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Video 6: The Main Thing

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It’s hard to lead, but it’s much harder to love.

When Jesus was asked what the main thing in life is, he replied, “Love the lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22).”

In this video, you’ll learn to see God as beautiful, not just “useful.”

ALERT: Don’t miss this moving story about Dr. Bill Bright, former President of Cru, and his final challenge to Childers, and other seminary professors and students, just before his death.

In this 6-part series you’ll be equipped to:

      • Liberate your heart from the ministry success syndrome
      • Learn how to manage your life and not just your time
      • Distinguish between goals and desires in ministry
      • Avoid pursuing the kingdom and not the king
      • Experience the joy of process and not just the product
      • Make the main thing the main thing

This brief video (5:02) will help you to show your love for a beautiful God by how you love him and his people.

Take Pathway’s New Course on Balancing Priorities Today!

Registration closes August 15

We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.

 

An important lesson leaders learn, often the hard way, is how to make the main thing, the main thing.

It’s hard to lead, but it’s harder to love. Most church leadership training focuses on the Great Commission (Matthew 28). So, we conclude this series with a focus on the Great Commandment (Matthew 22).

When Jesus was asked what the main thing in life is, he replied, “Love the lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The apostle Paul put all of our emphasis on things like being a great thinker or a communicator, or a visionary, or even a martyr in perspective when he wrote, “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13).” You must never forget that it’s possible to love the ministry and not love God or people.

After Jesus’ resurrection he met with Peter who had denied him three times and taught him a very valuable lesson regarding this that we all need to learn. The Scriptures tell us so when they had finished breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Shepherd my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep (John 21:15-17).”

In Jesus words to Peter we see that one of the greatest ways that church leaders can show their love to Jesus is not merely by doing great exploits for him in the name of the kingdom, but by showing our love to his sheep–to love deeply and well those for whom he died. Church leaders often need to hear Jesus voice today asking them, “Do you love me? Tend my sheep. Love those whom I love.”

Just before his death Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, spoke at the seminary in Florida where I was on faculty. He had a terminal respiratory disease. Many said he would never live as long as he had. He was brought into the seminary chapel in a wheelchair with oxygen tubes hooked under his nose. Here is one of the greatest visionary leaders of our generation. And he preached to us as a dying man, to dying men. His focus was not on the importance of capturing a vision for the world, but it was on the importance of capturing a vision for loving God and loving people.

“I’ll always remember Dr. Bill Bright’s challenge to us–not to see God as useful, but as beautiful.”

I remember him saying, “You can be the greatest strategist in the world and not have love for God and those dear people he has placed in your life, and you are nothing.”

Dr. Bright had no regrets about not casting more vision for ministry, but if he had to do it again, he would love more. Then he asked all of us in the chapel to acknowledge his wife, Vonette, sitting just behind me. He asked her to stand up and, with his voice cracking, he shared his gratitude to her and to God for blessing him with such a wonderful life partner. Then he challenged us to make foremost in our ministries our love for God and our love for people.

The good news of the gospel is that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus spent his life in ministry, not merely providing leadership to a dozen apostles, but loving them. Ordinary, ungrateful, and sometimes hateful people. He believed they were worth everything he had. As you complete this series, know that you, too, are being called by God to love deeply and to love well–an assortment of very ordinary, sinful, messed up people whom Christ has sovereignly placed before you. Show your love for a beautiful God by how you love him and his not so beautiful people. That’s the real vision. That’s the main thing.

Take Pathway’s New Course on Balancing Priorities Today!

Registration closes August 15

We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.

 

A valuable lesson church leaders often have to learn the hard way is to avoid the danger of product living versus process living.

It’s very easy in ministry to be living for another day in the future–for the product or the accomplishment of your next major ministry milestone. And all the while, you don’t even realize that you’re failing to love and enjoy the people and the ministry process of how you’re getting there.

Church leaders often say, “I’ll finally be happy when we have a certain number of people in worship every Sunday.” Or “I’ll be happy when I can raise the financial support I need.” Or “I’ll be happy when we are self-supporting as a church.” Or “I’ll be happy when we’re self-governing with our own elders and deacons.” Or “I’ll be happy when I’ve been able to pass the baton to another leader.” Or “I’ll be happy when I’m not sick anymore”, “When the kids are older”, “When the kids are gone,” etc. etc. The list of each milestone or product never ends!

All the while, church leaders are tempted to fall prey to sinful jealousy of other ministries doing better than theirs. But even those fleeting moments, when you finally reach that long awaited ministry goal or milestone that you’ve been living for and look to for so long, oh it feels great, but like sand through your fingers, it so quickly slips away from you, so that you must look ahead then to the next experience or “high” that will only come when you meet your next ministry goal or milestone.

Author Isaac Rubin writes, “The joy and happiness from the process lasts much longer and can be much more satisfying over the duration of your life. But if you are totally goal oriented in a success oriented culture and if the product is the only goal, you will destroy much of the possibility for true joy and happiness in life.”

This is because almost all of your life is about the process and not the final product!

“If you can’t learn to appreciate and enjoy the process of living and ministry itself, the only thing you’ll lose is…(pause) joy in life” (sarcasm).

If you get nothing out of the doing because you are always looking for the high that will come at the end, you’re in serious trouble. But if you learn to be nourished by the whole process, that result at the end of the road, that milestone, that ministry goal, positive or negative, is not terribly significant. You just go onto the next process. You must learn to understand and appreciate process living because the process is really what life is all about. We’re in process 98% of the time. If you are living for that final 2%, you’re in trouble. The truth is, most of us are in serious trouble.

This story is told when Alexander the Great conquered the entire known world. He wept because there were no more worlds for him to conquer. The opiate of winning the next battle was now gone and he was left trembling in withdrawal, unable to live and love life in the present. If you’re not careful, you will always be living for tomorrow and find yourself robbed of all your todays.

Elizabeth Elliot wrote, “Don’t let your living for tomorrow slay your living for today.”

Take Pathway’s New Course on Balancing Priorities Today!

Registration closes July 15

We help underserved church leaders
develop churches that transform lives and communities.