Episode 163: The Four Spaces You Need to Tend to Building Relationships

February 2, 2021

Building relationship in four spaces with transforming mission

Building Relationships

If you’re missing specific relationships, there’s a good reason. The pandemic has removed one of the spaces we need relationships. As a result, we’ve spent more time with fewer people. 

Yes, it’s for a very good reason. Yes, we’ll continue to do it if we must. But, does anyone else just want to go to a game, concert, or performance? Yeah, us too.

You’re not alone.

Relationships matter. You’ve heard Tim and Sara say that over and over again. 

But saying it doesn’t make it so. As we begin month 2, we’re focusing on the importance of relationships for courageous leaders. Relational leadership is essential to guiding one person as well as a group of people toward any goal. 

But, have you ever stopped to think about the different types of relationships that exist in different spaces?

That’s the focus of our conversation in Episode 163.

Four Spaces of Belonging

The four spaces we all need to nurture relationships include:

  • Public
  • Social
  • Personal
  • Intimate

You can likely tell from these words, that they range from large spaces (Public Space) where we have a common experience with others to relationships with your spouse, family, and/or very close friends (Intimate Space). 

 If you’re missing concerts, sporting events, theater, etc., there’s a good reason. The people you meet and the relationships in this area are important. And, we’ve not had the opportunity to experience these relationships for 11 months.

Read “The Pandemic Has erased Entire Categories of Friendship” for more on what experts are saying. 

Relational Leadership

As leaders, there is a two-fold reality. You need relationships in all of these spaces and you encourage others to have relationships in all four areas. In ministry, public, social, personal, and intimate spaces provide different opportunities for individuals to experience the faith community and to be connected to others. 

Tim and Sara point out sometimes we have expectations of one space that are out of line with what that space really offers to people. To make an extreme example, don’t go to a football game and expect an intimate experience to happen. That would just be weird, right? Right. 

As a leader seeking to guide others in growing in their relationship with Jesus, a local congregation, and the surrounding community, each one of these spaces is essential for your well being and the effectiveness of the church. 

  • Public spaces offer an opportunity for individuals to test the water where social space gives people the opportunity to test personal connections. 
  • In personal space, you have the opportunity to be seen, known, and understood, and to reciprocate that with others. 
  • And intimate space is not only the relationship Jesus seeks to have with you but seeks to nurture in our homes between couples. 

Relationships Matter

While these are not the only ways and places relationships are nurtured in these spaces, you can already see their importance for leaders and local congregations. 

As you listen to the episodes this month, explore the spaces people are talking about and what might be missing.

Questions for Reflection

  • What’s the one step you can take to nurture relationships in one of these spaces?
  • Who are the three people in your life that you’re most grateful for today? And why are you grateful for them? 
  • Is there something that you learned from them? And how are you applying what you’ve learned from them? 

If you need more prompting, here are a few more relationships to consider:

  • Who helps you to learn the hard lessons? 
  • Who are the people who help you through difficult times? 
  • Who are the teachers in your life?
  • Who makes you feel appreciated and special? 
  • Who do you enjoy spending time with? 

And then as I’ve been known to do, turn each one of those questions around. And answer the question. Who do you do that for? 

Reach out to one person this week and say to someone, “You’ve been on my mind and I just wanted to say, ‘thank you for being you and for being a part of my life.’”