Gathering 2016 recap – Friday evening celebration service
Leadership means learning. That’s what the cryptic combinations in L2L – which Ron Toews earlier described as a shoe horn, a tool to help people find their ministry fit – stand for. And it’s what two members of a younger generation of leaders reflected on at Friday’s celebration service.
“I learned obedience to be with and pursue those God has put us with,” said Joel Francis of the ONMB Leaders Collective. He was challenged when people who didn’t see things the same slowed down his well planned out strategies.
“When we orient ourselves to face God [instead of those we prefer to spend time with], he will orient us to what he is doing,” said Janessa Giesbrecht. She had to be patient to allow God to shape the hearts of her youth group to open up in true friendship with another group in partnership on a mission trip.
“What manure will you use to fertilize discipleship?” plenary speaker Chris Stevens asked. Given a chance to spend one more year coaxing fruit out of a nonproducing tree, what will we pour into it? (Luke 13:6–9).
The sacrifice of obedience Stevens learned in his compulsion to make disciples was to tear up his carefully crafted strategic plan for his church plant and instead focus on the question of what a mature disciple would look like 10 years later. Stevens denounced the idol of the church growth model that draws churches to focus on increasing numbers rather than transforming people.
He’s taken this 10-year disciple model into a new church setting, where the reproducible aspects of relationship with God and the church and with the world account for a new context but paint the same story of a mature, reproducing disciple who makes disciples.
“We’re compelled by Jesus to make disciples,” Steven says.