Build Church: Know Your Comfort Zone

Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace [Matthew 28:29 Message]

There’s a lot of talk about getting out of your comfort zone and I get that. We fill our days with so much stuff which in reality is of no eternal purpose, both individually in our Christian life and corporately as the body of Christ. We are very comfortable in our faith.

A better focus might be to know our comfort zone. To learn the unforced rhythms of grace Jesus wants to walk and work with us in. To find our best fit. To discover our unique calling and to then ride this wave with all of our effort and determination.

Anyone who know me well enough should know that after Jesus, other than my family, there are two main things which have my heart – raising the next generation of leaders and building local church. I am on the journey of discovery still, even after so many years that to be fruitful for God in both of these will no doubt involve the following…

To get into my zone I first have to get out of my comfort.

I have to give the Holy Spirit permission to convict me to move me.

Once I am in the zone, only I am the one responsible for putting the right kind of effort in to it.

To bear the best kind of fruit, the God-given destiny kind of fruit, my life has to be about more than just the fruit of my own labours.

I am not there yet. Let’s be honest, there have been good days and not so good days. I have frustrations. Yet the only person getting in the way of me building anything of eternal significance with my life is me. So best get over myself, repent, remind myself that my preferences are for laying down and just get on doing what it is I feel God is asking me to do.

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Build Church: Look for the Right Signs of Health

We measure the wrong things sometimes. We look at what we have or what we don’t have and use them as the measure. Such a method is not wrong except what we end up with may just be a bunch of numbers which in reality don’t mean very much.

Success in building church can be very subjective but it has to be about more than bums on seats. It’s even got to be more than hands raised in response to a salvation prayer.

We have to look for the right signs health.

Metrics have their place but they should never just be for collection. They can however, prompt the right kind of conversations as a representation of what’s happening physically with people. How many are turning up to things, to Sundays? How often are they coming? How many salvations? How many baptisms? How many in Groups? Or doing the Growth Track, Alpha or any other think we could probably have a count for.

The other stuff can be more problematic and harder to define, yet possibly more important. Instead of recording how many did something, these measures represent spiritual vitality, a persons walk with Jesus and how they live it out.

Some of the following can help us discover what’s really happening inside the person, after all, attendance doesn’t necessarily mean growth. You would hope for some correlation but its not always guaranteed.

Stories of changed lives.
Hearing how people are moving one step further in their walk with God.
Discovering the way people take their Christian faith into the world in which they live.
Helping people discover and use their spiritual gifts.
Seeing disciples making disciples. People are bringing people to help them meet Jesus.

I think these fit better with the definition God would give to success. It is less about achievement and more about who we are as we achieve. Geared more round the growth of our character, becoming more like Jesus and the spiritual leadership we demonstrate every day.

You may have a different view and add other things to this list. I would love to hear what you think.

Build Church: Conference Weekend

Here goes Conference weekend and I am expectant for great things. Worship. Word. Gods presence. Change. Transformation. Challenge and encouragement. 

The next 3 days will be a full 3 days but a great 3 days. 

Everything is set up with the intention of growing bigger people as we sit under an open heaven, the presence of God and some great teaching too. My faith will built up.

All of these help build church.

Don’t get me wrong, we should guard against becoming some kind of Conference junkie, chasing the presence of God in the hope for yet another word. 

However, coming under the mix of all I mentioned above can make a massive difference in how we approach our Christian life. Maybe just giving it a fresh sense of purpose and spark some God-given energy in us to be out about reaching people.

So as we get ready to launch, I have decided to be ready to learn,  I have prayed too, opening my heart to receive, waiting on God for Him to do what only He can do.

How about you. Why do you love a good Conference?

[I will post notes from the sessions as we go through the day. Follow on social media too #IConf17 #Influence17]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build Church: Do What You Can

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I remember being asked the question ‘How did you get to do what you are doing in church?’ I’m guessing it may have been a leading question but that doesn’t really matter because the answer is simple….

“DO WHAT YOU CAN”

A few months ago I preached a message which included the one verse account in the book of Judges of a person called Shamgar. He demonstrated the qualities that answer the question above.

He used what he had, he did what he could, and he started where he was. In other words…just serve. Do something. Do everything. Do what you helps. If you can do it, then do it.

With this kind of attitude we build the church, we make the name of Jesus better known, we love one another and glorify our Father in heaven. From such an attitude a new orange cake business was started, a new honest blog was begun.

When we live feeling like others owe us a favour or that we have somehow become entitled to rewards or promotion due to all we have already done, we are in danger of falling into pride and losing our focus on the God we are called to serve. What does it matter if we end up doing the same thing for the next 50 years? If it honours God and  helps builds His church, is that really a problem?

Use what you have. Do what you can. Start where you are. Get on the journey of serving and allow God to then direct the route and the steps He has ordained. God wants to get us to where He needs us to be more than we want to get there, so the best option is always to just start to serve somewhere.

Be Willing to Learn from Others

In Genesis 18 we see Moses was doing a good job but the observation of Jethro was similar to what some of us maybe heard at school ‘could do better’.

He was getting the job done. He was making progress but the wisdom of Jethro brought insight to Moses he may never have seen. Sometimes we can be so busy doing what we do, we never consider there could be a better way.

Learn from Moses how we can always be learning and looking for ways to improve our leadership effectiveness…

Listen. 

Listen to the right people. 

Listen to the right people who have a desire to see you succeed. 

Act on what you have heard. 

Become a leader who is willing to release others. 

Become a beyond you leader. 

Be a leader who sees something in others which they may not see in themselves. 

I am thankful for a couple called Kevin & Tina Hudson who did this for me. Now I am trying to do the same for others. That’s the heart behind my book ’19’ which should be published later in the year.

When it comes to building a church, a business, a life even, then we have to be willing to learn from others and make changes if necessary.

What would you add to this?

Leadership Challenges: Followers

Prompted to write this after the leadership session on Sunday morning when I asked a simple question of those that were there…

What are the challenges that leaders face?

A seemingly innocuous question but one that opened up a myriad of thoughts. Some people got quite emotive about them too. The ensuing discussion was great. Would love to know what you think they are?

Here’s what I’ve learnt along the way about leadership and followers…

If you don’t have any you are NOT a leader (actually I think that goes to Maxwell)
When you have some keeping them is HARD WORK.
Pray.
Are ‘followers’ the toughest challenge a leader faces?
You cannot keep all of them happy all of the time. That’s what you need a team for.
If you genuinely care for them and believe the best of them…they will keep following you.
Patience is not just a virtue, it’s a must!
Don’t teach based on your frustrations with those who are following you. Teach based on what you believe God is saying to you all at the current time.
Without followers you are limited to what you can achieve. Challenge them, ask more of them than they can give, help them understand the cause, paint a picture of the future with them in it.
Pray.
Thank God for them…all the time.
Listen to them but don’t be led by them. Majority rule is not always best. If God has said so then God’s way is best!

Explain the why more than the what.

Would love you input on this topic – any wisdom out there?
What do you reckon? What are some of the leadership challenges?
If you have people behind you…what are the challenges followers bring and what have you learnt along the way?

[By the way…this is the 300th post. How do you think I’m doing?]

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?

Doing Church v Being Church

Asked this question tonight. Not sure where it came from but it’s an interesting thought and challenge. Perhaps we can easily get caught up in the ‘doing’ of church rather than ‘being’ the church.

Doing church…having a role, a job…the doing of works and purposes of God
OR
Being church…worship, connecting with God, with others…being light to the world, being Jesus.

Which do you find easier?
How do you balance ‘being’ and ‘doing’?
Can you have both?

Just after some thoughts from anyone passing through…