Archivos para junio 29, 2012


Post image for Renaming, Rethinking, or Really Re-forming?Yesterday my brother Aaron (who leads a great worship band, btw)tweeted the following:

All our iPhones now say 4G. Not because they are faster, but because AT&T changed the name of their 3G network to 4G. Sermon illustration?

I have no idea if this is actually what AT&T did, but it struck me as a great parable for one way that we often try to take shortcuts in leadership: instead of doing the hard work of really building a culture of discipleship and mission, we just re-brand what we currently have.



The renaming shortcut is thinking that if we start using new nomenclature, people will “get it” and change will come. The word “missional” oftentimes gets used this way, when leaders add it to the language of their church without really taking the time to investigate the implications of its theology. Like renaming an existing 3G data network “4G” and expecting it to do the trick. Or renaming small groups “discipleship groups” and expecting disciples to come out of them.

Language does create culture, so it’s vitally important that we use language that creates a discipling culture, but it’s not enough to start talking differently. You also have to start living differently as a leader, because you reproduce who you are, not what you say. You can’t just tweak your lingo, freshen up the logo, and expect any real change to take place. Renaming isn’t enough.


There’s another leadership shortcut we often try to take, I think: being content with rethinking stuff. At the Ecclesia National Gathering earlier this week, Don Coleman (a man I deeply admire) said this:

It’s easy for us to talk about doing something so much that we think we’re doing it.

(He also said, “If sitting in rows listening to someone talk could change the world, we would have done it by now,” and “You say ‘I go to a church that teaches the Bible.’ So what? Go to a church that lives the Bible.’” Which is why I like him so much.)

Coleman points out another leadership trap that we “missional church” folks are especially prone to: assuming that it’s enough to rethink things. It’s easy for us to assume that if we’ve gracefully teased out and deftly articulated our theology that we’ve really accomplished something. But it’s not enough to write a book or cleverly broadcast forgotten truths. We need to put this stuff into practice and see how it plays out in real life.


Beyond just renaming and rethinking, what we’re aiming for is re-forming our churches around discipleship and mission. This will involve the painful work of embracing brokenness and weakness so God’s power can flow through us. It will involve examining our lives and undergoing personal transformation before attempting organizational change. It will involve exploring the assumptions we’ve made and opening ourselves up to new ways of leading.

It will involve not being content with the shortcuts of renaming or rethinking things, but only with a genuine re-forming of structures and practices around discipleship to Jesus and mission in his name.

By Paul Stanley , Christian Post Reporter

michelle obamaFirst lady Michelle Obama told those gathered at the annual conference of the African Methodist Episcopal church in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday that what Christians do in the quieter moments of their lives is more important than just showing up for Sunday services once a week.

“Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday for a good sermon and good music and a good meal,” the first lady said to some 10,000 people. “It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well, especially in those quiet moments, when the spotlight is not on us, and we’re making those daily choices about how to live our lives.”

“We see that in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of the church,” she said. “He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day. He was out there spreading a message of grace and redemption to the least, the last, and the lost. And our charge is to find Him everywhere, every day by how we live our lives.”

Mrs. Obama’s comments may have something to do with the fact that the first family does not attend church on a regular basis. In author Ed Klein’s new book, The Amateur, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, whose church the Obama’s attended when they lived in Chicago, said the first family did not seem interested in attending church on a regular basis.

“These are not church people,” Wright said of Barack and Michelle Obama. “As far as Michelle was concerned, that she was not brought up in the church, and as far as the couple themselves, the church is not very important to them.”

In her address to the AME Church’s 49th General Conference, the first lady turned her focus toward several civil rights icons including Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, including some former AME church members who championed civil rights over the past 150 years.

“I know that I am here today because of those heroes,” she said. “My husband is in the White House today because of them. Because of those heroes, today my daughters and all our children and grandchildren can grow up dreaming of being doctors and lawyers, CEOs and senators, and yes, maybe even the president of the United States of America.”

“So yes, we moved forward and we won those battles, and we made progress that our parents and grandparents could never have imagined,” said Obama. “But today, while there are no more ‘whites only’ signs keeping us out, no one barring our children from the schoolhouse door, we know our journey is far from finished.”

And in an election year that most political analyst believe will most likely hinge on a handful of key swing states, the first lady wasted no time in motivating those listening to encourage everyone they know to participate and vote in November.

“But let’s be very clear, while we’re tuning out and staying home on Election Day, other folks are tuning in. Other folks are taking politics very seriously. And they’re engaged on every level. They’re raising money. They’re making their voices heard”

“What does that mean? That means being informed. It means following the news, and learning about who is representing us, and how our governments work. It means showing up to vote – and not just every four years, but every year in every election.

“So I want you to talk to your friends and your family, your neighbors,” she said. “Talk to them. Talk to folks in the beauty salons, the barbershops, the parking lot at church. Tell them what’s happening on the city council and out in Washington. Let them know. Find that nephew who has never voted – get him registered.”

Later that day, the first lady left Nashville for Memphis, where she attended a fundraiser Thursday evening before returning to Washington, D.C.