Finding the safe place in the expert culture

Joe Banner, a so-called football expert, said the Eagles would win the Super Bowl. They lost their first game this season.

My cell multiplied the other day. It’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of something. My favorite part was that we had new folks join us even at our final meeting.

Mike’s getting geared up to lead. We’ve worked together for a little less than a year, and I think we’re ready to go. He’s a confident guy, filled with freedom in Christ, so he’s ready to take a swing. But not everyone is. Leading can be fairly intimidating and nerve-wracking, in fact.

It’s hard to think you can do it, right? Like you are qualified to do it. Hopefully one of the proverbs might help her along if she was having that problem: One doesn’t need to be smart or completely trained to be a fulfilled Christian.

It’s so easy to question yourself as a leader; to wonder about whether you are worth getting trained, whether you can actually help bring someone to Jesus, multiply your cell, disciple someone. These are big problems in our professional, expert-driven culture. We have to know exactly what to do and how. We have to know what non-paying visitors to our coffee shop can use the bathroom or which ones can’t. It’s a complicated world and, honestly, we are forced to navigate it by ourselves. The state doesn’t give us instruction, just laws. Corporations take advantage of our isolation. I think the Body of Christ is an antidote.

The cell leaders were wondering about this on Monday. The subject was about bringing “healing in conflict.” When you hear that, you might immediately consider your insecurities and your limitations and feel like you can’t do your part. It sounds rather grandiose. But, we follow a great God, a great Savior, and so our grand aspirations and goals might just fitting.

I think that’s an important place to start. How do you bring healing in the midst of conflict as a leader, as a Christian? Well, for now, you don’t have to be an expert to do your part. God has given you stuff, stuff that your pastor and Coordinator have discerned along with you, to be the pastor of your cell. That doesn’t mean you’re perfect and I don’t think that it should inflate your ego particularly, but I think you can be a healing presence in your cell. For one, you don’t have to make it up as you go along. It isn’t just about what is within you and within your mind and experience, it’s about what we’ve agreed to.

I think including people in our mission is a great way for them to grow. Opportunities for service, participation, community, and prayer abound just in your cell. We are creating an environment where healing can happen because people have to relate. We’re on a great team and I think there’s power, and a lot of experience in that. More than that, you are a child of God, and he made you to be his loved one.

I can relate, though, even as I was preparing for the training on Monday, I wondered; “bring healing?” Do I even do that? How do I do that? I felt insecure. I was kind of embarrassed as I recalled five years ago this month. It’s when we planted North Broad. I was 24 years old. And I kept thinking what were they thinking? I suppose the big thing “they” were thinking is that I wouldn’t do it alone, based on my measly experience and limited education, and that I was doing it on a team, with others.

One of the most important things we can do as leaders, and cell leaders in particular, is create a space. I try to always emphasize at our cell’s meeting and our Sunday meetings that safety is our main goal. We want people to know that this is not a coercive place and that in the safety, we can be saved. You don’t have to be an expert to do that. But you do have to be intentional.

I think your faithfulness, availability, and teachability can be your best assets. Expertise? Well, that can come later, if ever.

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