In ONMB Blog

Blog Post: Chapter 11, “TOV Churches Nurture Service”

I am drawn again to the three ‘Cs’ of Polyvagal Theory; context, choice and connection in relation to being a servant. Healthy context, ability to have choice, and healthy connections create safety.

Before I delve into the three ‘Cs’ I would like to consider service. As the authors point out, there are very real dangers in serving in the church. Lately, I have been pondering ‘Being’ and ‘Doing.’ Generally speaking, churches are very capable at ‘Doing’ and would get a Gold Star! What we do flows out of who we are, our ‘Being.’ Consider Jesus; he placed a great emphasis on who He was as the Son of God. He had a close connection with His Heavenly Father and spent much time in prayer with Him. He was obedient. In the Garden of Gethsemane He intentionally spent time with God before the most excruciating day in His life. In that context he had a choice and chose the Will of God. There was a deep context of trust in the Trinity. Safe context, safe connection and ability to choose led to trust.

God calls us to this deep way of being with him; here are a few examples. 1. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10: quiet-ness and still-ness lead to greater connection, leading to greater Trust. 2. The Potter and the Clay: “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8; The clay knows nothing. In a spiritual sense, there is an extremely intimate connection between the potter and the clay, leading to Trust. 3. Abiding in the Vine – “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4: The vine is cut down to encourage growth the next season, leading to total reliance on the Vinedresser, leading to Trust.

In each of these examples, the person, the clay, and the vine are merely ‘Being.’  Safe context and safe connections enable the ability to choose well in the context of trust. When Service happens in the midst of trusting God with who we are (a lifelong journey!) we can Be and Do as He calls us.

As the authors point out, it starts with the leaders. What is context of your leadership? Is there safety in connections? Is there choice to speak freely about concerns and be respected for it? As we grow and mature together in these crucial areas, we can more easily be aware of the voice of God calling us to the ways of serving in the context we live in.

This way of being is not simple nor is it easy. It is interesting that the author leaves us at the end of the chapter with the admonishment to ‘Lead With Transparency.’ Transparency is interwoven with context, connection and choice. The beginning point is honesty with Self and with God first. Honesty with others can occur when there is choice, safe connections, and a safe context; if not safe, be honest then with wisdom and reliance on God.

Wise and safe serving happens when we trust God with our ‘Doing’ out of  ‘Being’ and when we are cultivating safety in the contexts we serve in through healthy connections and the ability to have choice. The authors use the term ‘culture of service’ that explains the concept I am attempting to present (p. 200). The hope is that this culture is safe for all – those who live in the culture of the church as well as those we rub shoulders with in relationships outside of the church.

Blog Post from Dianne Loerchner, Registered Psychotherapist and Elder at Kingsfield Zurich Mennonite Church

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search