Leading in our communities – Leadership article 4

The fourth and final in the series of articles on ‘leadership’ by Matt Merriam

We arrived at the place where we were going to camp for the night pretty late. It was already dark outside as we stumbled from the car, carrying all of our gear, and carefully journeyed our way a hundred or so metres into the forest. By torch light we set about putting up our tent. The night was warm, so it was not unusual to see things flying through the beams of our torches; but the increasing loudness of the “buzzing” noise began to raise an alarm inside of us. There were wasps, and a lot of them. We had begun to set our tent up on top of a nest of ground wasps! After running, less carefully, out of the trees and back towards the car with the tent wrapped up in our arms and wasps stinging as we fled, we sat down, exhausted. The car was parked next to a small lake, and there was some flat ground a short distance away from the water’s edge. So, we decided to put the tent up there, and within an hour were tucked up in our sleeping bags. However, in the middle of the night the heavens opened in torrential rain, and the tent collapsed on us. Without realising it, we had put the tent up on a patch of ground where soil was mixed with sand and had now reached its water-holding limit. Wet, tired, and discouraged, we stuffed our things in the boot and started the long drive home.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)

Jesus clearly knew what He was talking about!

However, I am struck by how little attention we pay to that succinct and direct story of Jesus. In the clearest of manners He instructs His disciples and the crowd that had gathered that just hearing his truths, understanding His truths, and dare I say even believing His truths are not enough. We must practise them too.

Aaron Niequist, author of “The Eternal Current”, talks about how our churches have allowed themselves to become entirely “beliefs-based” where our faith is “primarily in our heads”. Nearly everything we do as churches can be simplified down to the building up of knowledge and understanding, characterised by the large percentage of our weekly “church” time being taken up with listening to or providing teaching. Niequist offers an alternative approach that he calls “practice-based” where we “humbly respond to this amazing news” and get “swept up in what God is doing.

To read more of this article click on our Foundations magazine below and you can continue on pages 15 & 16

Foundations Spring 2020