Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.
Currently I’m writing from 30,000 feet in the air as I’m on my way home from sunny Orlando, Florida to what is enough snow to have delayed my travel plans by a day. I know… it was really hard to sit in the sun for another 24hrs! Suffering for Jesus. Someone’s gotta do it!
Me, Andy and a few of the team from the church took in Exponential Conference, which is one of the biggest annual Church Planting Conferences in North America. Filled with such amazing communicators like Harvey Carey, Andy Stanley and Canada’s own Carey Neiwhouf, the week was filled with great lessons on what it means to not only build the local church, but what it means to be a hero maker in the sense that leaders now more than ever need to lean away from building their own little kingdoms and start pouring in to the next generation of disciples who will take the Good News into the next seasons of ministry that are to come.
So what does this all have to do with the vibe of my specific blog? Well, I find it interesting that this 5000+ seat auditorium was filled with hungry leaders looking for the tricks of the trade. So interested in what it means to be a good leader, a leader who is intentionally and exponentially makings leaders who will in turn make their own leaders. It was something to see, it really was.
But for me, someone whose passion has recently been reawakened to the need of pouring into people and specifically those who have the gift of leadership, I’m more aware than ever after an event like this that another conference or another “way” of doing things isn’t what is going to change the landscape of the church. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL about networking and sharing and innovating… that’s not my point. What I’m aware of is the authenticity in relationship that is desperately needed to make disciples and leaders that will continue to passionately pursue the things of God.
Let me give you my biggest take away from this week. It wasn’t a session. It wasn’t the worship. It wasn’t one of the breakout sessions. The most soul refreshing, future inspiring moment I had was when me and my Lead skipped one of the sessions and sat in the sun (which gave me a wicked sun burn) and just hashed out life. We talked ministry, what we felt was currently working and what needs tweaking in our current context. We dreamt of the future and wrestled with some of the tension that have been and may be in days to come. We agreed on some stuff and disagreed on other points of the conversation but it was the trust my Lead has found in me to have such conversations, it was the permission to dream of “what it could be” that got me excited more than any preach or “how to” session.
This is what I know… your brokenness and your vulnerability is a gift to those who are looking to be led. Maybe you feel like you’re not able to lead because of your past or the current baggage that you are still dealing with. This is what I cling to - Matthew 28:18-20. This is where we read about the disciples are told to go into the entire world and build a church… no… that’s not it. They’re told to MAKE DISCIPLES. It’s from that mandate that we have the global church, however imperfect and messy you may perceive it to be. You gotta remember, these disciples of Jesus weren’t perfect, far from it. They didn’t have conferences or the technology we do. They didn’t have Reckless Love by Cory Asbury to get them jacked before the next meeting they had. They were imperfect people who were convinced that Jesus + relationships was a great formula for building an understanding of God’s love in people. Sure, having all of the other bells and whistles is great. Buildings and budgets and music and events… I’m in for all of it. But authentic relationships breed authentic disciples. Nothing else can take the place of you getting into someone’s life and showing them the love and direction that God has so freely given to you.
And so, I’m flying home, thinking of the amazing adventures that are ahead and excited for pouring my imperfect life and love for Jesus into my close friends as we press forward in the things to come.
Oh… and I can’t wait for summer. Super over all this snow.
Be well friends,