Presence Conference is such an inspiring experience, and my team and I enjoyed every moment. The main sessions were so impacting from start to finish each day, and the masterclasses were incredibly insightful windows into all things leadership, communication, culture and more. What a valuable learning experience!
However, probably the most valuable lesson I learned during the week did not happen at Presence Conference. It happened while simply walking the streets of Sydney in between sessions. See, as you likely know, Australians drive on the opposite side of the road to Americans. I take no issue with this except it does prove a bit dangerous when crossing the street. I suppose I specifically mean when jaywalking, but honestly, is there any other way to cross the street? Anyway, every time I would go to cross the street I instinctively looked to the left because that’s the way I’ve been trained to look all my life. And when I saw it was free of oncoming traffic I would go to cross the road without realizing that I had checked for danger in the wrong direction. It was at that moment that either one of my friends would grab my arm, or I’d hear a car to my right honk at me at the last second to stop me from walking into a rather unpleasant, painful experience. Now, I’d like to point out that in this scenario, I was not being negligent, unless you count not looking both ways when crossing the street as negligent. To that I ask, where is your sense of adventure? I wasn’t being reckless or irresponsible. I checked for oncoming traffic each time. It just so happens that I was looking for the right thing in the wrong place.
I don’t think it is a very far leap to say that this is often what we do as leaders. We all want to cross the street. We each have the desire to move from where we are to the next stage of our church’s growth and development. That is a healthy desire. God is into growth after all. But I think sometimes we try to achieve this by getting caught up looking in the wrong direction, at the wrong things. Not only is this unhelpful, it can actually be detrimental to a healthy culture and the fulfillment of vision. In my opinion, those wrong things are what we often consider to be the missing links in our church. They are the little frustrations and pain points, the small fires that beg to be put out without really giving any payoff for having done so. I’m not saying these frustrations should not be dealt with at all. You have to look both ways when crossing the street at some point. I just don’t think they should eat up as much of our time and focus as they often do. And yet for many of us they do.
Might I suggest that the right direction to look when crossing the street is actually at the good things that are happening in your church. I’m speaking of the small miracles. Focus on the leader who is getting it right, on the team member with an excellent spirit. Pay attention to the many victories that you did have on Sunday. Did someone bring a friend who got saved or connected to the community? What’s going well in your small groups? Is your pipeline for on-boarding new team members working? Celebrate that.
All these small miracles are the things to be focusing on! But it does not end there. This isn’t about patting yourself on the back and giving your self-esteem a boost. Please. This is about REINVESTMENT. At C3 Los Angeles we begin our staff meeting each week with the same question: “What miracles did you see on Sunday that you’ll be reinvesting this week?” We ask that because the reinvestment of miracles is the key to the repeating of miracles.This is basic sowing and reaping stuff, so I won’t bore us with the logistics of how that works. But I will tell you that it matters more than we often realize because the key to consistent growth is not putting out fires. It’s duplicating the miraculous that’s going on in your church. Before long that actually creates a culture that prevents most fires before they have the opportunity to begin. Here are the steps.
Identify a miracle. Consider the good things that are happening, the fruit in your church.
Identify the cause. We call this digging out the seed. This is crucial because most people see a miracle and simply enjoy it. They eat the fruit without digging out the seed which means the miracle just ended with itself. The seed is the behavior that led to the miracle. What was it that somebody did that brought about the result that you loved? If you don’t figure that out you won’t be able to duplicate it very well.
Repeat that behavior. Better yet, repeat it more efficiently, maybe even systematically and perhaps on a larger scale. Let the person know who “worked the miracle” why you loved what they did and what effect it had on the church. Connect the dots for them between their great behavior and the great outcome. Tell other people about it as well. Celebrate it.
THAT is the reinvestment of miracles, it’s the best direction for us to be consistently looking. When that is happening all up and down the structure of your church, you will find you’ll see more miracles than ever before!
C3 Los Angeles, Lead Pastor