Earlier this year I attended a conference featuring Leonard Sweet, Kay Warren, and Ed Stetzer as keynote speakers. Here are three highlights from my notes:
- People get bored with hearing how God loves us. We sing a few worship songs, give a “woohoo” or two, say “Yeah, I got it—Jesus loves me,” and move on. (Kay Warren) This made me wonder if people get equally bored with hearing, “You are called and gifted to serve.” Knowing God loves me intellectually versus experiencing God’s love through serving… How can I offer the same message of hope in a fresh way?
- We live in a TGIF world: Twitter, Google, iPhone, and Facebook. (Leonard Sweet) He also asked the question, “Are we on mission for the world we wish we had, or for the world we’ve got—the TGIF world we now live in.” How often do I wish for the past, the simpler world I am most comfortable with? How often do I resist using technology to communicate effectively in the world I’ve got now? This TGIF culture is based on images and stories, not the words and principles I grew up on. How does that understanding impact the way I encourage and invite people into ministry?
- Any system that demotivates and disempowers the people of God from doing the mission of God is unhelpful and probably sinful. (Ed Stetzer) When and where am I doing for people what God has called them to do? Am I too busy servicing customers rather than training co-laborers? What am I doing to ensure that God gets his due glory because people are using their gifts?
For those of us who have been in equipping ministry for a while, I suppose none of this is particularly new. At one level or another, most of us have heard some variation on these same themes. But here’s the thing: What have I done with what I heard? As I was reading over my notes, I had the same sense of excitement as when I first heard the talks. I found myself saying, “Yeah, preach it!” all over again. And yet, I came home from the conference, jumped back into the routine, and forgot much of that good teaching. I didn’t utilize it.
What about you? What are you learning these days? What good books are you reading? What workshops, conferences, and seminars have you attended where the content was relevant to you and your ministry? What are you doing with what you are learning? If you aren’t utilizing it, you are just wasting your time and your money, not to mention cluttering up your brain!
Here’s your challenge: De-clutter that brain of yours by taking one good idea you’ve heard or read in the past month and put it to use.
The simpler the better.
Make a plan.
Then share it–I would love to hear your idea, and how you utilized it!