Thursday, October 05, 2006

Session 3: George Barna & John Maxwell

This session was actually divided up. The first part featured Gabe Lyons interviewing George Barna. The focus was on Barna’s controversial book Revolution. I’ve not finished the book, but the premise is that many people today are finding their “church” experience outside the normal boundaries of “church”, in things like house churches, online, and in coffee shops. Here are a couple of reviews of the book, one that’s pretty positive on it, the other not quite as positive.

The second part featured Andy Stanley interviewing John Maxwell. Andy shared that he first met John around the time he was planting North Point Community Church. John agreed to meet with him every so often to ask him questions regarding leadership. Andy wanted to ask him some of these same questions…this time on our behalf.

He started out where Marcus Buckingham left off – play to your strengths. He said that this is difficult when your ministry job description is children’s pastor, worship leader, youth pastor, etc., or especially when you are planting a church. As much as is possible, though, he said that we should begin working on this. He looks at leadership on a scale of 1 to 10. He said that most people can increase their level no more than two points. Therefore, a 3, if he works very hard, might over time become a 5, but that is still pretty average. On the other hand, if he works on another skill set in which he is a 6, over time he could become an 8, which is a lot better than average.

He made a great point that skill sets and competencies should not be confused with things that you choose. You can’t always choose to be a great athlete, musician or leader. As he said, you might go up one or two levels, but you’re going to be hard pressed to make anymore progress. On the other hand, there is unlimited potential in things that you choose (attitude, commitment, spiritual development).

He went on to say that we need to look at this when we are equipping people. It sounds bad, and actually unbibilical, to say that we’re only going to invest our time in a few select people, but if you think about it, Jesus did it. He spent most of his time with the Twelve, and among them he spent even more time with just Peter, James and John. He said that we need to spend time with leaders who have a 5 or 6-level gift.

The last question Andy asked John was the most powerful. He asked how he had maintained good relationships with his wife and children, when all around us we see ministers falling to immorality. He shared that in the early days of Promise Keepers he was asked to speak on the subject of Moral Purity. He found out the topic around six weeks before the conference, and during those six months he faced temptation like he never had before. He couldn’t explain why he was happening, and even wanted to back out of the conference, believing that he wasn’t fit to speak on this issue.

On the night before he was to speak, he asked his teenage children to lay hands on him and pray. He said that it was one of the most powerful things that he had ever experienced. (If you’ve ever heard John speak, you’ll probably have figured out that he was crying by this point). Before he got on stage to speak the next day, he felt like God said to him that he had been victorious, and it was time to share the message with these men.

He ended the time by praying over us. It was deeply moving, and I think we all felt the presence of God in the room.

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