Ours has been a slow, steady progress over the last (almost) two years since I announced a shift from focusing on training individuals to a focus on training an entire group. First I did a lot of vision casting. They didn’t really get me or where I wanted to go, but it was intriguing enough to keep going for them. Then we started working on building community, passing through the various stages a group has to go through in order to become a real community, such as pseudo-community and chaos. Then we worked on conflict resolution (using great material from Peacemaker Ministries). We learned together how to hear God’s voice (using great material from Communion with God Ministries) and practiced hearing together. We had seminars on how to pray for each other, values clarification, practiced caring for one another, and did a Bible study on the 30 mutuals of body life (from the 30 “each other” places in the NT).
With this retreat, w
e turned a corner – from community building to team building. In my reckoning, the former is about harmonious agape relationships – koinonia, which describes who we are to each other. The latter is more action-oriented. I suppose the closest biblical term for team is church, except that the church is charged with being both inward focused and outward motivated. Of course spiritual gifts are not only used for outreach but for the building up of the body. Our retreat leader uses them both in the context of what he calls “Body Building Roles” and “Team Styles.”
Our leader, BTW, was my own personal ministry coach from our mission, Steve Hoke. I’ve been meeting with him by Skype semi-regularly for several years now and have benefited tremendously from his investment in me and my work here. So it was a real blessing for me, and rewarding for him, to finally see the fruit of my labors here in Russia.
Now that we are back from the retreat, the pace of change as we work towards forging a healthy and effective team has been greater than I could have possibly expected. But I’ll leave that for another post!