If you’ve read many of these church planting proverbs, you may have noticed that there’s a bit of a paradox that runs through the archive here.
On the one hand, there’s all kinds of LESS.
- Less ‘launch’
- Less pizazz
- Less money
- Less clericalism
But on the other hand, there’s a good bit of MORE.
- More attention to workflow
- More productivity
- More intentionality
- More scheduling of top priorities
- More ambition
I’ve come to believe that I must be very serious about the stewardship of my callings. I have finally begun to be habituated to certain personal disciplines and structures that I would have previously thought to be ‘legalistic’ and constraining. I have accepted the fact that faithfulness is not enough; Jesus desires, expects, and is intent upon producing fruitfulness.
How do I reconcile these newfound disciplines and drives with all of the ‘LESS’?
More important still, how do you authentically lead a gospel movement built on grace while putting constraints on your schedule and growing more ambitious? Aren’t these things irreconcilable?
I don’t believe they are.
Smart & Weak
There is a big difference between being a disorganized, immature, unproductive, unfruitful, unambitious follower of Jesus and being a weak follower of Jesus. A big difference.
Productivity seems to me to have a lot to do with being smart, rather than strong. We can be manifestly weak, humble, and dependent on Jesus at the same time as we’re working as smart as we can. We can utilize a whole menu of ‘hacks’ to boost our chances of moving from faithfulness into fruitfulness. And at the very same time, we can allow Jesus to be strong.
In my life, anyway, these two things seem to be increasingly happening simultaneously.
I am more competent and confident than I ever have been as a ‘grown up’ with a ‘real job’. I’m better able to navigate the tricky circumstances of a church plant with poise and grace than I have been in the past.
Competent & Needy
And yet I’m also more aware than ever that I’m a total weakling. I’m repenting more than I ever have before: to my wife, to my friends, to my flock, to Jesus. I’m more haunted than ever that I am quite capable of BIG sin. I’m more prone than I have ever been to tell my close friends when my life is out of whack due to my failings and sins.
Let’s be super productive. Let’s be incredibly ambitious. Let’s employ as many hacks and disciplines as necessary to make us better stewards of the gifts we’ve been given.
But let’s ask ourselves afresh: how often do we feel our mortal weakness and fly to Jesus?
Let’s be smart.
But let’s be weak, and let Jesus be strong.