I have been impressed by the responses to the previous post on Spirituality of Companioning. It seems we are bumping into some catch 22’s.
Crammed v. Companioning
Our lives are mashed full of meetings, gigs, conferences, travels and events. We have little emotional energy let alone time for lingering, pursuing, and following up others.
This reality takes us out at the knees in all three areas Jesus calls us to abide: with himself, his word and his people.
Further, one’s stomach can get into a knot just thinking of the transparency that happens when we get close to one another over a very long time.
A spirituality of companionship is likely deficient for most of us. Besides, who pursues you?
This may come across a bit dramatic but…..
I implore each of us to make companioning of others a core element of all of our life.
This is the Jesus way of ministry, of leadership, of community, of friendship.
Otherwise, we might find ourselves hiding from one another behind our titles, our schedules, our phones, our weariness. We live the proverbial scene of being in a room full of people and utterly alone.
Philosopher Charles Taylor writes about our society’s image of each of us being “buffered selves.” We individualize everything as we distance ourselves one from another. This is not the biblical reality.
We are one body in Christ, members of one another with Christ as our head. This is not a mere metaphor. This is reality. We are in union with the Son and one another by the Spirit.
In everyday parlance, it comes down to this: Will you be my friend? Will you sit with me and be curious about my story? Will you share yours with me?
The world (and the church) is dying for this sort of companioning.
Principle: Companioning others is not a nice add on if we have time. It is the key element that leads to life change in all of our lives. We cannot mass produce life change.
Bobby Clinton has written that one of seven characteristics of a person who finishes well is extensive mentoring relationships ( and 2/3rds of us do not finish well….).
You can read some of his articles here.Though his writings can be a bit stiff, I would encourage you to at least reflect on the diagram on page 13. Who are the ones in each of these relational areas of your life? If you cannot write a few names down in each arena, I’d encourage you to begin to talk to the Father about him providing more intimate companions and you opening your life to them.
Paul Stanley and Bobby Clinton co-authored this book on mentoring relationships.
My good friends Randy Reese (d) and Rob Loane at Vantage Pointe 3 co-wrote this important book. I highly recommend it. In fact, I highly recommend everyone look into VP3’s The Journey material. All the folks at VP3 are masters of this craft of companioning. It is why they exist. Their material is the best, the very best, I have seen of its kind. Yes, it is costly in time and money but it is life- and community-transformative. I have been through it three times and each group asked for more at the end of the 8-9 month experience. Give VP3 a call, they are brilliant and kind folks. (I am on the VP3 board, but receive nothing for an endorsement. It’s the only board I’ve ever been on where I experience personal formation while sitting in a board meeting!).
If you have some resources to share, please do. But at the end of the day, all we need is a willingness to sit with another and hear their heart.
May the Spirit grant us to grow into being masters of the craft of abiding: with Christ, with his word and with one another.
This sounds good, and would love these types of relationships. But this is also discouraging. I do not know how to get started at this stage of life. And The Journey sounds like another program.
I share your skepticism of programs. VP3’s material is not a program. Yes, it does have some content, but what it does is frame conversations around one’s identity, calling and narrative. This is not a “how to” course, it is a relationship/community building experience that also grows us in self-awareness. I hope to lead a group again this fall in my own church. Life-changing….relationship building….
As far as where to start – there is so much false pressure on being some sort of guru with the answers. I don’t know about you but I am not looking for answers, I am looking for a friend. Someone to have coffee with me and just draw me out on what I am noticing in life, how I feel about that, and what I sense God is up to. All questions, no answers.
Be encouraged. God is always ahead of us working in all our lives.
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