CONNECTION

Connecting with others has always been difficult for me. Even as a kid, I only had a handful of close friends. I have never been someone that had to have tons of people around me to call friends. I loved people and wanted to be in relationship with them, but I just didn’t “need” very many deep connections. Even in College I was content with my 5 or 6 close friends and made no effort with anyone passed that.

I remember so clearly a defining moment in my life when God taught me the importance of connecting with others. It was in the summer of 2007, my wife and I had just stepped into full time ministry with Teen Challenge. We had just moved, started going to a new church and joined a cell group with 3 other couples. The guys were all out going and ready to be vulnerable, I was resistant at first but soon they drew me out of my shell.

Now to the defining moment…

Janel and I were going through some difficult circumstances and I had become very angry with God, our situation, and began to get bitter at life in general. I went to that cell group reluctantly one evening not wanting to open up or be vulnerable, I was fine…just fine. The guys saw through that front and pushed me to open up. It ended with them pushing Janel out of the way to surround me while I ugly cried…tears, snot and all. They hugged me, cried with me, prayed for me and encouraged me. God broke through some walls in my life that had been there for as long as I could remember.

The Bible is full of examples on the importance of connecting with others. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said, Love God & Love People, in Matthew 18:20 He said He is with us when two or three gather in His name, in John 15:12-15 we see Christ telling us to love each other enough to be willing to lay down our lives for each other, in Hebrews 10:24-25 the writer encourages us to meet together and spur each other towards love, in Ephesians 4:2-3 Paul tells us to live in unity and the list goes on and on.

We as Christians are a part of the body of Christ and therefore we must live in connection with one another, but it is that much more true for Christians who work together on a daily basis. In Teen Challenge SE Region, over the past 2 years, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “it’s all about the we not the me”. This is absolutely counter culture to the world we live in. Jon Gordon says it like this, “The message they (we) receive from the world is that it’s all about the individual, not the team. It’s about me, not we.”

We know the importance of connecting with one another, but often times we are not intentional in our efforts to connect with each other. We assume it will happen over time or we intend to do it, but never get around to it. Meaningful connections don’t happen by accident. You must be intentional as you are trying to build connectivity as a team and in your walk with Christ.

Ask yourself some key questions today:

  • Are you intentionally building connection with those around you?
  • How can you improve those connections?
  • What are some distractions you can put boundaries on?

 

Article written by: Dustin Nance, Divisional Leader of Training

Source: You Win in the Locker Room, by Jon Gordon and Mike Smith

Level II Link – Oct 2016

Welcome

We have three new staff joining us in Level II – Michelle Peltier, Rachel Massieu and Michelle Surette! Michelle graduated TC Arizona and is currently working at our Pensacola Men’s Home, Rachel is a graduate of Columbus Girls Academy and the Emerging Leaders College currently working at Southwest FL Women’s and Michelle Surrette is a graduate and staff of Davie Women’s Home. Michelle, Rachel and Michelle – welcome to Level II! Looking forward to our times of connection while learning together.

Congratulations!

Congratulations to our recent graduates – Todd Adams (P-cola/Tallahassee), Elissa Hollingsworth (Davie), Laurie Lusink (Davie), Stephanie McGreevey (Women at the Well), Mike Spivey (Jacksonville), Sean Lee (Jacksonville), Jacquelyn Frenchwood (Shenandoah Valley), David Moseley(Shenandoah Valley) and Novella Franich (Shenandoah Valley)! I am so proud of you all!

Current Course

This month we start a new core course Conflict Management and our text: The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. Peacemakers are people who breathe grace. They draw continually on the goodness and power of Jesus Christ, and then they bring his love, mercy, forgiveness, strength, and wisdom to the conflicts of daily life. God delights to breathe his grace through peacemakers and use them to dissipate anger, improve understanding, promote justice, and encourage repentance and reconciliation. I will email you the pdf workbook for this course. Your first post will be up on the forum by Monday, October 17th. 

Enrich Culture – Freedom to love and trust one another

A healthy culture is a safe place where people can identify who they are and why they are here. Spring is here and so too is the pollen that comes with it. As the trees start to bloomMan blowing his nose in canola field and the pollen gets airborne, people begin coughing, sneezing, scratching the throat, and rubbing the eyes. Lots of people have terrible allergies and infections during this season and some literally have to stay indoors to avoid the elements of the outdoors. They become sick and weakened because the environment is unhealthy.  So too it is when we are in a spiritually unsafe environment, we get spiritual allergies. Spiritual allergies prevent us from becoming spiritually mature. The environment exudes un-forgiveness, bitterness towards God and others, mistrust, dis-unity and emotions could explode at any moment.

Danny Silk describes the freedom we feel in an opposite culture where people are free to love and trust one another: “A safe place is where the fear of misused freedom doesn’t get to rise up and intimidate us out of risking trust and love in our relationships with one 101_0751another. The essence of love is safety and connection. In Isaiah God says “The mountains and the hills will be removed, but My kindness shall never leave, you nor shall My covenant of peace with you ever be removed.” In other words God is saying “I want you to be completely sure of My attitude towards you…My kindness and My covenant of peace will never be taken away.” This security allow us to be free everywhere we go. The Hebrew word Shalom means safe, well, happy, friendly; health, prosperity, and peace. Our covenant with God is a safe place. The power in this reality is that we as human beings blossom in safety. This is why shalom also means “health” and “wholeness.”His covenant brings peace, happiness, safety, health and wholeness, and it will never be taken from us. When God shows up, His presence is a safe place. When the Lord shows up, His atmosphere is charged with peace.”

“The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health, yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it” ~   Patrick Lencioni