Are You An Organization Or Missional Family?

When His disciples began to get discouraged and tired, He drew them in. If you look at the second quarter of the synoptic Gospels, you find Jesus going to great lengths to get away with the twelve and spend time just with them. He even dismissed the crowds while the disciples sailed across the lake of Galilee and then walked on water to get to His disciples before the crowds could reach them! (John 6: 16-24)

He gave them His time when they were discouraged and He spoke vision and grace to them. He said: “Don’t be afraid, little flock; for the Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.â” (Luke 12:32)

In doing this, Jesus demonstrated to His team that He was not just a boss, but a Shepherd that would lay His life down for the sheep. He built a level of relationship with them that moved them past being a group of workers trying to achieve a task (however worthy the task was) into a tightly-knit family who could be vulnerable with each other and who had a huge level of loyalty to Him and to each other. He got them to the stage where He could say “Here are my Mother and my Brothers” (Mark 3:33) and “I used to call you servants, but now I call you friends.” (John 15:15)

Back when I was a more junior member of the team at St. Thomas’ Church responsible for one of the morning services, I remember getting really tired and discouraged. At that point my Senior Pastor, Mike Breen, seemed to get a sudden interest in cinema. He kept asking me to go and watch movies with him. Of course the way it worked was that we drove to the cinema, had a drink before the movie started, and drove home again afterwards, talking all the while. What he gave me during those times was absolutely key: Vision for the future, a reminder that our success depends on God’s grace and a level of relationship with him that meant that I was not isolated.

During the difficult times and the discouragement when we are all tired, team can become family.

But only if the leaders are prepared to make the sacrifice and change their schedule enough to coach us through.

Leaders – are we managing an organization or building a missional family?

[This is the third post of a 6-post series titled “Letters to America,” written by Paul Maconochie, the pastor at St Thomas Philadelphia. You can find the original here. Re-posted by permission of 3DM.

Paul was the pastor who followed Mike Breen at Philadelphia and now, 8 years later, it is one of fastest growing churches in Europe, doing some incredibly imaginative things in a truly post-Christian context. If you’d like to read a little on the history of St Thomas, check out this post by Mike Breen: How I chose Movement over Mega.]