The Honor Deficit

An honoring culture is one that is always flowing with regular praise and recognition. It is characterized by consistent mutual support and affirmations.

In their book, The Carrot Principle, Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton cite a report (from HealthStream Research) which says that 69% of North American workers reported that they were not recognized at all in their jobs last year. And, if that is not alarming enough, 79% of the top performers who change jobs reported that one of the main reasons was a lack of recognition for the work they had done. Perhaps most amazing was the discovery that organizations that effectively recognize and praise their employees are three times as profitable as those who do not.

Not only are we living today in a culture that is losing its way in affirming and honoring people, it has at the same time become more adept at sarcasm and criticism. In such a world, circles of honor stand out like “stars in the midst of a darkened generation” (Phil. 2:15). Circles of honor are rare and much needed finds.

The Honoring Circle

The Trinity is the ultimate example of honor. For as long as I can remember, I have believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, but I never knew how it related to me or to the church, for that matter, until more recently. For years in my mind, the Trinity was a concept far too transcendent and complex to ever grasp. After a closer look at the Bible, however, I believe the Trinity what may be the single most important model for all human relationships and teams — a model of honoring. The Trinity is, in fact, the original “circle of honor;” the Divine Team. A closer look at how the three members of the Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – interact with one another affirms this truth.

The Trinity is a perfect circle of honor; a true teaming environment, the ultimate one. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are constantly reflecting honor upon one another. Great teams, as well, strive to do the same. There is neither a better model nor example than this one for groups and teams within the church today.


This post is an excerpt from my new book, The Teaming Church: Ministry in the Age of Collaboration (Abingdon Press; release date – October 2012). You can read a sample chapter from the book.