Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Eucharist, the Great Commission, and Destructive Leadership

As I am preparing to facilitate the Eucharist this week I am keenly aware of how partaking in Communion is relinquishing power. This flies in the face of how many of us "do ministry." Indeed, I  am realizing that many of us who consider ourselves evangelical Christians confuse the call to share the Gospel (aka good news) with our own desire for power and influence. Power and influence in themselves are not bad. But when we desire power and influence we can easily be seduced into an egocentric form of leadership that is destructive for us and all whom we encounter. 

Five Ways to Avoid This Destructive Approach:
1. Listen first and listen well.
2. Love because a person is an image bearer of God and not simply as a means to an end.
3. Give freely with no strings attached.
4. Be willing to give up your position of power in your ministry. Let's be clear that God doesn't need you (or me). We are called to share the good news because, when we do it well, God is glorified and we are transformed in the process. 
5. While listening, loving, giving, and surrendering, prayerfully think about a wholistic approach to the Gospel. What is the good news in that moment for that particular person spiritually, emotionally, and relationally?

Bonus: Remember that Jesus saves, not you.

Here is a portion of my script for facilitating the Eucharist this week:

As I was preparing for Communion this week four words came to my mind: Let go and come.

Mark 10:45
"For even the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life for many."

When we come to this table we are identifying with Jesus' choice to give up his life. When we come to this table we are relinquishing the destructive desire for control and power and we are embraced, enveloped, and transformed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. 

We need only to let go and come.

This passage also inspired this post:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded,having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with Godsomething to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:1-11

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Facebook Status Update

Recently I "liked" a person's Facebook status. The status included 9 fun facts about the person. I enjoyed learning more about this person so I "liked" the status. Game over right? WRONG! Without knowing it, I had gotten sucked into this weird Facebook chain thingy. I don't even know what to call it. I usually hate these sorts of things. The guy whose status I "liked" sent me a message that said, "You have the number 9. Go!"

At first I ignored my assignment. I'm too cool for these stupid games. But, every time a friend of mine played the game, I loved learning about them. I thought, "What if I'm just perpetuating false humility? What if people actually would enjoy learning about me?" I gave in. Here's my post.

I was given the number 9.

1. I met my wife in the 9th grade at my locker. She's the only person I've ever dated and the only person I've ever kissed.
2. I once was on ESPN 2 because the college I played football for had 3 punts blocked. Each blocked punt was returned for a touchdown. Apparently that's some sort of NCAA record. "Come on, man!"
3. My sister caught my hair on fire when I was a kid. We were playing Little House on the Prairie and I was "sick." She tried to warm a tissue for my head by using a candle. I'll let you figure out the rest of the story.
4. My last play of regulation basketball involved me accidentally stuffing my own teammate as he was trying to shoot the game winning shot from 5 ft away from the rim. Oops.
5. I once punched somebody's chest so hard during a football game that my finger popped out of place. In the two seconds that it took me to realize I had a dislocated finger I happened to intercept a pass thrown by the opposing quarterback.
6. By my senior year of college I cost the school $15 a day in tape because of my various injuries. Apparently people under 200 lbs shouldn't play defensive line for 14 years. Noted.
7. The two items on the top of my bucket list are to build a house with my own hands and to sing backup for a bluegrass band.
8. I feel the happiest when I am on an adventure somewhere outside with my wife and kids. I can walk for miles while carrying one to two small humans who look like me.
9. My favorite parts of being a pastor include helping a person find true worth/value in the triune God, walking people through the marriage process, and grieving with people when they experience a serious crisis like the death of a loved one. These moments are real, raw, and intimate. In these moments I see the face of God.