• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Balancing Act

The other day we opened up the topic of the relationship between ‘being’ and ‘doing’.  Basically, we recognized that these two elements are inseparable.  One response was: “When I understand the great, free gift God has given me through Christ, then I cannot help but to share it out of the overflow of joy from my inner being. And the more we share the Good News, the more we realize just how reliant we are on Christ. Round and round we go.”  In many ways, it’s a careful balancing act to always allow one element to move us around to the other.air-conditioning-balancing-act

What I’m most interested in thinking about today in this post is: how does it all happen?  What does it practically look like when I ‘go to work’ as a church planter?

Let me suggest several ideas for us to chew on:

First, ask people close to us to participate in an honest assessment of our character and competencies.  We can easily overlook the weaknesses we have in our own character or work. We can excuse deficiencies in ourselves more quickly than we can in others.  All of this, points to our need to have others speak into our life and give feedback on character issues and core competency skills that need work.  By involving others in the assessment phase, we open the door, as well, to their potential coaching in helping us to grow in both character and competency.

Next, set a plan to grow in an area, but pray like mad that any effort would be inspired and driven by God.  All of us need to grow more in critical core skills related to our ministries.  However, that does not happen by osmosis.  We need to put effort to it.  That effort, though, cannot be separated from the ultimate power source, namely Jesus.  Round and round we go again.

Finally, remember that our model is our most powerful influence.  If we encourage others to be more in prayer, then we need to set the example.  If we complain to other workers about the fact that there are not more disciples or that the work is slow, we need to respond by re-engaging  ourselves in initiating spiritual conversations (see Core Skills module on evangelism, starting in January 2013) or in participating in developing and releasing others into ministry.  Our greatest help to new believers is actually engaging in ministry with them.  It will also be our greatest joy.

I’m sure there are others and I welcome hearing from you about them.  Let’s challenge each other more round and round the circle of character and competency.

4 Responses

  1. Your position and advice in “Balancing Act” is right on target!

    A friend of mine and Christian brother, Tony Bell, who is a leadership development consultant in his book on leadership written for a secular audience uses the analogy of an airplane to show the essential relationship between character (being) and competency (doing). He says one wing is character and the other competency. An airplane without two wings cannot fly. Both are essential. Our task of carrying out God’s mandate to make disciples of all peoples makes both character and competency even more important since the very product of our task is the glory of God in His church. God is glorified when His people demonstrate His character in their lives as He supernaturally works in them by His grace both to will and to do His good pleasure.

    All this immediately brings two passages in the Bible to mind: 1) II Peter 1: 5-11, and 2) II Corinthians. 3: 4-6. As you note in II peter 1: 8 all of our “doing” useless and unfruitful if our God has not produce in us moral excellence, knowledge, self-controlled, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love in increasing measure. The Corinthian passage points out that none of us have the competence needed to be stewards of the new covenant apart from God’s supernatural enabling. God is the one who makes us competent. Without Christ we can do nothing worthwhile. However you will note in the Peter passage the need for diligence to be exercised in developing both character and competence.

    Therefore, doing with out being is without value and being without doing is futile. Our ministry will not fly without both in tandem.

  2. In reading this principle of balancing being and doing, I found myself in total agreement, but when considering how to live out the different ideas, I thought about what they might look like in the context of a missional community. Not just community and not just a mission, but balancing both mission and community.
    The first idea you give says, “ask people close to us…” which assumes we are in community with others and feel comfortable enough asking them hard questions about ourselves. It also assumes we understand and know we need each other. Do we truly understand this and live out of this understanding?
    The second idea to be praying/planning to grow in an area. Could we be doing this with someone, which would then sharpen you and the other person at the same time. So by you going to someone and being humble enough to say I need help in an area, God could use this to actually equip others around you! This would be ministering out of weakness and not our competencies, but it would effectively sharpen us and the body!
    The third idea of modeling is powerful as well and one that comes naturally within a missional community becuase our lives are always in close proximity of one another; not just our laptops in planning meetings!
    I recently ran across an encouraging short film that highlights the story of a missional community being lived out in Tacoma, WA. If you have about 15 min, it is well worth your time. Here is a link:
    http://www.vergenetwork.org/2011/05/09/missional-community-stories-soma-communities-films/.
    For me as a missionary, this was an encouraging and challenging film, because for some reason in the beginning of my missionary career, my focus was more on the doing aspect of ministry; church planting, strategic plans, meetings, programs and activity based ministries. As I am learning how to balance being and doing in ministry, my heart resonates with this film becuase of the priority they put on loving one another and being in a relationship together while they are going about their daily lives. I have heard it said that “DOING flows out of BEING”, but honestly my ministry was mostly about DOING and then trying to BE when I had spare time. A little over a year ago, my wife and I decided to invest more in people’s lives and spend less time doing. This journey led us to begin deepening our relationship with 2 other Moldovan families in order to be the church and make disciples together. Since this time, God has given us dear and precious friends, but He has also radically begin to adjust our values and ministry philosophy!

    • Good stuff. As I integrate the Gospel more and more into my life, it drives me to see my need for others (ability to admit my weakness) and inspires me to work for Him and others (from a thankful heart). “Missional communities” are simply another way of describing the Bible’s call to growth in sanctification through community and a heart directed towards others (mission).

      What I am discovering is that I can grow from other element in the circle. If I ‘lay aside work’ to move towards others, it will show me how I can ‘work’ for others. If I set objectives for what I believe God wants me to do, it will lead me to a greater dependence on Him as I learn how to trust Him more an more through the outworking of my stewardship.

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