Pursuing Reciprocal Relationships

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One thing you can do to find community as a leader is to pursue reciprocal relationships. They require two ingredients: depth of relationship and frequency of interaction. So, what do you do when a relationship has only one of the two ingredients? You need to be intentional about adding the missing ingredient to the one that’s present. Here's the bottom line: If you want to add depth or frequency to an existing relationship, you need to have a conversation. That's right, talk to the person about what you want the relationship to look like and ask if he or she is interested in the same thing.

Did your stomach turn when you read that previous paragraph? Mine did when I wrote it. That's because building reciprocal relationships requires vulnerability, and being vulnerable is a little scary (or maybe a lot scary). The risk of rejection is real, but it's probably a lot less likely than you imagine. People are more willing (even eager) to make close friendships than we assume. We all feel a need for community. And if you want to grow as a person and a leader, it's worth the risk of stepping out and being vulnerable. Trust me. Community is a gift of God.

You won't always find community among the people you lead because sometimes God calls you to minister to that group. But you'll still need community if you're going to lead well and avoid burnout. I guarantee that the people of faith you most respect have made reciprocal relationships a nonnegotiable part of their lives—not just for stronger leadership, but because those relationships are essential for overall health.

Who do you know that you need to connect with more deeply or more frequently? What is your best next step to making a conversation happen?