Reach OutThe independent spirit we celebrate so vigorously in this country has isolated us from each other – with devastating consequences. Our culture has lost the power of community. This attack on our civilization touches all areas of life.

The power of economics has driven owners and management teams to employ various methods for correcting the problem (e.g., team building workshops, peer review, open workspaces). Still, there is something missing. In the workplace, teamwork is lauded and promoted, but true community is rarely achieved.

After work, we drive into our gated communities, pull into our garages… and shut the door. Our neighbor is someone we don’t know that lives next door.

In our families, immediate generations often live geographically distant from one another. Family reunions have become an oddity. In the home, parents and children live in private rooms, and in their electronics (even at the same table). The enemy is using the divide- and-conquer strategy quite well.

How do we fight back?

On a recent service trip to Jordon, I discovered something that I believe will have a greater impact against the spirit of isolation than taking away our children’s electronics, or making people work in the same space. It is the power of story.

There were two questions we were encouraged to ask during our visits to the homes of Syrian refugees.

  1. What is your story?
  2. What are your hopes?

Both were intended to be cathartic for the families that had suffered so tragically from the civil war. But what we experienced went beyond conversational therapy. In the matter of minutes, these two questions created relationship.

The first of these questions says, “I care about you and what you have been through to get to this point.” The second, “I want to hear what you hope your story will be going forward.” The first is about the past; the second about the future.

In the middle, there is the present – where we are right now – a place protected by the care we have for one another. Why “one another”? Because asking these two questions invites the one you are asking to ask you the same. And, get this, it happened every time.

Jesus has been praying, for over 2000 years, that our Father in heaven would make us one as He and the Father are one (John 17:23). The power of story is a gift of God to turn our culture back to the strength of relationship and community.

Workplace Ministry Tip: The power of story goes beyond the limitations of contract. Don’t just know your partners – build relationship with them (and their spheres of influence). Give your employees opportunities to share their stories, and their hopes. Encourage them by sharing your own.

Humbly yours and forever His,