Last week we did an exercise listing our “Turning Point Lessons” out of our twenty-one year history. The following are my edits and summary out of that discussion. Character is more important than gifting. Being is more important than doing. When we have overlooked issues of character because of anointing, effectiveness, leadership abilities, etc., we have always paid a price. Don’t rush. When decisions were made quickly, without pausing to pray, think and process implications, we have had regrets. Seeing the Promised Land is one thing. The pillar of cloud and fire saying it is time to go in is another. Leaders need to take responsibility for their growth and development. My journey, along with Geri’s, has had a profound impact on NLF. As we invest time in our personal growth and development, we are shaping all those who look to us for leadership. A clear, differentiated vision results in a unified leadership and. Read more.
This is the second of four sections on the Rule of Life I have been developing for New Life Fellowship Church in Queens. We have only just begun to pilot it. My concern is to keep us faithful to our charism, that is, our unique grace and calling. I think we are in great need for fresh, creative ways of understanding who we are as God’s people and His call on our lives. I know I need this personally. What amazes me is that every week has more to do in it than available time. I don’t know how I ever lived without that 24 hour Sabbath each week!! In a conversation with Basil Pennington that I had with him before he died (he was a Trappist monk for 55 years and prolific author), he shared with me how he longed for greater time with God, more contemplation now that he had just “retired.” And that was from a monk having 7-8 Daily Offices. Read more.
The greatest richness and learning that comes out of us learning church history, especially early church history, is the perspective it gives us on the North American church. This leads me to the next few lessons. The first relates to the state of the church today in light of history. One twenty two year old in our church put it well: “I had no idea how weak we as the church in America are until I heard/saw all this.” This came out of listening to the purifying effect of the persecutions up to 311 ad where Christians experienced 129 years of persecution and only 120 years of relative peace. This eliminated any notion of half-way, nominal Christians rather quickly. Christianity is an Asian religion with rich African roots, not Western. They continually moved Eastward in their mission. Who knew there were three “Christian kingdoms” in Asia before the Roman Empire. One seminary alone, in. Read more.