Staff Renewal and Vision

On May 7 the staff got together to discuss the impact of our days of renewal, in hopes of embracing a compelling vision, or at least that we will begin the formation of a vision of “the next” for King’s Grant. Here are a few of my notes and thoughts…

If we are to be an equipping culture, we must decide if we are equipping people for a task/event or equipping them for a ministry (unleashing them for kingdom service).

Let’s remind ourselves of the working diagram for our renewal time:

When we speak of the kingdom, we are meaning the rule and reign of Christ in the lives of our people. This is why we exist, to equip believers for the work of service (Ephesians 4:12). It is as if God has given church leaders “only one job, you have 1 job, so don’t blow it by getting distracted with so many other good and worthwhile things.”

Working Vision Statement:

We exist to extend
    the love of Christ, and
    the kingdom of God
We exist to expand – God’s love and kingdom
    into our community, and
    into our city (and beyond)
We exist to equip – the church for it’s mission of
    mending and restoring relationships
    laying and establishing a foundation
    preparing and training the saints for the work of service

After this would come each individual ministry of the church, to do these things, by… (listing several ways that ministry will bring this vision into fruition). In the discipleship ministry we could say we do this by…

  • Providing small group experiences
  • Providing resources for spiritual growth
  • Providing opportunities to serve others
  • Providing equip and train opportunities to become more effective in ministry, in order to work toward the vision

We are called to make disciples, but just how does one measure that? How does one know that the goal has been reached? Perhaps by measuring church attendance, Bible and theological knowledge, prayer life, tithing, memorizing Scripture, zeal for God? Yet these look eerily similar, not to Jesus’s closest men, but to his chief opponents (the Pharisees).

On the other hand, what if we measured the progress of a disciple in less objective terms, like this:

Depending on the Holy Spirit
Interacting in Christian community
Submitting to God’s lordship
Communing with the Father
Investing HIS resources
Participating in Service
Leading people to Christ
Expanding his kingdom

All this to say, how can we get our people to think on a kingdom level? How do we help our people to find their calling?

The Unity of the Faith

Our passage today was from Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church (Ephesians 4:11-13), regarding the Minister’s Goal.

There are Five Functions Listed (Ephesians 4:11)

  1. Apostles – Ephesians 4:11 – divinely appointed representatives
  2. Prophets – Ephesians 4:11 – proclaimers of God’s Word
  3. Evangelists – Ephesians 4:11 – bearers of the good news
  4. Pastor and Teachers – Ephesians 4:11 – caretakers for God’s people (these are listed as one office with two functions – notice the natural bonding of these two in the text)

The Nature of these Five Functions (Ephesians 4:11)

  1. Some are gifted to deal with situations
    1. Apostles – to guide the church in ways it ought to go
    2. Prophets – to guide the church in what it ought to know
  2. Some are gifted to deal with sinners – evangelists
  3. Some are gifted to deal with the saints
    1. Pastors – tending the flock of God
    2. Teachers – teaching the flock of God

The Need for these Five Functions  (Ephesians 4:12-13)

  1. Purpose  – Ephesians 4:12 – perfecting, completing, equipping
  2. Period  – Ephesians 4:13 – until such as time in the future
    1. Attaining unity of the faith
    2. Attaining the knowledge of the Son of God
    3. Attaining maturity
    4. Attaining the measure of the statue of Christ

Outline of Ephesians 4:1-16

  1. Spiritual Unity – Ephesians 4:1-6
    1. Calling – Ephesians 4:1
    2. Conduct – Ephesians 4:2-3
    3. Confession – Ephesians 4:4-6
  2. Spiritual Diversity – Ephesians 4:7-12
    1. Variety of gifts – Ephesians 4:7-10
    2. Variety of responsibilities – Ephesians 4:11-12
  3. Spiritual Maturity – Ephesians 4:13-16
    1. Christlikeness toward maturity – Ephesians 4:13
    2. Conviction toward doctrinal stability – Ephesians 4:13-14
    3. Conversation toward truth spoken in love – Ephesians 4:15
    4. Contribution of the saints working together – Ephesians 4:16

Personal Impressions:

  1. The challenge to build up the saints – Ephesians 4:12 – developing other is a pivotal priority. What will I do to build up the next generation who will replace me?
  2. The commitment to spiritual growth – Ephesians 4:13 – defining what a fully devoted disciple of Jesus looks like. This puts the end goal in front of us at the beginning.
  3. The conviction of sound doctrine – Ephesians 4:14 – stability, confidence, and correction.
  4. The command for genuine relationships – Ephesians 4:15 – speaking truth, growing up, recognizing the head of the body is Jesus.
  5. The community of faith working together – Ephesians 4:16 – all these gifted people properly working together, causing growth in the body.

Ken Pruitt’s Observation and Challenge:

  1. Leadership Redefined – Ephesians 4:11
    1. Which office/ministry defines my heart?
    2. How is shepherding and teaching related?
    3. How am I equipping others for the work of ministry?
    4. How can I focus less on doing, and more on developing?
  2. Unity Redefined – Ephesians 4:12
    1. How can I participate in building up others?
    2. How am I equipping and preparing others for ministries in the future, not just for the immediate task at hand?
    3. Unity will occur when all of God’s people are fulfilling their personal and corporate callings.
  3. Goals Redefined – Ephesians 4:13
    1. How can we move forward in Christ?
    2. What does maturity look like?
  4. Processes Redefined – Ephesians 4:15-16 – speaking truth, growing up, fitting together, working together. This is what we will call a directional vision, putting an intentional emphasis on equipping the saints. Where do our volunteers fit in this triangle illustration? How will we invest in leaders more than investing in individual?
    1. Modify our vocabulary – be mindful of the way we describe things or label things.
      1. Make no distinction between laity and professional clergy, we are all ministers of the gospel.
      2. Train for managers more than for employees.
      3. Move toward multiplication over addition of leaders.
    2. Question our procedures – are we functioning in the best way possible? Are there things that can change? How will we best prepare and train others to carry on?
    3. Restate our purpose – these are the appointed expressions of church ministries given by Jesus himself. If culture become the rule (even for the church), how will we change culture?
    4. Embrace feedback – negotiate with others about what I can do in order to get better. Do not simply find and enlist people to fill slots, but share the vision and opportunity that is before them in this task or ministry.

The Pipeline Conference Observation: this is an interview with Todd Adkins on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast – (find episode 133).

  1. Delegation: we have long talked about delegating leadership, not only the responsibility of the task but the authority that goes with it. Moses and Jethro are a foundational example.
  2. Dumping: what often happens is that we end up dumping the tasks that we just don’t have time to do or even want to do. It gets the task off your plate but no one is passionate about it.
  3. Development: the new standard is to develop leaders who will take your place; so who is a part of my next generation who will lead the ministry when I am gone?

We Do Not Lose Heart

Today we read through 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 in order to glean insight from Paul on our commitment for ministry.

First, I noticed the WE statements:

  1. We have renounced – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – disgraceful, underhanded ways
  2. We refuse – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – to practice cunning or tamper with God’s Word
  3. We would commend – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – ourselves to everyone’s conscience
  4. We proclaim – 2 Corinthians 4:5 – not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord
  5. We possess – 2 Corinthians 4:7 – this treasure in earthen vessels
  6. We are – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down
  7. We have – 2 Corinthians 4:13 – the same spirit of faith
  8. We believe – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  9. We speak – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  10. We do not lose heart – 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16
  11. We anticipate – 2 Corinthians 4:18 – look not at the see, but the unseen

Second, see the contrasts:

  1. Sight of God | Veiled – 2 Corinthians 4:2b-3
  2. Blinded | Seeing – 2 Corinthians 4:4
  3. proclaim self | Proclaim Jesus – 2 Corinthians 4:5
  4. Darkness | Light – 2 Corinthians 4:6
  5. Treasure | Jars of clay – 2 Corinthians 4:7
  6. Death | Life – 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 (three times)
  7. Momentary light affliction | Eternal weight of glory – 2 Corinthians 4:17
  8. Seen | Unseen – 2 Corinthians 4:18
  9. Institutionalism (business model) | Organism (body model)
    1. Since we like to bring order out of chaos, we tend to develop systems to solve problems, therefore institutionalism creeps into the church, too.
    2. How can we move from the sacred and acceptable institution toward the organic?

Observations:

  1. Chose relationships over protocol, policies, and procedures.
  2. The purpose of our ministry – 2 Corinthians 4:15 – for your sake, that as grace extends to more people, it may increase thanksgiving and glory to God.
  3. It may be hard serving where we are, but we are able to overcome.
  4. There is a difference between ministry as our calling and ministry are our career – we can retire from a career, but we cannot retire from a calling.
  5. Life may be hard, and persecution may come, but as a sinner, hell really is better than I deserve.
  6. The god of this word has blinded people, so their salvation is beyond my control.
  7. We must proclaim Jesus as Lord, and leave the results to God.
  8. Paul challenges us to believe and then speak – 2 Corinthians 4:13
  9. Always remember that Christ comes before the church – raise your kids in Christ, do not raise them in church.
  10. Our service involves sacrifice: we are in this together – same faith, same ministry, same purpose, same hardship – our people will also need encouragement in ministry.
  11. Who is the WE? (Plural, Paul, other leaders, KGBC). Who is the YOU? (Corinthians and all believers, KGBC). Paul challenges all of us to be involved in ministry, even when it gets hard.

Application (from pastor Ken):

  1. Foundation of God’s Word: the truth and light of his word, that knowledge was in the glory of God in the face of Christ, drives out commitment.
  2. Incarnational Ministry: that Christ is in me and he is seen in my life, mercy, ministry, death works in us, while we have human deficits, Christ is being made known through our frailty.
  3. Integrity of Genuine Faith: don’t lose heart, be encouraged – persevere since we don’t want to disappoint our Father.

Outline:

  1. How to Handle the Scripture – 2 Corinthians 4:1-7
    1. Practiced by Paul the Apostle – 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, 5-7
      1. Not using secret or shameful methods – 2 Corinthians 4:1-2
      2. Not distorting the message – 2 Corinthians 4:2
      3. Not preaching himself, but Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:5
      4. Not as a vase but a jar of clay – 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
      5. Not from us, but from God alone – 2 Corinthians 4:7
    2. Practiced by Satan the Accuser – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – blinding people, preventing them from seeing the light of the gospel
  2. How to Handle Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:8-18
    1. The Reality of Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
      1. Pressured but not distressed – 2 Corinthians 4:8a
      2. Perplexed but not desperate – 2 Corinthians 4:8b
      3. Persecuted but not disowned – 2 Corinthians 4:9a
      4. Prostrated but not defeated – 2 Corinthians 4:9b
    2. The Reaction to Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:10-13
      1. Experiencing the death and life of Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
      2. Expressing the same faith – 2 Corinthians 4:13
    3. The Rewards of Suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:14-18
      1. The Future: a resurrected body – 2 Corinthians 4:14
        1. Raised with him – 2 Corinthians 4:14a
        2. Presented with him – 2 Corinthians 4:14b
      2. The Present: a renewed body – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
        1. Outer decay | inner men renewed – 2 Corinthians 4:16
        2. Momentary affliction | Eternal weight of Glory – 2 Corinthians 4:17 (focus on Preparing us)
        3. The seen | the Unseen – 2 Corinthians 4:18

From Warren Wiersbe:

The Glory of Salvation (2 Corinthians 4:1–6). Unlike the legalists who had invaded the church, Paul had nothing to hide. The Jewish religious system veiled the gospel, but Paul sought to reveal the gospel. The image is taken from Genesis 1:1-3 and transferred from the old creation to the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The Glory of Service (2 Corinthians 4:7–12). Paul paid a price for his ministry, but the legalists went about collecting honors (2 Corinthians 4:3:1). We are vessels; the treasure of the gospel life within is important. As vessels, we must be clean and available for His use (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

The Glory of Suffering (2 Corinthians 4:13-18). Jesus suffered and turned that suffering into glory; by faith, we can do the same thing. It is not wrong to care for the outward person, so long as you recognize that it is perishing. Concentrate on the inner person. It is the invisible that is imperishable. The best is yet to come

Personal and Public Renewal

Today the staff focused on a passage of Scripture this morning and had a great discussion; Acts 4:1-13. The title was the Minister’s Devotional Life, focusing on the phrase, “if we are being examined,” from the life of Peter and John before the religious leaders in Jerusalem.

The first reading was to focus on a key word or phrase in relation to our personal life, then another reading through the passage focusing on what this might mean for our corporate life at King’s Grant.

Here are a few of my observations before we discussed the passage:

  1. Anger – Acts 4:1-2
  2. Arrest – Acts 4:3
  3. Addition – Acts 4:4
  4. Answer – Acts 4:10

Another broad outline for this section could be:

  1. Problems – Acts 4:1-4 – religious leaders and incredible numbers
  2. Priests – Acts 4:5-7 – the adversaries
  3. Power – Acts 4:8-9 – the miracle
  4. Proof – Acts 4:10 – the healed man
  5. Prophecy – Acts 4:11, quoting Psalm 118:22 regarding Jesus’ rejection
  6. Priority – Acts 4:12 – no other name
  7. Pardon – Acts 4:12 – salvation
  8. Perception – Acts 4:13 – just ordinary men

Connection with the Text:

  1. Personally, what God is saying to me…
    1. Teach the people – Acts 4:2
    2. Proclaim the resurrection – Acts 4:2
    3. Be filled with the Holy Spirit – Acts 4:8
    4. Exhibit boldness – Acts 4:13
    5. Exhibit authenticity and genuineness – Acts 4:13
  2. Publically, what God may have for King’s Grant…
    1. People need to hear the Word of God – Acts 4:4
    2. People who hear would believe – Acts 4:4
    3. People would connect theology with practicality
    4. People would recognize that members have been with Jesus

Personal Reflection:

  1. May I teach and proclaim Jesus in every opportunity
  2. May I be filled with the Holy Spirit and consistently make Christ known
  3. May I be bold and give evidence of having been with Jesus
  4. May I have a renewed sense of urgency in sharing the gospel and equipping others in their ministry of reconciliation
  5. May I see individual who have needs rather than only see the crowds

Staff and Church Issues:

  1. Our journey is ordained by God, for each of us – we are on this staff for a reason
  2. Don’t assume that we know where God wants us to be, but listen for his voice and recognize his leading
  3. God speaks in a group, not just to individuals
  4. The apostles were examined – the church is not without its critics
  5. Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men – God can use each and every one of us as he sees fit
  6. We are also called to take risks – get out of our comfort zones, and challenge our people to do the same
  7. Peter called the religious leaders, “The Builders” (Acts 4:11, quoting Psalm 118:22) which seems to parallel that older, founding members may desire to protect the established system that was built and resist the changes that an encounter with Christ may bring.
  8. There tends to be a chasm of discontent – between the kingdoms of men and the Kingdom of God – perspectives, preferences, and concepts.
  9. Our motivation for ministry must be in the area of mending and restoring. How can we help the establishment to choose fruit over potential risk?