Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Presence-Driven Leaders Don't Focus on Attracting Followers (The Presence-Driven Church)

Monroe County

Whenever I do a seminar or conference, or a seminary class, on leading the Presence-Driven Church, I emphasize that this teaching is not another "tool for ministry." And it is not a strategy for church growth. It is, rather, a life of relationship with God. It looks like this:

1. Meet often with the Father.
2. When the Father directs, obey.

When we are given a directive and obey, there is no strategy involved. When we follow the Father, it is enough to know that he has the game plan. If there is any strategy at all, it is simply 1 and 2 above.

Eugene Peterson writes:

"Against all leadership counsel we have to set Jesus, and not so much figure out how to be leaders from what he said and did but enter into the world that he lived in, the relationships that he cultivated, and assimilate his style. This leadership is not techniques and strategies culled from a superficial reading of the Gospels that knows little of Jesus himself, but a Jesus-leadership spirit, mind, sensitivity. It is a leadership that is conspicuously lacking in the exercise of power and the attraction of followers."
- Eugene Peterson and Marva J. Dawn, The Unnecessary Pastor: Rediscovering the Call, Kindle Locations 2267-2269)

The focus is on obedience, on following Jesus, rather than being attractive to seekers. Remember that a whole lot of us, and uncountable others, have been drawn to Jesus by Jesus himself, without seeker-sensitive add-ons. Jesus seems to think he has enough drawing power if he is simply lifted up. He doesn't say "If I be lifted up where there is sufficient ambiance..."

Obedience to Christ has drawing power when it is for the sake Christ, and not for the sake of drawing people.


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My recent book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I am currently writing Leading the Presence-Driven Church, and expect it to be out in Summer 2017.