I have been waiting for a link to include here to the videos from “The Nines” last week, but I’m going to go ahead and post some thoughts now without the link. The Nines was an online teaching time where Leadership Network and Catalyst teamed up to make available some great and brief teaching/encouragement/advice/urging… clips from some of the most dynamic and respected leaders in the church today. It was a good day, and after a week or so of simmering… here’s what The Nines has boiled down to for me.
Anne Jackson was the first video that I saw – with a great reminder that “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” This was a recurring theme that I noticed several times throughout the day. THE vital relationship is with Jesus – without that, my leadership has no life to it. Sometimes, the demands of ministry can threaten to choke out that relationship; which is really stupid and backwards. If I put ministry first, then it will interfere with my relationship with Jesus and result in meaningless activity that is something less than the ministry God has called me to.
Perry Noble reinforced this thought of the importance of connection with God. “We should spend most of our time on our face before God seeking to find out what He wants to do.” I have to admit, my time management has been next to crappy lately. Some days, I feel like I’ve been busy all day, but when I look back over the day, I can’t see anything meaningful that’s been accomplished. Maybe (duh) I haven’t spent enough time with God to really see clearly… I don’t want to do ministry from memory anymore. I need to seek to do ministry from the overflow of God’s imagination poured into my life.
Stacy Spencer offered a challenging thought regarding not giving up on people when they fail. He mentioned the king’s instruction to “get Jeremiah out of the pit before he dies.” When people have fallen, are we helping them back up or leaving them on the side of the road to die? One of my struggles lately has been the high number of students we have who will come to our building on Sunday morning with their parents, but don’t really have any other connection to our student ministry. Many of these students have made some pretty poor choices and, to put it bluntly, are spiritual failing. Without the connections that are built in the student ministry, I’m having a hard time knowing how to ‘get them out of the pits’ they’ve fallen into… This was a needed reminder to not give up.
I really liked Scott Wilson‘s thoughts on raising the bar of leadership in the church. He really seems to put a high priority on developing the leadership potential in those around him – i.e. helping leaders discover their calling, develop their gifts, and deploy. Their staff was offered a $500 bonus for reading 35 books to develop their own leadership over the year – I love that idea! Of course, the flip side he gave for that was “if you don’t grow, you gotta go…” I like the high expectation/high reward…
Reggie McNeal defined the church as “The people of God, partnering with Him in His redemptive mission in the world.” It’s not so much that the church has a mission, but that God’s mission has the church to carry it out. Are we working on God’s mission – and if not, why are we calling ourselves His church?
Craig Groeschel‘s 9 minutes offered a good overview that sort of pulled a lot of things together from the day. (Each of these segments was independent from the rest, so I think it says a lot that so many of these leaders are echoing the same thoughts.) He talked about creating a culture of innovation, because “to reach people no one is reaching, we have to do what no one else is doing.” I remember my Middle School years at this church that way. Bryant was a church that had a different flavor to it than any other church I knew of… and was reaching people that no one else reached. Innovation was valued – not just for the sake of something new, but for the sake of people knowing Jesus. Another point of emphasis for Groeschel was utilizing the gifts of the church – not just using the ‘staff’ to get work done. The work of the church takes the whole church. The difficulty is sometimes leadership delegates tasks, instead of delegating authority. We need to shift our focus from recruiting slot filling volunteers to empowering and releasing leaders into the ministries to which God is calling them. All of this is predicated on doing ministry from the overflow of the Spirit of God.
I’m remembering that the day was very full. I took 10 pages of notes, and what I’ve written here will have to serve as Part 1. More to follow…