I still can't stop thinking about connections. And I have recently had a number of significant conversations with people about this; so I have a few more posts on this subject to come over the next few days. I have suggested that the re-configuring of relationships and partnerships in the Church right now has meant disconnection for some. Where this has meant being honest when an historical connection has come to an end and recognising that God has new and fresh life-links for us on the next stage of our journey, that's a healthy thing even if it involves pain in the process. Some pain is healthy. Such disconnections have resulted in the formation of new groups, partnerships, ministries, networks etc and this also can be a good thing. But I have one word of warning to set alongside these observations.
On our recent travels, especially in the States, two things stood out for me: the first I blogged about here - my world has been too small. The other is that there are a lot of really good churches and ministries around the world that have built something of substance and significance over the long-haul. And it made me realise that I do not want to be part of something that is continually fragmenting and splintering into smaller and smaller pieces - that is not healthy. I value vital connections but I also value continuity. Discovering vital connections may involve disconnection at some stages of life, but we must really value those connections when we have them and work at maintaining and strengthening them. If the reconfiguring degenerates into constant disconnecting and an under-valuing of enduring relationships, I believe we will have misunderstood the Spirit's intention. Many of us have appreciated the ministries flowing out of Bethel Church in Redding, CA - what is interesting to note is how long some of those guys have walked together in friendship and ministry over the years. There is continuity. And an important lesson they have learned and passed on is to value relationship above agreement. If connection depends on agreement, get ready for a lot more fragmentation.
Some readers may see only contradiction between disconnection and continuity. I think both are important. And I hope by setting the two together I will help readers who are experiencing the present re-configuration to still really value continuity as well as vital connections.