stream of consciousness

Here are some things I’m thinking about this Friday:

  • At NVC, we are launching a new initiative called the Leadership Pathway, which we hope will cultivate leaders over time. I’m really looking forward to seeing it unfold over the years. It’s really important that churches have some long-term leadership development plan.
  •  I cannot wait for baseball season to begin. The National League is up for grabs–only Philadelphia stands out among the rest.
  •  There is very little excuse for leaders to not do everything they can to develop themselves. We’ve never had more access to good leaders and the information they have.
  •  I remain puzzled by anti-growth church leaders. It isn’t right to assume everyone interested in growth has sold out to American values of “prosperity” rather than Jesus’ Kingdom values of humility and downward mobility. At times, such thinking can sound more like self-righteousness than humility.
  • While church health is still preeminent in my mind, three things (at least) cause me to remain very interested in church growth:
  1. Jesus came to seek and save what was lost—and the death He asks us to die is to ourselves—not for our churches to go under. In Scripture, the decline/death of a church is also a sign of God’s judgment. Persecution, calling those with ” itching ” ears to repentance, etc., are reasons for what you might call a biblical decline. However, we don’t have much persecution here in America. We do have a lot of division, legalism, lukewarmness, immorality, and other things that bring warnings of lampstand removal from the One who has the seven lampstands in His hand. Having said that, the reason for decline may vary from church to church.
  2. God cares about numbers because ” numbers ” are people and people matter to God. This I believe is why there is a book of the Bible called, ” Numbers, ” and even at Pentecost, people are counted. God loves people—not numbers.
  3. Overwhelmingly, pictures given of the Church’s future are victorious (see Revelation, etc.), though that victory comes through dying to self and steadfastness through suffering or other trials of this life. To desire the church’s growth is to desire something God created the church for. He desires all to come to repentance in Christ’s Name and chose the Church as His primary vehicle for that purpose. How then, could He champion the decline/demise of churches who  are faithful to His cause? I don’t think He does. Neither do I think every church that grows does so because of God’s blessing. However, I think many probably do.
  • Black pepper sunflower seeds may be the death of me.
  • I forgot how tiring it was to have a 2-year-old.
  • Coaching girls’ softball is awesome. It’s an exercise in patience, but there is little I enjoy more than watching a player improve or watching the team gel. Team sports help us learn things that equip us well for life later.
  • Today, I’m particularly thankful for chaplains and those who work in “high-grief” ministries. Blessings to all of you who stand with the grieving.

What’s on your mind this Friday?