Category Archives: Discipleship

Do you need another church mission statement?

Do you need another church mission/vision statement? Many of us church leaders have over the years spent hours and hours and gone to countless workshops trying to develop that perfectly crafted vision statement. The statement that is memorable, catchy and interesting and of course has clear biblical values. Most mission statements sound great. But what difference do they really make?

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I remember in the early 90s as we were starting out in ministry and beginning our first journey in to church planting. I remember spending days working on a mission statement trying to get the wording right, changing words around trying to get it to a nice concise pithy statement that everyone on our team would understand and get behind. This brief sentence would define who we are, express our values and get us excited about what we do. In those days you just had to have a mission statement. Every church and church plant had to have one.

I can still remember the mission/vision statement that we chose “To see the great command and the great commission become a reality in the lifestyle of every believer”. At the time I thought it was brilliant. It was clearly biblical. It said what I wanted to see occur and what I wanted our church plant to become. At the time to me anyway it sounded great. I still think it is a very good statement. Loving God and each other and being a disciple of Jesus who makes disciples is the heart of our work today and with the Lord’s help I don’t ever see that changing.

habits

Today research suggests that rather than value statements shaping our behavior, our actions can actually shape our values. The practices and actions that a society endorses in turn shape the way people of that society think. Have we been focusing too much on transferring values to the exclusion of passing on good habits? Good habits are those practices we nurture in our lives that unite us, that connect us more deeply to Jesus and each other. Maybe we need to focus more on habits that energize us in becoming more like Jesus. Rather than just teaching values, we could focus on fostering good missional habits. Creating habits that become rhythms of blessing, spending time with each other, spending time listening to the Holy Spirit, learning from Jesus. If you commit to these kinds of habits it would be fair to say you’ll become more Christlike, and gradually see yourself as a missionary right in your own community.

Do you need a mission statement? I think mission statements do have value but not as much as we like to think. Our actions our habits can actually shape our values more successfully.

Here is a good little resource by Michael Frost. The 5 Habits of Highly Missional People.

Would love to here your comments.

 

Simply Multiply Introduction

 

The work on Simply Multiply is taking shape and in many ways a lot of the hard work is already done. The final touches of putting it all together and choosing a format for notes and presentation is what we are working on now. Here is a peek at a draft of the introduction. A big thank you to all of you who are praying for this project. Please keep praying!

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Simply Multiply
Introduction

For a number of years now I have talked to friends who are believers who have been feeling a kind of frustration in their life. They love Jesus and the church, they desire to see their loved ones come to faith, be healed and have their lives restored. They really have a heart to see the gospel multiply and flourish in mighty ways. One frustration is that what they see in the New Testament is a movement of people, a church that, although imperfect and looking very messy at times, nevertheless was a Church that was growing rapidly. They cared for each other and those around them. They had one another and the presence of the Holy Spirit to sustain them in their constant outward movement. The first Christians were committed to obeying the teachings of Jesus. They told everyone about Jesus’ love and his Kingdom. No matter what the cost, they determined to press on. As followers of Jesus they simply dedicated themselves to live and love like Jesus. As a result the church grew from 120Simply Multiply BW Yellow people to about 20 million in the first 300 years. But the reality some of my friends experience and see in the West today looks very different. Apart from some small pockets of growth from time to time, the honest truth is; overall the church in the Western world is in decline. We are losing ground.

An obvious question we are bound to ask is; ‘Why doesn’t the church in the west grow explosively like the church described in the book of Acts?

We all could come up with many opinions, ideas and viewpoints as to why.

In our many years of ministry working with leaders, churches and church planting  we have discovered that most followers of Jesus really have a heart to see the gospel multiply and flourish in great and powerful ways.

But too often many are using outdated formulas for times that have changed dramatically in recent years. They are doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Too many people have never been taught the why, what and how of disciple making- of making a difference in the world.

Whether you’re a mom, student, business leader, teacher, church planter, pastor or church leader, or even unemployed, if you’ve got a desire to make a difference in the world, there has never been a better time to put that desire into actionable steps than right now.

Right from the very beginning, God’s plan has always been multiplication. God’s first command in the Scriptures is “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28, NLT). Similar commands are found in Exodus 1:6-7, 12 and 20 and are directly connected to God’s blessing. All throughout the Scriptures you see that God’s DNA for ministry is multiplication. The fulfillment of God’s Old Testament covenants with David and Abraham and the New Testament Great Commission commands is portrayed in Revelation with this great picture from John, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Rev. 7:9). John saw the fulfillment of God’s plan of multiplication. Each one of us is invited and commissioned to play a part, to be coworkers with Jesus in fulfilling God plan.

This picture of a multi ethnic multitude worshiping God at the end of history should give us great confidence in our great God. All authority belongs to Him, and His plans always succeed. Each one of us here today wants to be in that multitude and we want to see our loved ones, friends, neighbors, our nation there with us worshiping God.

Our prayer and desire for Simply Multiply is that God would use us in training and encouraging his followers to join in with Jesus and get involved in God’s great multiplication movement.

Our vision is simply to see Christian communities who are following and doing what Jesus did simply multiply everywhere. We want to help and encourage every follower to be a fisher (Matthew 4:19).

Imagine if every follower of Jesus you knew was intentional about following Jesus, being changed by Jesus and committed to the mission of Jesus. Think of how we would see people’s lives renewed, restored, churches multiplying into new churches, communities changed and as a result the Kingdom of God advance. This is the work and mission of God and He wants us to join in.

This Simply Multiply seminar/workshop is designed to remind you of and help you rethink and rediscover your mission and calling: Simply multiplying disciple-making disciples.

Dealing with Disappointment

September is usually the beginning of the academic year and in ministry it is often the beginning of the year for churches and pastors. This made me think of how the year has panned out so far for me. If I was asked to describe my year in one word I would at this point describe it with the word disappointment. It seems like disappointments in my life are many this year. I know on true reflection that this year in many ways has been a good year with the Lord’s blessing and faithfulness to us. In this post I would like to talk about disappointment and how we deal with it in our lives.

We all experience disappointments in life. These can be relatively small things, disappointments that turn out to be merely a misunderstanding, or devastating choices that lead t5.17.PastorsHandleDisappointment_194562135o major life disruption and heartbreak. Yes disappointments are often quite painful for us, regardless of their immensity. When things don’t turn out the way you hoped, it may seem like the end of the world.
Many of us find it really hard to deal with disappointment. There are several types of disappointment that we encounter in our lives. For example: The job you wanted, but did not get. When your favourite team lost a game…by a point. A relationship you thought was so solid evaporated. The unexpected loss of a loved one, etc.. Disappointment comes in all sizes, doesn’t it? Any time our hopes are not realized or our expectations or desires are not fulfilled, we feel disappointed. Disappointment can be a passing emotion over a temporary loss, or it may strike powerfully when something permanently changes our lives. A major disappointment can remain within us all the time. When I ask friends how they deal with disappointment many of them would say, the best way to avoid disappointment is by choosing not to expect too much. The phrase “Don’t get your hopes up” comes to mind. There may be some truth in that, but I would prefer to have my hopes up than down any day. It is much better to have your hopes up then to be hopeless. Yes, we will sometimes be disappointed; but its still important to encourage each other to live hopefully. The first key to dealing with disappointment is to hold on to hope. We know in the very depths of our hearts and souls that God is good and has our best interests on His heart. I need to say; feeling disappointed is not a sin. How we handle it is the crucial issue. Sometimes we don’t handle disappointment well. I myself struggle with how I handle disappointment. Thoughts like “No one really cares about me” and “nothing ever works out in my dealing-with-disppointment1life” enter my mind and these are counter productive and depressing.
To counter these kinds of thoughts, I find it good to sit down and make some lists. Make a list of everyone who has been good to you and demonstrated caring. Make a list of the blessings in your life (count your many blessings!). Make a list of the times when things have worked out well for you, and include times when something that seemed negative at first eventually turned into a positive (remember that prayer that you are now glad God did not answer). Also read the Psalms. Here, you will find a desperate longing for God, and sometimes the broken-hearted pleas for God’s deliverance from trials. No matter what the circumstance, the writers of the Psalms turned to God as their source of help and hope. Another helpful thing I try to do is to fill my mind with the promises of God. One other suggestion is to “never give up”. Any person who has had even the smallest degree of success in life has faced many disappointments. It is important to remember and to keep reminding ourselves failure and disappointment is not the end of the world. Too many are not doing what they feel called to do because they are afraid of disappointment and failure. In my experience of life, it seems that the most effective have failed far more times than the least effective.

As always please leave a comment.