The development of one-on-one relationships

NextRelationship building as a means of community organizing was the focal point of a discussion facilitated by Pastor Patrick Daymond during the NEXT Church national gathering in Charlotte.

Speaking at First Presbyterian Church on March 5, Daymond highlighted the need to develop meaningful one-on-one relationships in dealing with others, all in an attempt to build up the church community.

“It’s very important for the church of today and the NEXT Church,” said Daymond, senior pastor at Memorial Presbyterian Church in Roosevelt, N.Y.

“Americans are among the loneliest people in the world,” Daymond continued. “For most of us having access to people is not the issue. We can follow on Facebook or Twitter. But most of us have a very skewed definition of what a meaningful relationship is. Not many of us engage in meaningful face-to-face communication.”

While speaking from a societal point of view regarding the lack of meaningful communication, Daymond also associated that same issue to the church.

“It’s not just a problem with society at large, it’s also a problem in our congregations,” Daymond said. “It’s not too often that we have heart-to-heart, one-on-one communication with our fellow church members. So, we can draw the conclusion that something is missing between people and congregational life.”

Daymond pointed out that sharing between people should be an integral part in congregational life to bring the kingdom of God to earth, to enhance and uplift human life.

“Our world is plagued by a myriad of problems, and people are looking for answers,” Daymond said. “To deal with the problems effectively, many like us gathered in this room work together in large numbers. But it’s those relationships that are vital to connections in the community. The point I want to emphasize is the quality of the larger world we live in is determined by the quality of our one-on-one relationships.”

So why emphasize one-on-one relationships? Well, Daymond said they allow for invitation, connection, self-interest, evaluation and issue clarification. He spoke specifically about engaging others in a task and holding them accountable, making them feel responsible for what takes place.

Daymond said self-interest also is a key in one-on-one relationships when it comes to community building.

“We don’t want people to be selfish, and we don’t want people to be selfless,” he said. “I don’t believe we serve a God who wants us to be walked all over. What we want to be is self-interested, not only in the interests we hold dear but those of the organization we’re working with.”

Daymond added that the one-on-one scenarios work when people are on the same page and understand the passion others have in a particular cause.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” he said.

He told members in attendance that one-on-one settings should be public but personal conversations between individuals that link them into the larger organization

“The aim is pragmatic and instrumental,” he said. “It is to link the person into the larger organization and give the organization the ability to act. It’s more than just becoming a friend.”

The goals, Daymond said, are to develop a relationship, discuss the self-interest and ask the person to act, drawing them in to the community being built.

“People turn to the church (staff) to help with problems. The goal of community organizing is to help people understand that pastors alone can’t fix these problems,” he said. “It takes the engagement of the whole church to deal with them. We have to become the living body of faith with the responsibility of bringing to kingdom of God to earth.”

Doing that requires relationships with others rather than dwelling in a state of loneliness.

“It’s no secret ours is a culture craving relationships,” Daymond said. “We were designed to live in relationships. Without them, we die. God created us to be in relationships, and the church has an opportunity to be reborn, renewed through them. The church and society will only be as strong as the most meaningful relationships.

“Community organizing has a lot to teach us. The question is: Are we willing to learn?”