20 Aug, 2015 You have the power to inspire
Hi, it is wonderful to have this opportunity with you again to share a word of encouragement as you continue to feed the missional fires in your church.
Last month I shared a few thoughts concerning what you can do to feed the flame of evangelism. I encouraged you to 1. Look for places where a missional fire is already burning. 2. Consider the nature of the fires that already exist and 3. Reflect on what type of fuel you will need to stoke those fires.
Today I would like to share the role of leadership when it comes to fuelling great commission fires.
Deborah and Barak: Inspiring leaders, with willing followers
In the book of Judges we read of the dramatic story of the dynamic duo Deborah and Barak. She is the Prophetess and He is the General. She is the Leader/Hearer and he is the Leader/Doer. She boldly proclaims God’s will and he boldly directs the people into it’s fulfilment. At the end of a great victory they sing a new song together recorded in the fifth chapter and in Judges 5:2 we read this interesting verse, “That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD! ESV
Without a doubt, the victory that day was due to strong and courageous leaders and willing and engaged followers. Without leadership the people would not, without follow-ship the leaders could not. But together they embraced the challenge of obedience to the divine will, confronting their enemy. As a result the people of God, Leader and Follower, enjoyed the sweet taste of victory.
Other translations read…
“When hair grows long in Israel, when the people give themselves willingly, bless the LORD! ISV
When hair is long in Israel, when people willingly offer themselves—bless the Lord! CEB
Some commentators reflect that long hear was a picture of strength and leadership and reflect on the idea of courageous people stepping up to show themselves strong. They are people letting loose their strength for the battle. These people are champions in the fight, who went before the nation with strength and bravery. By showing themselves strong they are praising God and giving Him glory. They go into battle by their own free will, giving their best to magnify God. During a time in the book of Judges when “Every man did that which was right in their own eyes”, Deborah sings out the glorious truth that strong men and women step up fight the good fight of faith and by doing so magnify the Lord.
Interesting thoughts! Either Deborah and Barak are recognising the dual roles of leaders and followers, or they are celebrating the courageous buy-in of those who would show themselves to be strong. I am happy with either insights and both a preachable and applicable to my main point here. And that point is this… we can fuel the flame of missional activity by inspiring others into the fray.
I once heard recognised Christian leader, author and Pastor Bill Hybills say, “The only power a leader has is the power to inspire!” As leaders impart and inspire and as the people gather strength to engage, God gets the glory. When leaders manifest their strength and willingness and when the people do the same, God will be exalted.
How could I become better at inspiring others to action?
Ask yourself these questions. What inspires me to action? What causes momentum inside me and around me? What environments catalyse courage and fuel faith? When have been our greatest moments as a church and why? What were our greatest victories and how did we get there? What have been our most significant achievements and what was needed to cross those lines? Reflect on those moments and pull out the leadership/follow-ship laws from them and take courage to go there again.
Some years ago whilst living and serving in a local church in Wainuiomata I preached a sermon to the people on a Sunday on the verse in Genesis 11:6 “And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.”
I shared a crazy idea to pull together a free garage sale and family fun day for our community and to do so in six days time. After preaching from the verse and sharing the vision the service changed to be a time of brain storming… what could we do? How would we do it? What would that idea cost? Who would be prepared to give money for that idea and how much? Who would be prepared to lead that idea? People stood and shared, passion grew, money was pledged and people volunteered. By the end of the service, some shared that they had never been part of such a church meeting in their lives and that they had loved it.
The following days were followed with focus, energy, passion and vision. Saturday finally arrived. The large army of volunteers arrived early to finalise the set up and pray. Crowds began to build outside the doors waiting for the official opening time and when they were finally opened hundreds flooded in through the foyer and into a whole morning of free family events and a free garage sale. The place was buzzing. Laughter, excitement, making of new friends, meeting of needs and the building of bridges. A resounding success! It put our church on the map was the beginning of braver and bolder days.
On Sunday, the people were amped. They were seeing their community with different eyes. They were understanding their mission with keener insight. They were different. Emboldened! That day I understood that when leaders lead and people offer themselves willingly, God get the glory!
Come on my dear fellow leader. Let’s summond our strength and do greatly. Let’s articulate our mission and lead the charge. Come on Deborah. Come on Barak. Your church needs you.