Wednesday, February 21, 2018

In the Presence-Driven Church People Come Before Programs


(My new book is Leading the Presence-Driven Church.)

As Jesus' followers live lives of abiding in Christ, the Holy Spirit shows them what to do, and what not to do. Most of the ministries in our church have begun because God spoke to someone, while they were connected to him.

We have also released people from ministries because God has told them to let go. We have, on occasion, stopped an entire ministry. At one time it had life in it, but we now discern it has run its course, in terms of what God wants to do.

Churches that are fueled and driven by programs can find this hard to do. Because "the show must go on," the show becomes more important than the people. This is a formula for burnout and resentment. Never put programs ahead of people

Presence comes before purpose. God presences himself in his people, individually and corporately (we are now "temples" that host God's presence). Therefore, because God's presence comes before programs, and since God presences himself in his people, people come before programs.

Presence is about the intimate relationship between God and his people. Within this intimate relationship, God directs our paths. As we teach our people to focus on abiding, rather than what they are to do or not do, we find that God tells them what to do or not do. Teaching people to abide in Christ is a way of caring for them, because God's presence is what our people need, with all its comprehensiveness.

Then, as God speaks to people about what he would have them do or not do, the pastors and leaders must listen to the hearts of their people. 

We want our people to know they can hear from God. When they believe they are hearing from God, we must not put pressure on them because the show must go on.