Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts

Posted on 17 Aug 2013 in Christianity, Discipleship, Leadership, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The whole is greater than the sum of the parts

I’ve got a weakness for survivalist/minimalist camping shows. Not shows like Survivor; ones like Man vs. Wild, Survivorman, Man-Woman-Wild, and Dual Survivor. My latest addiction is a Discovery Channel gem called Out of the Wild. I just finished the season on Netflix where nine people were dropped into Venezuela for a month and forced to survive off the land. No reward, no prize, no glory; just the satisfaction of beating nature in one of it’s most harsh environments.

Towards the end of the journey, almost thirty days in with little food and dwindling spirits, it’s no wonder that people begin fighting. Tired, weak from lack of food and adequate sleep and missing home, small problems become big ones. Bickering turns into full blown arguments and in-fighting in the group threatens to delay and destroy all that they have worked for.

In the midst of one of these arguments, the lone remaining woman interrupts  and offers wisdom and a fresh perspective.

“Guys, I don’t know what you’re fighting about and it doesn’t really matter. When you fight like this you bring the rest of us down. We all get more drained and don’t reach our goal. We need to set this aside and work together.”

It was an eye-opening experience for the two men. They shamefully agreed that they were acting foolish, reconciled, and made a renewed spirit to work together. The five remaining individuals all reached their goal and finished the wilderness course.

It’s the amazing power of teamwork.

Sadly, the Church seems to spend far too much of its time fighting over things that don’t really matter. Everyone (especially not-yet Christians) get tired of watching it. Instead of the unity and love we are supposed to be showing (John 17) we show bitterness, divisiveness, contempt, and isolation.

And somewhere along the way we figured it was just easier to go it alone.

But we can’t. The life of faith in Jesus was never meant to be done alone, or in isolation from others.

Global Missional Leadership Orientation Advanc...

Community.  (Photo credit: lorenkerns)

And I see it all the time in churches too. After arguing about what color the carpet should be or what color the bathroom walls should be painted or how short to cut the grass, people begin to withdraw and do it ‘their way.’

If you’ve ever, even once, said “This is the way I’m going to do it….” you’ve lost perspective and hurt the church.

God doesn’t want us to be divided. He wants us to live in unity.

And it affects everything you do.

If you’re convinced that what you do doesn’t hurt or help the community, you’re wrong. Everything affects it. 
 Each negative comment.
Every condescending word.
Each snap of anger.
Every belittling remark of betrayal.
All things, at all times affect who your particular community is becoming. For better or for worse, you can’t make choices in isolation. When the community fights or is divisive, others pick up on that and adopt the same attitude. Fighting begets fighting. Only love conquers and stops it dead in it’s tracks. Only reconciliation and a commitment to live in peace can overcome it.
When surviving in the wild, fighting can destroy the team and keep it from accomplishing its goals.
Are our attitudes self serving or are we acknowledging the importance of the whole body of Christ and pursing peace with everyone as much as it is within us? (Romans 12:8)
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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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