I've experienced a major breakthrough in ministry. I learned it from my elders over a period of years; the value of communication. While This is nothing new could be shrugged, it is something very new and very needed among us.
By communication, I don't mean information transfer. I mean understanding each others' hearts. Memorial's elders/staff meetings are every Monday morning from 6:30 to 8:00. We have no minutes; old or new. We get together and just talk. Always we work on a few important matters to go over. But the bulk of the time is spent laughing at one of us--usually Ron or me--mixed with sharing stuff that concerns our hearts.
What I'm trying to describe is a secret to an elder/staff relationship I've never experienced nor heard of anyone else experiencing. We communicate heart to heart....not head to head...detail to detail...dot to dot. We have learned to appreciate where the other is coming from.
This has helped me immensely to relate to our part-time staff as well as our members. I've learned over the years what I knew academically but not practically; people vary in thoughts and needs and each variance is terribly important to the kingdom fabric.
I've calmed down. Agitation lessens for while I may not agree, I can understand where opposing views are coming from. The harmony isn't in agreeing on every detail. It is on grasping a truth that those who disagree often have good reason.
When we communicate with understanding---a deep-seated wanting to know why the other thinks the way he or she does---unity is much easier because we really desire to work with all involved. I believe much of the bitterness and hatred in church circles are perpetuated by rumor and assumption....but not by understanding for we rarely listen. We conclude without knowing the person with whom we have the debate.
Communication helps. When we get why some personalities take differing views and then speak to one another repeatedly in conversation as friends, God's work finally has a better chance of leaving the meeting rooms and impacting the streets.