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.

Lead Well: Embrace the WHOLE Process

Before we became Christians life was complete. Or at least we assumed so.

We were seemingly ‘whole’ without realising we were in fact incomplete, broken. We were spiritually dead, not understanding we had been created to be alive to God. A paradigm shift was needed, as it is impossible to know we are spiritually dead when we are spiritually dead.

We fill life with anything other than God in the hope those things will complete us, fill us, satisfy us. We place huge amounts of energy and behaviour into the pursuit of what should make us whole. But when we have them, we crave just a little bit more so will then be satisfied, again.

Yet, something seems to be missing. We can’t put our finger on it but we ask questions like, ‘Is this it?’ ‘Is there more than this?’ The promise of our deepest needs being met by all that the world has to offer is found to be untrue. The picture we think is real begins to show some cracks.

Then we encounter God. Our spiritual antenna begins to receive a signal and how we perceive everything starts to change. For the first time we question. We start on a journey where we have to acknowledge that nothing truly satisfies except God alone.

Significance, acceptance, security. Other things may temporarily fill these needs but only God can truly provide them.

We become whole. By faith in the complete work of Jesus Christ we are made whole. Inviting Jesus into our lives is the beginning of a journey from ‘whole’ to what I am calling a another level of ‘whole’. From WHOLE 1.0 with our basic faith, to WHOLE 2.0 as we add to this basic faith.

The journey is a lifetime long. Our role is simply to be willing to participate in the process. The process of growing in character and more importantly, becoming more like Jesus.

At WHOLE 1.0 when life takes a bite out of us we may still endeavour to cram it with temporary fillers. As we grow and mature in our experience of Jesus our sense of WHOLENESS changes. When life takes a bite of us we discover new qualities come into play. We have hold of our basic faith and see that through life’s moments God is adding to us. We display the characteristics of someone who has embraced the process, moving to WHOLE 2.0

Would love to hear what you have learned on the journey from WHOLE 1.0 to WHOLE 2.0. How has God added to your basic faith so you are growing in character and becoming more like Jesus?

 

 

This Kingdom Life [3]

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 

Matthew 6:33 is a scripture we have held on to as a couple and a family at different seasons in our life. The reminder recently though is that when it comes to being the best kingdom person I can be, then this verse is not just for a season, it’s for all time.

Actually, isn’t this really obvious. All the Bible stands for all time but sometimes what it is saying resonates louder because of circumstances.

Yet this is the simple and powerful call for those who desire to live the Kingdom life.

To seek first the kingdom of God. To look for it, go after it, place it in a foremost position, above all other things. To seek the kingdom above all other things.

I’m curious about the word ALL. When we consider the benefits of living in the kingdom we want the ALL spoken of in this verse because it comes to us. Seek first the kingdom of God…so that ALL these things we have need of will be added to us. That’s our favourite kind of ALL.

The other ALL, where I am called to give my ALL to Jesus, this is the one I like a little less. Surely this ALL doesn’t mean ALL. In other words, I want the ALL for me from Jesus without giving my ALL in return.

Even if I have confused you, we can’t live like that.

Seek first the kingdom. It is a journey of discipleship. Having entered the kingdom, we learn about the need to seek first, to lay aside our own kingdom and focus on a life of righteousness with God. Then, we are well positioned to be blessed by God, with all the other things He knows we have need of, being added to us.

This kingdom life is a faith life, a trust life, a disciplined life and a rewarding life.  And like I mentioned the other day, maybe that’s why there is a fight on. We just have to let God win.

Imitate Me?

I want to be someone who brings people in to church but also someone who helps those already in to grow and flourish.

Paul encouraged the Christians at Corinth to ‘imitate me’. Not because he had an ego that needed to be fed. His command was that they imitate him because he lived his life imitating Christ.

Don’t know about you but that verse in 1 Corinthians 11:1 always challenges me. It always makes me question myself – can I confidently say the same? How much like Jesus am I?

To imitate another you need to be close to them, pay attention to them, give time to studying the original.

Instead of putting all the effort into imitating Christ lets just do something that will help this to happen. Maybe our attention should be focused on our walk with God. Let’s get connected to the source and then work hard to stay connected and keep it healthy too.

We can only reproduce who we are and all that we are is a result of knowing and walking with Christ. If we walk with Christ, paying attention to what He says and how He did things, then we can become more like Him and find ourselves better placed to say to others – imitate me, as I imitate Christ.

My prayer. Lord, help me to stay connected to you, to walk closely with you, for Your Holy Spirit to help me as I commit to this. I want to be more like You so I can confidently tell others to imitate me as I imitate Jesus Christ. Amen

5 Tips for Being a Great Mentor

It seems a long time ago since I was a employed as a Learning Mentor in a local school. My role was to meet with students who had a high academic ability but for different reasons were not performing at that level. My mentoring role was very specific – help them get back on track.

It was a challenge. How to re-engage disinterested students? It was about finding that one thing that would create a spark, which could ignite a desire to improve. It was also about helping them work out their own plan for their future, to definitely not be just another teacher telling them what.

Good leaders learn the skill of being a mentor, a coach, an accountability partner. We often find ourselves as the person who keeps an individual moving forward, giving them a friendly or not so friendly kick up the butt when needed. We are that person who asks the critical questions, someone who has a strong desire to bring out the best in them.

Here a 5 things to remember before you put yourself forward as a mentor:

You are a role model. It’s not just about when you sit down and chat with them. All of your life will speak to them. Be careful to not reduce your impact by acting in a contrary way to how you are encouraging them to live.

You need to be able to listen well. It can be difficult to not just give them the answers but a good mentor/coach has to learn to enjoy awkward silences, giving time for thought and for them to work out the solution for themselves.

You need to have a genuine concern for them. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care [John Maxwell]. You cannot fake this for long. If you are not genuine, people will see straight through you.

You need to be able to help them see the future. It’s not about your plan for their future. Good mentors lay out the options and let those they are mentoring find take the path best for them.

You must be able to ask them the difficult questions. A good mentor knows when to back off and say nothing, yet at the right time they also know when to confront. It’s not the easiest role to undertake but the rewards can be quite incredible.

Who could you mentor? How could you invest in another person, helping them to discover the best version of themselves?