God is really getting under my skin. He is constantly challenging me to look into the mirror of my soul to see what areas I need growth and improvement. These may be areas where I'm doing well, but need to take to a different level of obedience. Right now, there are three things in particular that God keeps stressing on me and for our church.
This is not just a generic answer that sounds like the right "Christian" thing to say. God is really challenging me to spend more time praying for the people of The Journey, the direction of the Journey, and for the fuel for my own efforts. Prayer will open the breakthroughs in those who are on the edge of faith. Prayer will open the breakthroughs for the marriages on the rocks. Prayer will open the breakthroughs for the person in bondage to destructive habits and addictions. Prayer will open the breakthrough for The Journey to see hundreds, if not thousands, walk through our doors for us to minister to. I (we) need to connect to the Living God not just daily, but throughout the day, and pray for His kingdom to come. Jesus said in Luke 11:1-13 that if we would persist in our prayers, God would answer. If Jesus says it, I believe it.
Being an Army guy, I know what it takes to be disciplined. The problem is, I don't think I, nor anyone else, equates success in ministry and church to being disciplined. However, there is an absolute necessity to be disciplined in our thoughts and our actions. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great teaches that a culture of discipline is required for any organization or leader to make the jump from simply being good to being great. What does discipline look like in a church? That is one of things we are wrestling through right now amongst leadership. A few things it could be: starting services on time and ending them at the time you planned, planning enough in advance that communication can be better, ensuring people are contacted who fill out passports and follow-up with them, be on time to meetings, be prepared for meetings, and many other things. I feel this is as important for me as it is for the church. God is challenging me to become more disciplined in my thoughts and actions.
3. Disrupt the Status Quo
Everywhere I turn, every book I read, and every mentor I speak with, one predominant thing keeps emerging: if you want to make a difference and lead a church that is making a difference, you have to disrupt the status quo. The status quo is our comfortable and predictable religious motions we grow accustomed to in churches. Disrupting the status quo involves: preaching sermons that challenge people, maybe even makes some people mad, calling out inappropriate behaviors that poison a church and relationships, demanding a culture of discipline, challenging people to not just be Sunday morning Christians, and many more things. Challenging the status quo means that we are willing to do anything except for sin to reach people for Christ and see the Kingdom of God advance. We are not complacent to just be good ministers or a good church. We want to ignite a Jesus movement in this region. We want to reach thousands for Christ. This will take disrupting the status quo and calling everyone to live for something bigger than ourselves.