In my early training in the theatre, as director and actor, we used to talk a lot about process. We knew we had an opening night, and a play to do, and all the work we were doing was about the moment of encounter between audience and the play/production. But the clearly stated belief was that the process that created the play would impact the play in a deep way. It was understood that the process of creating art was as important, if not more so, than the actual finished piece of art available to an audience.

Maybe that’s why a phrase in the packet our church consultant gave the elders and staff members jumped out at me. “Process is as important as the product.” I was reminded again of what I’d learned early on, a lesson that in the middle years of my life, I let go of, at least to some extent. When results are the only thing that matters, process gets shoved aside, and relationships become strained and overtaxed.

Process is formation, spiritual and otherwise. Process is the dynamic relationship over time where action taken is, as Dallas Willard puts it, forever. In process, trust is built or eroded. In process, respect and honor are given or withheld. In process, we become more Christlike or less.

Process may not only be as important as the product, it may be the product itself.

Outdo one another in showing honor…

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