Here is a letter I sent to a close friend after our discussion during a break time at a conference.
Thanks so much for listening to me share about our new assignment we have received from the Father. (I had shared how Pandora and I are called to plant a network of “micro-churches” starting in Market Common at Myrtle Beach. “Micro-churches” are churches of 12-20 people meeting in home, businesses and public places. They gather periodically into one gathering for praise and celebration. See a two page summary on the strategy by CLICKING HERE.)
As always your strength as a networker shone through and you began to look up some good contacts to share with me on your phone who you know would be keen on working and sharing with us.
I appreciated you also sharing how God was leading you to be part of leading a large church. I celebrate with you in God’s assignment! It is such a great gift of God’s grace and mercy to let us play a role in the great work he is doing.
Then you went on to describe being in a gathering of church leaders and how the missional community/house church guys were beating up on the large church leader in the room. You mentioned how they used the “rabbit” and “elephant” illustration found in the missional community literature as a stick to beat up on the large church leader. My heart joins you in grieving this needless fighting.
When will ministry leaders wake up and see that God’s Spirit is creative and loves to use many different ways to reach and make disciples of those far from God. He uses large churches, micro-churches, churches led by men and churches led by women, churches with loud music and churches with very quiet music, churches that use one language and churches with many languages. God loves those who remember the history of the church and those running into the future and building bridges for where they see the culture going.
Jeff, I believe those who engage in defending their format of practicing church are often feeling defensive and threatened deep inside. They lack a certainty they are simply servants carrying out the next assignment the Father has given them. They tear down or devalue the works of others in order to gain an assurance they are okay.
I want to cry out, “Look around — go visit the church in Egypt, Iran or China. Visit the urban poor and the affluent new neighborhood. Go to the islands and then go walk a mountain trail to an isolated village. Visit a refugee camp where new people are arriving daily and families living there are living out a cultural family pattern of a new child every year.” In this kind of world we should celebrate that God can organize disciples of Jesus to work like salt and light in any setting.
There are lost people who the Spirit will convict and draw as they sit among thousands. There will be lost people who will need a friend who comes and eats in their home, respectfully absorbs their life story, and helps them connect God’s good news to the bad news going on in their life.
Comparing, competing or tearing down the work of another of Christ’s servants is not new. See Paul’s attacks described in 2 Corinthians and Philippians to remember there is nothing new in Satan’s deceptive strategy of turning the church to devour one another.
Instead of using our energy and creativity to attack how someone else is doing church let us spend time in giving thanks for them and interceding for their fruitfulness.
Let us practice Roman 14 and 15.
“Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. . . . Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
I look forward to taking a walk on the beach together and praying for one another!
A fellow servant, Roy
One of the ministries God has assigned to me for this chapter of my life is to coach congregational and non-profit ministry leaders. After a recent appointment I was reflecting on what I had contributed. I recalled what the person had validated as being very helpful. I wrote in my journal to remind me to work at getting better at offering effective coaching, “Be very careful to translate inspired intention into concrete action.”
It is so easy to get excited and enjoying being flush with new thoughts and energy that only spin in one’s head or verbally spew out to those around us but fails to answer the questions, “So what are the next 2 to 3 steps that you need to take?” and “When will you begin these actions?”
Change only occurs as we act on our intentions. Faith in the power of God’s Spirit requires we risk; step out.
What has God made clear and stirred up desire to see occur? What is you next action needed? WHEN will you begin?
Praying gives sense, brings wisdom, and broadens and strengthens the mind. The prayer closet is a perfect school teacher and schoolhouse for the preacher. Thought is not only brightened and clarified in prayer, but thought is born in prayer. E.M. Bounds
We are too busy to pray and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results. R.A. Torrey
If you are asked, as an outside consultant, to examine any kingdom enterprise, you can determine the effectiveness by listening to how the leaders are praying. Our prayers expose what we really believe and are a great predictor of where the time, money, and energy of the leadership is going.
What we pray about gets our attention!
What we pray about sets our priorities!
What we pray about is what we do!
A leader who wants a group to behave differently should begin with helping them pray differently. Prayer is not all we do, but if we are not praying, all we do will make little difference.
Prayer is the most important tool God has provided to lead the leader and to influence the people.
From Chapter One (page 27) LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP, 2016.
After reading every passage where Jesus speaks about leadership I crafted this definition to attempt to capture his heart.
LIFE-GIVING LEADERSHIP IS RESPECTFUL INFLUENCE UNCONDITIONALLY IMPARTING BLESSING AND OFFERING DIRECTION.
Jesus would challenge us with kingdom leadership being upside down from the world’s way of defining leadership.
Start on page 15 in LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP and read how each word in this definition challenges our cultural (inherited from the world) views of leadership.
Good theology will always be
REDEMPTIVE — Christ centered — filled with faith and hope; anchored in Christ’s atoning death, the certainty of His life giving resurrection and confidence in our coming King.
RELATIONAL–Love and Grace generously given just as we receive in abundance every moment of every day from Christ’s hand by His Spirit.
For More see: LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP (purchase from Amazon in paperback or Kindle)
The goal of life is to receive and give the LIFE that God offers in Christ….
“JOY IS THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF HEAVEN.” C. S. Lewis
I am declaring an END to
I am writing to share Good news. God wants you to be receiving LIFE.
There is too much life taking leadership when God’s will is that leadership be life giving to the leader and followers.
From Preface of LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP published 2016
It has been my honor to walk alongside leaders of churches and ministry organizations for over 30 years.
Sometime the places where these leaders are living is growing quickly and are full of messes like having your granddaughters come through your home like a storm.
Sometimes the place is struggling with plateau or decline and the messes are more like a neighbor’s dog who makes all of their potty dumps right where you walk.
I wanted to write a short book to assist leaders in gaining a clear perspective on how to approach and deal with the messes!