Little Broken Promises

I’d like to think that I’m a pretty good husband.  I do most of the big things right and I avoid almost all of the big things that I’m supposed to.  I spend time trying to speak my wife’s love language.  I love with abandon and invest like crazy.  I try to put her interests before my own (Philippians 2.3-4).  Usually, I’m pretty good at this whole husband thing.

Usually.

chefkeem / Pixabay

But I have a persistent problem, a easily-repeated blunder.  I make little promises and then don’t keep them.  Example: We finish dinner and I say, “I’ll do the dishes before I go to bed.”  Then, the next morning, the dishes are still in the sink (like they were this morning).  That’s a little broken promise.

Here’s a doozy from this week: Our dog, who is awesome by the way, is getting old and she needs to have checkups at the vet pretty regularly.  Three weeks ago I said that I would take care of it.  I finally did it…after weeks of saying I would!  The time between the little promise and completion was just full of me breaking that promise day after day.

You may be thinking something like this: Meh, this isn’t a big deal; it is a LITTLE broken promise.  It’s not like you broke your wedding vows or something.  And, you’d be right…objectively speaking.

But subjectively speaking we’re dealing with a different deal altogether.  Each time I break a little promise it erodes my credibility with my wife a little bit.  Rebuilding that trust invariably takes up WAY more time than it would have taken to just fulfill the promise.

And keeping little promises is a sign of respect.  When I actually keep one of these promises it says to Alida that she’s important enough for me to remember what I said and to actually do it.

Luckily for me I have a loving and forgiving spouse.  She gives me the time and space I need to figure things like this out.  But I shouldn’t take advantage of Alida’s patience about this.  I should be more intentional about keeping all my promises, whether big or small.

Here are some pieces of advice (mostly for me):

  1. Make fewer promises.  There’s no point in promising to do things as often as I do.  Maybe if I was more consistent in doing things in the first place I wouldn’t feel the need to make promises.
  2. Accept help if needed or wanted.    A common mistake that I make in these situations is not accepting help that is offered.  If I did, then I wouldn’t need to do whatever it was that I end up make a promise about (e.g., the dishes).  So, if I need help or would rather do something else, when my wife offers to help I should take her up on it.
  3. Keep track of promises made.  I’m not sure exactly how I could do this, practically speaking.  Maybe I could write my little promises down and put them in a prominent place (like on the screen of my laptop).  But an issue for me is that I simply forget.  So I need to facilitate some memory helpers.
  4. Apologize and start at #1 again.  I’m a human so I am going to mess this one up.  When I do I should give a real apology, fully owning my mistake and the pain it caused.  Then I should start back and #1.  Hopefully, over time, I’ll have to do #4 less and less.

Do you have a problem with keeping little promises too?  Let me know in the comments below.

The Ghost of Church Present: Part Two

My wife, parents, and I recently watched a stage production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  As I watched it I couldn’t help but imagine what the ghosts of church past, present, and future might say to those of us who follow Jesus.  Last week I looked into the revelations from the ghost of church past (see the links at the end of this post).  And this week we’ll hear from the ghost of church present (here’s Part One).

Nemo / Pixabay

A Non-Missional Response

The ghost of church present already revealed that the U.S. is a mission field.  So, how has the church responded?

By and large, the church hasn’t responded all that well.  Here are two statistics that I originally saw in Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay:

  • “Roughly half of all churches in America did not add one new person through conversion growth last year.” (Lost in America by Tom Clegg and Warren Bird, page 27)
  • “In America, it takes the combined effort of eighty-five Christians working over an entire year to produce one convert.” (Lost in America, page 29)

I think we need to let those stats sink in for a minutes and not rush past them.

First, half of the churches in the US don’t see any conversions in a year.  There should be some disclaimers, of course.  Many of these churches are small, rural, and in Christianized communities.  But not all of them.  And of the half that did have new converts, I wonder how many of those are really just biological growth, that is, the children of Christian parents.  Are we reaching out into our communities to the unchurched, dechurched, and antichurch?

Second, it takes 85 people working for 365 days to lead one person to Christ!  Firstly, this paints a funny picture.  It’s hard not to imagine a large and cumbersome committee of stodgy Christians trying to work together to save one soul!  Secondly, and more to the point, this isn’t saying that 85 people intentionally worked together for the conversion of one person.  The researchers simply took the total number of believers and divided them by the total number of new converts in a given year.  Thus we are left with the rather shocking fact that the vast majority of us are not actively engaged in making new disciples.

Here’s the point: there’s a massive mission field right outside the walls of our comfortable church.  Right. Outside. The. Walls.  And we aren’t responding.

Well, that’s actually not true.  We are doing some things.

  • We’re preaching sermons.  This is a good thing.  In the New Testament we see a repeated call for folks to proclaim the good news.  So, yay us!  Often we preach sermons that challenge our people to be a witness where the live, work, and play.  Again, yay us!
  • We’re running programs.  We have courses on evangelism that we either create ourselves or buy from an expert.  We have programs like Alpha, which are awesome!  People have come to know Jesus as savior through Alpha and programs like it for decades now.
  • We’re supporting explicitly missional efforts.  A few of our churches are realizing that we’re not doing a great job, so a few of us start funding missionaries who work right here in the US.  It could be through church planting or through an organization like InterVarsity, but some of us are investing in missional efforts.
  • We’re actually engaged in missional activity ourselves.  I use the “we” in that statement very loosely.  Why?  Because my guess is that so very few of us, myself included, live missionally on a day-to-day basis.  In fact, many of us are so insulated by our Christian sub-culture that we may have to try really, really hard just to have contact with a person who does not know Jesus yet.  But there are a few rogues out there living like Jesus did.

The truth is that the statistics show that what we’re doing isn’t really working.  Why not?  Well, in my humble opinion we’ve focused too much on preaching and programs and not enough of funding missional efforts and being missional ourselves.  Our hearts are right but our actions are a bit skewed.

What do you think?  How do you see the church responding to the reality that America is a mission field?

 

The Ghost of Church Past (Part OnePart TwoPart Three)

Goal Setting in Marriage

Anyone who knows me knows that I almost always rail against structure.  I like to be spontaneous, free, and, frankly, last-minute.  From my biased opinion of my experience, I’m convinced that I work best when these factors are present.  And, by and large, I’ve had some measure of success operating this way.

But the Lord saw fit to lead me to marry my wife Alida.  She’s a planner, a list-maker, and an organizer.  In fact, when she’s in planning mode, she’ll write on her master list which sub-lists she needs to make!  And she’s had a great deal of success living in this manner.

Put the two of us together…well you can imagine the sorts of difficulties we face!  Alida is hoping that we’ll plan and I’m pushing things to the deadline.  I’m hoping to explore random things at the last minute and Alida is thinking ahead to a weekend two months from now.

OpenClips / Pixabay

And for the longest time we just dealt with these tensions.  I’m not sure why exactly, but we never really addressed this issue…for years!  But once I entered into the dissertation phase of my PhD, my life needed to get much more structured.  I needed to research and write everyday, on top of my other responsibilities too.  In order for me to get through this thing in one piece I had to start organizing my life  a bit.  I needed a target to shoot at.

So at first I just tried to do things on my own.  I would watch Alida and try to mimic some of her planning behavior.  This worked kind of well.  But I needed the inside scoop.  My pride, however, prevented me from actually asking for help.  So I waited.

And eventually, after a while, Alida suggested that we do a weekly meeting so that she and I could be on the same page.  To be totally honest, my wife had offered this suggestion many times before, and I had poo-pooed it every single time.  Like I said earlier, Alida is just built this way but since she discovered Michael Hyatt’s podcast she’s been way more goal-focused.  Needless to say,  she was so excited when I finally gave in!

So, for the better part of a year Aldia and I have been having a weekly meeting.  We discuss our schedules for the upcoming week, our workout plans, when our date will be, and any special errands that need to be run.

There’s one more thing we do: we set weekly goals.  We divide these up into various categories, like “personal,” “work,” “spiritual,” and “relationship.”  Our hope is that we can help one another accomplish our goals and check in on our progress in the future.

Now I’d love to say that doing this has resulted in awe-inspiring results.  It hasn’t.  But it has produced positive results.  Here are a few of them:

Setting goals has helped us…

  • …be more intentional.  We both now know what it is that we’re trying to do so that each of us can focus better individually and as a couple.
  • …understand one another better.  By weekly hearing one another’s goals we get to enter into one another’s thought processes.  This has proven to be so valuable for our relationship!
  • …hold each other accountable.  People always say that it’s hard to hold your spouse accountable; and, for the most part, that is true.  But setting goals together gives each of us the freedom to check in on one another.
  • …know how to pray specifically for one another.  While part of our meeting also involves sharing our prayer needs with one another, knowing each other’s goals has helped us know how to pray for one another more holistically.

 

Is goal setting important to you?  How do you do it?

The Ghost of Church Present: Part One

My wife, parents, and I recently watched a stage production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  As I watched it I couldn’t help but imagine what the ghosts of church past, present, and future might say to those of us who follow Jesus.  Last week I looked into the revelations from the ghost of church past (see the links at the end of this post).  And this week we’ll hear from the ghost of church present.

A Missional Reality

danfador / Pixabay

There’s a new era dawning.  The West in the twenty-first century is a mission field, no matter how you’d like to define that term.  The power of Christendom once reigned supreme in the West, but now things are changing.  Whereas at one time the wider culture shared basic values with those who follow Jesus, today living a gospel-centered life makes a follower of Jesus really stand out.  There are more and more people who are unchurched, de-churched, and/or anti-church.

Where’s the evidence for these claims?  I need stats!

Okay, okay.  Here are a few:

  •  There are 50.5 million religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S.  —  According to the PewResearch, 16.1% of people in the U.S. identify themselves as atheists, agnostics, or not particularly religious.  There are 313.9 million people in the U.S. right now, and 16.1% of that total equals 50.5 million.  That’s a ton!
  • There are 14.75 million people in the U.S. affiliated with religions other than Christianity — Again, according to PewResearch, 4.7% of Americans are affiliated with a religious group that isn’t self-identified as Christian, such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, New Age, etc.
  • There are 7.5 millions Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.S. — PewResearch has found that 2.4% of Americans identify themselves as Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • That means that there are 72.75 million people who explicitly need the gospel! — If you add the three categories above up this is the total you get.  And this total makes up 23.18% of our total population.  The good news, of course, is that 76.82% are part various Christian groups (Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, etc.).
  • There’s a huge number of “Casual Christians” — George Barna, in his book The Seven Faith Tribes, highlights a massive group of people he calls “Casual Christians.”  This tribe, according to an interview posted on the Barna Group’s website, “are defined by the desire to please God, family, and other people while extracting as much enjoyment and comfort from the world as possible.”  In other words, these are consumer Christians par excellence!  How many of these “Casual Christians” are there out there?  According to Barna, 66% of the American population is made up of “Casual Christians”!  That’s 207.17 million people!  I think almost any missionally-minded person would agree that these folks need to be evangelized or re-evangelized!
  • So, that brings the total number of people who need a fresh encounter of the gospel up to 279.92 million people. — Friends, that’s massive!  If that number holds true, then that means that only 10.83% of the American population is living a life, as Barna put it, “defined by their [Christian] faith.”
  • But of those 10.83% of Americans, how are involved in making disciples? — We can’t say for sure.  There are some studies that indicate that more than half of Evangelicals share their faith at least once a year, but this data is based on self-reporting.  I find it hard to believe that we have such a large percentage of people out there sharing their faith!  My guess is that very few people do this.  What’s the point?  There aren’t that many people actively engaged in reaching those who need to be reached in the U.S.

Jesus said it best in Luke 10.2: “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”  So that’s the bare minimum of our call, to pray for more workers for the mission field in the U.S.  But if we all could begin to adopt missional postures and incarnational lifestyles, then we could actually become those workers!  That’s my prayer, namely that God would turn you and I into missionaries right here in the U.S.!

What do you think of this picture?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

The Ghost of Church Past (Part One, Part Two, Part Three)

Lessons from My Weight-Loss (Be Intentional)

On April 27th, 2011 I was obese.  According to my Body Mass Index, weighing in at a husky 250 pounds at my height (6’2″) slid me right into the obese category.  Over the next nine months I worked hard, counting every calorie consumed and burned, and lost 65 pounds!  Now, quite a while later, I’ve gained back 5 of those pounds, but I’m convinced that most of that is muscle!

In case you were curious, here’s some pictorial evidence.  On the left is me at 250 pounds and on the right is me at 190 pounds!

The purpose of this post, however, is not just to pat myself on my back for my weight loss.  Instead it’s to share some of the lessons I learned and apply them to being a missionally postured, incarnationally activated follower of Jesus.  This is Part One and there will be more parts to come periodically.

So, what is the first lesson? Be Intentional.

Losing weight, for me at least, did not just happen.  It required a great deal of effort and purposefulness.

Getting to 250 pounds just happened though!  That was easy!  But losing the weight (and keeping it off) has been a process that has been difficult for me at times.  I’m not a person who plans things out carefully by nature.  I prefer to live life by the seat of my pants!  But doing so led me down a path to obesity.

So, with some effort, some support from my amazing wife Alida (along with my family and friends), and some patience, I lost the weight.  I made a plan and I stuck to it.  I knew exactly what I was shooting for and I had figured out the best way for me to reach my goals.

How does this apply to being missional?

I’m so glad you asked!  In the American church we have just been “doing church” now for quite some time.  We figured that discipleship was just going to happen, that evangelism was just going to happen, and that leadership development was just going to happen.

Where has that gotten us?  Well, by almost any standard you’d like to use, we have a great vacuum of actively-growing disciples in the church.  Evangelism for many of us has become something only the very few and very, very brave engage in, since we’ve narrowly defined it as going up to a stranger and trying to reason them or scare them or persuade them into saying the sinner’s prayer.  And we have a great need for more dedicated, trained, and passionate leaders.

In other words, we’re in trouble.

What can we do?  Well, we can start by being intentional!  Just like I had to sit down and come up with a plan in order to lose weight, we need to strategize together about how best to reach this mission field called America.  And whatever our plan is, it can’t be just a repackaging of our old methods.  That’s what I tried when I was 250 pounds.  All it did was keep me fat.

It’s my assertion that if we keep on doing the same things as the church, then we’ll keep getting the same results.  It’s well passed time that we try some new methods of discipling up, reaching out, and worshiping well.  The ramifications of us continuing to waste time are simply too dire.  We must change!

There are a thousand things we could begin to be more intentional about, but here’s an “easy” one.  Let’s stop thinking about and talking about the church as a building where we go to consume religious goods and services and instead let’s start thinking about and talking about being the church among those who need the good news.  This small shift can make a huge difference!

What are some other ways that we could be more intentional as missional followers of Jesus?  Let me know in the comments below!

Missional Leadership Development

OpenClips / Pixabay

If you are a leader you are developing leaders, even if you don’t know it.

The question is this: Are you doing it on purpose or by default?

In my case I’ve spent the last 19 years or so developing leaders passively, or by default.  I figured that as I taught the Bible, led worship, and moderated discussions that burgeoning leaders would simply learn by osmosis.

I was wrong.

How do I know?    That’s not how I learned to be a leader!  Several people took special interest in me, devoting time and energy to me.  They sat me down and taught me how to teach, how to lead, how to counsel, how to plan, how to be on mission, etc.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve submitted to the leadership of some poor leaders in my day too.  And in those cases I knew that I wasn’t being led well because they weren’t leading me.  Instead they were placing all the responsibility on me.  I get that.  Who wants to volunteer for more to be put on his or her proverbial plate?

Whatever the case, somewhere along the line I dropped the ball.  I went from being intentionally developed by a few great people to hoping this whole missionally following Jesus thing would just rub off on those I would like to develop.  This was a mistake…and I don’t want to make it anymore.

So, as I look back into my past I can think of a handful of people that I did invest in intentionally. In these few relationships I tried to be strategic and purposeful.  Here are a few things I learned:

  1. Be Clear about Expectations — If you are wanting to invest in someone or someone asks you to mentor them, spell out the expectations.  How often are you going to meet?  What will you talk about?  Who will be responsible?  What are you asking of yourself and the other?
  2. Hold Each Other Accountable  Listen to the person you are investing in.  He or she will likely tell you, overtly or covertly, how you are doing.  When you get this information, respond!  Make changes when appropriate in order to help the person you are leading reach his/her potential.  And hold the one you are leading accountable to the things he or she agrees to.  Don’t assume progress is being made — check up on it!
  3. Follow up, Follow up, Follow up — I have found that when it comes to leadership development, one old adage is true and one is not.  It’s not true that distance makes the heart grow fonder!  Instead, distance helps lead the heart to wander.  On the flip side, it is true that once you are out of sight, the one you are leading will eventually let you drop out of mind.  How do you prevent this?  Meet regularly, check in via email, facebook, text, etc. more often than you meet in person, and do a drop in every now and then!
  4. Listen a Bunch and Listen Some More after That — If you’re anything like me, then you like to talk!  But if I want to help someone grow in their leadership, I need to listen way more than I talk.  This is so very hard for me!  Instead of listening I’d rather think out loud, fix problems, and just enjoy the sound of my own voice!  But doing so hampers the growth of the one in which I’m investing.
  5. Be Inviting — There may be nothing that is more damaging in leadership development than being overly guarded.  I’m not saying that you should be stupid and eradicate all the boundaries around you and your family.  But what I am saying is that you must be authentic with the ones you are leading.  Invite them in.  Lead by example  Let them see you fail.  And let them see you get back up again!

What else would you add to this list?  How else can we develop missional leaders?  Let me know in the comments below!

A Lesson from Nelson Mandela

TREVOR SAMSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

It always seems impossible until it’s done. (Nelson Mandela, 1994)

Nelson Mandela spoke these words after his country, South Africa, held their first free election during which he was elected president.  There are two things that are remarkable about his election: 1) He was the first black, South African president in his country’s history; and 2) He was elected to be the president of the country in which he suffered 27 years of imprisonment due to his fight against racial injustice.

Nelson Mandela lived an exemplary life of service and leadership.  Though he suffered mightily, he held onto his convictions and beliefs.  He was inspired at a young age by the gospel in a Methodist school and lived a life that unassumingly proclaimed the evidence of the good news as loudly as anyone else in the 20th century.

Today, December 5th 2013, is a sad day because Nelson Mandela has died.  But it’s also an exciting day to celebrate this man and his life.  His autobiography, called Long Walk to Freedom, should be required reading for leaders everywhere!

But as I think about the quote from Nelson Mandela that I started this blog post with, I can’t help but think of the missional call that God has implanted within the gospel.  God truly doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3.9) and he calls and enables us to help him on this mission.

But the mission is long and slow and hard.  It’s fraught with difficulties and easily-committed offenses.  It takes risk, investment, and patience.

Having a missional posture and living incarnationally is no easy task.  It truly does mean putting the interests of others before our own, just like Jesus did (Philippians 2.3-8).

Being missional means getting messy.  It means “obedience in the same direction for a long time,” to paraphrase the title of a wonderful book by Eugene Peterson.  Being missional means putting our selfishness to the side for the sake of the good news of the kingdom of God.

This task seems impossible, and it is in our own power.  But Jesus whom we follow will bring his work to a close; he is the author and finisher of our faith after all (Hebrews 12.2).

So what’s the takeaway?  We must persist in our obedience to God’s missional call on our lives!  We must persevere and we must trust in Jesus who will sail this ship into harbor someday!

What lessons have you learned from the life of Nelson Mandela?

The Two Meanings of “Church”

Here’s an excellent video that illustrates the two meanings of the word “church.”  I found this video at Church Anarchist blog, which is a website run by Richard Jacobson (whom you can follow on Twitter: @churchanarchist).

The Ghost of Church Past: Part Three

My wife, parents, and I recently watched a stage production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  As I watched it I couldn’t help but imagine what the ghosts of church past, present, and future might say to those of us who follow Jesus.  I started with the the ghost of church past by looking at the earliest church (click here for that post) and then to the era begun by Constantine (click here for that post).  Now we turn to the more recent past.

The Attractional Church Model

Basics — The wheel that was set in motion during Constantine’s time has continued to roll. And a fairly recent example of this has been the attractional church model. This model came into full bloom during the “Church-Growth Movement” which was spearheaded by Donald McGavaran, Peter Wagner, among many others. The basic idea here is that what I call the Field of Dreams tactic: “If we build it, they will come.” So the focus of churches became programs, worship, and preaching. The thought was that if we could make these things excellent, then people would come to our churches in droves. To some extent this worked. Some churches grew like crazy during this period, with Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church being a prime example. And many good things came out of this time. Millions came to know the Lord through this model, Christians learned a whole bunch, and a ton of money was raised for churches and missionaries.

How Leadership Worked –– Many of the churches that did and continue to fall into this category are led by a few pastors with one being the chief pastor.  This chief pastor tended to be charismatic and focused on preaching and teaching.  As some of these churches grew, more and more staff were hired to help shepherd the growing flock.  This led to a silo effect in which various wings of the church were led by their own pastors who were in charge of their own budgets, programs, buildings, etc.

Problems — This model is affinity-based, meaning that church leaders promoted people being grouped together based on similarities. So many churches became increasingly homogenous, meaning that there was very little diversity. This model also depends on the culture outside of the church being similar enough to the culture inside the church that folks on the outside would turn to the church when they were seeking God. This was the case in the past but it’s not so much so now. And, most importantly, this model taught us to think of the church as the place where we invite people to come instead of being the church among those who do not yet know Jesus.

Place in Society — During the height of the attractional church model many church leaders were seen by politicians and other civic leaders as powerbrokers.  Thus, a few of these church leaders and their churches began to wield incredible power in their communities, cities, states, and beyond.  However, as the values of the wider culture and the attractional churches have departed from one another, these leaders and churches have seen their power wane to some degree.

Great Commission — For the most part this model followed suit with what had begun with Constantine’s legitimization of Christianity.  As mentioned above, most of these leaders and churches wanted people to flood into their church buildings.  The hope was that people would come to know Jesus through preaching and be discipled through education.  Most of the talk around the “Great Commission” meant contributing to international mission work financially.

Thus, we see a few positives here and quite a few negatives.  Hopefully this trip down memory lane will teach us a thing or two!

So, when you think of the attractional church model what comes to mind for you?  Is my brief analysis fair?

(FYI — some of the content of this blog was inspired by Alan Hirsch’s book Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church.  I highly recommend it!)

The Ghost of Christmas Past: Part One

The Ghost of Christmas Past: Part Two

 

10 Challenges for Missional Extroverts

Full disclosure: I’m not an extrovert but I am married to one!  She’s taught me a ton about what extroverts are like.  However, the list below is not solely based on my wife and her experiences.  I’ve known lots of other extroverts in my life too!

So based on what I’ve experienced, read about, and observed, here are some potential challenges that a missional extrovert night face.

  1. Spread Too Thin — Most extroverts that I know like to know lots of people, meaning that they can sometimes be pulled in a thousand different directions.  Often the result can be not being able to invest much time in any one relationship.
  2. Don’t Go Deep Enough — This one is related to the previous one.  In order to make disciples we have to go deep in our relationships with one another.  But this can be a problem for some extroverts since their sheer number of friends makes it hard for them to slow down, understand, and connect deeply with individuals.
  3. Rejection — A major part of living like a missionary is learning how to deal with rejection.  People aren’t always going to respond positively to you, your way of life, or Jesus.  It’s really easy for an extrovert to take this rejection personally since being social is centrally important.  And the sadness that this rejection causes can take a while to get over and discourage extroverts from moving forward.
  4. Feeling Too Pushy — Extroverts say that at times they can feel like they are being pushy in a relationship, like they are trying to create something out of nothing.  This is especially true if the person the extrovert is trying to build a relationship with is an introvert!  This fear can sometimes prevent an extrovert from deepening a potential friendship.
  5. The Social Butterfly Effect — Not every extrovert struggles with this, but many who I know do.  Sometimes an extrovert has a hard time focusing in on one relationship because there are so many other people out there!  Maybe there’s someone more fun, more interesting, or more socially valuable to connect to.  Being missional, of course, necessitates that we really focus in on each relationship we are part of.
  6. People Pleasing — This one isn’t true of every extrovert either, but many that I know are also people pleasers, meaning that for them what others think is very important.  A major problem with trying to please everyone when trying to be missional is that it might lead us to telling people what we think the want to hear instead of what they need to hear.
  7. Strategizing…Alone — Virtually every extrovert I know works best, thinks best, and plans best with others.  But the sad truth of the real world is that sometimes we have to strategize alone!  Since being alone is usually socially draining to an extrovert, this can be a huge challenge.  But it is really important for us all to figure out how to take stock periodically, even if alone!
  8. Burn Out — Many extroverts can burn themselves out pretty easily.  And many times this burn out can really surprise and extrovert due to the fact that many extroverts pursue so many relationships at once.  So, while its true that an extrovert needs relationships to be energized, too many relationship will ultimately cause harm.
  9. Intimacy Issues — Everyone has intimacy issues at some level but many extroverts usually have one of two issues: 1) They sometimes let too many people into their most intimate level of friendship, which can result in getting hurt a lot; or 2) They sometimes have lots and lots of superficial relationships to prevent anyone from really getting in close.  Being missional, however, means figuring out how to be intimately connected with one another but in healthy, life-giving ways.
  10. Fear of Being Needy — Almost every extrovert I know has a deep-seated fear of being viewed as needy.  They don’t want people to think of them that way.  This fear can hamper connecting well with folks, so its something that needs to be addressed in the life of a missional extrovert.

What do you think of this list?  Did I get some things wrong?  Did I miss a few?  Let me know in the comments below!

10 Challenges for Missional Introverts