Some of this coaching and teaching has a formal character to it; that is, pastors should regularly offer in service training and learning events. Sometimes, this will have the pastoral doing most of the teaching, other times the pastor invites others in to teach, still other times, the pastor asks members of the staff team to teach. However, since a missional congregation is a learning organization, a critical task for the missional leader is this formal job of creating and leading learning events.
Most of this coaching and teaching is informal in character; that is, the missional leader will walk along side those who are learning to engage in some ministry. Or, they will invite a person along in the basic ministry engagements so more and more staff and others learn those habits. The pastoral missional leader is always multiplying capacity.
Some time stewardship principles
Americans are starving for time. Or, so recent studies on how Americans experience time report. We have found that most church staffs feel the same way. They believe they do not have enough time to do what they must.
While we admit to having the same experience, we believe that God has given us all the time we need to do what he calls us to do. However, since we seldom create our to do lists on the basis of what God is calling us to do, we tend to make lists too long. Further we ignore or forget that God has offered us eternal life and what we do between now and then is to be seen in the light of eternity. The first act of stewardship, then, must be spiritual discernment, such planning in light of eternity and the gift of eternal life.
planning = managing our attention
Such spiritual discernment allows us to make short lists. Short lists of things to do are the easiest way to make sure that we get things done. The shorter the list, the more likely it will get done. Learning to turn our spiritual discernment in to short lists is critical.
Learning to create a plan for managing our attention on our short list is the next discipline of stewardship of staff time. And, of course, if we don’t use the plan to manage our attention, all of the above disciplines fail to bring the fruit that God intends.
Of course, there is no clearer way to see how far short of God intentions we fall than to take seriously this process of spiritual discernment regarding our time. Such discernment always finds us making promises we cannot keep. Such promises, make in good faith, and often in moments of inspiration and excitement often become emotional weights, guilt trips, or sources of conflict within a staff. As a staff we will all make promises, we do not keep. We will all have promises made to us that we counted on that will not be kept. We can simply ignore such broken promises, pretending we are a no fault god or we can learn to how each other accountable and forgive and move on.
In the end—and I do mean our final end– our debt to time, our amounting debt of promises unkept, need to be handed over to Christ who takes them all away.
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