Safe water is about relationships…and so is the rest of life.

So there’s a great article from Dr. Jonathan Mitchell over at Ministry Spotlight on the importance of relationships in helping the developing people have continuing access to clean water.  He uses the principles developed by Brian Fikkert’s “When Helping Hurts” to show that we can’t just treat the symptoms of poverty, but have to address the deeper underlying issues.

As I gear up for the coming school year, I’ve been meeting with lots and lots of potential volunteers, casting vision for what it means to love middle school students in the name of Christ.  Over and over I’ve talked about relationships as being a (if not the) core component of our ministry model.  If we get students amped up about a specific program or get them to be able to spout specific pieces of information, or not spout certain four letter words, transformation will not have occurred.  We will only have addressed the symptoms.  But if we connect in relationships that model Christ’s incredible love for us, then we have the opportunity to speak to the deeper root issue for us as humans:  our relationships with God, with others, with creation, and even with ourselves are all broken.

When and how have you been investing in relationships recently?


4 Responses to Safe water is about relationships…and so is the rest of life.

  1. missy says:

    “If we want to experience true joy in life, we need to be willing to let pain tutor our soul.” Paula Rinehardt. I have found (and am experiencing now)that joy and pain only come through relationships. Relationships are hard, messy, work, take time and effort. But what is the alternative? To live a life out of relationship is empty, shallow, lonely, scary….

    In relationships we find comfort, companionship, fellowship, support, trust, friendship, laughter…joy!

    Do we really have a choice?

  2. joeldaniel says:

    Great quote & great thoughts! I definitely resonate with what you’re saying. The very essence of relationships is love of the other, and, as I recently read from Wendell Berry, “You can’t give yourself over to love for somebody without giving yourself over to suffering.” Thus, in relationships, we do “let pain tutor our soul” through our willingness to walk with others even through difficulty.

    Thanks, Missy.

  3. Adam Lehman says:

    Great thought. Just met with a fella today over coffee and chatted with him. Talked all about relationship building. Is there ministry that isn’t “relational” ministry?

  4. joeldaniel says:

    @Adam – I think there is, at least in different ways. The Billy Graham Crusade model, for example, I would say wasn’t necessarily relationally based. It sort of was, in that you could bring a friend, but they also advertised like crazy just to get people there and then hope that they would change because of the message. And I don’t want to minimize that model, really. But I do think that there’s been a cultural shift and relationships are more important than ever.

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