“I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead,
I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”
– 2 John 1:12
Let’s face it, leaders love to talk. Leaders have a lot on their mind, and as a result, a lot to say. They want as many people as will listen to give them audience. This, then, certainly lends to stage front mass communication; corporately sharing ideas, strategies, encouragements, and even admonishments. And, as I wrote last week, there is a need for this. There is a corporate word that the Church needs to receive from the leaders God has placed over her.
Likewise, within small group settings, there is a very similar need to communicate corporate words. Though a small group setting is much smaller than that found within the walls of Sunday morning auditoriums and chapels, the need exists none-the-less. When multiple people arrive to participate in small group activities, it is important that the leader be prepared to share a word that everyone can spiritually and intellectually digest. They need to be able to leave having grasped something that God was speaking.
Throughout the ages of time, however, there has been one element of corporate gatherings that has always been true, and has been a challenge for leaders. No matter how large or small, within a crowd of people there will always be found intellectual, faith, and spiritual maturity levels at every measuring point. Some individuals will long to be handed the steak knife and a slew of hardy side dishes, while others will need to be spoon-feed with the basic tenants of the faith in thoroughly blended and measured doses. Some will ask for seconds, while others need to allow their appetite to settle before attempting to return to the table.
Speaking a word that can be received and accepted by the integrated social capacity of a mass of people is nothing that should be attempted by the faint-of-heart. It is a difficult job, and one that lends to the ever-important necessity that leaders engage also in face to face interactions.
One morning this week I had two said engagements. I met with one individual over breakfast for a little over an hour. When that conversation ended, I found myself full of joy and excitement about what was accomplished, for the both of us, through our conversation. Thus, I sat happily sipping a cup of coffee awaited the arrival of my second engagement. With their arrival, I dived into another conversation, one that lasted another hour plus time frame, and which yielded great back and forth encouragement. As I left our place of meeting, I sensed the goodness that had been accomplished as a result of the intentional face to face interaction that I shared with my colloquial companions.
As leaders, we must recognize that our conversation does not end when we walk away from the stage front. If anything, it is from that point we cross the starting line of true leadership, teaching, and relational discipleship. It is the one-on-one communal interaction we share with others that will truly make a difference in shaping lives and sharing Jesus.
When we can look directly in the eyes of another, with listening ears and truth speaking lips, something supernatural takes place. When we are able to respond to input, answer questions, and discourse personal wrangling’s with spiritual discernment and emotional kid gloves, we enter into a place where the Holy Spirit can have His way. In this place, we are sharing more than words, we are sharing our souls in tender rectitude; an interaction that unlocks the doors to dark rooms within the heart, and illuminates them with the light of Christ.
Over the course of this season of leadership, then, I encourage you to continue your ministry beyond the gathering of the masses, and enter into the intimacy of face-to-face interaction. Tap into this powerful element of spiritual unity. Meet with those you are building a discipling relationship with. Learn their stories, hear their hearts, know their circumstances, and share with them the encouragements of your own experiences and spiritual life lessons. In this way, as the Apostle John tells us in the opening scripture, we will make our joy complete.
Go Deeper – Grow Stronger