My name is Keith Haney. The writer and architect of this blog journey. Candidly I am a pastor, but you will find no judgment, only encouragement at this site. I am not sure how you stumbled upon this blog. Maybe you were seeking ways to help your congregation better reach its neighborhood. Or you were looking to grow as a leader. It’s conceivable the system and culture are crushing you, and you need consolation. If inspiration is what you are pursuing you will find it here, if you want to grow as a leader, I will challenge you to do that. If you want your church to just improve and add people in the pew, this blog may not be suitable for you. The world is changing and our old ways of connecting isn’t working. This blog it will test your traditional views of church and ministry, it may stretch you beyond your comfort zone. So, if you read, follow and share its contents with your leadership I hold no personal responsibility for the metamorphosis you may experience or the stress and transformation you may thrust upon your leadership.
Some categories to avoid if you want to read this blog safely. Avoid the section on Millennials. It is based on actual research and verified by my Millennials friends. It will ultimately alter your misconceptions about this passionate, missional generation. You will discover why they are just passing on the local church in alarmingly large numbers. The post entitled, “A Worship Style That Connects With Millennials” will cause you to abandon many of your Millennial worship initiatives.
You will also want to stay away from the posts on missional communities. It is the wave of the present for connecting with the unconnected. This section will make you angry and uncomfortable if you love the Sunday morning gathering time because this movement is not centered on worship in the traditional sense. You will get a sense of this with the post entitled, “Are Missional Communities a Threat to the Local Chuch?”
And, you will want to not click on any of the leadership sections. There is one there entitled, “Leadership 101: You Can’t Stop Stupid, and trying to fix Stupid Hurts.” Leadership is a passion of this pastor. I believe it is the one thing holding the church back from entirely being what God created Her to be, a dominant force for change of hearts and culture.
This blog also tackles the difficult often ignored issue of racial division in America. The writing on this topic led to a Bible Study, published in 2015 by Concordia Publishing House, entitled “Healing One Nation Under God: Healing Racial Divides.” It will challenge your conventional ideas about race while providing Biblical solutions to a complex issue.
There are safer places to surf while visiting this site. The devotions and sermon starters while challenging and insightful dangerous in that the Word of God itself points out our sins put also leads us into the arms of God’s grace and forgiveness.
Read, inwardly digest at your own risk. It is all based on the Word of God so blame the spirit for any transformation.
This content was created to share. Every day is a share-a-thon. Share away. We can help shape the future of the church together.
Common Ministry Misconception: The people of God are comfortable sitting in the pew watching the clergy do all the ministry.
The Truth of the matter is: The people of God do not want to sit they want to be equipped and sent. If you get nothing else from this series on engagement get that point.
The church is not a gallery where we exhibit the finest of Christians. No, it is a school where we educate and encourage imperfect Christians. 1
The concept of “equipping the saints” is complex. Church leaders often focus on only a portion of this verse, “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” Stopping here leaves out the reason for the equipping and what we are equipping people to do. Here is the complete verse for our study and reflection.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.2
There is much to unpack here. And too much to cover in 500 words or less. With that in mind, this will be a two-part blog post. Come back next week for the conclusion.
Equipped to Build Up the Body of Christ
As leaders of the church, you have been given gifts for God to accomplish His mission. The caution for leaders is understanding how to use your gifts. The gifts given to leaders are to unite the body of Christ not to tear it apart. One of the sadist things I have witnessed in the church is to see leaders get puffed up because of their gifts and what was intended for good, destroys unity in the body and eventually does damage to the mission. Gifts were meant for the edification, uplifting, strengthening and building up the people. He arePaul’s words again.
Eric Alexander remarks on this passage that the principle of unity is inviolable, having been established by God. The practice of unity, however, is violable, being broken all the time. The goal of maturity in Christ is to successfully unite those two. How ironic it is that the very unity of the faith, and unity of the knowledge of God, is, in fact, the very thing that causes schisms. Paul here is speaking doctrinally—there is but one true gospel to which all believers should adhere. How desperately sad is the fact that the church is known by schism, not unity; ignorance, not knowledge; and indecisiveness rather than maturity. How it must break God’s heart to see us continue in such a poverty-stricken condition in light of what he has done, stands ready to do, has the resources to accomplish, and has defined as our calling in Christ.
Step one in equipping the saints is to lead the Saints to use their gifts for the strengthening of the body of Christ. Next week come back for the second critical piece.
1Green, M. P. (Ed.). (1989). Illustrations for Biblical Preaching: Over 1500 sermon illustrations arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively(Revised edition of The expositor’s illustration file). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
2The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 4:11–14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
3Sproul, R. C. (1994). The Purpose of God: Ephesians(p. 104). Scotland: Christian Focus Publications.
I am sure reading this title alone causes you great angst. How dare you say the church is wrong? Maybe wrong is a strong word but I think the modern church has forgotten or limited the impact and understanding of discipleship. The reason for the two camps is how we have defined the mission of the church. The mission and discipleship are linked. Our understanding of mission determines how we prepare folks to carry out that said mission. As with any organization if we don’t pay attention to the mission, then the mission can get hijacked by nefarious forces. The mission is influenced even shaped by external factors, i.e., declining denominational and local church affiliations. Decisions made to save the institution shape the focus and direction of the programs and emphasis, what gets lost in all of this is the clear, simple task Christ gave to his church. “Go, teach and make disciples.”
So, it comes down often to these two options: Is the church’s mission to invite people to connect with the Savior, Jesus Christ (Evangelism)? Or is the mission to teach people to follow the example of Jesus, learn to obey His teachings, while inviting others to join you on this journey of faith (Discipleship)? Most would say “yes, both are right”, but we don’t do both. Sometimes we don’t do either, and we make church about something else. We make church about fellowship, gathering together, and celebrating that togetherness. Stop and think, if the mission is about evangelism and discipleship then why are we not measuring those things? Instead, we measure how many gathered together each week and how engaged they are by how much they give.
This story by David Currens hits home for me.
Thorwaldsen, the great Danish sculptor, portrays this scene in marble. In a church in Copenhagen stands his statue of the risen Christ with outstretched hands bearing the print of the nails and sending His disciples on their errand of peace. On each side of the church are six figures, representing the Twelve Apostles, in which group Paul takes the place of Judas.
To see the group as here represented makes a deep impression on the mind. Here is Christ, not on a cross, but ready for the Throne and yet scarred. The twofold message from His lips, according to John’s Gospel, is caught by the artist’s skill: “Peace be unto you” and, “As my Father hath sent me, even so, send I you.” We have peace through His blood and apostleship through His example. David L. Currens1
Is the mission to evangelize?
“…go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19
The church’s mission is apparently to evangelize. Jesus gives us a clear mandate to take the peace that Jesus Christ suffered and died to win for the world, to the world. I love this quote from the book I am reading, “The Great Commission is neither evangelism-centered nor discipleship-centered. It is gospel-centered. The command to make disciples is described in three ways: 1) being sent in the power of Jesus, 2) baptizing into the name of Jesus, and 3) teaching the commands of Jesus. The mission of the church is radically Jesus-centered.”2
Is the mission to make disciples?
20 Teach them to do everything I have commanded you. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time.”3
For this mission to be accomplished, it can’t all fall on the pastors. And the new modern reality is fewer people are walking into the church to hear this message of peace. So, as David points out in the work of Thorwaldsen, the Father is sending His disciples into the world to deliver this message of peace. Discipleship is about preparing the saints to be sent on the mission. The church has gotten distracted, we have focused so heavily on the gathering we have neglected the equipping of members to be sent. I have talked to many people sitting in the pew, who have a hunger and desire to be equipped. Church, your people do not want to sit they want to be equipped and sent!
If you like this share it with anyone whom it may be a blessing or a challenge.
In the Service of an Awesome God!
1Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times(p. 815). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.
2Dobson, J & Watson, B, “Called Together: A Guide to Forming Missional Community,” p 49
3GOD’S WORD Translation. (1995). (Mt 28:19–20). Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group.
Let’s start this discussion by clarifying what constitutes Generation Z and how they differ from Millennials: Generation Z are people born in the late ’90s and early 2000s. While Millennials were born in the 1980s and 1990s.
How they are Viewed by Employers.
“What these generational representatives will probably tell you is that kids these days are nothing like their immediate elders. Where Millennials were searching for meaningful toil, Gen Z are money-minded. The former like working together; the latter believe it’s every entry-level drone for themselves. Raised on participation trophies and gold stars, Millennials would rather focus on what they’re good at; having seen how cutthroat the economy can be during the most recent downturn, Gen Z are more open to working on their faults. (Those bon mots come courtesy of the SmartTribes Institute, a leadership consultancy.)”
What is Generation Z’s view of religion?
Generation Zers in America have been homeschooled more than the last several generations, and most are close to their parents.
But All is not Rosy.
This generation has grown up with a new cultural sense of ordinary. One study by Joan Hope pointed out that there is a significant spike in church attendance by Gen Z. It is too early in their development to see if this trend holds accurate long term. Studies also show that this will be the most significant non-white generation in history in America. With Hispanics as the fastest-growing group among Gen Z. It is all about fertility rates. Hispanic mothers have an average of 2.4 children, compared to black mothers (2.1), and Asian and white mothers (1.8) Tom Rainer points out. And due to this large number of non-white population growth more, Gen Z will be interracially married. Estimates that at least one of ten of this generation will marry across ethnic and racial lines.
The Social Challenges of this Generation.
Tom Rainer also points out that, “homosexual marriage will be embraced as normative. But we cannot tell yet what percentage of Gen Z will be in a homosexual marriage. Two historic events have shaped Gen Z. Most of them were not born when 9/11 took place, but their parents and others have made the event a part of their lives and insecurities. The second event, the Great Recession, is still a reality through the recession is officially over. Gen Z parents, and thus, their children still feel the impact of a weak jobs economy.”
This information paints a much more hopeful picture for the church, but it is not without its challenges. Generation Z is a highly tech-savvy generation growing up with the internet and Smartphones as a part of their very existence. But unlike Millennials they do tend to crave more personal contact. More to come on this, I just wanted to whet your appetite.
Other posts on Generation Z:
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I began my ministry career in the Motor City, Detroit. In a museum at Greenfield Village, Detroit, Michigan, there is a massive steam locomotive. Beside this complicated piece of machinery is a sign showing boiler pressure, size and number of wheels, horsepower, lengths, weight, and more. The bottom line shows that 96% of the power generated was used to move the locomotive and only 4% was left to pull the load. Some churches are like that; there are a large number of people in the body of Christ who are disengaged or only partially engaged. With these series of posts, I hope to provide insights to change faithful pew-sitters into engaged mission partners.
A good starting point for this series is identifying what the Factors Driving Engagement are. Many studies have listed hundreds of components influencing engagement. However, according to a Dale Carnegie Active Research June 2017 report, the top three are 1) Pride in the organization, 2) Belief in the senior leadership, and 3) Satisfaction with the immediate manager.
How does this translate in the church and non-profit world? I can see all these factors driving peace and engagement in our context.
1. Pride in the organization.
Often in the Bible, pride is referenced negatively and sinfully. Paul expresses his pride positively. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.12 Corinthians 7:4. I can recall times as a parish pastor that I was leery about bringing new fragile unbelievers into our fellowship because I was not sure how my people would receive them. Once our culture changed to be more welcoming, I could not have been prouder of the atmosphere God had created. When a member is excited about the ministry and the church they are attending, not only are they sharing and inviting others to come to see what God is doing; these members are often also engaged and aligned with the vision and direction of the leadership. There is a direct correlation between engagement, clear ministry direction, and vision.
2. Trust in Leadership
“To be a leader a man must have followers. And to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence the supreme quality of a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, on a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they see he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, Bits & Pieces, September 15, 1994, p. 4.
The Bible clarifies that leaders in the church must have unquestionable integrity. It is vital in business but a prerequisite in the church.
2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive. 1 Timothy 3:2-4
Members are far more willing to serve when they trust and respect their leaders.
3. Relationship with Ministry co-workers.
“The more I get to know people, the more I love my dog.” – Frederick the Great.
One of the most critical lessons I try to impart to congregations is that your elected leaders, the heads of your committees, and ministry leaders are critical to the success of your ministry engagement level. If those (for lack of a better term), middle managers are not people who others desire to work alongside, you will have a difficult time recruiting and keeping volunteers. You may have an awesome pastor, but if the people working more closely with the members are not highly relational, inspiring, enthusiastic, and empower volunteers, but sit on the sidelines and watch the show rather than be engaged and willing participants, no one will follow.
Next week more practical ways to further engage the wealth of talent sitting in your church pews.
As always if you find this post helpful you are encouraged to share it.
In the Service of an Awesome God
1The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (2 Co 7:4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Similar posts on engagement:
“There is an end to everything, to good things as well” -Chaucer. I am living this reality now. One the best ministry teams I have ever been blessed to serve with is ending. It was an incredible decade, where God used this team to transform the ministry direction of several congregations. Someone once said, “Ministry is for a season.” As the sun sets on this season, that same sun rises on a new season. As this leadership series sets, I pray the lessons we have covered will be a blessing to you and your ministry. The final post will focus on three things that made this team epic.
You must never be content with the average; you must always strive for the best.
“There is a fine line between being good and crazy. As a leader when you strive for the best, you must balance out the results with allowing for imperfection. Here is a great quote to put on your wall. Edwin Bliss once said, ‘The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.’” Tim Hansel, Eating Problems for Breakfast, Word Publishing, 1988, p. 39.
Don’t get those two mixed up. We can aim for excellence, but it is a thin line between that and perfection. Don’t cross the line as a leader or you will destroy yourself, your ministry and your people.
Work harder to keep your life in balance than people do who are not leaders.
In my first congregation, I had a member demand I am at church six days a week. I asked him why I should be at church on Saturday when we had no events planned? His response we because “that is what the church expects.” I responded back, but that is not what Scripture supports. And I had him read this passage. “2So the church’s supervisor must be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, sober, modest, and honest. They should show hospitality and be skilled at teaching. 3They shouldn’t be addicted to alcohol or be a bully. Instead, they should be gentle, peaceable, and not greedy. 4They should manage their own household well—they should see that their children are obedient with complete respect, 5because if they don’t know how to manage their own household, how can they take care of God’s church?”1 Timothy 3:2-5
When my life is out of balance, I am good to no one. I am failing my family. I am abandoning my leadership and putting my ministry at risk. It is the responsibility of leaders to model balance. I am still working on this one because the first point of striving for the best makes getting life out of balance a natural tendency. Guard your life, protect your family time, and work to keep it all at a healthy level.
People must be more important to you than possessions.
I could give some great examples of this, but Paul says it so well I will let him speak to your heart. “10Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. 11Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord! 12Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home. 14Bless people who harass you—bless and don’t curse them. 15Be happy with those who are happy, and cry with those who are crying. 16Consider everyone as equal, and don’t think that you’re better than anyone else. Instead, associate with people who have no status. Don’t think that you’re so smart.”Romans 12:10-16
I pray this leadership series has been a blessing to you. May God bless you all and may He bless the people you have been called to lead.
I am passionate about Christians sharing their faith with those outside of the family of God. What I am not a big fan of is doing that without forming a relationship with people. I am not a fan of individuals pushing Jesus on those outside of God’s grace because I think that just turns people off to Jesus and paints Jesus and Christians in a negative light. And believe you me we do not need any more negative impressions.
Let me share a real life story with you. I am standing in line with a friend in Glendale, AZ when a person who I have never met, nor a person who ever even took the time to strike up a conversation with me, reaches over and hands me this pamphlet. The question on the form in size 24 font reads: Are you 100% sure you will go to heaven? No soft shoe approach here. Let’s just get right to the heart of the issue. Skip the niceties and attack most people at their most vulnerable core. How sure are you that you are going to heaven?
Honestly, it depends on the day. Some days God and I are rocking and rolling. We are gelling at times. It is like I know exactly what God is thinking and I feel God’s presence clearly. Other days not so much. There are times when God feels distant. It is usually those days when sin gets in the way, and I am wrestling with something I have done to offend Him. Maybe I was rude to my kids because I was stressed by a major decision coming up and there are not clear answers. Or it was just one of those days where everything that could go wrong did and that was all before noon. Things just went downhill from that point on. So, the heaven question just bugged me. Why would you start there? Why plan on my vulnerability? Why not ease into a profound spiritual conversation? Are you trying to scare the Hell out me, literally? That is what the question is all about, how afraid of Hell are you? Enough to follow the seven easy steps to welcome Jesus into your heart on the following pages? Faith is not that easy. If it were, I would encourage every Christian to go to Office Depot and print out thousands of these magical pamphlets, and we can change the world.
Sharing your faith starts with a relationship which this man never wanted to engage in with me. He sat next to me for lunch and never stopped to come over and ask ”do you have any questions about what I gave you?” Just suppose this was a divine appointment set up by the Almighty Himself and I was ready to take that leap of faith. There was no one there to help my jump and provide a soft landing. All I could think in this was, what about me looked lost? What about me look like I needed Jesus? Am I giving off an aura that says, please help me I am lost? As I stepped back from this experience, I realized how angry the entire encounter made me. Upon further review, as I drilled down deeper on that emotion, what hit me was that you know nothing about me and you are making assumptions all of which are erroneous. Why didn’t you start a conversation with me? We could have shared a meaningful moment. Instead, you just made sure by passing out a flyer with your church name and address on it that I will never darken the doors of your building.
Witnessing is all about relationships which take the time to nurture and develop. I love the story of Philip in Acts. As an angel of the God moved him, he went out from Jerusalem to Gaza and ran into an Ethiopian, eunuch. Here is the story.
“And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet, Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him… 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture; he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” Acts 8:27-31, 35-36
Philip shows us that sharing your faith, is about relationships. It is about being willing to walk alongside, to answer tough questions and being open to the Holy Spirit’s leading. My encounter was an opportunity missed. How in your life is God asking you to be a Philip? Pray for the chance to build a relationship and get the chance to be a faith sharing blessing to someone.
I have to admit I have been one who has complained unconnected people only want to be entertained or view the church as a product and themselves as consumers. Often pondering the “what do members want from church discipleship or services question?”
Upon further review and distance, whose fault is that? Are churches sending the wrong message to Christ’s followers and to those we are attracting? Do church leaders have a pathway to make disciples or a strategy to attract customers to improve the ministries bottom line? The answer is not an either/ or, but a both/and when times get tough and dollars tight you will drift toward survival. Survival mode leads to an overemphasis on transactional ministry model.
When I graduated from the Seminary, our commencement speaker made a horrible analogy. He said, “When you get into the parish view your people as cows, not pigs. Cows you can milk for years. Pigs are only useful when they are killed for food.” I was stunned and horrified by that example. This is my flock he is talking about. I am called to care for them provided them with ministry services not milk them and cast them aside. We are called to shepherd. A word of caution of we turn the church into an organization which only provides ministry services, i.e., Sunday school, Bible classes, various affinity groups we risk shifting our congregations into a transactional consumer driven destination.
“The Transactional Mindset is actually an old sales philosophy that has 4 main tenants:
Paul Hiebert makes this observation in his book, “Transforming Worldviews” about the church.
“Modern Christians tend to organize their churches the same way they organize corporate action in other areas of their lives. Consequently, many churches are religious clubs. They focus on a single interest (religious life), have voluntary membership, follow democratic procedures in organization, and have their own symbols, property, and patterns of behavior. There are attempts at building deeper fellowship through small groups and church dinners, but few members are willing to pay the price for real community: involvement in members’ daily lives and willingness to bear one another’s burdens through sharing and financial assistance. When a church organizes itself using the social principles of a club, it soon becomes a club, no matter what it preaches about community.”
When our churches reduce ministry to service-rendered (transactional), budgets become inundated with programs, and we pray these programs are what our members (customers are seeking.) Are these programs changing lives? Do they help make disciples? To be fair some do, but that is not usually what the ministries are created to accomplish. Our focus is on attracting people to our church to get them to buy into joining and being a repeat customer. This must be balanced with creating a culture and space for relationships, or our ministry can become mainly services provided driven.
I am aware the term “transformation” makes people nervous. Allow me to ease your minds, The Biblical concept of transformation flows from a personal relationship with God. It is a Romans 12 concept, “2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Breathe easy, I am not inviting you to go off the deep end spiritually, into some touchy-feeling time of internal soul-searching. A transformation ministry mindset is God working regeneration of our being, our thinking, and changing our families and communities. It God doing a work in the heart and soul of our church community and our church’s community. It is reflected how we witness and share the truth in the communities that called the church to serve with love and compassion.
I truly believe people want their lives to make a difference. People desire to live lives that are transformed by the power of the Gospel. These converted people ask different questions about their faith journey. It is not what can the church offer me (transactional) but what am I called to do for God (transformational). Imagine your church making this shift in the thinking of its members?
Instead of your members looking to attract more people to fill their pews instead, we are looking for ways to build an authentic community to share the gospel in Jerusalem, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Here is how that would look.
Not that transactional is wrong, but transformation offers so much more. If you like this share it.
Other posts in the series:
This entire leadership series reflects the work of Myron Rush’s book, “The New Leader.” The two areas we will cover today may be the most robust couple of things a leader must do. They are perhaps the most difficult because they all involve personal sacrifice.
I often wonder if the reason members struggle with Jesus call of “take up your cross and follow me” is because we don’t see sacrifice modeled. It is possible this illustration will be eye-opening.
“I went into church and sat on the velvet pew. I watched as the sun came shining through the stained-glass windows. The minister dressed in a velvet robe opened the golden gilded Bible, marked it with a silk bookmark and said, ‘If any man will be my disciple, said Jesus, let him deny himself, take up his cross, sell what he has, give it to the poor, and follow me.’ “– Soren Kierkegaard, “And I looked Around, and Nobody was Laughing.”
Now I am not suggesting we worship in a plain box, but I wonder if leaders struggle with a similar issue. We want to lead our people, but the qualities we need to model them get lost in the glitz and glamour.
You must sometimes be willing to sacrifice personal interests for the good of the group.
We are critical of Millennials, but Baby Boomers were called the “Me Generation.” The Baby Boomers were nicknamed the “Me Generation” due to their perceived narcissism. I missed falling into the group by one year, but sin makes us a narcissist. As a leader, it is not a natural posture to put the needs of the group above your own needs, your desires, nor your goals. It takes a Christ-like attitude to lay down your interests and do what is best for the group. The Bible verse that comes to mind in this area is from Philippians 2 of course, “3Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves.4Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. 5Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:”
You must be willing to say no at times, even when you’d like to say yes.
“During World War II, Winston Churchill was forced to make a painful choice. The British secret service had broken the Nazi code and informed Churchill that the Germans were going to bomb Coventry. He had two alternatives: (1) evacuate the citizens and save hundreds of lives at the expense of indicating to the Germans that the code was broken; or (2) take no action, which would kill hundreds but keep the information flowing and possibly save many more lives. Churchill had to choose and followed the second course.” Klyne Snodgrass, Between Two Truths – Living with Biblical Tensions, 1990, Zondervan Publishing House, p. 179.
One of the most challenging things about leadership is you can’t explain your actions. You have information others don’t, and they love to judge your decisions based on the limited knowledge they have. As a leader, you need to have the courage of your convictions to say no even when you want to say yes because you know that say to yes will do harm to the body of Christ, or a Christian brother, or sister. Saying yes may save you pain in the short-term but may do damage to the community in the long run. As I have said all along leadership is not for cowards. Leadership is not for those who need to be liked. Leading is tough, thankless, involves profound personal sacrifices, but so rare, and essential to accomplish the most significant mission ever given. We are Christ’s Ambassadors; we are His witnesses, we are His disciples, given the assignment to proclaim the gospel to an unconnected and broken world.
If you like this share it. It is greatly appreciated.
Other posts in this series:
Turning the Bible Into Behavior
A Safe Place to Share Your Stories
Fitness From Within
<MIRRORING GOD AND CHRISTIANITY>
A life devoted to living by faith
"She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar"
Broadcasting the Great Word of Our Savior from Faribault, Minnesota to the World!!