Monday, November 8, 2010

When God Dreams

Early October, I had the privilege of getting together with about 200 other leaders and church planters from various locations for a gathering called, "When God Dreams," in Redding, CA. It was an amazing time of learning from the best and the brightest. It was also encouraging to connect with other leaders headed in the same direction of seeing God's kingdom expand. Here are some highlights I picked up from various leaders:


//On Community//
Banning Liebcscher opens the conference with a reminder of the importance of community. He calls us to the need for covering for young leaders. We tend to have a streak of rogue in us, as church planters.

| "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) |

It's intriguing that God can be the one that actually opposes us, as leaders. I recall stepping out and doing things in my own strength and seeking Him to bless it afterwards. From experience, that may not be the best route to go. Submission is a huge lesson for the development of any Christ follower. Hence, the emphasis on "follower."

As we move in ministry, there will be times we feel that our "best just isn't good enough." We're always one fry short of a happy meal. This is when you ask whether or not you have gotten the best of others in your life. Have we submitted to others enough to receive from them and develop our leadership, our marriage, and our ministry? 

There are at least 3 Roadblocks to community:
  1. Resistance to feedback and input - we tend towards doing things and asking for forgiveness rather than seeking permission. Our independent spirit has fueled this mentality.
  2. Pride - keeps us from going to one another for advice and we don't want to admit that we are broken. We need to be serious about our restoration.
  3. We don't have the skill set - to seek covering and hear from others. We need to check in with relationships to see how we're doing. Banning calls it, "Check it out." Check out those you think you may have offended and simply ask them if you have hurt them in any way. 
Banning served with Bethel Church in Redding, CA and is also leader of the Jesus Culture Movement. 


//Seek God First//
As obvious as this sounds Jason Ostrander, Youth Director of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, reminded us of the importance of going to God for direction rather than listening to the many voices that pull us in different directions. Launching from the development of Moses, as a leader in Exodus 19 - 20, Jason raises the point that: 

"The biggest mistake Christian leaders make is replacing listening to God with listening to people. We become more consumed with the culture and the people around us than with what God desires of us."

Jason brought an invigorating and jarring message reminding us the importance of going directly to God  and searching his heart for what pleases Him rather than looking to what pleases people. Our message and ministry should be about finding out what is on the heart of God and conveying that to His people.


//The Mission//
Nathan wraps up the conference up with a reminder for leaders to move from the role of the Prodigal Son, to the Older brother, and finally to being the Father. As a church, we have failed to love passionately, the way the Father loves. Instead we are more like the brothers. As the brothers we fight against one another. If we take on the mantle of the Father, we would fight for our brothers. As the Father we are called to:
  • Wait and Seek to see when the Prodigal will return.
  • Run and Embrace them when they do return.
  • Celebrate their return - instead of finding a home that welcomes the Prodigal most churches are leary of newcomers and tend to gather with their own. 
Nathan pastors  The Stirring Church in Redding, CA.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing with us what you learned at the conference. Very refreshing take on community, God and mission.