Engagement guidelines

“Being sensitive to those who are different.”

The apostle Paul repeatedly emphasized that love is to flavor all we say and do when we’re together in Jesus’ name. But some of our natural ways of relating to each other can be easily misunderstood or create difficulties and tensions in those times (e.g. dominating, rambling, knowing-it-all, inflexibility, sharp disagreements, superficiality, interrupting, side-talking, sarcasm, etc.).

It can therefore be very liberating to discuss and agree in advance on some practical guidelines (“rules of engagement”) to help us interact as a group in orderly, respectful and spiritually-productive ways.

That's why Paul sometimes sent specific, culturally-sensitive instructions to one church that he didn't duplicate for them all. Certain violations of "etiquette" were more serious in some locales than others (like men having long hair or women in the assembly not covering their heads), and a "hot topic" in one church might be a complete non-issue in another (like having too many prophets wanting to speak at the same time).

For our day, many "engagement guidelines" can be lifted right out of scripture, but others may also need to be composed for the protection and welfare of a particular group.

TEACHING IDEAS - To help you present this "essential" to your group(s) so they will adopt and apply it, click on these two links: Engagement Guidelines and
Follow-up Survey.