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Replant Bootcamp
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We hope you are well Bootcampers! Jimbo has been released from his quarantine and Bob is feeling a little under the weather, but do not fear loyal Bootcamper we held forth and produced another EP for you that is an important listen.

Leadership is often lonely and challenging, that’s why it is vitally important to learn how to share the burdens and blessings of leading the local church. In this EP we remind ourselves of Ezra and Nehemiah and how they each played an important role in leading God’s people.

Ezra is a pastor/priest who seeks to get others to take the Bible seriously, and live faithfully. Nehemiah is essentially a visionary who sees the need for the rebuilding of the ancient walls of Jerusalem.  Tim Mackie 

This restoration required, first of all, the rebuilding of the temple and the reinstitution of ceremonial worship. The two accomplished a lot, both had frustrations with those they led, some success and some failure – a real story of the reality of leadership.

Leaders, keep this in mind:

God uses Pastors and Civic Leaders

Both are needed for Kingdom work

Both are valued by God 

Each has an important task, a divine gift set, and a specific calling

Working together for Kingdom purposes

  1. Value each other’s gifting, call
  2. Collaborate and Compliment rather than compete
  3. Lead and follow – the best leaders are also great followers
  4. Recognize that absolute success is often measured in many cycles of victory and setbacks
  5. Keep the big picture in mind – Your God-given assignment is faithfully fulfilling the assignment God has given, success is being faithful.

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JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at it again, back at the boot camp. Bob, I hope you’re ready for the next episode. I am coming out of mandatory quarantine. My wife has quarantined me because I have been sick of some kind and, our kids are in a play and so to keep them safe, she has not slept in this room for like a week and she has tightly quarantined me to my room.

Bob Bickford: Well, how are you doing with that Jimbo? Are you, like Tom Hanks on the, castaway movie? Do you, are you talking to a volleyball?

Are you like, what are you, what are you doing?

JimBo Stewart: Pretty close. I was finally released from quarantine today. So, I’m excited about that. But, I deep cleaned and organized our closet. on, on one of my final days of quarantine when I finally had a little energy back. whatever it was, whooped me pretty good. and had like four different versions of sickness all in one.

I don’t know what it was, but, I, uh, finally feel a little bit more back to my old self again.

Bob Bickford: Well, man, I’m [00:01:00] glad to hear it. I think you get, you you’re starting to feel better. I’m Jimbo. I’m, I’m feeling a little bit cold and, just a little bit body achy tonight. maybe, uh, something happened, from Florida to Nashville and,

You sent some bad juju my way,

so I don’t know.

JimBo Stewart: somehow it transitioned up there.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. But anyway, I’ll do the vitamins and the essential oils and, try to kick it.

So we’ll see how it goes.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, man. Absolutely. Well, here’s, here’s hoping that you, you get well enough and appreciate you coming on, with the beanie cap and the, and the jacket and everything to come on and record with me.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. I look like a kind of a thug tonight but, warm and I don’t care. So

there you go.

JimBo Stewart: There we go.

jump in, man. What are we talking

about today?

Bob Bickford: well, I had opportunity to chat with a group of pastors, from another denomination. And one of the tasks that I had was to talk about the value of shared leadership and not just shared leadership from a standpoint of I’ve got interns and I’m sending [00:02:00] them out to buy the pizza and get the coolers ready and drive the bus and all that kind of stuff.

But Jimbo, a different kind of leadership that values. What, leaders in the church, lay leaders bring, particularly business leaders. and all kinds of civic leaders, like just people who are actively leading in their context where God has them serving, whether it’s in the church or outside the church, primarily outside the church.

So, met with a group of pastors and, um, on zoom and we had a great conversation.

JimBo Stewart: Awesome, man. I love the idea of shared leadership. I think. moving towards a aspect of shared leadership is so crucial for the health and viability and sustainability of the health of a local church. We got into this weird season of history where we moved to this like centralized CEO model, where one person and it’s everything’s on that person’s shoulders and, man, we, we gotta figure out how to not [00:03:00] make ourselves the hero.

Bob Bickford: Yeah, exactly. We, we just need some, collaborative leadership or we don’t just need somebody. It’s, I think it’s important for us to think about collaborative leaders and collaborative leadership in ways that adds, add value, support what the scripture says about the body, having different gifts that are used for serve for service inside the church to build up the body.

and I think it’s wise, it’s wise to have multiple leaders looking at your issues and your situations and thinking together. So when I was thinking about the assignment Jimbo, I immediately thought about two leaders in the Old Testament who are often separated, but actually their book in their individual books in the Old Testament were viewed as one book.

originally, and that’s the, the leader, Nehemiah and Ezra. And so, I began to think about Nehemiah and Ezra and did a little research and, uh, came up with some, some ideas that I wanted to share to, encourage pastors and staff leaders. And, so I want [00:04:00] to talk about the value of shared leadership and, hearken us back to the fact that Ezra and Nehemiah.

Originally were taken as one book and that book’s focus was leading the people of God as they were coming out of exile and returning to the land and becoming the people of God, who he called them to be. And so in many ways there’s some applications for us as renewal pastors, as those who are trying to replant churches, you’re taking people where they are, you’re trying to receive them and equip them and inspire in them.

Not only just vision for, activity and organizational activity, but you’re also encouraging them to return to the Lord, uh, with their full heart and devotion.

JimBo Stewart: when you say shared leadership, cooperative leadership, and you’re talking Ezra Nehemiah, you’re, you’re not talking. just another committee like the, very well oiled, college football playoff committee that has, has done just, you know, such a clear, [00:05:00] job of deciding who should be in the playoff.

There’s no controversy around that. they’ve done just such a smooth job.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. A great crowd of unity rose up and, uh, over the weekend and today about, their decisions. So, you know, we, we can all celebrate that, but Jimbo, sometimes people get it wrong and they need a little

JimBo Stewart: Sometimes people get it wrong and then you, you know, it’s been interesting living in the state of Florida seeing, I think I have witnessed people’s hatred for Alabama eclipse even mine, in the, from Florida state fans here.

Bob Bickford: Yeah, well, I could see that. I mean, I think it is a righteous thing to hate Alabama. And, I think there’s, there is righteous indignation and righteous anger. And I think there’s a woe in the Bible that probably has original Hebrew word that means Alabama. So, I’m just gonna, I’m gonna go out on a limb there and we’ll wait for someone to, uh, write in and let us know what that word is.

But anyway, I think back to the. subject at hand. When we look at, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jimbo, one of the things we can do is make a mistake and view it as a [00:06:00] one, two, three step leadership guidebook. And I love folks who study the scriptures and want to make application. I’m a hundred percent for that. So don’t hear me not saying that, but I don’t think you can look at Ezra or Nehemiah and just take a, one for one or two for two or three for three principle.

This is a narrative story about what happened. So Jimbo, let’s go back to the Bible college or seminary. This is descriptive about what happened, not prescriptive, right? So it’s describing the events. It’s not prescribing your approach. And I think that’s particularly Important for us to understand you need to be aware that scripture often describes what happened It doesn’t tell you how to go about it,

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s a great distinction to make when looking at, at Ezra and Nehemiah together. in the context of, you know, returning and rebuilding, I think there are some application points [00:07:00] we can pull from things that we see in there. but you’re, wise and pretty to say it’s not, it’s not exactly a one, two, three guide.

you’re not in exactly the same situation. It’s not exactly the same scenario. And it’s not, a blueprint for how to do everything, but, but it is a great. narrative on a couple of guys who God used in a hard season of rebuilding for Israel.

Bob Bickford: right? Yeah, so their their tasks were different in this regard Ezra was a spiritual leader And he was working on, spiritual devotion to the Lord, right? And so he was uniquely qualified to speak into that and to bring people’s attention to it and to lead them back to faithfulness and obedience in that regard.

Nehemiah was an official, a civic official. A servant of the king. And so he had been trained to do, those kinds of things. And so he was networked and he [00:08:00] understood how to go about, the civic arena. And so it was vitally important in, Getting resources and permission and support for the mission of rebuilding the walls.

And so they each had a separate task, but their task together was to help the people of God experience the best. So we might think of a pastor that’s working with, let’s say like a finance team or even a strategic group of leaders who are thinking about properties and facilities and those sorts of things.

And so here, here’s a couple of thoughts to throw out. And then I think some. What, what I would say, five exhortations. So here’s a couple of thoughts and I’d love to get your feedback on them. I’ll, I’ll read them as a list. There’s four thoughts here, and then we’ll jump to the exhortations. First of all, God uses both pastors and civic leaders, right?

Both of them are used. Both are needed for kingdom work and both are valued by God. And each has an important task, a divine gift set and a specific calling. [00:09:00] And so I think we have to say those things and acknowledge those up front before we talk about how to work together.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think, I love, you know, on point one, God uses pastors and civic leaders. A little bit of, I feel like what you’re talking about here, if I’m hearing you correctly, is, there’s not a sacred secular divide. In the sense that, only people who do, quote unquote, sacred work are those that are being used by God to advance his kingdom.

but really, all of us, we live out ways to advance God’s kingdom, bring him glory, in each of the arenas that God has given us to have leadership and authority and responsibility and influence.

Bob Bickford: That’s perfect. That’s a perfect summation about it. Now let’s go to the five exhortations here to, uh, to encourage both spiritual leaders and civic or, strategic or business leaders, whatever term we want to use to describe them. So here’s, here’s what it means to, value leadership. Here’s [00:10:00] what it means to work together for kingdom purposes.

First of all, value each other’s gifting and call. We should not be at odds with one another about where we start. in the position of approaching a leadership question, right? So a pastor is normally going to start with what has God said, how do we move the people towards that? A civic leader, strategically or business leader might say, what is the wise thing to do?

What is the strategic thing to do? Right? So we’re starting it at two different places, but we’re starting to get, we can together collaborate for a better answer than either one of us could have could arrive at. Singularly, And so, we need to, we need to value each other’s gifting and call.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I think, you know, there’s a guy that attends our church that I have breakfast with about once a month or so. Who is a, civil engineer. And, so, I mean, he lives in a very different world [00:11:00] vocationally than I do, but, we both are learning from each other.

he has very different giftings than I do, but he serves. Not only his company well and his family well, and me as a friend well, but our church well, on the stewardship team and leadership team, because he has, a different perspective and he has, different gifting and wisdom that he gets to bring to the table.

Bob Bickford: That’s so good. Here’s the second one. Collaborate and compliment rather than compete. So we often want our idea to prevail and to win, right? It’s my idea. It’s got to be a great one. Right. This is the best way to do it, et cetera. Right. But often Jimbo, what I found is my ideas have either been shaped or improved or strengthened or eliminated through the process of collaboration.

And what we come up with is not does Bob have all the right ideas? But have we arrived at the best idea that God has for us the best [00:12:00] decision that God has for our church? And so that requires collaboration and complimenting not competing, right? I think we’ve all been in a scenario where somebody comes in and man They just keep pounding that idea like a nail into a board and eventually Jimbo you’re gonna drive the nail into the board But you’re also gonna mark up the board and the boards not gonna be usable And I think that if we continue to press our idea when it’s not receiving energy, when it’s not being affirmed, we’re just marking up a board and making it unusable.

And, and so I, I think it’s important to collaborate and compliment

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, there’s such a value in getting perspectives and understanding what’s going on. There’s no way that you by yourself can see all the angles. of everything. And, there’s help in getting someone who’s maybe not as immersed in it as you are. It’s one of the things I think about often is, uh, you know, when you’re pastoring, you are thinking about, even if you’re bivocational, you’re thinking about this [00:13:00] stuff.

I mean, almost every waking minute. I mean, it’s, it’s on your mind. It’s on your heart. It’s on your brain. It’s, it’s what you, you’re meditating on. It’s what you’re probably listening to podcasts about. It’s probably what you’re journaling about. It’s, you know, and so by the time you get to Sunday or you get to your leadership team meeting, or you get to your deacons meeting, you start to express an idea that you’ve spent.

Hours and hours and hours marinating on and so you think you’re communicating it clearly and you think that it’s the right idea But you haven’t been challenged by other perspectives. You haven’t been challenged by good questions You haven’t been challenged by others who just see it differently.

Bob Bickford: now. Very true. So don’t be threatened. we each have our place and collaborate and compliment. Here’s the third one. Jimbo lead. And follow. I heard this said somewhere and I don’t remember where. maybe Mark Clifton said it. Maybe it was Richard Blackaby.

maybe it was Kyle,

JimBo Stewart: Charles, probably Charles, Spurgeon

Bob Bickford: Charles [00:14:00] or Kyle Behrman.

JimBo Stewart: or Kyle Bierman

Bob Bickford: the best leaders are also great followers, right? Maybe it’s Bob Bumgarner. He says stuff like that all the


JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think that one’s been around for a little while

Bob Bickford: Okay. All right. So, uh, Martin Lloyd Jones, we’ll shout,

shout out for clear. All right. So, the best leaders are also great followers. If bootcamp listener, if you, um, if you source that quote for us, in drop us a line, I will send you my old freshly washed in the dishwasher

JimBo Stewart: Ooh. Alright, I just googled it, and

here’s, if, if the internet is right, here’s, this goes way, way back further than you even thought.

Bob Bickford: Moses.

JimBo Stewart: Not, not quite that far.

Bob Bickford: Okay.

JimBo Stewart: as Aristotle said,

Bob Bickford: Oh, wow.

JimBo Stewart: he who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good [00:15:00] leader.

Bob Bickford: There you go. Well, I get to keep my bootcamp hat because you have one. So, I’m glad about that. but here’s the deal, man. Jimbo, do you remember when you were real young and you were first on staff and, and you were sitting in a staff meeting and he thought, man, I wish these guys would make up.

Different decision, right? And if I was in charge, man, this is what I would do.

JimBo Stewart: Man, when I was young, I always thought that.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. Well, you’re fairly young man now. So, you know, maybe, maybe you’ve moved on from that,

JimBo Stewart: I feel like I’ve grown in that some, but definitely early on, I always felt like I had the best idea in the room.

Bob Bickford: well, you sure you did. And I, I would affirm that I think you have many great ideas. but here’s the reality. you know, and this is you and I have both had this. We’ve had residents, interns, whoever that, you know, they just got out of seminary and they know how to lead the church better than we do.

Right. And so we [00:16:00] asked him to do something and then they’re like, man, I don’t think I want to do that. Right. And the reality is, that every great leader is also a great follower because they understand wisdom, experience, authority, perspective, order, submission, all of those sorts of things. And so what I would say is pastor, sometimes you need to follow the civic leader, the business leader, the strategic leader.

Like they just see some things maybe that you don’t, right. And particularly when they’re looking at, at realities that are numbers based, database to forecast based and Jimbo, some pastors just go, well, you know, God can do anything and we just need to have faith. Well, and that’s where we always say that, yes, everything is possible with God, but not all things are probable, right?

So you need to think about that. Now, business leader, civic leader, strategic leader, there are some times when you need to, to, you know, Look at the data, gather all the information, but then you need to take a step of faith [00:17:00] and obedience and step out in faith and see what God does. So there’s this back and forth.

We’ve got to lead, but we also have to follow.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think you always gotta be willing to learn from anybody. but, especially as a As a leader, it’s wise to always be willing to listen and follow what others do. The other thing that came up in my Google search, Bob, was if you read the message version of Proverbs 14, 28 through 29.

Bob Bickford: All right, here we

go. Is

this a hair feeler? is

JimBo Stewart: is the the message version.

Bob Bickford: Okay.

JimBo Stewart: The mark of a good leader is loyal followers. Leadership is nothing without a following. Slowness to anger makes for a deep understanding, and a quick tempered person stockpiles stupidity.

Bob Bickford: Ooh, wow.

JimBo Stewart: I like, I like the stockpiles stupidity.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. You should try to use that next time you’re preaching somewhere.

I think that would be,

JimBo Stewart: Sunday, so I [00:18:00]

Bob Bickford: there you go. All right,

JimBo Stewart: can squeeze it in.

Bob Bickford: Load up the stockpile of stupidity, I think would be, would be awesome.

JimBo Stewart: Well, I would say, look, if you’re not, if you are a leader that is not willing to follow other leaders and follow the leadership that God has gifted into other people, then you

Bob Bickford: There you go. There you go. Alright, number four. Recognize that absolute success is often measured in many cycles of victory and setbacks, right? So here’s, here’s the deal. If we take Nehemiah and Ezra as a book and we only extract all of the good things and the victories that they Achieved. And we don’t give the book an honest reading.

What we’ll miss is that the people didn’t fully devote themselves to God, that they intermarried with, with folks that God said don’t intermarry because you’re spiritually mismatched with them. And so Nehemiah was like, you know, he was ruling and reigning over those guys for making mistakes. Same thing with Ezra.

Like there’s just, there’s a story of great victory, but also [00:19:00] great setback. And so we have to understand that that’s going to be part of your leadership. So our experience, so you will never have absolute 100 percent success where the graph always moves up into the right and everything is beautiful and awesome, right?

You’re going to have some victories and you’re going to have some setbacks.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, if I remember correctly, you’ve got the, kind of the first characters, Rubabel, and then you’ve got Ezra and you’ve got Nehemiah and, none of the stories end with everything going exactly the way that they’re supposed to, but they are kind of an arc of up and down. And, that is the reality.

That’s, that’s going to be how life goes. It is a cycle. going to cycle up. It’s going to cycle down. You do what God has called you to do, but there, there will be good and bad seasons for sure.

Bob Bickford: Yeah. So this leads to the last one, Jimbo, keep the big picture in mind. Your God given assignment is to faithfully fulfill the call that he’s placed on your life. [00:20:00] Success. is being faithful. So keep that in mind, leader, as you’re trying to lead towards renewal, the value of shared leadership. And so give grace to the other leader when they don’t achieve the success that you think they should achieve, right?

JimBo Stewart: Yeah.

Bob Bickford: Ask this question, are they being faithful? And I’m like, am I encouraging them to be faithful? And that includes not just loving God and living a life that is an example and a witness, but being faithful to steward the gifts and the call and the leadership that you have in your position, right? So too many times, leaders either abdicate their role and they just get tired and frustrated.

And so they just like, well, I just can’t lead. So I’m just going to let. I’m gonna let the constitution lead. I’m gonna let the calendar lead, right? I’m gonna let the person with the squeakiest wheel, you know, lead and all those sorts of things. Well, that’s, that’s not being faithful, right? So be faithful to the call that [00:21:00] God’s placed on your life and be faithful to execute leadership in a Christ honoring way.

JimBo Stewart: Yeah, you’ve just, you’ve got to walk the path that God has given you and trust that he has. something in store for what you’re doing and that you’re not the hero. You are not the answer. you don’t need to die for the church. Jesus already did that. but he has entrusted you as an under shepherd to lead well, to lead with wisdom, to lead with grace, to lead towards his glory, to lead in humility.

So that. You can help the church be what God has called it to be and then do what God has called it to do.

Bob Bickford: I love it. All right, leaders, collaborate, cooperate, don’t compete, and alliteration part of everything you say

JimBo Stewart: Stop, collaborate, and listen.

Bob Bickford: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Bob Bickford, Church renewal, church replanting, Ezra, Jimbo Stewart, leadership, Nehemiah, replanting, shared leadership, sharing leadership

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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