Build Church: The Right Framework

Systems and structures are not for everyone, they are not the work of every person or personality. Yet we all benefit from a well-built and well-maintained structure. Just take a look at yourself for starters. After all if it wasn’t there we would just be a pile of skin, muscle, sinew and veins.

A strong and healthy structure creates an environment through which God can do some pretty incredible things.

At the Conference earlier this week, we were reminded on a number of occasions how a good system can actually help reach people, raise awareness both to those far from God and those within the church. They know ‘who we are’, ‘why we do what we do’ and ‘how to communicate the good news to others’.

The framework should be worked on together where we can come to a place where are agreeable knowing that the benefits will help us to build. It won’t rule us but it will remind us. It won’t get in the way but it will keep us accountable to all God desires to do, in us and through us.

Frameworks should be for the facilitation of growth. 

Frameworks are helpful in reminding people who we are and what we are about.

Frameworks for to aid better communication, greater collaboration and increased alignment to the vision. We should become better connected as team.

Frameworks create the right kind of accountability. Are we doing what we said we do? How can we improve things by 1% to increase our effectiveness for God?

Frameworks should help in the resourcing and the equipping of those who have a mind to work and who are about the building of what needs to be built.

Frameworks do not replace the power or the presence of God.

Frameworks on their own cannot transform a persons life, rescue them or make them a new creation. Only God can do that. They can however make sure we remember ‘it’s all about Jesus’.

A good framework will help bring control to what is being built without holding people back or disempowering them. My heart is to work with others who have the same desire and help create the right frame, structure and systems within my own life, my marriage, my family, my teams and the church I am part of, to create an environment where we flourish, grow bigger and bear the right kind of fruit.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree with me?

Live With a Long Term Strategy…

‘We may not need as much church planting if we had more church cultivators’.

This came from someone I follow on twitter. It certainly gets you thinking. And I responded too.

‘Do you not think though it’s easier to plant than it is to cultivate/care for & grow something’. I can relate to this. I can plant flowers but I cannot grow them. Not like my dad – he is a gardener, takes cuttings, pots them, cultivates them in the greenhouse, feeds, waters, grows them, then plants them in the flowerbed.

Such action takes time.
Such action takes dedication.
Such action takes thought.
I guess you have some failures along the way too.

Maybe that’s why people opt for Christianity-lite. The No-Frills type which demands only a little but will produce a lot. Think I’m learning that it doesn’t work that way. To be a cultivator is definitely a long-term strategy not a short term one. There is no ‘miracle-grow’ formula – just the usual, old-fashioned, dare I say forgotten aspects…getting on your knees, praying like peoples lives depend on those prayers, connecting, fighting for people – all the non-glamourous stuff.

Some of us love to plant seed.
Fewer though like to put the effort in required to grow the seed.
We all love to see the full bloom though – we can all appreciate that.
Challenge is you can’t have one without the other.

When it comes to people – well the effort can seem endless. It can seem pointless at times too. Investing what you know into another individual not knowing when anything may flourish. It can be frustrating, messy, hard work – even demoralising at times. Key is to remember – that as we play our part – as we plant, as we water – it is ‘God who brings the increase’. The rewards are incredible and make the sacrifices so worthwhile – nothing beats a changed life! Especially a God-changed life!

Hope my jumbled thoughts makes some sense. I have a real desire to be a grower not just a planter. How about you?

What Do Winning Teams Have?

In this final part of TEAM CHURCH series I spoke about 2 qualities that winning teams have. Qualities that are not special skills, not just found in world-class players, qualities that can be the difference between winning or losing. Qualities that are more easily caught than taught.

HUNGER

It’s a craving
It’s something inside of you
You have to fill it
It can make you feel uncomfortable
If you are hungry & not able to fill that hunger you can get agitated
you were created to meet your hunger

If you have a big enough passion for something it’s amazing how you will find a way to do it. How is your hunger/passion for God? Is it strong enough to keep you going when others say stop?

The right hunger…

Is powerful
Makes you do things that you might not normally do
It’s attractive
It’s contagious
It’s inspirational
It requires faith

You need the Holy Spirit in your life to create a hunger for God that can help you be ALL these things.

Hunger/Passion creates MOMENTUM

The trouble with momentum…
It’s difficult to actually get some
You have to start doing something first to create any
It’s easily lost if you don’t keep control of it

Was really concerned that I didn’t overdo the emphasis on Massive March and the focus on growth too much. After all, in my opinion growth is the by-product of you & I living out a God-filled life – one that is hungry for the things of God, not the trappings of the world, one that is moving forward in God and not stagnant. If we live this way – we are attractive, contagious and inspirational – who wouldnt want to find out why our life is like that?

For more thoughts check here, here, here and here. Tell me what you think.

The Final Installment

This Sunday we conclude our Team Church series. The Team Church adventure continues.

Calling all Xcel Darlington. We are in Central Hall this week so let’s pack it out. Let’s ALL be there. Ready to break some records, to have some fun, to continue the Xcel Darlington journey.

Winning teams display certain qualities. They cannot be taught. One is a choice. One is created. Together they can keep a team moving forward, overcoming obstacles and collecting victories along the way. Want to know what they are…well I’ll tell you…

…ON SUNDAY!!

Get the message out. Make a call. Tell everyone you know. Let’s get everyone to Xcel Darlington this Sunday and together we can make God famous. It’s going to be fun. Are you in? Who will you bring?

All this talk of team church launches us into MASSIVE MARCH. A month of breakthrough and growth. Of dialogue. Declaring the Gospel. Starting conversations and seeing new people at Xcel Darlington. Together, each one of us playing our small part, we can make a huge difference!!

Church is Serious [Day 14]

In my opinion the Team Church theme is shaking things up. Challenging peoples expectations of what Church is actually about. Hopefully that’s a good thing.

There needs to be a recognition that Church is a serious business. More than that it takes serious people. Not intense people but people serious about making the Church experience all it should be.

What changes are you making to stay serious about God and serious about building His church?

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?

Hold On…The Moment Will Come [Day 5]

When I read the story of David, anointed as King but not yet King, I marvel at his ability to continue to do the right thing, despite everything that was going on around him. He displays the opposite characteristics to those that Saul demonstrated.

Saul grew impatient.
Saul went with the crowd.
Saul was easily persuaded.
That’s why Saul missed out on God’s best for his life.

On the other hand, David was presented with ample opportunity to ‘deal with Saul’, even encouraged by his men to do so, dressing it up as something provided by the Lord. David holds on to his integrity, twice and proves that those who can do this, will not miss out on what God has prepared for them. It keeps you locked on to your destiny.

I am excited about what God is getting ready to do, in my life and in the life of Xcel Church. I truly believe that Xcel Darlington is ready to explode with growth, provided that we do it Gods way. As I believe for change over these 90 days, it would be easy to get frustrated when things don’t take the shape I think they should. Staying faithful is never easy, God never said it would be.

Tell us…
What do you when God has not come through yet?
Have you ever felt like you missed out because you didn’t wait for God?
Do you struggle sometimes with God’s timing on stuff?

I’ve been here before and will probably come this way again.


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90 days

Day 1:
A fresh challenge. What could happen in 90 days?

Think about it. 3 months to make a difference.
To see change in a situation.
To connect with someone, open up the dialogue and pray for God to make something happen.
A lot can happen in 90 days.

Challenging Xcel Darlington to pray for 3 people, for opportunities for conversations, questions & invites. By faith: let’s believe for peoples lives to be changed. Let’s see them in Church, worshipping God. It’s a risk…but surely it’s got be worth it.

Which 3 people will you pray for?