After an unprecedented & difficult year and a big week celebrating Easter Sunday, I need to share something with you – pastors and leaders. I have known many of you since you were in your 20s & 30s and I am so encouraged by what I see in you. I know you have a lot of questions as you move forward in these ever-changing times.
The church is at a major shift and everyone is saying it’s this way or that, this model or that, this theological framework or that – but let me remind you, first and foremost – it is just as you began your walk with Jesus – it is Jesus at the crux of it all. If Jesus is not at the crux of all you see and do, then you’ll become bitter, angry, throwing stones, trashing others, building your own kingdom, and missing all that God has for you. By the way, you can grow a big “ministry” and it not be God’s. Business and marketing techniques are such that you really do not need the Holy Spirit to grow big anymore, let alone preach the cross. Learn from the business books along with sociology, history, trends, literature – you need to be sharp – but you’re a part of something supernatural and eternal, not mechanical and merely organizational.
I write, specifically to you pastor & leaders, 6 things that are on my heart that you need to hear at this moment in time:
Don’t look to models as your future – look to the Holy Spirit
What is the Holy Spirit doing in the world? What is the Holy Spirit doing in your community? What is the Holy Spirit doing in your heart? Who has the Holy Spirit connected you with? What is the Holy Spirit doing minute by minute in your life every day? Every world leader I’ve ever come in relationship with was because of something scary I did or something insignificant. What if every moment, as soon as you are up off your knees (and I think it’s good to get on your knees and bow yourself before God and humble yourself as Daniel, Moses, David, Jesus, and the Apostles) and you asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit you looked at every single moment like, I wonder what the Spirit is doing here?
Don’t be afraid – Let Jesus be real in your life
Have courage. To lead with authenticity and the ability to change things in this century is going to take action. You are going to have to love Jesus not just with all your heart, but with all your life. Love stated has no credibility unless it is love in action. In the past, change was wrought by preachers preaching and we had awakenings and revivals. But, I’m not so sure we did. How could we have great moves of God and keep people in slavery? How could we have great moves of God and the church be so corrupt? How could we have great moves of God and treat people as we did? Loving God is not seen by shouting in a crowd “I love Jesus”, but loving the unlovely in the streets, the rejected, the marginalized. What does real repentance look like? It is more than merely being “sorrowful”, it is turning to right.You are going to have to love Jesus not just with all your heart, but with all your life. Love stated has no credibility unless it is love in action. Click To Tweet
Don’t be discouraged by people saying the world is messed up – when has it not been?
What a time of adventure to live! Many who say this have not lived through the times prior to the global shifts like the American and ultimately many global revolutions, the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. I believe we are living in a time like that right now.
Don’t be ruled by your tribe
In my dad’s generation tribes were denominations. In my generation, it was models and networks. Tribes take on many forms. In uncertain times we look to tribes for stability. When God is orchestrating global affairs in a new way in a new day, the last thing you should do is follow the past – instead see the possibilities and move forward. This is the time to follow the Person, Jesus, not the past. Love your tribe. Learn from your tribe. But your tribe is not your God, your tribe is not your authority, your tribe is not your power. Your tribe is merely a collection of people similar to you, on a similar journey with similar customs. As the world changes, the narrative expands – so do methods, traditions, and even understandings of God. Never forget Jesus inaugurated a Kingdom to transcend tribes, race, gender, and tear down all dividing walls. The future of the church will not be found in a tribe, but in a person – Jesus.
Don’t stoop to acting in the flesh to get what you want
If you have to sin to accomplish the will of God, you’ve negated the truth of your message. The problem is the world is too complex and on edge for childish boys in significant positions. We need men, real men, and, yes, women – strong women – who will stand up for what is right and be courageous. Standing up for what is right, isn’t vilifying other people. When you vilify others, it merely shows your immaturity and makes clear the reason you shouldn’t be in leadership. Let your character, your vision, and your fruit be why people follow you. Can you get ahead in the world and make a difference and do what Jesus said and how he lived? YES YOU CAN!!!
Don’t cheat on spiritual disciplines
You are only as good as your prayer life. You don’t pray first and foremost for “success” in ministry, you pray for yourself. You pray to love him. You pray for more faith. You pray to discover the depths of your heart so you can stand clean before him. You pray to love others more. You pray to endure. You pray to spend time with God. Do more than pray, be in God’s Word. Take spiritual retreats. Hold yourself accountable to others. Live in community. Let it first and foremost be said of you that you are a man or woman of God.If you lean on past methods, processes, tribes, own flesh & an anemic spiritual life – expecting to get a different result for a different world, you will fail. God moves in new things, not sequels. Click To Tweet
This is your opportunity! This is your moment! This is why God called you and what he created you for. I am cheering for you. I am encouraging you to keep moving forward. I believe in you. BUT, He believes in you even more, he died for you, he has sent his Spirit and he is your Father – YOU HAVE ALL YOU NEED TO DO ALL HE’S CALLED YOU TO! But if you lean on the past methods, processes, tribes, your own flesh, models of ministry, and an anemic spiritual life – expecting to get a different result for a different world, you will fail. God moves in new things, not sequels. He raises up new people, new leaders, a new church, a new world, and the Holy Spirit meshes all those things together to create something totally different, new, and powerful.