I decided to close my Twitter account last week. It is an account that I have had for 12 years. It is interesting to read the things that I shared in the early years of the account and then to see what happened in later years as the character limit expanded and my role shifted from that of a local church pastor to a university president. So, here are a number of things that I thought might be worthy of “saving”…
“Life is experienced as a video and remembered as a series of snapshots….”
This was from an external reviewer: Pastorpreneur is a term that refers to an innovative pastor or Christian leader willing to take risks, similar to business risks, in an attempt to grow their church and community to further the Christian mission. The term, which combines the words pastor and entrepreneur, was coined by Dr. John Jackson, President of Vision Quest Ministries. Dr. Jackson pastors a church, but also speaks to church leaders with the intent of helping them create and grow high impact churches.
Mass Customization….Do you know your story well?
Mass customization is a practice in retail where the manufacturer develops practices to produce mass quantities and the sales efforts are aimed at personalizing the approach to each individual customer. Any application to your work as a Thriving Church Leader? You betcha!
Each ministry has a “story” that needs to be “mass customized”. The “mass” part of your story needs to be understood, told, told again, and re-told. Each ministry has a “creation story” (the dream that brought you into existence, what was the birthing process like, the obstacles you overcame), a “redemption story” (times you failed, ways that you saw God working to redeem what seemed to be hopeless efforts), and a “vision story” (the view you have of the future, how you see God moving you into tomorrow, and what the impact of a fulfilled vision would look like in your community). Thriving Church Leaders must have compelling stories that can be told over and over again. Stories of changed lives are the fuel of visions that mobilize people to work together for change in a community.
The “customization” part of the work is to insure that each time the stories are told, that there are linkages to individual men and women. When you tell the story, share the dream, cast the vision you are providing an “on-ramp” for men and women to connect with the dream. See each story as a time where you are participating in a “holy moment”….where God can connect the heart of the individual to the dream…then there is the possibility of them becoming part of God’s dream team! The customizing part of thriving church leader work is about sharing and shaping dreams so that people can make their individual story part of THE story of God at work in your community.
I’ve been in Keystone CO the last two days with my precious wife Pamela, and with James & Betty Robison and about 50 pastors. James and Betty convened this summit to hear from God and share what God was stirring in them. I was fortunate to receive an invitation for Pam and I.
Miles McPherson and James Garlow (both San Diego pastors) are here; other than that I don’t know anyone else personally. It has been a RICH time. I have wept more these past two days than in a long time. Very cleansing for the soul. Some of what was shared here was for the moment only. But there are other things I think might be of benefit to the larger Body of Christ and are worth pondering. It’s hard to “download” all that God has done and spoken here. So I’m just going to share a few words right now and then more later. TCI (www.thrivingchurches.com) wants to be cooperate with God’s work on earth, so I’m trusting that He will give us wisdom to that end.
-The more sensitive you become to God the more sensitive you become to others
-Jesus never went to the mountains to get power (He had all the power of Heaven at His disposal). He went to the mountain to hear the voice of the Father instead of the cries of the masses.
-God cannot accomplish through you what He wills to do until He is able to do in you what He wills to do.
Those 3 things are a good start. Here are some initial responses from me:
* If I am more in love with God every day and hour, then I will love people more every day and hour
* Why am I always seeking more power, strategy, strength, techniques than seeking more of the Father? This is an achilles heel for me personally. Do I want God more than I want His resources? Is my “doing” flowing from my “being” or am I always “doing” in order to “become”. OVERFLOW!!
* Surrender to the hand of God is the daily/hour (moment by moment!) choice of walking in the Spirit vs. walking in the Flesh. How much of my life and ministry and the ministries of our churches is about us and how much is about HIM?
I want to know that what I am doing and what we are doing is coming FROM the Father and not simply FOR Him.
These are my first reflections from meeting God at the mountain!
My wife Pam and I just returned for a powerful two day experience with James & Betty Robison at Keystone, CO. I’m trying to download much of what I feel like God said there. In the meantime, let me share some additional “bullet points” for your prayerful consideration.
1) When God tells you what to do, the enemy often moves in to tell you how, where, who, when
2) John 17 was Jesus’ great intercessory prayer. He prayed that we would be ONE. We have to learn to disagree without divorcing. Divorce is rampant in the church because divorce is rampant in the church (more on that later!). God’s heart is for harmony in the family
3) God is calling us to an Isaiah 58 season. We are to be the restorers of the fallen and rebuilders of the wall. The restoration of America will happen because of the transformation of People. The church is real sick, but God is calling the church to this role in our world. We have to love every sick and defeated church, but we must not give our people pablum. We have to tend the ground where God has placed us and be faithful in our watchcare. Go to http://www.jamesrobison.net for some great additional writing on this subject. Faith, Family, Freedom. Those 3 words/visions stirred something DEEP in my soul. I wept again. And again. And again…
More nuggets from our time in Colorado with James & Betty Robison:
-The more you look like one another, the less you look like Jesus (Jesus values uniqueness, diversity, individuality)
-My note: Purposes-Principles-Paradigms-Practices lead to Impact
-He is more anxious to speak than you are to listen. Romans 10 connection. (Ouch! This is so reassuring and so convicting at once! How many times has the Father longed to speak to me and I was unwilling and unavailable to listen?)
-Themes of Faith, Family, Freedom were throughout this conference. Return to wisdom, sanity, security. Those 3 words of Faith/Family/Freedom really resonate with me. We rejoiced in the abolition of slavery, we should now be weeping at the abolition of freedom (this was a powerful and challenging section where the free market, freedom from greed, and personal freedom were all addressed). I feel particularly called to see churches and people walk in freedom and hope!
-This is a powerful prayer for us: “Show us the steps necessary to restore the fullness of faith, family, and freedom and for the Church to be who and what God has destined to be”. (Wow! Yes Lord..I long for me and for our churches to be who you have destined us to be!)
More on things I “heard” on the Mountain with James & Betty Robison:
-Pay the price or forfeit the future. Live Your Life for Kingdom Purpose. (My life mission: I want to invest my life in Kingdom Impact people and organizations to leverage my life for the glory of God).
-Why don’t we champion the faith? Are will willing to lay it down for freedom for others?
-Everything that is in His heart is not your part. What is your part? We all need to know our part and help other people do their part (TOTALLY resonated here; my book “Finding Your Place in God’s Plan” came out of this passion).
-Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on; encourage your people to be a shoulder to lean on. (How is this happening in your thriving church?)
-If people want their prayers answered, then seek to be an answer to someone’s prayer. If you want your dreams fulfilled, then lose your dreams in Him. What is on His heart?
-All pressure, pain, problems in life have either come through the hand of God or through His fingers. Why? Form Christlikeness in us. (If we really believed this, how would it change the way we respond to trouble in our lives?)
-We need to grow crops where we are planted!
-We need to release and challenge teenagers to their divine appointments! What are our churches calling people to? Stop feeding people pablum! Get into God’s heart and gameplan for today! (Note…how do I respond to this as a leader of leaders?. How do you react to this as a Christ follower?)