May 27, 2021.
The interaction between our personalities and our spiritual leadership is undeniable. Some aspects of our personality gifts allow us to know what God is up to with great clarity, while other innate instincts blinds us to the divine plans. In short, our inward impulses can both help and hinder our leadership. This requires some deep introspection.
#JesusStories: In Matt 17, we see a story of a man who brought his son to the disciples to be healed from a severe case of epilepsy, but they failed to heal the boy. When Jesus got there, and saw how his disciples were unable to bring the needed healing he said, “You people are too stubborn to have any faith” (Vs. 17:17). That is an interesting assessment, and I’m sure it caught the disciples off-guard. After all, they had given up their careers and time with their families to walk with Jesus on his missionary endeavors. This ‘stubborn’ indictment seems ill-fit to them. It obviously bothered them too because once they were alone they asked for a deeper explanation as to why they could not heal the boy. Jesus explained that they simply did not have enough faith. Wow, that must have stung even more deeply than the ‘stubborn’ statement, and only a few verses later we find the disciples arguing about which of them would be the greatest in the kingdom. How typical. Failure brings comparison with others failures, and comparison brings arguments and posturing. Jesus responded to their ‘who’s the failure and who’s the greatest’ convo by pointing at a nearby child and saying that if they didn’t change and become like a child, they would never flow well with the inbreaking kingdom of God (Vs. 18:3). And then a chapter later he compounded that same point when the disciples tried to push some children away from bothering Jesus, to which he reacted, “Let the children come to me, because people who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom” (Vs. 19:14). Can we hear the leadership lesson Jesus is offering? Most of us do not see ourselves as stubborn. And consequently we do not see how our faith and leadership is being diluted. But when Jesus told us to become like a child, he was pointed us to the simple dependency a child has upon their parent for absolutely everything. We must learn dependency upon the divine. We adults are forever trying to work out partnerships with Jesus while He is trying to teach us to become dependent upon the Fathers strength for ministry that is flowing out of heaven for us every minute of every day. Once we learn to ‘depend’ and ‘rely’ upon our Lord, we find a new ‘place’ and a new ‘effectiveness’ in the kingdom. Childlike dependency is easy to understand, but so very hard to actually do day after day after day. Lord help us.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: “The average child asks 100 questions a day. As middle-age adults, it’s down to a handful of questions a day. As we grow older, we lose our inquiring sense of awe and wonder. We forget how to be childlike.” -Michael Slaughter
#PracticalStuff: Consider taking your team on a prayer walk through your neighborhood. But this time look at it through childlike eyes. Rather than praying what you know to pray about your neighborhood, use childlike eyes to form a dozen new questions about your neighborhood to pray about and discuss in your team meetings. Social scientists say that the process of inculturalization begins only six weeks after a person moves into a new town. In other words, we start becoming blind to the sociological realities around us in only a matter of weeks, and the longer we live there the “blind-er” we get. Following Jesus’ cue and embracing childlike wonder can give us new compassion and new vision about God’s plans for our neighborhoods.
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.