Mar 11, 2021.
No one enjoys being laughed at. We all have a basic need to be respected. But that doesn’t always happen in this broken world. Sometimes we deserve the ridicule, because we are doing something foolish. Foolishness happens. But sometimes being mocked forces to face an important leadership question: What is my capacity to be ridiculed while pursuing something the people around me do not understand?
#JesusStories: Matthew 9 records a story where Jesus entered the home of a young girl who had died. In fact, the mourners had already arrived to grieve with the family. These mourners were like the Hospice professionals of the day; it was their job to pronounce and deal with death. But when Jesus walked in he said, “Get out of here! The little girl isn’t dead. She is just asleep.” To which these learned and paid professionals laugh at him, because they knew better. We all know the end of the story; Jesus took her by the hand, raised her up, and walked her out the front door to the shock of those who had been wagging their heads only minutes before. It was an interesting day to say the least. But there is a leadership issue that presents itself in this story. How do you feel about working alongside Jesus who is often laughed at? Do you have enough metal in your soul to help usher in divine plans that are going to initially be mocked by society or members of your family? God’s ways are always higher than man’s ways, so there will always be room for His plans to be misunderstood, ridiculed and mocked. And if you are partnering with him on those plans, you too might be laughed at. Are you good with that?
Many Christian leaders have walked away from divine strategies because they did not want to be laughed at. I refer to this as the ‘Wilt Chamberlain Syndrome’: Wilt was one of the great basketball players from generations ago. Though everyone else shot their free-throws overhand, Wilt shot his free-throws underhand, granny-style. Though it looked awkward, Wilt had a very high percentage of free-throws shooting this way. After years of success, he suddenly refused to do the granny-shot any more, and shifted to shooting overhand. Immediately his free-throw percentage plummeted to a pitiful percentage, but he never went back. The reason? It made him feel stupid. Many leaders are suffering from ‘Wilt Chamberlain Syndrome’, and cannot partner with Jesus in some of his inbreaking Kingdom plans. While they have the theological insight to know what Jesus is up to, they also know that people in their family, church, and town will initially ridicule them. And they back away from the Lord’s best interventions. This is an important leadership discussion, especially in this day when Jesus is moving upon the earth in so many new ways. So I ask again, How do you feel about working alongside Jesus who is often laughed at?
#DinnerChurchQuotes: I went to Asbury Seminary and told my dorm-mates I wanted to change the world for Jesus, and they laughed at me. Now 36 years later I am disturbed, not that they laughed but what happened to that boy that thought Jesus could use him in a significant way. I miss him; I want him back. -Jorge Acevedo
#PracticalStuff: An important facet of self-leadership is keeping yourself encouraged. My father used to read the biographies of men-of-faith to keep his spiritual leadership potent. Other Christian leaders rely heavily upon their prayer-life for this. All good stuff. But for those on the Dinner Church trail, it can get lonely. Who is another Dinner Church leader that you can hang out with? In-person or virtual? They might need you as much as you need them. But one thing for sure, being with others who are called to the same path you, is strengthening. Can you get with someone this week? And you can always feel free to drop into DC LEADERS PRAYER/CONVO’S on Thursdays at 4:30pm pacific time, which is our weekly half-hour heartbeat. (Zoom Meeting ID: 825 4419 7948).
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.