It is a good practice to glean what you can from those who know how to practice well. Last week VP3 hosted a webinar called, “Best Practices in Local Church Leadership Development.” Three panelists joined our time to share what they have learned over the years regarding an investment in the formation of those within their local communities. Pam, Kent and Beth are seasoned at knowing how to notice the particulars of those whom they walk alongside. All three know how to “call out” what they see dormant in peoples’ lives. They are careful, yet direct in making appropriate and tailored prescriptions, helping people move toward a better place of maturity and a truer place of service. Quite frankly, I was impressed with the practices they keep in this sometimes misunderstood deal of leadership development. Their practice grows from a conviction that leadership development from a Christian perspective is first and always tethered to helping people tend to their followership to Jesus Christ. You will benefit from listening in on what they said. Here are some highlights…
Last week twenty-seven of us gathered together in Sioux Falls for a retreat. By the end of our two days together we realized we were no ordinary group of twenty-seven people. We became a remarkable community of brothers and sisters in need of some space, perspective, words, silence and friendship. The theme for our gathering was “A Sacred Heart.” The hope for the gathering can be heard in David’s prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me (Ps 51:10).
There are no shortage of things that get us entangled and snared along the way of this deal we call ministry. This unusual gathering of saints had plenty of tangles and snares to share, but more so plenty of presence, experience and from time to time a word or two to offer.
VantagePiont3 has been around for about a dozen years. In that time we have encountered remarkable changes in the lives of hundreds of people who have gone through one or more of our processes. And, we have also been able to see some of the ripple effects from those changed lives upon their local church communities. We have experienced in good measure James Houston’s wise words, “Shape the person and you shape everything else.” This work I’m a part of at VP3 is such a good work…a deepening and empowering of peoples lives so that they might participate more fully in the ongoing Kingdom work of God. But, it has also been a hard work and in my more honest moments I sometimes confess why something so good and consistently life changing has been a rather difficult sell. “What am I or we doing wrong?” is usually the question that immediately follows such honest moments.
February 2, politicians, cultural influencers and the like (some 4000), gathered in Washington DC, to participate in the National Prayer Breakfast. I am not usually one to pay attention to such occasions, but I was drawn into this event when I heard who was to be the main speaker for the morning. Eric Metaxas, the celebrated biographer of William Wilberforce and, most recently, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was asked to address this distinguished group. As I listened to his words, I was blessed and challenged by his wit and courage. Then I wondered about this quote from Tom Marshall, “The great question today is whether there exists in the Christian church a sufficient reservoir of spiritual strength with the capacity to raise up leaders of the right caliber to meet the challenge of the present leadership vacuum.” I wonder if the church has the kind of capacity to raise up the next Bonhoeffer or Wilberforce. Maybe we need more Ed Tuttles, apprentices of Jesus who have the courage to disciple and mentor people like Eric Metaxas. Check out the video. I wonder what you find yourself thinking? Eric Metaxas 2012 National Prayer Breakfast
Today Brian Steenhoek and I facilitated a webinar called, “Discipleship: The Critical Need in Leadership Development Today.” It seemed to scratch an itch from the responses of those who attended. We thought we would offer you a condensed version of some of our notes here.
The slogan we use around VP3 is, “Helping You Discover.” It reminds us that we develop processes to help people discover answers to three of life’s most important questions, ‘Who is God?’, ‘Who am I?’, and ‘What does God desire to do through me?’ We believe we have developed some of the best resources available to help people pursue the answers to these questions through a biblical framework. However, we also know it is the good people who take our material–the ministry leaders, facilitators, and pastors, combined with the Holy Spirit, who make personal discovery and life transformation possible. And it is always fun to hear how churches and ministry leaders have taken our resources and creatively applied them in their context. Let me tell you a couple of recent examples.
A walloping great congregation is fine and fun, but what most communities really need is a couple of saints. The tragedy is that they may well be there in embryo, waiting to be discovered, waiting for sound training, waiting to be emancipated from the cult of the mediocre.
This week is the third of four weeks in January, filled with “Block B” Facilitator Training Retreats. Randy and I will have the privilege of being with a group of facilitators at Faith Church in Dyer, Indiana, Monday and Tuesday. In an effort to both prepare and support in the implementation of The Emerging Journey or The Equipping Experience, this facilitator preparation process is structured in two retreats: Retreat Block A (usually in June) and Retreat Block B (usually the following January). It is 4.5 days of training that seeks to do at least 4 things for those who participate:
To be honest, a theme I’ve noticed in my own walk lately has been dying. Now, although it sounds silly, I must confess that even letting you in on this will make me wonder if I’ve just entered my final days…a peculiar sort of superstition. But I have heard stories of people who said, “I’m ready to die!” And then two days later actually die. So, to set the record straight, although I love Jesus and look forward to meeting him I sure hope I don’t die two days from now.
What I have been wondering about is what it means for aspects of my life to die in order to bear more and better fruit. Jesus did say, and even with a verily, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). Lately, three “deaths” have caused me to wonder what sort of fruit I am being invited to bear…
2012. A new year. Resolutions. Decisions. Choices to be made. It helps to have a plan. And equally important, it helps to have guiding statements that inform that plan. Whether you are making resolutions, new decisions, or reexamining your ministry, a clear understanding of who you are, who God is, and what God desires to do through you, is fundamental to making the kinds of decisions and plans that match your temperament, passion and values in service to God.