Today I am going to continue to address the issues of relationship for leadership. It is important that leadership leads as a team of relationally connected leaders. The glue of the team will be true relationships within the team, not mere common tasks of ministry.
Last week I began to layout the steps that lead to the destruction of relationships within a leadership team. I addressed offences, judgments, defilements, and separation by differences. Offenses lead to judgments, judgments lead to defilement, and defilement leads to separation by differences. When destructive forces infiltrate a relationship to this level the individual members of a relationship no longer live for the corporate testimony of the relationship, but begin to measure things in their circumstance with self-focused agendas and thoughts rooted in a defensive survival mentality.
In review, the foundation of a life‐giving relationship is based upon a motivation of commitment. Each member sees that their future is connected to the other members of the team. The members of the relationship are then empowered to do works of faith toward one another and the team. Because they realize their future is with one another, they do actions from their heart for one another and the team. They then become activated to respond to the testimony of the relationship. In a marriage, they see themselves as one flesh. In a covenant team they see themselves as one team. Because of these elements each team member then becomes enlightened to the testimony of submission one to another. There is a strong shield of togetherness in the team whereby each member sees himself or herself easily together and seldom apart. The team members are awakened to contribute to the destiny of the relationship because they have a living revelation of the purpose of the team. They are alert to purpose. They live to contribute to the fellowship of the team. Their thought process is to advance the purpose of the team, whether that is a marriage, a leadership team, or a covenant family.
The enemy seeks to destroy relationships, because relationships are the key to the inheritance of God in the earth. Offences seek to destroy commitments. Judgments will resist faith actions in a relationship and fortify self-preserving defensive acts that begin to establish walls of disconnection. Defilements will propagate self-testimonies that close the heart to corporate realities. Disconnections by differences will set foundations for self-seeking divisiveness. A force like the prophetic power becomes a destructive power of negative attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions. There is no submission, but only subversion due to differences.
Now we come to the fifth stage in the destruction of a relationship. This is a stage of apathy. At this stage things become more important than the relationship. Whatever touches us in a natural way becomes more evident to us than any spiritual awareness of the importance of the destiny of the team.
Revelation 6:14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up…
The sky is a testimony of that which is “heavenly”. A strongly connected life-giving relationship is made of members who are awake to one another and to the unseen realities of heaven’s grace in their natural circumstances. When offences lead to judgments, judgments lead to defilement, and defilement leads to separation by differences the members of the relationship spiral down the fall of apathy toward one another in the relationship. They no longer attempt to contribute to the destiny of one another because they are growing cold in a revelation of the purpose of the team. They care about their circumstances more than the purpose of the team. They no longer live to contribute to the fellowship of the team. Their thoughts are not to advance the purpose of the relationship, but to fulfill their own purpose. When a relationship degenerates to this level the testimony of purpose is rolled up in exchange for individual pursuits apart from the fellowship of the relationship. At this point the life of the relationship is coming to an end and those left in the assault of its destruction become distracted by things that get their attention from external places. They have lost the life of the relationship and are now asleep in regard to its purpose. They are no longer awake to its destiny and have abandoned the “sent” or “sending word” of faith for the process of the future of the team. A loss of seeing life in the relationship has caused them to give up and they have yielded to find their fellowship in external places. At this point they no longer give the vowed level of relationship toward the team. They are no longer awake to contribute to the life of the relationship and there is a loss of strength for the future. They now believe the relationship is over and will not and cannot wake up. The antidote is found in their CONTRIBUTION to the sent purpose of the relationship. For the relationship to come back to the course of destiny they must WAKE UP to the purpose of the team!
The next phase in the destruction of a relationship is one of atrophy. Apathy in a relationship quickly degenerates to atrophy. Apathy is the place of not caring, while atrophy is the place of being unable to care.
Revelation 6:14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
When a relationship degenerates to the place of apathy the loss of fellowship leaves the members unable to draw one another to the place of true love. That loss of love is not just the love of commitment, but also the love of connection that seeks to give all that they have for the purpose of the team. They are now bound to logic and human reasoning and cannot see the value of sacrificial love. When a relationship comes to this point of exasperation the members of the relationship exhibit conversations that are no longer for one another and what comes off of them is an attitude of betterment of themselves and no longer betterment for the team. The future of the relationship is now being exchanged for a new reality like the moving of mountains and the isolation of islands. Now the members of the team see themselves bound in the relationship and can only complain about their own lack of resource and supply. They no longer see the community of the relationship as a thing of value. Their thoughts and concerns are about themselves and not thoughts of giving life to the team. When a covenant team reaches this level of degeneration what seemed permanent relationship is changing and drifting apart.
At this stage the failing member or members can no longer freely offer love. They are going through the motions but not giving their hearts to the relationship. There is no more communion in the relationship, because they no longer see the community of relationship as more important than their own personal needs and agendas. Judgments have destroyed unity and sharing. Judgments have triumphed over unity through diversity. There is now a total loss of sharing and intimacy. Self-seeking has weekend their will toward personal agendas in the names of logic and reason. The strongholds of their minds prevent them from being open in their hearts toward the relationship. They have quit living in or for the RELATIONSHIP. Natural works have become evident for they have made judgments according to the flesh. They are no longer planted in the community of the relationship. They are no longer drawn, nor do they draw, a freewill level of love. The antidote is unconditional LOVE – an ability to seek to be the substance and the testimony of life to the relationship.
The final stage of destruction to a relationship is the reality of divorce. At this stage the relationship has manifested to be a testimony of nothingness.
Revelation 6:15 Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains…
This is the testimony of the grave. In the case of a failed relationship, the testimony is now one of burial and dust. There is no more dedication to the future fruitfulness of the relationship. Passion has become lukewarm and has given way to death. There is no more “AWE” in the relationship. The only hope left is for the relationship to return to dust, because there is no more vision of corporate destiny. It has become impossible for the team members to be impassioned to dedicate their lives to one purpose and that purpose is that of the team. A culture of honor has been rejected for a culture of death.
Offenses have caused legitimate needs to be fulfilled illegitimately. The fear of death has empowered judgments of the flesh. The identity of the team has been sacrificed for personal testimonies based upon defilements. Submission to one another has been lost and control and manipulation have damaged the flow of life in the team. An apathetic reality has warranted distraction from purpose by external things. Logic and reasoning has bound the team from knowing the true intimacy of love and the relationship has been fully defeated by a natural testimony of death.
Offenses lead to judgments, judgments lead to defilement, and defilement leads to separation by differences. The measuring of things in the relationship becomes self-focused and apathy spawns a care for external things above the relationship. Logic and reasoning bind the failing members to a stronghold of atrophy toward the future. The result is a divorce and a loss of destiny in the relationship. Can you see how important that first level of connection is? Offences are not worth taking!
Every God-ordained relationship must have within it increasing measures of commitment, faith, response, submission, contribution, love, and dedication. Let’s not forget that the strength of every relationship is only found at its simplest level of its formation. That simplest level is the point of your commitment. That commitment is based upon a revelation of who the others are in the relationship, not what they can do. As I have stated before, I call it a “first love” level of the relationship. The degree of connection to the “first love” level of the relationship will determine the increasing testimony of every other level that follows.
As leaders in the Church we must understand these things and we must live to demonstrate true relationships within our team connections. This is more important than what we say. Who we are as a team will demonstrate God’s grace and will empower those we lead to live in healthy relationships.
Food For Thought
Ted J. Hanson