Linda Albert (author of Cooperative Discipline) is a leading educator who works internationally with teachers and parents. As a classroom teacher, she became convinced that students’ behavior – and misbehavior – results in a large part from their attempts to meet certain needs. She had contributed the concepts of the Three C’s to help students and teachers work more productively together.
  1. CAPABLE. By motivating students to believe that they are capable of completing an assignment or control their personal behavior, students adapt and perform better in and out of the classroom. They feel capable when teachers help them grow forward from their mistakes.
  2. CONNECT. Students need to feel they belong in the classroom. They need to feel secure, welcomed and valued. Effective teachers make themselves available to students by sharing time and energy with them, listening to what they say, and engaging in thoughtful, personal conversation.
  3. CONTRIBUTE. Great teachers encourage students to contribute not only in their classrooms but in the school and community. Each student needs to know, “You are uniquely gifted to offer something positive to the world we live in.
I suggest that the Three C’s are beneficial for much more than the classroom. In a way, they describe all that is healthy about a church culture. So what might these means for what we believe about those we serve?
  1. We believe that people are capable. Jesus modeled this by spending time with his disciples. He helped ordinary fishermen believe that they were capable of so much more. He said to Andrew’s brother who was brought to him, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter)” (John 1:42). He always seems to have a “you are/you will be” for those who followed him. Because Jesus believed in what they could become, they put down their nets and followed him. They went out and “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). And when it came to mistakes, Jesus helped people move from their failures to a future with new possibilities: “Go and sin no more,” “Feed my sheep,” “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.” Surely “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pe. 4:8).
  2. We believe that God wants us to connect with one another deeply. It’s amazing to me that we can sit together in rows for years and never really know each other. However, our relationships with one another in the body of Christ should be marked by closeness and intimacy. Alicia Chole cautions, “We can easily fall into thinking that transferring truth leads to transformation. It seems easier to give someone an outline than an hour, a well-worn book than a window into our humanity. How easy it is to substitute informing people for investing in people.” In our church ladies’ class, we recently had a visitor who said, “I’m not sure this is the place for me – I have a lot I’m working through.” To which one of the ladies replied, “This is a place where you can share what you think.” She was overwhelmed that a group of ladies cared enough about her to welcome her thoughts and struggles.
  3. We believe that each person has a contribution to make to the church and the world. To put it another way, I have a friend who says that in the church, “everyone needs a job, and everyone needs a friend.” People need to be helped to believe that they have something to offer, no matter how small the contribution. Whether it’s leading a prayer, making coffee, or handing out a bulletin, everyone needs something they are called to do. And when they serve, we need to remember to say “thank you.” Fran Tarkenton, former Minnesota Vikings quarterback, once called a play that required him to block onrushing tacklers. The team was behind and a surprise play was needed. Fran went in to block, the runner scored a touchdown and the Vikings won the game. Watching game film with the team the next day, he expected a pat on the back for what he’d done, yet it never came. After the meeting, Fran approached coach Bud Grant and asked, “You saw my block, didn’t you coach? How come you didn’t say anything about it?” Grant replied, “Sure, I saw the block. But you’re always working hard out there. I figured I didn’t have to tell you.” “Well,” Fran replied, “If you ever want me to block again, you do!” So who needs encouragement? Everybody! “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 16:24). At dbministrycoach, we specialize in helping people build deeper, more meaningful connections. Talk to us about a workshop to help you build a stronger community culture.