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Swipe and Deploy

Why limit the transformative process to an organized church scenario?! May the Lord multiply his disciples in the most unlikely places…

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Jesus' Adventurous Life

When facing important decisions, the Son of God had to withdraw to pray. This wasn’t just “an exercise” to demonstrate for us the prayer life we’re to have…

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Humility – A Friend Worth Having…

Humility has to do with what we actually believe about ourselves in relationship to the world around us. Are we the hero? Are we the villain? Or, are we the dearly loved children of the supreme, all knowing, all powerful God?

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ACTIVATE(D)'s First Cohort Launches!

These ladies are a power-house group of passionate and committed followers of Jesus who are desperate for Christ and committed to sharing him with others. Some call this group “Nick's Sorority”, (oh please laugh!) but I just call it our very first ACTIVATE(D) cohort!

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ACTIVATE(D): Terilynn #1 - "Little Old Me"

I laughed at the self-ascribed “little old me” title Terilynn used when sharing with me how grateful she was that God had used her last week. She went on to share about how God had just used her again in an unexpected moment to help another women step into her identity as a child of God.

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How The Right Vision Can Lead Your Congregation Further

You will never lead anyone who isn’t willing to be led by you. And you can only lead them where they already want to go.

Jesus said it this way: “How can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

4 Step Ebook

This is a powerful, liberating truth for pastors and Christian leaders who are willing to abandon cultural assumptions about leadership and, instead, practice Jesus’ kind of leadership.

Consider: How much positional authority did Jesus use to obtain follower-ship?

How often did He invite disciples to choose: “in” or “out”? When did He coerce? Manipulate? When they faced an impasse, how frequently did he grasp control, disempowering those around Him?

From the calling of Andrew to the provision He made for Mary when He was on the cross, Jesus seems to have consistently led by invitation.

When Jesus’ vision “overlapped” with those who heard Him, they followed.

The same is true for you.

You will only effectively lead others in the area where your vision and theirs coincide.

In the diagram below, your vision for your congregation’s impact is represented by the yellow zone. Anna, a gifted lay leader’s vision, is in the red zone. The area where you and Anna get to collaborate is the orange area.

I spend the majority of my time coaching and equipping ministers. They give me permission to influence them in the zone where their vision and mine overlap, where we’re agreed.

You and I get to “play” together where our visions coincide... and no two leader's visions ever coincide completely. That’s OK. Each person the Holy Spirit has placed in your congregation has been singularly shaped and prepared to touch lives and to embody the Christ distinctively.

When God makes something, He makes each unique. But, when humans make so many things, we labor to make them all the same. Cults labor for uniformity and conformity...

This is not so in the freedom for which Christ died.

We thrive together in that space, passionately pursuing what Christ has called each of us to... and most powerfully when it aligns.

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Your Church's Impact Is Only As Great As Your Vision

Everywhere you look, pastors are rolling out their “vision messages." “We’ll launch this ministry.” “Expand that program.” “Enlarge this other thing.” “Attract this many more people…” I want us to become “A”, to have “B”, to enjoy “C”, to be known for “D”.

Puny.

A puny vision is focused on ourselves.

To have a vision clear and compelling enough to capture the hearts of courageous world-changers, it can’t be focused on us.

The locus of vision is the impact we’re trusting God to make in society because of the influence of His Kingdom.

 

The first question is this: Who has your congregation been assembled to bless, heal, liberate, rescue, strengthen or lift as God encounters their lives?

A friend’s congregation has several working in law enforcement... so they bring God’s Kingdom to prison guards and Sheriffs. Another’s congregation is elderly... so they’ve adopted a senior center where they bring the Gospel of Christ almost every day. Others have young families... so they regularly serve at a preschool.

The second question: When God’s Kingdom comes, what wrongs will be made right, what oppression will be relieved, what bonds will be broken in their lives?

For the correctional officers, it’s appreciation, kindness, value and hope. For residents and staff at the care center, it's connection, love, companionship and meaning. For preschool parents, it’s practical assistance, a listening ear, kindness and concern.

It’s often said: people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

 

Churches across America are discovering how true this is. People respond to genuine love with surprise, gratitude, curiosity and finally openness... an openness to the One who motivates people to love and serve with no strings attached.

My CRM Team observes this transformation in hundreds of lives as congregations traverse the Missional Pathway. The Pathway is the “how”. A big, bold, community-impacting vision is the “why”.

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Here's Why Pastoral Vision Is Crucial To Leading Effectively

“Have a vision that can call you through the pain of transformation.”

Eyesight. It’s something we take for granted… until we find we’re losing it.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 7,000,000 people go blind every year.

7,000,000 people.

Imagine being unable to see.

Working with pastors and churches across the country, I've learned that many have a vision problem... and few are even aware. “What the heck am I doing?” pastors ask.

Now, that’s the question. The vision question.

What are you doing? What’s the reason you’re breathing? Why is your church in this community? What changes do you want to see?

It’s not arrogant to ask, and answer, these questions. It’s essential!

“Have a vision that can call you through the pain of transformation.”

One reason there's so little courage in American churches is that there’s so little vision.

If there isn't a compelling reason to invest deeply, passionately, even dangerously... the courageous won’t stay. They’ll go find a cause to champion, a wrong to right, an injustice to surmount, a greater good to establish—and go after that.

Somehow, between the church that Jesus founded and the mess we have today, pastors have assumed their job is to soothe, comfort, encourage and appease the religious.

Not so.

Pastor, your job is to make Christ-like disciples of Jesus.

People who radically transform their neighborhoods, workplaces and schools like Jesus commissioned us to.

“Have a vision that can call you through the pain of transformation.”

I heard that quote at a character development training God used to change my life over a decade ago. It acknowledges that transformation induces pain... always does. You have to choose to embrace that pain in pursuit of a vision so good, so important, so noble that it calls you through it, and into what awaits you on the other side...

Vision’s fulfillment.

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3 Things To Consider When Dealing With Conflict (Part 3)

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on dealing with conflict:

 How Do You Become Great In Conflict?

 

Ever met a powerfully influential person who’s great in conflict?

They're a rare breed.

Christian leaders can benefit greatly from skillfully navigating situations of conflict.

We’ve already pointed out that conflict is common to the Christian experience. The ministry of reconciliation, to which every believer is called, demands it.

So how can you become great at being in conflict?

You have to get neutral.

Let's think about a transmission...

With your car in drive, you’re “in gear” and ready to move. You’re ready to either charge your opponent… or to flee the scene.

In contrast, putting your car in reverse is like trying to back-pedal, to load all of the blame on yourself. You're ready to cave in to escape the discomfort that conflict brings.

We have trained ourselves to choose “drive” or “reverse” when conflict arises.

There will be a time to take action, but this isn’t it. Not yet.

When you get yourself to neutral, you’re resisting the impulse to move.

 

If You Pick A Side Too Fast, You've Lost Objectivity

 

Here’s where it gets tricky. In conflict, a healthy person will immediately side with themselves.

The unhealthy person will automatically knee-jerk to side with his accuser.

Sounds odd, but it happens.

As soon as you lock in on one outcome, you narrow your focus.

You've lost objectivity.

You begin collecting evidence in support of the side you're pulling for, and find evidence to oppose the other side.

Test this the next time you watch a sporting event involving a favorite team. You’ll identify un-flagged fouls against your team, and scarcely notice those against the opponent!

Getting to neutral means choosing to embrace AMBIGUITY. Entering into the discomfort of not deciding who’s right and wrong—even when you're the one “on trial”.

Getting to neutral allows you to stay open, and return to a posture of learning.

And, in any conflict, learning is the key to an honorable and rewarding resolution.

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