I played baseball in high school and college back in the wooden bat era. After that, I used wood during my five years in the minor leagues while chasing my dream of making it to “The Show.“ My goal as a hitter was to hit the ball on the “sweet spot.“ That’s important, even if you’re using a metal bat. It’s even more important if you’re using wood. Hit the ball too close to the end or down on the handle, and you’ll end up with a broken bat — at best. But if you could hit the ball “with the grain“ and on the “sweet spot,“ the ball would travel farther, faster.
If we are going to go farther faster as kingdom-first multipliers, we have to identify, understand, and leverage our own personal ministry “sweet spot.”
But how can we identify and articulate our “sweet spot?” What might happen if we began to leverage some of our Send Network training tools on a more personal level?
I recently read Unstuck, a book on personal productivity, effectiveness, efficiency, and flourishing by Matt Perman. Perman has an M.Div. in biblical and theological studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a project management professional certification from the Project Management Institute. He was Director of Internet and Strategy at Desiring God for 13 years. Perman believes “it is our responsibilityto have a vision for our lives” (p. 96). We will not unlock our full potential and achieve great things without it. He says, “If you want to live a life that makes the kind of difference God wants you to make; then you need to have a vision” (p. 97). Clarity of mission/vision/kingdom concept will not only help us do the right thing. It will help us do the right thing in a great way.
After reading this, I decided to re-think, re-envision, and re-articulate my personal vision and mission. I pulled out the Kingdom Concept that we use to train our church planters in order for them to gain unique vision clarity. I decided to use that tool to discover my own unique Kingdom Concept.
So, I prayed and asked God for wisdom and vision. I wrote down eight to 10 ideas in the three categories: Local Predicament (LP), Personal Potential (PP), and Apostolic Esprit (AE). Next, I picked my top three ideas in each category. (Note: You might have to think of Local Predicament a little differently than a church planter would, because the predicament or problem you’re seeing may not be limited to your local context. I did change Collective Potential to Personal Potential for obvious reasons.)
I would encourage you to schedule an hour or so to do the same thing I did. Then, plug your top three in each circle into the formula for the amplified statement.
“I will glorify God and make disciples by leveraging CP1, CP2, and CP3 in a context of PP1, PP2, and PP3 because I have a passion for AE1, AE2, and AE3.”
Here’s what my amplified Kingdom Concept statement looked like:
I will glorify God and make disciples by leveraging my almost 40 years of ministry experience, my curious learning posture, and my openness to new expressions of ministry in a context of kingdom stagnation, a diminished number of multiplying churches, and younger leaders lacking experience, wisdom, and skills because I have a passion for transformational training and discipling, missional evangelism, and carnivorous learning that I want to leverage for the purpose of kingdom-first multiplication.
After wrote that statement, I sent it to four or five trusted friends and fellow leaders who know me well. I asked, “Does this describe me? What are your observations? If you were going to shorten this statement to less than 15-20 words, how would you do it?“
After I received feedback from my friends, I developed a shorter statement: Leveraging carnivorous learning to equip leaders for transformational discipleship and church multiplication.
I then developed an even shorter phrase: Equipping leaders to multiply
I boiled it down to one word: Equipping
I’m going to live with this statement for a while. I’m going to see if it helps me identify what I’m not doing that I should be and what I am doing that I shouldn’t be. As we say in Send Network training, identifying the Kingdom Concept not only will help us decide what to do but also what not to do. I don’t want to spend my time as a leader doing things that make me appear to be busy but aren’t really resulting in kingdom multiplication.
I never did make it to the major leagues. Why? Well, there are too many reasons to mention here. But here’s a big one: I did not hit enough balls off the “sweet spot” of the bat. But aiming to hit off the “sweet spot” is not over for me. In the years I have left to serve Christ, I want to hit the “sweet spot“ for something that matters infinitely more. I want to align my life, and schedule my time, to pour out my life as an offering that reflects the unique kingdom-first multiplier that God has made me to be.
Let’s all take some time to identify our personal “sweet spot.” Once that happens, we will be better able to prioritize our tasks so we go farther faster as kingdom-first multipliers.
And, after all, isn’t that what growing as a trainer of church planters is all about?
Published July 24, 2018