Friday morning here at the Creative Church Conference was, to coin a term used often by Ed Young, "off the chain"! We heard two of the best challenges I have ever heard. The first came from Pastor Tommy Barnett who is the Senior Pastor of the First Assembly Church in Pheonix. He spoke on "The Honor of Wanting to Quit." Here are some of his points:
Wanting to quit is a sign of success because successful people are the only ones who can quit because they have something to quit.
The more you have to quit, the more you want to quit because the higher you go the more frightening, lonelier and riskier it becomes.
You can enjoy the luxury of wanting to quit if you know that you are not going to quit because it is the call of God, not just a burden, that gets you ought of bed every morning.
Pastor Barnett then gave us four ways to keep from qutting:
One...Burn the bridges behind you by deciding now what is really important.
Two...Don't tell anyone you want to quit when you want to quit because they may agree with you.
Three...Do not expose yourself to people you don't want to be like. Instead, hang around people who are positive.
Four...Lock yourself in so you cannot quit. Be like David whose heart was fixed.
Tommy then closed with this awesome statement..."Great men are just ordinary men who won't quit!" It reminds me of the many times I heard Dr. Falwell say, "Feel like quitting, but don't quit!" If you have never been in full-time ministry you don't realize how often this temptation to quit raises its ugly head. This was a great message for me to hear.
Then it came time for Bishop TD Jakes. I know that this man takes a lot of hits from the critics and I certainly do not agree with him on all the issues (then again, I have yet to find the man that I agree with on everything), but his heart for God and his passion for ministry is amazing. We all were blessed and ministered to greatly by him. Here are a few of the statements he made as he spoke from Luke 24:13-31.
The cost of leadership is conflict.
People generally admire leaders best when they're dead.
The beginning of being a leader is knowing you don't know as much as you think you know.
You can't lead people who are not thirsty.
God is bigger than you think He is.
He then closed by showing us the pattern in the Bible of Jesus breaking the bread. Whether it was the story of His feeding the 5,000; or His feeding the 4,000; or His last supper with the disciples; or this story in Luke 24, the pattern is four fold:
Jesus took the bread!
Jesus blessed the bread!
Jesus broke the bread!
Jesus gave the bread!
That same order can be seen in the great characters of the Bible. God took Moses...blessed Moses...broke Moses...then gave Moses. He did the same to Abraham, Isaac and even Jesus. This is also the order that happens to us. God never gave bread to people that had never been broken. God does not give leaders to people who have never been broken. I can't be given to my generation if I've never been broken. Leadership is really spelled L-O-N-E-L-I-N-E-S-S.
We spent the afternon in break out sessions dealing with worship, assimilation, and small groups. The conference comes to an end tonight with a final message from Bishop Jakes.