Parents — Do you do anything for your child he/she can do? Church Leaders — Do we assume we know what people need to mature in Christ and if they just listen and carry out our instructions they will grow? Dallas Willard once said to me in a retreat class, “The kingdom of God runs on personal responsibility”. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden he gave them work, accountability and tests — he created the world to run on personal responsibility.
Do the people we love and serve need assistance, encouragement, and compassionate care? CERTAINLY!!! But never let these vital ministries short circuit their personal responsibility.
My dear friend, Gerald Parker, recently sent me some photos to illustrate another example from our recent conversation.
Picture a person digging a hole –
God’s people are gifted to make kingdom impact through investing their gifts. Yet often we can mistake filling a role in the church programs with all there is for them to be and do. NO! God’s people contain the resurrection power of the Spirit, live under the name above all names, Jesus, and have a kingdom mission from the Father. The gifts God provides to the body are for so much more than church chores!
Healthy leaders understand that when people show up filled with questions, even if the questions are delivered with some anger, they need to receive them.
If there is an attacking manner in the approach of the person it provides a character development teaching moment.
It will help the leader to respond properly to begin by giving thanks that a person feel strongly about something. One of my pastoral mentors, Ron Barker, has often said, “It is easier to tame the demoniac than to raise the dead!”
Strong emotion may not always be justified but it does indicate passion and life and perhaps even a deep desire for the organization to be effective.
Let your first response be to listen by asking a non-defensive question to make sure you are clear on the concern or issue.
Over coffee with a dear pastor friend, Jeff Philpott, shared some thoughts that have helped me see where I am at in building racial bridges instead of standing behind the old walls.
“Proximity to suffering breeds empathy” — From Otis Pickett preaching at 1st Presb Church
Who is at your dinner table reflects your REAL beliefs about race.
What you read and the music you listen to reveals your REAL commitment to celebrating diversity.
Ed Catmull — Head of Pixar and Disney Animation
Creative magic happens in a team when there are not egos attached to ideas, there is a free flow of ideas, a freedom to embrace failure, and a total candor with kindness.
The path to creative work requires a safe place to fail. Don’t waste energy covering up because it slows the movement to a solution.
“I work every day as though my children are watching me.”
“My WORST day is better than many peoples’ BEST days”
Pastor Albert Tate
“You do not have to leave it all on the field He left it all on the cross!”
“We live under His name NOT under our name.”