Today is the first day of the 2014 CLA National Conference in Dallas. The theme of this year’s conference is Kingdom Outcomes.
Each year, CLA selects one book that captures the spirit of the theme. The conference book of the year for 2014 is, The Choice: The Christ-Centered Pursuit of Kingdom Outcomes (ECFA Press 2014) By Gary Hoag Ph.D., R. Scott Rodin Ph.D., and Wesley K. Wilmer Ph.D.
If we could commend one book to anyone involved in church or ministry work today, whether serving in a paid position or volunteer capacity, it would be this one.
Here is an excerpt from pages 48-50.
There is a malady that afflicts pastors and ministry leaders. Most all would admit to it but few would associate it with the sin of yielding to temptation. Production driven leaders, are by nature, hard workers, even workaholics. The members of their board expect them to control ends and report positive numbers. As such they drive themselves by adopting overwhelming work schedules that demand long hours as the cost of family and health. Some even brag about not stopping to rest of exercise.
We’ve all been guilty of this. We have taken pride in busy schedules with little margin for God. And we have expected our team members to do the same. We don’t necessarily dictate this and we don’t have to. All this can be traced to making the choice to follow the common path. We take pride in our production. When we need to succeed for the good of the ministry and the sake of our own reputations. We wreak havoc on our families and the people whom we serve.
Whether through pride or fear, we are doing ourselves to death. Yet we know that whatever work God calls us to do, He does so with the expectation that we can carry out that work with excellence within the time commitment that will not detract from a balanced and healthy life. When we allow our relationships to become unhealthy, we cease doing God’s will, not matter how much fruit appears. (Cf. Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 6:31)
Hudson Taylor suggest that our failure to trust in God’s goodness and wait on Him is this critical area of temptation may actually be the primary contributors to the lack of fruitfulness in many ministries today.
“Since the days of Pentecost, has the whole church ever put aside every other work and waited upon Him for ten days, that the Spirit’s power might be manifested? We give too much attention to the method and machinery and resources, and too little to the source of power.” ~Hudson Taylor
Could our prideful self-perception be our greatest limiting factor? Are we our own worst enemy?
There is profound freedom and peace in entrusting the future to the Father rather than trying to control our destiny and tie our self-worth to our production. This frees us to listen and help others listen to God and response without fear, regardless of how he directs. In so doing, we reject the temptation to be spectacular; instead we serve with peace, passion, and humility.
This is where we must make a choice. As Christ-followers we must tap into this power and operate from this personal position of freedom. How do we accomplish such a task? It starts with standing up to the test like Jesus did, resisting the temptations of pride and fame. We must do this in every circumstance, in every moment of every day.
Gary G. Hoag, Ph.D., provides spiritual and strategic counsel to ministry leaders as the Generosity Monk. R. Scott Rodin, Ph.D., has a passion for helping Christian ministry leaders take a biblical approach to strategic planning, board development, and capital campaign fundraising with Rodin Consulting, Inc. Wesley K. Willmer, Ph.D., currently serves as senior vice president of advancement for Prison Fellowship Ministries.
You can also join the conversation at the conference via social media using the #CLA14 hashtag. The A Group will be on site serving as the CLA Social Media SWAT team. They’ll make sure you capture the CLA conference experience, wherever you are, over the next 72 hours.
Stay connected by downloading the CLA Conference APP on your favorite smart device.