Last time I introduced the first two categories in Reggie McNeal’s book, A Work of Heart. These six “arenas” are the sub-plots of our lives through which God is shaping us as his followers, as preachers, as leaders. How we respond to these initiatives will determine what we become. Last time we considered briefly culture and call.
Arena 3: Community – We are, by nature, creatures of community. Your family of origin, current family, relationships, friendships, all are shaping and sustaining you for leadership. Issues here include love, forgiveness, identity, and purposeful relationships (mentoring). Consider the influence of Moses’ families of origin, Jethro, Joshua. Consider David’s family background, his mighty men, his Abigail. Consider how Paul was shaped by Barnabas, Timothy and Silas, Luke, Epaphras, etc.
Arena 4: Communion – Your conscious cultivation of your own relationship with God – rest, conversation, devotion, worship. It is so easy, with hindsight, to see the value of Paul’s time in obscurity, or David’s years on the run, or Moses’ decades in the desert and then the weeks on the mountain. How much they fellowshipped with God, what sweet communion they enjoyed. Yet at the time, without hindsight, so many would choose rather to dry up in the heart.
Any understanding of the Christian life that is not, at its core, about relationship with God and with others, is surely grossly inadequate. Perhaps it would be a good idea to take some time to evaluate your own state of heart in respect to communion with God and community (how easy to fall into the trap of “lone rangering” in ministry…how dangerous!)