Mark Beeson | Missional is Difficult

Archived photo courtesy Adam Tarwacki

Archived photo courtesy Adam Tarwacki

Every time I hear Mark Beeson speak to other church leaders, I watch those leaders make the same effort to capture every note possible that I do. Mark draws from four decade of local church ministry and over two decades as a new church planter. His well of wisdom is deep.  

Today he addressed a roomful of eager leaders at Exponential 2013. His topic was Going Missional - or Planting a Church - is Difficult. While he provided as much as possible of the 12 pages he'd prepared in a single hour, I highlighted the following nuggets that help me as much as anyone else.

  • Someone invested in what was... and held it as sacred and really important. Respect what God has used in the past. Value the people who led the way.
  • Change is easiest when it’s birthed in rebellion. People love to gather around the leader who's against something. Sustainable change will need to be motivated by more than rebellion. 
  • People will join us for a new work, but any one of the following is a potential deal breaker: The Vision – people must love where you’re going. The Leader – people must want to join you specifically. The Teammates – people must find chemistry and synergy with the others on the team. The Values – people must love the way you go about accomplishing your vision.
  • Our motivation must be assessed. Are you merely going missional because it's brand candy? Does it put you on the cutting edge? Does it attract new people to your ministry? It must be more.
  • If people are going to be discipled, if the church is going to be missional, if the outcome matters at all - we must structure the process carefully AND evaluate the outcome to ensure we're getting what we set out to do. There are no shortcuts.
  • Entropy settles in. Will we recognize the Spirit of God infusing His Church with His power?
  • The carrying capacity of ministry must be increased. The only solution is to widen the base. Build and develop leaders and teams who own the ministry; who are empowered to be the "ministers" of the Gospel.

Mark's voice and experience in leading change carries a critical message in an apparent nation-wide movement to transition what is most critical to the mission of Jesus: it's a DiscipleShift. But it's important to note that God has been at work in His Church. God has used various methods, approaches and measurements. It's appropriate to acknowledge the movement behind us before we consider it dung and move on.

I'm grateful to be on Mark's team. I'm honored to learn from him and live in the tension of embracing the AND as we journey into the next chapter of ministry together. The AND of attractional and missional. The AND of measuring converts and disciple-making. The AND of baptisms and committed community. The AND of teaching and coaching.

We're committed to the AND in our 2016 Vision.

And I'm in.