Thank God It's Monday
I attended a talk by Paul Bartlett, Senior Leader of Lighthouse Church, NSW, Australia. He is also a State Leader of Australian Christian Churches in NSW overseeing some 350 churches. He's written a book called 'Thank God It's Monday'.
"Let's face it: this generation is increasingly not waking up Sunday morning thinking, what's a great church I can go to today? Part of the problem is that for too long we've made church mostly about Christians doing spiritual stuff on Sundays. Of course, we love our Sundays, but we should be even more excited about our Mondays, because on those days God has positioned us in shop fronts, in salons, in classrooms, in playgroups, on building sites, and in boardrooms where we can engage with those who don't yet know Him. We should be empowering Christians to act as Christ in their communities Monday through Saturday. That's why Christians should be waking up on Mondays declaring, “Thank God it's Monday!”
Paul encourages us that we can have a huge influence in our community, across our town or city, and throughout the nation.
The chapter headings give a clue:
It's not about us
It's not about the building
It's not about the pastor
It's not about Sundays
It's about the whole week
It's about our people
It's about serving others
Diving into the chapter on pastors, here are some edited insights:
Church can be about the law of the few. Several prominent people in the church who we can support and enable to do the work of transformation in our communities. They are normally socially gifted or display leadership qualities in the world. Did Jesus do this or did he prefer people who thought they could not do much? He was committed to doing something great with what we think is ordinary.
Let's take the story of Angela, a Greek lady in Paul's church. She heard that an organisation that looked after disabled children was about to go broke because they could not pay their £1500 insurance bill. So she decided to organise what she called 'My Big Fat Greek Dinner' as a fundraiser. She charged £40 per head and invited about 100 people. As she arranged everything e.g. hiring tables, chairs, etc., she told her story to each supplier. Nearly all of them gave their supplies for free.
On the night the disabled kids turned up with their volunteer helpers as well as the lady who led the organisation. She was placed next to the mayor and cried her eyes out the whole evening as she was overwhelmed by everyone's concern and care. She was presented with a £4000 cheque which not only paid the insurance but lots of other bills as well. The lady, who was a non-Christian later came to church and told everyone that she always thought God was a kind and benevolent God but had never experienced that. She now recognised who God really was.
If you follow the law of the few, the rest of the church can feel unvalued or not chosen and have little worth in community transformation. What a tragedy. What untapped potential.
Paul confesses that the law of the few wore him out and he almost stepped down from leadership. He was close to burnout and God met with him and he switched from being a pastor who needed to have all the answers to being a coach to develop others.
He's now focused on the law of the many. In this age of mass-empowered, socially networked people, he's focused on 4 things:
1. Vision - not just a vision for the church but a vision for the community and city e.g. city planning/design.
2. Innovative thought leadership - helping people think differently about their circumstances.
3. Personal involvement in the community.
4. Coaching as many people as possible - both Christians and non-Christians. An asker of questions rather than a teller.
Paul's heart is that every person who sits under his leadership wakes up on a Monday morning convinced of their God-breathed, spiritually fulfilled role every day of the week.
He feels that many pastors spend 3-4 days of the week with their teams planning a great Sunday or weekend of services. He suggests that role should be given to somebody else and that the pastor should get out in the community engaging with people you can guide, inspire, challenge, question, encourage and pray for.
How do you spend your time?
Here's a 2 minute video on Thank God It's Monday:
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