This post is an excerpt adapted from Holding Up the Prophet's Hands: Supporting Church Workers by Bruce M. Hartung.
What would happen if a congregation encouraged its members to develop significant relationships with one another? What if those relationships grew deep and the congregation became a place of authentic personal encounter, with God in Word and Sacrament and with one another, the members of the Body of Christ? Person-to-person relationships create a context in which words of appreciation can be spoken and received as meaningful and truthful. To show true caring for one another requires that members feel safe in making their needs known. It also requires that those who hear about an individual’s need have the desire and the capacity to respond in understanding, practical, and empathic ways.