So, how are you leading yourself? How clear are you regarding the mission and yourplace in the mission? Tired of plate spinning? Are you ready to engage others? Exactly how will you do that?
I know you may feel impatient and in a rush to get the task done but it’s not about the task is it? It is about growing people. Begin by getting to know people. What are theirpassions? Rather than pigeonhole people to fill in your gaps in what you want done, or try to put them on the ministry or discipleship merry-go-round, ask them what passions the Lord has given them? Co-create something or somewhere where they can explore and step into that which ignites their passions all the more and serves the greater kingdom of God all the while being aligned with the mission and vision.
What’s the ministry or discipleship merry-go-round you ask? Well, that’s when you tell them to attend worship and Bible class and “just get involved” in hopes that at the end out will come a fully formed disciple. It might come out of an “I don’t want to be pushy” concern, it might come from a “this approach has worked for centuries” kind of thinking, and it might come from a “I don’t really know how else to do it” place.Yet isn’t that the reality? We hope people will find their way and over time maturity in serving and being a disciple will happen spontaneously or it will rub off on them from some of the other members/disciples. But how is that working for ya? Not too well I presume. It is a merry-go-round because it doesn't get you very far. The real answer is being intentional with Christ followers.
That means customization vs. the cattle call of “ya’ll come” to this or that program or activity. It is a new approach. It is more work. After all, people are people and not functionaries. Spend time with them. Get to know them. Honor them and the gifts God has given them. Don’t see any? Keep looking, keeptalking, and keep asking. If God has them in the body of Christ, no doubt there is a valuable place for them. Their gifts and passions may not seem valuable to you and your point of view, but no doubt they are valuable to God and a kingdom point of view. When that gets named and honored in people, growth begins to soar. The ministry multiplies. People are empowered. More come to faith in Jesus.
I like Reggie McNeal’s story of one church told in his book Missional Renaissance (pp. 123ff). He speaks of intentional interviews with people. What do you enjoy doing? Where do you see God at work right now? What would you like to see God do in your life over the next six to twelve months? How would you like to serve other people? How can I help? How can I pray for you? Perhaps I like it so much because it looks a lot like coaching which is my passion.
Yes it means a whole different approach. Yes it means some vacancies will continue to exist in current ministry structures (but don’t you have those anyway?). And yes it may even mean that the structure and how and what you do will shift, maybe even dramatically. But if it means more people engaged in kingdom work and growing as disciples, then that is a sacrifice worth taking.
Empowering Leaders Part 3