One of the topics God opened up to me on Sabbatical was related to the indispensability of growing in humility. I was struck at what a major theme this was for the early church, especially in her first 500 years. Their understanding was that humility is the face of a pure heart. It was considered the one, unmistakable quality of the Christian life. I recommend Humility Matters: For Practicing the Spiritual Life byMargaret Funk. Her work led me back to John Cassian and Benedict of Nursia’s excellent writings on humility. The following is my adaptation and applications for my own leadership. I am following their classic schematic of progressively climbing a ladder with rungs. (Please note that any of these can be easily abused without a framework of emotional health). Step 1 – Put to death all desires but God – Application: Ensure I have ample time with God, balancing time alone with Him. Read more.
One of the texts I spent the summer meditating and memorizing is the account of Peter saying, “Never Lord” when Jesus informs him about suffering and the cross (Matthew 16:21-26). I understand Peter and his commitment to avoid pain. Don’t we all? So I am spending time with God, with our staff, pondering what it means, truly, to lead our people to Jesus. I am concerned at how I (we) too might be creating a Jesus I think I want or need. The following excerpt from Eugene Peterson’s The Jesus Way (Eerdmans, 2008) sums it up well: If we have a nation of consumers, obviously the quickest and most effective way to get them into our congregations is to identify what they want and offer it to them, satisfy their fantasies, promise them the moon, recast the gospel in consumer terms: entertainment, satisfaction, excitement, adventure, problem-solving, whatever…We are the world’s champion consumers, so why shouldn’t we have state-of-the-art consumer churches? . Read more.