of what is being achieved.
Keep going, because you are doing the work of the Kingdom and bringing about a brave new world!