About a month ago, Tag and I had the opportunity to hear from several church planters in the Nashville area. They all told stories that encouraged and challenged our group to consider church planting, but mostly to follow hard after Christ. When we returned and I had a chance to look over my notes, I noticed that all the speakers had three themes in common. At the risk of sounding simplistic, I think I can sum up eight hours of speaking in six words…
1. Know yourself
The old adage is true; you have to know yourself. And not just your Myers-Briggs or your spiritual gifts (although those are helpful). How do you define success and failure? What are your blind spots? What encourages you, and what totally undermines your confidence? What kind of person do you want to impress? What kind of person are you jealous of? How do people whom you lead perceive you? We’re talking about some serious digging here, both into the good and bad. I think another word for that is “maturity”.
2. Need others
Every person talked about the importance of a team. We are moving out of a generation of “hero leaders” into an age of collaborative leadership. The business world has already gone there – the church is slowly catching up. Gen Xers don’t want to be superstars and Millennials don’t want to follow them. Plus, in order to do #1 well, you have to do #2. It takes vulnerability and trust and access to know yourself well, which automatically means you need others.
3. Trust God
Goes without saying. But the angle I heard clearly was to trust in the promises of Christ’s return. His kingdom WILL come. He WILL accomplish his purposes. That truth both ennobles what we do now and humbles us in the process. It also frees us up from the burden of trying to be God, and exposes the areas in our lives where we keep claiming the throne. It seems that the more closely we’re engaging in the work of God, the more we need to reminded that HE is the one who does the work. And we get to be a part of the story.