The Ambassador Of Rich Relationships

Once upon a time there was a pastor with dark good looks, a fine mind, and a voice that made people think God himself was speaking from heaven, or at least from a very tall mountain.

When the pastor began his ministry, he specialized in preaching splendid sermons in well-modulated tones and developing rich relationships with and among members of his flock. The flock prospered and so did the pastor.

His fame spread, and many people wanted to know how he did what he did. He was invited to conferences, conventions, and celebrations. Editors invited him to write books and articles. Media specialists asked him to bring his baritone to tape cassettes. He accepted.

His star continued to rise, and he received a call to a more glamorous parish. He accepted.

The combination of dark good looks, fine mind, and vibrant voice continued to push him ahead in this new setting. He was asked to serve on prestigious boards and keynote important meetings. He flew everywhere to tell others the story of relational theology and the importance of building strong relationships in the ministry. “People change through relationships, not through dogmatic diatribe,” he said dogmatically. And he continued to speak with boundless enthusiasm to crowds around the country and even in other countries.

Meanwhile, back at the local church, members of his staff were lonely. They rarely saw him. They did their best to run the church, but they missed their leader. Oh, he still preached on Sundays. He always flew in from wherever he happened to be on a Saturday night so he could “pastor his flock” as he often said.

The man most hurt by it all was the staff member who had been hired with the promise of rich relationships and team ministry. ...

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