As a Family we are excited about heading out to Greenville today to spend some much needed time with our family. Spending this particular Friday getting ready to rest and abide. Reflecting on the season of lent as we wind that down. Feeling the heavy burden today of what HE did for us years ago and looking forward to celebrating the good news of the resurrection and the life we now live freely.
Dave recently posted a blog on our 3DM Leadership Blog. Wanted to share that with you today. Even though this post is about Managing a Ministry or Leading a Movement, As it relates to our context of being the Rhodes family – It’s not about Managing our Family but it’s about Leading our Family on Mission. Being part of an extended family is that we choose to never do anything alone. It’s a matter of closing the gap between our intention and our practice. Which is why as a family on Mission if we hear God speak to something we make sure it’s reflected in our weekly practices and disciplines as we seek to bring the Kingdom of God to all places as weShow and Tell people Jesus.
So here is Dave’s post. Enjoy!
Love – Rhodes to Anywhere…
Managing a Ministry or Leading a Movement
Life is full of choices.
Some choices come and go and very few things are really affected.
Other choices directly affect us not just in the moments we choose them but also in every moment after. In fact, some of choices we make today are directly related to the kind of lives we live tomorrow. And never do we really know that more than when we make the wrong choice.
For me, one of these moments happened when I was around six years old. My mom had dragged me to the grocery store to run errands with her, as moms often have to do. But moms can’t go to the grocery store to just get what they need, like normal people. So I was being dragged up and down each aisle, slowly but surely making our way through the entire store. I questioned the meaning of life more than once in the frozen food section.
But then on aisle nine, I found it. My purpose for being at the grocery store turned the moment my mom looked at me and said, “David, it’s your turn!” Here’s why I was so excited: aisle nine was the cereal aisle, and that meant I got to pick out one box of cereal for the week. I remember as a kid running up and down the aisle looking at all the different choices. Cocoa Pebbles, Life, Cheerios, Trix, Cookie Crisp (my personal favorite), Fruit Loops and so many others. These are big choices in life.
On this particular grocery store run, I had made my decision. The box of Cookie Crisp was already in my hand. That’s when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was a box of cereal called Fiber Bran, or something like that. Now, no kid really wants to eat Fiber Bran—that’s a cereal for old people who have issues in their lives that we don’t really want to discuss here. But the reason I noticed this box of cereal was because there was an advertisement on it that read “Free Spider-Man Action Figure Inside!”
I loved Spider-Man. So my six-year-old brain started thinking… I knew that if I asked my mom for a Spider-Man action figure on this grocery trip I probably wouldn’t get it. But here in this box of cereal was the opportunity of a lifetime. My mom would think I was getting cereal but I would really be getting a Spider-Man action figure! Quickly I turned the box of cereal over to see the HUGE portrait of Spider Man on the back of the box. And again, my six-year-old mind raced into action, thinking, “If the Spider-Man figure is that big there can’t be much cereal in the box of Fiber Bran.”
Spider-Man won out. I handed the box to my mom insisting that Fiber Bran was my new favorite cereal. The next morning I raced down the stairs to open the box of Fiber Bran and claim my awaited treasure. As I dug my hands in the bottom of the box, I’d like to tell you that I was delighted, but the truth is that I have never been more disappointed in all of my life. The Spider-Man figure was two inches tall and it broke the second time I played with it. To make matters worse, I was now stuck with a whole box of Fiber Bran. You don’t want to know all the things that cereal did to my body (just kidding).
I learned a valuable lesson that day as a six-year old kid. It’s easy to get distracted by toys. It’s easy to see the back of the box and end up missing the substantive things in life. It’s easy to choose the wrong thing.
Never is this more true for the heart of the leader than when it comes to the choice of managing a ministry or leading a movement. The truth is, I know very few people who dream of managing a declining ministry. Most of the people I talk to dream of cultivating and leading a dynamic movement of faith. But it’s what we choose to do on a daily basis in discipleship that makes all the difference.
In classic Mike Breen fashion, I now have been trained to see the way of Jesus in places in Scripture I once would have overlooked. That’s why this year John 4:1-2 has caught my eye in a way it never has before. Here’s what it says, “The Pharisees noticed that Jesus was baptizing more people than John (although it was not Jesus who was doing it, but his disciples).”
It’s that last parenthetical statement that has owned me these last few weeks. Jesus didn’t just “do” his ministry and let his disciples tag along. No, Jesus invited his disciples to do his work with him–even before he commissioned them to do so, and because of this, Jesus started a movement instead of managing a ministry.
I’m not making any assumptions about John’s ministry, but what the Pharisees noticed about Jesus was that his movement was outpacing John’s ministry, and what the Apostle John fills in for us parenthetically is that it was all because of discipleship.
The lesson is clear: if you want a movement tomorrow choose discipleship today. Invite your disciples to do what you do. Do your best to never do anything alone. It’s a matter of closing the gap between our intention and our practice. We all want a movement, but desires alone accomplish nothing. If we want a movement we will have to choose it, daily… one disciple at a time.
You can read more amazing things on Family on Mission and Discipleship on the 3DM Leadership Blog.