While the nature and values of the gospel remain the same, their expression should always be changing. Stubbornness to change can lead to methodolatry and make the gospel inaccessible and undesirable to others. God and his mission are often full of surprises, so mission-focused leaders hold plans loosely and continue to ask what he desires.- Eldership and the Mission of God: Equipping Teams for Faithful Church Leadership, JR Briggs and Bob Hyatt.
We cannot respond with the seven deadly words of the church: "We've never done it that way before." We must instead embrace a posture of "Whatever you want of us - and from us - God, we will do." One of the most significant and startling lessons we can learn from church history is that movements of renewal first happen on the fringe, not in the center of expected norms. Can we join him in those surprising places that force us to trust him with ever-deepening levels of faith?
Our role as elders is to seek God and ask him to stoke the coals of kingdom imagination in our own hearts and in the hearts of those in our congregation. Imagine if elders were the ones awakening hearts and minds of people with kingdom vision by saying things like "Imagine if we joined by..." or "What if God called us as a church to.." or "I wonder if God is calling us to step out in the area of..." When guided by the Spirit and rooted in wisdom, this type of kingdom-initiated vision is contagious.
But imagination involves risk and courage, which requires permission to fail - and grace when it happens. If we are afraid of failure, our churches will never pursue new outposts for reaching new people within various cultures and contexts. To be elders committed to expressing God's mission is to lead with courage as we pursue a mission larger than ourselves.
Fantastic read and really gives a vision of local church elders as agents of mission for their communities. Highly recommended if you are involved in any kind of local church leadership.