One of the most common obstacles heard from church leaders is TIME. There are so many demands made of the church staff: funerals, weddings, dynamic worship, baptisms, youth and family ministry, service opportunities, inspiration, education…lots of spiritual healing. Leaders find it challenging to satisfy all these requests because there often seems to be the expectation that the Pastor and his staff are responsible not only to lead people through their spiritual needs, but to do the work of faith for their churchgoing people.
The Church, when it is functioning by faith, is the healthiest relational community on Earth and God’s instrument to train the world in loving relationships. If our church communities are looking to Pastors and church leaders to be the active connection with our loving God, then it inevitably leads to a drain on the church staff. This is because people aren’t being led on a journey of discipleship, but rather religion. God has to do the work; if you are too busy, perhaps even you have been led into doing too much in your own strength, rather than in God’s strength by faith.
The evidence of a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit instead of by human strength is the spiritual and relational life changes that happen along the journey. As we grow through many different experiences fostered in relationship with God and others, we grow in our potency to pray, evangelize, teach, worship, fellowship, steward, and serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. As each person is transformed into a disciple, our churches are transformed into healthy relational communities that not only model loving relationships to the world, but organically train the world in how to live as disciples as well.
So what to do? Like each person, each church is guided and empowered by God to pursue living on mission with Him. The Bible provides the framework, and Life Spring Network guides you as a church leader to look beyond the inevitable obstacles of the Enemy to revise and implement your unique ministry map – a mission map – that is as simple or multifaceted as the Lord guides and empowers your congregations to pursue. This ministry map will change and evolve over time as God enables you to engage in the Spiritual and Relational life changes along the way. If you’re feeling unable to find the TIME to do the planning while you are still being asked for all the things noted in the first paragraph, consider the following question:
Do you believe in – live by faith — the Biblical call to discipleship as commanded by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20? How do you know? Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you?
Since we can’t take people on a journey we are not on ourselves, perhaps it’s time to pass the burden of TIME onto “Him, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) Since everything begins in relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, bathed in prayer, start there. How are you allowing God to lead people into unceasing prayer, not just in church on Sunday and not just with you or by others, but WITH others? It takes little time to be sure that prayer is the underlying current of every experience you are part of planning or facilitating. Others will follow; others will grow, because they will be following Jesus in you. Time isn’t our enemy, but our Enemy is taking our time. Together, woven tightly with God’s power in us, we can take it back! Talk with your coach about your unique Ministry Map and watch the Church arise. If you’re not a 360 member, check out our website (lifespringnetwork.org) to learn more.