My notes below from a great talk given yesterday by Gary Clarke, leader of Hillsong London.
We were hosted in Stoke at Breathe City Church, which is led by my mate the fantastic @mrjamesgalloway
We learn through trial & error.
Church growth isn’t one specific thing & if I keep doing that it will grow.
Rick Warren recently said people think of growing church like this… a small church is like a kitten that over time grows into a big lion.
No, it’s an elephant! A different thing all together! (I could reference you back to our itunes page and my talk on this at Ivy AGM in January about church sizes and cultures).
Reading – 1 Sam 13; Jonathan & his armour bearer
The Israelis were in a tight spot with nothing going for them.
Ever felt like that?
How do I get out of that?
We have to have that ‘this is what I can see’ – when nobody else can see it.
We have to have that inside of us, even if nobody else can see it I can. The leaders job = see it and get others to see it
Chapter 14 is when Jonathan steps out: One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armour-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.’
We are not supposed to be the ones who just camp out and average . Saul represents the average. There had been thousands in the army but they’d declined back and now hundreds of average were gathered under a pomegranate tree. Lots of people had deserted – some went and hid in caves, and some even went to the enemy.
Jonathan started to have something stir..
Vs 4 – he had to go!
Jonathan said to his young armour-bearer, ‘Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.’
To do what? Not to fight the whole army but to check out the outpost, 25 men . He said, ‘I’m not sitting around waiting for something to happen.’
Notice that very important word – ‘Perhaps..’
‘Do all that you have in mind,’ his armour-bearer said. ‘Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.’
His armour bearer was with him ‘heart & soul.’ Ok – let’s go out on a limb. If it works we win, if not, we’re dead.
And they fought & won!
In that first attack Jonathan and his armour-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre…
God stepped in. There was panic! An earthquake! Victory!
And then Saul and the average guys, and even the ones who had gone to the pub joined in too.
Let’s start at the end – and work back through the story again.
At the end we have revival. The ones who had disappeared came back – because God had done something.
What got God in?? What got God involved?
We are waiting for him to get in – and he’s waiting for us to give him something to get in on!
Notice the motivation here. When Jonathan speaks to his armour bearer, he says ‘God will bring victory to ISRAEL‘ in other words, it’s not about us.
And the armour bearer never gets named. He was willing to take a place where there is no recognition.
The pressure is on to be a name. We have this desire for prominence.
But when we attempt greater things for God it must be, ‘I’m doing this because.. the people need Jesus!’
God saw two people declaring an intent together to do something risky and he stepped in with them.
The people around you will stop you or propel you.
Question: Do you let other leaders know ‘I’m with you – heart & soul.’ ?
If I’m going to see it happen, I’ve just got to get the right people around me. They’re not driven by their own agendas. Don’t put people around you who have their own agendas!
But here were just two people with unity – taking the same risk, ‘Trust God or die,’ and God said ‘I can do something with that!’ They did something small, but it was big to God, who sees the heart.
Notice also the armour bearer’s response: ‘Do what you think best.’
Not, ‘Did you really pray about that?’
‘Did the elders approve?’
‘What does everyone else think?’
The board – were under the tree! This guy was really with him. We have to build these values into our lives.
Notice, Jonathan never said ‘God said’ – that gets bandied around far too much. And then if you got it wrong, God was wrong!?
‘Perhaps the Lord…’
Based on what? He was Saul’s son, he would know God was the one who parted the sea, trounced the giants etc. He had this personal conviction, ‘I know God and I know how he works. So I confidently take steps.’
Leader – it’s not the words you speak in vision, it’s the quiet confidence that says to others ‘She knows God, and how He works!’ People follow that.
Meanwhile, average is sitting under a tree praying for a revival. But Jonathan took initiative in the face of challenges.
The truth is, what he did wasn’t outlandish – a 50/50 chance – but it sure looked like a big thing to average.
The leader takes initiative but we need the right person followers. Will you follow right? We have to find people who can follow our initiative. Not just take their own.
And we don’t have to know everything first to be action oriented. We have to be able to say about some things – ‘that’s God’s problem.’
When people say ‘What’s your plan?’ try this answer, ‘I’m trusting God.’
The only thing we know about the future is ‘He’s in it!’
The only way we got here is that he got us here!
If you look back at what you came through, the mountains you faced don’t seem big anymore – when you look back at them. They go from insurmountable to insignificant.
This is where faith comes in.
As you take the giant on, he becomes food for you to fight the next one. Every step of the way there are giants and mountains to face! But if we can see the other side, take others with us, we’ll see that change only God can bring!