Leading with Kingdom Practices! (by Pete Scazzero)

The first of the year my vocational role changed from seminary professor to “Team Leader/Pastor” for a new church start in Myrtle Beach.  This post from Pete Scazzero has helped me refocus my self-leadership.

5 Words that Ground My Leadership

The greatest danger in Christian leadership is to forget God. It happens so slowly we scarcely notice it. What we do notice are the symptoms. The easy, light yoke of Jesus becomes heavy and hard. We start looking for quick fixes. We begin relying on unmodified business practices to navigate our ministries, grafting secular branches onto our spiritual root system.

Five words help me to keep my feet on the ground. Each summarizes a different characteristic of Jesus’ upside-down kingdom:

Slow. Like most of you, my goals take at least 2-3x longer than I think. The kingdom of God is, and always will be, a mustard seed that grows slowly. Paul compares leadership to the slow pain of a woman giving birth (Galatians 4:19). This slowness frustrated Judas and the Zealots. They rushed and missed what God was doing. So I ask myself daily, “Am I rushing?”

Discern. The rhythm of death and resurrection is something in which every Christ-follower participates. We not only live and die; we also die and live. Facing deaths of our plans, and discovering what is dying in our relationship with God and our plans, is central to a faith being continually born anew. So I ask myself daily, “Am I listening?”

Love. I can spend 20 hours on a sermon, and be so wrapped up in “the revelation,” that I forget to take the time to see the faces of the people to whom I am speaking. I can write and build the ministry without thoughtfully and prayerfully loving individual people. So I ask myself daily, “Am I loving people?”

Grieve. Loss is an integral part of life. The losses we as leaders must embrace and absorb are, I believe, greater than the norm. Like most people, I want to minimize, deny, distract, blame, get angry, and medicate pain. This is the hard tonic that leads me to face deaths so that new gifts might emerge. So I ask myself daily, “Am I paying attention?”

Limits. Receiving the gift of God’s limits remains the greatest challenge of my Christian life. The limits God continues to place around me reveal myself-will, my rebellions, and my desire to run the world. I often return to my own chapter, “Receive the Gift of Limits,” in The Emotionally Healthy Church, to remind me of this radical biblical truth. So I ask myself daily “Am I surrendering or fighting?”

These are my five key words. What words might you add to remain anchored and grounded in Him amidst the demands of leadership?

Warmly,  Pete@petescazzero

Our mailing address is:  Emotionally Healthy Spirituality  82-10 Queens Blvd  Elmhurst, NY 11373

 

Feb, 2017

 

Praying for People to Come to Jesus!

How do we pray for those who need to accept the saving grace of Jesus and become lifelong apprentices in his kingdom?

Acts 16:14 (ESV)
14  One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.

Pray for God to open hearts so they become attentive to the Gospel.

Lord,  (fill in the blank) is on my heart.  I long for them to know Jesus and his eternal life.  Please open his/her heart to pay attention to what is said.  Thank you for hearing your children who pray under the name of Jesus.  Amen.

What should be the DNA of a New Church?

RoyAllBlacksTMay2010-e1295093522512We are helping to  launch a new church in 2017.  I have been praying over what should be the essential DNA of this new work.  Here is my first draft.  I WOULD WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS!

  1.  Love One Another — What does that look like?  See the 25 “one another” commands in the New Testament.
  2. Acts 1:8 — Assess our budget, schedule of events and effectiveness of every activity by its impact of being bold witnesses in the power of the Spirit — locally, regionally and to the ends of the earth.
  3.  Prayer — is the only hope for a church to be more than an expression of serving God in our own strength.  Prayer ministry must be priority, specific and personal.
  4. No One Serves Alone — None of us have all of the gifts needed for a ministry.  We need each other.  We will be a cluster of serving teams ranging in size from 2 to 8 people.
  5. Every Serving Team — Must have a reason to exist larger than the group needs or even serving congregational needs.  Every team — must be making an external impact by having a Acts 1:8 witness.
  6. Every member, we call them apprentices, has freedom to Listen to the Spirit, Affirm what they discern the Spirit saying with two other believers, and then Obey the Spirit’s leading.  We will not be top down directed.  Apprentices Inform the executive leadership team after they obey.

All feedback welcome!

Am I Content with Giving Up Control?

Can I enjoy mystery, adventure and not dictating an agenda or destination?

Ruth Haley Barton paints an enticing but also downright scary view of the Christian life.

“The journey of transformation requires some measure of willingness to relinquish control and give ourselves over to a process we cannot fully understand nor can we predict the outcome. If we are not comfortable with mystery, we are not comfortable with the very gospel we preach. We know we will be more like Christ but we cannot predict exactly what the person of Christ lived in and through us will look like or where it will take us.”

In the past 6 months I have moved to a new place in my spiritual life.  I am showing up each morning as Jesus’ friend and his servant.  I trust him to have the schedule for the day.  I may have my plans and to-do list — but I am holding them much more loosely.  And the joy, peace and surprises are delightful.

The hardest part is when people ask me for my plan; my goal; what I am going to do with my life.  I thought when I got to 60 I would have all of those questions answered and instead I am discovering it is better to write everything in pencil and keep a finger posed over the “delete” key as Jesus whispers for me to change my course.

God says, “Roy, Pay attention…”

I was recently reading SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP AND PRACTICE OF PAYING ATTENTION by Ruth Haley Barton.  In this short article the Spirit of God seemed to highlight the words below that my heart needed. Enjoy

Learning to pay attention and knowing what to pay attention to is a key discipline for leaders, but one that rarely comes naturally to those of us who are barreling through life so fast with our eyes fixed on the goal. One of the down sides of visionary leadership is that we can get our sights set on something that is so far out in the future that we miss what’s going on in our lives as it exists now. We are blind to the bush that is burning in our own back yard and the wisdom that is contained within it. We squander the gift of this day just as it is, these people just as they are, the uniqueness and the sweetness (even the bitter sweetness) of this particular place on the journey just as it is, the voice of God calling to us in our own wilderness places.

All of us have burning bushes in our lives, places that shimmer with grace, alerting us to the possibility that God is at work doing something we could not have predicted.

A Prayer for Guidance

About 6 month ago, a dear friend and mentor, Dr. Steve Sweatman, took a photo of this prayer he was using as a bookmark.  It was relevant to a life transition Pandora and I are navigating.  Enjoy.

A PRAYER FOR GUIDANCE author unknown

 My Lord God I have no idea where I am going.  

I do not see the road ahead of me.  

I cannot know for certain where it will end.  

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  

 But I believe that the desire to please you does, in fact, please you, and I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.  

 Therefore, I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  

I will not fear for you are every with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.  

Amen

Every Day — Just Be a Jesus servant

Notice Paul’s perspective on his ministry from 1 Cor 3.

5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it.

Paul sees himself as a servant of Jesus who appeared to him on the road.

As a servant his daily responsibility revolves around carrying out his assignments that Jesus gives.

In Paul’s case he is the foundation builder.  Others, like Apollos, built on the work he started.

Paul saw the importance of being on a team.  He did seek to do everything needed for a church to be vibrant and multiplying.

And the core central truth that kept Paul going is that it is God who gives the growth.

So,  how does this help shape your perspective of each morning that you rise as a servant of King Jesus?