What gets rewarded gets done – 5 questions to reflect on the “win” for your ministry

What gets rewarded gets done – 5 questions to reflect on the “win” for your ministry

Current Champion League Champs, Liverpool FC with their manager Jurgen Klopp, celebrated a historic fifth championship last year (the tournament started in 1956).  This year they won the English Premiership (arguable the most competitive league in the world) with the following accomplishments, if they continue their dominance in the weeks ahead:

  • the most points ever earned by a team
  • the most wins
  • the greatest margin between themselves and their nearest rivals, during the modern era.

Their celebration affirmed their supremacy in the footballing (aka soccer) world.

Back in my seminary days (1985-1988) I distinctly remember a chapel service when a guest speaker come in to share a methodology of disciplemaking.  The speaker was energetic and engaging – disarming in his presentation style.  Most of all – CHALLENGING “the win” for missionaries, church planters and pastors. 

George Patterson was a missionary in Honduras where he discovered a radical (meaning “root” or “returning to the foundation of something) approach to disciplemaking and church multiplication.

Read more about George Patterson

George Patterson spent 21 years in Central America training pastors to make disciples in a New Testament fashion that rapidly multiplies churches. In Honduras he began by training pastors in a traditional, resident Bible Institute with poor results. With the advice of more experienced missionaries and much trial and error, he later saw churches multiply through the instrumentality of “Theological Education and Evangelism by Extension” (TEEE). This non-formal pastoral training resulted in about 100 new churches over twenty years in northern Honduras. This is as a result of the Biblical discipleship and church reproduction principles Dr. Patterson implemented. This model is now used with similar results in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well in the United States, and is distributed as Train & Multiply TM. George’s teaching style relies heavily on student involvement in role-plays and exercises that bring learning to life. He is hilarious and hyper-energetic in the classroom.

Essentially, George was “rewarding” or affirming disciples who were making disciples AND planting churches through their disciplemaking efforts.  He was probably in his 50’s at that time but his enthusiasm and energy were contagious.  It was a captivating talk with a role modeling exercise that involved students as he went through the 5-step disciplemaking/leadership development process:

  1. I do – you watch
  2. You do – with me
  3. You do – I watch
  4. You do – without me
  5. You do – with someone else (this final step is credited to Bob Logan)

Church Multiplication Guide by George Patterson & Richard Scoggins

George clearly communicated the “win”: disciples making disciples + churches planting churches.  His explanation communicated that these outcomes were celebrated, affirmed and rewarded in culturally appropriate ways.

I will never forget this principle.

Closer to home, we might “reward” behaviors or achievements in ministry: baptisms, budget and buildings.  Whatever those things are – we intentionally or unintentionally exalt or lift-up. Certain things recieve more air-time and attention, than others..

I remember the story a pastor shared, illustrating the importance he and the congregation at his previous church placed on Sunday morning worship attendance.  The pastor set a numerical goal for the year for new visitors to attend a worship service.  The morning of the final count the pastor realized he was 1 person short of their goal.  He explained how he went to the local gas station the morning of, and convinced an employee to join him and attend service that morning.  The employee did so and the congregation celebrated that accomplishment of the milestone together.

You might not reward Sunday morning worship attendance.  But you might take a look at how your people are demonstrating behaviors of a disciple.  Here is a short list of disciplemaking characteristics you might track:

  • Compassion
  • Sharing faith
  • Acts of Service
  • Sacrificial Giving
  • Humility

Whatever that thing is, it is important for people to see what you and your church affirm, prioritize and reward.

5 questions to reflect on the “win” for your ministry

  1. How would you describe a “win” in your ministry?
  2. What are you rewarding in ministry?
  3. How are you rewarding people when they “win”?
  4. If your current “win” is not in alignment with your vision, what needs to change?
  5. What step can you take to affirm the “win” in your ministry, this week?.
5 Questions for your reflection as you lead your congregation into, and through, racial reconciliation

5 Questions for your reflection as you lead your congregation into, and through, racial reconciliation

Followers of Jesus are called to be reconcilers.  The beginning point is to create conversations with the goal of listening, reflecting and acting!  Too often, conversation does not create understanding.

At this time in our history, listening to one another – really listening, is not just important; it is essential.

How can you facilitate conversation around the gospel to bring light to the darkness?

A current member of our Leadership Collective – Brian Wilson, Lead Pastor of Access Church in Menifee, CA recently interviewed a panel of guests to allow his congregation to listen, truly listen to the issues that divide people based upon the color of their skin.  I want to thank Brian for his excellent modeling as he facilitates the panel discussion.  My prayer is that these exchanges help educate people on both sides of the racial divide.

Watch Honest Conversations at Access Church (Part 2) – CLICK HERE.

Questions for your reflection as you lead your congregation into and through, racial reconciliation:

  1. What can we as followers of Christ, agree to regarding a biblical understanding of racial reconciliation?
  2. What do we as followers of Christ, do well in the way we live out our faith to reconcile races in our community?
  3. What are our blind-spots as followers of Christ, as we strive to reconcile races in our community?
  4. What actions can we take as followers of Christ, to reconcile races in our community?
  5. What can we as followers of Christ, do to sustain racial reconciliation on an ongoing basis in our community?

These questions are for your reflection, for you to process with your leaders and your congregation.

Listening happens when we put in the effort to understand what it means.

Listening happens when we put in the effort to understand what it means.

Hearing happens when we’re able to recognize a sound.

Listening happens when we put in the effort to understand what it means.

It not only requires focus, but it also requires a commitment to encountering the experience, intent and emotion behind the words. And that commitment can be scary. Because if we’re exposed to that emotion and those ideas, we discover things we might be avoiding.

Seth Godin blog June 7, 2020

At this time in our history, listening to one another – really listening, is not just important; it is essential.

On both sides of the racial divide, the local church has a special and unique role to play in facilitating meaningful conversations.  I remember listening to Ray Bakke (founder of the Ray Bakke Center for Urban Transformation) many years ago, share that three institutions are ordained in society to govern, care for and give order – the family, the local church and government.  Each is strategically positioned to facilitate difficult conversations.  However, if the local church is left out of this strategy, the vision for reconciliation will never be achieved.  Why?  Because reconciliation is a spiritual issue!  No other institution in society is designed to address the spiritual issues of sin, repentance and forgiveness.

How can we as church leaders facilitate conversations around the gospel to bring light to the darkness?

A current member of our Leadership Collective – Brian Wilson, Lead Pastor of Access Church in Menifee, CA recently interviewed a panel of guests to allow his congregation to listen, truly listen to the issues that divide people based upon the color of their skin.  My prayer is that these exchanges help educate people on both sides of the racial divide.

Watch Part I of a two part series of this informative interview – CLICK HERE.

Questions for your reflection:

  1. How can our congregation be part of the solution?
  2. Who can we partner with to demonstrate and practice racial reconciliation?
  3. What can we do to sustain the process of racial reconciliation so that it is not perceived as an event?
People do what people see: 5 questions to discern the mission-critical activities you want to model

People do what people see: 5 questions to discern the mission-critical activities you want to model

There is this interesting dynamic that occurs in nature.  The dynamic of “imprinting” suggests that what we model as leaders is what people will emulate.

Imprinting, in psychobiology, a form of learning in which a very young animal fixes its attention on the first object with which it has visual, auditory, or tactile experience and thereafter follows that object. In nature the object is almost invariably a parent; in experiments, other animals and inanimate objects have been used. Imprinting has been intensively studied only in birds, especially chickens, ducks, and geese, but a comparable form of learning apparently occurs in the young of many mammals and some fishes and insects.

See Britannica article

In parenting this is certainly the case.

As our two children were growing up we read books – in fact, the kids usually could be seen with a book in their lap, under their arm or next to one of us listening intently as we read to them.  Guess what our kids favorite past time is today?  That is right – reading books.

When it comes to ministry and more specifically, leadership, I suggest that what we do is more important than what we say.  Let’s unpack this a bit more…

  • When new Christians come to faith, it is important that they “imprint” upon the Lord for protection, sustenance, and training in how to be a Christ follower.  (Neil Cole)
  • When modeling the practices of spiritual growth and maturity, the spiritual leader transfers those behaviors, both positive and negative, to the maturing disciple.
  • When leading, the leader intentionally and unintentionally communicates what is important, like developing people, leaders who take people development seriously prioritize this behavior.

In ministry this is certainly the case.

Here is a real example from my pastor, Steve Redden of Crosspoint Church and the priority of small group ministry.  When Gina and I first attended the church in 2014, we were immediately invited to a small group.  We enthusiastically participated in that small group that was led by Steve and hosted in the home of another new family in the church.  From the very beginning, Steve communicated his intention.  His plan was to get the group going.  And then sometime around the beginning of the third tri-mester he would begin his transition out of leadership so that he and Denise could begin another small group to connect new people in the church. Little did we know that Steve was preparing Gina and I to take leadership of that group.  Now some years later, after a couple of significant transitions e.g. merging with another group, multiplying our group to help start a new church and assimilating a number of new group members – we are still leading that group.  But back to Steve and what he modeled as Crosspoint’s priorities.

  1. FIRST, the importance of small group ministry.
  2. SECOND, the importance of leadership development.
  3. THIRD, the importance of being on mission

It is hard to get around this fact – People do what people see!

5 questions to discern the mission-critical activities you want to model

  1. What mission critical behaviors are you modeling for the leaders you are developing?
  2. What activities can you delegate to others that are non-essential for you to do yourself?
  3. What activities can you stop doing altogether that will make room for more mission critical activities?
  4. What mission critical behaviors do you need to do more of?
  5. How and when are you going to implement this change?
How we develop leaders & make disciples is changing

How we develop leaders & make disciples is changing

How we develop leaders & make disciples is changing!

You may or may not agree with this statement.  However, the context, cultural moment and accessibility to people has changed.  And no one really understands the new normal moving forward.  My sense is that it will be different than we have been accustomed to in the past.  And I don’t mean that we will all be using Zoom or some other platform more than we have previously.  The racial unrest, pandemic and ensuing Stay at Home orders with the social distancing and self-imposed isolation restrictions are exposing cracks in the way we develop leaders and make disciples.  Moving from a centralized to a de-centralized model of ministry has forced church leaders to think of creative strategies to be on-mission.  I am suggesting that the focused attention we give to developing leaders and making disciples will be a higher priority, more robust process and increasingly nuanced than ever.

This is “Why” I am more and more convinced that we need/must always be refining how we develop people as they progress on their discipleship and leadership journey.

Which is why I am suggesting that you give your attention to these issues today, and every day, as you plant, grow and multiply!  One of the ways you can do that is through the Leadership Collective.  I asked Brian Wilson, one of our current participants to share his experience in a short (1 minute) video – WATCH HERE to learn from his experience.

One of the exercises we challenge participants to is to articulate their disciplemaking process in a simple “napkin exercise”.  This comes at the end of the first of four phases to the leadership development process.  The goal is to simplify the disciple’s journey in a transferable manner.  In fact, here is a sample that Russ Sidders, Lead Pastor of Sunrise Community Church  created – WATCH HERE.

Consider your personal growth and development plans for 2021.  How are you taking your effectiveness to multiply leaders who will start and reproduce churches, to reach people far from God, to the next level?  I hope and pray to see you in La Jolla, CA on February 28, 2021 – CLICK HERE for more information.

How are you managing your health?

How are you managing your health?

This blog is a slight departure from my normal topic of conversation, namely taking a coach approach to reproducing disciples, leaders & churches.  It is indirectly related to those things because it addresses your capacity to stay in a good place right now so that you can continue to do those activities to expand the Kingdom of God.  I want to discuss your health as the season of social distance continues, protests and violence are taking place across our country.

The main thing I want to communicate is that you as the leader must remain mindful of your health.  You can break down health into three broad categories: physical, mental, spiritual.  In the following I hope to address each to a degree.

Let me pull back the curtain back a bit and share what I do as part of my physical health, which has implications for the mental and spiritual areas as well.  Below is what I have continued throughout this season of social distancing and a few things that I’ve incorporated as part of my routine.  The main thing I have adjusted like you is, who I do these activities with prior to lock-down.

Stay Active - Example

Mountain Bike: 3 mornings/week (Mon/Wed/Sat)

Stretch & Breathing Exercises: 2 mornings/week (Tues/Wed) – contact me direct if you want more information @ office@infocusnet.org

Walk: 1 morning/week (Fri)

Pull-ups + push-ups: 6 evenings/week

The point is, stay active!

You probably have figured this out for yourself, no doubt.  If you need to rethink what you are doing, this is as good as time as any.  If you are just starting out, I would suggest going slow at the beginning, like walking up and down stairs, taking a stroll around the block or low level calisthenics.

Here is a resource to reflect on ways to stay in a good place as you lead from home by Greg Groeschel Leading from Home (practical insights how to lead well during the season of social distancing): CLICK HERE.

For those of you who are reeling over the violence, protest and injustices going on in our society and globally, I would like to give you a simple challenge that will impact your spiritual and mental health.  One very practical thing you can do is to “reach across the aisle”.  The aisle I am referring to is the aisle that separates one people group from another people group.  Let me pull back the curtain back a bit and share our family experience.

Reach Across the Aisle - Example

For the last several years our family has been blessed through the relationship of our friends – who just so happen to have a very different background than us.  They are committed to their faith – we share similar values.  However, their daily experience is very different than our daily experience – simply because of the tone of their skin.

Typically we do something fun together every couple of months.  Most recently, we have practiced socially distanced conversations in our backyards over the last 6 weeks.  Covid-19 was an obvious focus but then the death of George Floyd, protests, violence, politics and solutions were discussed.  Our coversations have been rich and real!

We have learned about the unique opportunities we have that our neighbors do not share.  We have learned that our friends live with an underlying fear that we can’t fully appreciate.  We have learned how much we genuinely love and appreciate each other.

My challenge to you today – reach across the aisle!

The point is, do something!

Here is a resource to reflect on how to love better and reach across the aisle, an interview by Carl Lentz & Bishop T.D. Jakes – Hillsong East Coast: CLICK HERE.

I would love to hear how are you managing your health?  Please share your thoughts below: