Every time I listen to Hugh Halter or read his writing I am more persuaded that what he is saying is very important. In a breakout at Exponential yesterday talking about his new book he said this:
“We think you have to condemn or condone. Jesus would tell us, ‘I don’t want you to do either. I want you to be a friend of sinners.'”
Hugh Halter’s newest book is called Brimstone: The Art and Act of Holy Nonjudgement. I’ve been profoundly impacted by his previous writing and have no doubt you’ll be hearing about this one.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always trying to find and develop more leaders. I heard Mac Lake say this today at Exponential West:
“When I ask why people want to develop more leaders, the most common answers are that they don’t have enough leaders or they need more leaders. Those are actually the wrong answers. The right answer is ‘because I see potential in the person in front of me.'”
Mac Lake is the Visionary Architect for The Launch Network, a church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. His role is to network with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Their goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. He is a leadership development genius and blogs at MacLakeOnline.com.
“Jesus does not call us to do what he did, but to be as he was, permeated with love. Then the doing of what he did and said becomes the natural expression of who we are in him.” Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy
Image by Daniel Horacio Agostini
You may have never thought of discipleship quite this way, but effective discipleship really has to do with the disciple’s ability to receive feedback. This important idea switched on for me at the Global Leadership Summit listening to Sheila Heen talk about feedback (you can read my key takeaways from her talk right here).
As Dallas Willard pointed out, “a mature disciple is one who effortlessly does what Jesus would do if Jesus were him.” And how will a mature disciple learn to do what Jesus would do if Jesus were him? Isn’t the answer “feedback”?
“It doesn’t matter how much authority or power a feedback giver has; the receivers are in control of what they do and don’t let in, how they make sense of what they’re hearing, and whether they choose to change.” Thanks for the Feedback, p. 5
Image by Ken Bosma
One of the books that influenced my early ministry direction was The Lost Art of Disciple Making by Leroy Eims. The notion that disciple making is carried on by people and not by programs shaped my conviction that whatever we want to happen in the lives of the members of our groups must happen first in the lives of the leaders.
“The ministry is to be carried on by people, not programs. It is to be carried by someone and not by some thing. Disciples cannot be mass produced. We cannot drop people into a ‘program’ and see disciples emerge at the end of the production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual, personal attention. It takes hours of prayer for them. It takes patience and understanding to teach them how to get into the Word of God for themselves, how to feed and nourish their souls, and by the power of the Holy Spirit how to apply the word to their lives. And it takes being an example to them of all of the above.”
“Discipleship occurs when a transformed person radiates Christ to those around her. It happens when people so deeply experience God’s love that they can do nothing other than affect those around them.” Bill Hull, The Complete Book of Discipleship: On Being and Making Followers of Christ.
Image by Adam Cohn
I know (and you know) that “whatever you want to happen at the member level, will have to happen to the leader first.” We know this. It is not a mystery or some kind of secret code. I know (and you know) that what happens at the member level is ultimately influenced by what happens in our lives. This also is not a mystery or secret code. It is self-evident.
And I much as I write about the habits I’d look for if I was hiring a small group pastor and the 8 habits of a life-changing small group leader, I know intuitively (and so do you), that we are fools to expect anything more than what we are living at the member level. See also, 5 Habits I’d look for If I Was Hiring a Small Group Pastor, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader and Model What You Want to Happen at the Member Level.
And this is why it has become my preoccupation for the next season to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
To that end, here are two lines that I’ve written out on post-its so they’ll become part of my daily routine:
“Self-control begins when you begin to take your thoughts captive.” Clay Scroggins, Wish You Were Here, Control Yourself
“You only have control over three things in your life: the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take.” Jack Canfield, Resolved: 13 Resolutions for Life by Orrin Woodward
Image by Dave
I love this line from John Ortberg’s If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.
“The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.” John Ortberg
As I’ve been thinking about next steps for our ministry (and challenging you to do to the same), this quote is a powerful reminder of an essential choice.
The line also begs a question: What have I chosen? Comfort? Or risk? See also, What Baby Steps Will You Take Today?
Image by Domiriel
Love this one from John Ortberg’s Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Influence of the Inescapable Jesus.
“Leadership is the art of disappointing people at a rate they can stand.”
Image by Phil Warren
What do those who follow Jesus’ do? I love this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship:
“Those who follow Jesus’ commandment entirely, who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them without resistance, will find the burden they must bear to be light. In the gentle pressure of this yoke they will receive the strength to walk the right path without becoming weary.…Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Image by Neil Wellons