Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Here we go…
#1 – The team spends more time seeking to imitate what is happening in other churches rather than begging God for HIS plan for their church. (Laziness!)
#2 – The leaders spend more time on the web to see what’s working instead of in the Word to see what God is saying.
#3 – Staff meetings become more focused on all of the “wrong” things other churches/leaders are doing (insecurity) instead of focusing on the problems that exist right under their nose.
#4 – The focus of the leadership meeting is not to lead and inspire and problem solve…but rather to just “make it” through the meeting.
#5 – The term “loyalty” is defined as, “we agree with the leader, no matter what.” Therefore dysfunction sets in as people are manipulated by fear and uncertainty…and they allow the “emperor to have no clothes” and pretend that everything is ok.(An environment of honesty MUST exist for a team to thrive!)
#6 – The focus of the agenda is to be reactive to what a few people may be upset with (usually big givers) rather than proactive about what Jesus said we should be obsessed with…advancing HIS Gospel.
#7 – The team is not willing to embrace taking risks because doing so could mean person loss for each member on the team.
#8 – Discussion seldom happens…lecture often does.
#9 – Decisions are made out of convenience rather than conviction.
#10 – The agenda of “Our Church Is Great” replaces the Biblical agenda of, “Our GOD IS GREAT!”
#11 – The people at the leadership table assume they are the smartest people in the organization; therefore, all other people should be ignored. (You REALLY need to listen to Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast from last month about this…AMAZING!)
#12 – The team is more focused on what random critics are saying than on what God is saying. (God does speak…but if He needs to direct your church it probably will not be through some bitter blogger or twitter person who has never been to your church, hates everyone and spends more time on the web bashing than in the Word learning!)
#13 – People are more concerned about protecting feelings than guarding the vision.
#14 – A leader will quickly sacrifice a team member instead of taking responsibility for a decision.
#15 – The people at the table actually believe the church would be in worse shape if they were not there.
#16 – A person disengages from the conversation if it’s not about their specific area.
#17 – When the people at the table get more satisfaction from being a leader than they do in simply following Jesus.
#18 – When the leaders never have a sleepless night over big decisions.
#19 – When the focus of the meeting is to impress other churches rather than minister to the people God gives them each and every week.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
For those of you who may have attended Quest (especially those of you who were members in a lifegroup) there is probably much fear and confusion associated with this verse. It is used at Quest to support blindly following church leaders as THEY hear from Christ on your behalf . If/ when there is opposition to a leader’s decision or guidance, this verse is quickly quoted or pointed to in effect to say “if you are not following me (a sinful human), you are not following Jesus (son of God, creator of the Universe)”. This kind of deductive reasoning is however misguided and twists the true meaning Hebrews 13:17, which like all other scriptures can not be extracted from its original context to appoint authority not given by Christ (who has all authority.. Matt. 28).
Now...here is where everyone who has ever felt shame or guilt for not agreeing with their leaders or was told to question their relationship/devotion with Christ because they heard something different from Jesus than their leader did….can just…..take...a…long deep…….breath. The truth is, Quest teaches a kind of submissiveness and obedience to their leadership that is simply not Biblical. Go ahead...look for it...comb the Gospels…..explore the Books of the Prophets….it’s safe to do, because it’s not there. And it’s not there, because Jesus knew better. Despite our good intentions, we are sinful people and cannot be trusted with that sort of absolute authority and so...Jesus never granted it. Those who assume that position (even at Quest) have manufactured this authority-- it is counterfeit and they will have to answer for it in front of the Lord one day. Pray for them for repentance and truth.
If you break down the verse as to what it truly says, the lie the Quest uses it to support is quickly exposed. Most translations read, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” The Greek word used for “submit” in this verse is hupeiko, and means “to retire, or withdraw.” We are not being called to follow orders or trust blindly, we are are being called not to hinder those who God has called to His ministry. (Can you imagine someone throwing banana peels in front of Paul the whole way to Corinth? No! You can’t, because we were told NOT to do that in this verse! =) ) If we consider this, the rest of the verse makes PERFECT sense. We obey them (as not to hinder them) so their work is joy for they are accountable for the things they do and teach along the way. It wouldn’t benefit us or the cause of Christ to hinder those called to be beacon’s of light in a land of darkness...DUH!=)
There is another Greek word that translates to “obey” ...this form of the word actually references obedience to magistrates or those in authority. This word Peitharcheo is found in Acts 5:29: “We must obey (peitharcheo) God, not man.” I think that pretty much speaks for itself, don’t you? No ambiguity there. Why does Quest never point to this verse?
This is the truth about Hebrews 13:17. Let this take root in your heart and begin the healing where lies and deceit may have caused havoc. Try to set aside any anger you may feel towards those who mislead you because they themselves may have been mislead. Pray for them. We will pray together. We will pray hard and we will not cease prayer until all of God’s lost sheep know the Good News. There is so much Hope!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
So far it seems that this blog is off to an amazing start and has gone better than my efforts could make it. This seems to be the case with things that God calls us to. I wanted to thank all the readers and commenters. You all have had wonderful insights and additions to this blog and I encourage you to keep them coming.
The next step I would like to take is to invite any post-Questers to post their comments here about their experiences with Quest. As you have gathered from the nature of this blog this is not a place for unchecked anger or cutting remarks towards Quest or Questers. So please, only positive comments. It is the only way for people who are stuck in Quest to see that post-Questers don’t just live angry vindictive lives.
Furthermore, I would like to invite anyone who has heard of Quest or currently goes to Quest to post on here. This is the beauty of the blog. It can be entirely anonymous if you’d like it to be. There will be no penalty for asking questions about anything you see discussed here. None of your leaders will know and don’t need to know. Even I won’t know. I encourage you to ask questions about leadership, serving, and anything else you have been even slightly curious about but could not ask in the Quest environment.
As for my identity, it remains a superfluous detail amidst the truth that God is revealing. In the meantime you may call me Theophilus. It is a name that describes all of us as it Greek for “one loved by God.” I would also encourage you to spread the word about this blog, but feel free not to. You might just need to sit back and enjoy the discussion. Again, my email is email@example.com . Feel free to email it anytime or post a comment on the blog. In the words of one of our commenters “let the truth ring out.”