Mike Breen’s new book “Multiplying Missional Leaders” came out this week. Can’t recommend it enough! http://weare3dm.com/store/mml-book/
Why do bad things happen to good people?
This is a brilliant question, but comes with an answer that is often times very difficult to swallow. God created you and me for two expressed purposes: 1) to enjoy a relationship with God and his family where everything that is God’s is ours and vice-versa, and, 2) to represent God’s ways in all the earth (Genesis 1:28-29). God gave humanity to responsibility and authority to rule the earth and we gave that authority and responsibility to someone else, the devil, and guess what? The devil is bad. He does bad things. He hates humanity because God loves humanity and the devil does everything to spite God. So imagine taking the worst inmate in the highest security prison and making them president of the United States. The devil loves death, sickness, disease, famine, poverty, divorce, hatred, bitterness and everything else that corrupts life. And we gave him the keys to the world.
Number one question I usually get at this point – “How can I be held responsible for something Adam and Eve did so many years ago? Truth is, you and I give the devil authority and abdicate responsibility every day. Every time we gossip, refuse to forgive another, give in to impatience, walk away from those who are hurting, sick and needy; every time we choose our way instead of God’s way we are giving the authority that was intended for us to him and he does bad things with that authority.
You and I are responsible for why bad things happen to good people. It breaks God’s heart more than we could ever imagine, but he will not change his mind. He created us to rule the earth on his behalf, to represent his goodness in every area of life. Jesus says we are God’s instrument to bring heaven to earth, so that earth looks more like heaven. This is the way it was intended to be from the beginning and God is still committed to helping us play our part in bringing the world under the blessing of God’s way.
How can we take back our rightful responsibility and walk in the authority God destined everyone of us for? Learn to live like Jesus lived. Jesus is a wonderful picture of what humans were meant to live like. Jesus engaged in covenant relationship with his heavenly father and daily represented his father’s ways in everything he said and did and fruit of that life was exactly what we should expect. The works of the devil were reversed. The blind began to see, the lame began to walk, the sick were made well, the dead began to rise, the widows and orphans found family – the bad things that were happening to good people were being reversed.
This is our destiny, to reverse the works of the devil. Your mission, should you decide to accept it…
A great big thanks to all those who made the Webinar last week a splendid success. I hope it was helpful for everyone involved. Below are the answers for those questions we didn’t have time to process during the webinar.
Q: Two pastor church. Should both pastors start a huddle?
A: If both pastors have had an opportunity to be huddled, then YES, it is a great benefit if you can start 2 huddle from the start. (FYI – This does not mean I recommend one pastor start 2 huddles)
Q: What’s been your experience with co-ed couples in huddle?
A: I think it’s brilliant if you can huddle couples. If I am doing the primary huddling, then I will do my best to make sure the ladies get access to my wife, but there have been times where my wife and I have led a huddle together. In this case we will maintain a rhythm where some weeks we separate the genders to give opportunity for more sensitive conversations and processing.
Q: How can I get involved in a huddle without close mentors who are on this same page?
A: This is challenging, but exactly the reason we started 3DM Coaching. We found there are so many leaders out there who have not received the kind of discipling investment we believe Jesus offered his followers. They realize they can’t offer what they have not first received and join a 3DM Coaching Huddle for a year to be trained in this very way.
Q: How do you best prepare for a huddle? Do you take notes in or after the huddle to refer to later?
A: Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for a huddle:
- Make sure you are familiar with any tools that will be processed specifically during the huddle. That may require you reread the chapter/content you have assigned to your participants.
- I do recommend you take notes during each huddle and refer back to them prior to the following huddle to remind yourself of the conversations as well as to give the Lord opportunity to speak to you about any of the situations.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY – Take some time before the start of a huddle and remember apart from the Spirit of God you have nothing of significant value to offer your participants. Submit yourself afresh to the Holy Spirit and invite him to lead you through the huddle. I encourage the practice of keeping one eye and ear on the conversation/situation happening in huddle and one eye and ear on the Lord. Jesus said he only says what he hears the Father saying and does what he sees the Father doing, so this should be our grid for how we handle a huddle. It’s a difficult discipline to learn, but well worth the effort! You will learn in time that the best huddles are the ones where you as the leader were surrendered to what the Lord was doing.
I hope to see many of you in future Webinars!
For those of you interested in learning more about starting your first huddle and multiplying huddles, join me for a 3DM Webinar on Wednesday, March 28 4-5pmEST. I’ll break down the basics that everyone should know before starting or multiplying huddles in any context followed by a time of Q&A. I would strongly recommend every leader gather their team around a computer and listen in for the nuts a bolts that could make starting and multiplying huddles a much smoother process.
Follow this link to register - WEBINAR – HOW TO START YOUR FIRST HUDDLE
Some things we’ll cover…
- Who should you invite into your first huddle?
- Should the senior pastor start a huddle, and if so, with who?
- How do you invite someone into a huddle?
- How often should we meet and for how long?
- Where should we meet?
- What should we do in a huddle?
- Can I start a huddle if I’ve never been in one?
See you there!
As I’ve said in a recent post, discipleship is both an organizational and organic investment; it’s both structured and spontaneous, formal and informal. So how do we invite someone into a discipling relationship without overlooking the need for both? For most being discipled means attending a Sunday school class or joining a small group. Where both of these will contribute to the overall growth of a Christian, neither have been very productive in producing disciples in the way Jesus showed us.
Jesus’ final words to his disciples in the gospel of Matthew, because he knew how quickly we get distracted with all kinds of “good” things, were, “Go and make disciples.” Managing the affairs of a church organization, preparing sermons, counseling, staff meetings, outreaches are all good things, but we can so quickly become consumed with these and forget what Jesus asked us to do – GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES.
And in case the disciples forgot what it meant to make disciples, Jesus reminds them to do exactly what he did with them, “Baptize (immerse) them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (a new identity as members of God’s covenant family) AND teach them to do everything I’ve taught you. In other words, teach and train others to BE who I am and DO what I do.
THE INVITATION – An invitation into a discipling relationship will follow this pattern of invitation – “I’m inviting you to come be with me to learn with me and from me how to imitate the life (BE) and ministry (DO) of Jesus.” Of course you will use your own words, but it’s helpful to know the basic message you are trying to communicate.
THE TEXTURE – We call this invitation and challenge. When Jesus invited some of the early disciples on the beaches of Galilee, he both invited them into a discipling relationship where Jesus was prepared to give them access to his life in a way no one else would experience and he also challenged them to consider the cost of such a journey. If we or they are not prepared to engage in this kind of challenge then they will not grow. Nothing in life grows without both support and challenge. Discipleship is helping others to grow in their identity as covenant partners with God as well as represent that identity well in their lifestyle and behavior.
THE CONTEXT – Your disciples will be with you on a regular basis in both formal and informal ways. I encourage a weekly formal gathering, which we call Huddle. This is a regular, consistent, predictable time to intentionally process how God is working in the lives of your disciples. There must also be informal times together. This might look like grabbing a quick lunch together, them joining you for some errands or helping you with some projects around your house.
THE EXPECTATIONS – Be honest from the beginning about what lays ahead. Jesus didn’t offer tons of details, but he did tell the disciples they would have to follow him and they would learn to be “fishers of men.” Here’s a list of some things I generally make clear:
- We will meet weekly for 1 hour for about one year. I expect your attendance will be the rule, not the exception.
- I expect you will complete assigned exercises and come to Huddle ready to participate.
- Please come ready to engage, ready to share openly and courageously.
- You will receive lots of support, but you will also be challenged to grow.
- You want to learn from me how to better imitate the life and ministry of Jesus.
5 SIGNS OF HUDDLE LEADER READINESS
#1: Has experienced an imitate-able example of huddle long enough to have confidence to imitate what they have received in their own huddle [information---imitation---innovation]
#2: A basic understanding of the key tools of lifeshapes and covenant and kingdom theology.
#3: Ability to calibrate invitation and challenge.
#4: Ability to listen to God and speak prophetically into the lives of the people you are huddling.
#5: Deep understanding of and commitment to the learning circle as the model for processing kairos moments.
Leadership is Discipleship.
We cannot afford to divorce discipleship from leadership or we end up with a culture of volunteerism.
In the hustle and bustle of trying to promote, maintain and multiply good church services and programs, we find ourselves pressed for time, energy and resources, therefore enlisting folks into our volunteer armies to fulfill our vision. Somewhere along the way we exchanged Jesus’ vision of a discipling culture for a volunteer culture. We’ve become experts in mobilizing volunteers and have lost sight of our responsibility to make disciples. We have gathered large armies and have given them lanyards instead of stripes, clipboards instead of guns and we train them in the art of smiling instead of the art of spiritual warfare. And we wonder why dysfunction is as rampant in the church as out.
We mean to deliver these volunteers into greater levels of responsibility, empowering them to do greater things and promising them this is their spiritual act of worship, but most end up on the treadmill of volunteerism, fighting to believe this is what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” Of course we use enticing language to describe the noble service provided by these elite warriors, even taking a whole night each year to throw them a special party to show them how thankful we are that they continue to serve our feudal models of church, and secretly hoping they don’t quit cause we’re running out of options.
How can we know if we’ve strayed down this path?
WHAT DO YOU COUNT? Volunteers or Disciples?
When was the last time you asked your kids to volunteer to brush their teeth or put their clothes away or make their bed or put the dishes up? We don’t call this volunteering because we consider it part of their life training. Most parents would agree their primary responsibility is to invest into their children from birth, preparing them with both sound character and competency, so that they might leave the nest and become fully functional, contributing members of our society. We want to see them flourish so we pour into them everything we have until they can lead a healthy, successful life.
Here’s a thought – What if we stopped inviting people to be volunteers and instead invited them into leader training, where we use the various responsibilities around our “household” (church) to train Christians in the character and skills of Jesus? What if the janitors were equally trained as the children workers in things like teaching the gospel, healing the sick, and casting out demons. What if we saw every Christian as a leader in training and took on the responsibility of developing infrastructures in our churches that provided the kind of support and accountability that would see them develop into empowered leaders?
Every Christian is called to imitate the life and ministry of Jesus…every Christian (every non-Christian as well). The beauty of the invitation to follow Jesus is that it is for every man, woman and child regardless of their season of life, age, color, socio-economic station and ESPECIALLY regardless of whether they have any official title or position in a church. That’s right – young, single moms and old, crotchety pew-sitters are equally invited to enter the process of learning to imitate the life and ministry of Jesus. This invitation extends to new Christians, old Christians and weird Christians alike.
I promise you’re not going to get to heaven and Jesus ask you, “How many volunteers do you have?”
Discipleship is really hard, but it’s worth it!
And it’s never too late to start.
(Props to Chad Pullins for the title!)