This may end up as a long post….
There are times when all of the stars align together. Things just seem to work out. I’m not talking about an event as I am a conversation. Let me explain. Do you ever have those moments where God keeps saying the same thing in a REALLY LOUD VOICE over and over? For me it has had to do with confidence – or should I say a confident humility. Over the past week God has spoken to me in very clear ways about this and I want to share.
I am the last person on earth who is going through "Experiencing God." Well I feel like it. 2 Sundays ago I told Daniel that he should be confident in his speaking abilities – you know – encouraging him that he’s a good communicator. Which he is. But then I read Blackaby.
He describes ‘self-centeredness’ as:
- affirming self
- self confidence
- proud of self and self’s accomplishments
- depending on self and one’s own abilities
- confidence in God
- humble before God
- denying self
- dependence on God and His ability and provision
- seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
The point that Blackaby was trying to make is that Abraham could not take any confidence in his ability – only that God had called him to do something. He had to take confidence in that calling and God’s ability to work through him.
THEN…I read this in "Breakout Churches" not 2 days later. "Leaders at Acts 4 and higher displayed an unmistakable confidence in their leadership abilities….But the Acts 6/7 leaders displayed an unpretentious humility with their confidence…We saw no less confidence in the Acts 6/7 leaders, but their confidence centered more on what God was doing in their lives and less on their own inherent abilities." Sound familiar?
THEN!…My Bible reading schedule had me come across these 2 verses. 1 Chr. 14:2 "And David knew that the Lord had established him as King over Israel and that his Kingdom had been highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel." Matt 18:4 "Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Some of us have this ‘I’m not good enough’ complex and label it as humility…bull. This humility is different. You think David thought…"Yeah I’m the badest bad-a__ in town. I’m going to do big things for God?" Not hardly….read the verse again. The focus is on God, not himself. The LORD established him.
- Take confidence in what God has called you to do! David KNEW that God had established him for that time and that purpose. Because of this, he was careful to do what GOD had instructed and not his own plans
- Take confidence in God’s power. Yes you’ve heard ‘where God guides he provides.’ Feels like tent meeting talk. But it’s true. If God has called you, your gifts and abilities are God ordained for that purpose. He can and will use you.
- DO NOT take confidence in yourself. You’ll screw up. You’ll blow it. It is by the grace of God that we’re usable in the first place.
- Have a confident humility. Be humble in yourself, but confident in God’s call, power, and ability.
- Why is this important for me? Because I feel inadequate. I’m not the best guitar player, leader, singer, or the coolest worship guy. BUT God has called me. I can’t play piano or wax eloquent about the different modes of music. BUT God has called me. And I must believe that God knew what I had to offer and knew that he could take this ant hill of talent and use it for his glory. So when you feel like there may be someone better out there that could do your job remember this – talent will never outweigh the calling. Now that will give you confidence.
"Breakout Churches" by Thom Rainer is the Christian version of "Good to Great." Many have read good to great, and if you haven’t you should. Great book. But Rainer has taken the principles of GtG and applied it to BC. In fact the entire book is modeled after it. But let me share what has impacted me in the 1st 2 chapters – Leadership. As Collins has level five leadership, Rainer labels it Acts 6/7 leadership. In each of the first 7 chapters of Acts he identifies different aspects of a leader.
- Acts 1 – The Called Leader – Are you called? 98%
- Acts 2 – The Contributing leader – Are you doing your job? 22%
- Acts 3 – The Outwardly-Focused Leader – Are you focused on reaching out? 14%
- Acts 4 – The Passionate Leader – Are you passionate about what you do? 6%
- Acts 5 – The Bold Leader – Are you bold in decisions? 3%
- Acts 6 – The Legacy Leader – Are you setting up your ministry for the long haul? Less that 1%
Instead of figuring out how to make it to the last step, I wanted to focus on 2 levels that challenged me. First was Acts 2. Rainer says,
"In our research on effective evangelistic churches, we found that leaders spent approximately twenty hours per week in sermon preparation and prayer. The leaders of comparison (less evangelistic) churches spent only five hours per week in sermon preparation and prayer. And only 4 percent of churches (out of 50,000 that they surveyed) in America met our criteria to be an effective evangelistic church." (pg. 42)
Ouch. So I asked myself, am I doing the work of a worship leader. What does that look like? For me it is:
- Casting Vision for my ministry
- Musical Preparation
- Leading worship
Yes there is developing leaders, planning, etc. But I’m talking basic stuff. Look at the numbers next to each level. Only 22% of those they surveyed pray and preach at least 20 hours a week. That is basic stuff! So I am challenged to be mindful of the basics and focus on them. More to come tomorrow….
21. To regularly evaluate and improve the church’s ministries.
22. To discover the ways God is blessing churches across America and abroad and why.
23. To know and work with the latest technology (Internet, website, and other).
24. To empower the governing board and pastor to lead with excellence.
25. To build a lay and staff leadership development process.
26. To develop a marketing strategy that will best position the church in the community to glorify God.
15. To inventory and assess current giving.
16. To explore new streams of giving to increase current income.
17. To design a stewardship strategy to help people be good stewards of their finances.
18. To analyze and evaluate the church’s budget, looking for ways to best handle congregational finances.
19. To raise additional funds and direct capital funding projects.
20. To know how to implement the entire strategic plan.
6. To encourage and promote spiritual revival.
7. To discover and articulate your ministry core values.
8. To develop and communicate your God-given mission.
9. To develop and articulate an inspiring, compelling vision.
10. To understand and relate more effectively to the community.
11. To develop a disciple-making process for the entire church.
12 To assess, recruit, and develop a strong staff team.
13. To mobilize the congregation to serve and do the work of the ministry.
14. To make wise decisions about the facilities and their location.
I’ve been reading about strategic planning and thought I would share some things I’ve learned from "Advanced Strategic Planning" by Aubrey Malphurs. It has challenged me to think how a strategic plan would look in the worship ministry I lead.
Twenty-six purposes for strategic planning:
1. To discover the church’s strengths, limitations, and weaknesses.
2. To build on its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.
3. To facilitate congregational communication and build the congregation’s trust.
4. To understand and implement spiritually healthy, Christ-honoring change.
5. To get our people-leadership team and congregation-on the same page.
My wife heard an ad for this workshop in D.C for Nov 16th. I looked down at the book I’m reading and it is by the speaker! Aubrey Malphurs. Great read, and I really am hoping to make the event. If it is anything like this book, it would be a must for any church planter, leader, or ministry head.