EPISODE #67 – SIX IRREDUCIBLE MINIMUMS FOR 2021
In this episode the guys talk about closing out the year and opening up 2021 with some intentionality and turn to considering what the irreducible minimums would be for leading the church in 2021. Don’t forget to drop us a line with your question or sign up for the next Replant Bootcamp black ops hat giveaway.
Here are six things that every Pastor, Replanter or Planter can focus on in the coming year. Anyone can do them, anywhere. As you consider leading your church in 2021 we recommend these six irreducible minimums.
- Pursue first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness
- Preach the Word
- Equip the Saints for the Work of Ministry
- Make Disciples who make Disciples
- Engage the Community
- Trust the Lord to build His Church
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Replant bootcamp back out it again. Ready to walk into 2021 with a nice strut and swagger with your replant bootcamp, black ops hat common. We’ve given away to a, and we got one left to give away Bob.
Bob Bickford: [00:00:17] I’m excited about that. We’ve seen a lot of cool things happen over 2020, a lot of challenging things. And I’m really also looking forward to 2021. And I’m not sure if I’m going to be strutting into 2021 with a swagger, maybe will limp, Jimbo, maybe a crawl. I don’t know. Well, it depends on, it depends on no your context and your, your situation, of course, but I think everybody’s looking forward to. 2021. And so what a great topic for today’s podcast to talk about things to focus on in 2021.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:49] and there’s a, you say lamp, there’s a great song. Bootcamp listeners. When you get done with look this up on whatever music platform you listen to music with, by Jonathan. Mick Reynolds called limp. man, it’s a soulful just it’s about w how we all walk with a limp, in our, in our faith walk, but he ends it with how, Jesus, as he was carrying the cross also walks with a limp.
just a really, really good song is one of my favorites. If it makes me want to know how to play piano and sing in a soulful voice. Cause I would love to, to just on my own, just play and sing that song.
Bob Bickford: [00:01:25] Well, you hummed a few bars of the Sanders family. Christmas show did song with us or whatever it was something about pickles or something. What was it where I’d move in here was the deal.
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:37] There are pickles involved in this, in the story somewhere, but
Bob Bickford: [00:01:40] All right. Okay.
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:41] I’ve had to turn down seven record deals since that episode came out. I released my voice out in the world and, it’s been overwhelming to be honest, Bob,
Bob Bickford: [00:01:50] Man. Well, I was just impressed. You sounded really good. And you, you claim that you can only keep that up for a couple of bars, but man, I, I thought she did really nice.
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:58] I appreciate that. I appreciate that. Well, Bob, I hope you had a great Christmas. Uh, I am excited about what all God might do in 2021. I’ve been doing a lot of, zoom consults with some churches and ministry leaders lately. And, it just got me thinking. Going into 2021. We, you know, going into a new year feels like a reset, but it may not be.
And there’s always this sense of uncertainty. What are we going into? But I feel maybe. I don’t know if you about you, Bob, but I feel more of a weight of, I don’t, I don’t know what I’m walking into in 2021. and so I was trying to think through the other day, what, what would be the irreducible minimums, if you know, who knows what’s going to happen in 2021 and.
No matter what happens, what should we do as we lead churches. I thought through five or six things that we could talk through today that I think it would be really helpful for re planters revitalizer pastors in general, if just, just at least focus on these five or six things. That’s, these are the things I think that, that really matter. And so, I want to list those out real quick and then let’s come back and talk through them. so first pursue first, the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Second preach the word. They’re equip the saints for the work of ministry. Fourth, make disciples that make disciples fifth, engage the community and six and last trust the Lord to build his church.
Trust the Lord for the harvest. I think Bob, as we jump into those things, It’s always important as we think about stuff like new year’s resolutions and resetting what’s important, what are the priorities in our life, that we constantly realign and remind ourselves the importance of pursuing first, the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Bob Bickford: [00:03:50] Absolutely. So most of us, and if you think about, what we’re going after is we’re going after the fruit of some results, the fruit of some activity, right? And so most of us who are pastors engage in whatever we engage in for the purpose of really growing the church or seeing, you know, people disciple, those sorts of things.
And Jesus always brings it back down to the central part of our lives, you know, in the sermon on the Mount, when he’s talking about worry and stress and about all the things in their life. And pastors have had plenty of things to stress about this year in terms of attendance and budgets and conflict within the church and et cetera.
And so bringing her back down to what Jesus said is pursued the kingdom of God first, right? Seeking first, the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And then what does he say? And all these things will be added to you, right? So I think this is a great place for us to start. What does it look like for me, for our church, for our leaders to really be serious about the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then from that, everything else is added to us.
So it’s a, really, the first one you’ve listed. There is an important one. Cause it’s the starter, right? We’ve got to start there.
JimBo Stewart: [00:05:05] Yeah, and I appreciate in that idea of first, it’s a first importance, not first as in, Le, let me pursue the kingdom of God and his righteousness for a few minutes. And then check, I have a knock that off my to-do list, and now I get to pursue what I want for the rest of the day, uh, but pursue, pursue for it.
I mean, it’s in context of the sermon on the Mount and Jesus talking to Matthew six about not worrying about finances, not worrying about, and I I’ve always appreciated how the Lord. In that knowing the justifications, we would try to come up with. Really even goes before us and says, Hey, and this is the Jimbo paraphrase, but essentially the Lord says, Hey, I know that you’re worried about even basic things.
Maybe like, you know, clothes on your back food on the table, roof over your head. but even those things, no. Don’t don’t worry about those things. Uh, the Lord knows the Lord knows what your church needs. Lord knows what you need. the Lord is not unaware. he’s actually the only one that is not, he’s the, he’s the only one that is not unaware of what’s going to happen in 2021.
We’re all going in a little bit. gun shy from 2020 going into 2021. is this going to be a better year? Is it going to be more the same what’s going to happen? Is the vaccine going to work? Is it gonna. Invoke the zombie apocalypse. Is it going to install the Mark of the beast in all of us?
Is, is it going to tap us into Russian hackers and they’re gonna know everything about us or, or what is 2021 going to bring, but the Lord knows and we should pursue first his kingdom and his righteousness and let him take care of all those things that create anxiety in our heart.
Bob Bickford: [00:06:50] Yeah. And then, uh, he wraps that up. That that section is just by saying, don’t worry. Don’t worry. So if we’re approaching the start of a new year, new ministry season, New calendar year. there’s there’s probably some guys out there that have a lot of anxiety about it. And I think this is a great first of first importance, like you said, let’s start with seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness.
JimBo Stewart: [00:07:18] I’m just making sure that we’re doing that and everything that we do personally in our own life and our own walk, making sure that we are abiding in Christ. We’re pursuing first, the kingdom of God and righteousness in our own walk and our relationships and how we lead, the leadership of our church and in the organization.
The organizational leadership of our church and all those things. number two, preach the word. there, there was a great quote that just stuck out in my heart. In my hardest season at, our church, I went to a preaching conference called cutting it straight. HB Charles here in Jacksonville, a well-known, communicator host.
What is the best preaching conference I’ve ever been to? Called cutting it straight. And I was there and HB Charles was talking about when you deal with adversity and difficulty in ministry, and if you’ve ever seen HB Charles preach, you know, He’s always wearing the same exact outfit. HB Charles, every time he preaches is going to wear a black suit with a white shirt and a black tie and probably tennis shoes.
and, and that’s that’s cause he, he gets pretty active physically in his preaching. And uh, he’s going to jump a little bit and I, I might do a little bit myself sometimes, but I. He said this and it just, I was going through a really hard time and I was sitting there and I would appreciate it being fed under the word.
And he said, Hey, when it really gets hard and you don’t know what to do, and you have no idea how to get yourself out of what’s happening at your church. Here’s what you do. You put on a black suit, you get in the pulpit and you preach the word. And that Sunday, I don’t normally wear a suit and tie that Sunday, Bob, I wore a black suit. I got in the pulpit and I preached the word.
Bob Bickford: [00:09:04] Did you wear tennis shoes?
JimBo Stewart: [00:09:05] Uh, no, I, I dressed all the way up, but I told my church we’re going through a lot. Here’s what HB Charles said. And so here’s what I’m doing. I put on my black suit, I’m in the pulpit and I’m going to preach the word.
Bob Bickford: [00:09:20] Well, man, that’s awesome. The reality is, we, we get so. Caught up with the externals and all of the things that go around, you know, facilitating a gathered worship experience or leading a church in these times. And there are not many people who really get back to saying preach the word. No. So you got the HB, Charles, you probably get the John MacArthur.
She got some others. That, they’re just focusing on preaching the word. And, I was doing a consult recently and I ran, uh, we, we were out of church and they’re very much words, centric, scripture centric, and, and they preach the word and that’s great. And awesome. And I, I wanna, uh, I wanna say this in the context of us talking about this in preaching the word, it doesn’t mean.
That we just exclusively focus only on that. And we let we take our thoughts and our perspective off of everything else. Right. And just let everything else kind of go to shambles. But I think what you’re talking about is you’re talking about the sufficiency and supremacy of God’s word as it’s proclaimed in the power of the Holy spirit, along with what some people call that function, that urgency.
Of this is what God says. So we believe it, right. This is what he calls us to. So we’ll be obedient. This is his, this is what he says about the world and the way we should see it. So we adopt that, right? Those kinds of things are preaching the word, not a lecture on the scriptures with. A thousand cross-references and parsing all of the Greek words.
Some people think that’s preaching the word,
JimBo Stewart: [00:11:11] No, I would agree. I think it’s so important that there is application.
Bob Bickford: [00:11:15] Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: [00:11:16] James says, do not just be doers, hearers of the word, but be doers also. and that when we’re only here as the word, then we are like looking in the mirror and forgetting what we look like. Bob, there’s a guy who, dear to my heart still love him to death.
Consider him a brother. he might even listen to the episode and I won’t be ashamed of what I say. had this issue where he served under me for a little while and maybe one of the brightest theological minds I’ve ever encountered. I mean, just phenomenal though, his ability to read and understand both the word of God and, other theological text from, from decades, centuries ago.
I mean he, and he can, he can memorize pretty much everything he reads and, and. process it in a really intelligent way, but I could never get him to move to application. And, and what are you going to do with this? Where is this? What is, where does this go? What happens with all this knowledge? And so he preached the word, is, is preaching the infallible in Aaron inspired word of God for life transformation that glorifies God and conforms us more into the image of Christ.
And part of that is we use that to accomplish the, the third thing, which is equipping the saints for the work of ministry. This is one we’ve hammered a lot on here, and we’ll continue to hammer a lot on here because as far as I can see it, Bob. It is the only passage in scripture that gives us instructions on how to grow the church.
Um, Jesus says he’ll build the church and, and the Gates of hell won’t prevail against it. But the only time I find specifically, we get instructions on using the word growth church growth, uh, Ephesians 11, 16, when each part plays its part proc plays its role properly. The church will build itself up. And love.
And it talks about how the gift of the church, the gift to the church is the leaders to equip the saints, to do the work of ministry and at work and ministry is in biblical community, building each other up into maturity, conformed in the image. Of Christ. And so as you lead, uh, organizational leadership stuff, we both love that.
We would love to study those things and learn from those things. Uh, but if we’re getting down to the irreducible minimums, man, what matters is, are you equipping saints for the work of ministry?
Bob Bickford: [00:13:45] Absolutely. So, you know, the, the reality is there’s so much more ministry. Can be done, by us as the, the pastor, the lead shepherd there in the, in the church. And so we, we, we will either lead to our capacity, or will lead towards, an exponential type of capacity by leading others to do the works of ministry.
And I, I, to also add this though, Most of the time when, when I grew up in churches, hearing pastor speak on this passage and then talking about equipping the saints for the works of ministry, it was always administrative ministry. Right. So it was greeter Sunday, school teachers, et cetera, et cetera, and cynical, it’s going to school teachers.
The view was administratively. We’ve got to get somebody in there to teach. Right. And so I don’t want to confuse people by saying that the, that the ministry of teaching is only at administration. Right. But the viewed, I just got to cover the open spot. That’s kind of an administrative view of the ministry of teaching, but.
But when I think of ministry, I think of a prayer for the body care for the body pastoral counseling for the body. I think of discipleship. I think of evangelism. I think of all those things that are ministry functions that actually lead towards, you know, th the they’re on the other side of the, The range of activities that will lead to a church to growth.
there’s also the things that will, will help a church sustain its growth, like a greeter’s ministry and financial team and all those sorts of things. So we shouldn’t neglect to those, but I think we really have to understand which side of the growth, the growth scale are they on? Are they. Are they supporting the growth or are they leading the growth?
And I think there’s a difference. And so when you’re approaching this verse in this passage from the Feagins, don’t always just think administration of ministry think like shared ministry, pastoral people, ministry discipling, developing, engaging the community type ministry.
JimBo Stewart: [00:15:40] Yeah, so that takes us to the fourth idea, uh, that we’ve also said a lot here, make disciples that make disciples and, and know that that’s what the work of ministry is largely centered around discipleship. Making disciples. It’s, it’s really the commission, the mandate that has been given to us by the Lord of how he intends to reconcile this world back to himself is through us as, as ambassadors of reconciliation, through, I believe the ministry of making disciples.
I’m convinced Bob that almost, if not every single issue in the church, Is a discipleship issue. every issue. And I would even take it to, I say almost because I’m not going to get proved wrong, but even, even issues of like budgeting. Well, it comes down to how are we stewarding money? Well, how do we teach people how to steward money based off of the teaching of Christ, which is how he describes what discipleship is.
As we baptize people in his, in the name of the father, son, and the Holy spirit and teach them to observe all that he has commanded and he taught about money. He taught about how to steward and manage. He didn’t give specifics on how to build a church budget, but the issue really is less maybe about how to manage the church budget is, is how to teach people.
Stewardship and discipleship, and I’m convinced really, almost everything in the church should center around these ideas of pursuing first, the kingdom of God, preaching the word, equipping the saints and making disciples.
Bob Bickford: [00:17:20] We w I think in, in my experience, most of the declining churches are dying. Churches have deficient discipleship. And they’ve got a lot of head knowledge and a lot of Bible story knowledge, but not a lot of people who are following Jesus in greater surrender in every single area of their life over the course of time.
And they follow Jesus. I think that the, the disciple, discipleship term, I think for a long time was tied to knowledge. Right. And not, application and, and, and transformation. And so I think we’ve got a lot of good sweet folks that know a lot of Bible stories that really haven’t changed them and case in point in our replant.
when not, when I came in, almost everybody brought their Bible to church in Sunday school and they could talk about ins and outs and they could tell you all the Bible stories and even some of the, some of the key doctrines and sort of things. But man, there was like a deep. A deep, thread of division that had occurred in between members of our church and had existed for a long, long time.
And that was not an evidence of the fruit of the spirit nor of, of mature disciples. And, and so it was very difficult for me over time to try to, to transition people, to thinking about discipleship in a different way. Right. And what it meant to be a disciple. So I think, you know, this year we’re, we’re starting this next year in 2021, we’re going to start something called three 21, not 321, but number three, number 21.
And what we’re, what we’re saying is in our church family, we want you to get with three people. We want you to spend 20 minutes connecting whether it’s in person or phone call or zoom or whatever. And we want you to spend 20 minutes in reading the scripture and prayer, and we want you to do that at least once a week.
And so that’s real doable. It’s not, it’s going to be hard to do it in 20 minutes, but we’re giving them just 20 minutes so that, you know, we can try to get them into the funnel and get them participating. And over the next, the next course of, you know, the next 12 months over over 2021, we’re hoping to see and praying that we’ll see a lot of transformation began taking places.
People are in the word together, praying together, challenging one, another couraging, one another, that sort of thing. And so, whatever it is that you can do in. This next season to get people together. And again, Florida is different than St. Louis, Missouri. We’re having a real hard time getting people together.
So we’re just trying to be creative to say, how can we make disciples in a new way, in a different way, but whatever it is you can do to get people together and praying together and reading God’s word unto application and transformation. I think you’re going to see God do some good things in your church.
JimBo Stewart: [00:20:05] Absolutely. And out of that discipleship, uh, the next step is engaging the community. So. We’ve quoted, oftentimes Mark Clifton’s definition of success and I replant or revitalization is a culture of making disciples that makes disciples that makes the community a noticeably better place. And we’ve got to figure out how to engage the community with the gospel, not just engage the community with.
Humanitarian services, or certain service alone, but always toward the end of making much of the name of Jesus Christ, and the gospel. And, and as we come, that’s a hard one and we’ll talk more as 2021 unfolds of how do we do that? We’ve talked a lot about how to do that in 2020. but as we.
Kind of come to the end of our time. I think it’s very important for us to land Bob on the sixth thing to focus on is, trust the Lord to build his church. Trust the Lord for the harvest.
Bob Bickford: [00:21:00] Yeah. You know, some of us are going to experience a harvest. That is, well, we’re all going to experience a harvest. That’s unique to us and too unique to our context. And for some, it’ll be tenfold some a hundred, maybe some, a thousand fold. Right. It just depends. And, Just trust God to be the one who builds the church and brings the harvest.
And throughout history, we’ve seen people who have been used by God to experience incredible, incredible things. You know, lots of people come to Christ. Lots of people, discipled missionary sent out. Churches planted. We’ve also seen some folks that have served faithfully over generation and generation and not seen a lot of fruit.
Right. You think of some of the famous missionary biographies of, of guys who spent their entire life decades of their life, losing family and losing, you know, a lot of, a lot of things and only seeing minimal results. Right where we don’t, we’re not saying do these things onto a particular, then your church is going to blow up, right?
This is not 30 days to seeing you break the 200 barrier. If it was, we’d be charging like three 90, nine, 99 for it. But, um, But this is, you know, what I really appreciate about this list? Jumbo is it, it it’s all based in scripture, it’s all rooted in scripture. We can find, you know, these exhortations in scripture that tie to these observations.
And I think was the one thing I just want to leave with the guys is we’ve we know that some guys are in some contexts where it’s going to be hard and there’s going to be for the fruits. It’s going to be a little less than. Guys in another context, but trust the Lord to build, to build the church and he will bring the harvest and your harvest.
This may be different. And, but if you’re doing these things, I think you could say at the end of 2021, heading into 2022, if you did these things and faithfully devoted yourself to them, that you’ve been faithful and you’ve done what God’s called you to do.
JimBo Stewart: [00:22:50] Yeah, I think regardless of what the numeric outcome of these activity. These are, if you truly do these under the Lord, then at the end of the whole thing, you’ll get to stand for the Lord and hear well done. Good and faithful servant, go there for and do likewise go make much of Jesus in 2021.