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MOBILIZE YOUR CHURCH

Mobilize

The word mobilization describes the act of assembling and making both troops and supplies ready for war.  The word was first used in military conflict in order to depict the Russian army of the 1850s and 1860s.  Its definition is, “to marshal, bring together, prepare for action especially of a vigorous nature.”  Mobilization is about preparation and then moving into action so that we can make an impact for the Kingdom of God.  It goes beyond planning and strategy and moves us into action.

Mobilization is moving the church into action.  It is activating the body of Christ to actually live out the values we say we hold on to and believe.  The book of James makes it clear that we demonstrate a genuine faith, not by what we say, but by what we do and how we live our lives.  The best measurement of what we really value is not what we say but how we behave.  Values are those guiding principles, convictions, and assumptions that we have about ministry.  They are enduring beliefs that determine how we act.

Where does your church need to mobilize?  Are there things that you say you value that are lacking proof of that value in your daily actions?  Most churches and Christians would say that they value evangelism but there’s really no action to say it genuinely is a value.  We spend all of our time with Christians, we have minimal contact with unbelievers, and we are not actively cultivating relationships with people far from God.  How can we say we really value evangelism when there is no behavior in our lives that says we love the lost?

Mobilization is a call to awaken and activate your church to plan, prepare, and then move into action.  There are three areas to consider determining where your church is and where your church needs to begin.  First, maybe you need to mobilize to become healthy.  You must face the reality that your church is not well, sick, or maybe even on life support waiting for the plug to be pulled.  Some churches are even faced with the decision of closing and reinvesting somewhere through replanting. Getting healthy could also involve casting a new vision of simplified ministry right where you are.

Second, your church may need to mobilize your ministry.  Your church is not on the downward side of the life cycle but it does need some kind of intervention to refocus on making disciples, reproducing leaders, and multiplying churches.   The church is so busy with doing church that it has become inwardly focused and the scorecard needs to change from not only measuring what happens on the church campus to what impact the church is having in its city and community.  James 4:17 says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

Third, your church is healthy and you need to mobilize to multiply.  The time has come to focus on your sending capacity and develop a culture of multiplication.  Your focus is to equip, empower, and release leaders to multiply through missional engagement in new cities and communities.  Your church is not only interested in ministry but living on mission and developing leaders to live as missionaries in their zip code.

The temptation is to always default to what we know instead of what we actually do.  When churches think on their core values they will talk about how strongly they stand for the teaching and preaching of the word of God.  But it is interesting that as churches stress teaching and preaching the truth, and you should, that you are actually flipping the biblical order of the Great Commission.  It does not say teach first but rather says “go” and make disciples.  They must be taught and they must be taught correctly but if we never reach them there is no new believers who need to be taught.

Healthy churches do not just talk about what they believe but mobilize to action!  For the most part we behave in a manner consistent with our values, so if we value God’s word He says in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

DEVELOP LEADERS NOT FOLLOWERS

Leaders

Following is important and we know that Jesus said, “Follow me!”  Jesus discipled others by moving them through a process (“I Do, You Watch; I do, You Help; You Do, I Help; You Do, I Watch”) from being followers to leaders.  Leadership is influence and moves the follower forward through different levels.  First, we must watch, listen, and learn.  Then we begin to act upon the learning we have received.  Many are trained way beyond their level of obedience!  Thirdly, the follower begins to lead others intentionally.  Next, they not only lead but focus on developing other leaders.  Average leaders lead followers while great leaders lead leaders.        

     Leadership is basically the process of pouring into others to multiply ministry effectiveness, expand Godly influence, and reproduce spiritual leaders.  There is an old saying, “If you want one year’s prosperity, grow grain, but if you want ten year’s prosperity, grow men and women.”   A focus on leadership development focuses on building a simple reproducible system to ensure that our practice is able to catch up with our knowledge.  All too often we try to think our way into a new way of acting instead of acting ourselves into a new way of thinking! 

     The key to committing to the development of leaders is coming to the point where we are no longer content to just lead followers!  The reality is that followers are very high maintenance and require a lot of oversight.  That is natural and should be expected in the beginning but not long term.  Every time a leader can find and develop another leader it increases the scope of their influence for the Gospel exponentially.  Jesus intentionally influenced twelve and deliberately invested in three.  Develop leaders who have a heart to develop leaders.  That is multiplication!

     This focus requires asking the right questions.  Whom have I developed who can handle this?  Which of my leaders has a team capable of taking on this ministry?  What have I done to prepare this leader for this opportunity?  What can I do to equip and empower this leader?  What can I do to help this leader grow and improve?  How can I train, coach, and mentor followers to become leaders?  When a leader is committed to developing other leaders they are not interested in being the star but in helping others to shine!

     Unfortunately, we think that a training event or the right book on leadership will change the culture all by itself but that only takes us partway.  There must be a plan for implementation of the learning through coaching and mentoring.  Jesus spent time with the disciples and built a strong personal relationship with them.  His goal was to reproduce His values in them so that they could accomplish His Kingdom goals.  How did He do?  Acts 5:28 says, “and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.”  He not only developed followers but leaders!

     What do you look for in the followers you want to invest in to become leaders?  First, they must already be busy and active.  The principle here is to look for those already driven to make a difference for Christ.  They are not standing around waiting for someone to put them to work but they are already busy.  They have a hunger and thirst to do more.  One word of caution; some have not gotten involved yet because they have never been asked or they are unsure of where they are needed and even if they are needed.  Remember; look for those already in motion!

     Second, they must have a teachable spirit.  Look for those that are willing to listen and are excited about learning.  They have a healthy respect for you as a leader and they believe that you can help them to develop and succeed as a leader.  If they are not excited to enter an intentional leadership development relationship with you then it is probably best to look for someone else.  Leadership development is an involved process that requires time, energy, discretion, patience, discipline, and can be difficult to carry out.  But, it is well worth it!

     One leader of leaders, Larry Bossidy, puts it this way, “When you’re confused about how you’re doing as a leader, find out how the people you lead are doing.  You’ll know the answer.”  The only way, and it’s the biblical way, to maximize ourselves as leaders is to develop other leaders.  It is a win-win situation when we mentor followers to become leaders.  Without leadership development your ministry will plateau and eventually begin to decline.  Mentoring leaders is not cloning but giving followers an intentional pathway for becoming whom God always intended them to be!

     Healthy churches are focused on developing leaders not just followers!