Reading time: two minutes. By substantial, I mean real. Jesus heals. The miracles recorded in the Gospel record are living testimony that when Jesus shows up and touches real lives like yours and mine, He makes a difference. All of our relationships are fragile and susceptible to injury. There’s no one that we know so well or love so deeply that our bonds are impervious to destruction; in fact it’s just the opposite. It’s the people with whom we share the greatest intimacy that we are in the best position to hurt with our words and actions. Jesus’ healing touch in families, in churches and in our communities of friendship is real and substantial, and the touch of His grace is, fortunately, always nearby. A loving Christian marriage is a miracle of God’s grace. How amazing it is that the one who knows me the best loves me the most! Congregations that are living up to God’s calling to be communities of love and care are also miracles. There’s nothing in any of us that is strong enough to bind us together. That’s the work of God. The closer we are to people and the greater our passion for the work we do together, the greater the possibility of hurt feelings and broken trust. Marriage vows and ordination/installation commitments ought to include the phrase, “I do solemnly promise to disappoint you, regularly and ceaselessly.” We might as well come right out and say it because that’s what we do best, what comes natural. The potential to disappoint is very real in families and it’s also very real in team ministries. Those involved in Christian service with others called to church work professions are in a particularly dangerous relational situation. No one is asked to do more with fewer resources and of such lasting significance than educators at Christian schools and workers in the church. With so much to do and so little with which to do it, members of team ministries become completely dependent on one another, so disappointment is inevitable, hurt feelings are common, and strained relationships are a way of life. When we confess to one another that we’ve sinned, when we meet at the cross and seek forgiveness and restoration, when the atmosphere of grace and love and peace is restored, when we experience substantial healing, we’re doing our primary work of ministry, not just proclaiming the gospel, but living the gospel. Healthy relationships in churches begin with healthy, gracious relationships on the church staff or among the leadership of the church. God bless you with humility to seek His grace, substantial healing in your relationships, and stories of healing that tell of Jesus living in His body, the Church! Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee? Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!