Mercy Ministry & Evangelism — Fanning the Flame CD

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:35-38

I gathered with some other Fanning the Flame team members recently to listen to a CD lecture by Pastor Harry Reeder on the topic of mercy ministries.

Pastor Reeder called mercy ministries “the gateway to the kingdom of God” and the preeminent strategy for evangelism.  Unfortunately in our churches we often regard such ministries as simply a drain on our resources.  The greatest mission field is those who are in need of mercy.  Most of our evangelism efforts center around gospel words, but some won’t listen to those words until they see our gospel deeds —  deeds of love mercy and justice.

Here’s what will happen when we undertake mercy ministries:

  • God will be glorified because the world will see a full picture of authentic Christianity
  • People will be influenced by encountering authentic Christians
  • Our own members will be encouraged and edified, becoming better disciples as they are incorporated into ministry

He did have a word of warning.  It is important to ensure that the ministries undertaken are constructive.  They should take time to teach that God has a purpose for pain and suffering and that He can take our brokenness and use it.  Those who are suffering are not victims, and we must love them, not tolerate them, building on improving self respect rather than guilt and shame.

Here are some of the steps Pastor Reeder’s recommends:

  • Make mercy and mercy ministry a part of the congregational culture
  • Do Bible study and preaching that will lead members to develop a theology of mercy
  • Equip people to be involved in mercy ministry as part of discipleship training
  • Pray for a champion for this ministry
  •  Ask God to reveal a starting point for the ministry
  • Make sure mercy ministry is gospel-driven, Christ-centered and has evangelism embedded in it
  • Create a project/s that allow a low level of commitment and an ending date to encourage people to give it a try
  • Make sure leaders take responsibility for the project
  • Be strategic–impel and compel others to get involved

For me, the real eye opener is the idea that mercy ministry should be the 1ST strategy for evangelism.  As spiritual gifts coordinator, I have discoved that we have few people with the gift of evangelism, but many with the gift of mercy.  We can do this.

Fanning the Flame #22 — More on Leadership

This past Saturday the Fanning the Flame gathered to listen the continuation of a talk on leadership given by Harry Reeder.  Here are some of my take-aways:

To take the first steps, a leader must have a mission/vision.  He or she does the basics well, and understands the need for a personal coach.  Great leaders lead with hope.

Skills a leader needs to put into place include:

  1. Modeling (so that others can imitate)
  2. Mentoring (teach)
  3. Managing in a way that equips and implements
  4. Motivating
  5. Ministering (help people by evaluation)

Leaders who multiply leaders are:

  • Insatiable learners
  • Seize their own personal learning moments, i.e. failure and challenges
  • Constantly coach others
  • Use memorable maxims
  • Help those they are teaching to see their own learning moments and give them the freedom to learn and grow from mistakes

And this is very important:  Effective leaders do NOT develop leadership teams, they develop teams of leaders.  They generate leadership factories.

Leadership teams are developed by:

  • Lining up the gifts and passions of members with the goal of the team
  • Character
  • Competency and skills
  • Commitment
  • Maintaining energy through the team leader, believing in the mission/vision, team dynamic and relationships and overcoming obstacles.

To become a better leader you should:

  • Develop your personal spiritual formation
  • Select 3-7 models from scripture and history
  • Have 3-5 mentors that you approach as life coaches
  • Develop an encouragement team
  • Develop an infrastructure that requires/encourages teams

The “Leaders In Action” book series was recommended as a resource.  Note to the ladies:  I checked this series out and have requested a few to read and review;  however, disappointingly there is only one woman included in the set.

 

 

 

Fanning the Flame #20 –The Leadership Dynamic

This past Saturday our Fanning the Flame team gathered to listen to a CD.  It was a talk by Harry Reeder, Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church based on his book, The Leadership Dynamic.  Here are some of my take-aways.

All good leaders share two important qualities:

  1. They lead a disciplined life
  2. They are lifelong learners

In order to be effective Christian leaders we must develop our own gospel-driven life.  This means we must cultivate:

  • Learning (wisdom, not just head knowledge)
  • Physical disciplines to maintain our strength (i.e. Saturday night “live” may lead to Sunday morning “dead”)
  • Spiritual disciplines
  • Relational disciplines

Members must pray for their leaders, but leaders must also pray for their members!

Vision is crucial.  Leaders are attracted to vision.  Vision is what motivates and must always be before the congregation.  Guilt will not motivate.

The world defines a leader as someone who has power and is able to manipulate and control others;  the church must have a different definition.  Church leaders are those who influence others to achieve a defined mission together.  The mission of the church is to spread the gospel.  The church can become a leadership factory, training leaders who will penetrate the world with Christian ideals.

Three maxims for leaders are:

  1. Leaders know their mission and are committed to achieving it — this requires both work and worship
  2. Leaders know and care for their people to the best of their ability–they do not use them
  3. Leaders are always intentionally reproducing themselves

Leaders are not thermometers, they are thermostats.  In other words, they do not read the temperature of a group, they set it.

Three assumptions can be made about Christian leaders:

  1. They lead a life worthy of imitation
  2. Their theological formation is strong — they know how to speak the Word of God
  3. They know how to lead

Character is more important that skills.  Character is a product of God’s grace which develops from the inside out (the fruit comes from the root) and produces a disciplined life.  Circumstances do not dictate character, they reveal character.

How does this tie into our monthly theme?  Christian leaders, like all Christians are to be servants.  Leadership is a spiritual gift given to build up the church, not to benefit the individual.

 

Fanning the Flame #10 — Creating a Culture For Change

“And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel;  instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:24

This past Saturday, the Fanning the Flame team gathered to listen to a talk on a CD, given by Pastor Harry Reeder, author of From Embers to a Flame.  The title was “Creating a Culture For Change” and it dealt with leaders and how they are to deal with the difficulty of leading a congregation through transitional times.

HUMILITY is the watchword.  People are not won over by force and impatience.  They will be won over by leaders who exhibit the teaching methods of Jesus, leaders who see themselves as servants.  Leaders must earn the right to lead by their own behavior.

Here were some of his suggestions for the Pastor:

  • Believe the gospel
  • Exemplify in his own life a dedication to the disciplines of prayer, study, worship and the means of grace
  • Pay close attention to himself and his teaching — be stable, share what is going on in bite-size nuggets
  • Keep watch on his words and attitude
  • Let people know that he is committed to them and to his call
  • Be appropriately committed to his spouse and children
  • Do not make excuses or become defensive.

Suggestions to the leadership team included:

  • Pray for the team
  • Be ready for the team to change
  • Develop a meaningful relationship with the Pastor
  • Spend time together in fellowship and prayer
  • Find ways to encourage and empower each other

To be continued …..