The first 50 Days

“What are you going to do in your first 100 days?”

A question Jono was asked over and over again as took over leadership of our faith community.

At the hand over service there was a moment where Jono asked everyone to kneel as a reminder that Jesus is King and not our ego.

Not self.

Not an easy ask in a culture which has seen the median narcissism score rise 30% in the last two decades.  93% of young people scoring higher than the middle score just twenty years ago.

We are at the 50 day mark and it is about now culture wants us to ask,  

“Is he any good at leadership?”

“What’s he doing?”

 My mum always said, “You can tell the character of a person by how they love children.  Do they like doing the hidden work of seeing a child and being with a child?”

In the first 50 days I’ve watched our senior pastor hanging out with children.  

He is serious about discipling little hearts.  He is realistic about the small impact a Sunday hour can have on a child’s heart but he still wants to have impact.  He is wrestling with how can we reach the most unreached group in our society…children.  At the moment there are no answers just a kneeling at the cross.

We have a senior pastor and his pregnant wife giving up their Friday’s to serve the youth of this city.

Hanging out with the second most unreached people group in our society isn’t something most senior pastors do. 

Yet here he is on a Friday, at the end of a long week kneeling at the cross knowing we are on the losing side asking God for a miracle.

We have a senior pastor whose heart is positioned to being shaped to be a disciple of Jesus.  

He knows he needs to be in a space where his heart is being discipled in close proximity with people who can call him out.  I’m talking about his engagement with a disciple making small group.

It is not the elders who ultimately shape his heart and help him become a disciple.  It is those in closest proximity to him.  Those who eat with him, pray with him and do life with him and his little family.

A disciple wants to be with Jesus.  We can’t meet Jesus fully on our own.  We meet Jesus in other and so only being with other can we be with Jesus.

As a grandma in the church I am so grateful to this band of disciples who are surrounding him with friendship and I see them together kneeling at the cross, “Make me like Jesus. Help me be with Jesus.  Help me do the things Jesus did.”

In his first 50 days I have watched him Humbly ask questions.

 I have seen him wrestle with data from Nayba about the state of the church in Launceston.  It’s strengths and its weaknesses.

I’ve watched him meet with every young leader he can find in the city, and some old ones…hoping against all hope that his own data is wrong.

Lots of coffee dates, time spent listening to methodology that doesn’t seem to be enough to turn the spiritual tide. His heart wanting to provide hope, support and encouragement to the church of the city.  Seeking unity through first seeking to understand and then be understood.  

Taking team members with him to converse with leaders struggling to turn the tide.  Hearts within teams being knitted together as reality is shared.  The battle, the task overwhelmingly big.  The only place to go is the foot of the cross.  “God help me!”

One generation builds on the shoulders of another generation.  

Every generation makes mistakes that the next generation have to rectify.

Making disciples is the biggest mistake our generation made.  For every 100 people who attend church the system only produces 2 disciples.

In other parts of the world it is unheard of for disciples of Jesus to not read their Bibles, to not want to praise and worship, to not pray, to not want to make disciples who make disciples.

I watch him wrestling with how can I increase prayer in the heart of believers?  How can I increase people’s love for the word of God?  How can I increase the desire of people to make disciples.

As the saying goes, “If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have got.”

I see a kneeling at the cross asking God for wisdom.  “Show me how to make disciples.”

The Social Enterprise

In the first 50 days, I have been stunned by the increase in the number of disciples choosing to become spiritual parents. Leaders stepping up, “leaving behind their childish ways,” as Paul wrote.

I think of the social enterprise being led by Caleb.

The team is trying to model living and working in the marketplace while trying to make disciples. They are pioneers.

This week we had presenters who present all over Australia on childhood trauma. In their words, “There is something we have never experienced in all our traveling around Australia here. The food, the service, the venue were beautiful. But there was something else that is so hard to put into words. There was this humble serving. You were all the same, nothing was too much or too hard, but it was done with such joy and delight. But it was all of you, not just one person.”

This is not uncommon feedback.

I look at the team who turn the wheels on the social enterprise and I see them working hard at being great entrepreneurs. Wise with money and all things business. But they are also working hard at being a disciple of Jesus in the workplace. Be Jesus! Hospitality isn’t an easy industry to BE JESUS.

I also look at how they try to call the sabbath a delight, and the holy day honorable, and it is beautiful. Something I hope we all appreciate and learn from.

It would be easy for them to say, “I’m too tired to come to church today. I worked a function last night. I’ll give it a miss.” But they don’t; they turn up and delight in meeting with God and giving God’s day honor. This is rare in the business world we live in today. An acknowledgement that Jesus is Lord and King.

Jesus is Lord

I haven’t referred to what might be considered important for the first 50 days in this blog. The traditional markers of success.

What I am trying to point to is something deeper that seems to be happening.

I think it was embodied on Sunday the 14th when we all knelt, at the request of our senior leader and recognized that we were not King but Jesus was.

Only in that posture can humility be birthed.

Humility is the awareness that there’s a lot we don’t know and much of what we think we know is distorted or wrong. Humility leads to wisdom.

We can always learn from another person’s knowledge but we can’t be wise with other people’s wisdom because wisdom isn’t a body of information. It’s the moral quality of knowing what you don’t know and figuring out a way to handle your ignorance, uncertainty, and limitations.

It’s a way of living under the cross, under the Lordship of Jesus the King.

If you had to ask me, “What have the first 50 days been about?”

I would have to say, “Learning to live under the Lordship of Jesus. Making him King.”