2008 Summit: Let's Connect... Relationship

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Cynthia Nicholson’s excerpts and application taken from Larry McNeill’s outline – “Paul’s Affectionate Attention to Esteemed Colleagues: A Missionary’s Cross-cultural Relationships”

Intro: Paul cultivated relationships with a large number of persons he mentions by name (Col. 1:9-11). To whom is your first level of relationship responsibility?

            Spouse                      Children                     fellow missionaries     

            AD, RD                      AGWM                       national executives

            District leadership      supporting pastors       supporting churches

            Relatives                  recipients of ministry

1. Thessalonians 1:1 – Paul acknowledges Silas and Timothy as participating with him.

            -- Give credit and share credit, as a writer quotes a source

            -- Negative example: newsletter that intimates the results are solely because of the

            efforts of the reporting missionary

2. 1 Corinthians 16:18 – Paul says these people deserve recognition

            -- Honor to whom honor is due

            -- Example: Lorene Gould explained in Paraguay’s 50th anniversary why

            missionaries stay and even come back after retirement; they feel loved and

            accepted, despite flaws.

3. 2 Corinthians 7:6 – Paul recommends Titus to them, acknowledging his enthusiasm and his personal initiative.

            -- Give room to the “movers and shakers” and those with different styles

4. Romans 16 – Relationships with Co-workers

            A. Women

                        -- Phoebe: “servant” is translated “deacon” whenever the same word

                        applies to a male

                        -- Priscilla and Aquila – juxtaposed names

                        -- Junias (clearly a female name) – imprisoned with Paul, listed among the


            B. Timothy (v. 21) – no one else like him

                        -- some rise to the top

5. Philemon – (v.10-23) Onesimus and Epaphras

            -- slaves and prisoners are equals

            -- all people are bearers of the imago dei, whatever their education, race or status

6. Colossians – 10 Coworkers

            A. Recommendations for how to build relationships over time

                        1. Recognize that love comes from God

                                    -- ask him to help yo see that person through his eyes

                                    -- build trust by sharing personal stories, adding more intimate

                                    details over time (as safety is established through trustworthiness)

            B. Stages of team building for projects and specific purposes

                        1. forming – establish roles, goals, rules

                        2. storming – members disagree, are defensive, compete, choose sides,

                        clash for control, blame team

                        3. norming – begin to understand one another, harmony is established;

                        confidence built, cohesion, spirit unifies

                        4. performing – effective, cohesive unit, constructive self-change (can take

                        on a new member or two at this point)

                        5. adjourning –  bittersweet good-byes, lifelong friendships result.

            C. Effective Communication: ICU model for both speaker and listener, focusing

            on the feelings behind the words

                        1. I – Identify the feelings

                        2. C – Care

                        3. U – Understand

Conclusion: Personal investment in interpersonal as well as cross-cultural relationships will benefit the missionary as well as all those with whom he/she connects.