• Leadership,  Living as a Leader

    Leading Others in the Most Important Things

    If you’ve ever had someone invest in your life by helping you grow spiritually, assisting you in navigating the treacherous places where the eternal intersects with the temporal then you know the absolute necessity of having these kinds of people apart of your life.

    As I look back on my life I’ve had a number of people who’ve invested in me spiritually, people with names like Neil, Wayne, Mark, Jack, Terry, and Steve. They’re all people who’ve cared for me and wanted to see me grow in the most important ways.

    So as one who received such investment, I’m motivated to do the same for others. It’s one of the reasons I’ve chosen to work for an organization like SpringHill, because SpringHill creates experiences that facilitate this kind of investment by adults in the lives of children. It’s also why one of the personal qualities and professional competencies a person needs to possess to make an enduring impact on the lives of others through their work at SpringHill is what we call “Spiritual Leadership.”

    “Spiritual Leadership” is the ability to mentor others, to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ, and ultimately guide them to a life that honors God and expands His Kingdom. Spiritual leadership takes on many forms and can be expressed in many ways, from the ability to lead small groups, to one on one counseling, or teaching before large audiences. Even though the context of “Spiritual Leadership” may differ, the outcome is the same, helping others better live out their faith in Christ.

    This is why SpringHill needs people who demonstrate “Spiritual Leadership”, because it’s through spiritual leadership that our mission’s fulfilled and young lives transformed for eternity.

    This is part 8 of 14 in a series of posts about what it takes to be successful at SpringHill.

  • Book Reviews,  Living as a Leader

    Our Relationship to Creation

    I’m reading the last book written by John Stott before he passed away, titled The Radical Disciple. If you haven’t read it you must. It’s not often we have the privilege to read the intentional final published words (Mr. Stott knew this would be his last book) of such a significant person on such an important topic.

    The sub-title to the book is Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling and true to the sub-title, Stott covers a wide range of neglected discipleship topics, including one chapter titled “Creation Care”. The fact that John Stott, in his last book, covers this topic, only affirms the great respect I’ve always had for him.

    Let me share with you just a bit of his perspective on creation care.

    “The Bible tells us that in creation God established for human beings three fundamental relationships: first to himself, for he made them in his image; second to each other, for the human race was plural from the beginning; and the third, to the good earth and its creatures over which he set them.

    Moreover, all three relationships were skewed by the Fall. Adam and Eve were banished from the presence of the Lord God in the garden, they blamed each other for what had happened, and the good earth was cursed on account of their disobedience.

    It stands to reason therefore that God’s plan of restoration includes not only our reconciliation to God and to each other, but in some way the liberation of the groaning creation as well. We can certainly affirm that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth, for this is an essential part of our hope for the perfect future that awaits us at the end of time (e.g., 2 Peter 3:13, Revelations 21:1). But meanwhile the whole creation is groaning, experiencing the birth pains of the new creation (Romans 8:18-23). How much of the earth’s ultimate destiny can be experienced now is a matter of debate. But we can surely say that just as our understanding of the final destiny of our resurrection bodies should affect how we think of and treat our bodies we have at the present, so our knowledge of the new heaven and earth should affect and increase the respect with which we treat it now.”

  • Book Reviews

    Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship

    “God has used this book and Bonhoeffer to show what my life needs to be as a disciple of Christ. As a result of God’s call through this book I am committed to obey and follow (adhere to) Christ with single-eyed focus. I will obey before I worry about faith. I will do this in context of the visible believing community – which is Christ’s Body. I want the costly grace and not the cheap grace and I pray that God will call me to Him and I will follow. Michael Perry 11-21-1991”

    As part of a seminary class I’m taking we’re reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship.

    So I went to my bookcase to find the copy I read back in 1991 and as I opened it I discovered the above note I had written on the back cover.

    The note reminded me of the impact this book had on me twenty years ago. As I have had the chance to re-read it I realized it continues to have a significant influence not just on my thinking and philosophy of ministry but more importantly on how I live.

    Here are a couple of the questions I wrestled with after reading The Cost of Discipleship twenty years ago and am again challenged with as I re-read it.

    First, Bonhoeffer’s concept of “costly Grace” verses “cheap grace” raises an important question that is relevant for us today. How do we share the Gospel with people without gutting it of the difficult parts? How do we tell the good news that we can’t earn our salvation and yet, to be a follower of Christ, will cost us a lot – maybe everything?

    The second question is how do we assure we do not fall into the trap of believing that being a Christian is just simply making a decision (or multiple decisions) in a single moment in time instead of accepting that being a Christian means following Christ in every moment of time?

    Both of these questions are as relevant (or more relevant) today than in the days Bonhoeffer wrote The Cost of Discipleship.

    So if you are looking for a challenging, thought-provoking book about what it means to be a follower of Christ this classic maybe just the book. It’s not perfect but it will have you asking yourself questions like the ones I dealt with above.

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