I have a bug in this computer. I am slowly finding my way to a clean it out. I used my old malware program and it found a couple of things to fix. But it did not get to the one that is bothering me. So I have to do something about it. I am.
Of course this made me think about my relational system and the “bugs” that are infecting my friends and how sometimes, even they become “infections” in our body. The “malware program” in our body of Christ is probably the cell leaders. They do things about things.
I had a couple of small connections with cell leaders recently that made me glad that we have downloaded some good software to protect us. By exploring the boundaries of life in Christ and of our life together they are doing something about what might diminish community.
For instance, one of them is wondering how to care for a member of the cell who hasn’t been feeling well for quite a while. The person needs to make a realtionship with a therapist — it is not unusual to be depressed and therapy is good for the long-term depressed. But most people resist making a commitment to therapy, often for the same reasons they need therapy — so we need to be careful and gracious with each other as we walk with our friends in the direction of the counseling office. But a cell leader, or any caring friend, will need to do something. We don’t need to leave everyone alone, as if that is loving them, or as if we will be invading the sanctity of their individuality if we are concerned. Or worse, we don’t need to leave them alone because we don’t want to take responsibility for someone and steal their freedom — or even worse, because we fear we aren’t supposed to think we can actually influence someone for good.
It remains to be seen what this cell leader can accomplish. But it makes the world a better place when people try. It makes the body better when we try to catalyze change for the better — like the change we are promised in Christ.
Megan said a couple of things in the meeting last night that made me glad for cell leaders and for women leaders, in particular. For one thing, she talked about what she was learning from Circle of Hope Daily Prayer about doing the word. She got people to raise their hands if they were using it. That kind of honest curiosity could be considered kind of pushy. But it is what leaders do. They don’t violate our boundaries to dominate us (if they are leading with Jesus, at least), but they don’t assume: 1) we are hiding or 2) that we need to be protected or 3) that we are not available to be ourselves and tell the truth. Assuming we are present, open, and willing to participate is good for us. Sometimes it even changes our minds about what we are capable of doing.
It remains to be seen if anyone further avails themselves of our daily discipline tool because she talked about it. But it makes the atmosphere of our church more authentic to know that some people think that daily prayer is crucial and that doing the word with the others who are using our daily prayer guide is important.
Another Cell Leader brought a neighbor to the PM ast night. This is not the most unusual thing that ever happened, but it takes quite a bit of effort every time it happens. I know she had to cross some human boundaries to get into a relationship with her neighbor; she needed to make time to include a new friend in her life, which always sounds easy until you do it. She had to make it known that she was deeply involved in her church, which might have seemed scary. Then she had to extend an invitation to the meeting, make the logistics doable and then usher her friend into the room. This seems like a theoretically small thing to do – it is perfectly natural to include someone socially. But it only seems natural until you try to do it again. Most of us don’t do it.
It remains to be seen if her new friend becomes a comfortable, then reproducing, member of the church. But it generates life when a leader, or anyone, goes out of their typical way to make a new relationship.
There was some boundary-pushing, not breaking, going on with these cell leaders. They were doing something about it. One was probing the possibilities of deeper spiritual and psychological health. One was stepping over the edge of the safest parameters of our typical dialogue. One was moving off her normal track and making a new relationship. It all took the courage to take a step that seemed a bit ahead of the rest of us. It was daring to push the boundaries out a little, to include a person in possibilities for psychological health, in mutual spiritual discipline, or in community.
Walking ahead or beside someone into new territory and establishing new boundaries might be the essence of leading. My example of the malware program is too static to be fully applicable to the organism we are. Isn’t a malware sweeper just trying to keep one’s system free from something that disrupts it or takes it in a direction we don’t want it to go? Our Cell Leaders might detect what “bugs” others, but their technique is more about opening up the system to the greater possibilities of life in Christ, not just eradicating bothersome stuff.
It remains to be seen what will result from the work of these good people. But it also remains to be seen whether what Jesus did will result in what we hope it will. Jesus is certainly probing, moving us toward the edge of what is better and consistently holding out his arms to receive a new friend. He’s always doing something about it. So far, his efforts have made a miraculous impact. We don’t know what’s next, for sure, but I think we could expect more of the same. Our Cell Leaders, for sure, are doing something about it.