Build Church: 5 Ways Failing Can Actually Benefit Us

It could be argued that we live in a world driven by the need to succeed and to do so at any cost (sometimes). The danger comes for us in building church when such a culture begins to influence our attitude towards what we are doing.

We may become more task focused and less people focused.
We may become all about ‘what’ and forget the ‘why’ behind all we are doing.
We may become overly critical of the small stuff losing sight of the bigger picture.

Such behaviours can change the culture from one faith to one of fear, especially one where people become fearful of not attaining to the right level of success and therefore they withdraw from what it is God is calling them  to do.

Failure is important when it comes to building church for the following reasons:

We learn what works and what doesn’t work. It’s pretty obvious but it means we can then make any necessary changes.

We are actually trying something new or different. The easiest way to not fail is to not do anything new or different.

Shows us as inclusive not exclusive. If the drive for excellence makes people feel like they can only be part of the church by getting everything right every time, we have by default created a very exclusive culture.

Helps encourage creative thinking. Once we know the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ the ‘how’ can be imagined in so many different ways. Especially when we know failing at the idea isn’t the end.

Reminds us how much we need to be asking God for some help. God doesn’t think like us. We may have the plan and the dreams but we have to allow God to ordain the steps. Without failing we often don’t learn.

What is the best thing you have learned when you have failed at something?

The Power of YOU

You have incredible power. To change the environment. To influence the lives of those around. To do nothing.
You have incredible power…and you get to choose.

Live the Christian life in the knowledge of how God sees YOU.
Live the Christian life purposefully in light of how others see YOU.
Live with the determination to be the REAL DEAL.

We underestimate the power working within us because we measure that power based on us and not on the fact that it’s God working through us!

The power of YOU can help create the right kind of culture…for the Church and for your own world.

A culture of HOPE.
Comes from living the life that God intended. Believing that Jesus truly is the hope of the world. Knowing that as we live a life of honesty and not hypocrisy people see that hope demonstrated on our lives,which in turn provides hope for them. If God can do it for you and me, He can do it for others too.

People need to hear the stories where hope was displayed. Your story. Told at the right time can illustrate hope.

A culture of HEALING.
Jesus did not come for the healthy but for the sick. Many people live in a state of hopelessness brought about by sin, brokenness and aloneness. Our lives can reveal a God that takes those suffering and cast down and reshaping them into something beautiful and full of God-given potential.

People need to know there is a place that will not only stand with them but also show them the process healing can sometimes take. You making yourself vulnerable and willing to share your story will illustrate the power of a God-dependant lifestyle.

A culture of CONNECTION.
Without connection can hope and healing truly happen? Connection brings depth. Brings strength. Brings support. People flourish with the right connections but survive and make-do on a diet of shallow relationships, many vian ‘social network connections’ instead.

People need to connect. They need to connect with you. To truly know you. The secret weapon to reaching those far from God is you and me. If we don’t do it nobody may do it!

Make sure the REAL YOU is standing up and being counted. What a difference that person can make. Then we have the environment for ordinary people to come, be themselves amongst others being themselves with God at the centre of all they do. That can create a culture of change. That can create a culture of growth. That can create a life-transforming culture which we get the privilege to have front-row seats for.

Why wouldn’t you want to be in for that?

Feelings v Faith

I have written posts like these before. Everyone goes through stuff. This post is not designed to belittle what you may be going through but more as a challenge/reminder to make sure that you are going through it based on FAITH and not based on FEELINGS. Everyone faces tough times.

We don’t always FEEL like it…
We often FEEL like giving up…
We maybe FEEL life is hard

The truth is that there is nothing wrong with those FEELINGS.
The problem is when we allow the FEELINGS to dictate how we live life.

Having FAITH is always easier when life is going well. Then something happens…stress, sickness, job loss, relationship troubles, distractions, financial challenges…do you deal with these based on your FEELINGS or your FAITH. Can you truly display a life of FAITH in difficult times.

Many times people say stuff like…
…well, life’s hard, I need some time out
…I’m just working through it
…I can’t do Church at the moment

Those kind of comments are purely based on FEELINGS.
FAITH keeps you going, even through everything.
FEELINGS are normal but should never determine the actions of a Christian.
FEELINGS are fragile. FAITH shows strength.

Questions:
are you taking time out to get ready for the next challenge OR taking time out and becoming lazy?
are you maintaining your spiritual disciplines even when you don’t FEEL like it?

This post has been prompted by a new series I will be preaching from this Sunday…will the real ME please stand up! A culture creation series. Time to speak about how YOU (ME) are the biggest limiter on the YOU (ME) God wants YOU to become. Our willingness or otherwise to be REAL can make a difference.

FAITH is the difference.
When those around us live by their FEELINGS the reality of our FAITH will shine out in glorious fashion.

Are you living based on your FEELINGS or living according to FAITH in your God? Whichever…it will be evident to those you do life with!!

Challenges the Church Face

Asked a question today via my twitter…what is the biggest challenge facing the Christian Church in the UK right now? It’s not rocket science but here’s a selection of answers…

Lack of authenticity – from people in church, whether it be members or leaders. People want the ‘Real Deal’, not a copy cat, someone trying to be someone else or a fake.
Finding honest, genuine, relatable and personable people. Those who can call themselves Christians through God’s eyes.
Complacency
People judging way to quickly.. not walking in others people shoes
A lack of investment in people
Focusing on the yesterdays and not on the future or even the now
A lack of leadership
A lack of courage
A lack of vision
A lack of faith
Churches full of individuals with wrong mindsets
Maintaining relevant and practical advice rather than just repeating Christian clichès
Apathy
Traditional stereotypes
Convincing people that a relationship with God is better than what they are into. Too many distractions out there.

What do you think? Is this an insurmountable challenge?

I hope not. The fact that so many people suggested problems should hopefully mean that they are equally up for the challenge of making sure the Church does not fall into any of these traps!? Is that right?

Creating Dialogue

Why don’t people like church?

Maybe one reason is that we are too quick to tell them that our life is right because we have God in it and theirs is wrong because they don’t. Is that not the wrong approach?

If we are to reach out to anyone and everyone then surely our main focus is just to create some dialogue. We should not be afraid that people will come with questions, in fact, we should possibly be embracing the challenge. We want people to come, ready to re-engage with church, with God, to have a willingness to at least discuss their reasons for being disillusioned with church.

As I get further into my role as a Pastor this thought is definitely becoming more important to me. I recognise that I do not have all the answers. I know that MY life is better for God in it but I also understand that not everyone will agree with this.

There is a process. Openness, honesty, vulnerability…they all help in creating dialogue. Showing others that Christians are normal people, with the same struggles that life can throw our way but that we deal with them differently. We look to God.

Not forcing my opinion on someone. That’s a major turn off and probably does more harm than good. Let’s be willing to create a dialogue. Build trust. Build integrity in a culture that looks on the church as a joke but maybe still has time for Jesus.

What do you think? An easy challenge to love for? Or an impossible dream?

Culture & Attitude

I think this a truth: allowing yourself to get immersed in the culture of a certain place takes a certain attitude. After all, every society, every region, every community, every team, every Church – they all have a certain culture. Even if it’s not designed, culture just happens by default.

As a Christian the Bible says a few things that I think can be related to culture. It says…

…that I live in the world but I am not of it.
…that greater is He that is me than he that is the world.
…that Jesus said that He had overcome the world.

It reminds me of the continuous need to make the right choices, of flesh v spirit. Whatever the culture I want to create as Pastor at Xcel Darlington, I must maintain a certain attitude towards it.

Remember whose I am.
Remember the bigger picture – it’s not mine, it’s Gods.
Remember that culture of itself is not wrong.
Remember to walk by faith and stay connected to God.

Anyway – just some thoughts…what do you think?

Culture Creation

I am not an expert in culture creation. However, I know that as a leader I must be intentional in creating the right culture – in my home & family, not just in Church. The learning curve is steep to climb at times.

Processing some stuff though.

I must act with intentionality. Letting things happen is unacceptable.

Creating the culture is key. Knowing what it must be. It’s something that anyone who is part of Xcel cannot avoid. Maybe it should hit them round the head like a piece of 2 by 4. Hope you sense what the culture is at Xcel Darlington.

Here are some of the things which I am thinking about at the moment which can effect the impact of my ability to create the right culture, positively or otherwise…

…attitude
…consistency
…people
…impatience
…determination

Loads more to talk about on this subject. Love your thoughts too. If you are passing through – what do you think impacts the creation of the right culture? How would you define the culture of your workplace, Church or team?