We are in the midst of a series based on my book, Changing the Way We Do Church. In that book, I outlined seven steps I believe the Church needs to take in order to harvest the tremendous interest and energy contained in what I call the purpose craze. You can read my last three posts on this subject here, but now it's time to move on to the next step in the seven-step process:
3. Help leaders be productive in their purpose as they oversee Holy Spirit chaos created by people pursuing and fulfilling their purpose.
Now someone questioned the word 'chaos' in this step, because the Holy Spirit cannot oversee or create pure chaos. She raised a good point. The chaos is not from His perspective, however, it is from ours as we change and adjust according to His direction and will. To avoid this confusion, however, let's think of chaos in terms of messy and not disorder.
As an example of this 'messiness,' let's look at Acts 13:1-3
Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
I am sure Barnabas and Saul had a significant role in Antioch. Yet once the Holy Spirit spoke about their purpose and how they were to be deployed, the church acted at once. There was no smooth transition or training period; they simply left for the mission field to which they were directed. Once they heard, they did not keep praying and praying, asking and asking, as some have been known to do.
I love an orderly step-by-step plan as much as anyone, but sometimes that's just not possible and, what's more, is that what God ordains. We learn to trust Him and His abilities when we follow His plan, which sometimes we cannot see or comprehend until later.
Let me say, however, that this does not mean that we wait and wait, doing nothing while we wait. Notice that the men in Acts 13 were actively seeking, fasting and praying. And when they heard, they moved without concern for what the absence of Barnabas and Saul would mean. That meant leadership had to help the men move out and then help those remaining make sense of the way forward.
Are you avoiding the messiness of purpose in your own life, family or organization? Is your church or company so structured that there is no possibility of messy? If so, then you may be missing out on the benefit and growth opportunities that messy can bring. As my friend pointed out, chaos or messy to me is not the same to the Holy Spirit. Learn to trust Him in the midst of purpose transitions and the church and its people will be the better for it. Have a great week!
KENYA: I have two updates from Kenya concerning the impact that your giving is making there. Read them here and then give generously to the ongoing work there. You can give through my website or by sending a tax-deductible check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you and God bless you for your help.
BASEBALL GAME: Don't forget about the benefit game for Kenya on Monday, July 29, here in Pittsburgh. It's not cheap but every penny goes toward the work in Kenya, since the box, tickets and food have been donated. Read about it here and then spread the word so that every ticket can be sold.