We are more than halfway home on this seven-part series based on the material in my book, Changing the Way We Do Church: 7 Steps to a Purposeful Reformation. (You can review the first three posts if you like before you move on to this the fourth part.) As I explained in past weeks, Rick Warren's book, The Purpose-Driven Life, sold more than 30 million copies! I think that says something about people's interest in what I have come to call the purpose craze.
Yet with all that interest, I don't think our churches have changed that much to accommodate this phenomenal movement. When people bought the book, they 'voted' to hear about purpose, but it made little or no difference in the life of most churches that I can see. So I am reflecting on what it would take to see a purposeful reformation occur in the Church worldwide.
The fourth step as I see it is: Help leaders and governing bodies move from attitudes of ownership to attitudes of servant-leadership and stewardship.
For purpose to take hold in a church, the leaders must use the power they have to empower others to find and fulfill purpose. That means the vision of the church must at times be adjusted to include the vision of the members that God has sent. This is similar to what a coach in football or baseball has to do: the coach must adjust the game strategy to the players available. Effective coaches win with different style players because the coaches are flexible and adapt. Pastors, elders and church leaders need to do the same.
I have often said if your purpose is to be a swim coach, I don't have to build you a pool. But If I find as a church leader that God has sent me nine swim coaches, I may have to build a pool whether or not it is part of my vision or passion. I don't own the church; I am just managing it on behalf of the Holy Spirit. And my job as a leader is not just to build the church, but to build the people in the church.
That will happen not when I get them to do the activities I feel need done, and for which they may not have gifting or talent, but when I help provide opportunities for them to express their purpose in the church. While not everyone can or should look to fulfill purpose in the church, I think we can provide and should be providing more opportunities than we presently do. This goes in line with what Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:11-12: "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up . . . ."
If you are a leader, what are you doing with your leadership power? Are you building a thing or building the people? Are you giving away your power to empower others, or are you using your power and position to build your vision? If you are not yet a leader, I urge you to determine today that you will use the power yet to come for the good of others in their pursuit of purpose. We have all this purpose energy in the church; let's find how we can more effectively use it to build the people and consequently to build the church. Have a great week!
I have written extensively on the topic of leadership over the years. You can read my posts on my site to learn more about my views on servant leadership in the church and business.
KENYA UPDATE: I did not receive any updates from Kenya this week, but I have good news on the July 29 benefit game at PNC Park. We have sold 11 of 15 tickets. Yes, we have commitments for $11,000! So don't wait to move on those other four tickets. You can give through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882.
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