C3 LEADER'S BLOG
A few years ago, on a boat to Phi Phi Island in Thailand, I was challenged about expressing my passion for Christ. We are called to love God passionately, but am I really verbally expressing it wherever I go? We need to get passionate about the things of God! Being expressive of the Good News wherever we go – that is our mission.
2 Corinthians 5: 18-20 (NLT) And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We (as Christ’s personal representatives AMP) speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”
So, what does it mean to be an ambassador?
An ambassador is a diplomat sent by a government as its permanent representative in a foreign country, they are one who represents another. Their role is to bring or maintain peace between the two nations, which allows them a special and important protection. So what does it look like to be an ambassador of Christ?
When we are born again, this means we have become citizens of Heaven, and we get to keep that citizenship forever! As ambassadors, we live in a foreign country becoming representatives of the sending country. We have an official embassy – the church, and our job is to bring or maintain peace between the two nations and kingdoms – we are agents of peace! We are representatives of Jesus, everything we do reflects on Him – how we conduct our lives, how we behave. He knows we’re not perfect, yet He still appoints us as ambassadors.
Here are Three Ways We Can Be Great Ambassadors:
Be A Promoter
Romans 10:13-15 (NLT) For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!
You don’t have to be super-sanguine or an extrovert to be good at this. I myself am neither of those things, but I can’t use that as an excuse. 13 years ago, I made it my goal to be ‘bold as a lion’.
We have the tools at our fingertips to be promoters no matter where we are! Social Media allows us to fill timelines with the good news, we have the answer, so let’s make it known!
John 14:10 The Words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.
It’s not just about what we say, it’s also about what we don’t say. It’s through our words that God does his work!
Are you speaking life? Do you do what you say you’re going to do? Are you a different person in church, at work, at home, socially? Do people know that you are a follower of Christ?
Remember – we’re not just representing ourselves or our family, or even our church, we’re representing Jesus Christ.
Be an example of Christ in your world. When people see us, they should get a picture of who God is! If someone invites your work mates to church would they be shocked to see you? We are called to be credible in a crisis – not incredible. We do this not in our own strength, but by drawing from God. He is our sufficiency and we go in His name. You don’t need to be perfect to be an ambassador.
We are all lives being transformed. We are not perfect. We can be so hard on ourselves and allow condemnation to rule us out, but what do the scriptures say? That ‘we are Christ’s ambassadors’ not ‘we will be Christ’s ambassadors when we reach perfection, have been saved for x amount of years, have ticked off all these boxes’.
We have been commissioned, to go and make disciples of all the nations, so let’s be bold and take a hold of the word of God and share the good news!
There is so much to be said about the subject of Discipleship. But, what can I say that hasn’t already been said. Perhaps I should relieve myself of the pressure to espouse some Earth-shattering revelation you’ve never heard before? Yes, let’s do that.
The reality is that for those who already get ‘it’, they don’t need constant, mind-blowing new revelations. To those who don’t get ‘it’, they never will, unless they first get the heart of ‘it’. This stands true irrespective of how many ‘new’ revelations breeze past your open window.
So then, what is the heart of ‘it’? What is the heart of discipleship (or as it is better referred to – Disciple Making)?
The heart of Disciple Making is incredibly simple. It’s the heart of Jesus our Lord. In Matthew 28, He said “Go everywhere and make disciples of me, and as you do, I will be with you”
The heart of Disciple Making is found in the Scripture command of Jesus. It’s the core of what He is all about. It’s the heartbeat of heaven, that non-followers would be converted into followers, and then made into disciples through spiritual transformation.
For us as leaders, it boils down to the cornerstone seed of sentiment that says “I want to do what Jesus wants me to do, the way He wants me to do it” or “I want to build His Kingdom, His way”
In truth, this attitude of the heart is a distinctive of us as a movement. As with all our distinctives, we must fight to keep it alive.
Today we have way too many Pastors & Leaders who are focused on building THEIR Kingdom, instead of THE Kingdom. Reaching the lost and making them into true disciples, is the anti-venom that combats our self-promoting toxicities. When we get the heart, we’ll find the strategies.
When Churches try to simply adopt strategies, and forego the heart, the result is nearly always reverse momentum.
Strategies for making disciples look different in every Church, dependant on size, culture, leadership style and many other factors. This is OK. In fact this is good. Process is essential, however, any process is only as good as the outcome it produces.
We must resist the temptation to deify any of our processes. As I tell my leaders regularly “We are outcome obsessed and not process precious” The same must be true of our disciple making strategies. What matters most is that our processes actually work.
We all know that the word disciple simply means follower or learner. The challenge most leaders face is not with WHAT to do, but rather HOW to do it. If you feel this way about the commandment to make disciples, you are not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority. Creating clearly identified pathways within your Church for making disciples, may just be your most challenging and yet vital assignment as a Church builder.
There are so many great resources available on the subject of HOW to make disciples (I will recommend some below), however, I’d like to concentrate the remainder of this edition on an imperative prerequisite to disciple making strategies.
If you want to produce the crops, you’ve got to prepare the soil.
We can have the heart, have the strategies, have the mandate and still fail in our endeavour to consistently make disciples. How, you say? It’s simple . . . If the people you are called to lead, have not been prepared for the journey of discipleship, and what that actually looks like, then all of your efforts may be wasted.
We understand that Godly leadership is given more than taken. By this I mean that we only lead, to the extent that followers are willing to empower our leadership gift in their life. If you are trying to force leadership on anyone, it’s already Game Over.
However, if you have the heart of Matthew 28, and if you continue to focus on creating a climate where people want to become disciples, then I am certain, the strategies you need will become obvious, and they will be effective.
Here are 5 Top Tips for creating a climate in your Church that unlocks hunger in people to become disciples
1. Preach often, and passionately about Matthew 28:19-20
2. Be a true disciple yourself, and tell transparent stories about your journey as a learner
3. Have a clear conscience that your motivation for making disciples, is authentic investment in them (Ephesians 4:11-12), not making them into ‘Church Minions’
4. Invite guests to speak in your Church who have succeeded in creating a disciple making climate in their own Church
5. Do anything and everything you can to become ‘more’ followable. (Personal grooming, Health & Fitness, Being well-read, Stable family life, Good reputation in the community etc)
Finally, after you have the heart and have created the climate, here are some excellent resources to get you started on strategy (remembering your structures will only be as useful as the flow that will travel through it):
Phil Pringle – “Leadership Excellence”
Andrew Gray & Amanda Antcliff – “Training Tracks”
Thom S. Rainer & Eric Geiger – “Simple Church”
Joey Bonafacio – “The Lego Principle”
Leroy Eims – “The Lost Art of Disciple Making“
I pray you will find the consistency of courage to step beyond merely hosting Christian gatherings, into the world of Kingdom advancement, aka Making Disciples!
C3 Mount Annan
The art of serving can be easily lost in today’s society where we are surrounded by examples of selfish living. It can be a rarity for people to do things for free, from a servant’s heart. Even when we do serve, we can be tempted to want some kind of reward or benefit or recognition. In Philippians 2, Paul points to Jesus’ sacrificial love and humility in order to challenge the church to go deeper in their service and commitment to building His Kingdom.
Christ’s love for us is our foundation for serving, and all of our serving comes out of the overflow of what we’ve received in Christ. Getting our identity from Christ’s love is so important because otherwise we often try to find it in roles and titles. In church life it can be easy for people to do a certain job forever rather than progressing or letting go of one role to step into another. Or pastors and leaders may feel that they cannot ask someone to go do something else because that person has gotten attached to the identity they’ve created from that role. But we learn from Paul that Christ’s love is the source and foundation of our identity, and His encouragement for us is what motivates us to serve.
Out of the overflow of His love, we serve. Jesus exampled this when He washed His disciples’ feet. His identity wasn’t rooted in what He did but in who He was—and in His connection with the Father. The goal for our serving is this: that Jesus gets the glory. Love brings glory because we praise or glorify whatever we love, and what we love and praise, this we will serve. Next, humility frames our love. Paul encourages us to think of others as better than ourselves and to look to others’ needs. Humility ensures that we will get to the destination of glorifying God, not ourselves. And finally, unity multiplies the service and the glory He receives. Unity is the great multiplier of the fame of Jesus’ name.
Written by Josh Kelsey
I don’t suppose most men and women who launch out into church life have it in their mind to ‘grow’ a small church. We’ve been raised on the era of ‘big’ and the concept of church is generally tied around one major goal: growth. Growth is health. Big equals influence. Right?
Certainly, a large, healthy church feels great on most Sunday mornings. There is a sense of unity and combined purpose. I love big church! But I’ve also learned to love small church because right now, at this point in time, that is what we have. Yet, though we may be ‘small’, we sure are mighty.
C3 Church London, this one’s for you.
When we arrived in London, Simon and I didn’t know what to expect. What we got was the most incredible, galvanized team of leaders we could have ever wished for. Dedicated, down to earth, these men and women are fun-spirited and love Jesus. And yes, we all wanted to grow this church, to see it blow up!
But in a city like London, where the attrition rate is massive, 2-year Visas and the like, the flow in and out can be well, quite fluid. And that can be disheartening. You can start to grow and then watch some of your best people get on the next plane back to where they came from. What to do? Well, for those of you out there immersed in the rough and tumble of growing your church, the best way we’ve found to ‘get on with it’ is really quite simple: love your people well.
Showing up on a Sunday and fixating on the people that aren’t there doesn’t send a great signal to the ones that are. These are your people, all 100 of them! With all they have going on in their world, here they are on a Sunday morning, standing shoulder to shoulder with you, ready to worship our Lord and Savior. Aren’t we blessed? This is our tribe. Small can be mighty.
If you have a small church and you dream of bigger, don’t give up on the dream, but love your people well through the process– and watch God do His thing. You aren’t going to grow your church, He is. You may as well enjoy the journey with the gorgeous family He has given you. And it is a gift – treat them with love.
– Valerie McIntyre
In many ways it reminds me of this story;
A middle age women worked for years as a housekeeper for a very wealthy Gentlemen, he had but one child a young boy who was crippled and confined to a wheelchair, she loved and helped care for this young man. After several years of service the man of the house died, having previously lost his wife, the extended family was notified of his death and his last Will and Testament could not be found.
A battle broke out among the relatives for the estate, the State was called in to disperse the assets of the home. It was during this time that a man from the State asked the housekeeper if she would like any small item from the house, “Yes” she said, “I would love to have the painting of the young boy.” As he took the painting off the wall he felt something behind it.
It was an envelope that contained the man’s Last Will. It read, “I leave all to the one that loves my son.” “Well,” the man said, “I guess everything belongs to you.”
Thank you Ps. Phil and Chris for always making everything about His Son.
Regional Director – C3 Español
Senior Pastor – C3 Church Las Vegas
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work
The Apostle Paul talks about two approaches to giving; how to give and how not to give. He instructs us not to ‘give sparingly and reluctantly’, but instead to ‘give generously and freely’.
The one who gives ‘sparingly and reluctantly’ is one who gives some, but still withholds – you know, like Ananias and Sapphira. Sure, they’ll give something; they may even tithe. But they approach God with their money like this; “God, I will give to you what I will give to you and I will hold the rest back for myself. What’s the least that I need to give to follow Christ? 10%, I heard? Deal. Lock me in on those terms. I will give you 10%. I will keep 90%. This small pile is yours. This big pile is mine.”
Well, what if God wants some from that big pile?
What if God wants all of the big pile?
Who is the master of our lives – God, or the big pile?
Either the big pile belongs to God, or the big pile is our God.
To be ‘generous’ and ‘free’ in our giving is to not ‘withhold any of our pile’ from God, in the same way that He did not withhold His son, but rather gave Him completely over for us as a sacrificial offering. So that by His offering we could receive forgiveness of sin and liberty from death, not by our merit, but by His grace.
So, the whole ‘His pile/my pile’ approach seems a bit insulting, doesn’t it? Following Jesus begins with surrender – including a surrender of your whole pile. The question isn’t ‘how much do we dare to give?’ The question is ‘how much do we dare to keep?’
He is faithful. He is able.
Written by Steve Burgess
Sometimes it’s just one word that catches your attention … in this case it was two! I was reading the words of Jesus to his disciples who had eagerly asked the Lord; “teach us to pray.” Jesus responded by teaching them the Lord’s Prayer, then He challenges the disciples that all they need to do is to ask, to seek and to knock! He then tells them a story how they should do this … and it is in this story where these two words are hidden which captured my heart!
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of yourshameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. Luke 11:5-8 (NIV)
Wow these two words … shameless audacity … powerfully struck me. I was stirred by them … and I could not shake them. All day, I kept repeating these words to myself … shameless audacity … over and over again!
I reread the passage in a number of Bible versions and found that different words were used to describe this person and their prayers … persistent, importune and impudent!
Interestingly the person in this story did not just persistently ask but they did so to the point of being annoying and even rude.
Shameless audacity though is even stronger.
When you are shamelessly audacious you are … more bold … more rude … more pushy … more feisty … more offensive … more unrestrained … more reckless!
When you are shamelessly audacious you have absolutely no consideration for what is proper, decent or appropriate.
The thing that really WOWED me was that God loves it when we are shamelessly audacious! It attracts him … it captures his attention … and causes him to act. We need to remember that Jesus is encouraging us to:
- Have shameless audacious faith
- Make shameless audacious requests
- Do shameless audacious acts
I believe the future of our church, ministries, family and revelations are on the other side of our shameless audacity.
So let’s choose today to engage in being shamelessly audacious!
WHERE THERE IS NO VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH…” Proverbs 29:18
Vision is so important in the life of a church. People get involved in church life because the vision captures their hearts and imagination. They give to vision. They sacrifice their time because of vision. People will push through discouragement, spiritual attacks and all sorts of challenges, where there is a clear purpose that we are working towards together. Here’s a few thoughts about vision.
1) Vision comes from God
Habbakuk 2:1 “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected”
The church belongs to Jesus. He has a clear picture of what He wants it to be. It’s up to us to get into His presence and let Him speak to us.
Seasons of seeking God for fresh vision are vital. Getting outside of our normal day to day environment is so important so we can tap into God’s plans and thoughts for our church. I find that at least 3 or 4 times a year I need to get into an atmosphere charged with faith and the presence of God, hanging around big people to allow God to show me things that I would not be open to when in my normal routine.
When I know a vision comes from God, I can present it with a passion and energy that comes from the Holy Spirit. That anointing captivates people.
2) Vision is fleshed out with team
While we might hear from God during a mountaintop experience, we need to work with a team of highly invested leaders to get that vision into clear language that resonates with people. It may sound exciting and clear to you, but if your team looks perplexed when you explain vision to them (whether it be for an event or a new way of doing things), take the time to discuss, distill & find phrases that really capture what it is you see together. Then, work with the team on strategies for communicating and implementing the vision.
3) Communicate vision with passion, pictures & stories
Vision comes from deep within us. It’s not the latest trend or passing fad. It’s the true north that we are sailing towards. Authenticity allows us to communicate with passion. Passion isn’t necessarily loud – it’s not hype. It’s that we are living for something worth dying for.
Great visionary communicators paint a clear picture of the future. This picture is vivid so that people can see it and imagine themselves in it.
Communicating vision should be both on a macro and micro level. The big picture is the macro. The micro is telling stories from the past that illuminate why we do what we do. These stories help people see the vision in action. Describing in detail an auditorium filled with people worshiping Jesus is macro. Micro is telling the story of how Harry almost took his life but met Geoff from our church and has gone on a journey of transformation that began with inviting Jesus into his life. Both are vital in helping people capture the vision.
4) Vision leaks
Just because we’ve had Vision Sunday, doesn’t mean everyone is still pumped about the vision 4 weeks later. Vision leaks. While we might live our lives as pastors continually thinking about the House of God and taking ground, our average member doesn’t live in that space. For me, every Sunday is Vision Sunday. We need to find moments in all of our services (and beyond) that reinforce why we do what we do and where we are going together as a church. Whether it’s through testimonies, multi-media, social media or preaching – continue to elevate the vision and promote people who are aligned and living examples of the vision in action.
Written by John Pearce
How to be so Engaging, it’s Exhausting!
Recently, I ran a preaching masterclass with one budding preacher who really has a gift of leading and communication. His future is big. We listened to his message on ‘The Power of the Tongue’. It was good, strong, and had a great vibe to it. My role, however, was to show him how he could make it a great message, and to do that he had to look at it through the lens of ‘relevance’. We looked at the places where the message lost traction through the loss of relevance to where people were actually at. Here’s what we came up with –
1. Everyone Wants Vision.
Vision is the ability to see a better future. His overuse of Proverbs 18:21 (that life and death lie in the power of words) at the beginning of the message swerved it from being inspirational to being instructional. Instead of emphasising the vision ‘your words can change your future’, it was emphasising the commitment of good words over bad. In doing so, it lost some relevance early on. Yet it wasn’t hard to fix.
2. Everyone Loves A Story.
If you come out of the gates powerfully casting vision and don’t change gear in order to connect people to vision, your message will become almost totally ‘proclamational’. You can only preach effectively like this for short periods of time. And that’s what the message lacked – a gear change from potentially ‘changing your words can change your future’ to ‘let me show you the journey of change’. Without that, the message over-projected to create some kind of super-Christian who only used positive words. And no-one really likes an annoying super-Christian anyway!
3. Everyone Loves Authenticity.
His last point out of three was all about talking to yourself. Instead of speaking badly about yourself to yourself, it was about speaking well of yourself to yourself. I told him that I never did this and asked him if he did. His sheepish look gave the game away. He was repeating what he’d heard another motivational speaker say. And that didn’t make it true or effective. In fact, the remedy for ‘I’m such a loser’ isn’t saying ‘I’m such a winner’ – it’s hearing and meditating, and recalling God saying ‘you’re going to win’. To use yourself as the role model as to how someone actually hears from God, worships God and moves in the Spirit adds a ton of authenticity and easily grants to you that coveted ‘Access All Areas’ card.
4. Everyone Loves Humility.
The ‘tongue’ message that we listened to together would become a better message using my first 3 points, but it would never become a great message. Great messages are born out of a crisis and a crucible. They don’t come off the shelf. A word formed in a crisis is the same ‘chemical composition’ as a word found off the shelf yet it’s different – it’s punctured with holes of humility. Each hole saying it’s true for me it can be true for you. Humility always creates relevance because everyone is averse to any kind of pushiness from a preacher and, secondly, everyone knows how messy their lives actually are!
To become a national treasure (especially in the United Kingdom where I live) you have to have both proven success and carry some kind of fragility or brokenness. If someone is too perfect, they are liked but never treasured. For preachers to access all areas of people’s hearts, and not just some, they have to show a certain brilliance yet lace it with the humility of still being ‘under construction’. The more relevant we become, the more effective we’ll be.
– Dave Gilpin