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LOVE & LEAD

Our current social distancing and no groups larger than ten, at the request of our national and local governments, lingers on.  This began, for most of us, thinking and planning for a quick fix to get through this and then, hopefully, life would be normal again.  That has now been going on anywhere from 1-2 months depending on where you live.  It now requires a major shift from the “quick fix” to prayerful planning for the longer haul.  Everything changed drastically and quickly 2 months ago but now we are in the midst of the doldrums (look it up).

While our focus has been forced to move from a quick fix to the long haul we also need to move from more information to spiritual guidance.  There are many resources already available and the Internet seems to be swimming with content on how to get through this pandemic.  The shift must be made from travel agents to tour guides.  A travel agent tells you all about your destination, what it will look like, and what it will be like.  A tour guide makes the trip with you and helps you understand better where you are and where you need to go next.

Find a cohort, a group of friends, who are on the same journey and travel with them.  If you would like to be part of an ongoing online coaching group please let me know (larry@bmaam.com).  Maybe the biggest lesson we are learning right now is how much we need friends, mentors, and travel guides to walk along side of us helping us to navigate these uncharted waters.  One leader said, “Relationships now trump excellence.”  They are more important than the programs, the buildings, or the event.  We need less telling us what to do and more walking with us!

During the Babylonian captivity God’s people did not have access to the temple.  The center of worship was lost but they did not lose their faith.  Our situation is not the first time God’s people have been challenged to remain faithful and strong in the midst of a challenge.  The story is told of a pastor in China who left his city and upon his return a couple of days later a hole had been dug and the entire church building was bulldozed into it and covered up.  That is hard to imagine but the multiplication of disciples is exploding there.   

You now have a great opportunity to re-examine and re-evaluate your mission, values, and vision statement for your church.  Are you aligned with the Biblical values found in Acts of prayer, worship, fellowship, discipleship, serving others, and evangelism?  Values are not something you say you believe but they are lived out in your life and the life of your church.  There is a huge difference between aspirational values and actual values.  We must remember that values are confirmed by actions, not just by words or even a written mission statement!

This is from The Multiplication Workshop by our good friend Dr. Dave Devries, “Values reflect a person’s unique beliefs, core convictions, and guiding principles. These values will guide ongoing attitudes and behaviors. Often times, values are unwritten assumptions that guide actions.”  Before this pandemic hit were you living out the biblical values, written or spoken, that you stated were guiding your church?  It is time to re-access those guiding values and make a recommit to knowing them and living them out daily (see James 1:22).

Most churches will come out of this time with two platforms.  Worship services will begin again at some level with a recommendation of the number of people allowed to congregate.  Now, many more churches have a virtual presence, which is a good thing because the gospel is available to more people than ever before.  Praise the Lord!  Please do not abandon that platform.  Utilize it and see it as another door to connecting those who may be looking and seeking for the truth.  Have a plan in place to follow up on them just as if they filled out a connection card in your services.  What will your assimilation system look like for these visitors?

How will you continue to engage and connect with both audiences?   Think through what that will look like because there are some very important questions to ask.  How much can be done and accomplished virtually?  How much cannot be done and accomplished virtually because of the need to build relationships?  Hebrews 3:12-13 says, “Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.”            

Relationships have always have been more important than programs, practices, and procedures.  Jesus made it clear what the greatest commandment was and is (Matthew 22) and the second also.  Mark Batterson recently said, “We need to keep washing our hands and washing other’s feet!”  Through this time we must remain focused on serving Jesus and serving others.  Mark 10:44 says, “And whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all.”  Are you willing to voluntarily be a “slave to all?”  Love first and then lead!