One of the most important elements for any healthy ministry team is that of unity, trust, and adherence to the commands to love, admonish, exhort, encourage, teach, receive, honor, serve, greet, and forgive ONE ANOTHER.
These are some “one another” passages I compiled for my leadership team for our most recent Leadership Summit. To just hear/read these passages once, would not do service to who we are called to be as believers. Our identity as representatives of Christ is found within these passages. This isn’t a post about who we can be, it is a declaration of who we ARE. If we will only embrace these passages with all our heart, who knows the blessings God will pour out upon us for His glory…
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’”[a]
12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.
48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
1 Corinthians 1:10-17
10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[a]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into[b] the name of Paul? 14 I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16 (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature[a]; rather, serve one another in love.
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:11-15
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
1 Peter 1:22-23
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.[a] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 3:8-13
8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.11 He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a] 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?”
1 Peter 5:5-6
5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”[a] 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 John 3:10-18
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:23-24
23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 4:7-12
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son[a] into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for[b] our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
After I spent some time reflecting in prayer and reading re: the issue of division and gossip in a group setting, I discovered some of its anatomical structure. Here is a progression that seems to fit the physiological flow of how a person ends up “falling” into the “pit” of gossip and eventually total dissention (NOTE: it usually never just shows up and takes over…it slowly creeps in and takes over like a cancer, until it claims all the victims who are willing to yield to its lure of temporary power and self-justification):
3. Offense at something/someone
4. Self-Justification and Bitterness set in
5. Resentment, desiring no resolution; will not forgive, doesn’t care to be forgiven
6. Total Dissention and recklessness toward an individual or group of individuals
7. Hatred (Matt. 5:21-24)
8. Murder (not recommended!)
In light of the reality of this potential in all individuals and teams, it would be good for all of us to repent of our pride once we realize the potential onset of our own preferences at the expense of the priorities of what and who Jesus is calling us to do and be.
If you and/or your team are struggling with disunity, division, gossip, and good old fashioned toxicity, it sometimes helps to prophetically speak Life, Love and Hope in faith over yourself and/or your team. Sometimes that may need to happen in private, and other times in public.
One of my pastor friends, Dale Oquist, said it this way in the context of Nehemiah 8:9-12: “It is appropriate to weep for a time, as long as that weeping ends with rejoicing!” As those who believe Jesus is the Son of God and RISEN from the dead, we know that death is not the end! Therefore, everything in Christ is full of life and joy in the end!
Here are some of the declarations of faith I spoke over our team in light if the above “one another” passages:
Encouragement is our NEW mode of communication.
Unity is our Prayer and Goal, just as it was Jesus’ in John 17:20-26
Love is our “Go to” when we’re confused on WHAT to do
Trust toward each other is our foundation when it seems shaky all around
Believing the BEST about each other is our mindset when we don’t know what to believe
Forgiving each other is our FIRST action when we feel wronged or slighted
Honesty is STILL the BEST policy!
And one I didn’t get to say in our leadership summit, but totally believe:
We don’t want BLIND Leaders, but we DO want KIND Leaders! Meaning, though encouragement is our main mode of communication, we accept “push back” from each other, so long as it is done in a kind hearted manner that instructs and builds up in love.