Friends First is a community where leaders act in the role of parents more than hierarchical managers trying to get something done. It is in this context that ‘spaces’ are created to facilitate a heart journey for every individual. In those ‘spaces’ the very best individual and unique expression of Jesus is able to be seen, valued and appreciated.
We believe that God’s emphasis has always been on relationship rather than resources. Jesus does not require us to do anything, but at the same time he is ecstatic about what we do, because he loves who we are and what we bring through our unique, God-given personalities. So in a context where relationship is the key and ‘getting things done’ is secondary, family works best where everyone is valued for who they are and what they bring to the family, rather than for what they do. This automatically removes the need for hierarchy in order to ‘get things done’. The individual members of the family will have different functions within the family in order for the family unit to function effectively, but it is done in the context of “mutually self-giving love” (Timothy Keller, Kings Cross).
When children grow up in this environment, they are free to develop into themselves rather than into an image of their parents making. Parents will be free to focus on empowering their children as opposed to making clones of themselves. Parents will also be free from the desire to replicate themselves or to live vicariously through their kids. This is an environment where uniqueness and individuality can flourish within the setting of parents who are equippers and enablers. It is a place where children can go on a journey of the heart. It is a place where they can dream with God and learn to walk in the freedom that Jesus offers.
In this environment, family members have a place where the people who love them champion them. It is a place where the development of people is not a movement through a vertical hierarchy, but a horizontal expansion of love and uniqueness.
Within a healthy family, the unique identity of each person is allowed and encouraged to develop. God is, once again, our perfect example of completely individual identities being expressed, with each member joyfully pursuing the best for the others.