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Friday, 20 September 2013

Dealing with Disconnection

I have said that I think God is doing something in terms of realigning parts of his Body in the UK for his purposes in our generation. I don't pretend to understand all that's happening, but people are finding each other again, some are discovering new significant relationships for the future, and yet others are also finding a deepening and strengthening of old connections with a surge of fresh life and commitment in them. It's all good!

But for some of us, it has also involved disconnection and that has been difficult at times. By disconnection I mean the leaving of a denomination or network, the ending of a working partnership with certain people, churches, ministries etc.who have been significant in your journey so far. It is vital to understand that such disconnection does not necessarily indicate that anything is wrong or bad about the people we are disconnecting from; it is simply responding to what we perceive is the Spirit's rearranging of things (though you probably won't fully realise what is happening at the time). Disconnection should never be about criticising past relationships.

New connections mean the Spirit-led forming of new relationships - not necessarily the joining of a new denomination or network (maybe this new thing God is doing will challenge such an idea of 'joining' a 'something' and be focused far more on relationship, friendship and mutual honouring) - but with a sense that this is for purpose even though you may not fully know what, or how it's going to unfold.

The kind of disconnection I am talking about will usually mean an end to a close working partnership, but it need not lead to an end in relationship. I think we are in a new season where people can disconnect but still honour one another, maintain relationship, seek advice and input from one another as appropriate etc. - to a much greater degree than I have ever seen in the past anyway. There are dangers involved in this so for what it's worth, let me give some advice from my own observations:
  1. Don't use dis-connection as an excuse for avoiding the challenges of relationship and community life. 
  2. Recognize that disagreement is compatible with relationship (and perhaps evidence of its health) so does not always (or usually) necessitate disconnection.
  3. If it is clear that it is right to disconnect,do so with grace and peace, and always honour those you leave. 
  4. Try to maintain relationship with those you disconnect from, even when not in active partnership in ministry and church building. . 
Hope that's helpful to some of you out there.  

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