The Lift Project: Leading for Transformation: Begin at the Beginning

As Maria Von Trapp sings in the Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the beginning, a very good place to start.” And that’s where we started in week 2 of the Lift ProjectLeading for Transformation. In this second week we watched 2 videos and listened to 1 audio. Together they provided 3 building blocks for Leading for Transformation.

Video 1: Cally Parkinson and the Antidote for an Average Church

Cally is part of the REVEAL study that has looked at over 1,100 churches and processed their feedback to how churches are doing in the area of spiritual health and growth. The result is from their study about 1/3 of churches would be of average spiritual health. Of all the goals I believe God has given for the church I serve, average is not on my list. So when she spoke of an antidote to average I perked up to listen.

The antidote for the average church, according to Cally, is not program, nor finding another pathway. It begins with the heart of her leaders and living out of the passion, the fire they want others to have in living transformed lives. It’s why I am in this class to pursue such health in my life and those God has called me to lead.

Video 2: Nancy Beach and “Above All Else”

Nancy Beach is one of my favorite Willow teachers. The quote that stuck out for me in this video was scarier than being average in the first one. Nancy said that there’s a danger when people get closer to a leader, they don’t see more of Jesus, but less. That was sobering.

She then quoted one of my favorite verses, Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else guard your heart, because everything you do comes from it.” Other translations speak of the heart “as the well spring of your life.”

Nancy then identified 3 areas of growth for herself in the next season of her life to guard her heart, areas that seem good to check my heart out as well.

a) Spiritual Practices: What practices am I intentionally going to engage in for this next season?

b) Safe Faith Relationships: Who is a safe place to process your life? I thought, who speaks the truth into my life? Who holds me accountable?

c) Stretching Experiences: What gets me out of my comfort zone and challenges me to lean into God’s heart?

Audio: Harvey Carey and Making Widgets or Making Disciples?

One of the perks of being a Willow Creek Association Church is the monthly Defining Moments audio lessons. This one seemed to be an excerpt by Harvey Carey to affirm this moment as one to change the world. That led to this challenge to get back to steps of faith. His verse was from Psalm 127, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the laborers build in vain.” We usually take that to mean one’s family, Harvey applied it to the family of God, the local congregation.

As Harvey says, “You sow what you can do, but watch what God can do, He’ll blow your mind.”

I greatly appreciated Harvey’s call to faith and prayer. To lead in spirit and in truth. The truth may be the facts of the challenges one faces, but the Spirit is God’s work, and that work is done in faith and prayer. He challenged me to live a greater life of prayer and awareness that seeks God’s work and will in how I lead and in how I serve.

I am eager to see what next week holds, and to continue to grow in leading for transformation. As you look at how you begin a life of transformation, what brings God’s best out of your life? What are you doing to guard your heart above all else?

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