In my last blog post entitled “The Pain and Pressure Factor” we took a look at the element of pressure and challenges being a key factor for growth and fruitfulness. We also examined how, in the economy of God, our sacrifice, as we lay down our lives for a nation, actually can qualify us to receive that nation as our spiritual inheritance. There are tremendous breakthroughs in grace and apostleship that become accessible when the “in our weakness, He is strong” factor is present. This is where divine power within the human being is born.
I had the opportunity to see this in the lives of some leaders impacting their nations today, and also through our own training and equipping forum – the History Makers Academy. Through our three and half day specially choreographed environment, I have seen everything from over the top achievement (that the student had never experienced in any academic setting previous), to total realization of calling and purpose, to even the miraculous in the form of borderline illiterates beginning to read and write. After 5 years of conducting this style of training and equipping in various nations of the world, the results are generally the same. It works. And it works on such a level I began to explore all over again the power at work through Jesus’ training style and even the Apostle Paul. I have often said that many are comfortable attending church services, but few would have been comfortable following Jesus closely. Why? Jesus style of training and equipping went far behind sitting and listening to a sermon – as necessary as that is today. Jesus created and facilitated a challenging environment that produced tremendous growth within 12 people. In fact His system of training was so effective that He Himself could depart from the earth as a young man having set in motion a movement that has lasted until today! Again, this is the power of systematic choreographed intensive training to produce real results.
One needs only to explore how soldiers or navy seals are trained to grasp the power of intense systematic training in the lives of an individual. I have often been amazed that we, as Believers, are fighting the greatest battle for souls and nations that will ever be witnessed, and our training by and large has been “attend class” once a week on a Sunday morning and try to remember to read “the manual.” The tough reality is that the “pulpit driven church” style alone, has not been effective to the level of fulfilling the Great Commission. There are very practical reasons for this which I would like to highlight. Let me also clarify here that I am a great believer in the regular attendance and community of a local church. The gathering of the brethren, corporate worship, communion, water baptism, and accountability. Bear in mind this is not an exhaustive study but a blog post.
The challenge we face as pastors and leaders is that we tend to grade the health of our congregation based on weekly attendance, engagement in church activities, and often church membership statistics. Not only is this limited, but if we were to grade our effectiveness according to our influence beyond the four walls of the church, (The Great Commission) this simply cannot be quantified by “church attendance.”
After only 10 years of pastoring the Lord had mercy on me and gave me 3 “reality checks” that I would like to share with you. Fasten your seat-belt.
1. I thought that my preaching of sermons was changing the world. It was a tough pill to swallow for me, but the reality was that though a great sermon may change some people’s lives, you cannot fulfill the Great Commission or “disciple nations” through great preaching alone.
2. The environment that we as a church (with Holy Spirit of course) created every Sunday was not necessarily the environment people went home to after – or lived in during the week. I discovered that many went home to real challenges, addictions, struggle, and a lack of understanding on how to create that heavenly environment in their own homes. On a Sunday morning when the coffee is brewing, the worship team is “on fire,” and you are surrounded by like-minded worshipers, everyone sort of looks pretty spiritually healthy.
3. I discovered that the level of dualistic living and human imperfection was a little more prevalent than I had thought. And it was going to be hard to preach everything that everyone needed to hear to “repent and turn” all in a 45 minute message. And herein lies the problem…
How do we as leaders facilitate an environment through our leadership resources that creates the kind of lasting change in individuals necessary for changing the world? I admit, I made the mistake of sending people out into the “mission field” only to discover that challenges they immediately faced sent them running back to the warm comforts of the church bench. There they could fulfill their calling as “spectators” until Jesus’ return. Yikes! I think after a number of people “quit” our local missions programs I began to see a bit of a trend. The challenges one faces when wanting to spearhead transformation beyond the four walls (at least on this side of the planet) range from lack of finances, to fear, to the hockey mom schedule, to simply “not knowing how.” And the greater challenge for me became how do I address all this AND equip people properly, all on a Sunday morning, or even in a “mid week Bible study?” The reality is that you just can’t. And when we understand that what we do Sunday morning doesn’t necessarily always transform society, that’s where the real purpose of “the local church” can begin to be seen – and it is beautiful! When average individuals get above average training and equipping, miracles happen! The results we long for and read about take place, and the Kingdom advances into every sphere where a trained “ambassador of the Kingdom” invests themselves.
But what kind of training style are we talking about? Haven’t we always had conferences, training schools and Bible Colleges actively preparing and sending missionaries and leaders? The answer might surprise you. Stay tuned for my next blog where we will take a look at the most overlooked, necessary ingredients, for genuine training and equipping that gets the results Jesus did – and greater! It’s Canada’s time!
Derek is an apostolic leader, requested speaker, trainer, author, and execution strategist. He loves to advise Pastors and Leaders on Ministry and Church Growth.
Derek is the president of the History Makers Academy and founder of the History Makers Society. Both of which are designed to train, equip and send out individuals to influence all spheres of society.