10 in 10

images-1Recently I was asked to share with a group of pastors 10 things I’ve learned in 10 years, mainly about church planting and ministry. Though no doubt the lessons learned are way more than that, I did manage to whittle the list down to 10. Interestingly, as I reviewed the list, I realized these 10 things are also the top things for which I am grateful. Not a coincidence that we eventually end up being thankful for the things that initially teach us.

One disclaimer—this list assumes certain things, so they are not included. For instance, I learn much from my wife and family, and am most grateful for them. Likewise, God’s saving work in my life—regeneration and sanctification—is something I’m always learning from and thankful for. So personal things like that aren’t on this list. This is more of a “professional” version of 10 Things in 10 Years (That I’ve Learned and for which I am Thankful).

Lastly, I didn’t include a lot of comment. Perhaps in the future I will expand these. For now, I simply listed the items with a sentence or two. As always, feel free to respond with your own insight, experience, or comments if you want.

1. The Word of God. Without it we’re messageless. We have no authority without God’s authority. Ours is a derived authority from his divine authority. (1 Thess. 2:13)

2. Prayer. Without it we’re armorless. It’s the source and sum of our spiritual attire. (Eph. 6:18)

3. The Holy Spirit. Without him we’re powerless. (Acts 1:8)

4. Spiritual gifts. Without them we’re functionless. (1 Cor. 12:4-7)

5. Plurality of elders. Without other men leading with us, we’re is futureless. (2 Tim. 2:2)

6. A Team. Teams are how we gain ground and get moving, leveraging our influence for maximum impact. Without them we’re motionless. (Rom. 16:1-16)

7. Mobility. No permanent place doesn’t mean you’re homeless, just machineless. And never underestimate the hidden blessing of that! Keep in mind that in mobile environments, flexibility usually stays high and discontentment usually stays low.

8. Trials. Like it or not, people, problems, pain, and pressure all work for our good in the end. With them we’re growthless. (James 1:2-4)

9. Books. One of the ways we fight against myopia (i.e., shortsightedness) is to get a view of things outside of our own culture. We can’t always travel or visit in person, but we can always board the train of a book. Read! Without it, we’re clueless.

10. People’s stories. People aren’t tools to leverage, but epistles to write. Invest your time, not in managing programs, but in making disciples. Without people we’re churchless. (2 Cor. 3:2-3; Matt. 28:18-20) And without a church—a called-out assembly of people genuinely converted by Christ—well, this list wouldn’t even matter then, would it?

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