Relationship Health: Celebrate Our Differences

Kim Martinez 2Our church was in the middle of a building project, and the new sanctuary was almost done. On Sunday morning I overheard a board member: “We should never have given her (the pastor’s wife) the authority to pick out the color. That isn’t white. It’s pink!”

This was my first building project, but it wasn’t my last. There is something about aesthetics that brings out the best and the worst in us. Whether it is the color of the carpet, the style of the pew, the genre of the artwork or angle of the lighting; for every decision there is a myriad of opinions. How can you stay positive when people are lined up on all sides, ready to shoot?

Paul exhorted the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord. When trials, troubles and disagreements come, we have to make a choice to focus on the positive. Disagreement isn’t the problem.

  • If everyone agreed, we would lose the tension that causes us to always strive for the best.
  • If everyone agreed, we would never color outside the lines to discover something new.
  • If everyone agreed, life would be boring.

The problem occurs when we choose to focus on our points of disagreement. God created us each unique. We are supposed to see things differently—that is what makes us a great Body. So, instead of spending time focusing on what we disagree about, we have to choose to focus on the positive.

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Here are some ideas for celebrating what God is doing in your congregation and helping people focus on the positive:

  • Miracles. Regularly feature a 3-5 minute video interview with someone in your congregation who has seen God move miraculously.
  • Missions. Take time at least monthly to give an update on missions projects around the world. What would it look like to Skype with a missionary during the service?
  • Memories. When you are in any big project, take lots of pictures. Create presentations that will demonstrate how people with different abilities work together to make a difference while celebrating the joint accomplishment.
  • Milestones. Celebrate milestones throughout your congregation. We often focus on climbing to new heights and forget to celebrate what we’ve attained.

The sanctuary of that church I interned at did eventually get finished. The walls were definitely a bit pinkish, but with the lighting, stark white would have been abrasive. We ended up with one of the most beautiful sanctuaries I’ve ever been in. The people with design gifts did a great job. Once the project was done, everyone was able to fully appreciate the work.

“Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” (Phil. 3:1).

Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor with a Masters of Theology from Fuller Seminary. She is a ministry and life development coach, and can be found online at www.deepimprints.com. She writes a weekly column for ministrytodaymag.com.

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