The Tough Stuff and Leadership in the church
Pauls 1st missionary journey didn’t establish leadership it left behind weak churches. The galatians were led astray by strong leadership. Paul and Barnabas had to retrace their steps and clean up messes that would not have been there had they stayed.
A called leader walks through things to pass on to others. A leader cannot skip the process of the difficult journey.
What we forget is that God does not need to get something out of you as a leader. His desire is to put stuff into you.
Paul’s 2nd journey Acts 15:36-18:22 49-52 A.D. in Macedonia and Achaia.
- God brings something beautiful out of conflict when you are mature enough to see it.
- There is something about a man of peace that to this day is extremely rare in leadership.
- leaders want change and want to walk all over people.
- Most leaders change things in order to make it more comfortable for themselves.
- Most leaders, in doing this develop followers who, in turn, change things in order to make it more comfortable themselves and a cycle of misguided disciples who make misguided disciples is born.
- Show me the leader who is willing to take a beating in order to accomplish God’s vision for the church. What we are used to seeing and accomplishing our own vision to make things more comfortable.
“Andy Bernard does not lose contests, he wins them…or he quits them because they are unfair” – The Nard Dog
- No one who can be given the title of a man of peace unless he is measured in conflict.
If it’s about the message I receive and not about the message I am responsible to send than it’s the wrong message.
From Corinth to Athens
The Bride of Christ has boundaries, lines that define her – there is a problem when the Body of Christ closes Her hand – when Jesus Christs are always open. When The Church doesn’t want competition (the true worshipers will worship in spirit and in truth) then the Bride of Jesus becomes material/tangible corporation and a lie.
Does The Church recruit because she needs your business? When you see the product is it the Chuck E. Cheese of corporate worship entertainment? If so, then we have forgotten and we are so far off the map that both our course of action and our destination are beyond our vision.
Paul admonishes Barnabas to the church in Corinth.
2nd time around Paul understands God’s measure of success is not our measure of success. The gauge is different and we need to not snare ourselves in the church to things that trap us into our measure of success.
The way that we are used to seeing ideas within The Church come to fruition I honestly don’t believe God really cares about. God cares about His Church, He cares about His people, Gods agenda always includes the invisible items He wants to place in your path to help you understand the value of the goal.
Very rarely in Church leadership do we have people who commit themselves to the work, we are all willing to commit to the idea, but God has already spelled out the idea. We are often clouded by the idea we need to come up with vehicle to get to the goal, but that’s more of a listening discipline than an innovation one.
Lessons are learned through pain, conflict, loneliness and fear. The right questions worth asking are only found in this process. Are you’re willing to be a leader?
You can’t skip the process. The reason 90% of the people between the ages of 18-35 in the 90’s left the church is because leaders skipped the process.
The majority of growth that has happened in the ten years prior to this Barna statistic is better defined as church shuffling not church growth – and you and I are guilty of it. b/c our spiritual lives are incumbent on the question: “What do I get when I go to church not Who do I give the investment of my life to?”
There is a prescription given in an epistle. You don’t need to take the prescription God gives us if you haven’t experienced the pain, the loneliness, the conflict, the fear (all which are attributes of measurable Spiritual Growth) that comes from commitment (which is the measurement of obedience).
Is it worth it?
Is love worth it? I have experienced love. My wife, my children, my friends make the difficult part of the commitment worth it – to the point that it becomes indescribable to you.
Paul’s 3rd Journey
Paul covered 4,000 miles in Asia. But he never left Ephesus because he realized the value of staying put. He stayed for 3 years and all of Asia heard the Word of the Lord. Paul empowered others to carry the message.
Acts 19:9, 20:18 – he gets his leaders together (his discipled disciplers).
By this time Paul learned a valuable lesson: He disciples people to do the work of the ministry they are called to do, not the work he is called to do. This is another area we have difficulty with in The Church. I train you to do “whatever” as I do not as God calls you to do. We disciple consumers who consume experiences not create experiences. Building our thing better.
Have you ever known someone, watched, asked questions or listened to someone who knows Jesus who is on their death-bed? Does their perspective on life change? Instead of holding on to things the objective is to empower people. Why haven’t we learned something from that?
Other people, who are empowered, carry the message further than you can. Therefore “equip the saints”.
Pauls 4th Missionary Journey (imprisonment in Rome)
Philippians 1:12 (more is accomplished from prison than when I was free)
2 Timothy 4:16 (all the Gentiles in the world) House arrest in a home and everyone heard
The Bottle Neck Principle: The way to increase the spread of the church is to take out it’s leaders – in relation to the church….leaders are the only recognized Biblically as a bottleneck to God’s movements – leaders decide where we meet, what we do, how it sounds, what responses are anticipated….when leaders begin to turn the bottle upside down – People are empowered on a greater level.
By the 4th missionary journey Paul says thanks to the Philippians for the gift, but is more excited it is credited to the church’s account, b/c he didn’t need it. – A mark of maturity in a leader is caring less for their own communal comfort and more for God’s ministry being credited to a community.
The Question we will need to ask ourselves over the course of the next decade of ministry,
“Do you go to a church where you’re the audience, or where you’re the church?”