Back when I was leading a church we did a series entitled, “What?” We spent weeks answering questions such as: “What makes a man a man?”; What makes a woman and woman?”; “What makes a marriage a marriage?”; “What makes a dad a dad or a mom a mom?”
The last topic of the series what “What makes you, you?”
Months before the series I approached people in our city—mostly wait staff, grocery clerks, bank tellers, random people in the park— and said, “May I ask you a question”…and then would pose one of those questions to them. Even though it was years ago, I still remember the fun I had asking and the varied answers I received. If we were to ask those questions in the public square today, I suspect we would get the similar answers.
The reason I bring this up is because we are in the midst of a devolving revolution and if you are a gospel-centered follower of Jesus Christ you are in a minor minority, with no accepted voice in the public domain. The chief view of our origin is material or natural. There is no God, we all originated in the Big Bang. Flowing from that belief is the greatest moral value which is dominating the cultural consensus: “You are your own self—you decide who you are—you determine what makes you, you.” The oppressive voices proudly shout, “Do not let anyone tell you who you are—not your mom, dad, friends, teachers, courts” etc. “If you are true to yourself you can be anything you want to be.” In essence, you are the hero of your own story.
Let me state it plainly: If you and your church are going to do serious gospel disciple-making with the young adults, teens, middle schoolers, and grade schoolers, you will have to tackle those predominant lies in their story with the greater Story.
As we remind one another of what makes you “you” (and we do need others to help us interpret the Story and our own stories so we know our core identity) and to the degree you remind yourself by hitting the ‘refresh button’ of your personal hard drive (soul), it will deepen your ability to live and thrive while our society continues in its devolving revolution.
The first active reality is that you were created by a good, all glorious, all powerful, and all beautiful Tri-Personal God—God the Father, God Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit. You were Created by community for community. All things, everything we see and all who exist, were created by him and for him. But we know we are not right and everything around us in our world (relationships, cultures, races, ecosystems, etc) is not right. Nothing seems to be what it was designed to be. We need Someone to come, outside of the mess we live in, to rescue us.
The second active reality is that you have been rescued by Jesus Christ. He is the Hero of your story. His rescue is one of substitution (He took on the curse of our rebellion against our Maker); one of reconciliation (He made Peace with our Creator); one of adoption (We have been made sons and daughters of our Maker).
The third active reality in having an identity to live freely and endure the hostile revolution is to remember we are now, at the very same moment, completely forgiven yet still a sinner. They are both happening realities at the same moment day by day. “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” is present alongside, “The very things I don't want to do, I do…Who will rescue me?”
It is only after the people (adults, teens, and children) understand and accept this greater Story in their lives can you truly cultivate deep, meaningful relationships with those you’re in ministry with. Are you missing the Gospel Story component in your ministry today? You don’t have to face the challenges alone.
CMM can help you find a Gospel Coach and even train you to coach other high-capacity leaders. We believe every leader needs coaching that involves intentional gospel conversations with focused discussions about one another’s relational, personal, missional, and spiritual life. Learn more about ministry coaching and church coaching today!
2 Reasons You're an Exhausted Leader
By Jim Moon, Jr.
Associate Director & Coaching Catalyst
I’m so busy! It’s all good stuff, but between work and family and serving the church, I’m exhausted.
How many times have you heard this from a high-capacity leader? Or thought something similarly to yourself? I know I have.
Exhaustion is the preceding problem to many bigger issues in organizations and individual lives. It should be an alarming warning light you take seriously.
So, why do leaders work near the edge of exhaustion?
As a Gospel Coach to high-capacity leaders, I’ve seen a few common reasons. Here are two:
1. High commitment to work hard with low commitment to basic spirituality.
High-capacity leaders get affirmed and rewarded for hard work and an ability to produce. I can do many things well all at the same time. It seems, at least initially, that perpetual busyness pays off!
But does it pay off? If you’ve been leading for more than a decade, you know it doesn’t, even if you won’t admit it to yourself. High-capacity leaders get exhausted and it can lead to bigger problems.
I hate this quote from Eugene Peterson so much I have it taped to my monitor: “Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness…filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s actions.”
I hate it because he’s right.
God says rest one day in seven, but I think it’s a trick to keep me from doing my job with excellence. God tells us to pray and meditate on Him and His Word, but I easily get distracted thinking of 15 more urgent things to get done yesterday. Over the long haul, endless hard work without biblical spirituality sets you up to feeling exhausted.
2. High capacity to make things happen with low capacity to trust what has happened.
My first management job at age 21 was on the road leading five other young men on tour with a music production company out of St. Petersburg, FL. The mission was: “Make It Happen!” Literally, the shows had to go on no matter what!
High-capacity leaders get addicted to making it happen because we get our value and identity out of doing. But this short-changes the profound truth that leaders are human beings, created in the image of God.
High-capacity leaders are human beings, not a human doings.
You’re made to thrive in a relationship with God, other people and His creation. This was done for you by God through Jesus.
What is the risk of exhausted high-capacity leaders?
You tell me. You’ve seen it. What happens when leaders are exhausted?
Some complain, some quit, others quit and don’t tell you. Others burnout and some make catastrophically bad decisions that impact everyone around them.
Exhausted leaders have a problem that can be addressed. If you see yourself headed in this direction, a Gospel Coach can help you learn to live based on what Jesus has done.
Gospel Coaches help high-capacity leaders do well in work but not at the expense of your soul and the things you truly value like family, ministry, and health.
CMM can help you find a Gospel Coach and even train you to coach other high-capacity leaders. You don’t have to face the challenges in ministry alone. We believe every leader needs coaching that involves intentional gospel conversations with focused discussions about one another’s relational, personal, missional, and spiritual life.
Click here to learn more about ministry coaching and church coaching today!
©Jim Moon, Jr., used by permission
by Dr. Tom Wood
President of CMM
Team ministry has been written about a lot. Whether in the business community, medical community, start-up companies, large corporations, military or education, teams are the way to go. But it has not always been so in the church. Today, more and more churches see the value of forming ministry teams who work together toward a common outcome. Search for “Team Ministry books” at Amazon.com and you will find over 300 titles. You can find practical help for doing ministry as a team or working with teams in the church through a variety of sources.
Since many of you have been raised in an educational system that thrives on learning groups or work groups, from elementary education on up, you might have experienced a close relative of teams. Work groups are similar, but not the same as teams. You most likely have been part of a small group that studies together. Again, it is similar but not the same.
Most of what is in the marketplace about team ministry is utilitarian in nature. It is as if the whole purpose of team ministry is to get some job done in the best, most efficient way.
The Bible makes it clear that teams did not originate with a business guru, but first in the Trinity. God himself exists and functions as a team (Gen. 1:26). He is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. God is love because God is a Trinity (team). The Triune God worked together in Creation and it is the Triune God (team) that worked in bringing salvation and renewal. God is generous, creative, serving, and saving because He is a Trinity. We were created to exist and function as a team (Gen. 1:27, 28). Your marriage and kids are a team.
We also discover that teams are the basic building blocks for the church (Mk. 3:14; Acts 1:15,26). Teams bring together a diversity of gifts and are the best place for disciple-making. In the local church, team members should be committed to one another’s relational, personal, missional, and spiritual growth and health. They must see themselves as mutually responsible and accountable for one another.
Teams have the potential to be one of the most powerful drivers of planting and growing a healthy reproducing church. However, teams simply don’t just happen. They take time to mature. They require proper leadership.
Click here to download your FREE ebook "The Trinity Teaches Teamwork" and consider the 3 keys for developing teamwork in your new church.
Dr. Tom Wood
I've been in the Church Planting business my entire career. I want you to know, you don't have to plant a church alone!