I taught at a Vineyard conference recently and I noticed their practice of looking for multiple confirmations. They’re not looking for just one person to say, “Hey, I think we should do x, y, or z.” They’re looking for multiple indicators pointing in the same direction. They’re praying, discerning what God may be up to, paying attention to what they’re sensing, and taking note if they’re hearing similar ideas from different quarters. Using all of these elements, they put the pieces together of what God is calling them to do.
As you plant a church, you need to help people understand what it means to follow Jesus based on the DNA you disciple into them. Obviously, this is harder with people who have previous church experience than with those who come to faith through your ministry.
Sometimes planters are so desperate for people to join their church that they embrace people who don’t share their values. It’s the same mistake an engaged person might make, “After we get married, I’ll change them.” And then they don’t change. Don’t bring people in knowing that they don’t share your values. You need agenda harmony.
When you are in the role of a pastor/shepherd, and you see someone off-balance in their life, how directive should you be? This is an issue I am continuing to think through. I’ve realized that as I decide when to step in and when to step back, I’m operating intuitively in this area.
Yet as you know, doing something intuitively doesn’t allow you to pass that skill along to others. So I am trying to think through the rhythms and balances of shepherding responsibilities. As people are learning to walk, how much freedom is good? How much direction is good? What’s the minimum amount of structure they need in order to grow? When do you speak into a person’s life and how?
… is knowing what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want to develop leaders—and know that you’re being successful in that endeavor—you need to get more concrete and specific about what you’re aiming for. What does a leader look like? How do you know if you have one? A good map isn’t helpful unless you know your destination.
Take time to reflect on these three questions:
• What are you trying to produce?
• What’s the process for figuring that out?
• How do you make sure it’s linked in with your values?
Years ago when I was teaching a class, one of my students had a friend in town and he asked if his friend and the friend’s wife could sit in on my class that afternoon. I said sure. Just recently I saw that student again and he said, “What you did during that time completely revolutionized their entire ministry. They got a new paradigm for the way they served.”
I of course had no idea what I had taught on that day—or what they had heard—but sometimes God just seems to work that way. You just never know when you have a conversation that can change the entire trajectory of someone’s life and ministry.
On one of Paul’s missionary journeys we was heading into the province of Asia, fully intending to preach the gospel there and plant churches as he had done in other places—a fine goal. But an odd thing happened at the border of Mysia: “They tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas” (Acts 16:7-8) That night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia, standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (v. 9). “After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (v. 10).