Sunday, October 25, 2009

5 Aspects of Missionary Movements

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Steve Addison outlines 5 phases or rather 5 aspects of missionary movements. These five things relate strongly to what it means to be an entrepreneurial leader. They are:
White Hot Faith - Well, any born again Christian should have a white hot faith. Any Salvationist should be known for their zeal for God. Addison refers to having a direct and personal encounter with the living God, which then stirs on the person to social activism, e.g. Mother Theresa, Luther, Francis, etc.
Commitment to the cause - William Booth stirred up the beginnings of The Salvation Army with an amazing commitment to the cause. Are you a leader who is outlandishly committed to the cause?
Contagious Relationships - Powerful ideas travel quickly. Movements have ideas that are passed rapidly amongst relationships. Entrepreneurial leaders have relationships that help revolutionary messages be transmitted.
Rapid Mobilization - The leader of a movement needs to have the ability to communicate the cause, and have people buy into the cause so that the movement grows and expands and honours God in the process. Think of the rapid expansion of the Protestant Reformation, where people bought into the teachings of Luther and Calvin and others, and a movement was birthed.
Dynamic Methods - Good leaders will use up-to-date methods and innovative ideas to spread the popularity of their movement. You've heard it before - what worked 20 years probaby won't work today, especially communicating in today's technological environment.(The Forgotten Ways: Hirsch, p. 105-106)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who moved my cheese (Short Review) - Dr. Spencer Johnson

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'Who moved my cheese' by Dr. Spencer Johnson is an easy and enjoyable read about dealing with change. Four people are moving through a maze looking for cheese. They find some cheese, and they all enjoy the benefits of the cheese at Cheese Station C. Eventually the cheese at Cheese Station C runs out. Two of them decide quickly to move on and look for more cheese. The other two experience the feelings of disappointment and denial about there ever being more cheese at Cheese Station C. Well, it outlines the feelings many of us have when we are faced with change. Some of us wander around in self-pity wondering when we'll ever get back to the way things were. Others realise the cheese has moved, and so they change to compensate for the changing environment.
(Worth a read - Thanks KM for the headsup!)

'And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him...' (Colossians 1:21-22). Holy and blameless. Praise God.
Was looking a little at Leviticus recently. Not a book we touch all that often right? You know the main theme of the book of Leviticus, and referenced 152 times? Holiness. Must be important to God!

The 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership - Law no. 4 - 'The Law of Navigation' - Anyone can steer the Ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. It helps to step back occasionally and ask the question, 'Where are we headed?' and 'How are we getting there'. I've found, if you don't ask this question every now and then, you merely DO, DO, DO and you never chart the course. You might end up in a place you never wanted to be. Ask God what his vision is for your church, or for your life. 'Where do you want me to be in 5 years time!?'
'A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do' (Leroy Eims)

Lord, help us to cope with change. To run with it. To embrace it. Help us Jesus to be a holy people. Purified from all sin. Set free from all addictions. Fullness of life.
We also pray God that we will be able to chart the course ahead of us. To not just 'go with the flow', but to consider the future and where you want us to be. We love you Lord, and choose to follow you in all we do. In the name of Jesus. Amen!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Church Next - Presenting the Gospel among Postmoderns

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'No prepackaged 'gospel presentations' and 'seeker-sensitive' worship services will constitute adequate responses to the challenge presented by the post-Christian, neopagan, postmodern generation. The church's witness must be self-evidently altruistic among people shaped by a culture that is profoundly suspicious' (Gibbs & Coffey, p. 35)
I believe to say 'No prepackaged...' is a little overemphasising the point. Sometimes presenting the gospel to someone might be exactly what they need to hear at that specific time. I totally agree though that the church's witness must be about others (altruistic - focussed on the welfare of others). When they see you are 'normal', and living authentically out the gospel in which you believe, this creates credibility among Postmoderns.

'For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross' (Colossians 1:19-20).
Peace through the blood. I like that. Yahweh Shalom. The Lord is peace.

Law No. 3 - The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership - 'The Law of Process - Leadership develops daily, not in a day'.
Well, its simple, yet true. Some want to be awesome leaders straight away, but there is much to learn. I'm not at the place I want to be, I tell you that! There are times I don't have the self-confidence I desire, or have the wisdom to make the 'right' decision at the time. I need to learn, grow, develop, stretch myself (not just my muscles), and continue to seek after God's will for my life.

Lord, help us to have peace in the blood of Jesus. Bring peace right now for those that are troubled. Lord, we want to reach everyone with the gospel of Jesus, and we ask for wisdom on how to share that gospel with people that have differing worldviews and outlooks to ours. We also pray God that we become the leaders you want us to be, and to ultimately lead people to live Christ-centered lives.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Church Next - Modern and PostModern

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Here are some differences between Modern and PostModern

Modern - PostModern
Centralized Hierarchies - Decentralized Hierarchies
Predictable world - Unpredictable world
Confidence regarding human ability - Uncertainty in dealing with the present
Change initiated at the centre - Change initiated at the periphery

Gibbs and Coffey write (about postmoderns), 'We must unconditionally accept those who are content to live with ambiguity, and be humble enough to communicate in open dialogue with those who hold a pluralistic worldview' (p. 34)

'He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, The firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.' (Colossions 1:17-18).
The resurrection of Jesus was the completion of creation. 'It was an anticipation and inauguration of God's new world order in which the tyranny of sin and death has been broken.' (The Message of Mission, p. 24).

21 Irrefutable laws of leadership, No. 2 - The Law of Influence. 'The true measure of leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less'
Some might argue with the last comment, though it is true that leadership relates strongly to influence. Maybe God has given you a vision. Will people follow it? Whether people follow it, will probably be strongly linked to whether you have influence within the realms of where you are sharing your vision. Nehemiah had a vision to rebuild the walls. He rallied the troops together, through his leadership, and they rebuilt the walls. King David had influence and favour among many. What about Paul? He worked hard to build influence with the Apostles, because he had to convince them he was truly one of these new followers of Jesus.

Lord, help us to have the influence in places you have called us, for your glory; not for our self-gratification. We want the Kingdom of God, that you created, to grow and expand around us. Help us understand the different people we minister to, with all their worldviews, passions and desires. We want each of them to engage with Jesus, and live full lives that honour you. Amen.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Church Next - Quantum Changes in Christian Ministry

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We need to stop living in the past and engage with the present. The fact is church attendance in the western world is declining. We cannot simply incrementally adapt our churches and expect to revolutionise the future, when people have changed, societies have changed and worldviews have changed. When we engage with the present we realise we have a shifting worldview among some generations, from modernity to postmodernity. You can speak to a Gen-Xer and hear very quickly that they struggle with a thought of Absolute Truth. You mean Jesus did die on the cross and was absolutely resurrected? Yep. Absolutely.
(Church Next; Gibbs & Coffey; p. 17-40)

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers- all things have been created through him and for him' (Colossians 1:15-16)

This is a definitive verse claiming that Jesus played a significant role in creation. Jesus was not merely a quick response God created to deal with a sin-fallen world.


The Law of the Lid - 'Leadership Ability Determines a Person's Level of Effectiveness'. An organisations success is very closely connected to the leadership ability of the senior leader. Whether it be a Corps Officer in The Salvation Army, a Principal at a local Primary School or a CEO of a finance company; the organisation will only go as far as the leader allows it to. That's why leaders must continue to grow and learn. That's why we continue to read. That's why we stretch our thinking. That's why we learn how to work better with people around us. Look to Jesus for the ultimate example on how to lead.
(The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership; Maxwell, p. 1-10)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Church Growth – From Pastor to CEO

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The Family Church has 50 or fewer people. The Pastoral Church has 50-150 people. The Program Church has 150-350. The Corporation Church has more than 350.

Whether we like this or not, this seems to be the case of most churches. Senior pastors go from being the ‘Pastor’ to the ‘CEO’. The only way to change this, is to consider our structure of church. We can still keep that family feel to a large church, especially if the model of church is predominantly Cell groups, for instance.

I don’t like the assumption some make, that, when a church grows in size it automatically loses its missional heart. Sure, it may be difficult to continue to pursue missional objectives when a Church grows, but it definitely need not be that way. Healthy churches, no matter their size, structure or vision will be fulfilling the great commission and serving suffering humanity.

What size church are you in? If you are the leader of this community, how do you lead based on the structure/size of this church?

I find myself currently in a church of less than 50. The Family Church is probably the right label to give this community. I’m certain that as this church grows (which it is doing!), I will either need to change the way I lead, and/or change the way we structure our church.

Will we plant congregations? Will we just invite everyone Sunday mornings? Will we have midweek gatherings for those who don’t connect well with traditional church? Will we have a community that links well with men who fish, ride motorbikes, and go shooting buffalo in their spare time?

The Pastor to CEO leadership tends to be a trend of most growing churches. We must work hard to have communities of faith that are still organic, life-giving and incarnational, while not quenching the work of the Spirit…

Sunday, October 11, 2009

4 Myths of Leadership

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Myth #1 – Leaders must have all the right traits

Check out this

ArticulateMoses had a speech issue
Desire to leadJonah ran away
RelationalPaul didn’t get along with Barnabas
VisionaryChristopher Columbus didn’t know where he was headed!
KindnessAdolf Hitler was far from kind
TolerantMartin Luther was intolerant of peasants

Traits are helpful, but don’t stress if you are not perfecting all of them!

Myth #2 – Leadership is all about leaders

Sometimes leaders are in the right place at the right time. Sometimes its not just the leader that makes a successful leader, but the right environment they find themselves in.

Myth #3 – All leaders are heroes

Nah. Not true. Some leaders become heroes after they die. Other leaders are relatively unknown but are doing great things in their circles of influence.

Myth #4 – Pastors must have the gift of leadership

Not all good leaders have the gift of leadership. Some might be gifted at evangelism, or pastoring, or teaching; not necessarily leadership.

These myths of leadership, I believe help us to stress less about our ability to lead. We do the best we can, with where we are, with what we know, and the gifts God has given us. We learn and grow, but trust God for the wisdom and ability to lead. We don’t need to be well known, blessed by everyone and financially supported by the best of them. We plot along, with passion and conviction, seeing God use us to dismantle the Kingdom of Darkness and grow the Kingdom of God.

(This material is slightly adapted from Leith Anderson’s ‘Leadership That Works’ – Worth a read!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The times, they are a changin'

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Walking -> Riding -> Horse and Cart --> Driving -> Flying --> ??

Encyclopedias --> Encyclopedias on CD --> Wikipedia --> ??

Library --> Book Shop --> Amazon --> ??

The world is flat --> The world is round --> The Universe is still expanding --> ??

Kodak Film --> Digital Cameras --> ??

Corner shop --> The local Market --> Super Market --> One stop shop! --> ??

$2 Chips in a bag --> $3 chips in a bag --> $5 chips in a box

Economies change. Countries change names. Politicians change policies. Pastors change 'their strategies'. Businesses change marketing techniques. Airlines upgrage their planes.

Change is inetivable. The only thing that doesn't change...? Yeah you guessed it; 'the fact that things change'.

How does the local pastor deal with this? She's called to be a Theologian, a Businesswoman, an accountant, a counsellor, a team player, a preacher, a dishwasher, an administrator, a visionary, and the list goes on.

Firstly, stick to what is the core purpose of your role as a pastor (corps officer). The Salvation Army Officer signs a covenant. Their fundamental role is to 'live to win souls' and to help those in need. To live a life of holiness; a life worthy of being an officer in The Salvation Army.

Don't be fazed by the change around you. Learn what you can, but don't be consumed by it. Read what you can, but don't be mesmerized by it. Blog what you can, but don't stress over it. Email who you can, but don't fret over it. Ring people on your heart, but you know you can't ring everyone. Preach what you believe is on your heart, understanding its difficult to preach to a wide variety of differing generations.

Times change. The gospel doesn't. The methods in which we share the gospel change. The essence of the message doesn't.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Most trusted brand: The Salvation Army

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Salvation Army most trusted brand in Australia. Click below:

God’s goodness and peace

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Dear Readers,

God bless you in the name of Jesus.

God is good. I’ve been thinking about this lately. No matter the circumstances in life, whether great or grim, high or low, positive or negative, God is still good. Just because circumstances are challenging for us at times, does not change the nature of God, and the fact that he is good. See the point is, we don’t understand everything that happens in life. We don’t grasp the seemingly disappointing realities of human fragility. That being said, we don’t always ‘get’ the ways God works in positive, awe-inspiring ways. God is good in it all.

See, God’s peace doesn’t give understanding. It passes understanding. It’s beyond our human comprehension. We can feel peace. We can know at times that we are peaceful. Yet we don’t really understand peace.

We can question God in things, and ask why some people die early, and others live til they’re 100. We can question God about why he heals some and not others. But in the end God’s ways are much, much higher than our ways. His thoughts are much, much higher than our thoughts. He is still good, because the decisions he makes, and the laws that govern this Universe that God created, were created from a God who by his very nature is good and perfect. So we can be at peace. A peace that passes understanding, but nonetheless comforts us, and helps us feel strong in times of trial. Thank you Lord for your goodness and peace you give to those who trust in Jesus.


R.I.P. Aunty Janine.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some inspiration from the Word

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'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...' (Mt 5:3)

'Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you. [Jesus] replied, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'

'Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!' (1Cor9:16)

From Transforming Mission (p.137), 'It is true that the Christian community is exclusive and has definite boundaries, but there are "gates in the boundaries".'
Maybe you could offer someone to come through the gate today? Ask them if they want to follow Jesus.

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