Unshakeable Unity

On April 13, I sat with the Prison Fellowship International (PFI) team for an early morning meeting with our entire staff from around the world. There were 23 of us crammed into a conference room built for 16, sipping coffee, and enjoying our time of fellowship.

I’d been asked to address what I saw as the greatest risk to our organisation. I was impressed upon that our greatest risk and need is not fundraising, or developing programmes—it’s how each team member intentionally develops his/her spiritual walk with Christ. This leads to the overall strength and success of our organisation and establishes unshakable unity. For us to build to the next level, our foundation must be bedrock solid. 

This reminded me of an article I read about the foundation of the World Trade Center—the site of the ill-fated New York City skyscrapers brought down by terrorists on 9/11 (September 11, 2001). Known as the “bathtub” foundation, the impressive nine-block, underground rectangle is about seven stories deep and supports four of the World Trade Center buildings. Quoting the article, “Since the groundwater level at the World Trade Center site was just a few feet below the surface, while bedrock was about 70 feet below the surface, creating the bathtub required first building a seven-story dam below the water level of the adjacent Hudson River—the slurry wall.”

The 9/11 devastation is very close to my heart. In the early 1900s, my four grandparents all immigrated from Italy to this part of NYC.

I was born there. My daughter lives just half a mile from the World Trade Center. My uncle worked there and was in the building when it was attacked. Praise God, he got out.

I fully realise what a tragic disaster 9/11 was. But I also now see how much worse it could have been. If the foundation hadn’t been constructed like it was, when the buildings crumbled, the Hudson River would have engulfed Manhattan and it is possible that tens of thousands more people would have died in a massive flood. But, in the midst of the attacks and the threat of flood, the “bathtub” held.

What is the greatest risk to our success at PFI? It’s that individuals in our organisation will become complacent or not focused on building his/her own spiritual foundation with Christ. If this isn’t a priority, and one of us stumbles or is overwhelmed by surprise by a spiritual attack, the whole organisation will suffer. Because of the small size of our team, our unity and success is dependent upon each one of us intentionally building and maintaining a solid spiritual foundation.

Unity starts with leadership. As servant leaders, each of us aren’t able to model unity unless we first work from a foundation of unity in Christ.

My question for you is are you putting time into building your foundation with God each week?

Article originally published August 4, 2015, in Prison Fellowship International’s PFI Roundtable.

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