The following is a 3 minute summary of the invitation of EHS to the church. It is the text behind a video Zondervan is producing to invite pastors and leaders to the EHS journey. ——————————————————————————————– The church is in deep trouble today. It is like we are sitting on top of an iceberg that is melting, but we reluctant to make the needed changes. Millions of dollars have been spent to analyze the complexity and trends of what is happening in the church today. Here is what we know: • The broader culture of the USA is becoming more opposed to the values of Scripture more quickly than most of us realize. In the next 30 years.. “Christians can expect to be seen as increasingly hateful, small-minded, backward and extremist” (The Great Evangelical Recession, John S. Dickerson) • In most congregations, ages eighteen to twenty-nine are the black hole of church attendance. This age. Read more.
Examples of dirty pain are found throughout Scripture. The Israelites wander for forty years in the desert due to their unbelief. Jonah finds himself in a stormy sea as he runs from God’s will. Abraham experiences years of pain after birthing Ishmael rather than wait on God. Much of our dirty pain in leadership comes from a failure to wait and listen to wise counsel. Hasty staff hires, half-formed plans, sloppy meetings, a turbulent spirit due to a failure to set boundaries, rushed sermons – are a few examples. We don’t learn in dirty pain because we are defending, denying, and avoiding. It is the pain of repeating the same mistakes. I know it well. Examples of clean pain are also found throughout Scripture. Jesus struggles with the Father’s will in Gethsemane. Paul’s pleads to remove a thorn in the flesh. Abraham climbs a mountain to obey God and sacrifice his son. Clean pain. Read more.
Early coal miners didn’t have the special equipment miners have today to measure carbon dioxide in the air, so it was impossible to tell if the gases were building up to dangerous levels. Miners started to use canaries (they were highly sensitive to gas in the air) to test the air quality in the mines. The canaries would chirp and sing all day long. But, if the carbon monoxide levels got too high, and the canaries were no longer singing, miners would know that the gas levels were too high. Soon the canaries would have trouble breathing, swoon, and then die. Miners, who had gone into the mines looking for gold, would leave the mine quickly avoid being caught in an explosion. Many of us leaders want the gold of great fruit out of our leadership. Yet if we are not sensitive to the carbon monoxide, i.e., the integrity gaps in ourselves, our churches,. Read more.
I recently reviewed my journals from 2007 to 2013 to discern key lessons learned. Countless hours were spent alone, and with wise counselors, wrestling with my leadership at New Life and my own internal”demons” (Matthew 4:1-11). These are the top questions to which I repeatedly return to in prayer: What is success for me as the Lead Pastor? What is God’s unique shape for me? Feelings aside, what is best in the long-term for NLF? What might I be avoiding? Am I staying with the “uncomfortable” in order to get to the goals I believe God has for NLF? How much of my avoidance of difficult issues is driven by a need to be liked? Am I doing anything that soothes my anxiety but betrays my integrity? Am I making room for the space and time I need to provide overall leadership and guard the values and vision? Am I staying focused on the. Read more.
Leaders have a number of key tasks if we are to operate out of high level of integrity. These include: 1. Confronting myself. Am I calm and clear about what God has given me to do? Where am I doing the easy thing, not the best thing for those around me? Where am I abandoning my own values? How am I allowing fear to cause me to ignore problems? 2. Mastering myself in the face of anxiety. When we don’t, we end up looking for validation from other people. We end up using the people we aim to serve. 3. Tolerating discomfort. There is never a good time to change things. In fact, it is impossible to create change while maintaining stability. To kindly bring up hard things others want is one of our critical tasks. 4. Getting clear on my goals and steps. This is hard work.The alternative, however, is much worse. Once. Read more.
What would happen if Christians could be honest about: Why there is so much religious pathology in the church. (There is quite a bit of pathology in all fields – from business to athletics to academia to construction workers.) Why so many young people leave the church. (Our spiritual formation often does not prepare them well for the doubts that come with leaving the “nest”. Yet this can be, at times, a healthy differentiation process for their development.) Why so many Christians don’t deal with their own “stuff”. (It is the same reason many non-Christians do not – it is very difficult.) Why we don’t live what we believe. (Few people in all walks of life do. This takes great integrity and awareness). Why life is still hard. (“He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” Matt. 5:45. This will not change this side of heaven). Why there is so much hypocrisy in. Read more.