Bring in the Clowns…

Lately I’ve been reading a short but very good book entitled Called: The Crisis and Promise of Following Jesus Today.  It’s written by Dr. Mark Labbeton, who just so happens to be the president of the seminary (Fuller Seminary) where I am a PhD student.

In a section about how there’s a crisis of vocation for followers of Jesus, Dr. Labberton writes these hard-hitting words:

Our calling has become encrusted, buried under layers that lack significant evidence of life.  Viral cat videos seem to touch our humanity and longing more than many church services do.  I have felt caught in this vortex.  The temptation in the church is to bring in more clowns and light the sparklers, but the real solution is what the Bible declares is our calling: to live out genuine love that shows up in the face of real need. (Page 20)

Amen!

Our solution can’t be more of the same (even if what is “more” is “better” or “more relevant” or “slicker” than that which came before it.

The only solution to the issues that the Church faces in North America today is following Jesus.

Actually.  Following.  Jesus.

That means living the life of Jesus in and through our own lives, by the power of the Spirit.

So, since Jesus came not to be served but to serve and give his life away for others, we ought to as well.

Since Jesus cared more about those who were cast aside and oppressed than he did those who were self-righteously religious, we ought to as well.

And since Jesus’ entire life was centered around love, ours ought to be as well, individually and collectively.

 

What do you think?  Did Dr. Labberton hit the nail on the head?  Let me know in the comments below!

Biblical Hospitality — Brad Brisco

In this short video Brad Brisco (missional thought leader, church planter, and church planting coach) breaks down the idea he calls “biblical hospitality.”

I love the idea of hospitality in the Bible being “love + stranger.”

That’s something that can inspire me to action!
What do you think?  How do you live out biblical hospitality?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

What Is God Like? ~Hugh Halter

 

Hugh Halter is one of my favorite Christian speakers.  He’s a straight taker and a missional practitioner.  Check out this great video from him about how to know what God is like.

 

 

 

Curious? Curious Leadership and It's Results

“Many leaders are the ‘walking wounded,’ but their followers are the ‘sitting silent.'”  That’s a quote from the book Curious: The Unexpected Power of a Question-Led Life by Tom Hughes, Co-Lead Senior Pastor at Christian Assembly in Eagle Rock, CA (a city right around the corner from where I live).

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Curious: The Unexpected Power of a Question-Led Life by Tom Hughes

Linking Being Curious and Leadership

Curious is a great book and I highly recommend it!  There are many reasons why I like it but one of them stands behind the quote with which I started this post: healthy curiosity fuels good leadership.

But Tom also makes the point that a leader that is answer-driven instead of curiosity-driven will ultimately burn out, becoming the, as he calls it, the “walking wounded.”  And what’s the result of this kind of leadership?  Well, it isn’t good, that’s for sure!

The way Tom puts it is perfect: the “sitting silent.”  Leaders who try to answer all the questions will eventually burn out and produce passive followers.

And here’s the really odd thing (and this is my commentary now): Many of these burned out leaders blame their followers for their burned-out status and they blame them for not being a more active part of their business, church, etc.

This isn’t entirely fair.  Had the leader done his/her job from the beginning, namely leading from a place of humble curiosity and relentless authenticity, then he/she wouldn’t have to have every answer and his/her followers would be intrinsically compelled to be more active.

So, leaders, instead of complaining, let’s start leading from a place of curiosity!

 

What do you think?  What role can and should curiosity play for a leader?  And what do you think of the idea of the “walking wounded” producing the “sitting silent”?  Let me know in the comments below!

Exclusively for Everybody

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This tagline from Smirnoff is brilliant!

How well does it apply to following Jesus?

Getting the Flock out of the Pen

Here’s the best thing I’ve read all week:

If the church consists of all those who have believed in Jesus, then church leaders must be less concerned with attracting a bigger flock and more concerned with getting the flock out of the pen.

This awesome nugget comes from Neil Cole and Phil Helfer in their timely and amazing book entitled Church Transfusion: Changing Your Church Organically–From the Inside Out.