- Journeys of adventure can change you significantly.
- If you create a community that avoids all risk, the people are stifled.
- C.S. Lewis says, “Women are face-to-face creatures, and men are side-by-side creatures.”
- Take some journeys. You can change the world.
Archive for October, 2009
1. The Seduction of Influence It’s tempting to do it for all the wrong reasons. In our lives, there may be a tearing away of the seductions and a refining of the right reasons.
Word 1: Ego. We’ve brought the celebrity culture into our church and overlook people who are so like Jesus. We attribute more to up-front people than we should, more to attractive people than we should. The solution is to live more deeply into our brokenness.
Word 2: Burden. We place on ourselves a burden in leadership–our numbers, the highs and lows of leadership–it’s about power, control, and outcomes, and Jesus didn’t talk fondly about any of those things. Free leaders–free of the need for certain outcomes–are the best leaders.
2. The Myths of Influence
Myth 1: “There are no limits to my influence.” No matter how much I want to influence and shape someone, though, the reality is that there is still space between us. The best thing we can do is to plant seeds, to put the truth and grace out there, and let God work in the other person over time. Parker Palmer talks about the tragic gap: we live between the potential and the reality of what we are. It’s painful to live in that gap.
Myth 2: “Be like me.” Saul dresses David in his armor, but Saul is a warrior and David is a shepherd. David said, “I cannot go in these, because I am not used to them.” He took them off. A great parent lets each child develop uniquely.
3. The Power of Influence Good influence is deeply based in relationships. List the people who have most influenced you, and most will be people who personally invested in your life.
Principle 1: Reciprocity. I became the leader, following a hip young leader, of a ministry to postmoderns–and I was a middle-aged woman. After a few months, a staff member said to me, “Your meetings suck.” He said, “When you first got here, probably because you knew you had an uphill battle to fight, your meetings were fantastic, creative. I don’t know what happened, but recently, meetings have been so bad, we don’t want to come.” I said, “You’re right.” That was painful, but there had to be reciprocity–give and take. Older leaders have to pull back to let younger leaders do what they’re called to do.
Principle 2: Authenticity. People will walk through fire for an authentic leader. We connect more deeply through our brokenness. As Henry Cloud says, “Failure is the norm” and if we can be honest about that, about our doubts, our seeking, our brokenness, we attract. Authenticity comes through suffering; we should not lead in the church until we have suffered.
The Missional Church is:
- The people of God, We’ve been brought up in a world where church is a what, an it, something outside of me, something I go to, something I support, something I bring friends to. But the missional movement is about who. Until we get this, we will never join God in the streets where he is doing most of his work. Wherever I am, the church is already planted. Instead of planting “a” church, we plant “the” church.
- Partnering with him, It’s not our mission; it’s his. We try to get God to fall in love with our efforts, when we need to fall in love with his mission. We consider “children’s ministry” inside our walls, so we’re so busy doing that, but we don’t worry about the low reading levels of 3rd graders in our community. We honor Sunday school teachers as doing children’s ministry, but we don’t honor public school teachers as doing children’s ministry.
- In his redemptive mission One church cancelled staff meeting on Monday afternoon and sent everyone out to pray, in a place where people are: park, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, etc. For 60 minutes, they were to pray one prayer, “Lord, help me see what You see.” When they came back to their institutional agenda, they shredded it and were recaptured by the heart of God for people. They sent the entire church out to do the same; that night they had the church write what God showed them.
- In the world What if we asked if marriages in our community were better next year? If schools were better? In Cincinnati, every single school teacher is placed on a prayer chain, and receives a letter asking for any prayer requests. Open our eyes.
- Forgetting the mission. Our motivations can naturally be mixed. We often focus on our own agenda rather than God’s agenda. You should want to plant a great church because of who God is rather than to prove something about yourself to others. God intervenes when we make it about our minds and our power and our glory. If at the end of the day, you could have done it without God, then God isn’t in it. The goal is God’s glory. You can’t become distracted by the tools.
- Being married to a model. If you are more excited by the “how” than the “who,” then you are being distracted. I must be sure that I do not fall in love with someone else’s ministry model and mission. If you listen to other churches’ success stories, you can become distracted by the model. Ministry pornography is an unrealistic depiction of something that you never going to have that distracts you from what you are supposed to do. The “how” of church planting is in many ways determined by the “who,” “when,” and “where” of culture. Too many church planters plant a church in their head and not in their communities. If you aren’t asking “how” you should plant, you have a problem.
- Not taking care of yourself. (1) First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself physically. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you will not be able to properly prioritize God in your life. Don’t tell yourself that you will take care of your body after you… plant that church… write that book… whatever. My job first and foremost, is to be the type of Christ follower, husband, and father God wants me to be, and if I am not taking care of myself, then I will never be able to be who God wants me to be. (2) You also need to take care of yourself spiritually. The personality type that plants churches is not consistent with the same personality type that is great at walking with God.Your people need more a pastor who has been with God than an entrepreneur that is full of ideas. (3) And you need to take care of your family. Your family will be with you in the end, but often the people you start a church with are not the ones you finish a church with.
- Arrogance. I was too sarcastic and didn’t listen well. There are different reasons people are arrogant, but my arrogance was from trying to desperately prove myself to others. I needed to realize that my Father in heaven is already pleased with me. Unfortunately, my needs got in the way. Churches whose pastors have a weekly mentor pastor churches that are twice as large as churches whose pastors are without mentors.
- Not taking believers deeper. People who are yearning for maturity are longing for what Christ followers need. But I made the mistake of thinking their quest to go deeper was not aligning with the church’s mission to reach people. If your vision doesn’t take people deeper spiritually, then you have a bad vision. You don’t want to take pride in what God calls a problem. Christians wanting to grow deeper are not you enemies but your partners.
- Ignoring hidden agendas. Every person in your church has a vision for your church, and it is not the same as your vision for the church. Often the people you start with go away, and the people who stay try to hijack the vision a year later.
- Afraid of finances. Part of why I was afraid of finances is because of the popular mindset of the time that said that talking about finances would offend seekers. Talking about money is fine… just don’t talk about money in a creepy way.
“Right now, there are a lot of disgruntled people trying to reinvent the church. It will never work. The church has never been birthed from frustrated people trying to reinvent something that’s lost its punch. Instead, it will be created by those who are passionately in love with Jesus–obeying Him and following Him at all cost–connecting with the big picture of the world and operating in the context of the Kingdom of God.”
- Are we a praying church? Do we recognize from the outset that this is God’s venture and not ours? Are we aligning our heart with his heart, our mission with his mission, and our vision with his vision?
- Are we a generous church? Do we understand that all we have comes from God and belongs to him? Do we give back a priority percentage every month? Are we willing to increase that percentage as we mature in our faith?
- Are we a serving church? Are we joining the mission in whatever role is most helpful? Do we understand that the environments we’re creating serve a greater purpose? Do we give of our time and not just our finances?
- Are we inviting? Are we willing to leverage the relational influence God has granted us to lead others into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ? Do we truly understand the urgency of our mission here on earth?
We’ve got to do a much better job at all of these…….we are far, far from the mark of having good traction in all these areas. See, in essence, if the above four things are not growing, then we are not accomplishing our mission of leading people one step closer to Jesus. The only way we can get better is for you to help us!
- You are a living Eucharist. How can we break ourselves open and pour ourselves out, so that the people around us might experience God? The Eucharist is a sacred and holy thing. You surrender your agenda when you serve. But when you exploit the Eucharist and break it down and rank it, you destroy it.
- There is a difference between something that is hard and difficult and something that is a burden. God will not give you a burden you can’t carry.
- If you have a burden of feeling like you have not accomplished enough, God wants to set you free from that. Jesus wants you to simply enjoy the place that you are at and the work that is in front of you.
Melonie is 16 and was inducted into the National Beta Club last night! Melonie works hard, studies hard, and has sooo many gifts and talents. She wouldn’t tell you, but she can play any instrument by ear and can “go” in the singing department. She’s made us very proud!
She turns 12 today……hardly seems possible but she is a little “sunshine” to everybody she meets. She loves people and loves to do stuff. Happy birthday Abigail! Can’t wait to eat tonight at P.F.’s to celebrate!
- When God interrupts our life and intervenes and gives us a specific direction, will we go?
- There are a lot of things going on in your churches. Some of you are in good places. Some of you are in bad places. Remind yourself what you have been caught up in.
- Apparently according to Hebrews 11, the gauntlet that you and I will run has seasons with lions and seasons where we escape the sword and seasons where we die by the sword and seasons where the dead will rise and seasons when the dead are dead.
- Look at every delay as an opportunity to deepen the waters with the God of the universe. It is a lack of gratitude and therefore a sin that causes you to want to be something that you aren’t. A day is coming when history in your life will be rewritten as it really is. Your role is bigger than you think.
- May we remember what we have grown up in. May we remember what God has called us to. And may we run well.
- Love enemies, visit prisons, sacrifice income, help orphans & widows, witness to all, lay down your life DAILY. Then, we’ll listen. – Rick Warren
- We overestimate what we can do in 2 years and we underestimate what we can do in 10 years. – Bill Gates
- Worst economy since the Great Depression.- Time Magazine. //and to think we launched a new church in the middle of this……God led us.
- The burden of momentum in any organization is not purely our responsibility as the leader, but our Aaron and Hurs.
- Ever felt like the older prodigal son or daughter who did everything right but it didn’t go right? Get passed that……..doesn’t have to.
- What makes us think we are any better than Jesus Christ, therefore suffering and sacrifice.
- Don’t lose your soul to the hardness of life.
- Choose the mission over the preservation of relationships.