I have the great privilege of meeting with our senior pastor (my dad), Amos and Chandar every Monday to talk, pray and plan around things that are happening in our church. We call this time our Senior Leadership meeting, and it has become one of the best parts of my week.

Every Monday, we start our time together by doing a soul check. It is has been so good for me to do this. I have not been the type of person who easily shares my feelings. What is going on inside usually stays pretty close to the vest. I always thought that my inability to be vulnerable was because I am a guy… but thanks to Amos, I know now that there are men in this world who have the ability to live life in this way. He has challenged me in this area and I am forever grateful.

This past Monday’s Senior Leadership Meeting was extra special for me for some reason. We were all in the mood for a cozy atmosphere. Our offices are so nice but sometimes it’s just good to change things up. We decided to go to Panera. We circled around a small round table and began to share our hearts. It wasn’t long before our eyes were filled with tears as we shared about our most recent struggles. Our Jesus tanks were all feeling a bit on the empty side due to the business of the Christmas season. There were definitely people around us that were eves dropping, but I wasn’t too concerned. In some ways I felt like we were somehow modeling what has been lost in our culture to a great degree.

This life was never meant to be a solo flight or a one man show. The fact is, we need each other. But there is another fact. Relationships take work… and lots of it! Relationships grow as a result of our efforts and often times require that we are vulnerable with each other.

Hellos, hugs and conversations about the weather and sports can get us by for awhile but relationships that have depth and consistency and vulnerability are what we really need.

What I have realized is that I need to be connected to my family, my staff and my small group more than ever. The busier I am, the more I need my peeps to encourage me, pray for me and ask me how I’m doing. I am so thankful for my wife, Steph and boys, Max and Cooper. They are the most important people in my life. But I am also so thankful for my church family… for Chandar & David and Amos & Alison; and for my small group… Jake & Jen Bates, Dave & Steph Ricketts, Bryan & Tracey Guthrie and Carrie Metz, and so many others that I connect with regularly.

My goal this year is to continue to grow in this area. I have a long ways to go, but I feel like I’m starting to get it. I can’t know everybody on a deep level in our church. I’ve come to terms with that. But I want to grow in relationship, and connect in a deep way with the people that God has placed in my life.

As we connect in small groups again starting in February for our spring trimester, let’s hold fast to what our brother Reggie Hovenga left us with, “Relationships are the currency of the Kingdom.” Many of you are probably tired of hearing this phrase, but the ones that I hear saying it in our church are the one that truly get it. “Relationships are the currency of the Kingdom.” Let’s embrace this together like never before in 2015! Imagine (someday) a church with 50 or more small groups. This would truly be a church of small groups, not a church with small groups. This is what I see in our future and I know God is behind it.