Three Ways Millennial Leaders can be an Example

Three Ways Millennial Leaders can be an Example

By Bruce Zachary

This post is shared from the VELO Church Leaders Page 

Millennial leaders can be a stellar example to existing, emerging, and prospective leaders. I thank God that I get to serve at a church with an abundance of healthy next generation spiritual leaders. Spiritually healthy next generation leaders are a catalyst to create a healthy leadership development culture. What example should a young leader give? In Paul’s letter to Timothy, a next generation leader, we discover three ways millennial leaders can be a healthy example as spiritual leaders: character, calling, and commitment.

 “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you [1Tim. 4:12-16].”

  1. Character [12-13]: Older people, and your peers, will not despise your youth if you live beyond your years and beyond reproach. See that they look up to you rather than down at you by being a pattern or an example to other believers. You can silence criticism by your character. When Plato, the great Greek philosopher, was accused of dishonorable conduct he replied, “We must live our lives in such a way that all will see that the charge is false.” The great evangelist, D.L. Moody observed, “If I care for my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”

There are six [6] specific areas of character that provide a helpful list:

  1. In word: your speech should reflect a tongue controlled by God.
  2. In conduct: walk the talk. Live a life characterized by spiritual growth.
  3. In love: by your love all will know that you are His disciple [Jn. 13:35].
  4. In spirit: excitement and zeal for Christ and His kingdom.
  5. In faith: a life characterized by confident trust in God and loyalty to Him.
  6. In purity: honesty, self-control, and chastity set against immorality of the world.
  1. Calling [13]: you will always be called to be a follower of Jesus and His ambassador. In different seasons you will serve in various areas of ministry in or alongside a local church. In a sense these areas may represent your calling in a particular season. Some will ultimately be called to the role of pastor and teacher. The best way to fulfill your calling, in every season, is to devote yourself to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Know the Scriptures and continue to read and discover more of Jesus in the Bible. Share with others what you are discovering. Apply the word to your life and encourage others to do the same with grace, humility, and respect. Make the effort to learn doctrine. You are called to be radically biblical! Right doctrine leads to right thinking, right choices, and right life.

Next generation spiritual leaders, like the next generation generally, want to radically change their world and this is a noble and good cause. Social justice matters such as caring for the poor, the widow, and the orphan are important to God and should be important to His people. Nevertheless, don’t neglect to anchor your calling in a solid foundation of doctrine. It will take effort to learn the word and sound doctrine. Be a diligent worker who can rightly divide the word of God. It will require you to do more than simply read the Bible to develop a healthy understanding of doctrine or systematic theology. Identify a mentor(s), utilize resources (books on doctrine and systematic theology, commentaries, Bible College, School of Ministry, etc), and become a mentor to others sharing what you’ve discovered.

3. Commitment [14-16]: Spiritual leaders have been set-apart for a special purpose, and must commit to three key concepts.

a. Charisma [14]: Do not neglect the gift [charisma] that is in you. God has given you a spiritual gift(s), a desire to advance God’s kingdom, and the ability to influence others for Christ. Commit to walk in your gift(s) despite the resistance from those you influence, opposition from the enemy, and the attraction of the material world

b. Consume [15]: Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. The Hebrew idea of meditating, that was likely Paul’s reference, has the idea of contemplating night and day [Josh. 1:8]. The essence of the charge is to be consumed with God’s business. The work of advancing God’s kingdom is a balance between inspiration and perspiration. The idea of your progress may be evident to all is literally to cut forward or blaze the way. Next Gen leaders who are consumed with Christ and the work of God will be trailblazers. Their spiritual growth will be evident to those who undoubtedly will follow.

c. Careful [16]: Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Sound doctrine and a godly life will lead others to Christ. Remember to care for your own spiritual condition so that you can care for others. As you accept the call as a next generation leader, be encouraged that Christ will work through you and your generation and bring salvation to many.

Lifework:

  1. As a next generation leader, how have you grown this year in regard to character, calling, and commitment?
  1. How would you like to grow this year in regard to character, calling, and commitment?
  1. As one who is developing next generation leaders, how can you affirm them about their example?

 

Pastor at Calvary Nexus, Camarillo, CA. Bruce has been an ordained pastor for over 20 years. Bruce planted Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, Ca. in 1996 and continues to serve as the lead pastor of a multi-site church. Bruce is the author of 12 books. He has previously been a trial attorney, and helps direct the Calvary Church Planting Network [CCPN].

Christmas: Daniel Williams Meals Matter

Christmas: Daniel Williams – Meals Matter


Once you have known the love and mercy of Jesus in your life, there is no greater joy than sharing His love with someone.

Jesus commands us to go into all the world and make disciples,and nothing brings greater fulfillment than stepping out and helping a person grow in their relationship with Jesus. (Matthew 28:18-20, John 20:21) I want nothing more than to obey my Savior and tell someone else about how much He loves them and what God has already done for them! But have you ever found yourself feeling ill-equipped or maybe you just don’t know where to start when it comes to discipling someone or even sharing Jesus? ! !

When my family came to Florida to start a church, we did not know anyone. We had no team, no church to invite people to, and wanted a way to form relationships and share Jesus with people who so desperately need Him. We had always loved having people over to our house to eat, and we decided to continue using this approach to building relationships and see what God would do through it! ! !

Meals are a practical and powerful means of connecting with people. ! ! Jesus used meals as an opportunity for ministry throughout His life. Robert Karris said, “In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal.”! !Luke 7:34-35 says, “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by all her children.” ! !

God is constantly using the everyday world around us to show us things about who He is. So, it makes sense that Jesus used every opportunity to teach those around Him, including meal times. It is amazing to note the number of times we hear some of the greatest teachings of Jesus come from a time sitting around a dinner table.

The act of inviting someone into our home is becoming more rare as people are busier and connecting more and more through social media and texting rather than face to face. We have had many people tell us that our home was the first “real home” they had been to in years! Tim Chester wrote a book on this subject called “A Meal with Jesus.” “Few acts are more expressive of companionship than the shared meal….someone with whom we share food is likely to be our friend, or well on the way to becoming one.”!! ! We eat an average of 21 meals per week.

It is a reasonable and attainable goal to plan out 1-2 of these meal times each week to connect with someone for the sake of discipleship! In a natural setting, eating a meal is an intimate and comfortable environment for real conversation.! ! So be encouraged that this is something you can do! Sometimes we may feel like what we are doing is not enough, or we feel at a loss in how we can better pour into someone’s life.

This is a great starting point. Just as Jesus used meal times to pour into those around Him, we can begin to look for ordinary opportunities to do the same!


Daniel Williams started Redemption Church Delray Beach in 2012 in Delray Beach, Florida. Where he lives with his wife, Laura, and their two children.

He currently serves as the Lead Pastor. For more information about him or Redemption Church visit www.redemptionindelraybeach.com

Small Groups (CCBC Class Pt. 6)

Each week we’ve been revisiting a Church Planting Block Class that I taught at Calvary Chapel Bible College last year. It works as an overview of church planting and where to start with some of the basic elements of the church.

Catch up here if you’d like: Pt 5: Q&A & Advertising | Pt 4: Hermeneutics & Homiletics | Pt 3: Where Do I Start? | Pt 2: The Calling & Equipping of Church Planting | Pt 1: What Church Planting Is and Is Not

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“We were created for community.” –It’s a phrase I say all the time at Awaken, and that’s evident throughout Scripture. After all, according to Genesis 1:26, God created us in His image, and God Himself is a community. So, it would only make sense that the most accurate way that we can reflect His image would be from within community. Today we discussed the why, when, and how of launching, structuring, and growing small groups within a church.

the most accurate way that we can reflect His image would be from within community.

If you know me, I’m passionate about this subject, so it was fun to talk about. We began class by discussing the reason behind small groups, which admittedly, was something I didn’t fully grasp until just a couple years ago. I didn’t grow up going to churches that had small groups or emphasized them, so I didn’t really feel the need to implement them. I knew the church needed them, but I didn’t personally feel the need…until I got involved! Now I love them!

We began our discussion on the why and how with a video from my good friend, Josh Bowers, the Small Groups Pastor at Fresh Life Church in Montana (read an interview I did with him here). I learned a lot from their structure and vision for groups as we were launching ours, and theirs have been very successful, so it was great to hear from Josh.

After the video, we discussed the sermon-based small group structure of Awaken Groups, how we train leaders and co-leaders, what a semester of groups looks like, and how we utilize the website and other technology to enhance groups. We also covered some key lessons I’ve learned and challenges we’ve faced along the way…

Start with your vision. Vision defines structure.

This is one principle that applies not only to small groups, but to many other things as well. The what determines the how. Beginning with the vision helps you to define how you’re going to get to the goal.

Cut the competition.

If you looked at an Awaken events calendar, you’d notice a clump of events over winter break and a clump over summer break, but not much during semesters of Awaken Groups. There’s a reason for that. Americans are naturally busy people, and don’t have time to commit to their families, jobs, church, and small group, while also attending other programs and events. Although the extracurricular programs and events can be good, often times the good things can compete against the best things. At Awaken, this realization led to a complete overhaul of our calendar of events, and even led to the end of our Wednesday night service (Shocking, I know. Get over it, and get in a group!).

Satan hates small groups.

Although Awaken Groups is the place where we see the deepest growth, it’s also a place where some of the greatest attack and division can stem from. We cover each semester of Awaken Groups in prayer, and recognize that especially in areas where God is moving deeply in people’s lives, Satan will kick back. My philosophy is this: if Satan hates it and is trying to stop it, I must be doing the right thing! In fact, if he hates it, it must glorify God, and I want to do it even more! I wanted to remind the students that small groups, along with many other aspects of ministry, is a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual means.

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Book Review: “Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support”

Pastor Jay Fulton in New Jersey wrote this insightful review about Brad House’s book, Community, which focuses on the importance and structure of small groups.

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As a church planter I appreciate the wealth of resources that are available to me that encourage, provide insight, or reinforce some things I might already know.  One of those resources is the book “Community: Taking Your Small Groups Off Life Support” by Brad House.  In many ways this book has helped to shift how I think about community groups and the limits I placed on them.  Quite often churches view community groups as peripheral ministry and not as essential—after all, we disciple and fellowship sufficiently on Sundays, right?  Well this was how I viewed community groups too, but the early church knew nothing of such a notion!

The reality is that the concept of Community is central to our experience in Christ and essential for discipleship and effectively spreading the Gospel.  The description of the early church found in Acts 2:42-46 provides a sketch of community that is the basis (or should be) for all that we do as church planters and leaders: “And they continued steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers…all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need…continuing daily with one accord…breaking of bread from house to house, they ate food with gladness and simplicity of heart.”  Did you catch that?  The early church did “life together” on mission for God.  And the result is that God added to the church.  So why then is this kind of community lacking?

the concept of Community is central to our experience in Christ and essential for discipleship and effectively spreading the Gospel.

I won’t attempt to completely answer that question in this post, but House identifies at least once reason for this result, and that is our individualistic identities.  We tend to value individual accomplishment over group achievement.  But the church should demonstrate a collectivist view of life.  I don’t mean this in a political sense, being a populist.  But it’s how Dietrich Bonhoeffer summed up the notion: “Christian community means community through and in Jesus Christ.”  It is through Christ that we have been reconciled to God and to one another. It is in Christ that we are united together like a family who shares the bloodline of Jesus.  Basically, the witness of community is more powerful than an individual witness.  Loving your neighbor is much easier if you never have to deal with them.  Living in light of the Gospel is much harder in community where people sin against you” (House).

“Christian community means community through and in Jesus Christ.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Having provided a foundation on which to build, House begins to outline two additional major steps for building thriving community groups: [1] redefining community groups by applying the theological and philosophical convictions to the real experience of living life together, and [2] effecting change in those groups which takes prescriptive approach to transforming community groups.

While both of these final two sections provide a detailed perspective and approach to implementing and changing community groups, I will leave you with some quotes from the book that I found to be beneficial.  In the meantime, I recommend adding this book to your reading list in the new year!

 “I have heard many purposes for joining community groups, including but not limited to: belonging, making big church feel small, learning the Bible, pastoral care, fellowship, friends, closing the back door of the church, evangelism, and so on. Each of these purposes has merit and can be argued as essential to the church. I would suggest, however, that these “purposes” are in fact the product of community rather than its ultimate goal.”

“In the case of the church, our goal is to produce disciples of Jesus who worship him and exalt his name. If we aim at a product such as belonging as the purpose of community, we can achieve that goal without pointing to Jesus.” 

“When retaining people becomes our goal, we inadvertently communicate that our purpose is to grow the church rather than glorify God. We become more interested in building the church rather than advancing the kingdom. We lift up the church rather than the name of Jesus.”

“As we prepare to change the direction of community groups in our churches, we must take time to look at what God has called the church to be. Where we have missed the mark, we should follow the example of Josiah and lead our people in repentance.”