We are all involved in relationships, whether we like it or not. Some of these will be relatively fleeting ones, as people move in and out of our lives. Others will have the potential to be longer term relationships which may persist even in the face of geographical separation. Some will happen pretty much by accident, whilst others will be deliberate and intentional. Here at Lee Abbey, we refer to ourselves as an ‘intentional Christian community’ and whilst we may not have much choice over who we share that with, we have chosen to be part of it. Although it’s a great privilege, you may or may not be surprised to hear that it’s not always easy – living, learning, working, socialising and worshipping with the same group of people brings its own peculiar pressures.
So, how do we do it? Firstly, we make community promises to be authentic – open about who we are, accepting of others, committed to personal and corporate discipleship, and committed to be missional and prophetic in sharing God’s Kingdom, fighting injustice and cherishing creation. This commitment to a common purpose is key.
Before coming to Lee Abbey, I spent 25 years as a management consultant, largely working on project management. One element was effective team work and a lot of the concepts behind it have real value in relationships, particularly in a community context. Along-with commonality of purpose, we could include: commonality of method/process; clarity about roles, responsibilities and accountabilities; holding one another to account; effective communication (with each other and others); positive conflict resolution; alignment of attitudes and behaviours; sharing of leadership; trust and understanding.
At Lee Abbey we believe it’s important to be holistic, empowering and democratic; and so we are intentional about living out of our values. In this way, we are able to harness the power of commitment and collaboration as we live and work in harmony with a God who is, in very essence, a community of love.
Bill Carpenter

This was posted on 27 May 2019.

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