Posts Tagged kingdom of God

How to Accidentally Screw Up Your Ministry

Justin Anderson is one of the lead pastors at Redemption Church, and he was kind to spend some time last night with our leaders at our monthly “2nd Tuesday” gathering. Training leaders is a high priority for us as a church, and Justin’s words were great things for us to hear. I had asked him to speak on the topic, “How to Accidentally Screw Up Your Ministry.” Unfortunately we didn’t have the audio equipment available to record his talk, but here’s a summary of what we learned.

Foundational Principle — Grace Leads to Action

In Ephesians 2:8-10, we learn that we are absolutely dependent on God’s grace. We are saved by God’s grace, period. But this always leads to action always follows from true grace. If you don’t think God loves you by grace, you miss the gospel. If you don’t act as a result of the grace you’ve received, you misunderstand the power of the gospel.

How to Accidentally Screw Up Your Ministry

1. Use guilt, shame, or moralism to motivate people. While guilting people into action is always easier and has power to produce results, it produces only short-term results. The gospel motivates by grace, love, and a compelling vision for the future. So should we. There are times when we need to administer a “kick in the pants” to those we love, but we should not make guilt our de-facto motivator.

2. Stay off mission. Many leaders convince themselves and their people that they “aren’t ready” for mission or that they need to grow more first. The result is that they end up insulated in a Christian subculture that never contributes to the overall Kingdom of God.

3. Use your ministry to prop yourself up. It’s wonderful to receive compliments and encouragement, but if you are using your ministry to find your identity, you are an idolater. One of Justin’s former pastors said, “Compliments are like perfume. Smell them and you’ll be fine, but drink them and you’ll be sick.”

4. Don’t let your ministry get bigger than you. Many leaders put themselves at the center where nothing can happen without them. As a result, the ministry stifles and young leaders never develop their full potential.

5. Forget that your ministry is just a piece of the puzzle of the church. Because we love the ministry we do, it’s easy to see our ministry as the ultimate one. As a result, many leaders and ministries compete with each other rather than serve each other. Leaders are called to raise their sights above this and keep the big picture in mind.

6. Sacrifice your family or personal walk with God for the sake of ministry. If your life is screwed up, your ministry is screwed up. If you don’t pray or love your spouse because you are “doing ministry,” soon you will have no ministry to do and your life will be in shambles.

7. Lead negatively more than positively. Rather than being an encouraging coach who celebrates others’ wins and allows them to have a voice in their development, many leaders focus too much on what is broken and on telling others what to do.

8. Forget that there is nothing more important than knowing, loving, and experiencing Jesus. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3 that everything was rubbish compared to knowing Jesus. If we forget this, then our ministries–which should be designed to help people love Jesus–miss the mark.

9. Overspiritualize your ministry. These are leaders who pray but don’t plan. They talk but don’t do. This is a mistake. We should both pray and strategize.

10. Underspiritualize your ministry. These are leaders who plan and do but don’t pray. They over-value their creativity and resourcefulness and forget that they desperately need the Lord to guide them.

11. Forget that millions of Christians have come before you. Leaders are prone to have “new” ideas that aren’t really all that new and to convince themselves that their ideas are novel. But they aren’t. For example, in the 90s Bill Hybels talked about being “Contagious Christians” and now people talk about being “missional.” Many of our ideas are not new or novel (if they were it might be heresy), but are simply repackaged versions of things Christians have done for centuries. We would be wise to learn from them and humble ourselves.

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Pray for Redemption Church

Below is a really well done video of Justin Anderson explaining the vision of Redemption Church, a new church being formed in the Valley as East Valley Bible Church and Praxis Church merge together. The leaders of EVBC and Praxis are good friends of mine who have shaped me and Second Mile in significant ways, and I am genuinely thrilled about the impact that this new work will have in our city.

What makes this especially unique is that almost all church mergers (like business mergers) happen in order to bail out a struggling congregation. But Redemption is the coming together of two healthy, large, financially sound churches for the sake of a bigger kingdom impact. That’s not something you see every day.

Pray for Redemption as they begin this new effort, as they work out key details, and as they go through this time of transition.

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Ray Ortlund on Loving Your Church

Ray Ortlund is a seasoned pastor and church planter, and is a fellow member of the Acts29 Network. He just wrote a great post on the value of loving your church. Here’s what he wrote:

“My passion isn’t to build up my church. My passion is for God’s Kingdom.”

Ever heard someone say that? I have. It sounds large-hearted, but it’s wrong. It can even be destructive.

Suppose I said, “My passion isn’t to build up my marriage. My passion is for Marriage. I want the institution of Marriage to be revered again. I’ll work for that. I’ll pray for that. I’ll sacrifice for that. But don’t expect me to hunker down in the humble daily realities of building a great marriage with my wife Jani. I’m aiming at something grander.”

If I said that, would you think, “Wow, Ray is so committed”? Or would you wonder if I had lost my mind?

If you care about the Kingdom, be the kind of person who can be counted on in your own church. Join your church, pray for your church, tithe to your church, participate in your church every Sunday with wholehearted passion.

We build great churches the same way we build great marriages — real commitment that makes a positive difference every day.

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Encounter With Jesus

One of the most exciting things about our series in Mark is that each week we are confronted with the reality of who Jesus is. For me, the preparation and study time has been rich and challenging – it’s always a new encounter with Jesus. This week we’ll be looking at “Kingdom Wholeness” and how Jesus is always working to restore people. A great example of this is the story of his encounter with the Demoniac in Mark 5:1-20. Below is an Anime video that tells this story, as put out by the folks who do the Jesus Film. I think it’s a powerful visual image of the story, especially when you read the passage first.

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For the City

I was recently challenged with the question, “Does the city exist for your church or does your church exist for the city?”

I think this is a great question. Ultimately it’s asking whether the church will try to use the city for its own benefit or bless the city for the good of everyone in the whole city. Our ambition is that Second Mile Church would be for the city, greater Phoenix as a whole and Gilbert, Queen Creek, Mesa, and Chandler in particular.

This means that in addition to solid Bible-teaching and loving those within our church, we work to make everyone’s lives a little bit richer and better — whether they agree with us or not. We have an attitude that seeks to give rather than receive and serve rather than take. This really is what Jesus was talking about in his Sermon on the Mount:

Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:16)

I’m praying that God would use us to demonstrate to the southeast valley what his kingdom is like.

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GCA Seminar Day 1

This is the first post recapping our lessons from the GCA Church Planting Seminar. Be sure to interact with the question at the bottom. We want to hear your thoughts!

Well, after a late arrival for me and a (mostly) sleepless night for Molly, we arrived in Orlando yesterday eager to learn and glad to be together. We’ve met some really neat people and were able to have dinner with Steve Ogne, EVBC’s church-planting coach. That time alone was invaluable.

Here were some of the key lessons from each session:

Session 1: Vision
The vision for church planting starts with a vision for the glory of God. The chief way that God has chosen to glorify his name is through the kingdom of God. The means God uses to advance his kingdom is the church of God. The church’s power and strength all comes from the gospel of God.

Vision for the Glory of God → Vision for the Kingdom of God → Vision for the Church of God → Vision for the Gospel of God

Session 2: Focus
This session was all about understanding the cultural context of the community we’re planting in. We thought through all the greatest needs of people in our specific community (physical, economic, social, emotional, mental, educational, spiritual and moral) and talked about ways that a new church can meet those needs with the Gospel. This session gave us a number of practical exercises that we’ll begin to do with the launch team so that we can really think like missionaries to the Williams Gateway/Queen Creek communities.

Session 3: Prayer
This session was about the need for strong prayer lives among the leadership and a culture of God-dependent prayer in the new church. I was very encouraged about how this is developing for Second Mile. Here were a few great quotes worth sharing:

Mary, Queen of Scots:

“I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”

Francis Schaeffer:

“Our greatest danger is not liberalism, modernism, postmodernism, Bible criticism…the greatest danger is the church doing the work of ministry in the power of the flesh.”

Today we have sessions on Philosophy, Discipleship, and Values. Should be fun. Thanks for your prayer. Updates coming tomorrow.

QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION (leave a comment below): Other than the need for Jesus, what are the greatest needs of people in the Williams Gateway/Queen Creek community (physical, economic, social, emotional, mental, educational, spiritual and moral)?

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Exercising Kingdom-Mindedness

I had breakfast today with a fellow church planter who is beginning to work in the same general vicinity as Second Mile. I have to confess that the natural (i.e. not Spirit-led) part of me begins to think somewhat competitively rather than cooperatively. I was reminded through meeting with him that there are people that his church will reach through their network of relationships that Second Mile would never reach and vice versa. Instead of feeling insecure and threatened, I began to feel strengthened as I prayed for his new church to be as strong and healthy as I hope for Second Mile.

In Tim Keller’s wonderful article, “Why Plant Churches,” he makes the point that one of the reasons to engage in vigorous, consistent church planting is that it is an exercise in Kingdom-mindedness. He writes, “Our attitude to new church development is a test of whether our mindset is geared to our own institutional turf, or to the overall health and prosperity of the kingdom of God in the city.”

I pray that Second Mile Church would be committed to the overall good of the whole city–and this definitely includes the health and vitality of the city’s Bible-believing churches.

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