Few times in the year present more pressure and stress than the week before Christmas and Easter. In fact, the demands feel so overwhelming that we often lose our own center in Jesus. So allow me to offer, in a few words, three reminders that may help you this week: Jesus wants you more than your leadership. You were called. Chosen. You didn’t initiate your discipleship. He did. Why? First, to be with you, to enjoy loving union with you. Any work we do for him is to flow from that place. The Eastern Orthodox church, historically, has placed a healthy emphasis on breathing and prayer as a tangible way to abide in Jesus. Close your eyes for a few seconds now. Inhale and exhale slowly, and allow his love to wash over you. Jesus is building his church – not you. Jesus said: I will build my church and the gates of hell. Read more.
It is hard to be a Christian at Christmas, especially if you are a pastor or leader. These are at least five mistakes that we often make: We skimp on our time with Jesus in our work for Jesus. We speak of profound spiritual realities, but our hearts slowly shrink because we have so much to do. We become perfectionistic. We forget that to be human is to make mistakes. Eugene Peterson says it well: “Perfectionism is a perversion of the Christian way. To impose it on either oneself or another…is decidedly not the way of Jesus.” We do more than God asks. When we do more than God asks, we open the door for all kinds of disorder and chaos. We engage in faulty thinking. Mark Twain once said, “It isn’t what you don’t know that hurts you; it is what you know that isn’t so.” We forget our greatest gift is who. Read more.
Instead of highlighting The Fastest Growing Churches, I recommend we highlight The Slowest Churches, i.e. those that help us most to slow down and pay attention to God, ourselves, and others. When our churches continually remind our people that “only one thing is needful,” we strategically position them to be a gift to the world (Luke 10:42). Here are 5 reasons why I believe this is true: Going slow makes possible… The doing of God’s best plans. I love the story, told in Wayne Mueller’s Sabbath, of a USA international agency in the 1990’s and their frenzied plan to address needs of a famine in equatorial Africa. In failing to be quiet, listen to the people, and study the soil, they developed a short-term solution that actually worsened the problem in the long term. We too are dangerous when we move at high speed. The receiving of Scripture in our hearts. According to Jesus,. Read more.
I love our evangelical stream in Christian history and would not be here writing or leading without it. Yet our emphasis on activity, now joined by the speed of change around us, has resulted in Christ-followers and churches without much depth. We need to learn about slowing down for loving union with Christ in a way that is powerful enough to transform us – and the people we serve. This requires we travel into different territory outside our tradition as evangelicals/Protestants and learn from church history and other Christians very different than ourselves. Let me invite you to download this free e-book on why church history matters for a discipleship that deeply changes lives in our churches today. It represents the fruit of over twenty years of study and thought. And I pray that the powerful truths on these pages will profoundly change your life and leadership as they have changed mine. Warmly, Pete. Read more.
70% of the leaders in the Bible did not finish well. Many contemporary leaders don’t finish well either. The question is why? I begin this podcast by looking at Saul, the first king of Israel. He is charismatic, gifted, and intelligent. He is a leader of tens of thousands. However, his walk with God gradually deteriorates into jealousy, stubbornness, and a hardness of heart. And he finishes very poorly. People Who Finish Well: 1. Develop a deep, inner life with God over time. Whether they are going through good times or bad, successes or failures, victories or defeats, they remain steady, cultivating a secret history with God in Scripture, community, solitude, worship, prayer, etc. 2. Have 10-15 mentors over their lifetime. They consistently seek out mentors for different areas of their life and ministry. They invest the necessary time, energy, and money required, learning from mentors, coaches, therapists, spiritual directors, or more experienced leaders.. Read more.
When I was in my mid-fifties (I am now 61), I began to struggle with aging. This intensified as I transitioned out of my role as Senior Pastor at New Life. I became aware that a number of negative scripts around getting older from the culture and my family of origin lived inside me. So I set out to “get discipled” in aging. I studied Scripture, read books, and met with 3 older mentors whom I respected. The fruit of what I learned is found in these two podcasts below. Growing Older in the New Family of Jesus – Part 1 Growing Older in the New Family of Jesus – Part 2 This is a significant discipleship issue, not only for those of us who are over fifty, but for younger pastors who are leading churches. In the year 2020, 1 in 6 Americans will be over 65. By 2030, that number will climb. Read more.