This post is by Brian Boitmann. Brian is a creative communicator, social entrepreneur and founder of the missional enterprise Acts of Sharing, a platform designed to enable a return to the radical generosity practiced by the first church in Acts 4:32. You can find Brian on twitter here.
Have you ever felt both completely qualified and unqualified to write something at the same time? That’s about where I am.
We’re into year 4 with Acts of Sharing, a social enterprise (kingdom venture) committed to enhancing sharing and giving in churches and other communities according to the culture of the church described in Acts 2 and 4. As we’ve walked through creating tools to help others to practice the culture of the first church, we’ve also had to walk through what it looks like for our team to practice “Acts of Sharing” as an organization. In going back to our mission verse, Acts 4:32, I’ve been able to identify three important markers for defining how well we care for each other.
“All those who believed were one in heart and mind; no one considered anything to be his own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:32
1. “One in heart and mind”-
Remaining on the same page. Many startups/nonprofits/churches have people working in different capacities (part-time, full-time, volunteers). Ours is no different, and it can be easy to look to our broader goals and mission to accomplish, without taking stock of the health of our team. So often we start running without learning how to run together, and it looks like a really bad ten-legged race. Acknowledging what each person on our team brings and how they fit together as a part of the whole seems pretty basic, but once we start running it feels natural to look forward looking toward the finish-line and not to our left and right at our running-mates. I need to be reminded where I fit, and so do that people around me. That “fitted-ness” helps us to move together in one motion toward the calling we’ve received.
2. “No one considered anything to be his own”
Receiving everything and everyone as gift. So often I forget to acknowledge the gifts and talents each person is giving and continues to give as a part of Acts of Sharing. We have amazing people who go far and beyond what would be good in order to make great things happen. Many times I find myself looking ahead to the next task without rejoicing for what’s been done right in front of me. When I take joy in each person on our team and value what God is doing in and through them, I’ve noticed how much healthier and connected I feel as a whole. And I notice how much I need that same affirmation as a leader. Receiving each person as a gift from God has helped me to delight in the way He is fitting our talents together for His purposes, and be present to enjoy each moment of the ride.
3. “They shared everything they had”
Rejoice and mourn together as a community. When our team is hitting on all cylinders and growing together, authentic friendships are fostered as a result. At the beginning of our missional enterprise, I struggled to separate relationship and work, probably because of words like “holistic” and a desire not to compartmentalize faith and work. That may have worked well for me in theory, but it created confusion as to expectations and accountability for each member of our team. As we’ve tightened up our time and worked more efficiently together, relationship has flowed naturally out of our honoring of one another’s time and gifts. It also becomes easier to share and bear each other’s burdens from the passing of family members to difficult shifts in the direction and strategy of our organization.
It’s freeing when everyone is on the same page.