The #ReimagineFORUM Coaching Session
Why is it important for Christian leaders to begin a journey of rethinking ministry?
John Savage===>The break-neck speed demanded of Christian leaders is all-too-regularly leading to spiritual burnout and moral failure. We are not able to sustain this pace while giving any attention to the leader's own faithfulness and growth. This is why we have seen so many moral failures in recent years among prominent Christian leaders. We believe there is a better way!
Why will a "reimagine-journey" be difficult and potentially dangerous to the status quo?
John Savage===> The culture of our day has pushed us to be more productive than relational. There are increasing demands on ministry leaders to produce more results and output every quarter. Our culture and our ministries are largely devoted to the idol of Hurry--and John Mark Comer's recent book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry does an excellent job illustrating this--so prioritizing the inner growth of leaders goes against that grain. The status quo of our Boards, clients, and congregants must shift to seeing the plain reality: attending to the spiritual health of the ministry's leaders is not only vital for organizational health, it also leads to more qualitative results. This is why we believe our online, cohort-based Virtual Leadership Institute (link: https://johnsavagegroup.com/focus2021/ ), which facilitates peer connections among executives and ministry leaders while learning from experts in leadership and stewardship, is one of the best options for intentional growth without interrupting the business of leading!
Agree/Disagree ~ We live in an extraordinary world: Globalization (and a global pandemic). Immigration. #BlackLivesMatter. Gender reclassification. Marriage Redefined.. #MeToo. The rise of White Supremacy. Terrorism. Unpredictable Weather. The impact of the Industrial Revolution gives way to the Technological Age. . . . This is a time of epic change that requires the Church to rethink how we apply biblical truth to the traditions-programs-models-systems that format everything we do.
John Savage===> We are certainly experiencing a great deal of flux and change; perhaps more than many churches experienced in recent decades. Some of these changes honor the Lord and, of course, some do not. However, I believe our framework for ministry should always be the 1st Century Church. When we look at the body of believers formed in the wake of Christ's resurrection and ascension, we see at least as much tumult and change as in our day. And in the midst of all that, they acknowledged and committed to their calling to be in community, to draw on each other's strength to know, learn, and live toward the Lord in the midst of an unwelcoming and ever-changing culture.
What does it actually mean to "reimagine?" Please unpack the word as you understand it and the components of a reimagining process.
John Savage===> To reimagine is an opportunity not to imagine something new but to imagine again what the first followers of Jesus did. So the process is largely one of deconstructing the interruptions of our calling (i.e. false notions of ministry as man-made attempts to impress other humans) rather than constructing something brand new.
What roadblocks or resistance, barriers and boundaries, inhibit or prevent leaders from pursuing a discerning assessment when they commence a journey to reimagine ministry?
In addition to my comments about the status quo above, I'd say personal pride and "relying on our own understanding."
"Where do I begin? Where do you recommend a leader looks first to ensure they commence a truly Spirit-led, Scripture-fed journey?
John Savage===> I believe the only place to begin is with the personal journey, not the organizational journey. We must get back to our proverbial "prayer closet" to hear and obey. Personally, my challenge has been a life of doing things for God but not with God. I'm often reminded of Deuteronomy 1:41-43, where God commands the Israelites to go into battle, but He reminds them not to go without Him or they will be defeated. So we Christian leaders trying to do things for God cannot do it without Him! We must reimagine (imagine again) our faith, our first love.
Who are the thought leaders the Holy Spirit is using to help the Church reimagine?
John Savage===> Global economics is making poverty more visible. I believe Jesus is in the eyes of the poor, if we are willing to look hard enough. So often, we are looking for institutional answers when in fact those that will challenge our own purpose, value, or identity are the poor. Until we reconcile our personal relationship with the poor, the answers are not in institutions. Thought leaders may challenge us to think about how we live, but the poor challenge us to think about how we love.
How does your ministry help Christian leaders equip those they serve to begin the reimagine-journey?
John Savage===> Through our Virtual Leadership Institute ( https://johnsavagegroup.com/focus2021/ ) we offer online, cohort-based training and equipping. Cohorts meet twice monthly to hear from leadership and stewardship experts, to share questions, struggles, and victories, and to pray. And while participants gain so many valuable lessons from each other and our invited subject matter experts while creating their Pathways to the Next Chapter of their leadership story, they consistently tell us that their biggest take-aways from the program are in the networking and peer relationships built along the way.
We have constructed our program around our belief that it's not about the destination but about everything that happens on the journey which makes you who you are. The key to leadership growth is not with who you are leading but with who is leading you--and making sure that's Jesus.
So for us, the journey of the VLI is about what happens to us as we do the work of the ministries we are in. The ministry is the context for the minister's growth. The outcomes are secondary to the transformation that happens in the space of liminality that shapes the life of the leader.
Please write a prayer that sets us onto a reimagining journey . . .
=== Lord, may we imagine and discover, once again, our first love with you. May we no longer "hurry" to know you, but "walk" intently and reflectively together alongside you every day.