Have you ever experienced vision whiplash? You’re part of a church or a faith community and the focs seems to shift every 6 to 12 months. For a season, the church is “all about small groups.” Then, without warning or explanation, you begin hearing that the church is “all about discipleship”– each ministry of the church is highlighting how it contributes to discipleship. Then a year down the road, the church is suddenly “all about being missional.”
This blog entry is part of a seven-part series on some of the central principles of coaching… from the perspective of the one receiving the coaching. How can we get the most out of our coaching relationship?
Principle #6: be aware of seasons
There are different seasons for different emphases.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
Quite a few years back when I was finishing up a big project, someone pointed out to me that my drivenness to get the thing done was wearing others out. That comment caused me to reflect on my workaholism and perfectionism and make some adjustments. I recognized the impact that what I do has on others, and that was an opportunity for growth.
Who do you have in your life currently that has permission to speak freely about what they’re seeing? How willing are you to listen, reflect, and change? Sometimes God speaks to us most clearly through those we allow inside our lives.
This is a question I’ve been hearing others ask of me lately. What’s with all this missional stuff? What’s wrong with the way you were doing ministry before?
Yet when I reflect on what I’ve been saying for years, I don’t see any big disconnect. I’ve always said, “Have your first converts before your first group. Multiply your groups before starting your first service.” By doing that, you’re ensuring a focus on evangelism and disciplemaking before your first worship service. That sets the DNA about what is most important.
Models may have changed. Principles have not.
I have heard this question asked by leaders of denominations, pastors, and small groups: “What do I need to do to get my people living more missionally?”
As is almost always the case, change starts with the leaders first. It starts with repentance. Repentance means a change of mind that leads to a change of behavior. Here is what the Apostle Paul wrote about repentance—not to unbelievers, but to the church:
Too many people in church leadership are not disciples or making disciples. No wonder we have the problems we have in our churches. When disciples are fully trained they become like their teacher. Is that really what we want? Are we modeling what we want people to do? Because they will become like us. Unless we as leaders engage in our own discipleship and help others engage in theirs, we’ll never see the kind of fruit we want to see.