Why Building Deep Must Precede Building High

When we build upward without building deeply, cracks form and churches lean dangerously.

Manhattan consists almost entirely of bare granite, a very hard and strong type of rock. To carry the weight of a 75 or 100 story skyscraper, foundations known as “piles” are used. These are concrete or steel columns hammered into the ground with a massive crane until they penetrate solid rock.

building pilings

Some pilings go twenty-five stories under the ground. The heavy weight of the skyscraper is then distributed through each of the deep “piles” in the ground below. Together they are capable of supporting the structure’s enormous weight.

If the pilings are drilled in poorly, cracks eventually appear in the structure. Entire buildings may lean. Then they must be torn down or lifted completely so the piles can be reset – a costly and time-consuming process.

Why don’t we drill deeply into our own life in Christ, and into the lives of key leaders around us? The answer is simple: It is very hard and very slow work to hammer spiritual pilings into the hard granite of our own lives – let alone into the hard granite of our team.

Think about it.

What are your other choices? How long will it be before the building leans, if it isn’t leaning already?

Pete

 

 

 

Lead Out of Your Singleness

For the first 1500 years of the church, singleness was considered the preferred state; it was considered the best way to serve Christ if you were a leader. Singles sat in the front of the church. Marrieds were sent to the back. After the Reformation in 1517 AD, single people were sent to the back and marrieds moved to the front – at least among Protestants.

Yet the New Testament describes, and deeply affirms, two types of Christian singles.

The first is a vowed celibacy, for those who “renounce marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.” They freely choose not to marry but to set themselves apart in a total, exclusive and lifelong gift to Christ and His church. A very few are invited to receive this grace and gift from him (Matt. 19:11-12).

The vast majority of Christian single leaders fall into the category of dedicated celibates. This term encompasses a broad range of people. Some are single because of divorce or the death of a spouse. Many others have not met someone, or at least the person, with whom they are compatible. A few postpone marriage until they get established in their career.

An increasing number of leaders in the body of Christ are single. That is a wonderful gift desperately needed in the church today. Daniel, Jeremiah, Jesus, Anna the prophetess, John the Baptist, and Paul were all single. They each bore rich fruit for God.

While significant challenges and pressures come to bear on being single today, God purposes that we enjoy the freedoms, the privileges, the opportunities, and the joys that accompany Christian singleness. This requires we make health a priority over rushing out to lead others without thinking of ourselves. Why? So we can offer Christ to others out of a cup that overflows with his life and love.

The following are my top five recommendations.

First, devote yourself to excellent self-care. Build into your leadership strong rhythms and boundaries for proper self-care. “Watch your life…closely” (1 Tim.4:16).

Secondly, invest in community and at least one or two companions for the journey. Leadership can be lonely, especially after a long day. Jesus had his twelve, as well as close friendships with the family of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Offer hospitality regularly. Create a home with others.

Thirdly, learn emotionally healthy skills to bond with others. Research has also demonstrated that our need for bonding extends throughout our lives – from infants, to young adults to elderly people in their 90’s. Be intentional to learn skills to bond well with others. (See Emotionally Healthy Skills 2.0)

Fourthly, remain open to meet someone.The desire to meet someone is good.  Continue to pray that God will open doors for you to meet someone. Look for opportunities to meet Christians of the opposite sex when possible –whether you are in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. I have seen God connect couples at all stages of life.

Finally, bear witness to the Lord Jesus through your singleness. This does not mean denying your unique challenges. God intends your singleness to serve as a sign of the how broadly and widely he loves the church and the world. You are not giving your body away. You are not “hooking up.” Why? Because you are married to Jesus Christ and your body belongs to him. Every day you choose to live as a prophetic sign of the kingdom of God to the church and the world.

Take up the leadership role God has for you in the Body of Christ, ministering to marrieds and singles, old and young people –out of your unique vocation as a single person. God does not grant to every person the physical fruit of children, but He does call all of us to birth spiritual children and serve as spiritual mothers and fathers in our communities.

You might also want to view our recent  Emotionally Healthy Leadership podcast – Leading Out of Your Singleness.

Leading Out of Your Singleness

In this month’s podcast, Pete and Rich offer a unique, historical, and theological perspective on the critically important issue of singleness and leadership. Enjoy this challenging podcast on one of the most important topics for the global church today. (A previous podcast treats the theme “Leading Out of Your Marriage“).

Screenshot (2)

 

 

How Healthy Is Your Experience of Living Out of Loving Union With Jesus?

Just as Jesus lived in a relaxed, loving union with the Father, we are invited to a similar relationship with him. “If you remain in me as I remain in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). He promises that if we do this, “fruit” always follows. Jesus doesn’t say that we cannot do things without him. He doesn’t say that we can’t lead or build a ministry without him. He does say that, unless these behaviors flow out of a relationship of loving union with him, they are worth nothing.

I name God’s invitation to us loving union. Love captures the way we remain. Union speaks to the depth of the connection. It is helpful to think of the level of our loving union on a continuum that ranges from 1-10. Use the brief assessment that follows to get an idea of where you fall on the continuum.

Next to each statement, write down the number that best describes your response.

1-           2-           3-           4-           5-         6-        7-      8-         9-         10-

Not at all True                      Moderately True                 Completely True

  • ____  I am relaxed and unhurried.
  • ____  I am deeply aware of God’s great love.
  • ____  I appreciate and love one person at a time.
  • ____  I am content amidst suffering and setbacks.
  • ____  I praise and promote others easily and joyfully.
  • ____  I am generous with my time, money, and gifts.
  • ____  I listen for God’s voice and will throughout the day.
  • ____  I forgive and let go of hurts.
  • ____  I am prudent in conversations and discernment.
  • ____  I am playful and able to laugh easily.
  • ____  I get up quickly when I fail or fall.
  • ____  I respond to criticism graciously.

If you scored mostly ones, twos, or threes, you are likely doing too much, perhaps more than God has asked you to do. You may be overloaded. The fact that you took the assessment is a grace from God. What might God’s invitation be to you today?

 If you scored mostly fours, fives, sixes or sevens, then you are making progress, but you are likely still out of balance with not enough being with God to sustain your doing for him. Ask yourself: What adjustments might God be inviting me to make in this season?

If you scored eights, nines, and tens you are in a good place. Your doing for God and your being with him are well-integrated and balanced. Be encouraged.

-Pete

WHY EMBED THE EHS COURSE IN YOUR CHURCH?

Have you committed to embedding the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course into your Church or do you need help convincing your leadership to integrate the course?

Here are 8 great reasons that you should embed the EHS Course into your Church:

1) Offers long-term sustainability for EHS in a church so it is not dependent on the senior pastor.

2) Provides regular testimonies of life-change.

3) Enables leadership to maintain the quality/DNA to newcomers and members to the church.

4) Raises up new leaders and “water carriers” of EHS throughout the church.

5) Serves as a call to deep, beneath the surface, radical discipleship in the church.

6) Cements members in the core values of the church.

7) Moves people from being “consumers” to servants/leaders.

8) Provides a bridge for people into the larger EHS vision found in “Characteristics of Churches Transformed by EHS“.

 

Seven Ways to Measure Transformation in Your Church

We measure our attendance and our giving in our churches. Sadly, we don’t measure people’s transformation in Christ. (This is much more difficult).

Genuine transformation takes place when people:

  1. Intentionally develop their own relationship with Jesus and do not live off the spirituality of others.
  2. Seek to discern and follow God’s will in all areas of life.
  3. Cultivate a deliberate rhythm and sustainable pace of life that enables them to be consistently attentive to Jesus.
  4. Grow in their ability to love well, evidenced by humility, vulnerability, approachability, and an increasing capacity to forgive.
  5. Live in community for the sake of their own formation and others.
  6. Bear witness to Jesus Christ in their workplaces and homes out of their own on-going transformation.
  7. Serve and give to others out of the overflow of their life in Christ.

This is my short list. What other markers might you add?

 

Why Transformation Takes So Long!

Last week at our two-day EHS Consultant Training, Wendy Seidman shared Bloom’s taxonomy of how people learn to help us understand why it takes so long for individuals and church/ministry cultures to “get” EHS. The following is her adaptation of Bloom’s classic work on the process people need to move through to really “get” something like EHS:

1- Aware. People hear about EHS for the first time (e.g. Sabbath, slowing down, past’s impact on the present, grieving, learning to feel).

2- Ponder. People think about it, trying to understand or sort through issues as they gather more information. At this point they don’t have a clear inclination for or against it. (e.g. They continue reading, listen to messages, go through the EHS Course, learn a few EHS Skills, talk about Sabbath with others).

3- Value. People think it’s important, find value in it, and commit to it, saying, “I really believe in this EHS stuff.” They begin to do a few new things such as EHS Day by Day, Sabbath, EH Skills 2.0 in a few relationships, or lead an EHS Course group.

 THE ACTION/BEHAVIORAL GAP

4- Prioritize. This is the largest, most important shift for people (assuming they get over the action/behavioral gap). Now they have to shift their time, schedule, and energy to make EHS a priority in order to live consistently with their new value.

5- Own. At this point, they live EHS consistently. All their decisions and actions are based on it. Their life and values are now congruent and they have become “unconsciously competent.”

For further information on Bloom’s seminal work on how people learn, go to:

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html

A Big Week for EHS

Two very significant events happened last week.

Firstly, we launched our first one-day training for churches to implement The EHS Course. Since the EHS Course was only released in late August, we expected only about 25 people. To our great surprise, over 100 people came with some people traveling as far as Nova Scotia, California, and Chicago!  It was a great success on many levels.

Most importantly, we were able to tighten the training and more accurately rename the day “Transforming Your Church through the EHS Course.” I will be doing this live, one-day training two more times this fall – in Austin, Texas on October 17th and in Grand Rapids, Michigan on December 5th. Following this, we plan to empower our EHS Consultants to teach the course as well as offer an on-line version.

Secondly, we commenced our second cohort for EHS Certified Consultants. Forty people gathered from six different countries – Brazil, Canada, Australia, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They are being trained to equip pastors and leaders to implement EHS into churches, denominations, and movements. This very gifted group experienced our best, and most thorough training, to date. The presence of consultants from our first cohort a year ago took the experience to another level.  This will be followed now by four months of equipping through case studies, readings, and webinars.

If you have not seen the newly released EHS Course with a revised EHS workbook and excellent DVD introductions, along with the new book covers, do pick it up and go through it. We are excited as churches will begin to embed this and register their course on the new map on our website.

And of course, we are excited about the new things God has in store for EHS.

 

Comment on Podcast: The Launch of the EHS Course by Blessed_n_AK

Insight… I have some work to do… Hallelujah for Revelation, Freedom, and JESUS!!

…read more

10 Ways You Know If It’s Your Shadow

Everyone has a shadow.

Shadows are those untamed emotions and behaviors that lie, largely unconscious, beneath the surface of our lives that constitute the damaged versions of who we are.  They may be sinful; they may simply be weaknesses. Most importantly, they lie concealed just beneath the surface of our more proper selves.

You know it’s your shadow when:

  1. You are defensive when someone corrects you or points out your flaws.
  2. You are triggered by a person, or circumstance, saying things you often later regret.
  3. You act out inappropriately when under pressure.
  4. You dismiss others when they bring up a difficult issue about you and your behavior.
  5. You keep doing the same thing over and over despite the negative consequences.
  6. You are angry, jealous, and envious – a lot.
  7. You do and say things out of fear of what other people think.
  8. You become busier when you are anxious rather than more reflective.
  9. You are a driving perfectionist.
  10. You have contempt for someone you formerly admired.