Aug 17, 2021.
There have been seasons in ministry when I felt I was running unabated and unhindered from anything. I love those times. But then there have been seasons when I felt every step was opposed and every effort was blunted. While I realize there are seasons of planting and seasons of harvest, there always seems to be something else going on.
#JesusStories: John 8 records Jesus in a marathon teaching time in the temple area. As he spoke, many Jews believed and embraced the forthcoming Kingdom of God. To those new believers He then turned and said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free….And if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed” (Vs. 32, 36). Jesus was giving these newby’s a foundational insight about their new lives in Christ. Jesus’ words are certainly true to this very day, and they affect not only our spiritual walk, but our ministries as well. In our personal lives when we become tempted by greed, envy, lust, or any other influence of darkness there is always a lie at the root; the money that greed promises usually turns to dust, and if it does come about, it is wholly unsatisfying. And such are the outcomes with the other temptations as well.
Similarly, when our ministries become weighted down, there is often a lie at the center of that encumbrance. For me, it is usually an inner voice that suggests that I must ‘double-time it now’. But that is a lie, because the greater the ministry challenge, the more it requires a greater anointing to be upon me. And greater anointing always comes from the spiritual pattern: “I must decrease so He will increase”, and “His power is made perfect in my weakness.” So, when I follow that subtle voice of ‘double-timing it’ I am going in the exact opposite direction of where divine power is actually found, and I end up exhausted and disillusioned. But, I am so thankful that the Lord doesn’t leave me there; during these broken moments The Spirit is faithful to whisper the truth to me…to embrace my weakness; to intentionally decrease; to humble myself. And predictably my spirit revives, and my ministry becomes empowered again. And suddenly I’m free to advance the Gospel again; the truth has set me free.
How about you? What subtle voice tends to undercut your ministry momentum? Perhaps it’s time to face that voice, call it out as a liar, and then call on the Lord to speak truth to you about your ministry. And in the name of Jesus, may your ministry become FREE TO THRIVE again!
“Sharing fellowship is still on Jesus’ mind today, and he brings more to the table than you do. Jesus still visits earth at suppertime.” (Conrad Gempf)
“60 years ago, the average dinnertime was 90 minutes; today it is less than 12 minutes.” (Leonard Sweet)
#PracticalStuff: With covid mitigations still affecting so many, some have pivoted to drive-thru’s and many have felt forced to shut down altogether. Going into this Fall, if your area is still disallowing indoor gatherings, might you consider the sidewalk version of Dinner Church? Numerous Dinner Churches across the country have moved their buffet tables outside under canopy tents, still have their musicians doing worship music (unplugged), and have their people gather in small eating circles. Then the pastor goes from circle-to-circle giving the Jesus Story of the evening and praying over each group before moving to the next. Might that sidewalk approach work for you? Covid is not a deal breaker. After all, how many times did Jesus gather people outdoors to eat together and Kingdom talk?
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.