Bill Black

We live in a disconnected society. Despite our tools that make informational connection easier, we find ourselves more isolated from those around us. At times, this disconnection is because of the insulating and impersonal character of those very tools (emails, text messages, voice mails, ipods, etc.). High tech toys and equipment provide communication without self-revelation and without self-risk. Another example of this disconnection is found in the discordant and strident language of division prevalent in politics and religion. This “us versus them” and “they are not like us” language serves to create a climate of separation for us all.

On the other side of the picture, there is a hopeful word common in the language of mission that is prevalent in the Church today. “Partnership” is often heard as a desired expression of relationship between churches and mission people and sites. “Partnership”, while often said without providing the responsibilities found through its definition, is a word of invitation to relationship.

SMRM seeks to address the issues of isolation in our society and of partnership with our churches through the theme of connection.

Our goal is that of connection.
We want to connect to and with God through Jesus Christ.
We want to connect to and with our self-identity and personhood in Christian growth.
We want to connect to and with others through availability in relationship.
We want to connect to and with Churches, organizations, and entities through responsible relationships that provide for mutual accomplishment of mission.
We want to enable others in the discovery of this form of connection.

Connection works to enable a bond between people and entities. Connection has as its expression the concepts of both “to” and “with”. Connection ties us with responsibility and accountability. It is multi-directional in that it provides for flow both to and from. It requires self-revelation and self-risk; vulnerability and authenticity; availability of self and acceptance of others.

Healthy connection does not just happen because we desire it. It requires understanding of relationship and shared expectations and definitions. We must focus on its efforts through our time and purposes.

The connection to all that is Holy is a grace from God through Jesus Christ. Holy connection is both received and given in that grace. Our work in connection must be similarly grace-filled and graceful.


Ministry expressions that focus us on connection include:

Discipline yourself in the realm of Holy connection
Be sure of healthy personal Spiritual connection in, through, and with Jesus Christ
Creatively ask others to speak of their connection to and with God
Explore how their Holy connection works (for individuals, Churches, or organizations)
Facilitate that connection through prayer, personal evangelism, Bible proclamation and teaching

Utilize resurrection theology that invites all to the good and to its life-changing power
Anticipate the good in all and encourage good action through modeling it
Call all to a high standard of self, relationship, and work

Enjoy relationships
Be available personally
Respond when contacted
Engage others
Speak to people as a person
Reward your self-connection with time, activities, and people you need and enjoy

With Churches, organizations, or other entities make sure
of common goal, fit, and purpose in mission
Be clear in the why and how of joining together
Recognize and celebrate different expressions of God’s call
Define responsibilities and accountabilities in relationship

Utilize high tech as a tool, not an end
High touch is greater than high tech
Write it down and do it
Write people personal notes
Call people until you get them
Use your touch