Jesus met with Nicodemus in the night, a relationally broken woman at a Samaritan well, and Matthew at a party thrown for tax collectors. He befriended prostitutes, recruited zealots, and pronounced forgiveness for known adulterers. God, in Christ, has definitely demonstrated his willingness to go to the gutters of society to change the lives of sinners by his truth and grace.
It’s great to be “pouring into” people. That’s a popular phrase in today’s leadership environment. I’ve used it because I like the word picture of it. Whatever I may have learned about life and leadership, I’m supposd to be passing along to others. But what does the phrase really mean? What, exactly, are we to pour into the people we lead?
I grew up attending church A LOT. I was in a church classroom A LOT. When I was a kid, my family attended Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night preaching and prayer services, plus Sunday School, plus missions education programs and Vacation Bible Schools. But… I didn’t grow spiritually, didn’t really experience spiritual depth, and didn’t really learn what following Jesus looked like outside the walls of the church.
With whom are you doing life? What I mean is, with whom do you spend time hanging out and talking about the deepest things of life? Whom do you sharpen, and who sharpens you?
When it comes to leading a strong ministry and building a healthy church, it takes more than solid theology or smart strategy. In fact, it takes a combination of those, plus the Spirit’s leading and empowerment. I think of these three as pillars of a dynamic ministry.
“The New Testament is the only model we need!” There, I went ahead and said that for you. It’s out of the way. For those pastors and church leaders who highly value the New Testament AND actually want to accomplish something meaningful, read on…
We often use the word discipleship in two different senses. We refer to our personal spiritual growth as discipleship – the process of becoming more like Jesus. But we also use the word to refer to a person or church’s ministry of making disciples. So when we talk about discipleship as a purpose of the church, to which are we referring? Both. For me, discipleship has always been and hopefully always be a challenging issue to understand. What I mean is that I don’t ever want to have it boiled down to such a simple concept that I see it as a short formula. There are different angles from which we have to view the concept. For example…
One of the phrases Jesus uttered frequently was “follow me.” It’s recorded six times in Matthew and seven times in John (probably with a little bit of overlap). Since the gospels only record a tiny sliver of Jesus’ life on earth, we can safely presume He issued that invitation to many, many people. And to all potential disciples, He said,
“It’s just my cross to bear.” I’ve heard people say that phrase about the dumbest things. We tend to say it about things that annoy us, inconvenience us, or maybe cost us time or money. It reveals that we really haven’t a clue what it means to take up our cross.
Jesus stopped a few fishermen one day in the Sea of Galilee and challenged them to turn the world upside down by issuing a simple call… “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19, NIV)