You Are Valuable {Book Club}

You Are Valuable {Book Club}

“How important it is to value our brothers and sisters and to communicate that value to them!”

Sacred Siblings

If allowed, I bet we could all join in a bashing fest, coming up with example after example of team dysfunction. We could share about the times when we were undervalued or ignored. Unfortunately, I am sure we could also share really painful stories, the ones where we got hurt and did the hurting, scars hidden but ever present.

If you have been hurt while serving on the field, I’m so sorry. I wish I could sit with you in that pain because sadly I can empathize.

But this is not the space to bring up those private hurts in a public way. Those are important conversations in the right context, and if you need someone to talk to, please dm me or send me an email.

Instead, I want to celebrate the times when you did feel valued. When your team went the extra mile and you felt heard.

Around Mother’s Day, I shared a post on Facebook about what it is like to be single on this particular holiday. I received many sweet affirmations, but this question stuck out to me: “What are the most helpful or loving things someone could say to you?” Out of a place of humility, this sister made me feel especially seen. She didn’t try to dismiss my pain or change my mind, but she listened (through a social media post).

This week we are focusing on Section 1 of Sacred Siblings. It’s a big chunk, the longest one, so if you aren’t finished you can still catch up! This section discusses the responses to the survey the authors conducted where those who were married answered more affirmatively than those who are single. If you need a refresher on how the data works, make sure you read Introduction 2 where the different aspects of the survey are explained in greater detail.

This section focuses on value, training, communication, relationships, and contentment. Was there one of these topics that especially stuck out to you?

One thing that came to mind several times in reading this section is that organizations are made up of imperfect people, trying to do their best for God’s Kingdom. Are there ways we can do better? Oh, absolutely! Expectations can be high for what will be provided within an organization, or what team relationships will be like, and that is why communication is so important.

The authors said, “By far, communication was the factor that survey respondents cited most frequently as necessary for healthy teams. Lack of communication kills team life. Poor communication damages team life. Effective communication enhances it so that team relationships can thrive.”

We all know this, right? Yet it still is one of the biggest factors of either team and relationship thriving or dysfunction.

I appreciated the example in the communication section about really listening rather than thinking of what I am going to say in response to what the other person is sharing. We want to show compassion and empathy by sharing our own experiences, but that can take away from what the person desires to share. This is something I want to keep working on in my relationships so I can communicate value to those I am listening to.

What impacted you in this section? Was there something that surprised you? Is there a gem you are taking away that you want to work on in your team relationships?

Do you have a story of when someone made your feel seen and valued? I’d love to hear about it!

July 21: Section 2- Chapters 12-15

July 28: Section 3- Chapters 16-17, Appendices

If you don’t have a copy of the book yet, make sure you take advantage of this special gift from William Carey Publishing! Check out the book HERE, and use the discount code VABOOKCLUB50 at purchase for 50% off.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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  1. Amber July 14, 2020

    I’m really excited about this book! Just bought it today 😁 What a beautiful picture of teams as sacred siblings!

    1. Sarah Hilkemann July 15, 2020

      Amber, yay! It is such a great picture of what teams can be. I hope you enjoy digging in to the book!

  2. Rachel Kahindi July 14, 2020

    I can think of a certain boss that I had who always made me feel like a valued team member. I can’t pinpoint a specific incident or behavior. Maybe it was more like an attitude. He is a very humble person, and that attitude influences the way he treats people.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann July 15, 2020

      Rachel, I love that concept of having an attitude that values others! That’s what it really needs to be, isn’t it? I want to ponder how I can have that kind of heart attitude. 🙂

  3. Amanda July 15, 2020

    The topic that stood out to me the most in these chapters was building relationships with team members of the opposite sex. My husband and I have always had the rule that we can’t be alone with someone of the opposite gender. I never am sure how to have relationships with men in a godly way, and I have basically always chosen the avoidance solution. Chapter 10 thoroughly explored options for developing “sacred sibling” relationships with my brothers in Christ. A quote from the book “Mixed Ministry” stated, “Men and women really can be friends. In Christ, they can be more than friends–they can be sacred siblings, and the implications for ministry are enormous.” I love the idea of standing out to the world in the way we interact as brothers and sisters in Christ, and would love to prayerfully consider what that might look like in our context. This book is so neat because it is stretching me in areas I wasn’t even aware needed to be stretched.

    1. Sue Eenigenburg July 16, 2020

      Amanda, I’m so glad this struck a chord with you! This topic of sacred siblings is near and dear to my heart! In communities where healthy male/female relationships are scarce, to be able to model this through Christ is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the power of being reconciled to God. We all want healthy marriages. How do we have faithful marriages while loving others well? It may differ from culture to culture how this plays out, but rather than opt for the easy we can think through possibilities! Wherever we live, husbands and wives can develop trust in each other and both be in healthy, loving, morally responsible relationships with believers of both genders. In cultures where women are not valued or always considered the guilty party, modeling ‘sacred sibling’ relationships could make a huge difference in how women are perceived and treated. I’d love to hear some ideas as you consider your context!

      1. Amanda July 22, 2020

        I agree that context is key! We live in a culture where it is not abnormal for men/women to have friendships, but gossip plays a big role in all aspects of life. For this reason I am always hyper-sensitive to how a situation could be perceived because rumors are quickly spread and rarely forgotten. Women are not as valued sometimes in a machismo culture, so I think it would be powerful to model brotherly love in my context. I especially appreciated the story in the book where they called the absent husband to keep everything transparent.

    2. Sarah Hilkemann July 20, 2020

      Amanda, I love hearing how this book is stretching you! I was struck by that section too. On the field I always wanted to have good boundaries but also be a good friend to the guys on my team. There were many times when they stepped in as a help to me, navigating situations where a guy was needed, or carrying heavy things down stairs. 🙂 I most appreciated the ways they didn’t treat me like a threat but with respect as a sister. I’m grateful for the ways I’ve seen those sacred sibling relationships as a possibility! I hope this book continues to be helpful to you!

    3. Suzy GRUMELOT July 21, 2020

      For those who enjoyed chapter 10 in Sacred Siblings, there is a new book out that addresses this same subject. It’s called ‘Beyond [Awkward] Side Hugs : Living as Christian Brothers and Sisters in a Sex-Crazed World’ by Bronwyn Lea. I haven’t read it all yet, but the chapter titles sound intriguing and the author has long experience in ministry and cross-cultural situations. Am curious to explore this further too.

  4. Cindy July 18, 2020

    Suzy wrote in chapter 9 — When Affirmation Gets Lost in Translation: “Our impact on lost communities is greatly enhanced or diminished by how we love, value and treat one another.” I agree! My husband and I are getting ready to do member-care for a team and organization we’ve not been part of, that has been experiencing over-work, stress, some rough conflict and, sadly, a couple leaving. This book is great prep for me, full of practical ideas, but especially just the spirit of caring and valuing our brothers and sisters with the love Jesus wants us to show each other. I keep thinking of John 13:34-35 and the old song “They’ll know we are Christians by our love…” I was really glad to hear about this book!

    1. Sarah Hilkemann July 20, 2020

      Cindy, I’m so glad this book can be part of your prep for member care! I’ve been really appreciating that perspective, that the way we treat and care for each other can be a witness to the people around us.

    2. Suzy GRUMELOT July 20, 2020

      I got to ‘live’ that idea out and see the impact in had on the non-christians who were watching us. Interestingly, as we got on the other side of conflict and began to value, respect and care for one another — largely because we knew it honored God and knew only He could bring us through it; it was amazing to watch how the long sought after fruit began to appear. That’s when we saw some of the first people come to Christ in the area we were working in. It really isn’t rocket science, but boy, is it hard work!! Thanks for your remarks Cindy….now I’ll have that song ‘they’ll know we are Christians by our love’ in my head all day (merci)!

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