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: Know the Why

Why are we here? One of life’s great questions. For the Church the simple answer to the why would be about reaching people, making disciples and honouring our Saviour. All good. Yet each part of has its own unique contribution, something to celebrate and harness, the one thing which makes us distinctive.

As a leadership team we have been talking about this and here’s why it’s important for us to do so.

Simon Sinek in his book ‘Start with Why’ says that ‘people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it’. WHAT can change but WHY is simple. It’s the discipline to never veer from the cause.

It captures the heart. The vision, the cause, is the why. It can grab someone’s imagination as they begin to see what could be possible.

It’s bigger than what we do. Why isn’t what. What we do can almost be irrelevant when we understand why we are doing it. That kind of belief can help build great success.

It keeps us going when it gets tough. What we do can get boring, inconvenient or tiresome. On those cold, rainy days we can opt out of ‘what’. The why reminds about the difference we are making or the reason for what we are doing.

It encourages people to be creative. If the why is clear then people have a freedom to be creative with the what. Leaders shouldn’t have to come up with all the best ideas, instead, the ‘why’ creates an environment where great ideas can sprout from anywhere.

It brings what we do to life. When those within get the why, then people will see what we believe through what we are doing.

I have not always been great at explaining the why. I know that I still get it wrong.  I can argue it’s not my role as I’m not the lead man, but that’s a cop out. If I lead people then I have to be concerned about the why. If I am part of the organisation then understanding the why is my responsibility. If it’s not clear, I should ask.

Telling people what to do isn’t difficult. To articulate the why though, requires time, thought and care. That’s a whole lot of effort. It doesn’t always come easy. I have to give more than a ‘just because’, or point to my position.

It has to be important because the why is inspiring, it stirs up passion and people are more willing to give their time, talent and treasure to a really good, strong, clear why.

What is the kind of ‘why’ you would be willing to be part of?

5 Ways The Why Impacts Me

Couple of weeks ago I wrote about 5 Benefits for Knowing ‘Why’ We Are Doing This

There are benefits corporately of a strong ‘why’. What about for me then, either as leader or one of the many team players. How does the ‘why’ impact me? How should I behave because of the ‘why’?

I serve at the pleasure of my leader. If I get ‘why’ then it probably means I get the leaders heart, they are usually one and the same. As a member of the team it is easy for me to serve that vision and always be mindful that it’s what they want that really matters. It’s a heart thing.

I believe the best in my fellow team mates. In between what I expect of my team and what they actually execute is a decision. Do I believe the best or the worst of them? In the interest of team, putting our effort in towards the same thing,  it makes sense to choose to go with believing the best in them.

I let go of my own vision and serve the bigger one. This is a tough one but I have definitely learned that very often to see my own personal vision fulfilled it comes through serving someone else’s first. If it’s really about the bigger cause then I have to be willing to lay my personal agenda stuff to one side.

I say yes or no to the right things. A strong ‘why’ certainly makes this easy. It can become the filter which other decisions are passed through.

I always give it my 100% best. This is not about perfection, it’s not even about always agreeing, but it is about doing the very best with what you have. If it hasn’t got your heart then you are not going to be able to fake this one, people will notice pretty quickly.

I have not always been great at these. I can get lazy about them. They get tested by all sorts of things too. Ultimately though, it is a test of the heart ~ to the vision, the ‘why, and to those who lead me and who I work alongside. And as I have said many times before ‘I’m in’.

How about you? How good have you been at aligning your heart with the ‘why’?

What Has My Heart?

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭19-21‬ MSG)

What has my heart? Let’s get past the twee answer of Jesus. Instead let’s be willing to examine our hearts more closely and see if what we say is actually what is happening.

What has my heart is where I will end up. So how do I make sure that I am stockpiling treasure in heaven? It sounds a little easier than it might be. After all, life is about getting. That’s the message that is around us most of the time.  Plus if you want it and can’t afford it, there’s always a way to make it happen.

What has my heart? I should consider that my heart is under attack all the time. Just like a piece of land being invaded by an enemy force, that’s what can happen with my heart, if I allow it. As I walk then I do all I can to protect my heart. Stuff that the world can offer may satisfy for a moment but if my desire is to walk with God then my heart has to be filled with the right, God kind of stuff. The kind of stuff that will ensure that I experience the presence of God now and in eternity.

Paul prayed in Ephesians that we would be filled with the fullness of God. I like that idea. To do that means there is less room for other things. What has my heart? My heart is held by those things that God is full of.

God is about people, so my heart should be for people.

God is about His Word, so my heart should be for His Word.

God is about His Church, so my heart should be about His Church. 

God is about compassion, so my heart should be filled with compassion.

God is about transformation, so my heart should be for that too.

Lord, please don’t let me make do with filling my heart with the stuff that just doesn’t last. Instead, help me to open my heart so you can fill it with the fullness of You. Full of all the things that are important to You. Amen

Just One Thing

In amongst all your goals and dreams for 2013 I want to suggest that you make sure you do one thing above all others. I am fairly convinced that if you focus on this one thing that everything else will take care of itself.

Are you ready? Then it is…

GUARD YOUR HEART

Sounds simple but I know from experience that it isn’t always that easy.

Our heart is who we are. It reveals our values, what we truly consider important. Out of it flows what’s inside us. It is the wellspring of life. If we allow our hearts to become contaminated or to drift from what we say is important (for me that would be God & His values) then I am of the opinion that we are headed for trouble.

GUARD YOUR HEART from wrong thinking, from wrong actions, from wrong priorities, from allowing thoughts, ideas and offenses to take root. These will all hurt your heart and begin to change the way you view yourself, others & your heavenly Father. Be determined to not let that happen in 2013.

If you love God then I consider this a worthy challenge for 2013. What do you think?