The Power of the Other

About eighteen months ago, a Pinnacle Forum Partner commented to me that “the kingdom of God advances at the speed of relationships.”

I think we all give at least lip service to the importance of relationships, and it’s certainly clear in the gospel that relationships (with God and others) are of primary importance to Him.

But the older I get, the more I’m realizing how much I (dare I say we?) have yet to learn about the importance, influence and impact of healthy, quality relationships.

I’m currently reading a book, recommended to me by my friend Chuck Bryant, titled The Power of the Other, by Dr. Henry Cloud. What is striking to me, just in the early pages, is the points he makes about how relationships literally impact us physiologically and neurologically. On p. 17 he writes:

We are talking about specific qualitative relational connectedness. Neuroscience has shown us that these kinds of relationships, even seemingly insignificant ones, greatly enhance performance and even help build, fuel, and sustain the physical connections hardwired in the brain.

This is more than the emotional and spiritual benefits of relationships, as valuable as those are. This is change that occurs in us, in our brains, as a result of having these relationships.

Later, he discusses the typical approaches presented to leaders to improve themselves, noting that they all focus on what each of us should do individually, to ourselves, such as improving personal time management, or our communication abilities, or our ability to adapt.

These “are certainly valid” he writes, “but insufficient.” He states:

The problem is that you can’t just change them on your own. You are already at your limits with the equipment you have. But your abilities will be changed, and your equipment will grow, as these capacities are developed in certain kinds of relationships.

As I’m reading these profound observations, I’m astounded by the enormous potential we have through Pinnacle Forum to make this kind of growth and change in each of us possible. Our Forums provide a superb platform for the development of the very kinds of qualitative relationships Dr. Cloud says help us grow beyond what is seemingly the limits of our capabilities.

As Christians, the better we understand relationship, and the better we live in relationships, the better we live. As one Christian scholar wrote many years ago, we become “fully human.” At least on some level, we get this, but my hunch is we habitually underestimate it. I know I do. Isn’t it remarkable that, the more science learns, the more it confirms that the way God made us, that He made us for relationships, affects our being in every way possible, even down to the wiring in our brains?

There are two phrases I typically use to describe Pinnacle Forum. The first is that I tell people we exist to “connect, encourage, equip and empower” influential Christian leaders. The second is “we’re a connector, a catalyst, a conduit and an accelerator” for Christian leaders to live out the full potential of their calling to transform the culture for Christ.

The key to this is the Forum experience, the facilitator for creating, building and sustaining the kinds of relationships God wants us to have. As Cloud would say, these opportunities we have through our Forums enable us to live beyond our capabilities, and I would add, be and do for God in ways we may not even be able to imagine.

So when someone asks you, “what is the value proposition of Pinnacle Forum?”, one answer you can give is that what we offer is the opportunity to be empowered and accelerated in everything we do, because we are in quality relationships that are anchored in Christ. Now THAT’S a value proposition, and it’s far, far bigger, I think, than we realize.

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