Apr. 21, 2023
What is THE FIELD newsletter?
This e-newsletter is designed to inform and energize all of us for the work of the harvest. Jesus told us to pray for the harvest fields and for all those working in the fields. I hope you will join me in this exciting adventure.
Church Planting Mobilizer
What Can Baseball Teach the Church?
Baseball is America’s pastime. Perhaps it’s not by accident. Consider this: 2.6 million kids in little league baseball learn fundamentals and sportsmanship from 200,000 to 300,000 coaches, pushing the total involved to nearly 3 million.
Continuing on from little league, approximately 500,000 high school baseball players and coaches participate in the sport. Of those, 28,000 go on to play in college, 6,000 advance to the minor leagues and 750 go on to play in Major League Baseball.
But what if little league didn’t exist? What if there was no further development? What would we have if we jumped from little league to the major leagues without an intervening farm system to build on?
We would have a vacuum of talent and an incredibly weak product.
What does this have to do with church and church planting? We cannot deploy what we have not developed.
Over the past year, I have spoken with about a dozen evangelical denominational leaders, and the common refrain is: the evangelical church in America is in a leadership crisis because we have not developed spiritual leaders. In other words, there is a weak spiritual farm system. The evangelical church is looking for “major league” type leaders to arise but has not intentionally or strategically developed them.
By the way, this isn’t just a church problem. Forbes reports, “Companies around the world are facing a leadership crisis. According to the new quarterly report of the 2021 Global Leadership Forecast …only 11 percent of surveyed organizations reported they have a ‘strong’ or ‘very strong’ leadership bench, the lowest it has been rated in the past 10 years.” The article states, “The crisis can be traced to a failure by companies to provide leadership development and transition training for newly hired and current executives…”
Now you may have already connected the dots, but in case you haven’t… the evangelical church simply hasn’t developed enough new leaders to become pastors, missionaries, and church planters and now stands at a critical moment.
The church can take a cue from baseball and develop a strong spiritual farm system that produces healthy disciples. Just like in little league, we teach the fundamentals, not of baseball, but of the faith, and we promote strong character, something akin to good sportsmanship. But we don’t stop there.
Not all little leaguers will become major leaguers, and not every disciple will be a church planter, but, many of them, if developed, will become small group leaders or elders or support ministry personnel. And others, out of that huge base of disciples, will go on to be planters, missionaries and pastors.
The core of our missional networks:
Discover! Develop! Deploy!
Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going
On April 2nd I got to join in the dedication service for SouthLife Church in Wichita. Southlife is launched! Please keep Kevin & Kendra Friedberg on your prayer board. The first few months of planting can feel like a roller coaster.
We held our first joint missional network day with the Oklahoma and Central Kansas groups. The event was held at Ridgepoint and the focus was on becoming a church that sends based on the book Gaining by Losing.
Next up: a trip to Pueblo. Looking forward to seeing church planter Mario Trujillo. Then, I will be headed to the Eastern District in early May. I’ll be visiting Terry Hunt and the churches in North Carolina as well as a trip to see Henri Ngolo and the integrated immigrant ministries.
Next month I want to also share some great things happening with our Ethiopian MB Churches. Fascinating!
What I’m Reading
Because I was driving a lot in March and April, I had to listen to more audiobooks than Kindle books. One excellent listen was The Power of the Other by Henry Cloud. This book unlocks the startling effect we have on each other. And I noticed that it’s just $1.99 on Kindle! Henry Cloud talks about the four corners of relationships. See the diagram below. Why do I suggest this book? Because pastors, planters, and leaders must have healthy relationships in order to thrive.
Being disconnected is dangerous and leaders can be isolated in a crowd. We can be in bad connections too. Cloud describes these as people who only expose your faults. They don’t go the next step to encouraging you. When you dread seeing somebody, perhaps it’s because they are a spiritual and emotional negative.
Pseudo-good connections go along with no connections- usually, this is our “out”. It could be overeating, pornography, shopping etc. When we are disconnected or in bad connections we run to this 3rd corner to get filled. The only corner that is healthy is the 4th. Here people speak life into you with both constructive criticism and healthy encouragement.
I think we all need that!
Best book for a seeker…
Need help in sharing Jesus? Give a book! One of the best books to give a seeker is Andy Stanley’s “How Good is Good Enough?” I buy it in a bulk 3 pack for under $6. Here’s a link.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
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