The Living God created human life with a physiological need to breathe. It is a clear reality that without breath, human beings will physically die. In fact, it is an impossibility to be alive and not continue breathing. More specifically, human beings cannot just breathe any substance, rather we must breathe the right substance. We all know that it is breathing that keeps a human being alive and that involves the inhalation of oxygen and the exhalation of carbon dioxide.
During the seventh grade, I vividly recall an incident that created fear in my heart. I couldn’t explain it at the time, and certainly couldn’t put my finger on it in the moment it happened. What I did realize was that some deep fear gripped my yount heart. My mind remained absent of explanation and understanding, but my heart understood something that morning, that was difficult to communicate.
A friend of mine named Michael was standing in line on this ordinary morning right in front of me. As usual seventh graders do, we were anxiously waiting for the morning bell to ring so we could go to homeroom. We were in the middle of a normal morning just like any other morning, and we were in the middle of normal conversation, just as usual. But suddenly something extremely unusual happened. Michael suddenly looked as if he was choking. His hands abruptly grasped his neck and he fell to the ground. In fact, he fell on rocks, and acted as if he did not even feel pain from landing hard on the rocks. His body stiffened and he shook violently.
Imagine this scene for a moment. There’s a long line of seventh graders standing on a sidewalk right in front of the door to their junior high school. Some of them had taken the bus that morning, while others were dropped off by their parents, and still others walked to school that day. It was an ordinary day. They were as ready to start school just like any other day, and suddenly a traumatic event was occurring before their eyes. No one knew what to do, so we all stood there paralyzed with fear. No one knew what was happening. No one had ever seen anything like this. A few of us screamed out, “Get help!!” Somebody go get help!!” But seconds ticked by slowly.
Michael was horizontally positioned on the ground, shaking violently as if he was laying in the arctic. His body became very stiff and he could not speak or communicate in any way. Several teachers came running over, while one teacher called 911. The teachers were in disbelief and they clearly did not know what to do. We all became panicking onlookers, pierced with disbelief. What was happening to Michael, and what could we do about it?
I’ll never forget what one teacher said as she panicked fearfully: “He stopped breathing, what do we do? What do we do? What do we do? He’s not breathing!!”
The reason I’ll never forget what she said that day is because she put words to the fear that was intensely gripping my heart. Even as a seventh grader, I knew what she meant. If he stopped breathing, he would die. And if someone didn’t do something quickly, death might soon appear. Though my mind didn’t understand it, my heart knew deeply that if Michael stopped breathing for any length of time, life would end for him, and he was only twelve years old.
The ambulances came, rushed him to the hospital, and you may be glad to know, they saved his life, they rescued a young boy who almost died because he had stopped breathing. I do not know all the details of what went wrong, but was reminded that day how critical breathing was to living life as a human being.
There are too many disciples of Jesus who are standing in line waiting for the bell to ring. We assume the air we need to breathe will float right over to us. We take for granted this air and mostly, we do not ever think about it. When my friend Michael woke up that day, he never thought about how he would breathe and live that day. When what he took for granted was absent, he felt the desperate gasp for air. Those in line around him saw even more clearly how desperately he needed air.
I believe disciples of Jesus Christ first rarely even acknowledge the air they breathe – they take it for granted.
Just as every human being is desperate for air physiologically, every human being is also desperate for another kind of air – spiritual air. Our souls are gasping for air, heading toward a path of death because we are failing to breathe spiritual breathe.
Human beings need oxygen to breathe. No other substance can give us the ability to breathe. We cannot breathe in hydrogen, carbon dioxide, or any other vapor or gas to help us breathe and live. In the same way, we can only breathe one substance to give us spiritual breath. The one, true God is the only substance that our souls can live on. Without the breathing of God Himself, our souls die.
The sad reality is that too many of Jesus’ disciples have allowed their souls to die. An even sadder reality is that all of us who have stood in line around those dying, breathless disciples have become passive onlookers, not knowing quite what to do. A few of us call for help, but no one really knows what to do. The reality is clear to many of the onlookers, but there is very little done to change this reality.
Day after day, disciples wake up and go to school like seventh graders. Do you know how seventh graders act? They attend class, most of them behave at least well enough to stay out of trouble because in seventh grade, parents still call kids’ parents when they are misbehaving. We call ourselves Christians, we go to class doing what we are supposed to do to get a good grade, building some friendships along the way, but continuing to live on a surface level with one another.
Each day they wake up to an ordinary day, a day when they will experience conversations, friendships, work, and everyday things. But the problem is that church leaders often do not breathe the right substance. As a result, churches do not become the right substances. People are not transformed into the right substance. Communities fail to become redemptive pockets on the planet we know as earth. We must learn to breathe spiritual oxygen.
Jesus Christ once said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matt. 5:6). Think about something with me for a moment. When you are hungry, what do you desire? Food, of course. When you are thirsty, what do you desire? A drink of water, or some type of fluid to satisfy your thirst. When we are hungry, we usually eat food, and then we are “full” (in essence, our stomachs are filled with food, therefore, we do not want anymore. It is the same thing when we are thirsty. After having a drink, we are not thirsty anymore, mostly because we have “had our fill.” What I just said probably doesn’t surprise you, but when we think in terms of spirituality, we often miss a reality that is desperately problematic.
What happens when you go under water for about one minute? Your body tells you that you desperately need air, so you go up for breath. If you did not listen to what your body was telling you, we all know that we would die. In a similar way, if we do not eat food or drink water when we are hungry or thirsty, eventually, we’ll die. But the reality for most of us on the spiritual front is that we don’t eat the right food, don’t drink water that satisfies, and we don’t go up for breath when we need it. The result? We are slowing dying, and in some cases, we are dead spiritually already.
Every one of you reading this knows the realities of your body concerning hunger, thirst, and going up for breath when you need it. Concerning spirituality, we too often do not operate on the very things that supply life to us. The oxygen of spiritual life. What are we inhaling anyway? What are we eating and drinking? Are these things filling us, supplying life and breath to us? Are they satisfying us and giving us our fill?
To be the kind of follower Jesus intends for his disciples, we must learn to inhale the right stuff. We must become aware of what we are breathing in, and most often we can tell what we are inhaling by what we are exhaling. Disciples of Jesus Christ inhale spiritual oxygen, and exhale spiritual carbon dioxide.
We must inhale the goodness, truth, and beauty of God. We must inhale God Himself. We take in godly things, thinkg godly thoughts, and above all else guard our hearts, for it is the wellspring of life. When we do, we will then exhale the breath of God to this world.Read More
Almost no one wishes they were busier—that we had more things on our to do list, more places to be, more people to catch up with, more errands to run, or more emails to respond to. No one wants that.
Instead, most of us wish life would actually SLOW down, OR that we had more hours in the day, and that we could focus more on the substantial and less on the superficial – not the other way around.
If we peel back a layer, I think what we really wish is that we were able to BE MORE PRESENT in our own lives, and less preoccupied. Anybody with me?
There’s that voice inside that tells us we aren’t designed to live in fast-forward, always wondering or worrying about what is next or what needs to be done. That line gets easily blurs between healthy busyness and unhealthy scattered-ness.
The real dilemma isn’t pointing towards us believing that busyness is inherently bad.
The real dilemma is pointing us towards a more centered way of living.
The issue here isn’t busyness. Rather, distraction.
Dallas Willard says that the greatest enemy to our spiritual life is – you guessed it – distraction.
Busyness does feed into our propensity to be distracted. This often causes us to miss what and who we want to be present with. It’s often just the thing we use to feed into our preoccupation, so we don’t HAVE to be still, because for some of us, that’s a very difficult thing to do.
Recently, I’ve wondered, what does God say about busyness, and more importantly, distraction?
There’s a passage of Scripture in the gospel of Luke that I’ve read many times before, but recently I gained a deeper insight from it that relates to my own challenge of busyness and distraction.
Jesus has this conversation with Martha (Luke 10:38-42). There are a few phrases that pop out to me. First, we read that Mary, “sat at the Lord’s feet.” This isn’t a description of her location in the room. And it doesn’t mean that Jesus wanted Mary to do nothing the rest of her life but sit around. It is an assertion that Mary has made a fundamental decision about her life.
Jesus is talking about the posture of Mary’s heart as she engages life. To us, He’s talking about opening our eyes to see God as we move through our lives…and then respond to him, whether that means go faster and do more, or whether that means pull back and do less.
To “sit in someone’s feet” was an expression in ancient times that indicated the relationship between a disciple and a rabbi. For example when Saul of Tarsus “sat at feet of Gamaliel” (Acts 22.3). He was listening and learning, focusing on the teaching of his master and allowing his life and teachings to change who he was becoming and how he lived.
To “sit at someone’s feet” quite simply meant to be their student, protégé, or disciple. A disciple was someone who had chosen to be with his rabbi as much as possible in order to learn everything he could from him so he could one day be like him. In ancient times, disciples tried to be around the rabbi everywhere not just during formal teaching times. They wanted to see how the rabbi would handle money, what he would do if a woman tried to engage him in conversation. They would compete with each other to be with the rabbi when he was fixing meals, when he was doing chores, even going to bathroom because they were convinced he might say a prayer they may have never heard. A little extreme I know.
Biblical scholar Ray van der Laan notes that the first century Jews had a blessing that beautifully expresses the commitment of the disciple to stay in the presence of the one he followed – “may you always be covered by the dust of your rabbi.” That is, “may you follow him so closely that the dust that his feet kicks is what covers your clothing and lines your face.”
Disciples never wanted to let the rabbi out of their sight. What mattered was not so much the particular activity they were doing. What mattered was being with their rabbi whatever he was doing. Every activity was an opportunity to learn from the rabbi how to be like the rabbi.
I can be “sitting at Jesus feet” when I’m kneeling in prayer or negotiating a contract, or fixing my kids lunch, doing my emails, or watching a movie. All it requires is asking Jesus to be our teacher and companion in that moment. Be with him in what we’re doing. It’s about becoming increasingly aware of what he is trying to teach us, or what he would actually do or say in a situation like the one we’re in.
The intent of a disciple is to live in the presence of his rabbi to learn from his rabbi and strive to become like his rabbi in every way. This is what it meant to “sit at someone’s feet.”
In this story, Martha is working hard in the kitchen. Luke alerts us to a fundamental obstacle that keeps us from being with Jesus. Again, he doesn’t say she was too busy. He doesn’t say she was over-committed. His word is “distracted” – a word that means “to be physically pulled or dragged away from something.”
Jesus enters the home of Mary and Martha, two sisters. Martha must have been certain that after exchanging a few words with Jesus, Mary would come help her with all the cooking and cleaning. But Mary doesn’t come. There must have been all kinds of stuff going on in Martha’s head wondering why Mary wasn’t helping out. Martha gets to the point where she can’t take it anymore and says, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work myself? Tell her to help me.” Martha is not just criticizing Mary, she’s also unhappy with Jesus. She’s bringing the pressure – “if you’re compassionate, you’ll make certain other people around here do what I think is important for them to do.”
Then Jesus replies, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things.” When Jesus says your name twice, be on the lookout. He did this other times in the Scriptures when he was really trying to get someone’s attention. It’s kind of like when parents use their kids first and last name together, that’s when you know you’re in for it. I knew my mom was serious when she busted out the two full names, “Stephen Saccone, you get over here right now!”
In this case, I think Jesus was very serious (but also very compassionate). He goes on to diagnose her condition with precision. The fundamental obstacle that keeps someone from his presence is distraction.
Jesus uses another phrase and says to Martha: “’only one thing is needed,’ and that is the one thing that Mary has chosen, which would not be taken from her.” The “one thing” was NOT that she would spend the rest of her life sitting in contemplation, letting Martha do all the work. The one thing was being with Jesus no matter what else is going on around her, no matter what she was doing, no matter how busy she was. The one thing was about Mary walking through life aware of God’s presence, ready to recognize him, trying to learn from Jesus, trying to listen for his voice, trying to act when he said act, do when he says do, and be when he says be.
Notice that Martha wasn’t doing bad things. She wasn’t violating the 10 Commandments or gossiping about her friends or spending hours lying on the couch in laziness, or using someone else’s credit card. She was doing constructive things, working hard. BUT, she wasn’t doing it in a way that involved being with Jesus. She was preoccupied with other things. The word that describes Martha is also a word that keeps many of us from experiencing God’s presence in our daily lives.
Martha is a follower of Jesus. She invited Jesus to be in her home. But Martha is distracted from noticing God’s presence right in front of her. She’s not defiant or revenge-seeking, or hate-filled. She’s not rebellious or cruel. Just distracted.
What is it that keeps us from sitting at Jesus’ feet? What keeps us from living in the presence of God? It is US. It’s not even that we have deliberately chosen to keep him at arm’s length. It is often something much more subtle.
I suspect that many of us are like Martha. We have good intentions. We have invited Jesus into our homes, but we end up missing out on his presence – not b/c we’ve rejected him, but because we get distracted.
So, what is the path that leads us out of distraction?
We need to be ready for the Jesus moments that are right in front of us.
The tragedy of the story is that while Martha is striving tirelessly to serve Jesus, she misses seeing and knowing him. Sometimes we’re doing good things – serving others, working hard, etc. – but we can’t forget to open our spiritual eyes and move through life with an keen awareness of what Jesus wants to teach us in a moment or how he wants to speak to us, or what he wants us to say or do.
Mary had legitimate expectations upon her shoulders, but she was willing to put aside whatever agenda others had for her, or that she had for herself, and respond to Jesus invitation to be with her in deeply profound way.
There is a series of inner choices that brings us to the place of being able to truly “sit at Jesus’ feet” as Mary did. If you are like me, and want more of these kind of profound moments to happen with the God we are so desirous to know, these are the choices before us that we must be willing to make.
First, we have to look for moments where Jesus is revealing himself. Where is he trying to be present with us and speak to us?
Second, we have to learn to discern these moments when they come. We have to learn how to see our extraordinary God in the ordinary of life.
Third, we have to be able to slow down, be still and present in those moments with God. We must be willing to throw away our own agenda or whatever tasks get in the way, and truly be there with him.
Look, Discern, and Receive. These are the 3 inner choices that no one else can see, but are some of the most important ones we will make.
There are leadership principles that span the scope of leadership anywhere and everywhere. Those things are good to learn from and apply. But sometimes, there’s something called “spiritual leadership” that presents a distinct set of things that ought to remain important and even core to who we are as people. It’s really not even about “leadership” but much more about being vessels in whom God uses in this world to accomplish HIS purposes. I don’t know about you, but I want to be that kind of vessel. So here’s 3 snapshots of paradigms that inform and guide my own “spiritual leadership.”
1. As ministry leaders, when we genuinely experience the beauty, the truth, and the goodness that God offers, that in turn will be the kind of God that we translate through our leadership. Too many ministry leaders aren’t actually experiencing the beauty, truth and goodness of God in their everyday lives. If we can’t see God’s true beauty, or fail to grasp his profound truth, or don’t really know his unwavering goodness, then we won’t be able to translate it to others..nor should we try to. The world needs spiritual leaders to represent the fullness of God to a generation that questions whether they can look to the church to find him. This is serious stuff for ministry leaders to consider. This is a paradigm that can cause internal dissonance, and I know it has for me at times.
2. For true growth in our ministries and spiritual lives to happen, we must create space within us where the mystery of God’s Spirit is welcomed and nurtured. From that place, we will lead our ministries. The rest is in God’s hands. The evil one wants to subtly alter our approach to ministry, to twist what our mindset ought to be and to put our focus more on our own doing than giving God the credit he deserves and relying on Him. The Enemy wants to twist something good like productivity and lead us to believe that it’s a positive trait, and in many ways it is. But he finds crafty ways to take something good and twist it so that we get steered away from remembering who bears the fruit. If we don’t walk in step with the Spirit, our ministries and personal lives will never be marked with this kind of fruit, this kind of love. To walk in step with the spirit, we must create space for God’s mysterious work to be nurtured and welcomed.
3. I’ll let Thomas Kelly’s words challenge and inspire you as a spiritual leader, and leave you with that: “There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings.” (Thomas Kelly) Kelly: Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion. New York: Harper Bros., 1941, 12.Read More
- Missional Formation
- Relational Leadership
- Communication Effectiveness
- Character Formation
- Entrepreneurial Leadership
- Leveraging Gifts and Talents
- Utilizing Spiritual Gift Assessments and a Strengths-Based Ministry Philosophy
- Weekly video conference calls with seasoned leaders, that will include many if not all of the following (pending scheduling):
Mark Batterson, Nancy Ortberg, Efrem Smith, Dan Kimball, JR Woodward, Margaret Feinberg, Jarrett and Jeanne Stevens, Steve Saccone, Reggie McNeal, Nancy Beach, Ed Gungor, Hugh Halter, Matt Smay, Jeremy Petrocini (Gallup Faith), and more
- Question and answer during these calls, as well as other online interaction with and access to these seasoned ministry leaders
- Weekly reading excerpts from selected books, articles, blogs, as well as podcasts and video casts (Including exclusive, free resources every month)
- Four unique assessments along with accompanying coaching* and action items. The assessments revolve around the protege character grid, relational intelligence, spiritual gifts, and talent development.
- Each participant will not only receive high level training within the program, they will exit the program equipped with a customized growth plan for the months ahead.
Each participant will be offered two executive coaching sessions with professionally trained and certified coaches to help them harness their strengths more effectively, grow in their character concretely, process their spiritual and vocational journey, and increase their impact in and through their church or ministry.
- Start Date: Monday June 3rd, 9am (PST) with an introductory phone call to set the course and clarify any questions.
- Length of Experience: You can choose a 3 month option or a 6 month option (Video conference calls happen once a week)
- The Seasoned Ministry Leaders will be on Conference Calls 2x/month to dialogue with you about the set upon theme and to interact via Question and Answer. The other calls will revolve around the content and themes being learned about.
Every one of us needs a good dose of godly character to cover the ‘gaps’ of our gifting—the areas where we are obligated to work but not very gifted.
Most leadership theory instructs us to address the “gaps” by surrounding ourselves with people who have gifts and talents that compliment us. This is helpful advice, if you can pull it off. But let’s be real – this isn’t always as practical as it sounds when that advice is given.
So…I’ve discovered a different more sure-fire way to “cover the gaps.” And I think it’s the way God designed it.
How? Through godliness.
You may not be eloquent, but if you’re godly, you will have wisdom, insight and peace so that you won’t be a boring communicator or preacher.
You may lack the personality temperament and dynamic skills to be an effective counselor, but if you’re godly, you will have deep empathy and tender love so that you will still bear fruit as a pastor.
You may not be organized and have charisma, but if you’re godly, your embodiment of humility will command people’s respect and admiration.
If you “pursue godliness” as the Scriptures tell us to do, your godly character will “fills the gaps.”Read More
Guilt emerges when we’ve done something that we perceive to be wrong toward God or someone else. And as human beings, whenever we wrong someone else, nothing less than paying that debt will relieve our guilty conscience. Part of the journey for every Christ-follower is to monitor more deeply the unhealthy and unnecessary guilt that we harbor and ruminate over. Too often, we allow shame to get lodged in our heart, and shame is never productive. We lose sight of Jesus’ sacrifice to redeem us, and that it’s more than just a ticket to get to heaven, although that’s a remarkable and eternal gift. God invites us into a journey of the deepest kind of forgiveness that ultimately leads us to freedom in this life and the next. It is our responsibility to engage that quest toward forgiveness and freedom, by rooting out the shame and guilt that gets embedded inside.
When it comes to getting relief from our guilt through Christ, the practice of confession is one spiritual discipline that can guide and accelerate our pursuit. However, when confession remains at a surface level, or a simple cognitive exchange between us and God, it falls short of doing what God ultimately intended it to do. My way of confession for years happened simply by quoting 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In essence, I thought, “If I sin, I simply need to admit it and remember that God forgives me. Then I can move on.” Seems simple enough.
But when I followed the trail of this thinking, I found that my tendency was right before I was tempted to sin, I’d think to myself, “I’m aware that what I’m about to do is wrong, but if I do it, I’ll just confess it to God and I’ll be forgiven and all will be good between us.” In my own life, this became a Bible verse that I distorted to use for my own selfish advantage, to support my own sinful habits. Truth is, this way of confessing isn’t focused around change. It’s primarily about relieving guilt and feeling better.
When the Scriptures use the word confession, it’s directly associated with change. And, the idea of confession leading to change is interconnected with the biblical concept of repentance. Simply put, repentance is about recognizing the error of our ways and turning around to go in the opposite direction. Confession is not intended to take the place of repentance; rather it is to be the first step toward repentance, toward true change in Christ. In addition, confession isn’t a singular moment, but must become an ongoing pattern in our lives if we want to continually live in the grace and forgiveness of Christ.
To take confession and repentance one step further, the Scriptures reveal the human tendency for us to hide our most shameful sins. That’s partly why James tells us to practice communal confession: “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:15-16). When we keep sinful secrets from others and refuse to surrender them before God, our guilt doesn’t go away. We may find ways to ignore or temporarily numb our guilt, but it’s still there. If we choose this path, we’ll never know freedom.
Unfortunately there are far too many of us who live bound up with guilt and shame. That’s why if you consider yourself someone who desires to lead the church forward into a better future, I plead with you to get this right—to implement the practices of confession, communal confession, and true repentance that lead you to real change and authentic freedom. The health of our churches, ministries, and our very lives will be determined in large part by the health of our own heart.Read More
93% of pastors state that they believe leadership development is critical to the effectiveness of their organization and its future. Yet, more than 77% of those pastors acknowledge that they are only doing an average to below average job at it. In other words, there is a huge gap in their stated belief and the action that follows. They aren’t alone in facing challenges of developing the next generation of spiritual influencers. And there are many obstacles to overcome, including how we find time to do this well, and what exactly do we do to execute more effectively.
One of my core passion areas is developing the next generation of spiritual influencers. Several years ago, one question I asked myself, “What if I could redesign the seminary education process?” It’s not that I was against what we envision seminary to be. It’s just that if we step back and think about how our modern day pastor gets trained, I don’t believe seminaries as a whole are the sole path. And then I took my question-asking one step further and asked, “What if I could redesign our paradigm for how we think emerging church leaders are developed most effectively? For more than eight years now, I’ve lived in the tension of those questions. I’ve wrestled with them, experimented, and collaborated with many others as we’ve fleshed out what this may all look like. And now, it’s not that there is one path, but I have discovered much of what works and much of what doesn’t.
These two questions and a series of other related ones drove me to synergize what I’ve learned along the way when it comes to developing leaders. That’s what motivated me to design this Communal Morphing experience for ministry leaders who want to learn how to more effectively develop the next generation. I filled it with ideas about what I’ve learned over the last eight years and want to pass it on to others.
Communal morphing is a term describing the transformational impact that community can have on leaders. Over the last ten years, I’ve facilitated creative peer-learning environments that have fostered significant growth among emerging leaders. These were designed with intention and facilitated well. It was an effective method of leadership development that helped leaders maximize their time and draw on the strengths of those around them. What emerged has been enhanced learning, and a process to help cultivate a leadership development culture in a ministry context. I’m convinced that this is reproducible, not to mention highly beneficial and even necessary if we want to develop the next generation of leaders.
My most recent book, Communal Morphing, was just released last month. It’s on sale for $2.99 at the moment. To get a digital copy, download a free new app called Leadia, and there you will find my book, Communal Morphing. In it you’ll discover three primary things: (1) innovative ideas to help church leaders foster community orientated leadership development, (2) creative solutions to help church leaders overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of doing leadership development effectively, and (3) it will serve as a guide for ministry leaders who desire to multiply their impact by harnessing the talents and the insights of those around them.
Communal Morphing is interactive, creative, and filled with leadership development ideas.
Click here to download the FREE LEADIA APP: https://itunes.apple.com/app/leadia/id464275020?mt=8Read More
The church at Corinth was remarkably gifted, brilliant, and thriving in many respects. We notice the active and abundant spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3—miraculous gifts, speaking gifts, incredible spiritual vision and faith that can move mountains, social engagement and responsibility, along with un matched spiritual devotion (surrender my body to the flames). In essence, this community had dynamic gifts that were well mobilized. However, we see in verses 4-7 that the Corinthians had a dark side as well. They were impatient, harsh, critical, rude, jealous, ego-centric. Paul even articulates that you can have a thriving, growing church with powerful abilities but in actuality, you’re nothing.
This is a great danger in for emerging ministry leaders to be on guard with because there are far too many churches in previous generations who have succumbed to this temptation. It can be deadly, destructive, and cause many people’s lives to unravel. We must always remember that ministry activity, even growth, is not evidence that God is for everything that we’re doing and everything that we are.
Sometimes we find ourselves trying to prove our worth, trying to earn God’s approval and the approval of others, through how we perform in ministry. We can lose sight of the character from which God-honoring ministry should flow—namely from a posture of love, humility, patience, compassion, and grace. When this isn’t the truth, we’ll notice the telltale signs similar to what we see in the Corinthian church—impatience, irritability, devaluing people, envy, self-promotion and boasting, as well as perpetual arrogance. These may become secret sins, but they are no doubt, toxic ones, even deadly. I know ministries that appear to be thriving on the outside but are rotting away on the inside. The sad truth is that some of these ministry leaders aren’t even aware of it. Next generation ministry leaders must refuse to settle for this reality.Read More