This past weekend I took part in the first phase of the Release Initiative Spring 2014 cohort. In this two day intensive we looked at the first two biblical lenses through which we view life and ministry: Kingdom and Disciple. As a group the cohort immediately bonded and dove in head first as we started to be trained in Kingdom DNA. There is too much information to give you on here; but I would at least like to take the next couple of blog posts and give you a few nuggets that I received from the training.
The first deals with identity and finding our complete identity in Jesus based off of John 15:1-17. As church leaders we are often times tempted to push movement ahead instead of first abiding in Christ. I think that this is in part due to the church culture in the US because everyone is throwing the word "movement" around when in reality what most people are referring to as movement is not. You don't just launch a church and you don't just see a movement take place.
Generally the motivation behind this type of language is pure, but words are often thrown around that voids them of their meaning. Do I personally believe that we are seeing any church planting movements in the West? No, but if you want to see a movement I can point you to other parts of the world to both observe and learn from the leaders in those places.
A convicting statement made by Director of Release, Sam Smith, was this, "Jesus doesn't like us working for the kingdom, just as much as he doesn't like us not bearing fruit." He went on to say, "Christ is disgusted with fruit that comes from our own strength."
This eventually opened up a discussion over the weekend that most church planting networks start with the church, but we see Jesus start with the kingdom. In the same way it is easy today if you have a dynamic speaker, a great band, and cool venue to gather a large crowd and call it a church; but most often all that we are seeing is a bunch of Christian transplants.
So to get this brief series started, everything we do must flow from our identity, which must be constantly reminded of the gospel in everyday life. Another statement that I continue to find myself returning is this, "Is Jesus enough?" In other words, regardless of your role or the results in life, can you honestly proclaim that Jesus alone is enough?