Archives For The Future

At the end of the year some time ago I gave a message on a few year-end reflections I had cloaked around “My Biggest Mistakes of the Year.” To my surprise more listened to that message than any in the previous year. The following year I did the same with fresh, new mistakes. Again, there was an enthusiastic response. I continue to make this a year-end message, but I am now doing an enhanced version online for some of my sites – thus what you are now reading.

On the surface of things, it may seem a little dark to ponder one’s mistakes, but I don’t see it that way, and neither does God. In the Bible, God consistently choose people who were prone to make mistakes yet went on to be stellar examples of lives strongly lived.

Peter, for one, was a mistake maker who went on to great things. His mistakes didn’t impair him from greatness. He took risks that often led to failure but always left a deposit of faith in him. He was able to walk on water when the others were afraid to step out of the security of the boat. He failed after a step or two, but he received an amazing installation of faith just the same.

What you read here are my confessions from this past year. Each of them is an area where I blew it but then made a mid-course correction along the way.

Click here or on the above image to download the PDF.

Risk – our way of life

December 13, 2011 — 2 Comments

Risk is our friend. Little happens that is worthwhile that doesn’t involve taking a significant chance – one that might end in failure.

How often do you take a risk? Every time I bring up the topic of risk it seems almost everyone thinks they are big risk takers. Everyone? Really? If that were so the world would be a different place. I’m not talking about an itsy bitsy non-dangerous one that is hardly worth mentioning, but a big and hairy – something that needs to be spelled with a capital “R”?

You say you want to change the world… Maybe you pray that. Maybe you read books that explain how we can change the world. The word “missional” is all the rage these days which is another way to explain how we can change the world, but how many missional people are actually getting dirt under their fingernails in order to change the world versus just reading more books and thinking great thoughts about changing the world. How many actually smell like windshield washing liquid because they have been out squeegeeing cars?

We must work while it is light for darkness is coming when no one can work.

Do the work

July 18, 2011 — Leave a comment

It’s all about doing the work, not talking about the work.

Leaders aren’t leaders until they lead.

Writers aren’t writers until they write.

Worship leaders are so until they bring others into worship.

Evangelists are only evangelists when they evangelize. Connect with the Lost.

Don’t just talk. Do the work. Start today.

I am officially skeptical of the term “missional” at this point in the game. I have heard and read a pile of material on mission this and mission that, but have seen precious few practical results. I am fairly convinced that most of those who write under the rubric “missional” are confessing that they know little of practical outreach. The word is mostly a theory in spite of its promise to stimulate an outward focus.
It can become an end in itself to study and discuss the attributes of outreach while never getting around to actual outreach. It has become faddish to talk missional but not actually do missional. On the other hand, the term “evangelism” is in your face and practical. It may be more of an old-fashioned term but everyone knows that it is activational. There is no doubt that when one uses the “E” word one is talking about actually doing something. Call me crazy, but I suggest we drop the “M” word in favor of the tried and true “E” word.

Great churches come in a variety of sizes, very large ones, medium-sized ones and smaller ones.
It is a mistake to read the above points, to agree with them, and then to discount the vital role mega churches play in the strategy of God for reaching the world. God has in mind to use mega churches in great ways in our day. Above all else I believe he wants to redeem these churches to do great works of evangelism across America. Done rightly such churches can serve as catalysts for the greater community they find themselves in so that churches of all sizes can gain confidence for evangelism.

An equally disastrous mistake would be to arrogantly discount the above points as irrelevant rants.

I believe the most efficient church size is…500.
I stated this conclusion several years ago in a book based on the numerous observations made in that book (Making A Good Church Great, Regal, 2010). I am more convinced now than ever that my original hunch was correct.
Ponder this: it would be more productive to produce 10 life-giving churches of 500 in weekend attendance than in building one mega church of 5,000.
I believe there is ample evidence to make the point that the per capita level of spiritual vitality is usually greater at a medium-sized church versus a single mega one. The individual Believer will likely evidence greater fruit of discipleship in medium sized churches than in mega ones.

Mega church pastors are called by God to accomplish great things.
I don’t wish anything ominous upon the shoulders of my mega church brethren, yet it is a fact that to whom much is given much is required. Those who lead very large congregations will stand before God in the not too distant future to give an account of the way they acted as stewards of the provision of God in their time as the leader of an immense congregation with immense resources.

How did I do as a teacher? Did I boldly and lovingly present to my people the uncompromising truth of the Gospel?
How did I do as a model? Did I show my people the life of Jesus through my life?
Did we do the work of evangelism? Did we consistently, profoundly seek to
bring our city to Jesus?
Were the poor shown an abundance of the mercy of God?

Such questions put the fear of the Lord in me. With this burden of responsibility in mind I don’t miss a day of my time of leading a mega church. I pray mercy upon you if you are a pastor in a congregation of this sort.

If you are a pastor in another size congregation you have it easier in many ways. Pray for mega church pastors near you. I hope you will mutually stir up the “love and good deeds” Scripture calls us to walk in.

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