Leaders need hope to lead and congregations need hope to venture forward and navigate change…hope to enter into new mission territory.
No hope? No action!
And the bad news is that harsh realities crush hope!
I think it’s one of the reasons that leaders consistently are impacted by any of the PLI learning communities because they experience…
New Hope that leads to New Courage!
Consistently PLI sees leaders willing to:
- take on new challenges.
- reconnect themselves or their congregations to the mission of God.
- confront enormous obstacles in their ministries for the sake of the future.
All because they experience…
New Hope that leads to New Courage!
There are lots of ways that you can bolster congregational hope and/or increase the “hope factor” in the heart of a leader, but let me offer the CRAZY HOPE option.
Imagine walking into your next Bible Class or board meeting or congregational event and simply saying:
Things are so bad for the church (our church?) that the life and power and leading of Jesus is the only hope we’ve got!
We’ve tried lots of education, wonderful buildings, great programs, organizational principles, money, marketing, manpower, manipulation, mindless activities, etc.
I think we need to go to Plan B. (I know this is not plan B, but you get the point!)
Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man. (Matthew 7:24)
Listen to Jesus. Act on what He Says!
Maybe Peter had CRAZY HOPE in Luke 5 after fishing all night with no fish when he listened to Jesus and pushed out for the deep water.
Maybe the 72 disciples in Luke 10 had “two by two” CRAZY HOPE when they heard “lambs among wolves” and went out with
- no purse,
- no bag,
- no sandals.
Maybe Peter (again) in Acts 10 and 11 had only CRAZY HOPE on his way to Cornelius and later explained:
…who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way? (Acts 11:17)
How about this for your next team meeting…board meeting…morning prayers…for an agenda?
Let’s fall on our knees!
The Church in the United States is failing miserably…
We’re losing a whole generation of people…
We’ve lost how to disciple people to step into the mission…
We’ve created a bunch of “consumers” in our churches…
We’ve trusted in ourselves.
We’ve trusted in our knowledge and knowledge has puffed up.
We’ve had the best of all kinds of things…and failed.
We’d like to be wise…
Listen to God’s Word and simply put that into practice.
ACTUALLY…I’m probably offering more of my own personal confession than I am your agenda. I’ve found seasons of my life and corners of my heart where I’ve had to exhaust all of the options to land on the CRAZY HOPE that I’ll simply, boldly, face the impossible and…
Listen to God’s Word and put it into practice!
If I’m you, and…
If I’ve got lots of immigrants around me or my community demographics are way different than my congregation…it overwhelms my hope!
If the average age in my congregation is 68 and I want to see our church be a bridge to a younger generation, and not have it all end in a few years with us…it overwhelms my hope!
If I’m a “couple of years out of seminary” and the congregation is conflicted and in crisis…it overwhelms my hope!
If I’m a pastor’s spouse and I see mission and ministry eating up our family or robbing our marriage…it overwhelms my hope!
If I’m 6 or 8 years away from retirement and ministry has just become too complex and what used to work seems to no longer work…it overwhelms my hope!
So, what if, when it’s all said and done and we’ve tried it all…
We lean forward into the “it’s so bad” our best shot is to listen to Jesus and put it into practice.
- There’s a little bit of fruit or a whole lot of fruit!
If you believe what PLI believes, let me ask you to add your small gift to so many others to make a “CRAZY HOPE” investment in a pastor or a spouse or an overwhelmed congregation.
Share this with your board or a friend.
Check out PLI’s learning community schedule and see what might be starting in your region of the country.
Rev. Dr. Jock Ficken
P.S. Could you help us by taking a short survey? PLI is collaborating with the Institute for Bible Reading to better understand what you as pastor/church leader are seeing and experiencing. To take this quick survey, click here.