This is the first session of our recent 300 leaders conference with Matt Chandler. If you enjoy it, I am sure you would also enjoy being with us for Piper in just a few weeks. My notes from this session are beneath the video.
Chandler took us to some verses from Matthew 28 that he said we should all be familiar with “or you probably shouldn’t be a leader!” Matt explained that the idea of church building was easy to celebrate but getting there required blood pain sweat and cost. He gave an example of gardening.
Matt then focused on verses from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. What we are looking for is disciples that stick and we do have a role in this. This is how it works, says Jesus. He then described how they share 3 min testimony videos almost every week at The Village. But, they do have stories where people did not continue.
We often use a language that no one speaks. Be seeker friendly even if not “sensitive.” When they do baptisms, they generally take two testimonies, the one of the covert, and the one from the member of the church who shared the gospel with them. How did they go about telling them about Jesus and/or inviting them?
Chandler explains that he does use Bible words like justification but explains them. People have to be able to understand to respond. Piper says speak to where you want them to be. Seeker sensitive says speak to them like babies. Chandler aims for somewhere in the middle. Reach the unbeliever but push mature believes further.
No matter how you communicate there will be those that it’s the stench of death to. You cannot speak in such a way that everyone will get saved. If you don’t get that you will sell out to try and be more popular. If you tell people that they are by nature children of wrath and the only way for God to be just is to kill you for ever, they are not going to want to come! People then say just speak about the love of God. But you cant separate the wrath and love of God.
We don’t take joy in damnation. All this should drive you to pray, work hard, be faithful, but also realize that you cant take the credit or blame.
It is possible to manipulate a crowd to get them to come back each week. You might get a pat on the back, but you will stand before God and give an account.
Doctrine matters. If you talk about God you are a theologian, even if you think you are not, rather you are just doing it badly. Don’t do it in such a way that a few hundred years ago you’d be burned at the stake!
This is who God is, is the main thing you should be saying.
Evangelicals often have no idea of what to do with suffering. People think that God is in our debt if we do good. We are like a kid who thinks the Barbie doll really is theirs when did nothing did to earn it. Many people in the bible had desperate times. Eg King Davids desperate psalms. If you live long enough you are going to bleed, cry and hurt.
Our God reigns over every cell in my body, even the cancer ones.
Suffering is coming. You cant protect them.
We must appreciate what is God doing at a high level. Ps 139. God knits our bodied and our personality with a plan. Eg are you someone who tends towards fight or flight? Wired a certain way for a purpose. Acts 17 is the greatest sermon apart from Jesus. God planned your life. In time and place you were meant to be. Uniquely wired and placed for the glory of God.
Encourage people in the domain of society they are in. The pinnacle is not ministry. Eg The Village sent Christian fire-fighters to train fire fighters in poorer countries.
Look at how you spend your money, that shows what you care for. Live generous. The trinkets of this world will choke you to death.
Good soil understands and yields fruit. One sermon doesn’t change everything. Cumulitve effect of all you are doing. Cultivate the soil. What are we cultivating? Church leaders need to realize that where you are strong and passionate the church will be, where you are weak and lazy they will be.
With your hand blistered and sweat and sore back be able to sit with joy abut how God has done this. You can plant, and water but only one makes it grow. Be humble, pray, ask God to pour out his Holy Spirit.