What is your spiriutal position in relation to God?
Which group do you most desire to live Jesus’ mission with?
One of the quantum challenges leaders face is this: as the organizations they lead start experiencing organizational growth they stop experiencing personal growth. Why? Because of the demands of the organizational growth. They start leading the organization and stop leading themselves. And that is when the blessing turns into a curse. Growth will grind to a halt. In fact, it will probably implode. You lose spiritual margin. You lose intellectual margin. You lose creative margin. And you stop growing. No Margin = No Growth.
The key to continued organizational and personal growth boils down to this: margin. You need margin to think. You need margin to play. You need margin to laugh. You need margin to dream. You need margin to have impromptu conversations. You need margin to seize unanticipated opportunities. You need margin.
One of the primary responsibilities of leaders is creating margin. It almost seems selfish. But you are doing everybody you work with a disservice if you give them everything you’ve got. You need margin. And it starts with time management. If you don’t control your calendar, your calendar will control you.
Here are a ten ways to create margin:
1) Use all of your vacation days. You owe it to yourself and your family.
2) Protect your day off religiously.
3) Don’t schedule meetings on certain days or before certain hours.
4) Delegate more responsibility.
5) Only check email during designated times during the day.
6) Get up earlier in the morning.
7) Schedule meetings with God and yourself.
8) Turn off the TV.
9) Get out of your organizational context and go to a conference.
10) Hit the gym. You don’t have enough time or energy NOT to work out.
Have any ideas to add to the mix? How do you create margin?
Our ability to establish new relationships is directly proportional to our ability to impact the community with God’s love. Through the ongoing development of new relationships, we are afforded new opportunities to share Jesus’ message. And these new relationships are essential in creating a strong environment of spiritual transformation.
Because relationships are core to Restore Community Church and to creating effective ministry, we are hiring Aaron Box as Restore’s Networking Pastor. In this role, he will be establishing Restore’s spiritual transformation model while networking people into discipling relationships that promote spiritual transformation. He will be working with both pre-Christians who we meet through Enrich NOVA (www.enrichnova.com) and Christians who are part of Restore (www.restorenova.com) while helping to equip leaders in their relationships, passions, and gifts.
I am extremely excited for Aaron to join Restore’s pastoral team, and his family (Jen, Elizabeth – 5, and Charlie – 3) to become part of Restore’s family. I look forward to all God is going to do to change pre-Christians’ and Christians’ lives through the Box family.
Because Restore is a new church that goes public September 20, 2009, Aaron is needing to raise 50% of his salary this year and 75% of his salary next year.
Please join with us in supporting them both prayerfully and financially in fulfilling God’s mission. For more information on this contact Aaron at email@example.com.
“If Restore isn’t going to have permanent church building, then what are you going to do with all the extra money?” This question was possed by an influential community member and friend. I imagine others may be wondering too.
It’s simple. By not investing in a building, we afford ourselves the opportunity to unleash kindness by meeting peoples needs in real and tangible ways. The Bible says in Romans chapter 2, verse 4 that the kindness of God leads people to repentance. This just makes sense. God’s love is expressed through our generosity and kindness. And leads people to a right relationship with God. We believe it is more important to put our faith in action by loving people, than by building buildings.
By not investing money in a building, we avail ourselves to invest in what is eternal – people. On one occasion, Jesus’ “‘disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God.’ But Jesus said, “‘As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down’” (Luke 21:5,6 NIV). We believe there is greater value investing in what is relational, spiritual, and eternal than in what is material.
God’s resources are to be used to meet the needs of the people He loves. And through His love, we live His mission by working with Jesus to restore people to a right relationship with God and others.
Now for my disclaimer. Some churches have mastered how to shout out Jesus’ and His love through the use of their building. I applaud these churches.
On Saturday, a caring team of people from Restore Community Church and Enrich NOVA joined together to physically move Mary - a single mom in crisis to a place of peace in a new apartment.
This is what it means to be the church and live God’s love.
The next day, she and her daughter joined us at church and then to one of our launch team member’s homes for lunch.
Here is what Mary wrote about this expression of love…
I want to extend a heartfelt thank you for all of your help with Olivia and my move. I am very grateful that you took time from all of your busy schedules to facilitate us in our need for support. You all worked so hard and we so very much appreciate the amazing job you did. You have all helped us to restore our lives to a peaceful, loving, and warm home that will serve as a refuge to grow in faith and love. Please understand that I am overwhelmed in my heart and my spirit is uplifted with all you all have done under such difficult times with this situation. Again Thank you all so very much.
In my thought process…, missional church means being completely irresponsible. It means valuing the kingdom over the local church. It means investing continually in those who won’t meet your 15 bucks a head offering ratio. It means going for broke as the woman in Bible did by placing her last two coins in the offering. Missional means declaring the name of Jesus not my congregation. It means addressing REAL issues like poverty, abuse, hopelessness, and reconciliation. It plays itself out by mentoring, instilling hope, and most importantly, introducing people to a Jesus that sees value in what the world views as worthless.
A bottle of water or a free cup of coffee is easy. It’s a good place to start, but not necessarily redemptive.
Missional means being bold. It means being messy. In its very nature, its goal is to accomplish a “mission.”
I wonder if some people have forgotten how to dream big, attack huge issues in reckless abandon, depending on God’s power and vision all along the way. Many use “we can’t” as an excuse to not try rather than a reminder that GOD CAN! It’s a long, tough and oftentimes treacherous road. One that I probably haven’t even seen a glimpse of the whole picture. It’s rewards look different than we are used to. Missional requires us to let go of ourselves and see everyone else as better. But it sure is amazing when embraced.
Dream big. Be irresponsible. See the mission through. See the world change.
America is positioned for another massive spiritual awakening. Check out these statistics from the June 24, 2008 issue of the Washington Post.
Americans are moving away from the spiritual skepticism of modernism and becoming more spiritually aware as the post-modern era takes over. This shift provides the church opportunity to present relationship with God through His son Jesus to a culture that believes “many religions can lead to eternal salvation”, but for the message of Jesus to make a difference we must communicate it in new ways – in ways our culture can understand. When our arrogance makes us think our approach to sharing God’s truth is just fine, Jesus says, “find a new way to fish.”
To reach a spiritually minded America, the church must change. This change will require leaving the church building to live and share Jesus’ revolutionary truth within a culture that is open to God. It’s time to get out of our comfortable auditorium seats and go fishing.
It’s my observation that many churches become stagnet through the process of buying land and building buildings. Without buildings the church is forced to do whatever it takes to survive. In the quest to survive, they maintain a high level of innovation that breeds energy and excitement for God’s work in other people’s lives. In this state, the purpose, when handled correctly, remains clear and Jesus’ mission is more effectively accomplished.
Unfortunately, in the midst of this life giving adventure, people long to settledown, rest, take care of their own needs, and build a permenent home for worship in a safe structure that protects from the elements of pioneering ministry. Once the building is built, there is a sense of… “we have arrived” – “we have made it” – “we can relax now”. As this mindset settles in, the mission often becomes vague and the purpose of the church unclear. Instead of striving to survive by fulfilling God’s mission and focusing on the needs of others – which actually promotes survival – the church begins to focus on itself and looses sight of others. The church leverages their purpose as collateral for property and in the process looses sight of why they exist. They transition from being pioneers in Jesus’ mission to being settlers.
If we get past Mark Driscoll yelling when he preaches, looking angry when he speaks, and the fact that he doesn’t particularly care for bloggers (even though he has his own blog), then he really does have a great message – especially for church planters and anyone else who is passionate for the church in the 21st century.
I wisely invested the last 1 hour and 15 minutes of my life watching his talk titled “Putting Preachers in Their Place”, which by the way, he does a great job at. He also puts many emergents, post-moderns, and home church proponents “in their place”. After watching this video, I understand why he questions the idea’s presented by George Barna in “Pagan Christianity”.
What does Mark say in this conference session? Well, invest the next 1 hour and 15 minutes of your time wisely and you will know. But be warned, he yells, looks angry, and slams blogging. Apart from that he has a powerful message for pastors, elders, and the church. If you are passionate about the church and proclamation of God’s truth, Mark’s message “Putting Preachers in Their Place” is for you.
Here are some of the take aways I wrote down, but this list is not at all conclusive. You still need to watch it yourself.
2 of Marks opening thoughts.
What is the church?
5 Characteristics of Church
Some of Mark’s additional thoughts
Now go listen to Mark’s message yourself. My notes don’t do it justice.
While discussing this question, Kevin Haah and I considered how God’s definition of success may be the antithesis of man’s. As men, we easily become caught up in the physical size of the launch team, opening Sunday, one year anniversary, baptisms, and stories of changed lives. To us, success is often measured by what we can count. But God looks beyond the physical realm and considers the attitude of our hearts which leads to the conclusion that success by human standards may often be seen by God as failure. Where as, failure in the eyes of men, may be seen by God as success. It is in our failings and humility that God leads us to a place of greater dependence on His Spirit and power – success.
With this in mind, Kevin captured the meaning of success and ended our conversation with one word – “OBEDIENCE”. When we are obedient to God, physical outcomes are immaterial because God’s purposes are achieved. Success is obedience.
In a recent article in “Mirror”, Patty Park quoted Kevin saying, “Success is not defined by results, how the church does or how many people come,”…. “The definition of success is not about moving up in the world; it’s about obedience. I’ve realized that success just means figuring out what God wants me to do, and doing it.”
You can also listen to a message given by Kevin titled “The Definition of Success”.