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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Leadership in Church - Managing the Miracle

A leader in the Lord's work struggles to define his role.

That's why you got a guy who when praised points to the heavens and says, "It's not me, it's about him."  To which we awkwardly reply, "I know, dufus, I was just letting you know you did a good job."

Jesus said, "Didn't you know I was about my Father's business?"  Maybe this is where we get the whole pointing-to-heaven bit.  Nothing against that index finger-jerk reaction, but if you'll permit me, allow me the latitude to speak into that for a moment.

A leader cannot produce a miracle, but a leader must 'manage the miracle'.

Even as Jesus decided to feed the 5000, the Scriptures made it clear that he "directed" the people to a grassy part of the landscape and "divided" them into "groups" of 50 and 100.  Again, a miracle was going to happen, but not without management.

A miracle without management is mayhem.  You can have 23 people being baptized on Sunday night, but if someone doesn't get out the date and time of the event, tell the women not to wear white t-shirts, line them up 15 minutes before the service, fill the baptismal and start the heater 24 hours ahead of time and get the towels reading on the other side of the tank, you've got yourselves a good ole fashioned goat rodeo, folks.  God is moving for sure, but somebody has to think about the logistics.  I call them "Theologistics".

We often associate leadership in ministry to "letting God move" or "have his way".  We just step back and take a "leap of faith" and "watch the Spirit work".  But this is why the average size of the church in America today is somewhere between 50 and 75 people; someone is just not thinking logically about the leadership of the Lord's work.

This story traditionally called "The feeding of the five thousand" is such a beautiful picture of something that is often missed in a lot of Jesus-stories.  We tend to think of Jesus as a scatterbrained gadabout that just sauntered around and ministered to people.  But in this passage, Jesus "directed".  He was a "Director of Ministry".  Anybody fill that role in the church you're in?  It may not be seen as ministry...I call it "Administry".  You can't have effective ministry without a director.  Direction is important even in the middle of a miracle.

The next thing he does is he breaks them into "groups".  He knows that you can't just wing it and fling breadsticks and fishsticks into the crowd, it would be mass hysteria.  Some groups would get too much and some groups would get too little and you would have a riot break out.  Humans pick up on fairness and equality like youngsters in a playground at recess.  The miracle would go south in a hurry.  No, you have to break people into "pockets of people", "cell groups", "life groups", "small groups"...(whatever you want to call them) in order to organize the organic.

You see, something spontaneous is going to happen, something organic, but even the organic has to be organized by a leader thinking logistically.  These groups of 50 and 100 became so important to the dissemination of the divine.  If there isn't order people get ornery.

Another thing that happens when you don't have a good director with good direction is that you have leaders who are participating in a miracle and they are so frustrated with the dysfunctional process that they can't appreciate the magic happen right under their noses.  They are so annoyed and nerved up by the unprepared process, that they are participating in a miracle and they don't even care.  They are ticked at the ticks.  They can even be collecting the 12 baskets of leftovers from the 2 fish and 5 loaves and miss the miracle altogether.  I wonder how often this happens in ministry and it all starts with management.

When you mismanage, you miss the miracle.

Leadership in ministry is managing the miracle.  He will do the miracle.  We must do the management.

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