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Three Steps to Powerful Prayer in Your Church

A quote from Martin Luther hung in my grandparent’s bedroom when I was younger.  It said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”  I remember thinking how backward that seemed to me at the time.  If you have so much to do, wouldn’t it be better to start doing it? Spending three hours in prayer seems like you’ve wasted so much time on what must be a busy day! Now that I am older, I see the wisdom in Luther’s quote.  But I must admit… I don’t always follow his advice.

Perhaps you can relate.  Many church leaders see prayer as something we do before we get to the “real work.” We rush through prayer to start a meeting because we understand the value of “starting with prayer,” but not in spending time to offer an “effective, fervent” prayer (James 5:16, KJV).

On a recent podcast episode, Jimbo spoke with Rev. Rick Fisher, the Vice President of Blackaby Ministries, and co-author of the book, Developing a Powerful Praying Church with Dr. Richard Blackaby.  He stated that a praying church is one where “prayer is the foundation of everything you do.”  You may think that you have built a foundation of prayer in your church, but are you truly seeing transformative, exciting communication with God?  Or are you simply going through the motions of prayer to check off a box? Rev. Fisher discussed several steps to help churches and pastors move from a prayer life that feels lethargic and powerless to an effective and dynamic one.

man's hands clasped in prayer on top of an open bible

Step One: Evaluate Your Own Prayer Life

The first step toward a powerful, praying church is to start with a powerful, praying pastor. Rev. Fisher recognized that while he knew the cliches to say in prayer and how to vocalize prayer, he didn’t know how to communicate with God.  He wanted to hear from God, but often, God heard from him instead.  

You may wonder at the difference– what does it matter if we speak or God does?  But it matters a great deal.  When we never stop to listen to what God is saying to us, our prayer life becomes one-sided and dangerously close to self-serving.  We begin to rely on our own power to transform our church.  True communication with God, where we sit and wait for His response, reminds us that this is God’s church, not ours.  

Think about it this way: when you finish praying is there time for God to respond?  Or are you immediately moving on, content to have spoken to Him?  Just because you’re done praying, doesn’t mean you’re done listening.

Prayers that Seek God’s Face, not His Hand

As pastors, we often get caught up in praying for things that Rev. Fisher reminds us are in “God’s hands.”  “God’s hands,” he says, “represent what God does.” When we pray with our hearts focused on God’s hands, we look to experience God’s gifts of favor, blessing, or reward.  We hope to have our needs met and our expectations exceeded. 

By contrast, Rev. Fisher points us toward Psalm 27:8: “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek..’”  If God’s hands represent what He does, then God’s face represents who He is.

When we begin our prayer earnestly seeking God’s character, it changes our prayers from self-focused to God-focused.  When we stop striving to convince God to move according to our wants and desires, it changes our hearts to recognize His sovereignty in all things and to relinquish control over them. When we are informed about who God is, we trust Him more.  

A powerful praying church begins with a pastor whose personal prayer life is one of submission to God’s character and who makes time to listen to Him, not only speak. 

several people are praying together with thier hands clasped

Step Two: Engage Your Church in Scripture-Filled Prayer

How often have you heard the phrase, “Let’s start with prayer,” followed by, “Now, open your Bibles to this chapter and verse.”  Rev. Fisher would encourage us to flip those two statements around. Your church doesn’t need to start praying without first beginning in Scripture.  If we pray to seek God’s face, we must first understand who He is– and there is no better place to discover that than in His Word.  Many times, Fisher says, “What you need to pray, what God wants to say to you, embed in you, and adjust in you comes right out of his word.” When we engage our churches to become powerful, praying people, we must first open our Bibles and teach them to do the same.  

If your Wednesday night prayer meeting has devolved into a litany of rote names and their various ailments, it may be because your church is praying without a true understanding of who God is.  They might need to be reminded through Scripture.  Fisher recommends starting your prayer time by opening up to a Psalm and asking the question, “What does this Scripture tell me about God?” He explains that having a proper view of God and His character gives your congregation more confidence in seeking Him and in trusting Him.  

For example, if we were to open up to Psalm 130 before we pray and ask, “What does this tell me about God’s character?” we can answer that God is forgiving, and He is merciful.  We can say that God’s love is steadfast and He is attentive to our prayers.  We are reminded to wait upon the Lord as we pray.   As we begin to pray, we are better able to trust God with the outcome knowing that He is in control and our circumstances are not separate from His love and mercy.

6 people of various demographics are joined at a table in prayer

Step Three: Pray with Purpose

Emojis have made it easy to water down prayers to a simple 🙏. We can post a quick response to someone’s prayer request before we mentally register what they even asked. “Thoughts and prayers,” has become so ubiquitous that even non-Christians post it as a knee-jerk response.  

If we’re honest, perhaps even in our prayer times at church, we have grown complacent with standard cliches and phrases.  We might even be guilty of praying without any thought at all.  How many of us can rattle off a night-time prayer we learned in childhood?  My grandfather said the same prayer every time he was asked to pray over a meal: “Dear Lord, make us truly thankful for these and all other blessings, we ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.”  At least I think that’s what he said– honestly, it was always said so quickly I barely even had time to close my eyes or bow my head before it was over.

If prayer is the foundation on which everything in our church is built, it deserves to be treated with respect. Rev. Fisher said he realized, “I had to stop saying things that didn’t make sense in prayer like ‘God be with us.’ We’re not asking God to be with us, He’s there. The better prayer is: ‘God, make us aware of how present you already are.’”  Adjusting the phrasing and the way he prayed showed his church the importance of praying with a purpose.

Specific Prayers and Specific Pray-ers

In Acts 4, we get a very close look at a powerful, praying church.  Peter and John have been arrested and tried before the Council and the early church Christians are experiencing persecution and trials. When they return to the church members, they don’t recite a thoughtless, memorized litany of requests and cliches.  Instead, the Bible tells us that they “lifted their voices together to God,” acknowledged His plan and faithfulness, and prayed for boldness to continue healing and proclaiming His name.

The early church’s prayer was answered.  The Bible says, “When they had prayed, the place they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.”  They prayed specifically for boldness, and God answered specifically.

Rick Fisher asked this question: “Is there anything your church is praying for that could only be explained if God did it?”  We must be willing to pray specific prayers for our church– to ask God to do what only He can.  

We must also be willing to pray fervently, without ceasing, until the prayer is answered.  So often, we pray a few times and then stop.  We get bored or restless and then begin to try to accomplish things on our own.  But God doesn’t operate on our timeline. We must teach our churches to pray until God moves, whatever that looks like.

As pastors, we may also be guilty of being too willing to let someone pray corporately who frankly doesn’t have a solid prayer life privately.  We need to be specific in our prayers, but also in who prays!  Rev. Fisher makes this analogy: “We never think about asking a soloist to sing who can’t sing on key. Prayer is more important than singing. So why would we ever let anyone pray publicly who prays off key?”

Is the person praying over the offering in your services doing so because he is a righteous man, passionate about church finances being used for God’s Kingdom?  Do you know that he is praying over the church budget and prayerfully supports the ministries of the church in his private life?  Or did he just lose a rock, paper, scissors game before the offering was taken?

If you aren’t praying with your people, pastor, then you don’t know who is praying Spirit-filled, God-honoring prayers that truly communicate with the Lord.  You don’t know who is seeking the Lord’s face daily.

Powerful Prayers Deserve Powerful Praise

The final step toward developing a powerful praying church?  Celebrate answered prayers!  When your church has prayed specific, fervent, God-seeking prayers, and you see God move in specific ways, then that deserves a celebration.

Don’t be tempted to speak in terms of “we were lucky to experience this,” or “this was an accident.” Give God the glory for the great things He has done! We prayed, God responded, and God did this!  Remind your congregation of the times God has answered prayers in the past and encourage them to continue to pray and seek God’s face.

Rev. Fisher made this statement on prayer and I think it sums up exactly what prayer in our churches should look like: “Prayer is not merely a means of expressing our concerns to God but a divine invitation for God to lay His heart over ours. Through prayer, we align our thoughts and desires with God’s, allowing His perspective to shape our actions and decisions.”

I want to be a part of that!  I want my church to be a part of that!

For more information on Rev. Rick Fisher or his book, Developing a Powerful, Praying Church, see www.blackaby.org

Don’t forget to nominate guests for future episodes of the Replant Bootcamp podcast!

EP 239 – Hitting the Healthy Church Target with Brandon Moore

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EP 239 - Hitting the Healthy Church Target with Brandon Moore
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In this episode of the Replant Bootcamp, we reconnect with Brandon, a former guest and a recent addition to the Replant team, who shares his journey from working with the Missouri Baptist Convention to joining the Replant team and moving towards replanting a church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Brandon discusses his experience and insights on church revitalization and replanting in Missouri, emphasizing the strategic role of associational leaders and state convention leaders in catalyzing church movement within their states.

He highlights the critical need for strong leadership and healthy church structures, focusing on the three identities of the church (worshipers of God, family in Christ, and missionaries to the world), foundational elements (Gospel, Scripture, and Prayer), and structural aspects (leadership, membership, and discipleship) essential for church health.

CLICK HERE FOR THE RENEW AND RESOUND PRAYER GUIDE

00:00 Welcome Back to the Bootcamp!
00:54 Introducing Brandon: A Journey from Missouri to Replant Team
01:11 Brandon’s Personal and Professional Shifts
02:10 The Mission in Knoxville: Replanting with a Vision
05:25 The Importance of Church Health and Identity
11:28 Defining Church Health: Identities, Foundations, and Structures
23:53 Practical Steps for Church Revitalization and Replanting
27:35 Closing Prayer for Healthy, God-Glorifying Churches

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Crises and Dealing with Change

This week, the Bootcamp sat down with Will Cofield, pastor at Central Baptist Church in York, South Carolina. Will shared some highlights of his ministry over the past 15 years at Central Baptist, where he started as the youth pastor. Throughout his time, he became the church’s pastor and eventually led them through a Replant. Now, Central Baptist is committed to loving God, loving people, and making disciples. They do this through specific goals you can read about here. 

One of Will’s passions is raising up church leaders and members to make disciples and help other churches revitalize and replant. The ministry of Central Baptist is one of many churches that have gone through the process, and not without hardships. As Jimbo and Will sat down to discuss this topic, Will shared relatable stories that many can identify with. Here are a few takeaways from the conversation:

The Breaking Point for Every Dying Church

What is the breaking point, the thing that every dying church must need before it undergoes any revitalization? Desperation. With desperation comes an understanding that there is nothing that we can do in our own strength to reverse the decline. We need the power of God, the leadership of Christ, and the work of the Holy Spirit in our churches.

As Will led his church toward this effort, they needed congregational repentance. They had to repent that their church did not have a history of loving God and loving others the way God called them to. It was only through repentance and desperation that the church yielded its ways to God’s ways and sought after him. Through that time came the decision to Replant.

Many churches will continue to hang on by a thread if they have people in the pews and money in the bank. As time passes, a window of opportunity starts to close. What will happen when it’s too late, and Jesus removes the lampstand? What will happen if the favor of God’s hand is removed from the church?

We need repentance. If a doctor diagnosed you with cancer and simply told everyone you just had a bad cough, that doesn’t make it any less deadly. We must ask spiritual questions to properly diagnose a church’s spiritual condition. Are we loving Christ as we should? Are we worshipping any idols? Does anything else in our church have our allegiance, devotion, and loyalty? The breaking point for a dying church is this: we must be desperate for God’s work, no matter the cost.

Suffering Stories Matter

As Will shared some of his stories, it brought up memories for me, as I’m sure all of our listeners, of the hardships we face in our churches. Suppose you’ve served in any leadership capacity at your church. In that case, you know that people are sinful, suffering happens, and usually, it teaches us something about life and ministry that we need for the journey. 

Consider these relevant, timely, and important verses from 1 Peter for situations of suffering in ministry:

1 Peter 3:13-14, “Who will harm you if you are devoted to what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed.

3:17, “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

1 Peter 4:12-13, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed. 

1 Peter 4:16-17, “But if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in having that name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it starts with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God? 

1 Peter 4:19, “So then, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator while doing what is good.”

The Bible teaches that suffering will be expected, and God uses typically suffering experiences to prepare us for the next season of life. And when we come into a situation after suffering for a little while, we usually have been tested, proven, and challenged in ways that only suffering can produce in us.

Jimbo’s advice for seasons of suffering is that we shouldn’t try to “fix it” by addressing the symptoms. Instead, we should sit in it, seek to understand it and move forward in God’s timing, not our own. If you’re struggling in some area of your ministry, know that God sees you. He is near, and we only need to trust him through it.

Biblical Truth & Beauty from Ashes

In ministry, we can see things around us go up in flames. 

Sometimes, turmoil causes us to question God, asking where God is through the turmoil. Do we not know the God that we worship? It is in his nature to redeem, restore, and make beauty from ashes. God’s work is often a refining work. He often brings us through hardship to bring us to something beautiful. Our experiences are meant to be life lessons learned only in a dark valley.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to his understanding.” Isaiah 40:28

God has not disappeared from you; he loves you, and there is a point in the struggle you may be experiencing. Sometimes, the disciplinary hand of our father. Other times, the refining fire of adversity. No matter your church’s current or past turmoil, it can be repented of and given a fresh, new beginning.

We encourage you to rest in the Sovereign hand of God and allow him to do refining work in your life and the life of your church. Please reach out to us if we can help in any way.

EP 235 – Facing Crises and Embracing Change in Church Leadership with Will Cofield

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EP 235 - Facing Crises and Embracing Change in Church Leadership with Will Cofield
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On this episode, I had the pleasure of chatting with Will Cofield, who, besides being known as ‘Mr. Erin Cofield‘ (the trophy husband of one of the Bootcamp blog writers), shared insights from his remarkable and tumultuous journey in church leadership as he led a church to replant from within.

From beginning his ministry as a youth pastor and then moving into the lead pastor role in a struggling church with a history of division and turnover to facing severe challenges, including a church split over bluegrass, resistance to change, leadership disputes, almost getting into a fistfight with a deacon in his 80s who is on dialysis and a harrowing incident of abuse. Despite these trials, Will recounted how these crises eventually led to a profound transformation within the church. The congregation underwent a process of repentance, recommitted to its mission, and adopted a fresh approach to ministry that prioritizes Christ-centered worship and community outreach. Will emphasized the invaluable lessons learned through suffering, the importance of pastoral friendship, and the necessity of dependence on God above all.

00:00 Introduction and Guest Presentation
01:39 Guest’s Journey to Ministry
02:03 Challenges in the Church
05:28 Conflict and Confrontation
08:30 Facing the Dark Valley
12:57 The Path to Revitalization
19:25 Lessons from the Dark Valley
19:30 The Power of Community and Support
25:06 Closing Thoughts and Prayers

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EP 234 – Remembering Henry Blackaby with Special Guest Richard Blackaby

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EP 234 - Remembering Henry Blackaby with Special Guest Richard Blackaby
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Henry Blackaby was a servant of God. Henry Blackaby was an ordinary man whom God used in extraordinary ways. Henry recently passed away from this earth and is now basking in the glory of God and walking with Jesus.

In this episode, we’re back at the Replant Bootcamp Podcast with a heartwarming and insightful conversation with Richard Blackaby, a dear friend and an incredible leader in his own right and Henry Blackaby’s oldest son. Richard continues his dad’s legacy as president of Blackaby Ministries.
Richard shares his personal journey, growing from the influence of his father, the late Henry Blackaby, into a global leadership mentor. The passing of Henry Blackaby has reminded many of us of his deep impact on church revitalization and the way he modeled a God-centric life of service beyond the confines of church size. We dive into how Henry’s legacy has shaped Richard’s approach to ministry, emphasizing the importance of seeing God’s hand in every situation, no matter the challenges. Additionally, we discussed our shared passion for reading and how it fuels our growth, Richard’s upcoming back surgery, and a heartfelt prayer for our listeners. This episode reiterates the power of legacy, faith, and leadership through the lens of the Blackaby family’s journey.
Join JimBo, Richard, and many others at the upcoming Revive Summit in Pickerington, Ohio on May 21-22 – CLICK HERE for more information.
00:00 Introduction and Welcoming the Guest
00:44 Guest’s Background and Ministry Journey
01:57 Remembering Henry Blackaby: A Legacy of Church Revitalization
03:43 The Impact of Henry Blackaby’s Ministry
04:57 Growing Up with Henry Blackaby: Personal Reflections
08:34 The Challenges and Joys of Ministry
20:01 The Importance of Reading and Learning in Ministry
27:30 Facing Health Challenges and Trusting God
30:21 Closing Prayer and Encouragement

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EP 233 – Effective Interim Pastors: Fearing God more than Man with Scott Catoe

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EP 233 - Effective Interim Pastors: Fearing God more than Man with Scott Catoe
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In this episode, we welcome Scott Catoe, a first-time guest but longtime friend of the podcast, who shares his experiences and insights from serving as the lead pastor at Slater Baptist Church for 10 years and his current role as the Associate Mission Strategist for the Three Rivers Baptist Association. Dr. Catoe discusses his book, ‘Effective Interim Pastors,’ which emerged from his doctoral research on interim pastors.

He highlights the importance of addressing sin, and conflicts, and shaping a healthy church culture through the period of interim ministry rather than avoiding disruption. The conversation emphasizes the tendency of interim pastors and long-term pastors alike to either fear man more than God or seek personal glorification in ministry, contrasting these with the gospel-centered approach required for impactful leadership.

The book outlines eight principles for effective interim pastors, urging a focus on biblical faithfulness, prayer, confronting sin, and equipping the congregation for future growth, all rooted in a deep reverence for God over the fear of man.

00:00 Introduction and Guest Introduction
00:17 Guest’s Background and Current Role
01:07 Discussion on Normative Size Churches
01:45 Revitalization and Replanting Churches
02:08 Introduction to the Book ‘Effective Interim Pastors’
02:41 The Need for Transitional Pastors
03:51 The Role of an Interim Pastor
05:45 The Importance of Addressing Sin in Churches
11:07 The Fear of Man and Hero Syndrome in Ministry
17:16 The Role of Decision-Making in Churches
25:22 Conclusion and Book Recommendation

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Bivocational Ministry

Bivocational Ministry

In our past two episodes

of the Replant Bootcamp podcast, Jimbo and Bob have been discussing Bivocational Ministry.

Three years of ministry at a local Baptist Association taught me much about what ministry looks like daily. When I began, I started getting to know our pastors. We have young pastors, more “seasoned” pastors, pastors with families, and pastors without. We have pastors with 30 years of experience and some with two years of experience. Only a quarter of our pastors are full-time, vocational, whereas the rest are bi-vocational. 

As common as it is nowadays to meet pastors in full-time, vocational positions, it was rare 100 years ago. Usually, pastors have been marketplace workers, having a ministry on the side while they worked. Due to a lack of finances and people, working a part-time or full-time job on the side of ministry has been the standard practice. Of course, there is no such thing as part-time ministry.

Bivocational or Covocational ministers can sometimes feel overlooked and underappreciated, knowing that full-time ministers are doing similar work for better pay. There will always be a need for bivocational ministers, and some studies have suggested that bivocational is a renewed, everyday occurrence for a pastor trying to make ends meet and help their church succeed.

But before we use this blog to write about some realities of bivocational ministry, let us first consider the definitions of these words since there is no one-size-fits-all position for pastoral ministry.

According to NAMB: 

Vocational: Vocational ministry is a full-time position solely focusing on ministry, generally including salary and benefits.

Bivocational: Bivocational ministry is when a pastor has other employment that helps supplement the salary a church provides.

Covocational: Covocational ministry involves intentionally working in a secular setting to provide oneself the opportunity to minister in that setting. A Covocational pastor is committed to the workplace as a missionary endeavor. While all work is a ministry in some sense, a pastor may do this intentionally for more evangelistic opportunities.

In Acts 20:33-35, the apostle Paul communicated why he worked with his hands to help support the work of ministry. He said, “I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that I worked with my own hands to support myself and those who are with me. In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 

This serves as an excellent summary of what bivocational ministry is.

The Realities

Last year, I attended a leadership retreat highlighting Karl Vaters as a keynote speaker. Vaters has written resources about small churches – one of his books being The Grasshopper Myth. Naturally, many of his writings include the topic of bivocational ministry. Writing for Christianity Today, Vaters says, “If I could only teach one vocational principle to young pastors-to-be, it would probably be this: Learn how to pay the bills outside your pastoral salary. You’ll probably need it.”

Some think bivocational ministry is a stepping stone to vocational ministry or that bivocational pastors are “half-pastors.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It is usual for pastors to work bivocationally. It is even more common for a church to provide supplemental income, while a full-time job offers the primary income for a pastor and his family. 

Some recent studies show that bivocational ministry is on an upward trend, and it is becoming a more common practice, especially in churches that cannot afford a full-time salary. Bivocational ministry is not a “less-than” ministry but requires double the sacrifice. Bivocational pastors should be honored for their service, just like any other pastor should.

The Blessings

Just like any other ministry, there are blessings and hardships. The blessings result from hard work, a sacrifice of time, and the unique opportunity to work in the marketplace while serving a church. Bivocational pastors get to see the blessing of working alongside their church members, interacting with their community, and seeing ministry opportunities all around them.

If there is one thing that full-time vocational pastors don’t get to see very much, it’s a regular interaction with lostness all around them. Pastors working in the marketplace can minister to people who will never interact with them. Further, bivocational pastors can set an example for their church members on what it looks like to live on a mission daily in their community.

Perhaps another blessing hidden in disguise is the relief of a financial burden laid upon the churches where they serve. While some churches are doing everything they can to make ends meet to support a full-time salary for a pastor, bivocational pastors can relieve that burden by working jobs for their primary income that helps supplement what a church can provide.

The Hardships

Still, this type of ministry is challenging. Most hardships center around a lack of time. If you factor in a part-time or full-time job, this puts a strain on time in many different areas, whether that be a strain for time with your family, your rest, or even time for sermon preparation.

In an article on churchleaders.com, Dr. James Scott discusses some of these hardships. He speaks about how bivocational ministry often causes emotional duress and spiritual depression. While the same could be said about vocational ministry, it is more likely in a vocational setting due to increased stress or a lack of time.

Leaders must decide whether or not the blessings outweigh the hardships. Whether or not you are in this ministry, know that you are not alone; you are doing great work, and resources and help are available.

No matter where you are or what kind of ministry you do, there is always joy in our calling. Consider these verses from Paul in Philippians 1:3-6: “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

For more information about bi-vocational ministry, check out these resources:

Helping Small Churches Thrive – https://karlvaters.com/

Bivocational and Small Church Leadership Network – https://www.bscln.net/

The Grasshopper Mythhttps://www.amazon.com/Grasshopper-Myth-Churches-Thinking-Divides/dp/0988443902

Small Church Essentialshttps://www.amazon.com/Small-Church-Essentials-audiobook/dp/B07DKFLCQY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=M604BT2T8SM5&keywords=small+church+essentials&qid=1707750533&s=books&sprefix=small+church+essentials%2Cstripbooks%2C154&sr=1-1

 

What is Working Genius and How Does it Work for You?

Over the past eighteen months, our church has been revising and rewriting the church bylaws.  This has been an arduous, complicated process that took much longer than anyone expected.  The team that took on the project was coed and economically and generationally diverse. We expected to have disparate opinions and different ways of looking at many of the same issues.  We expected to have different strengths and weaknesses as we worked through this important project.

But there was one thing we didn’t expect– some of us felt excited during the same phases that left others feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. For several of us, the project’s initial phase was the most exciting– we loved asking questions and defining what needed to happen.  The possibility of creating a new document for our church that would be used for years to come was so inspiring! The lack of structure and organization during this time felt time-consuming and unproductive for others.  Likewise, some of us felt energized toward the end of the project as we saw all of the hard work come together, and we began to encourage our church about some new directions and ideas.  Others were ready to move on to the next project and wished we could move quicker to the next thing.

Did these differences mean that our team was unsuccessful?  Not at all. These differences are necessary and beneficial!  On a recent episode of the Replant Bootcamp podcast, Jimbo and Bob walked listeners through a new tool called “Working Genius” by Patrick Lencioni.  Though the premise may sound similar to other personality tests and quizzes, the “genius” behind Working Genius is finding out where your team’s skills lie and which parts of a project line up with those specific gifts.

six types of working genius

The Good News: We’re All Geniuses!

One of the best aspects of Working Genius?  We are all geniuses!  It’s true– we all have an area of uniquely talented gifting.  We are more fulfilled and happier when we can work within what we are naturally good at.  In addition to seeing what our skills and gifts say about us, we can also find out where we fit within our team and project phases.  

The Six Types of Working Genius

According to Lencioni, the six types of Working Genius are:

  • The genius of wonder: The natural gift of pondering the greater potential and opportunity in any situation.  People gifted in this area love asking questions and feel creative in ambiguity.
  • The genius of invention: The natural gift of creating original and novel ideas and solutions. People gifted with this genius find joy in taking the challenges and generating solutions. They enjoy innovating from scratch and love a blank whiteboard piece of paper with which they can brainstorm.
  • The genius of discernment: The natural gift of intuitively and instinctively evaluating ideas and situations.  People gifted in this area are good curators of what’s going on around them and can recognize patterns. They know how to connect the dots and give people good feedback across a broad range of topics.
  • The genius of galvanizing: The natural gift of rallying, inspiring, and organizing others to take action.  People with this genius love to get things moving. They’re great at pushing people out of their comfort zones, inspiring them to get started, and moving them in the right direction.
  • The genius of enablement: The natural gift of providing encouragement and assistance for an idea or project.  This genius is people-oriented– they want to help realize a vision and provide the support needed to move.
  • The genius of tenacity: The natural gift of pushing projects or tasks to completion to achieve results. People gifted in this genius are task-oriented.  They love to take things across the finish line, and they ensure that a project is going to have the impact it’s supposed to have.

Project Stages

Every project has a workflow structure that follows a specific pattern.  The initial stage, where we are asking questions and answering with possible solutions, is called “ideation.”  This is the stage where people with the workplace geniuses of Wonder or Invention will feel energized, focused, and most productive.

In the next stage, we have answered our questions and have decided on a possible course of action.  But we are still getting ready for the next step.  We need people whose workplace genius is Discernment or Galvanizing to help us move into activation.  They will help us create “buy-in” for the ideas and ensure we move in the right direction.  The people with these geniuses will be excited to engage others in the work and cooperate with every team member.

Finally, after we ask and answer all the questions, cohesively move toward solutions, and ensure we are heading in the right direction, we are ready for the final stage of the project: Implementation.  In this stage, people with the working genius of Enablement or Tenacity will find joy in checking off boxes, encouraging others in their work, and getting the project to completion.

The Bad News: We’re Not Always Geniuses!

A name tag that reads "Hello I am a Genius"

Lencioni states that each person has two geniuses that fit them well– these strengths allow them to feel the most joy while at work on a project. Each person also has two Working Competencies.  These are the areas where we can perform the work, and we may even find satisfaction in it.  While we might be somewhat gifted in these areas, they do not bring us joy.  We also have two areas that are working frustrations.  These areas bring us– you guessed it– frustration.  These are the areas where we just really don’t enjoy this aspect of a project.  

Unfortunately, we are not always able to avoid those Working Frustrations.  As Replant Pastors, we are often called to work on a project from start to finish, regardless of which stage of the project brings us joy. So, how do we work within those moments of frustration without getting… frustrated?

Finding Einstein

A picture of Albert Einstein

There is this temptation, especially as a Replant Pastor with limited resources and limited people, to believe that you have to do it all.  Everything rests on you.  Each project is for you to accomplish from start to finish, whether rewriting bylaws or redoing the children’s classrooms.

Pastor, here is some truth: You can’t do it all.  If you thought you could, you would quickly discover that road leads to exhaustion, discouragement, and burnout.  (See last week’s podcast episode and blog for some tips to avoid burnout.)  You need other people.  You specifically need other people who aren’t just like you.  You need other geniuses in the room!

I can tell you from experience it isn’t easy to work with someone with a different genius.  If you have the genius of Wonder, you’re going to frustrate someone with the genius of Tenacity.  While you’re asking all the questions, they’ll just want to push forward to the part where they can start doing something.  If you have the genius of Invention, you may feel unsupported by someone with the genius of Discernment who doesn’t think your idea is a perfect one.

But we must recognize that those differences, however frustrating they may be, allow us to work better. Romans 12:3-8 reminds us that God, in His grace, gives us different gifts– but just as important, it reminds us that we aren’t to think more highly of ourselves because of our specific gifts.  We cannot envy someone else’s unique gifts or judge their gifts as somehow less than ours.

I recently attended a symphony concert with my daughter.  As we listened to the incredible music, I never thought, “Man, I wish this was just 150 trumpets all doing the same thing.” As much as I might love to hear the trumpet, the music was beautiful because every instrument was playing its part at the perfect time and volume.  The trumpet player wasn’t jealous of the violinist because it took both of them to create the symphonic sound.  Likewise, the trumpet player didn’t look down on the harpist because a trumpet couldn’t make that sound, which was necessary for the piece. 

Find the other Einsteins in your congregation with a genius that is different than yours– and then work with them on projects to make sure you’re all playing your part cohesively and beautifully for the Gospel.

If you want to take the Working Genius test or purchase it for your team, you can find more information here: https://www.workinggenius.com/about. And if you’re interested in other resources for team building and team strategies, check out our podcast episodes on Leadership Judo by searching the term or by looking at Les McKeown’s work on Predictable Success.

EP 220 SHARED LEADERSHIP

Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp
EP 220 SHARED LEADERSHIP
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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.

Get the help you need for your website and branding by calling one of the industry leaders, One Eighty Digital. They do great work dear Bootcamper, call them and let them know you are a good Bootcamp listner.

 

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Every Generation Matters

Every Generation Matters

Do you genuinely love and have a deep, affectionate care towards every generation in your church? In a world of target groups, demographic information, and “projected growth rates,” it can be tempting to gear your ministry and activity towards a specific generation and fail to honor others.

In a Replant or Revitalization every generation matters and has a vital role in the local church’s life. Some have a tendency to adopt ministry approaches that are only geared toward the next generation of children, students, or young adults. The older generation starts to feel a bit…shoved out the door. On the opposite side is a tendency to only cater to the older generation for fear of your faithful few leaving and causing a stir after being long-time members. After all, they’ve contributed to the church much longer, right?

As a Replant leader, you must have an affinity for reaching multiple generations to connect with all age groups and ensure they are loved, valued, and heard. Multi-generational ministry is essential because that’s the picture of the gospel-centered community we see in Christ. And Jesus Christ said, “I will build MY church…” Salvation is not age-limited, and healthy churches should do all they can to focus on ministering to every age group of believers.

A Mosaic of God’s Grace

Multi-generational ministry shows a beautiful mosaic of God’s divine grace in the makeup of a local church. Some people come to Christ at eight years old, some in their twenties, and some in their late 80s. The drawing and convicting work of the Holy Spirit is no respecter of persons, and the salvation that God brings can come at any age in which someone repents and believes in Jesus Christ for salvation.(Thank God!!) 

In the biblical community, the local church comprises vast differences in age groups but with the same common denominator: The gospel. Paul didn’t preach differently towards differing people; he said, “We preach Christ and him crucified.” In Galatians 3:28, Paul explains that we are all one in Christ. This beautiful text shows that those who do not support multiple generations of focused ministry do not truly understand the gospel.

The gospel unites a church behind the banner of Christ regardless of age, ethnicity, socio-economic condition, or anything else. 

Holistic Discipleship and Biblical Instruction

In the epistles, age groups have different roles. In Titus 2:3-5, older women are taught to instruct and disciple younger women to care for their families and grow in their godliness and calling. In Titus 2:2, Older men are advised to be sober-minded, dignified in every way, and to lead in holiness. Younger men and women are taught to listen to and submit to their elders and are instructed to serve with passion and zeal. 

You see, if we want to express the biblical community modeled in the New Testament and taught in the Epistles, we must seek to reach every generation with the gospel and encourage them in different service areas of the church. If we want to do discipleship in the most holistic way possible, it takes every generation playing their part.

Build Bridges, Not Barriers

If you want to build bridges between different age groups, one of the worst things you can do is separate your people at every possible moment. That means having various worship services that target different age groups, having only age-specific discipleship groups, and misplacing expectations on specific age groups without considering the others.

Instead, we must seek out ways to build bridges between generations. Don’t focus on worship being too “young” or “old.” Just practice biblically sound worship. Look for ways to fellowship with one another outside of regular church practice. Create opportunities for younger men and women to be poured into by the older generation. 

Every generation has strengths and weaknesses. Celebrate and utilize their strengths instead of complaining about a group’s shortcomings. A good leader will look past the imperfections, celebrate spiritual gifts, and employ them when possible. It helps to eliminate preconceived notions about a specific generation and focus on ministering to them. As you pour into them, you’ll likely be surprised at their growth and openness.

Outdo One Another in Showing Honor

When you target preaching on inter-generational relationships, it can be a beautiful picture of discipleship. 

We often equate longevity to spiritual maturity. But this is not always the case. Are older generations  not receptive to change? No, we need to get rid of our preconceived notions. Some of the older generation have seen enough of the hardship in their church that they may be willing to try anything to see their church grow as it once did. 

Scripture commands us to outdo one another in showing honor. Scripture commands us to die to ourselves. Scripture commands us to humble ourselves. Scripture commands us to love one another. If you want to build relationships between generations, start with scripture. God’s word has an answer to everything pertaining to life and godliness.

In some encouraging words from Jimbo and Bob, they said, “Pastor the people God has called you to, not the one you want to pastor.” Multiple generations is a picture of gospel unity made possible by Christ. Don’t fear the generational gap. Embrace it for the glory of God.