Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Show on Leadnet - Church Bull Session

Today Leadnet had a brief show and call-in program "Church Bull Session". This is a weekly show (Tues at 4pm) where Leadership Network's Dave Travis, Reggie McNeal, and Chris Willard will be shooting from the hip on a number of ministry topics and current events. I was able to ask a question by twitter as well as follow-up with a call-in question. I got to tell Reggie that I loved his book "The Present Future" and only had to throw it across the room once :)

I asked "What does missional leadership development look like in a church trying to be more externally focused". (Answers below are from memory, I don't have a transcript)
"It's about Deploy-and-Debrief, not Train-then-Deploy, and it's a very different mindset." In other words, you create opportunities for people to serve (especially outside the walls of the church), then intentionally talk about what happened afterwards. The traditional approach would be that you announce training, give people the skills to do something, then send them off to do it. 
Be intentional about what you recognize and celebrate. Be sure to put high emphasis on what is going on outside of the church. For example, when you recognize children's ministry, add "Not just you involved in ministry here, I mean everyone who in ministry to children. Teachers, stand up. Volunteer tutors at the high school, Foster parents, grandmothers who are caregivers, stand up and be recognized. You guys are doing wonderful work in children's ministry!"
I then asked about how to encourage a shift from ministry inside the church to outside...
Every member a minister was an important biblical teaching that came out of the reformation, but there's an important aspect that it misses. Every member of the church is a also a missionary, called not only to serve but to share the gospel to those lives they touch. Rather than a replacement of every member a minister, it's more of a change in focus in where they are deployed, and a greater sense of mission in what they do. It's not about finding a church ministry for everyone, it's about releasing people for service to other people where they are already deployed - serving in their community, among their family and friends. It's about encouraging the use of their time and spiritual gifts to touch the lives of those outside the church walls.
My next question: "How do you make the shift from equipping for internal ministry to releasing for external ministry and for developing the mindset of every member a missionary?"
Churches need to adopt the Home Depot approach - You can do it. We can help!  Too long we've had the attitude (implicit or explicit)  "We can do it. You can help."
Another idea is to bring in several community leaders over time - fire commissioner, police chief, high school principal, gang leader, and have them share what's going on the in the community and how they can help make a difference.
One other great comment made on the show, when another caller asked "How do you motivate people to get involved in the community?"
You don't! Give it up, stop trying! Instead... create a venue for service where they can actually do something. When they see that what they're doing is actually impacting lives, it will motivate them in a way you never could by talking about it. Change the behavior, leading by example, and the motivation will come powerfully and naturally.
For more on these ideas, you may want to check out Reggie McNeal's new book "Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church." (I'm falling behind on reading, I really need to get this one myself!)

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