Archive for July, 2010

Meet Me at The Mountain-Part 1

I’ve been in Keystone CO the last two days with my precious wife Pamela, and with James & Betty Robison and about 50 pastors.  James and Betty convened this summit to hear from God and share what God was stirring in them.  I was fortunate to receive an invitation for Pam and I.

Miles McPherson and James Garlow (both San Diego pastors) are here; other than that I don’t know anyone else personally.  It has been a RICH time.  I have wept more these past two days than in a long time.  Very cleansing for the soul.  Some of what was shared here was for the moment only.  But there are other things I think might be of benefit to the larger Body of Christ and are worth pondering.  It’s hard to “download” all that God has done and spoken here.  So I’m just going to share a few words right now and then more later.  TCI (www.thrivingchurches.com)  wants to be cooperate with God’s work on earth, so I’m trusting that He will give us wisdom to that end.

-The more sensitive you become to God the more sensitive you become to others

-Jesus never went to the mountains to get power (He had all the power of Heaven at His disposal).  He went to the mountain to hear the voice of the Father instead of the cries of the masses.

-God cannot accomplish through you what He wills to do until He is able to do in you what He wills to do.

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Those 3 things are a good start.  Here are some initial responses from me:

*  If I am more in love with God every day and hour, then I will love people more every day and hour

*  Why am I always seeking more power, strategy, strength, techniques than seeking more of the Father?  This is an achilles heel for me personally.  Do I want God more than I want His resources?  Is my “doing” flowing from my “being” or am I always “doing” in order to “become”.  OVERFLOW!!

*  Surrender to the hand of God is the daily/hour (moment by moment!) choice of walking in the Spirit vs. walking in the Flesh.  How much of my life and ministry and the ministries of our churches is about us and how much is about HIM?

I want to know that what I am doing and what we are doing is coming FROM the Father and not simply FOR Him.

These are my first reflections from meeting God at the mountain!

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July 29, 2010 at 7:06 am Leave a comment

Discipleship: Teach or Train?

Your church, a thriving church, must be about making disciples.  But when it comes to making disciples, do we teach them or train them?  Should we or shouldn’t we?  Which is better?  Can you prove that?  All those questions are reasonable about a critical issue in the life and ministry of a healthy church.  When we are trying to disciple people, should we teach or should we train?

The Miracle of “And”

I believe in the miracle of and.  We in the church are much too quick to dichotomize our solutions to the troubling questions of church leadership and ministry.  We are prone to quickly fall subject to the belief that the issue we are facing has a singular answer in the form of either x or y.

Discipleship is about teaching AND training.  There is both a content aspect to our faith and a conduct dimension to our faith.  Healthy churches and leaders want to see both evidenced in the lives of those who come into relationship with Christ.

Discipleship is about Teaching

Discipleship is about forming Christ in the life of a believer through the spiritual transformation of the mind (Romans 12:1-2).  Obviously the Holy Spirit is the only one who produces genuine growth for a young man or woman, but the “seedbed” of that growth is an increasing understanding and application of God’s Word into their thinking and living.  At my former church (LifePoint, www.lifepointnv.com), we grappled these last ten years with how to teach, transmit, and reproduce the content aspect of our faith.  We are coming to the conclusion, after ten years of experimenting, that there is no “silver bullet” to the teaching aspect of the faith.  So, we use:

  • One on One Relationships
  • Small Groups
  • Classes
  • Seminars

We use all of these methods and yet still find ourselves struggling in this arena.  Willow Creek’s recent study (of which our church was a secondary participant) called REVEAL suggests that our church is not alone in this regard.  I think one of the most helpful tools from Reveal is the understanding that discipleship is a journey.  Identifying where a person is on the journey and customizing the resources and tools available may help undergird their growth.

Discipleship is about Training

Discipleship is about forming Christ in the life of a believer through continual surrender of our will to His will (Colossians 2:6-7).  Most parents know Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it”.  Study of that text reveals that one of the meanings of the word “train” is to “make narrow”.  Discipleship is about training in that we are helping men and women to become more and more like Christ in the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we live.  The Apostle John is clear that if we know Him (Jesus), then we “must walk as Jesus did” (I John 2:3-6).

Discipleship training is the aspect of spiritual formation where we cultivate surrender of our will to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit and learn to follow God with our mind and with our heart, and with our feet.  In my experience, this never happens until we are in relationship with others where we allow genuine and grace filled accountability; in essence, that we allow other people to speak truth into our lives.  At the church I founded in Northern Nevada (www.lifepointnv.com) we operate with these primary values in view as we live out “Friends Helping Friends Follow Christ”….

  • People Matter to God
  • God’s Word Changes Lives
  • Spiritual Growth Happens in Relationships

The End Result

Our prayer is that Christ is shaped into our hearts and we progressively learn to surrender to His Spirit as we learn to speak the truth to one another and grow up to maturity as a disciple of Jesus (Ephesians 4:29-32).  When we think like and act like Jesus as the result of teaching and training that comes from organic and healthy relationships, we will reproduce health in the lives of those we are able to impact for the sake of His kingdom.

July 14, 2010 at 9:01 am 1 comment

Women in Leadership…Pot Stirring!

Women and Leadership

Thought I’d stir the pot a little.  I wrote an article a few years back for a women’s magazine…see what you think and let me know….

“Women Have Natural Leadership Advantages” by Dr. John Jackson, © 2003

Most people agree that women generally have a more finely tuned relationship radar than men.  In part, that may be because of how women and men differ in the way their brains function.  Clinical studies have shown that women think with both hemispheres (the creative and the analytical) of their brain simultaneously, while men are wired up to think with each hemisphere sequentially.  Because of this, I think women have some natural leadership advantages.  Leadership is more like family than it is like war.

Leadership requires a focus on the future and strategic decision making ability.  And, since I am one, I like to think that there are lots of good leaders who are men!  But, I see a number of leadership dimensions where women may have a natural leadership advantage.  Dr. John Maxwell defines leadership as “influence”.  If that is true, we want to be sure to exercise our leadership influence opportunities with the greatest of care.  I’ve learned over the years that leadership influence rests on certain principles.  So how is leadership more like family than it is like war?

Leadership rests on relationship.  While you can certainly be a leader on the basis of a position or on the basis of strength or power, that form of leadership does not change the heart and character of a person.  Leadership based on force or demand may cause someone to act, but it will not cause them to change.  Leadership that rests on relationship recognizes the connection of heart, the sharing of a dream, and the stirring of hope that comes when people are in relationship.  Women have a “natural” advantage in this area of leadership development.

Leadership requires commitment for the long haul.  Many leaders make the mistake of accepting a leadership role and then only thinking short term in that role.  My experience suggests that lasting leadership thinks of the long haul.  Rather than a “sprint”, leadership is generally a “marathon”.  Because women generally have greater endurance than men, I think women are uniquely suited for leadership that lasts!

Leadership means both strategic focus AND simultaneous sensitivity.  When we first had children, I would periodically “watch the children” when my wife went out for the evening.  When she’d return, she’d find that we’d had a wonderful time….but did nothing other than play and have fun.  When she watched the children, she’d also be cooking dinner, doing laundry, talking on the phone, cleaning the kitchen, and planning her next day’s activities!  I’d get a headache just thinking about it.  Leadership does require strategic focus…but it also requires simultaneous sensitivity to multiple dimensions of behavior, data, and complexity.  Because women think with both hemispheres simultaneously, women have a natural leadership advantage!

The truth is, I think God has given both men and women leadership advantages.  God has “wired us” so that we have a natural complementary nature.  Married couples that make it recognize their spouses as “God-gifts” because of their unique and complimentary gift mixes.  Since leadership is influence, I think God has positioned women for major leadership impact in the relationship fabric of our lives.  Women….seize your leadership opportunities and influence your world for Christ!

I have fairly specific views on roles of men and women in the family and in the church; but I’m also clear that God has gifted women in wonderful ways that we should embrace in the Body of Christ.

Your thoughts?

July 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm 2 comments


Dr. John Jackson

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