Ministry is More than Pastoring

What you’re doing seems fine…but I still wish you would just go back to a church and preach. Isn’t that what pastors do? Isn’t that why God called you into the ministry? Isn’t that the better thing?

Those were the words of my grandmother to me when I told her how I was transitioning to work for LifeWay to launch their new emphasis in church planting and multisite (albeit, she did speak those words in Korean).

God’s call on our lives is a mysterious thing, isn’t it? There were times in my life, where I was convinced that God had called me to a specific place and role (sometimes also to date a particular girl), only to discover that the circumstances didn’t pan out the way that I wanted them to (that means I was rejected).

“Was God’s initial call wrong? Did I hear him incorrectly? Is there sin in my life?” These were the types of questions that I would wrestle through when things didn’t go the way that I wanted them to, or expected them to.

My wife and I have gone through many transitions. Since getting married, we’ve lived in six cities and three different countries. I’ve served in a number of roles in four different churches ranging from a church attendance of 100 – 50,000 people. And most recently, we’ve moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to work for LifeWay – in a role that my grandmother apparently doesn’t approve of since I’m not preaching :)

By now, I could probably write a book on how to transition, but that’s beside the point. One thing that has stuck with me through all these transitions is that,

In this exciting journey of following God, if our eyes are on him and our hearts are directed towards knowing him and doing his will, then God will lead us through different chapters and seasons of life. And we all know that a story wouldn’t be engaging if there weren’t the highs AND the lows…how true is that for life…and God knows that I can personally attest to both the highs and the lows. In transition (and really, in all of life) we need to make sure that we’re coming to meet God afresh daily. 

A few years back, I wrote a post on how I saw myself as a ligament in the body of Christ. Never did I imagine that the three areas that God had ingrained on my heart would come together like this, through my role at LifeWay, in this season of my life. I wish that more people, my grandmother including (and I love my grandmother by the way…she just has an old school paradigm of ministry), would understand that ministry is more than just pastoring – just like the body of Christ is more than just the mouth.

So there it is. Here we go! My blog will be shifting in the coming weeks to focus more on church planting, multisite, multi-ethnic church and leadership.

Oh and by the way, just for fun, here’s a picture of Ed Stetzer and I dreaming of the exciting possibilities that lie ahead for the Church in regards to planting, multisite, multi-ethnic church and resources!!

Daniel and Ed

 

 

Tuesday’s Thought – Lincoln and Character

Abraham Lincoln has no need for an introduction. So here’s a quote that probably has more relevance today than it did when he first said it.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

When given a seat of authority or power, do you find yourself leading and functioning differently?

Abrahahm Lincoln quote

My Hope for Beulah, the Local Church and Edmonton

edmonton

Whenever I pray, “God may your kingdom come and your will be done,” I’m not just going through the motions and praying some sort of ritualistic prayer. Nor am I praying it and hoping that God would do that through someone else in some other place. Since this is a part of the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray, I have confidence that he is doing “something” when we have the audacity to pray that prayer with sincerity and faith. And I’m convinced that God chooses to do that “something” through you and I – through the church.

Let’s face it. The local church can be dysfunctional because we are the local church and we can all be dysfunctional. Regardless, I have full faith in God’s redemptive power and his desire to usher in his kingdom through the local church.

When I came to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to serve at Beulah Alliance Church in 2010, I wasn’t just coming for some job. I came because I was convinced that Beulah was all about God’s kingdom and his mission. After all, since its birth in 1921, over 40 churches have been planted out of Beulah.

And now that God is leading us into a new season of ministry, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on this question,

“What gives me hope that Beulah will continue on this trajectory and be a transformational kingdom agent in Edmonton and beyond?”

Here are some of my thoughts:

[Read more…]

How to Create a Missional Culture at Your Church (BLESS Pocket Guide)

How can you create a missional culture at your church?

The big challenge and task for churches that are serious about creating a missional culture and participating in the mission of God, is how to normalize mission and missional engagement in the lives of her congregants.

Do you inspire your church to action with a sermon? Do you equip your church with skills and knowledge with a seminar? Or do you employ an apprenticeship model? How is it that you can best call your church to significant city-impacting, gospel-driven and spirit-empowered missional engagement?

The answer?

You need to normalize it. You need to make missional engagement as normal as motherhood and apple pie. Don’t make missional engagement sound like something that only missionaries are called to do. Make it natural and an assumption for every disciple. In other words, if you’re a disciple of Jesus, then missional engagement is just a part of it.

I want to commend Community Christian Church for producing a fantastic acronym to normalize mission – it’s BLESS. You can find Dave Ferguson’s article and video on it here from Verge. You can watch Jon Ferguson explaining it here. Or you can watch multiple videos on BLESS on Ministry Grid. You can even download Dave Ferguson’s ebook on BLESS here from Exponential.

Part of my role at Beulah Alliance Church is to lead the church and all the campuses in their missional engagement. And in order to raise the missional culture at Beulah, I need to give the congregation a tool to normalize mission. Out of all the tools out there, we decided on BLESS because of its simplicity and its ability to make mission seem easy.

So here are a few things that we’ve done to create a missional culture:

  • We created a BLESS Pocket Guide for our congregation – you can click here or the image below to download it. (We adapted it with permission from John Wentz’s Missional Pocket Guide)
  • We introduced it via a 3 week sermon series. You can listen to all the messages at www.beulah.ca or click below for one the one that I preached on the last S of the acronym
  • We incorporated the BLESS language into our community engagement strategy for city impact
  • We are making weekend life stories BLESS oriented
  • We created vehicles for our congregation to live out BLESS in community – they’re called mid-size communities

How are you creating a missional culture at your church? How do you normalize mission?
Bless acronym