I think Wayne Cordeiro is one of the most significant Christian leaders I know of, so I pay attention to whatever he writes. His insights come from a lifetime of effective ministry; he has been a practitioner, someone in the trenches, and he has the scars and the wisdom to show for it.
The Irresistible Church gives a great overview of what a biblical church should look like. Any church that manifests the 12 characteristics he outlines here will be a healthy church that changes lives.
The two traits that stuck out to me as I was reading were that “an irresistible church promotes self-feeding” and “an irresistible church has a plan.” I find that both of these are challenging, and few churches I know of actually do both.
Teaching Christians to be “self-feeding” is a key ingredient of building mature disciples. But it’s hard. It’s easier to not do it, or just to think that people get “fed” every Sunday at church. But it’s not possible to be healthy if you’re only eating once a week. As I reflect on this, I think the issue is the difference between telling people what to do and teaching them how
to do it. I was told, as a new believer, that I should have a “quiet time” to meet with God. But I was never actually told how to have one, what I should do during it, or how to connect with God in a real way. I was kind of on my own to figure it out, and I don’t think I’m unique in that respect.
I wonder if we don’t teach others because we aren’t doing it ourselves, or what other things seem more important that are taking up our time. I’ve begun taking more seriously the idea of teaching people how to feed themselves, and am already seeing the fruit of it. I also know of few churches that have a plan from which they are actually operating. Some have goals or a general sense
of direction, but few take the next step of developing plans to accomplish those goals. Planning is not something in which pastors are usually trained. It can be learned, but it’s easier to give our time to all the other things that have a claim on it. Easier isn’t always better! I don’t believe that any of us can become the kind of church God calls us to be without planning.
I’m writing this as I am about to begin planning the next season of life for our church. It’s a helpful and challenging reminder about the importance of engaging in the process. What did you take away? How is your planning going?