June 2, 2022.
There is an inherent disconnect that all Christian leaders must navigate if we are to be effective in advancing the kingdom of Jesus. To begin with, we only have three pound brains, while the mind of Christ is a much larger thing. But to stop there would minimize the true challenge.
#JesusStories: In Mark 10:32 we read, “The disciples were confused as Jesus led them toward Jerusalem, and his other followers were afraid.” Jesus continued to head toward Jerusalem when everyone knew there were true haters waiting there to destroy him. It must have seemed to the disciples like he had a death wish. In hindsight, we can see that the salvation plan included Jesus replacing the sacrificial lamb. But that was a very foggy understanding for the disciples, though Jesus had told them plainly several times. But herein lies the problem that every disciple and Christian leader struggles with to this very day – Jesus’ leadership assumes sacrifice when everything within us longs for comfort. That inner conflict was why those first disciples could not process the divine plan. And that inner conflict is why following Jesus becomes foggy for us too. The inbreaking kingdom needs sacrifice from the people of God. Our time, our money, our dreams, and our comfort will all be asked for from time to time. We are soldiers in a spiritual war; the struggle between the uprising kingdom of darkness and the inbreaking kingdom of Jesus is real. This requires a soldier-like identity from us all to lay down our comfortable longings and follow Jesus toward the needed sacrifices. When the voices of comfort and Jesus are both talking, the result is confusion and fear. But once we surrender our need for comfort, the sacrificial path becomes clear, and a corresponding boldness whelms up from within. Confusion is gone, fear is gone, and we find ourselves running to the battle. That is the spirit which is prompting countless Dinner Church leaders into broken neighborhoods and crime-ridden corners of their cities. And to those leaders I say – “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, and the good news to the poor.” (Ro. 10:15, Luke 4:18)
#DinnerChurchQuotes: We need the ability to will ‘one thing’ and live life with the single-mindedness and clarity that follows. (Soren Kierkegaard)
#PracticalStuff: How are you growing your team? Every Christian leader is called to grow the ministry impact of everyone around them. That is what leadership means in Jesus’ kingdom. And if this is true for the traditional church, it is doubly true for the Dinner Churches which are being recovered from the storage bins of history. The patterns of ministry needed for these New Passovers are the same that occurred around the tables that Jesus and crew practiced: becoming a friend of sinners, telling the stories of the kingdom, praying healing over the broken, and ushering new followers into the very life of Jesus. These ministry practices are needing to be won back by very focused and determined leaders. This is your first calling and your biggest job. When you do it, a full-bodied table church will form; without it you’ll only have a feed with a devotional. So, lead on DC pastors; grow you teams who are capable of growing your congregations in Jesus’ likeness.
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.