Reblog: Intentions, no matter how good and determined, are not enough

Do you notice how God the Father responds to the Son’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane? Jesus makes clear that he intends to drink the cup of God’s wrath. He agrees to do it. The decision is made in his mind. Its a huge moment in salvation history as the Father and the Son have a different “will” – while still having the same “will”. It is not inappropriate to say that the entire plan of the universe stood on a knife edge in that garden on that night. But Jesus decided he would do it.

Did you notice God’s response?

As important as Jesus’ intention was, it wasn’t enough. Jesus’ decision to bare the Father’s wrath was not enough to atone for sin. Jesus’ intention to suffer in my place was not enough to free me from punishment. Good intentions and hard decisions are really important, but they’re not enough. They don’t actually do anything. They’re just the first step of doing anything really important.

I wonder whether we live in a world that tends to consider intentions as more important than actually following through on them?
If you’re a leader, do you let people make decisions that they’re not going to follow-through on? Do you value their good intentions over their actions?

If you’re part of a team or a volunteer, do you make decisions and think that’s the hard part done? Do you think your good intentions should be appreciated, regardless of whether you followed-through on them or not?

Dream!

Leading, delegating, starting, serving… they all require a little bit of dreaming. Sometimes, they require a lot of dreaming.

What would you LOVE to see happen… don’t worry about “how” it will happen just yet… just imagine.

What would you love to see them do when you give them this responsibility? What are they dreaming it will look like? Is their dream big enough? Or is it bigger than your dream?

If you’re encouraging people to join with you in serving Jesus, do they have a big enough dream about what could be?

How should you instill in people a godly ambition to take on more responsibility?

It’s helpful when people “step-up” and take on more responsibility. It allows leaders to delegate more and start new things and keep things going. But how should we motivate people to step-up? Rewards? Notoriety? Offer to meet up with them 1:1? Offer them more time with “the staff”? (that might back-fire)

I reckon its the idea of stewardship. Paul says “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” He says this in the context of avoiding sexual immorality, but the principle he goes back to is much bigger than that. It’s the idea that Jesus owns you; your body, your energy, your time. You don’t have to choose what to do with your day. You have to choose what to do with Jesus’ day. Jesus entrusts 24hrs of time to you every day… 168hrs every week. 

What are you going to do with Jesus’ time? What are you going to do with the body Jesus has loaned to you?

Lets do something great!

Why would you give a volunteer access to church data?

There’s a few things to think about before you give people access to contact details and other data.

  1. You’re not giving them access, you’re appointing them with responsibility.
    There are certain things people should do, and not do with private data. Access to data is not a right or a gift to use as they see fit. It’s a weighty responsibility they have to choose to take on. (We have volunteers sign a database privacy policy).
  2. If you’re appointing someone to a position of significant authority, it’s appropriate they have access to data.
    They might not need access to the database to fulfil their responsibilities, but the very fact they already have such responsibility means that access is appropriate. For example, our senior pastor rarely uses the database to do his job, but he has access.
  3. If someone’s smaller roll would be much, much easier with access to data, its loving to let them have it.
    There’s no point asking someone to organise a person from every growth group to be a contact person for a particular event, and then telling them they’ve got to find all those people the selves, or bounce that administrative hassle back to the growth group over seers. Administrators are great people to give access to the database.

Limiting your ministry to “with my spouse” only

On one hand, married couples have a great ability to focus and influence and care and endorse. I love married couples who do team ministry. It’s great. There are certain seasons of life where this can happen more and others where it happens less.

But, it’s not always “best”. And it shouldn’t be a limiting factor in working out what you and your spouse are going to formally do with church. Why? It turns something that’s meant to be other-person-centred into something that is only thought about “on my terms”. Be very wary if you hear yourself say something like, “that’s not something we could consider because we can’t do it together.” That’s bad. In fact, I don’t even think it should be in the top 5 questions you ask to consider a particular ministry responsibility.

The married couples I’ve seen do ministry for the long term are those that encourage each other in their individual giftedness, rather than limit their serving to their overlapping giftedness. So, think about how you can encourage your spouse to serve Jesus in ways that you never could. Jesus made them for that… and Jesus gave your spouse a great helper to help them… you.

Amaze people with “no reason”

If you’re in Christian leadership, its your job, your responsibility, to keep asking and encouraging people to give their time and effort to ministry. So much so, that it can feel like every interaction and phone call is a request.

On one hand, you have to be ok with that. If you don’t call people to step up to do the good works God has prepared them to do, there’s a good chance they won’t. Thank God for your role of getting people on the ministry field.

On the other hand, it gives you a great opportunity to surprise people with the opposite. Just call to say hi. Chat. When they ask what you’ve called them about (as they probably will) just say, “No reason. I realised that almost every time we’ve chatted has been about something that needs doing, so I just thought I’d call and say hi. That ok?”

Energy levels do not equate to amount of work done

Often when we talk about how much energy we have, we have the idea in our head that a certain amount of energy means we should be able to achieve a certain amount of output. That is, we assume human energy levels are like petrol levels in a car… if I have a full “energy” tank, I should be able to go 8 hours doing “stuff”.

But that’s not how energy levels usually work.

Usually, a person’s energy levels are a reflection on their expectations on their upcoming work. If they are excited about what they are going to do, they have a certain amount of energy for it. If they are scared or overwhealmed by the amount of work they have to do, their energy levels seem to drop.

It might seem a bit simplistic, but the best way to ensure you have the energy you need is to, a) lower your self-expectations and just go for small parts of big projects (just send 1 email, just make 1 call, just read 4 pages) and b) raise your vision and our purposes; help yourself see that the end goal or outcome is worthy and exciting and… energising.

That’s why gospel work (i.e. “good work”) is great. My outcome expectations are in the hands of God, and the purpose driving me is eternal and glorious.