More of Less for Church Planters: Part 2

(Second half of this post.) 
I love throwing Frisbee. Nothing beats a good game of Ultimate or just tossing the 175g across a field with someone who has skills on par with mine. I’m not the best, but I do well and I enjoy it. 
Nobody is born knowing how to throw well. It’s weird and takes no small amount of practice, even for naturally athletic people. Same for grace-directed spiritual disciplines.
More of less should be a normal skill for every Christian. Not considered newsworthy or radical or cool if you have nothing better to do with your time. It’s motivated by this: wanting to be with Jesus, no matter what it takes.
Even if it threatens the idol that you might not get as much done, potentially being less successful, potentially feeling like you are wasting your time. Especially if it reveals idolatry!
What We Need
Our churches in the West need more power of the Holy Spirit. More prayer and intercession. More trust in God than trust in human skill and effort. What we need more grace-filled discipline to spend time with our Father.
When I parachuted in to do a scratch, multi-ethnic church plant, there were a million things to do, but I taped a quote from Eugene Peterson to my computer monitor. It says, ‘Busyness is laziness.’ What? I’ll spare you reading his whole book and summarize his point: Busyness is substituting many good things for the highest, most excellent thing. Meeting with Jesus ought to be our most excellent task. 
Do I get too busy? Yes. Am I not getting enough done? I don’t think so. Am I closer to Jesus after working hard to plant a church? Yes. I’m more dependent on Him. I’m less hurried and harried than I used to me. Because of His grace worked into me through resting more, accomplishing less myself and the discipline of less.
Pastors, fathers, mothers, your church and your family need Less. You need Less – to turn off the 24/7 distractions and meet with Jesus – regularly, purposefully, intentionally. Replace the good things with excellent. You need More – quiet, solitude, simplicity, fasting – it will deepen your experience of Jesus’ grace. 
More of Less is experiencing the transformation Jesus’ wrought by His salvation. Disciplines of Less are not earning your salvation. The message of the gospel is that Jesus has completed everything in his life, death, burial and resurrection and granted it to us to live out. He is The Evangelist, Minister, Networker, Do-It-All Leader of your church plant. He’s The Senior Pastor of your church, The Leader of your network. Less of our work is needed and more of Him is needed.

Like learning to throw a Frisbee, more of less is awkward at first. But worth it.

 

More of Less for Church Planters: Part 1

Silence. Solitude. Meditation. Fasting. Simplicity.
These are as strange and alien concepts to the life of Christians in the West. At best such practices feel odd, optional or only for super-Christians. Or worse, they could be construed as punitive.

However our historic Christian faith grew in grace and power as everyday believers and leaders practiced spiritual disciplines. On purpose. With astonishing results.

Check Out Spiritual Disciplines
When I started in ministry as a 23-year-old Jr Hi Pastor just off the road with a Christian band, voice mail and pagers were cutting edge. We communicated only via phone and paper. As a church planter, we have social media, mobile phones and the internet that invades every spare corner of our lives.

My first boss in ministry encouraged me to read Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline and made me go on monthly prayer retreats. I did not like it at first. Now as a church planter, I am so glad someone showed me how and why spiritual disciplines are vital for ministry. It was not easy for me to do.

It showed me ministry is impossible to do. For me. I need Jesus to do it through me. In fact, Jesus said in  John 14:12-14 that we would do greater works than He did. By asking Him to do what He can do through us.

Disciplines are inconvenient, frustrating and seem counter-productive. But we managed to get ministry accomplished before cell phones, iPads and Wi-Fi. Apparently, even Jesus and the church ministered pretty well focusing on prayer, discipleship and a simple life.

It leads to this leading question: what kind of boundaries (if any) do you have now between the urgency of everything on your phone or tablet or laptop and your relationship with Christ? I fear our little space for Jesus makes me/us a mile wide and an inch deep. I’ll even say it may make us hypocrites on par with Pharisees.

Expect More of Less to be Normal?
A pastor friend of mine recently posted the following:

(Name) is going off the grid for a week for a silent retreat. Yup. No cell, not FB, no Angry Birds, no TV to numb or distract me. No agenda, not planning, no strategizing- just a whole week to meet with Jesus. I’ll either go completely crazy or meet Jesus. We’ll see.

I applaud his decision! And I say more of less! More of less should be normal. And not drive you crazy.

 

Jim Moon, Jr. serves CMM (Church Multiplication Ministries) as Coaching Catalyst and is Founding Pastor of Crosspoint Encuentro Church in Smyrna GA.