Hospitality and developing genuine relationships are at the heart of our ministry approach, but it wasn’t always that way for me. With my conservative evangelical background and living in the South, I used to take trips with a student group to knock on doors and hand out gospel tracts. We’d show up for five days in a place, then go back to our own town and never see those people again. It was transactional: here’s my message, will you accept it, yes or no? Despite the fact that this was very different from the way my own faith grew, the idea of building relationship first before inviting a person to consider Jesus was completely against the grain for me.
Building Strong Relationships, Part 2: The Art of Loving Well
Listening and speaking well are foundations for any relationship. Listening is a skill that most of us can continue to grow in. It is to be practiced and developed. My husband, Mark, and I used the structured repeating and reflecting of Reflective Listening for many years as we strengthened those muscles to be able to put aside our personal agenda and walk in the other’s shoes. We have experienced the delicious fruit of listening well and of feeling heard. We still fall back on the structure during conflict, tense times, and when there are deep emotions that we want to make sure we connect with.
Building Strong Relationships: The Art of Listening Well
These listening exercises, learned in the trenches of marriage, can strengthen and deepen any relationship.
My husband, Mark, and I have the best job in the world...or at least we think so. We have the privilege of coming alongside Christian leaders, pastors, and missionaries from all over the world to give support and care for their marriages.
These leaders—serving Jesus, loving people, and taking ground from the enemy and for the Kingdom of God—are our heroes. But the demands of ministry life can be overwhelming. As these servants give themselves away on a regular basis, some important things in life start to take a backseat, including their own families and marriages.
More Important Than You Know: A Thank You Letter to Those Who Invest in the Younger Generation
It’s a new year—and the older I get, the more I realize I don’t know.
I acknowledge that I am only 23, and that that statement will become even more true as I get older, but I am already being constantly reminded of it. This sentiment is echoed by many my age. We are having to learn what being an adult means—all the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of it—and there’s a lot to learn.
But I’m not here to complain about having to learn to navigate life. I’m here to say thank you to those of you who are pouring into the lives of young adults.
Speaking God's Words and Will: Declarative Prayer
Jesus told his followers to do some pretty crazy things: heal the sick, cast out demons, move mountains!?! He didn’t just tell them to do those things, he modeled them. Through his intimate relationship with God, he DECLARED things, speaking words to make those things happen:
“Lazarus, come forth!”
“Peace, be still.”
“That’s Jesus?!” the boy cried, opening his eyes wide with wonder during a prayer exercise. “I always thought that was me!” The eleven year-old grinned from ear to ear, his face aglow with the joy of discovery: Jesus speaks to me, and his voice is familiar.
The Whole Life Mentorship of Jesus: A Millennial’s Perspective on Learning from Others
I was at a women’s conference in Oklahoma, and the leader of the conference had us pick a question to discuss at our table. My table’s question was, “What do you have to offer other generations?”
A woman with beautiful grey hair who had to be at least 70 looked straight at me, a then 21-year-old woman, and said, “I don’t think I have anything to offer you.” The way my heart felt in that moment is hard to describe, but sadness swept over me because I knew this woman did have something to offer.
While mothers and fathers have an irreplaceable, God-given role in shaping their kids into people of character and faith, grandparents are able to have a unique role in the lives of their grandkids. They model spiritual maturity and dispense the wisdom that comes with that. And they are allotted certain "privileges" from having a deep love for their grandkids while maintaining a unique distance from their day-to-day lives.
Children are just as equipped as adults to spiritually impact their neighborhoods and cities. In prayer, they learn to discern the voice of the Lord for things bigger than themselves when they use all of their senses. We like to call these “prophetic actions” or “action prayers”, and we have found that kids begin to fall in love with prayer times when we think outside the box in this way.
Over the last few years the Lord has given a few of our staff divine strategies that cultivate an environment of creativity for children to jump into Jesus’ lap. We encourage you to try these activities to invite the children in your family or community into a powerful encounter with their loving God.