Have you ever received an email from a friend or associate that you knew to be bogus? Maybe it was a nice story or an illustration that really stirred you. Obviously, it meant something to your friend or he wouldn’t have forwarded it to you. However, you had an inner hunch that it wasn’t true… it was fiction. Because you’re a good friend, you check out the story or illustration on www.truthorfiction.com. Indeed, you were right. It’s bogus. It’s fiction. Your friend has been duped. Bless his poor soul! Trying your best not to be smug or to come across as a “know it all,” you forward the link to him from the website previously cited. You feel good about setting the record straight and saving your friend any future embarassment.
I wonder…. have you ever been duped? It’s not a great feeling! In my post last week, I cited a story about Sir Fleming and Sir Winston Churchill (and their respective sons). The story was excellent. Contextually, it encouraged the reader to be involved in good works– thus, the title of my post: The Cell: A Wellspring of Good Works. The only problem….yep, you guessed it! The story was bogus. One kind soul notified me of my error in a very appropriate way. If the story stirred you, then great. But, take it out of your sermon illustration file immediately! I apologize for the error.
This error on my part led me to be transparent with you. I think that’s important– not only in leadership, but also in cell life. Transparency opens the door for meaningful dialogue and the deepening of relationship. Don’t misunderstand. I didn’t purposely pitch you a bogus story last week so that I could set you up for a post on transparency. I’m not that clever! But, since we’re here… let me share a few ideas concerning transparency and your cell.
Transparency says, “Here’s what’s true about me.” It is rooted in humility. “Nothing in all creation can hide from him [God]. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done” (Hebrews 4:13).
The cell leader/pastor is the key for transparency to flow openly and freely. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). If your cell members don’t know your pain/shortcomings/growth spots, then they probably don’t know you very well.
Understand the difference between transparency and vulnerability. Again, transparency says, “Here’s what’s true about me.” Vulnerability says, “Here’s what’s true about me and would you come alongside me?” Vulnerability is asking for help. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Transparency may lead to vulnerability, but it is quite rare. Vulverability requires immense trust.
Confidentiality is key for transparency to exist in your cell. What is shared in the cell gathering goes no further than the cell gathering.
Prayer and intercession prepare the way for your cell members to embrace transparency. Let us pray accordingly.
Speaking of prayer, please take a moment right now and ask God’s healing presence…His care and comfort…His strength to rest upon the Virginia Tech administration, faculty, students, and families.
Watch out for those bogus stories and may we be a part of a TRANSPARENT cell church community.
I know you have much to share on this topic. Please do so.