Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Enemy of a Movement Part 3

The ones who started yesterday's movement are usually the enemies of today's movement.

As we see different expressions of the church today, let us becareful to judge or be dogmatic about what is "right" and "wrong." We must judge movements based on principles, not on methodical preferences. Realize we may have a blindspot while accusing and tearing down methods. A lot of times these blindspots comes from our insecurity and lack of serious inductive study on the topic.
As you see new movements here are some questions to ask:
1) Why do I fear this?
2) Am I personally offended because I am not seeing a true movement in my own organization or ministry?
3) Are there blindspots or preconceived notions that cause me have a certain disposition toward this?
4) Are there any major, black and white, principles that are violated and "sinful"? (hate to use that term, but it is the only way I can put it).
5) Is this effective in reaching people, helping people and Kingdom minded?
6) What are some things that can help this movement become more effective?

We have a saying in the real south, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater..." Every movement is extreme at first. Extremist start these movements. Some of the teachings and practices are a little overboard (see list of movements in previous post). But we have to see the heart of God in these things.

Do you realize what you may be accusing someone of, you may be doing on a different level?
I have heard people pop off at leaders of movements and when I look at their life, they have the same problems. One guy said, "Every one wants to be an apostle in this day and time, and that guy, Apostle... (can't give his name) just wants to be a superstar." This same guy idolized Andy Stanley and Erwin McManus. He never stopped to think that maybe he is trying to be just like them.
The seeker sensitive movement was a huge movement that was criticized and still is by many.
Those who criticized the home church movement were usually pastors who were mad that people did not want to come to their church. The home church movement would endanger the local church as they knew it. Multi-sites are now the topic of discussion. Many of the ones who oppose this are "pastor/teachers" who want a small fellowship and feel this is most effective. They believe pastoral care has to be done by the main communicator. Insecurity can lead those who cannot grow their church to attack what is being fruitful.

Use these posts as a prophetic warning to all of us who are helping lead movements or have led them. We must not become enemies of the next movements.

The Enemy of a Movement Part 2

The ones who started yesterday's movement are usually the enemy of today's movements.

Let's continue with the movements of the 1900's and how they were viewed.

1950's: Healing Movement- There was a great movement of divine healings from tent revivals in this era. Oral Roberts was one of the forerunners of this movement. They were called fakes, frauds and heretics. Thank God that today we see this as a norm in the church because these men moved forward.

1970's: Jesus Movement- Hippies began to get saved and start going to church, at least for a little while. The leaders of the day viewed their dress and manner of life unworthy of the church. Do you wear flip flops today while you preach? Do you dress down?

1980's: Choruses Introduced to the Church- This is a time when choruses began to enter in to the modern church. Hymns had been the standard for years. Do you sing choruses now at your church?

1990's: Spiritual Warfare/Prophetic Movement- There was a great emphasis on spiritual warfare in the church. You began to see "experts" birthed in this movement. A large emphasis was placed on corporate prayer gatherings. This was also a time when the prophetic arm of the Church was restored. There were some great revivals during this era, Toronto Blessing and Brownsville to name a few.
Do you see spiritual warfare as a norm today? Your denomination fought it tooth and nail.

2000's: Apostolic Movement/Kingdom/Multi-Expressions of the Body- In the last ten years we have see a rise in the number of apostolic ministries and ministers that have been birthed. Their heart to see a city infiltrated with the gospel. Leadership development and church planting have been a focus. Miles Monroe and the Kingdom teaching have permeated our churches. We now see the birth of multi-site campuses, churches in bars, coffee shop churches, home church movement and the focus of outreach.
What are you becoming the enemy of in this movement?

My journey:
Who knows what movements we will see in the next 20 years. I am trying to re-adjust my perspective so I can receive and encourage young ministers as they pioneer these things. I am looked at by many of my own denominational leaders as, "sport," "kid," "junior," "little buddy," and so on. I want to make sure that as the new movements come I am open to a broader perspective of ministry.

READ NEXT BLOG, PART 3 for conclusion...

The Enemy of a Movement Part 1

The enemies of the future movements were the ones who usually started the last movement.

Movements are by nature hard to understand. There was a book by Malcom Gladwell that tried to explain movements. This book "The Tipping Point" was a great study on the history of movements. Even though we have head knowledge about this, we cringe when ground breaking ideas come to the surface. Movements do not have kinks worked out, they are hard to explain and "doctorinize," and usually challenge our emotional ties to the way we do things. That is why you usually have two types of enemies against movements: Those who feel, think and believe why they are wrong, and then you have those who cannot logically or theologically turn it into a doctrine.

When I see new ideas or models being used that are "out of the box," I usually stop and ask questions. I will say that I am a very pragmatic person, meaning that I wonder, "Is this the BEST way to accomplish the goal?" I try to put aside what I have been taught, what I feel and any personal offenses.

The last 100 years has been a year of movements, especially in the Christian Church.
1906- Azusa Street Revival: Mainline, Evangelical Denominations called it "demonic," "non-biblical" and ex-communicated these people. Pentecostal/Charismatic churches are the fasted growing world wide, especially in missions.

1920's- Educational Institutions: Some major Christian and Ministerial Institutions were founded. Preachers who were not educated actually taught that it was unbiblical to go to these institutions. We now have Oral Roberts Univ., Southeastern, Liberty Univ., Emmanuel College, Southwestern Christian University., Fuller Theological, and the list goes on.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Personal Formation is Goal

Leaders who start movements focus on personal formation first and foremost.

I spend time in three areas developing myself:
1) Spiritual Formation
2) Skill Formation
3) Strategic Formation
Imagine a baseball field and these are bases. I make sure I am "tagging" each bag every week.

One of the saddest statements I hear from failing leaders or thier spouses are, "I have studied all that already (or their spouse says this about them)." Okay, my answer is, "Do you want a cookie?" Look at the usage, "-ed." They did that at some point and time. Development is not about what you used to do.

Remember, it is what you daily, not occasionally that shapes you as a leader.

This is where you spend time journaling, reflecting and praying. Disciplines such as prayer, fasting, meditation, silence and study are at this base. This is where "Christ is formed in us."
We must take care of this base and make sure we are not the proverbial "Starving Baker." The Starving Baker feeds everyone else but himself.
Ask yourself, "How are you growing yourself spiritually?"

The second base: SKILL FORMATION
This is the base where you learn how to get better at what you do. A mentor can help you learn your skill better. Reading books and exposure to ministries also help you see what can be better. I am a communicator and leader of a church, The Well Community Church in Port Saint Lucie, FL. I am constantly listening to all kinds of communicators. I study them and see what makes them unique. I am also leading, so I listen to cd's continually as I drive on skill formation of leadership.
Ask yourself, "How are you getting better at what you do?"

This is the base where you form yourself as a leader. You are not trying to get better at what you do (second base) or who you are (first base), you are trying form yourself for where you are going. This can be accomplished by pouring books on leadership in your life. Dr. Bobby Clinton's teachings on the Leadership Emergence Theory has helped me greatly. I know my gifts, personality, strengths and weaknesses. I am constantly preparing myself for where I want to go and what type of leader I want to be. It is about finishing well.
Ask yourself, "How am I preparing myself to finish every assignment well as a leader?"

Leaders who start movements are serious and strategic about personal formation.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Don't Be Defined

Leaders who start movements are not defined by their group of association. For churches this is their denomination and the traditions of that denomination. For businesses it is the product they produce.

I am ordained and work within the Pentecostal Holiness Church. They are a great and amazing group of people. I enjoy our heritage and our beliefs. But I realize if I am going to start a movement and do something significant where God has placed me, I cannot be defined by the IPHC. I see alot of pastors and church planters who are consumed and ultimately defined by their denomination. Some are consumed with their tradition and polity. Others are consumed by the flashy, hip preachers or leaders in their sect. Either way, they are being defined.

Here is a newsflash for pastors: The people in your city don't care about your denomination. They want to be a part of the most happening church in town.

Here is a great example of being defined: Baptists term of "outreach" and Pentecostals term of "outreach." Baptist use the term to mean an event, sermon series or small group resource. Pentescostals use the term and talk about Sidewalk Sunday School. Presbyterians; feed the homeless. The list goes on and on.

Most guys learn from their denominational guys and structures without "cross-pollenating." We are in a day where we must look outside and not be scared to overlook such issues as "Eternal Security" and "Tongues" inorder to learn what other denominations are doing. Don't let your articles of faith be a restraint to you.

I read a lot of the North American Mission Board's material. I draw from their leaders. One of my favorite preachers is in a very cutting edge Southern Baptist Church. I want to challenge you in this blog. If you are Baptist/Methodist/Presbyterian, then find out what are the most happening Charismatic/Pentecostal churches and what are they doing. What do their services look like? What are they doing to reach their cities? If you are Pentecostal/Charismatic group, then find the most happening Baptist/Methodist/Presbyterian Churches and find out what are they doing. Music styles, preaching styles, etc...The list goes on and on.

Dr. Garnett Pike said this, "If you continue to look for a wife at your family reunion, your offspring will come out a little slow."

Don't Be Defined by your association.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Architects versus Artists

Leaders who start movements are more like architects than artists.

Artists are able to paint a picture. This picture may be pretty, realistic, abstract or even far out there. I meet many leaders who are artists. They can tell you some great stuff. I mean they are so excited and paint a great picture of what they want. You actually get caught up in it. I knew a person once who could do this. He had a new idea for his church everday. One day it was this great idea and then it was another. Eventually, he folded and left town. He was an artist, but that is where the dream stopped, on paper. Like great artwork, it was oohed and aahed, but it still remained on paper.

Architects are those who draw a picture too. Their picture is not as pretty. It may not be oohed or aahed, but it is a picture. Architects draw with the anticipation of what it will take to build what is being drawn. They are dictating structure and need. You must ask yourself, "What will it take to do all this in my heart?" Do I have a strategy to go by as I build?

If you study successful businesses or churches you will find that the leader was an architect. They did not do a lot of talking, but they had a plan written down with goals and expectations of certain outcomes.

Realize that the leaders who fight this mentality are those who are usually in a small environment. Leaders who embrace this know that it will take planning, prayer and a lot of hard work to bring the building of the organization to pass.

Where are the blueprints for your dream? Can your people in your organization see it?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ambitious Movements

I was reading in my devotional time about love from 1st Corinthians 13. Bishop Garry Bryant gave me a book called, "Sparkling Gems from the Greek." I was reading about the part that love is not self-seeking or self-serving, nor ambitious.

Leaders who start movements love those they lead. I actually like to put it this way, they are in love with those they lead. A leader must believe that people God has put in their path are the greatest people on the planet and can do anything. It is a marriage.

When it comes to starting a movement, leaders must watch out for starting an ambitious movement. I see in young leaders, including myself, is great ambition for the quick return. In church planting especially. Church planters are driven by nature, ambitious and impulsive. These qualities can be good in certain situations, but can be detrimental also.

My greatest desire is for those I lead to know that I love them and will lay my life down for them. The greatest enemy of this is self-seeking ambition to build a large church. (Large churches are good, I hope that I am able to see multitudes saved). I will begin to view people as mere tools to fuel my ambitious desire. The ambitious desire must be to have a pure love for all those around me and find creative ways to display it.

Listening to John Maxwell's cds on leadership has revealed one thing to me. His people feel love, appreciated and empowered.

Look inside today:
Do you find yourself manipulating the Sunday numbers or figures in your organization to look good in front of others? DO you find encouragement from large numbers or personal development of leaders?

Do you secretly trash talk people in your organization behind their back at something they have done wrong?

Have you looked at yourself lately from "outside" of yourself to see what type of ambition is driving you?

What do those closest to you say about your love for them?

Here is the point: Leaders who start movements have an ambition to grow their people personally more than a desire to see organizational growth. "Love is not self-seeking or self-serving, nor ambitious...."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Missional Mandate Part 2

I stated last that leaders need to be missional instead of "missions minded." I want to show the nature of Christ and how affected his culture and generation with this thinking.

The historical account of Jesus meeting a woman of Samaria at Jacob's Well is found in John chapter 4. Samaria was forever changed because of this. I want to outline 4 ways of thinking that are contingent upon us seeing transformation in our cities.

here is the point: Leaders who start movements see everyday as supernatural, extraordinary days full of opportunity.

1. Divine Transportation: John 4:3-6. Jesus traveled to Samaria by going out of his way. Usually the Jews went around this town because of their dislike for the Samaritans. Jesus must have listened to the Father in prayer that morning and knew what route to take.
He viewed his daily transportation or commute as divine.
We must view our daily routes as divine. If truly a righteous man's steps are ordered by the Lord, then our daily route is truly divine. When we know that our travels and interactions are divine, then we can look for....

2. Divine Conversations: John 4:7-9. Jesus sparks a conversation about water with this lady. God opened a door up for a divine conversation. We are surrounded by divine conversations on a daily basis.
Which conversations are divine? ALL. Matthew 12:36- By your words you are justified and by your words you are condemned. We will all give an account for every word spoken. God values our conversations.
When we realize that our daily transportation is divine and that God will fill our day with divine conversations then we can look for....

3. Divine Impartion: John 4:10-11. Jesus sees a "God moment" in the midst of this divine conversation. He takes time to impart or give to her a spiritual truth. In all of our conversations there is a point for impartation. I had this happen to me 11 years ago. There was a young man at ECU that told Jesus Christ loved me and could save me. I responded 6 months later by giving my life to Christ. This guy will not know about this impartation until we get to heaven.
When we are able to give Divine Impartion then we can see....

4. Divine Transformation: John 4:39. This lady's life was rocked! This is the whole mission of my church, "The Well Community Church." We want to see lives transformed. She encountered Jesus and then went in and told her whole city about this. One conversation could change your city. One meeting could transform your city. Are you aware that every day is supernatural and is filled with opportunities?

We are missionaries. We are on assignment. Be alert and aware. One conversation today could shake a city up.