It is 2 years since we decided to intentionally gather leaders one month, and meet them one on one the next. As a staff team, it has been a privilege to see new depths of intimacy and change emerge, especially via one on one’s. Our next task, we feel, is to find ways to facilitate deeper relationships between leaders themselves. We made a start at our most recent gathering, by exploring three aspects of the Trinity as a potential model for relationships.
A Trinitarian relationship = Godly DIRECTION
Phil began the morning by explaining how Luke’s gospel points out that, ‘Jesus often slipped away [withdrew] to be alone [desolate / lonely / wilderness places] so he could pray (Lk 5:16, GNV). Why? John says, because Jesus does, “nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing” (Jn 5:19). Like Jesus, leaders are also called to do nothing by themself. Trinitarian–shaped relationships provide the chance to check-in, be reminded & (re)evaluate, aims, direction, goals, mission – with God and others.
Trinitarian relationships = new TRAJECTORIES
Whilst we generally refer to believers who are ‘like’ or ‘followers’ of Christ, as ‘Christ-ians’ the New Testament does so only three times in Acts 11:26; 26:28, 1 Pet 4:16. The phrase most widely used in the early church for believers was followers of ‘the Way’ (Acts 24:14), probably because Christ referred to Himself as ‘The Way’, truth, and life (Jn 14:6).
Time and again, the gospels record how Jesus’ life demonstrates another way, an alternative to the norm, standards and status quo. As followers of God, in the way of Jesus, I believe we need relationships that encourage us to be the most creative, ground breaking, innovative, risk taking and pioneering people on the planet. One of my favourite examples, is Jesus’ encounter with a woman at a well in Jn 4; a passage which, for me, led to the initial idea of inclusive education. John writes that Jesus ‘had to go through Samaria’ even though He didn’t. Jews would rather double their journey, because they hated how Samaritans used Scripture, how they integrated with others, and where they worshipped God. In John 4 Jesus sets a new trajectory for interfaith, gender-based & transcultural relationships
Trinitarian-shaped relationships = POWER
Rather than authority or a right to act – how ‘power’ is often interpreted – dynamis, the word Luke uses to describe an, ‘inherent capacity to perform’ (Green 1997:242). In Lk 5:17, ‘the [dynamis] of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.’ It is a power Jesus neither seeks or keeps, but gives. In Lk 8:40-56, a woman is healed by touching the power residing in Jesus, who says, “I am aware that power has gone from me.” We all need people around us that encourage us to give away power. I was challenged about giving recently as someone pointed out that, rather than deprivation, we ought to see giving as the highest expression of power, since it is the only way to experience an overflowing sense of aliveness, joy, potency, strength, vitality and wealth (Fromm 1956).
Rachel concluded our leaders gathering by suggesting that, as pursuers of Godly relationships, we should be devoting ourselves, embracing, indwelling & ‘making room’ for one another, in the way the Trinity does. She asked what it would mean to go deeper, ‘What would practically have to be in place to establish Trinitarian-shaped relationships with 1 or 2 leaders?’