As many of you know around 2 years ago I left a church of 18,000 people to start a church that met for the 1st time in my living room with 22 people. It has been a crazy journey going from the mega church to a small missional movement. I want to simply give some thoughts to some course corrections that I have had to take in the way that I lead & in the way that I pastor. These may not be applicable to everyone and I am in no way saying smaller is better, or mega is bad. What I am saying is these are things God has changed in me. So please as you read the following posts know two things. I love big churches and I love small churches, the following blog is not an indictment on one and a blessing on the other. This blog is about what God is doing in me! These ultimately are far bigger issues than leadership or pastoral issues because they are ultimately how God is shaping me & making me more like him.
So today one of my greatest struggles is the simplicity of the few
Last night my wife & I lead a bible study, we studied the word, encouraged each other in our faith & challenged each other to grow, we walked away encouraged & excited about what is doing in college students lives in our community. Two years ago when I began the avenue I would have seen last night as a giant failure not because the word wasn’t taught, not because biblical community didn’t happen but because only 3 college girls showed up. In my previous ministry we could have done a Lite Brite, Tedy Ruxpin, disco quilting night & 50 people would have shown up simply because we were getting together. So one of my greatest course corrections is the realization that we don’t need a lot of leaders, just the right leaders! I’ve had to change our measurements from the number of butts in our seats to how many people do we have in discipling relationships!
Let me be honest that sometimes this is painful, painful to my pride as a leader, painful when I feel as if I am begging for God to give us many & I find so few. Painful when the realization of, “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” is being lived out before me everyday! God is teaching me that the work of ministry is not growing a church, its growing kingdom workers!
My job is to equip & shepherd the people God places before me! Even when that is 3. I am learning that far to much of my identity was wrapped up in how large my ministry was, in how many people I spoke to each week & in how many pats on the back I received each week. Its ugly I know, sinful I know but it is honest. I like more a lot more than I like FEW!
The simplicity of the few is tough!
With the few I have:
Less physical resources – buildings, property, equipment,
Less financial resources – less money to do ministry with, to pay staff workers, to hire interns, to shoot a video, to pull of an event
Less Intellectual resources – less leaders dreaming, thinking investing & encouraging the process
Less Organizational resources – less staff, less expertise, less experience, less wisdom
Less Relational Resources – Less workers, less volunteers, less givers, less relational networks
So my temptation every single day is to go to the Lord & tell him all of things I don’t have. Instead of developing & muliplying the resources I do have.
Good equippers know the power of the few & they do what Jesus did!
Recruit Hundreds / develop 70 / choose 12 / graduate 11 / focus on 3
I love this quote from Richard Kriegbaum in his booklet Leadership Prayers, he says it best when he prays:
“I know only so much, God and I can do only so much. If this organization is limited to my abilities alone, we will fall short of our potential together and miss your vision for us. Help me identify other leaders for this effort Enable me to see what each one can do best, show me how to recruit them, and point me to the right responsibility for the right person. When I delegate, please give me the courage to release control and follow. Sometimes I feel that leading is mostly about following, about deciding who is the best person to follow in some particular area. I depend on you to sharpen my intuition and sensitivity so I will choose the right people and delegate well. How ironic, God, that the longer and better I lead, the more I depend on the skills and expertise of others. Someone else is better than I am at every task that needs to be done. They lead me in their areas. I must trust our success to them, so I must trust you to guide my selection of them.”
I’m learning the beauty & success of bible studies of 3 & praying that God multiplies my investment in the few to create a movement of many!
Does any of this resonate with you?
Where is God teaching you joy of few?