One of my favorite aspects of Lift Project classes is the drive to practical application. More than theory, the Lift Project classes I have taken guide me to application of lessons learned. One can pick up theory on the fly, but day to day operation, and even more daily transformation, that takes practical nuts and bolts application.
Though Lift Project classes paint a picture of what can be, even better they provide a path on how to get there. That’s why week 7 of Leading for Transformation calls participants to focus on what is your next step. When I was in school, once you finished the final exam, you were done with the learning and ready to move on to something new. With Leading for Transformation, the end of the class calls for a plan for what will you do for the next 90 days to apply the truths you have learned. This week that led to a series of videos.
Video 1: Change a Church, Change a Community
Mindy Caliguire interviewed Abby Vostad. Abby had developed a MBA project that sought to answer this question: “What are the social and economic impact thriving churches have on community over time?”
Using the Reveal survey data and looking at the top churches in spiritual growth then correlating that with census and community data on a local county and then in comparison with national data, Abby discovered thriving churches make an impact. As these churches moved out of their comfort zone and into service in their community, the community impact was decreasing percentages in violent crime, in divorce, and a raise in educational impact as well as a slew of other statistics. Turns out Bill Hybels axiom is right: Change a Leader -> Change a Church -> Change a Community.
Video 2: Mindy Caliguire Interviews Pete Scazzero
This 4 part video was part of the virtual classroom. Watching this interview spread out of 4 parts with others engaging provides a great place for reflection and growth. After each part discussion questions are provided for the group to discuss. I have discovered this helps me process the content, and to let me see insights from other viewpoints.
Part I: Focus on 1 area of growth. Remember the “mustard seed” concept
Pete reminded us of Jesus parable of the mustard, it starts small, growth at times may appear slow, but God is at work doing a great work.
In our discussion time we looked at some of the fears that get us off track in pursuing a transformed life and just as vital a transformed congregation. As we discussed how to get other leaders and the congregation desiring a life of transformation, we affirmed a transformed life is the best invitation to another to pursue a life of transformation.
Part II: A Plan for Transformation Affirms You are Always Developing Yourself
As a lifelong learner, this was music to my soul. The goal, however, is not learning nor growth for their own sake, but to become more like Jesus, to draw closer to Him.
We then looked at 2 circles, one’s circle of influence and one’s circle of concern. Influence gives me direct input, concern means I am not the one directly responsible, but my heart is pushing me to work towards transformation in this area.
My circle of influence is the church I serve, it’s a bit easier from input in the class, that I’m a senior pastor. It’s even a bit more easier because of other staff and lay leaders who have a passion for dynamic discipleship development. My circle of concern turns out is influencing my denomination, getting beyond what has been to what perhaps God is calling us to be.
Part III: Gift of Limits
Yes, that’s not a typo — the “gift of limits”. God gives limits as a gift. At times this is for further growth. Will I trust Him with this limit, this ceiling, that He will provide what is needed.
Sometimes the gift of limits is a character issue/challenge to growth through.
One example of the gift of limits is if your church commits to transformation, it will bring limits in other areas. A church cannot be all things to all people.
Throughout the gift of limits, there is a reliance on prayer. The gift of limits is also an issue of faithfulness. Can I be faithful in a little before God calls me to be faithful in much?
I had never heard anyone use that phrase, “Gift of Limits” before Pete used it. Turns out it was my favorite part of the class.
Part 4: Next 90 Day Project
Our assignment now is to lay out life after the class, my focus will be on the issue of transforming culture, even more developing a culture of transformation. Check back next week to find out how that worked out.
Pete’s closing words of advice are great words for those who serve in ministry, “Stay the course. Kingdom of God is a mustard seed. Lives transformed is what matters most.” Amen!
So what next steps is God calling you to step out in faith? Where are you seeing the “gift of limits” at work in your life?