3:14 residents attended the Acts 29 Healthy Leaders Conference in Dallas last week. These are just a few of their reflections.
As I have shared with many friends already, God has been working in my heart to get over my fear of giving 100% of my effort in certain areas of my life. The root is in failure: Who am I if I give all of myself and fail? God has been faithfully freeing me of this over the last few months, and he’s shown me that my fear has permeated so many different areas of my life. Specifically through the teaching in the plenary sessions at the conference, as well as through conversations with others attending the conference, God has revealed where I tend to shy away from specific areas of leadership to which he has called me. By his grace, he is bringing me into deeper levels of dependence on him. He’s giving legs to the idea of what it looks like to be a “limping leader,” fully dependent on the cross. Good news, man.
Healthy Leaders will make mistakes. Mistakes are often good and beneficial for the ongoing development of leaders. However, we must ask ourselves how we respond when we’ve made a mistake. If I am honest, I don’t want to believe I make them — even the little ones. I don’t want to face the basic consequences of my mistakes. As a result, I have sinned in my avoidance or covering up of those (once innocent) mistakes. In pursuing perfection I have denied my need for salvation and proclaimed myself as a savior. It is only through the cross that I can embrace my utter depravity and imperfection and run to my only hope in Christ. Lord, thank you that though we remain faulty, you are completely perfect on our behalf!
Healthy leaders are able to ask the tough questions and actually listen to the answers. In the “prospective church planter” sessions, the main purpose was to begin assessing whether or not you were qualified to plant a church; and if not, determining whether it was a matter of growing in certain areas or if you were just not the type of person who should be planting churches. This assessing can be carried over into other areas as well. Sometimes as Christians we can ignore our lack of experience or gifting in a certain area by saying we are “called” to it. We forget that if we were in fact called to a task, then God would also have equipped us for it. Sometimes the healthiest thing any leader can do, for themselves and for those they lead, is to say “no I am not ready; I am not equipped for this task”, and walk away. But in order to know if that is true, you have to be ready to ask hard questions and hear hard answers.
The Acts 29 conference was both a fun and beneficial experience for me. The theme of the conference was Healthy Leaders. Being a future pastor and church planter, it gave me a number of challenging thoughts to ponder. First, it made me thankful to be getting the teaching at the conference now instead of trying to implement these things once I am already fully immersed in full-time ministry. I am a firm believer in preventative health. Next, I was challenged at the heart level to check my motives. Am I treating ministry and church planting as the end, and Jesus as the means to that end? Or am I treating Jesus as the end in himself? Am I living to glorify Jesus? Am I church planting to glorify Jesus? Or am I just trying to be the next big thing?
Finally, I was challenged with the question: If you were to be disqualified from ministry for something in your life, what would it most likely be because of? What a sobering question! This cut me to the core and challenged me to seek Jesus and his righteousness with a renewed vigor. I am super grateful that I had a chance to experience the conference and be surrounded by a group of people that love Jesus and are passionate about making his name known.