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Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Summit: Session 5


from Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2008: Session 5, Craig Groeschel,, IT: How Leaders Get IT and Keep IT

Intro:  We've all been to churches that don't have "it."  They're flat.  We've all been to churches that have "IT."  It is that something special of God that is so real that lives are transformed by the very Spirit of God in a special way so that people meet Jesus Christ, and want to tell their friends about it.

Sometimes you can have the same things (same people, same form), and one group has "IT" and another doesn't.  Example:  same forms of worship, same kinds of teachers, same types of ministries.  The same can be true of teams within a church or organization.  You can have IT, but lose IT.  So, what is "IT"?  Don't know.

Theories about IT

  • God makes it happen.  It is from him, by Him, and for his glory.
  • We can't created, produce it, or manufacture it.
  • It is rare that one person will bring, but it's common for the wrong person to kill it.
  • It can't be taught, but it can be caught.
  • It's not a system or a model but can be found in all types of churches.
  • Whereever you see it, you see transformed lives.
  • It attracts critics.  People misunderstand it.
  • "It happens!"  But often, it doesn't.
  • If you have it, it doesn't meant you're going to keep it.
  • If you don't have it, it doesn't mean you can't find it.

Early church had IT.  (Acts 2:42-47)

  • Try to kill them, it grows.
  • Dude falls out window, you just raise him up from the dead.
  • People sell their stuff so other people can eat.

4 Qualities when IT is present

  • Organizations that have IT are laser focused.  Jim Collins:  "What can you be the very best at?To reach people that no one is reaching, you have to do things that no one is doing.  But in order to do things that no one is doing, you can't do what everyone else is doing. [axiom "Planned abandonment." Don't do more.  Do better.  How do we stop entertaining people from other people's ministries? does only five things well: weekend services, small groups, children's ministry, student ministries, missions.
  • Organizations that have IT see opportunities where others see obstacles.  They see potential when others see problems.  They believe they have everything that they need to do everything that God wants you to do.  You have it.  (Again... a Collinsism modified).  God often guides by what he doesn't provide. [axiomMeaning, he's trying to show you something through your greatest limitations.  He may have another route you need to go.
  • Organzations that have IT are willing to fail.  Failure is a necessity. [axiom]  Failure is often the first step into seeing God.  Example:  Peter failed, was restored, got it, and then preached and 3000 were saved. 
  • Organizations that have It are lead by people who have it.  You have to have it for your ministry to get it.  You can have it, and then ministry can sometimes kill it.  When you have it in your heart, you tend to get it around you because it tends to draw people.  If you have it inside, you get it outside.  AFterwhile you begin to think that if you get the outside you'll get what's inside - you misunderstand it and lose the very things that are necessary to have IT.  "I had become a full time pastor and a part time follower of Christ.  I lost IT."  Your ministry will not have it if you don't have it.  If it's become more about your ministry than about His Kingdom, you've lost it."

4 Questions:

  1. What are you doing that you need to stop doing?
  2. What problems or obstacles might actually be potential and opportunity?
  3. What has God called you to do that you're afraid to attempt?
  4. If you don't have IT, what are you going to do to get IT?

Closing Prayer (Franciscan Prayer)

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

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