Sorry for the wait. I’ve been sick and I’ve been preparing to share a message with my home church Hillsong NYC tonight. There were some last minute changes and I believe I will be sharing this message next week or TBD, but I figured, why not give you the spoiler and share my sermon notes in case you are interested!
Hope it blesses you to think about leadership in your own home church and daily lives.
Jess from Jesscbnyc
TMNGHT – Message 8.13.15
Story: I actually was sold on going to Hillsong based on Team Night. On 7/11/2013 I went to my first mid-week event by myself. I specifically remember Ashley Jones telling us in one of her points that night from panel that there was room for all of us here. Not just at church but in a creative capacity. That was something that resonated with me. I spent my entire life in church and it can be hard as a young person attending a church with either no one your age, or attending a church with lots of young people but finding out there isn’t room for you. The words we speak at team nights are important and the words that we speak and the culture that we foster in church are also important. Church is for an hour on a Sunday, what we do mid-week or as leaders or simply members of this church can either be life giving, or reserved only for our team or social group. I have a heart for this house and in the moments I have with you guys I want to share my thoughts about what we should be striving for as creative leaders.
Opening prayer. (Thank God for the opportunity to speak at team night which was something I had a vision for early on in the church. God is faithful.)
Leaders should be:
- The dictionary says authentic means. “of undisputed origin”. We are made in the image of God himself. Our leadership and value is from him. We have our own stories and our own giftings.
Galatians 5 (MSG)
25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
It’s easy to get lost in creative. Even to this day you can be inspired by what everyone is doing and everyone’s talents. I don’t want anyone feeling that their giftings are not valueable. Not everyone needs to take beautiful photos, or learn an instrument to be creative. We are all parts of one body—of Christ and a body has many moving parts.
- In being Authentic we should be open and honestly ourselves
In being a part of Team Night every Thursday for years you meet a lot of people who are coming into the night with their problems and their victories. It’s important as a leader to meet people where they are at and be open and honest with our lives.
John 4:23-24 (MSG)
23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Leaders should be:
- Undaunted: Joyfully expectant, not discouraged by difficulty, picking out the outsiders, ready to rain on the people of our church.
2 Corinthians 1:24 (MSG)
24 We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours.
As leaders we are encouraging people on our team and outside of our team to be partners. We’re not looking over each other’s shoulders we are joyfully expectant of the fruits of our labor and everyone else’s labor. We are not leaders for the sake of getting followers but for the sake of being partners.
1 Corinthians 1:27-31 (MSG)
26-31 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
In short, we are not tooting our own horns. We need to be grabbing people that feel like nobodies and assuring them that none of us are somebodies. We need to awaken all parts of the body.
Ephesians 4:7-13 MSG
He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
We should be in sync with each other, have a rhythm, be efficient, and full of grace. In tune with our groups and our church.
Isaiah 55:8-11 (MSG)
8-11 “I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.
My paraphrase: “Until it is done being dry until what needs to grow has grown “ – 5.9.15
We are all in somewhat of a dry spell. I know a lot of teams feel like they don’t have enough volunteers, people can be feeling burned out, etc. But we need to remember that we need to pour out until what’s currently dry has been watered doing our work of making things grow and blossom. And in a lot of ways that’s watering our creative culture, looking for new growth, remembering why we are doing this in the first place. Not getting discouraged.
Recap: 1st point is Authentic, 2nd point is…Undaunted.
Leaders should be:
- Generous: We do not claim ownership of our possessions, we are Ruth minded, and we are gap fillers
Acts 4:32-35 (MSG)
32-33 The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.
34-35 And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.
Then you have the story of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi is burned out. She has lost everything. This is a dark season for her. Orpah leaves and Ruth stays even while the situation is difficult and she could be comfortable and go home. This is what I love about Ruth. First, she recognized the true needs of Naomi, and then she acted on it – even when it was hard and very inconvenient.
Story: I remember when I first started volunteering nearly 4 years ago, one of the most impressive parts of our church was that if one team was done setting up or breaking down, everyone made a point to check on other teams to see if they could lend a hand. This is something I think we need to remember. You might be called to be on one team, but as a collective body we should be sensitive to other parts of the body to make sure that we’re all in sync.
2 Corinthians 1 (MSG)
3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
Story: I found in uncanny that during one season where I was very lonely and defeated in my job, I had a GPS for people going through the same thing. This is why it’s important to be authentic in your journey and what you are going through so you can be open to other people, and undaunted to pursue them. Instead of assuming someone doesn’t want to talk to you or thinking everyone looks like they are doing well, give them the benefit of the doubt and be transparent. Another point from a TMNGHT was that when I had a hard season, there were moments where I didn’t have the heart or the energy to raise my hands. And I remember Chris Davenport praying for us collectively as a group and saying that all of us in the room are raising our hands even if you don’t have the energy to or the faith to. This is something powerful and I never want to forget that this is where our hearts should be as leaders.
Closing: Recap of three points: Leaders should be Authentic, Undaunted, Generous
Excerpt from Heaven is in this House . Written by Bobbie Houston
“Imagine a place so irresistible that people can’t wait to get there. Imagine a place so functional that no one ever wants to leave. Imagine a place where the atmosphere causes humanity to flourish. Imagine a place designed for no other reason than to connect you with a world beyond your wildest dreams. Such a place exists and has existed within the heart of God since before all time. It’s the church.”
I want this to be a manifesto as we close out this year. Something we strive for as a group. I want us to be leaders in this church who treat people better than they are treated at home and in the world. Sometimes we take for granted how powerful “welcome home” is. For me, church is more a home than the actual home I come from. And I think a lot of people feel that way. They don’t have a tight knit family or they are mistreated at home or in the world. And we have the opportunity to see the potential in people and be home to people. You can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to see in others. At the end of the day we need to show love.
1 John 4:19-21 (MSG)
19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.