Saturday, August 23, 2008

Are You In A Rut?

It has been a hectic weekend. I just completed my first Teacher In-Service week. I learned so much and got a lot accomplished as well. School starts Monday. I'm just nervous enough to make it interesting.

I came up with an awesome thought this week. I don't know a Student Pastor, or any other staff member that gets to teach students five days a week. That thought blew me away. If you had told me 30 years ago that I'd start teaching school at 63 years of age, I would have had a good laugh. The Lord must know what He's doing and has a great sense of humor as well.

School starts and the football season begins this week. Alabama is playing Clemson on TV this Saturday. So, we'll be watching LSU first and then Alabama. Everybody will pick Clemson to whip us, but you never know what will happen in college football.

We are still registering people for Abundant Life University. It has not gone so well, but this is the Sunday before school starts. If we don't get a significant number of new registrants this weekend, we probably won't make up for it on Labor Day weekend. We continue to receive new folks for Alpha. Both programs begin September 7, so not a lot of time remains.

I don't know who said this, but there is not truer statement:
"Without assimilation the opportunity for ongoing discipleship training will not exist."
Churches that major on Sunday morning worship at the expense of a healthy over-all ministry often end up building what we used to call a "Sunday Morning Chapel". The people are usually not assimilated into the church and therefore never become the body of Christ. The church is a place to come to on Sunday morning and feel good, or get refueled, not to be ready for the week to come, but to survive the week before. They seldom become a church family, assimilation does not take place, and so there is no chance of being discipled. Discipleship ends up not existing. The people do not grow spiritually and nothing changes. The lost are not reached because the body is so weak and there is nothing for people who stumble into the chapel service. It becomes an endless orbit going nowhere and touching no one.
There is hope. You can break out of this endless circle, but it will take effort, prayer, and dedication. What does one do?
First, create a vision of where you want to go. Nail it down. Then share that vision with your staff, key leaders, natural leaders, and the church as a whole. Plant the vision as many ways as humanly possible with as many people as possible. Keep spreading the vision until people start laughing about it. Then you will know that the word is out. Keep going.
Second, create harmony and teamwork. Use bonding opportunities to pull people together, think together, and enjoy being together. Move from individuals to a team approach. Plan together, make things happen together, and analyze together. Since everyone is now thinking as one, they should be doing everything together as well.
Third, create an infrastructure that will accommodate the new vision and dedication to make it happen. Without an adequate infrastructure, nothing can happen except the hatching of new and great ideas. The ideas will never get off the page.
Lastly, how can I tell if I am in a rut and going no where? If you are judging the success of your ministry by the success of programs, you are in this rut. Why? Because the programs are probably not doing as well as you would expect. Your judgment is is based on failing programs
that are doomed before they start. Therefore, you feel like a loser...defeated...alone.
Take a risk and step out in faith. Change your direction and your M.O. Lay leadership "metabolism" will change and you will feel like you are in a different environment. Now the real work begins and the new plan continues. You are on the road and discipleship will become real as you evolve.

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