Yes kids, that is what my pastor showed us yesterday evening at the emerging leaders huddle (where he and his wife are trying to train up the next generation of leaders). In fairness he was trying to make an actual point – that ‘bitty’ is what most churches do for their congregants. His objective was to get us to call that image to mind whenever the whole ‘consumer church’ thing kicks in, throw up in our mouths a little, and do whatever we can to stop it.
So, what we discussed last night was mainly ‘how do we stop it?’, and the main solution seemed to be reproducing our leadership, through God’s power, in others.
Leadership is such a hazy concept, because we have this idea that leadership, particularly in church settings, is the pastor/church planter/whatever. But really, everyone is a leader to someone, everyone has a sphere of influence, be that a whole church or a group of friends. Leadership can mean just being infectious, passing on whatever flammable material you have to others. You can turn passive consumers into active servants by identifying who’s got the right character, then passing what you’ve got on and letting them in turn pass that on to their friends. For instance, my friend Grace, who I mentioned in a previous post, passed on to me by proxy her passion for prayer and worship, which I otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with to the same extent. Grace, likewise, was influenced by other more on-fire friends of hers, and in turn I will hopefully pass the virus on to others. At the end we prayed that God would help us identify our sphere of influence. Did I mention I love praying?
Some other random notes from last night:
– How to reproduce yourself: Identify, Recruit, Train, Deploy, Monitor, Nurture. “One of the most important aspects of leadership is the ability to identify and recruit leaders and a work force to carry out the work of the ministry. This ability is the principal missing link in the non-growing, non-disciple-making church today.”
– Consumers need to be affected by DNA of more active members and catch the disease.
– Character over gifting.
– There is a theological basis for recruiting. Jesus modelled ministry and the disciples ‘caught’ his heart and were called to pray for help.
– God is the one doing the recruiting, we just need to have our eyes opened. Pray, look at who is drawn to you, pray some more…
– There is a testing process (1 Tim 3:10) – are they flaky or reliable?
– Never recruit to fill a need – always recruit with a vision for what God wants to do in mind.
– Just pray like a mofo against the consumer church! Without a servant heart hungry for growth, the Jesus movement is sunk.
So, that was part one of my God-ish weekend. This morning I went to Healing on the Streets, where we just pray for people on the High Street, usually for physical healing, but we’ll pray for pretty much anything, prayer-whores that we are. Sometimes it’s like wading through treacle, as few people are interested (although we take the pressure off by reminding ourselves that it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to attract people to us, not ours), but today was off the hook. Seriously. I was just so excited all morning, so much cool stuff happened. People remarked about feeling the presence of God, I was able to pray for my friend Max with absolutely no awkwardness, and we had some lovely healings take place. In particular, one woman was set free from some oppressive stuff. I don’t want to get too much into it, but she came to us for hormonal imbalance, then as we prayed for that she developed a headache at her right-hand temple. She told us she had a sense of some sort of spiritual oppression, as it’s always that side, and that it might be generational as her mother had it too (don’t ask me what generational means, some Charismatic jargon). So we prayed and took authority over the headache and whatever was causing it, then when we’d finished she asked us to pray again as she had a feeling it needed to be cut off at the source immediately. So we prayed one more time and she began spasming uncontrollably all down her right hand side as we prayed our best prayers! Then eventually she just sank back in her chair, drained but released, and we prayed for strength and protection. It was almost scary, but all in all one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. What a privilege to partner with God in this kind of thing!
It’s such a joy to see the Holy Spirit at work, you can visibly see her lifting burdens off people and filling them up with peace, joy etc. Their body language just shifts, like the sun’s come out, and they are visibly moved. It’s beautiful. And I could feel God’s presence all morning.
Then this afternoon I went off to shoot a video exercise with a classmate round the duck pond at uni, and had some spiritual moments looking at the beauty of nature and thinking about a certain someone who made it all…
Tonight I get to skype my Orthodox friend Lindsey and tomorrow I’ve got church, and I just can’t wait.
I can only hope that as the work starts setting in I still have time for all this God-ish stuff, to just be around him. My schedule’s already whacked-up and it’s only the first week!