An important aspect of my philosophy of ministry is the conviction that the most effective churches design next steps for everyone and first steps for their friends.
This informs an analysis of the menu of available programs, events, classes and studies for every church (noticeable gaps will need to be filled).
Another important aspect is my conviction that whatever you want to happen at the member level, will have to happen to the leader first.
In an effort to cast this vision, I handed out a version of the following at a recent leader development session:
What’s Your Next Step Now?
In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul wrote these words:
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
“Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on.”
Like Paul, we each have some distance ahead in our journey as we press on to reach the end of the race. And as important as it is to know we have not yet arrived and have a journey ahead, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
It’s one thing to take a step. It’s another thing entirely to take the right next step. In order to take the right next step you have to know two important things:
- Where you are going.
- Where you are.
Where are you going?
In order to take the right next step, you need to know where you are going. In his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul expressed his hope for them with a phrase that is unmistakable:
“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Colossians 1:28 (ESV)
“Mature in Christ.” Some translations read “fully mature” and others read “perfect” or “complete.” You get the idea. Where we are going is a long way off for most of us.
Mature in Christ. When Dallas Willard described maturity he said, “A mature disciple is one who effortlessly does what Jesus would do if Jesus were him.”
How are you doing? Are you effortlessly doing what Jesus would do if He were you?
Where are you now?
Knowing where you are going is important. Knowing where you are is also very important. Taking time on a regular basis to reflect on your spiritual development is an essential habit.
Where are you now? Or put another way, what would need to change for you to effortlessly do what Jesus would do if He were you?
Image by Tim Green
- Life-Change at the Member Level
- How to Design Next Steps and First Steps
- Small Group Ministry Roadblock #2: A Bloated Belong and Become Menu.
Need more help?
How to Design NEXT Steps and FIRST Steps might be just what you need. This four session course will help you learn to implement this foundational concept in your church. You can find out more about it right here.