Book Review: What Jesus Started

Steve Addison’s book, What Jesus Started, was sent to me for review by IVP.

It is a book that repeats itself, and for once, that’s a good thing. There are books that repeat themselves because they need to fill up pages. Addison does so to reinforce the main points over and over, but using different applications to drive the point home. And this is an important point in mission and pastoring: you sometimes have to repeat yourself. A lot.

This is about discipleship and getting discipleship at such a basic level, we can quickly multiply believers into disciples and see a movement truly grow. This is not something where you sit around and ponder. This is about teaching and acting, then analyzing, then doing it all over again. Learn and grow.

Addison could literally sketch this out on the back of a napkin, and that is the point. The process is simple… just do it!

 

It all starts with “See.” See the end. Jesus could SEE what needed to be done. He knew the big picture. He was swept away with compassion for the lost.

You can’t stay at “See.” You have to “CONNECT.” Jesus had the ability to connect across just about every barrier anyone could imagine. He didn’t wait for people to come to him. He was out making connections.

From “connect” you move to “SHARE.” There needs to be proclamation. At some point I need to declare to other people the hope that is within me. I don’t force it on them, but my connection to them has given me the ability to speak into their lives at some point. When that moment happens, I must be ready to share the hope that resides within me.

“TRAIN” is the next step. The command of Jesus is to “teach them to obey” all that he commanded. Part of that command is to make disciples of others. We model our lives to others, then lay out the expectation that they follow that example. THIS may be the biggest sticking point we have in our culture today. Okay… SHARING may be a problem, too. Come to think of it, we’re not so good on that “seeing” thing, either… but I digress.

Obviously, we have problems. Expectations we need to set is a glaring example. We just don’t like expectations. Yet, Jesus had them.

“GATHER” is about coming together is worshiping communities. We gather together around worship, communion, prayer, love, teaching, service, etc. We raise the level of expectation by modeling the need to give, to pray, to work…

“MULTIPLY” is that last leg of the journey. We have our area we reach as a worshiping community, then we release people into new areas.

Addison takes each section of his book and simply repeats these steps in different contexts. He demonstrates this in the gospels, in Paul, the early Church, and examples today.

The simplicity of repetition may be overkill for some, but this is not a bad discipleship/leadership tool. This book is useful in mobilizing new believers into quicker action. We need to keep the basics in mind at all times!

Thanks to IVP for sending me the book. I am under no obligation to give it a positive review. (Legal statement done.)

Leading and Pastoring

There will always be the call to LEAD. It is not a matter of saying it’s either you pastor or you lead. But it is painfully clear that we are putting leadership on steroids these days in our cultural churches.

Pastors MUST lead. But in the church, and in being the pastor (or whatever you want to call it today) you can’t get around the injunction of Scripture as well: pastor the flock.

3 Don’t shepherd by ruling over those entrusted to your care, but become examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:3, CEB)

Leadership, Followership, Pastor, CEO

Scot McKnight has an interesting book review on his blog about Len Sweet’s new book.

This may be a book worth examining. What is also worth reading are the comments on that particular post.

At least from this review, there seem to be some things I would like to explore in the book.

Christians are not to be leaders, Sweet argues. They are to be followers. First followers. In other words, Christians should find where Jesus is going, discover where he is at work, and then take up their crosses and follow him there. “In posing the paradox of the ox with an easy yoke and a light burden, Jesus is inviting followers to ‘walk alongside me. Just be with me, and the doing will come naturally.’ …Leadership is a functional position of power and authority. Followership is a relational posture of love and trust.” (39-40)

We spend a tremendous amount of time and energy making sure we use the word “leader” rather than “pastor” these days. It is something worth exploring.

Temptations in Leadership

Michael Hyatt has a couple of great posts regarding leadership. The first post is on the four temptations a leaders faces. The final one stood out to me:

The temptation of popularity. We live in a world that places a high value on fame and “personal branding.” We seem to have a list for everything, including the top 100 largest churches and the 100 fastest growing churches. It is difficult for me to imagine the early church—the church of the martyrs—compiling these kinds of lists.

In reality, Jesus was a publicists’ nightmare. He eschewed fame. He miraculously healed people and then ordered them to keep it to themselves, telling no one about their experience (see, for example, Luke 5:12–14). Strong leaders are quick to give others the credit and avoid the limelight. They would rather be effective, even if they labor in obscurity.

That last sentence is tough. Being effective and doing so in obscurity is tough call for leaders. It is a tough call for pastoring. But that does bring me to another thought. The guys over at Near Emmaus are putting out a call for telling about your pastor. What good experiences have you had with your pastor? What makes him or her a good pastor? So far, only three have entered that contest. Talk about being effective on obscurity! There are hundreds and probably thousands of good pastors out there! Please take the time to tell them your story!

But back to Hyatt, his second post is on how good leaders get derailed. Another good read. The story from the ancient monks is a good one. What a great lesson! It’s tough to “act dead” and not take the offense, but it our call. We need our lives hidden in Christ!

 

09/09/09

I had to get that in somewhere!

Spirit Led Leadership

This weekend I am leading a retreat and we are reflecting on Spirit-led leadership. I love learning from Moses, so I jotted down some of these thoughts about the leadership traits of Moses:

1. Hearing God

He heard God from the burning bush. He kept on listening. His prayer life was conversational with God. All through his leadership there is a constant conversation going on. He needed direction for what was ahead. He HAD to have the presence of God.

2. Obeying God

3. Confronting Evil

He could look Pharaoh in the eye and demand that God’s people be let go. He could stand with his rod at the Red Sea and see God take on the enemies of Israel. When rebellion needed to be dealt with in the camp, he stepped up.

4. Correcting the Saints

He also had to deal with confrontation inside the camp. If his leadership was questioned, he needed to respond. If they questioned God, he needed to respond. AND he needed to respond with the right words. He needed to hear from God! He needed to speak the right words. He needed to have a spiritual backbone to step up.

5. Interceding

He went toe-to-toe with God, so to speak. When God was ready to destroy Israel, Moses stood in the gap. As rebellious as Israel was, Moses knew the promises of God and called God to uphold his word.

6. He was human

He had a temper. It cost him the Promised Land. But he had emotions. It wasn’t in him to step around his emotions. He had failures. He was a murderer. And in his human condition, God used him.

7. Mentorship

He had Joshua. He taught others. He knew how to lead by example and teach the principles he was learning.

8. Learn to grow

Dr. Don Meyer (now president of Valley Forge Christian College) had a saying I loved, “Never stop yearning to keep on learning.”

We have to have a thirst for learning. We step out in the Spirit and we learn. There are things that go wrong. There are things that go right. We examine our lives, we take inventory. We evaluate.

We learn from others. We learn together. There are lessons to be learned from those who have gone before. We need to attach ourselves to people who are growing. What have they learned? How did they learn? What can I gain from their spirit?

9. Perseverance.

We stick to it. We don’t give up. Moses led them to the door of the Promised Land twice. He couldn’t go in himself, but he kept at it. We need perseverance. Let us hold on in prayer! Let’s not give up!