[ Disciple-Making ]
The #ReimagineFORUM...Coaching Session with Damian Gerke
- Why is it important for Christian leaders to begin a journey of rethinking ministry?
Damian Gerke - Because each second an unbeliever passes into an eternity separated from God. Because each year we retain the current approach to church, kingdom growth (those who following Jesus as disciples) slips further behind population growth. Because unless we change how we make disciples, there’s no realistic way to accomplish the mission Jesus stewarded to us.
Because what we do is intimately tied to Jesus’ command to go and make disciples. It may sound drastic to say this, but if we don’t involve ourselves intentionally toward making disciples of Jesus then at some level we’re rejecting God’s purpose for our lives. And consider: What are the consequences if our leadership is influencing others to do the same?
- Why will a "reimagine-journey" be difficult and potentially dangerous to the status quo?
Damian - Making disciple-making disciples challenges almost every ministry pattern we are accustomed to. It will challenge how we see God, ourselves, the church, our vocation, our to-do lists, those we lead … we’ll see virtually everything in a whole new light.
- 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
Damian - Hmmm … at the risk of appearing undecided, I’m going to say “both.” I agree that we live in an extraordinary world, and all the topics you list are certainly examples of incredible dynamics, changes and impacts. It’s been said that we live in a VUCA age: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. I agree, and navigating it calls for great discipline; and wisdom.
However, we also know that “there is nothing new under the sun.” All the issues are new but they’re based on the same old principles—we just have to understand which principles are in play. We know that God “does not change like shifting shadows.” Truth has always been and always will be true. Because of this, we simply have to be who God has called us to be: Redeemed sinners, saved by grace, who hear the voice of our Shepherd, follow him faithfully in obedience, go to those who don’t know him and invite them to join us in the journey.
I realize that may sound simplistic, but if we do that everything else will fall into place. Part of the “re-imagining” is to lose our dependency on programming to accomplish the mission of disciple-making. The fact that all the forces above are disruptive to our traditions-programs-models-systems is an indication that they aren’t a suitable wineskin for the gospel in our time. Let the mission determine the organization, not the other way around.
- What does it actually mean to "reimagine?" Please unpack the word as you understand it and the components of a reimagining process.
Damian - Pray. Let God lead, so we’re not leaning on our own understanding. Start fresh. Back up as far as you need to from your current situation to gain objectivity. Identify and interrogate the assumptions you’re using (which may or may not be valid) that are driving your current approach. As Einstein said, “We can’t solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Involve others, especially those who see things differently than you. Ask lots of questions, and create as many answers as you can (new perspectives often come you’re later answers, not your early ones).
- What roadblocks or resistance, barriers and boundaries, inhibit or prevent leaders from pursuing a discerning assessment when they commence a journey to reimagine ministry?
Damian - Poverty of time. Dependence on self. Pressure to perform. Fear; and fear of fear. Lack of faith.
- "Where do I begin? Where do you recommend a leader looks first to ensure they commence a truly Spirit-led, Scripture-fed journey?
Damian - Pray, and let the Spirit lead. Obey and practice whatever he brings to mind. Learning to do this take practice and discipline, but you can only practice it by practicing … and getting better at it. It’s not something you know, it’s something you do.
Two books that have really helped me are Steve Smith’s Spirit Walk and Curtis Sergeant’s The Only One.
- Who are the thought leaders the Holy Spirit is using to help the Church reimagine?
- Curtis Sergenat, MetaCamp (https://metacamp.org/),
- Stan Parks, Jerry Trousdale, Roy Moran and others at New Generations (https://newgenerations.org/),
- 24:14 (https://2414now.net/),
- Biglife (https://big.life/),
- Doug Lucas at More Disciples (https://moredisciples.com/),
- Zume (https://zume.vision/),
- David Garrison (Church Planting Movements: How God Is Redeeming a Lost World)
- How does your ministry help Christian leaders equip those they serve to begin the reimagine-journey?
- We provide coaching and training, as well as immersive, come-and-see experiential training on community transformation through disciple-making. For coaching, we provide leadership coaching for both secular and ministry settings, specializing in leadership development (how to Go Beyond the status quo in your leadership).
- Resources include these book titles:
- Additional coaching insights to share? Questions we must pursue?
Damian - You’re not alone! Force yourself to see every challenge as an opportunity. This is not just glass-half-full optimism, it is truth.
- Please write a prayer that sets us onto a reimagining journey . . .
Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters who are taking up the banner of leadership in the area of ministry that you’ve called them to. I pray you’d encourage and strengthen them, inside and out, and help remember that you equip those you call. Give them the joy of serving and equipping others for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all reach maturity in the faith and in the knowledge of him who is the head: Jesus our Lord and Savior! Amen!