EPISODE #74 – TRUST THE LORD TO BUILD THE CHURCH
The guys are wrapping up their discussion on the Six Irreducible Minimums for 2021 and offer some insights on the frigid cold weather, valentines dining with your spouse, year-round-shorts guy, and Jimbo helps clear up Bob’s misunderstanding of “King Cakes” and then they get down to talking about why we need to depend upon the Lord to build his church.
This can be a difficult one for us-especially as the normal measurements of success ebb and flow, rise and fall.
- Set your mind on the truth that regardless what happens–Jesus builds his church
- The normal measurements are important (attendance, buildings, budgets) but they are not only measurements that are important. “Numbers aren’t everything-but they are something.”
- Do the work of ministry: Pursuing God’s Kingdom, Preaching, Equipping, Discipling, Engaging the Community and then let God do his work at building the church.
- Focus on your “role” or “job” as the pastor there for that season. Some plow, some plant, other water and the Lord is the one who brings the harvest!
Stages of a Replant: Plowing by Bob Bickford
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Show notes powered by Descript are an approximation of the verbal content, consult podcast audio for accuracy
[00:00:00] JimBo Stewart: Replant bootcamp back at it again. Hey, bootcampers Jimbo Stewart here as always with the wonderful Bob Bickford. Who’s been playing in the snow all day in St. Louis.
Bob Bickford: Jimbo it is Snowmageddon here and, in the Midwest. And we’re at, let me pull up the temperature for you because I love to send you in the morning time, the morning temperature. you typically say either yuck gross or no, thank you. I think those are the, those are the range of responses that I get from you.
So let’s let me read this to you and then let’s get a verbal instead of the text. All
JimBo Stewart: Okay. All right, let’s see here.
Bob Bickford: So Jimbo, it is three degrees
JimBo Stewart: Oh,
Bob Bickford: and it feels like negative
JimBo Stewart: no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Look my entire, my entire life. I realized this the other day, my entire life I lived within. An hour of , which is, you know, it goes from Jacksonville to [00:01:00] California and I’ve lived pretty close to my entire life. So right on the same longitude or latitude or whichever one, that one is. so I say, I like to live were Spanish Moss grows.
you know, Spanish Moss is beautiful kind of stuff, hanging. From the trees. I, I wanna, if I can see Spanish Moss, I know I’m probably going to be able to survive the climate, was not built for that kind of weather.
Bob Bickford: Well, the older I get, the more I’m thinking I need to move to Del Boca Vista three and join you in Florida. he dinner at four 30, go to bed at eight, get up at four 45. I pretty much do that right now anyway. So why not doing a warm climate?
JimBo Stewart: I did eat dinner fairly early last night because I got us a reservation. We’re recording this on a Monday after Valentine’s day. I hope he treated Barb. Well, Bob, I took Audrey out to a nice restaurant, I could either get a reservation at five 15. [00:02:00] Or at nine 45 and I didn’t, I did not have to consult Adria to figure out which one she wanted.
And so we went with the five 15 at the Scotty’s, if you’re ever in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Avondale section, there’s a place called biscottis that has the best bread pudding in Jacksonville.
Bob Bickford: Fantastic. Well, Barbara and I availed ourselves since it was, uh, after church Valentine’s day on a Sunday, we did the lunch at the Frisco bar room here in Webster groves. And, uh, Great little spot, one of our favorites and we, we enjoyed, uh, a great lunch together and, and very small crowd. I did see. And you would be interested to know about this, but have you ever heard of the year-round short sky? So, I mean, basically it’s a dude who doesn’t matter what year, what time of the year? What temperature he’s got shorts on. Just what he does. He’s year-round shorts guy. There was a [00:03:00] year round shorts guy in like single digit weather with minus negative degree windshield having Valentine’s lunch with his family, his wife and another family in the preschool.
JimBo Stewart: no, no, I, I don’t think I could, I could do that.
Bob Bickford: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in shorts.
JimBo Stewart: I’m not, I am not a shorts guy. I don’t wear shorts very often. I mean, like when we go to the beach, I wear shorts, but outside of that, I don’t ever wear shorts.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. Well, I got to show my legs off every once in a while.
JimBo Stewart: One last food thing. And then we’ll dive into the actual content of the podcast. tomorrow’s are recording us on Monday, February 15th. Tomorrow is fat Tuesday Mardi Gras day. And my wife is always on me every year to make her for scratch from scratch a King cake. And she has been dropping, not so subtle hints lately.
Bob Bickford: Or was it just kind of like a big cinnamon roll with a plastic [00:04:00] doll in it? Is that kind of what a King cake is?
JimBo Stewart: That would be a very simplistic way of describing a King gig.
Bob Bickford: Okay.
For found the doll. And have you ever broken a tooth on the doll or have you ever swallowed the doll? And isn’t a dollars in a baby is an infant. Jesus, what is
JimBo Stewart: It’s a baby. Jesus. Yeah, it is baby Jesus. And so, I’ve found, I’ve found baby Jesus multiple times, which means you have to be the next one to provide a King cake. but I’ve never swallowed baby Jesus or chipped a to Tucson it.
Bob Bickford: Okay. All right.
JimBo Stewart: But all right, well, let’s move on a little bit from the food portion.
That’s become our general intro to each podcast and move on to we’re ending the six irreducible minimums as we’ve been talking about with all the chaos that is the last 18 months or so, what, what do you focus on focusing on the fundamentals? And so we listed out six. Irreducible minimums, wan pursue first, the kingdom of God and his righteousness to [00:05:00] preach the word three, equip the saints for the work of ministry for make disciples who make disciples five, engage the community six, trust the Lord to build his church.
And so really, this one. It’s kind of the cap off of it all, because what we hope to accomplish with this list of irreducible minimums is not to make you feel overwhelmed or overburdened with all the million things that you’re pressured to do. but just the most basic biblical things we’re called to do.
But then in the end, we have to trust the Lord with the harvest.
Bob Bickford: That is right Jimbo. And I think this is, could be the most important irreducible minimum for you to hang your hat on and your emotions on and your perspective on.
JimBo Stewart: what would be. Some practical stilt steps to help a pastor really prepare his heart to [00:06:00] be able to do that to, I mean, we, we, it’s one of those things. I think that like a Sunday school answer, Christian, he’s talk. We, we, we could say it anywhere in a Christian dumb world and everybody’s going to nod their head.
Yes, absolutely trusted the Lord. God is good all the time. All the time. God is good, too blessed to be stressed. but how do we actually do that, Bob?
Bob Bickford: Well, Jim Bob. And I’ll tell you a little story about last Sunday. All right. So Saturday afternoon. you know, polishing up the sermon, thinking through it, praying through it kind of editing a little bit heading into Saturday nights, Sunday morning. one of my elders calls me pick up the phone like I normally do.
And he said, uh, Hey, uh, it’s going to be cold tomorrow. What do you think about, we think about church tomorrow and my mind I’m going well. The streets are clear. The, the lot is clear and, uh, it’s just going to be called, I think we’re going to have it [00:07:00] appear apparently Jimbo during the pandemic Missourians in St.
Louis in particular have lost their ability to be in cold weather. As we had a few folks that decided it was too cold to go to church in person.
JimBo Stewart: Oh, yeah. I really think the distance engagement in air quotes that has happened while there has been some good that has come from the digital. Engagement. I really do think it’s kind of created this comfortability with just not being there in person.
Bob Bickford: Absolutely. And, you know, man, it’s frustrating because it’s like, That all of us are asking with, when is everybody coming back to church? And, and so to, to kind of short cycle, this one in terms of talking about this, how, how do I do that personally? And I just remind myself of the season we’re in. And I also remind myself of.
[00:08:00] Evaluating myself on doing the, the previous five of the six irreducible minimums by am I doing these things? I go back to that. And then I, I, I will say to myself and this particular one, I’ve got to trust God to build his church. It’s his church. Anyway, I can work harder and still not accomplish more. The building of the church, doesn’t always equate to numerical attendance. It crates sometimes to spiritual depth. And I do have to balance that in light of a lot of different things. Are we seeing people transformed? Are we engaging on mission in our location? Are we supporting ourselves? Are we self sustainable, financially?
All those sorts of things. Am I having spiritual conversations with people? And the answer to all those things for us is yes. And attendance is one of those things right now. That’s a big question, Mark, for a lot of folks, for us particular. on a Sunday like that, I just have to remind [00:09:00] myself, this is God’s church.
He’s going to build it. and I’m called, I’m convinced that I’m called to be faithful in this time right now to keep my head down, keep working, keep praying, keep serving, keeping a faithful as a pastor.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, there is constant pressure and weight in the modern paradigm of ministry that we have created a local church as a centralized organization that I don’t think people lay people. Okay. And this is not trying to diminish laypeople. I don’t think as, unless you’ve been even, I wouldn’t even say lay people unless you’ve been the lead pastor of a church.
And we’ve talked about this on the episode into the liver line. Uh, it is hard to grasp what that feels like. Until you’ve been there. And so I’ll, I’ll give the flip to it. I’ve been doing a lot of guest preaching lately. Now that I’ve transitioned to my role. And so like this last Sunday, I preach to the church, preach to services, pretty, pretty good [00:10:00] size growing church as a church revitalization.
One of my mentors been the pastor there for almost 20 years and I mean, took a dying church and it’s now a pretty significant sized church. And, Preaching to services has its own kind of exhausted, uh, nature to it. But, but it ain’t nothing like preaching one service at a church where you’re the pastor.
and I was talking to my wife about it afterwards because when I walked in, all I had to do was preach. Right. If the AC broke, it’s not on me. If somebody’s marriage starts falling apart and they want to talk somebody, it ain’t going to be me. If somebody is trying to quit, their job could, you know, quit the staff or any, like if all sorts of things that could come up and make sure that all the things are happening, the way they’re supposed to happen.
None of that’s on me. All I gotta do is after the third song and the prayer walk up preach, and then walk, sit, sit back down, and I’m done. Right. there, there’s just something to that. It’s, there’s a [00:11:00] tension Bob, and it’s hard to not feel measured and value on yourself based off of your attendance and the F the perceived effectiveness of your ministry.
Bob Bickford: I mean, how do we evaluate churches mostly by attendance, buildings and budgets. you know, cash, those sorts of things. so it’s easy for us to look at those outward signs and all of those indicative of something, right? If so, if you don’t have any of that and you’re struggling with all of that, then there are some issues you need to take a picture of and you need to lean in and look at, but.
faithful ministry is not only measured by those things or exclusively measured by those things. It is measured in some part by those things. I started with a pastor one time and he said this to me. He said, numbers, aren’t everything, but they are something. Right. That’s a good, good piece of advice right there, not everything, but there’s something.
I think we just have to go back to, this is really what we were trying to do when we set out this list and the podcast to say, [00:12:00] if you are in a spot and no doubt about re there’s some re planters and revitalizes that are listening to us, they’re a tight spot in terms of, you know, they’re asking the same questions.
Are people coming back? Are we going to survive, et cetera, you gotta go back and look at these foundational things that we’ve talked about. These irreducible minimum, do those things. Devote yourself to him and trust the Lord to build the church.
JimBo Stewart: These are really the way that you shepherd the flock that God has given you by pursuing first King of God, preaching the word, equipping them for ministry, making disciples, engaging the community, but you’ve got to prepare your heart to define success by your faithfulness in those things. And not by. Ha the fruitfulness and the numbers of that, but your faithfulness to what God has called you to not, not a laziness, don’t hide behind that idea of faithfulness and just give your bare minimum on those things, but giving yourself, in a biblical way to those tasks and letting the Lord bring the results, Bob, how do we lead?
How do we lead the church? we don’t [00:13:00] have to go full into PIDO on this, but how do we lead the church as a whole, to also embrace this idea of we’ve we’ve got to trust the Lord to build his church, not the pastor, not his preaching ability, not his organizational leadership skills, not our marketing, not our cool band or lights or fog or a great youth group, because so often.
As you and I talk with pastors and churches and talk with church members, we’ll hear things like, well, if we just had right, if we just had a good young pastor, we’d be, we’d be great. If we just had a youth pastor, if we just had some more people, uh, and it, it seems. To me, at least when I hear those, a lot of those things it’s come out of church members, as we’re talking that their trust isn’t in the Lord, it’s in those results and those factors and programs that they hope will bring the results that they want.
Bob Bickford: as you’re talking, there’s a couple of things that come to mind. One is prayer prayers just gotta be central. Like we just have to [00:14:00] continue to be before the Lord asking him to do what he is purpose to do in through our church. Right. and we’ve just gotta be pleading with him to push back the loss, this, and use our people to proclaim the gospel in our culture and our city and our context, because that’s really where it comes, comes down to it.
It’s like the Lord draws people to salvation and he often does that in response to our prayer and our pleading. and so, you know, our prayer and pleading are not the propelling purpose. behind the Lord to redeem someone, his love for them and his purpose and his tension for intention, for them to draw them to the gospel, but our prayer and our pleading put us in a position where we cooperate with the Lord and where he, answers that prayer.
As we put ourselves in a, in a position of, of, prayer and obedience and service that aligns our church and its ministries. Towards that purpose. Cause cause when we, we asked the Lord to save some, then we’re responsible to disciple them and care for them and shepherd them. So the next thing just to segue [00:15:00] to that is, are we ready?
Would we be ready to receive people? In particular new believers who come to faith in Christ, right. Are we ready for that? Would we be in a position where we could care for them well and disciple them and love them well and include them and fold them in the community? Well, the community, the church. So those are some things I think to think about is that, you know, you can have a great outreach and we’ve Jimbo, you know, I’ve been around enough churches that really grow big and people make decisions.
To place their faith in Christ, but they’re never discipled in those decisions. And then when hard times come along, it’s just like the parable of the sower. th the concerns of life choke that seed out, and perhaps it wasn’t planted deeply and transformation didn’t take place. And so I think there’s, there’s a, a holistic view that we’ve got to take of, the Lord building the church.
It’s not drawn a crowd only, or [00:16:00] exclusively. So not having the best ministries where you have a bunch of students come into your church or for young families, et cetera. It’s about reaching people with the gospel and helping them grow in the gospel for the glory of God, for the purposes of God. Right. So, that’s all whole package right there.
And in some churches do a really good job on the front end of that package, but perhaps the pastor or the program, the pastor leaves the program, you know, it goes away. Then what happens to the crop? We’re seeing some of that really, and some of the larger churches right now, where they’re not able to do the programs that they used to do, that would draw the crowds that gave them the.
Just the, you know, the opportunity to share the gospel, but also kind of this idea that it would maybe be an, they were maybe a little better off than they actually were. Right. So then the program is now gone. I think you, you really had to pull back and look at the big picture on this. We need all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people, but we also need every church activated to make disciples who make disciples.
JimBo Stewart: Well, and you have no idea what role it is that God has [00:17:00] you playing, right? God may have you not playing in a role that results in a lot of numeric growth, but maybe in identifying idolatry and cleansing. The church of that in deconstructing some faulty philosophy of ministry in getting it really set up well for whoever it is, God calls next to that church.
Or so it may just be one of those things it’s going to take a lot longer. It’s probably going to take a lot longer than you thought it was going to take to accomplish what you hope to see God accomplish. I think about how often in the Bible we see. One of the things I started paying attention to a few years ago was when you’re reading a narrative in the Bible, pay attention to like the timeline of how many years are being passed.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: And so often you’ll see in a matter of a verse or two, you just skipped three years or five years in the timeline. Right. And we don’t hear anything about what happened in those three to [00:18:00] five years at all. We just. Yep to the next verse. and, and I think sometimes that’s the seasons we find ourselves in, in ministry, but that doesn’t mean it’s not faithfulness and it doesn’t mean it’s not being used.
And I don’t want to diminish this idea of just faithfulness, not just like God’s word, doesn’t go out in vain. You just might not get to see as much of the fruit of your ministry as you would like. But it may be one of those things that happens well down the road, that you got to be a part of.
Bob Bickford: Yeah. I mean, what does Paul say? Like. There’s one that plants there’s one that waters, and then there’s some that harvest. Right? So, the glory goes to the guy that’s bringing in the harvest on the bit, on the back of the flatbed, right? So not the guy who plowed the field and planted the seeds and weeded the field.
And all those sorts of things. and so I think, you know, there are seasons in the church’s lie where you might be the guy that’s there to plow the field, the hardened field [00:19:00] up years and years ago when, when we started the replant blog, I think I wrote a series on seasons in the life of a replant and talked about one of the seasons is plow in the field, like going in there with the plot.
You’re the first guy in there’s hard ground. There might be stumps in there. There might be, you know, there might be a Berry pickup, you know, no sweat you’re going to run into and your goal is to, you’ve got to plow the field. so I think we, we find ourselves in such situations sometimes where we have a particular call to ministry that maybe it’s a planting or a watering or a plowing.
And then there’s sometimes there’s a harvesting and I think Timbo, everybody participated in the harvest. In that story, but not everybody had the same job. So if they all were laborers in the field, the question begs itself. Well, who did the best job? Well, nobody like they all did the same. They all did their job.
And so maybe we should ask what’s my job in this church. What’s my job in this role as [00:20:00] a re planter. Um, what’s my job in this role as a stablish pastor. So I’m taking over for the re planter. I, I think if we can be clear on that, then, you know, that would help us. And I do think, and I’d love to have your perspective on this.
And I think some of us are, some of us are like the foundation guys. Like we go in and lay the foundation and then move on. And then some guys are the harvest guys and like everywhere they go, they’re the harvest guy and they do all the harvest. So, so I think that, that we may have some, some wiring and some gifting that’s uniquely skilled and placed in us by the Lord for a specific purpose.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. And I honestly, I think we might already be a whole episode on, on that, because that ties into why I transitioned out of redemption church and knowing it was my, it was my time. To step out of there knowing that my season there was done and the blessing of getting to leave. Like not like on good terms, like not wanting to leave, but knowing I was supposed [00:21:00] to.
maybe we do that on a whole, another episode coming up. Um, cause we’re kind of hitting the end of our time today. So here’s what we do know. We do know at, at minimum, what is your job? What is your role? Well 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. But trust the Lord to build his church and lead your church to trust the Lord, to build his church. and so look, we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to hear your stories. we’d love to hear how God has been here using you to plow, to plant, to water, to harvest.
we’d also love to tell you that you can go to our Facebook page, click a link and buy a hoodie or a shirt or. so some merge, if you want to rock some replant bootcamp merge, as we work out, some of that stuff, any proceeds will go to just creating more resources to serve you guys. and so we are not, I don’t think we’re not on paper, like a [00:22:00] nonprofit, but we are definitely not profitable.
Bob Bickford: No, we are, we are, we’re investing in this by ourselves. We don’t have grants. We don’t have a underwriting benefactor. There’s no fee off lists here. we, we support the bootcamp from our pocket book
JimBo Stewart: Yes, our sponsor gives us a website. That’s what we
Bob Bickford: there you go.
JimBo Stewart: all right guys. See ya later. Let us know how we can serve you better.