Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Equippers as Environmentalists: Re-Imagining Leadership in Today’s Western Church Part XIV


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After an introduction – Part I, Part II, Part III, and looking at the five mega shifts happening in our Western Culture – Part IV ,Part V, Part VI and Part VII, and Part VIII, now it is time to re-imagine leadership in this context.  Part IXPart X, Part XI, Part XII, Part XIII starts the re-imaginging process and this post continues it.

The Practices of Environmentalists
An entire book could be written on the practices of each of the equippers as environmentalists. But instead of taking a comprehensive approach to this section, I remind the reader to freshly examine Table 4.1 The Equippers, where I describe in detail the focal concern, destinations, and practices that each equipper encourages in the congregation. Table 5.1 gives the primary environmental focus each equipper has, recognizing the while each has a focus, they interrelate as well. Now let’s take a look at some specific ways that each equipper acts as an environmentalist as opposed to master programmer. Let’s start with the Dream Awakener.

The Dream Awakener [Apostle] seeks to cultivate a practicing environment. Since dream awakeners realize that our calling is derived from our being, they help people understand who they are in Christ prior to what He has called them to do. Have you noticed how the Apostle Paul often starts his letters by reminding the people of God who they are in Christ, before he calls them to do anything? For example, when mission is looked at as simply one of the functions of the church, it loses a lot of power. So dream awakeners help the community realize that we are the light of the world, that we are the salt of the earth, in such a way people are motivated to act.

The primary tasks of the dream awakener are to equip people to live out their calling as followers of Jesus in the world and to cultivate the growth of the kingdom glocally – both locally and globally. After they help people understand who they are, they help people discern their sense of calling. Instead of taking a master programmer approach and sending them to a three-hour class so that they become a cog in the church machine, dream awakeners take personal time to spend with people, recognizing that people do not choose their calling. Rather, it is something they discover. Some of the questions they help people ask themselves relate to God: What is God doing in and around me? What is the Spirit prompting me to do? How does Jesus’ mission inform my calling?

Other questions dream awakeners help people ask themselves relate to the unique way God has made us: What do you enjoy doing? What do you think you do well? What do other people think you do well? Do you enjoy working with things, information, or people better, or some kind of combination of these three? They also try to discern if a person’s calling is primarily in the church or in the world. If I were a master programmer who met a singer or actor in Hollywood, my first thought would be how can I get this person to do lead worship or how could I get this person to do some acting. But the environmentalist recognizes that God’s call on this person’s life is to be an artist in the world. So she tries to help the community rally around this person’s vocation in such a way that the person lives out her calling for the sake of the world, not the sake of the church. The environmentalist remembers that the church exists for the sake of the world, not herself. Richard Bolles, the author of What Color is My Parachute?, says, “Exercise the talent which you particularly came to Earth to use… in those places or settings which God has caused to appeal to you most, and for those purposes which God most needs to have done in the world.” (Bolles 2008:291) When the dream awakener does this, she helps this person practice her faith in the world.

In the next post on this series, we will look at the heart revealer [prophet] as environmentalist.

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