C3 LEADER'S BLOG
C3 Vive Church Senior Pastor
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
There are many kinds of leaders on the earth today, but the best leaders are the ones that have learned how to lead themselves above leading others. Proverbs 4 sets a guard in place: a guard that we are to put over our own hearts. No leader can do this for another leader. Every leader must place this guard over their own heart. Why? Because our hearts (not our talents or brilliant strategic minds) will direct the course of our lives. In fact, I would go so far as saying that our hearts will determine our leadership capacity – how many people we will influence. Our heart has the power to determine where we are going to be in 20 years and in 50 year’s time. It is best that we get a picture of WHO we want to be in the future, today.
Setting a guard in place over our heart as a leader is essential. We lead people. People will be people. Christianity is about heart expansion; it’s not about heart contraction. Yet sadly, for lack of a TOUGH GUARD, I’ve seen more heart contraction that heart expansion. I have watched so many people start out in leadership with a heart to save the world but when the reality of ministry set in, their tender heart became tough for lack of implementing a strong guard. It’s my personal number one battle every day as a leader.
If we aren’t careful, we can become TOUGH where we need to be TENDER and TENDER where we need to be TOUGH.
David is one of the greatest examples of TOUGH and TENDER as a leader! He was probably the TOUGHEST leader Israel had, the Giant slayer who reproduced Giant Slayers. Yet more than a warrior, He was known as a worshipper and a man after God’s own heart.
2 Samuel chapter 11 speaks of David abandoning his position on the battlefield to stay home from war. When kings normally went, he stayed. We don’t know WHY David stayed home. We only know that David had fought some battles, and maybe there was some fatigue. We don’t know. But we do know that in a season when David was meant to be TOUGH, he was TENDER, which led him to the rooftop where he sees Bathsheba!
When we mistake the TOUGH and the TENDER in the wrong setting and season, it leads to trouble. Here we see David with a TENDER GUARD instead of a TOUGH GUARD. Let me tell you about the dangers of a TENDER GUARD.
Every year my husband Adam and I celebrate our anniversary with a getaway. This past year, for our 16th anniversary, Hawaii was our oasis! If you know my husband, he LOVES his Bonneville Triumph motorcycle! And second to riding solo really fast, he likes to throw me on the back for adventure rides together too. On this last trip, we discovered that you do not need to wear helmets in Hawaii. Adam was excited about this concept, and to be honest, it sounded like a romantic idea in theory. Wind in our hair and sun on our faces as we glided around the island. There was such a sense of liberation evoked in the idea of such freedom.
Let me tell you, it was all that at 40 miles an hour, but at 75 miles an hour I suddenly wanted my helmet back. I was rudely awakened to the revelation that what felt like inanimate objects (like sand or dirt) striking my face were actually bugs, as one got stuck flapping in my lip gloss. With my arms tightly wrapped around Adam, I was forced to try swiping my face on the back of his neck to remove it. And while tree canopies lined the streets and the sun peeked through magically, all at once a stick snaps in the wind descending on us at full speed, only for my husband to move his head out of the way for it to slice my cheek open.
It sounds romantic to be unguarded and to just be free, exposing your heart to everything. But do you REALLY want to expose your heart to everything?
It doesn’t make sense to GUARD what’s TENDER with something that’s TENDER! That’s called being UNGUARDED.
David knew how to have a TOUGH GUARD in the context of war, because when David would go to battle he went guarded with armour. For David, being in battle was the safest place to be. It was when David pulled himself from the battle – when he retired himself – that we see he was most susceptible to the enemy!
He became TOUGH where he needed to be TENDER, because he was TENDER where he needed to be TOUGH.
It does need to be said that you have to keep a TENDER heart and a TOUGH guard to lead right! There is no record of a single Psalm written by David from that rooftop moment to the time Nathan speaks to David to address the state of his heart. Why? Because when David talked to God he sang, he wrote hymns, and he played his harp. You have to be tender to write hymns. He wasn’t talking to God. David did not pen one Psalm in this whole time!
The longer I lead and the more people I oversee, the more I realise the importance of my responsibility to GUARD. It’s MY offensive weapon to take ground, and it’s MY strategy for expansion. Leading requires a guard on our minds, because thinking whatever we want isn’t going to help us in life. It requires having a guard on our will, because getting everything we want in life isn’t going to get us where God needs us to be. And it means saving parameters on our feelings and our emotions, because feelings should never be allowed to lead. Can I implore you today to protect the tenderness of your heart? We need leaders with tender hearts and tough guards.
To find out more about C3 Vive Church, visit vivechurch.org.
Regional Director C3 Pacific
A few years ago, my friend Jake Sweetman at C3 LA tweeted, “Ministry. Thick skin. Soft heart.”
Sometimes the most profound of ideas are disguised by their pith.
The nature of Christian ministry requires from its practitioners both a thick skin and a soft heart, in approximately equal measure – respectively, good measures.
Of course, everybody understands (and demands) the latter requirement. Of what use would a hard-hearted Christian minister be? Ministry is compared to tending sheep for good reason and the ‘under shepherds of Christ’ must demonstrate a kind of tenderness and compassion that reflects well and truly on ‘the Chief Shepherd’ Himself, Jesus Christ.
But why ‘thick skin’?
I assure you, every Christian minister knows.
I recently sat with a group of friends and read out some of the more ‘critical’ correspondence that I have received in my time as a pastor. They were amused (as some of it is tragically outlandish) and shocked (as some of it is just unequivocally nasty). For sure, some of it is well-meaning. However, much of it is just plain malicious. When you add the more constant tide of analysis and criticism that you are subjected to as a pastor to these occasional, Tsunami-like waves of abuse, then you’ll begin to see why ‘thick skin’ is, unfortunately, an absolute must in Christian ministry. This is to say nothing yet of spiritual attack, nor of the personal toll of constantly sharing the weight of the burdens and crises of people that you genuinely love and care about. Being a pastor is hard.
It’s usually at about this point that somebody will raise the failings of a pastor – perhaps a public figure that fell from grace or a pastor from their own life that let them down in some way. Look, I get it. That sucks. But your pastor (and I hope you have one) is not that guy (or that gal). Your pastors are probably people who love Jesus and who want to serve Him and also you, despite their imperfections. They are probably trying their best and could probably do with more support and encouragement (and remuneration- but that’s another piece).
Now, I am all for pastors being subject to analysis and criticism – so long as it is fair. But often, it’s just not. Fair criticism is helpful, especially when it is tempered with the same sort of ‘soft-heartedness’ that you’d expect from your pastors. Oh, how I have richly benefited from well-aimed, well-timed and well-delivered critique. (And I can forgive a person with the right spirit for missing the mark on any (or all) of those three). The problem is that the pastor is a prime target for the hypocrite with a log in his/her eye and an axe to grind – which can lead to pastors with deep wounds and brave faces.
And so, thick skin. Better to develop callouses than to live from wound to wound, right?
The only problem then, is the ‘soft heart’ bit. Because it’s hard to confine the callousing to the skin. The callousing will inevitably make a play for one’s heart and when the heart of the shepherd is hardened, the sheep lose some (or all) of what God gave them their pastors to be.
Is this what we want?
Are we happy with ‘thick skin’ being a requirement for the pastor?
If not, how do we need to change?
In the mean time, I have two things to say in closing. One to the flock. The other, to the shepherds.
To the flock:
Look after your pastors. They look after you. You look after them. That’s the way that it is supposed to be.
So often, churches are terrible at looking after their pastors. They just flog them to death and then they wonder why they die. That’s why Paul writes to Timothy, reminding him (and us) that Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.”
Traditionally that scripture has been used to remind the church of their responsibility to pay their pastors a generous wage. That is most obviously what Paul is saying. But there is so much more to ‘not muzzling the ox’ than just paying your pastors a generous wage. There is a whole culture of honour, love, care and support for pastors that yields great benefits in the communities in which it is implemented.
If you look after the ox, it’ll tread more grain and for longer.
To the shepherds:
We need ‘thick skin and a soft heart’. How do we maintain this?
I love what Erwin McManus says on this: “Don’t let an arrow of criticism pierce your heart unless it passes through the filter of Scripture.”
If we humbly submit the criticism to God’s Word and it passes through, we ought to repent from the heart, lest our heart is calloused through an unwillingness to repent.
If we humbly submit the criticism to God’s Word and the ‘fiery darts are quenched’, keep it well away from your heart. Don’t let your heart by hardened through offence.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Hebrews 12:1-3
To find out more about C3 Pacific, visit www.facebook.com/c3pacific.
Lead Pastor C3 Revolution Church
C3 Revolution Church in Centurion is three years old this year, and it’s been a crazy good adventure. We’re just over 150 people and launching an extension location. People will say, “Oh you’re so bold and have so much faith,” but they don’t know how as pastors you often want to pee your pants. You proclaim, “This is the ground God wants us to take,” but deep inside you’re thinking, “Oh God, I hope this is you.” Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. If we truly believe He is good, then doing the impossible becomes natural.
Taking scary leaps of faith into the unknown has become the way of things for me, my wife, and our two children. When God asked us to leave our home in South Africa for Perth, we left everything behind to learn from our pastors, Claude and Carolyn Carrello, and then plant a church in a location God had not yet disclosed to us. Living in Perth was great! So much easier than the struggle against poverty and crime in South Africa. We found a comfortable place to serve and grow, and a church family at C3 Church Rockingham who loved us as much as we loved them.
A year and a half after arriving in Perth, God spoke clearly to us: we were to plant a church back in South Africa. This was not the news we had wanted. It seems following God did not necessarily mean we would get to live in the safety and comfort we desired. We were very reluctant to go back, but we did. It was scary and difficult and necessary. Before a seed can grow, it must fall to the ground and die. Our ambitions of starting a church in a comfortable and safe environment had to be laid to rest in the greater consuming desire to please the Lord in whatever we do.
Once we put aside our own plans and ambitions, things began to happen. Our steady growth over the past three years has been a journey of stepping out in faith where He leads, and never giving up no matter what the cost of serving Him might be.
Trusting God is not a matter of comfort or ease. It is a matter of relationship. When He asks us to do the impossible, it does not seem like too big of an ask because we know His character. God is good. He is better than we think so we need to change the way we think!
This year has been incredible. We’ve had almost a hundred salvations in the last eight months. We’ve seen weekly healings where an average of 90% of ailments are healed when we pray for people to experience God’s love and goodness, and we’re aiming for 100%.
The Lord challenged me to believe in His promise and His goodness – that He has paid for the healing of every sickness, ailment, and disease. Last week I stopped at a store and saw a lady limping past me. Instantly I knew the Lord wanted to heal her and show her how much He loves her. I asked her if I could pray for her. Although sceptical, the lady allowed me to pray for her. Her foot was sprained & she was in a lot of pain. I watched her face light up as she tried to use her foot and realised the pain was gone.
Ministry isn’t just a line at the altar in church! It’s everywhere we go. People want Jesus. He is crazy good. When you encounter His presence, you change! At a time when we could easily be overwhelmed by the challenges we face, the Lord asks us to go even further and do even more. We are determined to revolutionise the way church happens in our city. Our focus must be to bring His kingdom in our city, and to do that we stare disabilities, sickness, broken bodies, and tortured souls in the face without flinching and proclaim His will and victory.
Pastors and leaders: fall in love with Jesus and dare for the impossible. It’s in our DNA. We need to stop insulting God with small thinking and safe living. We can no longer drop the standard of scripture to justify our unbelief. You are a children of God. You are world-changers! You are revolutionaries. You are heroes of the faith. We encourage you, do not be afraid to step boldly into unknown territory where God is leading.
Mark 16: 17 says that these miracles and signs will accompany those who believe: They will drive out demons in the power of Jesus’ name, speak in tongues, be supernaturally protected from snakes and drinking anything poisonous, and they will lay hands on the sick and heal them.
When we go into the world to preach the good news, following where Jesus leads no matter what fears and uncertainties we must face, we will display these signs and bring His kingdom into each situation. They key is that it takes faith. “Those who believe.” Be courageous enough to believe the promises He has given you. The price may be high, but the rewards are immeasurably sweet.
To find out more about C3 Revolution Church, visit revolutionchurch.co.za.
Lead Pastor C3 NYC
As a pastor, I’m learning that fully empowering leaders while also working to ensure leaders are accountable within that empowerment is incredibly fruitful. Without full empowerment our leaders can feel stifled, unreleased, and lack confidence. But without full accountability a Senior Leader can feel uncertain and at times anxious that the area or task won’t be led and outworked well. So for best results, empowerment and accountability need to go hand in hand.
ACCOUNTABILITY requires work. I have found that in order to ensure a leader is kept accountable within their area of responsibility, I have to be clear in my communication of my expectations from the very beginning. If I don’t spend the time communicating what I would like to see, then my expectations are unclear and my ability to hold someone accountable is undermined. I cannot hold someone accountable for something that I have not been clear about!
EMPOWERMENT requires risk. As a Senior Leader, you have given your all and sometimes the church is like your “baby” and you can’t bear the thought of someone messing it up! But empowerment requires a trust that we truly are “the body of Christ” and that the person you are releasing is going to bring something amazing to the church, something that you can’t bring!
EMPOWERMENT with ACCOUNTABILITY requires us as leaders to be okay with healthy confrontation! I’ve found the temptation as a leader is to fully empower someone and then get frustrated if a leader doesn’t meet our expectations, resulting in a few ripple effect scenarios, such as:
Shying away from releasing that leader in the future;
Taking back the responsibility ourselves;
Or giving the responsibility to another, more immediately capable leader who is already loaded up with leadership responsibility.
When there is an issue that needs addressing rather than acting out of frustration, the better thing to do is to talk to the leader and address the issue. Often the only thing holding us back from addressing the issue is usually fear, and fear is not a good captain. If we are afraid to address issues as leaders then we are allowing fear to lead our churches. The fruit of fear is not growth or faith!
When we address issues with love, confidence, clarity and encouragement, we are truly loving the leaders in our care and truly believing in their capacity and God-given gifts. It is in lovingly addressing issues that we build a healthy church. I have found that this doesn’t come naturally to me in my leadership journey, as I often just want everyone to feel a huge big hug around me! But I am only a ‘leader in title,’ if I am not leading the people in my care into greater leadership themselves, which requires accountability and occasionally correction.
Here are some practical things I do before having ‘tough’ conversations:
Pray Beforehand– Always pray for the person, pray for clarity in your words, pray for the Holy Spirit to bring clarity to the person and that the church would grow because of the meeting.
Be Honest– People are smart. Often they just haven’t yet seen the bigger picture that you see, so be honest and explain how the ‘issue’ is affecting the bigger picture. Always be focusing on ‘people’ and God.
Be Understanding Yet Strong– Show understanding of the challenge to receive what you’re saying, but hold your ground in what you’re saying and the result you need as a leader.
My prayer is that as leaders we would continue to grow in courage and wisdom as we lead the incredible people God has entrusted to us in our teams and churches.
To find out more about C3 NYC, visit www.c3.nyc.
Lead Pastor C3 Hope City Leeds
It hadn’t been a good evening. I was currently driving back from what had probably been the worst meeting of my life. Those inner voices that love to scream for ‘justice’ and ‘pity’ were shouting very loudly and in this particular moment I was ready to quit the ministry.
As far as I was concerned my Senior Pastor, Dave Gilpin (who approved this article) in this moment was being completely unreasonable and hard on me. Just because I failed to do something he’d asked me to do multiple times over the last six months. Totally unreasonable…
Thankfully, I had my wife at my side in the car so that when the words finally crossed my lips – “I think I’m going to quit!” She had the sense to quietly challenge the thoughts that were slowly solidifying in my mind. She simply said, “Who are you in Leeds for?” I knew the answer, and it wasn’t Dave I’d be quitting on.
That was probably the worst moment, but not the only moment that my own sense of ambition has questioned God’s reasoning for asking me to be a Location / Campus Pastor and not the senior guy!
The reality is, in this age of multi-site churches, there are more and more leaders who are going to have to ask themselves, “Am I willing to serve a Senior Pastor’s vision for the rest of my life?” Thankfully, I can confidently say that those thoughts and doubts are these days just remnants of old thinking in me because I’ve realised the following:
Firstly – GOD’S NOT LOOKING FOR SENIOR PASTORS. He’s looking for shepherds who will tend their sheep in whatever pasture he sees fit to place us in. If we can’t see the sheep first before the title then we don’t deserve to be elevated to any position of leadership. If your ambition is all about being the boss then you’ll never be able to fully submit to the authority of your heavenly Father.
Secondly – THE BEST LEADERS ARE THOSE WHO ARE FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS. Show me a great leader and I’ll show you a greater leader that they follow. I’ve learnt and grown more in the 20+ years serving Dave & Jenny than I could have ever done if left to my own devices. In fact it’s been the unreasonable moments that have caused me to ‘get over myself’ and experience a growth spurt – becoming more focused on the vision and work at hand.
Thirdly – WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER. I know me and my wife Gosia are better because of their leadership, but Dave & Jenny are also better because of us (and all the other C3 Hope City Pastors). Moses couldn’t have done it without Aaron and Hur. David needed the brotherhood of a Jonathan. Even Jesus couldn’t have done what he did on earth without first gathering the Disciples. There are few ‘Senior Pastors’ in the Bible but there is a multitude of men and women who held up their arms.
So the next time your Senior Pastor acts ‘unreasonably’ – don’t be offended. Be honoured. He cares enough to see you grow and challenge the status quo you’ve found yourself stuck in. You might just find you’re in a new growth zone that God will use to make you a better you.
(By the way – this is the second article I wrote. Dave thought the first one was rubbish. And it was!)
Visit http://hopecity.church/leeds/ to find out more about Chris & Gosia’s thriving church.
Senior Pastor C3 Newcastle City
One of my greatest joys in leadership is raising and releasing others to fulfil God’s purpose in their lives. In the last few years I have grown to especially love developing rising leaders with an aptitude for systems, structures and equipping others. I hadn’t realised though, that one of my greatest joys would be to work with and develop ‘creatives’. Being very choleric, structured and ordered myself, I assumed that to build anything I would need more people that were ‘cut from the same cloth’. There may be truth in that, but had I stood solely on it, I may have ended up with a large and effective ‘cloth’ but it may have lacked the colour and vitality that communicates the abundance of life that God desires us to permeate.
Since growing in this revelation I have sought to raise and release many artists, musicians and illustrators. While the leadership development process of ‘creatives’ bares similarities to other kinds, it however has a different language and engagement.
Here are a few things that I have learnt to have enabled ‘creatives’ to find their value, worth and significance and empower them to present life in a far more exuberant way than I could have imagined, all the while drawing out creativity in me.
Communicate vision clearly but let them paint the picture. Creatives still need clear direction, so speak out what you see and feel about the way ahead in the best way you can. Communicate the ‘why’ in what you see being accomplished. Then let them be wild, dangerous and fresh in exploring how this may look, taste, feel and sound as the vision is realised.
Create time, space and resource for creativity. If you value something you’ll invest in it. Don’t expect this process to be done in one day and in a square box with a desk and no windows. Allow them time and space (lots of talking), allow them to play and honour the creative process. This doesn’t mean no deadlines but if you desire something bold and fresh you will need to give license to explore the possibilities and boundaries of something not seen or heard before. This will require patience and will cost $$$ as the greatest masterpieces are costly!
Have different expectations but the same values. Artists and creatives don’t thrive in confined environments! Prepare to give them flexibility and more freedom than you would others. Understand they are not always going to thrive with rosters, structures and systems that others find safety and purpose in. You don’t need to change values or culture for them but you will need to adjust expectations if you plan on keeping them around. Communicate expectations clearly but allow them to live free of burdensome systems and structures.
We all have been given the ability, in fact the mandate, to create, ‘to be fruitful and multiply’ the fruitfulness that we carry. You may not have been gifted with the ability to paint, write or play an instrument but you can learn to appreciate, value and enjoy creativity. Creativity is as much the acceptance and valuing of what is different, of what has not been seen or heard before, as it is to be a creative artist yourself. Value creativity and you will enjoy greater fruitfulness that will have an exponential effect on revealing an all-creative God!
Visit https://c3nc.com/ to find out more about C3 Newcastle City.
Ps Lorne Tebbutt
Sr. Minister C3 Calgary & Regional Overseer for Canada
I feel when I write what’s below, it should really be titled “Kingdom Connections; So Far.”, because we all function within the light we are given and therefore progressive revelation demands we continue to ask, seek, knock. Below are some thoughts “Kingdom Connections; So Far.”
I loved how Pastor Phil helped remind us in the C3 Global Christmas Video that success in the Christian life is best defined as fruitfulness and I wholeheartedly agree. I also know that there are competing bids for our hearts when it comes to success in ministry. I began a significant journey in 1993 around what I like to call “Kingdom Connections” and I have since come to believe that our fruitfulness is determined by our connectedness, which Jesus made clear in John 15 when He said, “branches can’t produce fruit if disconnected from the vine…those that remain in me will product much fruit”.
The first seventeen verses of John 15 lay out four types of fruit: No fruit, some fruit, much fruit, fruit that remains. To be fruitful in the redeemed sense we have to work at staying connected to Christ, as our vine. It is one of the designated titles Jesus would give himself in John15:1, “I am the true vine”, implying there are some false ones. Verse four encourages us to stay connected to Jesus and then His life will flow through us. The process of guarding the connections and remaining in Him is the work; fruit will be effortless if the connection stays intact. Fruit is the reward for sticking with the growth process because fruit always comes at the end of growth cycle, not at the beginning or in the middle.
It feels that ninety percent of the time our barometer for life is in context of relationships. You can ask, “How are you?” or in Australia, “How you going?” and find that the answer is often determined by the health of ones current relationships. When our relationships are in order, our life is in order and life is good.
I have found that whenever God wants to bless you, increase you, or enlarge you He connects you. You will not “be fruitful and multiply” on your own without a Kingdom Connection. Our warfare then becomes relational meaning we need to fight to remain connected and in community with those authorized by the Lord to be in our lives. It is our job to keep the connection clean, clear and strong. Our only hope of fruitfulness is connectedness.
What develops in our walk with Jesus amounts to varying forms of warfare around our relationships and the quality of our connections. It has become painfully obvious to me that what God joins together (not just in marriage), we need to discern and then nourish and maintain. You will find that our connectedness becomes our warfare against the enemy. When the enemy wants to steal from you, he separates you from the authorized relationships that God wants to use to bless you. If we are ignorant of this strategy, we will miss the purpose of God in one generation.
Here are a few things I see and have tried to implement around Kingdom Connections…so far.
There is a Kingdom order of fathers and sons. These terms can either bring a smile to your face or cause the little hairs on the back of your neck to stand up depending on your upbringing. Regardless of past successes or failures of your biological father/sons, there is a Kingdom principle that is important to acknowledge.
Father’s war for legacy and son’s cry for destiny. The unspoken question in the heart of our son’s would be something like “can I stay connected long enough to receive something generationally distributed?” Both stand to keep the heart pure and connections clean enough to honour our fathers (biologically and spiritually) that it might go well with us on the earth, which is the first commandment with promise! WOW. Ephesians 6 then reviews this first promise in verse three “This is the promise: if you honour your Father/Mother you will live a long life full of blessing”. In the area it is not going well, where did you dishonor?
Succession is always the battle fathers face. How do we transfer generationally? Ephesians 6:4 starts “Now a word to the fathers …” It’s almost painful to continue, “Don’t make kids angry.” WHAT? But the deeper word for Dad’s “If you listen to your own heart, what stirs up anger for you as a son?” I submit, the deep levels of anger that surface among my gender at any age and all levels of society, is their fatherlessness!
When you look at the life of David closely you will see the real giant he had to slay was illegitimacy. He grew up outside of the affirming words of his father. Overlooked and out in the pasture. That makes me angry just thinking about it. It is stunning to read when David was dying that he chose to remind his son about the covenant he made and to honour them. Why? Because there is no inheritance without covenant. In a culture that has become comfortable with co-habitation that is rooted in fear, covenant is foreign. We want the blessing of covenant just not the cost. That is what makes Judas’ betrayal so deep. He even chose to use one of the signs of intimacy in that betrayal, a kiss.
We live in a world addicted to comfort and convenience. Commitments are disposable, relationally. Not so in Kingdom life. We are to be led by convictions not comfort.
What if one of the only ways that the Lord gets things to us is by inheritance. I have heard it said that it’s the only way…but I haven’t lived long enough to prove that yet. I do know that in order for inheritance to flow generationally you need to be in right relationship. That’s obvious for us all, right? I am in my fathers’ last will and testament because we are related therefore I will receive an earthly inheritance because of that relationship. This is the same principle spiritually!
Legacy is not established overnight or even over lifetime. When we think generationally we must think a minimum of three generations deep in order for values, truth, revelation to be established. One generation is just not deep enough. That is why the Psalms command us to tell the story to our children (Psalm 78:1-7). The bible is recorded for generations (Psalms 102:18). The present generation was meant to receive the previous generations lessons, wisdom, and truth. The God of Abraham was meant to become the God of Isaac.
The New Testament begins with a demonstration that the foundation of revelation is the generations that proceeded by going through genealogy. Jesus would say in John 14 that He expects more from the generation that followed. This is mind-blowing! I would be totally stoked to do the works Jesus did, but He essentially said “If you get this in proper order greater things shall you do“. WOW!!
Relational Integrity is a big deal. Biblically, you could not minister unless you could prove genealogy (Ezra 2:62) and I believe this has practical application today. The forsaking of kingdom connections and the lack of honour displayed in our culture would be my best guess as to why there is such limited fruit in the body of Christ. Paul would say, “You’ve got lots of instructors…” Gosh, don’t we know it. Any one can go on line for a podcast, live stream (don’t get me preaching…) find information, instruction but WHERE ARE THE FATHERS?
The second of four questions the Lord asked in the garden can be summed up as “Whose voice have you been listening to?” I ask you that today. Whose voice is authoritative for you? Who has influence in your life? Who can correct you? Who speaks into your life?
The four functions of Fathers that I have found consistent are:
- To Connect
- To Protect
- To Correct
- To Direct.
If you’re a father these never change, only does the context in which they’re applied. If you’re a spiritual father (loose & undefined) they are the same.
The four outcomes of Fathering:
- Identity. It is the father that determines identity in physical children. I think it is the same spiritually. Identity and legitimacy gets lost when orphans remain un-adopted and un-affirmed. Identity comes from who we identify with. To be able to identify with someone who loves your heart and the destiny you carry gives security.
- Intimacy. To know deeply and be deeply known is the heart cry of every human. This is the only cure for the loneliness we see in our culture and in our churches. Loneliness is not the absence of people but the absence of intimacy.
- Influence. Fathers open does for their son’s and daughters. I get weary of the self-promotion I see in ministry circles, however this is simply the symptom of fatherlessness, since there was no father to go before and make invitations and introductions they had to fight to make their own way. I have seen one introduction open doors that would have taken decades to open alone, as an orphan. Your influence plus your intimacy will equal your authority.
- Inheritance. Legacy is only possible when relational integrity is intact. Without proper relationship there is no inheritance. We all must learn to respect and protect our inheritance otherwise it will move away from you instead of towards you. God cannot sell anything! He only releases what comes out of godly relationship. Heartbreaking to read how Esau sold his inheritance.
Relational Warfare is critical for fruitfulness in ministry. There is a hunger for purpose that is pandemic. I know that personally I find my purpose when I find my people. When my wife and I joined C3, functionally, it took a bit of time for our hearts to migrate. But, once they did, it was very shortly after finding our people that our purpose was released in dimensions we never thought possible. Our assignments are always preceded by our alignment. If you’re properly aligned under godly authority and keep your heart in place of honour then all four of the above will flow to you.
Some ongoing thoughts on Kingdom Connections … so far.
Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.
To be able to see the opportunities all around us we need to understand the difference between growth and expansion. I believe we need to enlarge before we grow! As stated in the above verses in Isaiah 54, we see that it is the ‘place’ or ‘footprint’ of our tent that needs to enlarge. We are called to ‘expand’ to the right and to the left. Possibly the biggest visionary opportunities are right next to us – look right and left!
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.
In C3 we’ve expanded globally and nationally – we have 470 churches in 64 countries.
Times are changing
Cities all around the world are changing. As the pace of life in cities is increasing, and as issues like traffic and access to amenities becoming more and more challenging, people are craving a respite. Several decades ago, people responded to this need by moving to the suburbs and even further away to discover peace, space and sanity. Younger families, and even retiring baby boomers, are wanting access to the lifestyle that urban centres are offering, and they’re craving community, connection and a version of ‘village’ life!
Even urban planners are responding to this need and to this trend by designing ‘precincts’ within cities that create a sense of community and easier access to amenities.
As churches, we need to understand this trend but also to intentionally respond to it. People build relationships with people (not churches!) and they need a community to join.
Build communities, and they will come
We need churches that are ‘neighbourhood’ communities that are alive enough and excellent enough to represent the culture of the kingdom but close enough and relationally engaged enough to meet this growing need within our cities. These are exciting days of both growing need, but also endless opportunity.
C3 Global Growth Minister
We often hear a lot about our spiritual life, how to grow it, how to revive it, and the importance of spending time in prayer and the Word. And we know the value of paying attention to our physical selves. No matter if we live a healthy lifestyle or not, it’s hard to get away from the truth – treat your body poorly and you probably won’t receive a great return.
But what about the soul? When I turned 40, something clicked in me, a recognition that some of the things I had been hoping for might not happen the way I hoped. We all experience a grief when some of our hopes and dreams seem destined to be just that, hopes and dreams. And that can leave us feeling disappointed. At that time, I had a sense of quiet disappointment, that to be honest, was not being relieved by all my spiritual efforts. So, what to do? I put a little healthy attention into my soul. I took up the game of golf, got a second-hand piano and started taking lessons, picked up a little French. I was never going to be very good at any of these pursuits, but I was having fun. And sometimes fun should be a pursuit in and of itself. As Christians, we might forget about the importance of giving our soul a little love. Suddenly, you find you’re feeling a little low, maybe a little depleted. Or, things might have gone a bit flat. Do a soul check. You might just find that tank is empty. Jesus spent a lot of time with his best friends, and I think those times were as just about the soul as the Spirit.
I come into this piece on contentment feeling, in some ways, like a fat fitness blogger. Someone who churns out weekly top tips on meal sizes or glute sizes, but who personally wrestles with an unbalanced appetite.
I am learning to be content. For me, it is a journey of reflecting on periods where I’ve been quite comfortable financially, and then other periods where decisions I have made, good decisions, have nonetheless been very financially costly for myself and the family. I know that contentment with godliness is of great gain so I want to learn – really want to learn, how.
‘Just be content”, some might say. Yet, contentment can ring of condescension when it is prescribed as an instruction by another. Similarly, when we say to ourselves that we should ‘be content’ with what we have, we run the risk of not engaging our faith, but rather disengaging from the reality of our circumstances.
I suspect that unknowingly, many of us associate the pursuit to ‘be content’ with learning to live with less. Inadvertently, we see it is a godly virtue, the mastery of which is predominantly reserved for those in lack. But of course, it isn’t.
Paul lived seasons with little and and others with much, and he learned to be content in each circumstance. When things are going well for us, great! We must still be students of contentment. We must learn to be content in prosperity.
There is a secret to being content and Paul, through all of his ordeals, learnt this secret. This means that true contentment is also within our grasp. Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I can live with a lot of money, or I can live with nothing. It is Christ who gives me the strength to overcome the appetites of wealth. It is Christ who gives me strength to overcome the desperation of lack. I can flourish in every circumstance when I am in Christ.
For me, although I’m still learning, I know that I can be content right now where I am, in Christ who strengthens me.