Remarkable leaders, teams focus of conference
About 400 church staff and lay leaders gathered the evening of Feb. 28 at Moore, First to hear how to inspire “remarkable” people during the Missional Ministry Conference.
Special speakers at the event included Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research in Nashville, Tenn., and Rob Zinn, pastor of Highland, Calif., Immanuel.
The conference was conducted by the Church and Family Equipping Team of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, funded through gifts to the Cooperative Program.
Scott Phillips, CAFE Team leader said, “So many times, it is a challenge for pastors to convey all that they have learned to their church and church leaders. This session was designed to include lay leaders. Pastors were encouraged to bring their church leaders so they could experience the conference firsthand.”
Stetzer spoke on “Remarkable Leaders.”
“We have bought into three-tiered Christianity,” he said. “The bottom tier includes lay people; the next tier contains those called to the ministry, and the top tier has those called to missions.”
But, Stetzer stressed that everyone who knows Christ is called to the ministry and sent on mission.
“And, to be on mission, you don’t have to cross the sea, you just have to see the cross,” he emphasized.
Using Paul as an example of a disciple who went where God led him as in Acts 16 when he went to Macedonia, Stetzer said, “We have to lead our churches to engage the culture. Our job is not to evade the culture, but to invade it.
Second, Stetzer said, “Our task is to bring the help of the Gospel. Jesus died on a cross, not that it just saves us, but it saves us day-by-day. It is not a one time thing.”
He said church can’t be about us, it has to be about the Gospel.
“We’re not willing to give up our Sunday preferences in order that our neighbors might be saved,” he charged, pointing out that 89 percent of SBC churches are not growing through evangelism, and that “17-18 percent oppose change, no matter what.”
“Lost people matter to God,” Stetzer concluded. “We need to value the things God values. We hurt for the wrong things. We hurt for the status quo.”
But, it’s not about us, he reminded his listeners.
“If you are going to lead your church, you have to weep over your community like Jesus wept over Jerusalem,” he said. “People never change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain to change.”
Zinn, speaking on “Remarkable Teams,” asked, “If Jesus came back right now would you be proud of your disposition?”
“Why don’t we do what He calls us to do? For most of us, the hardest thing is to be obedient to God. But, the easiest thing to do is to be obedient to God, just as soon as you make up your mind He is God.”
Zinn said there is no new revelation.
“We need illumination of the revelation we’ve already got,” he said, asking, “How many know the name Paul? But, name the disciples who lowered the basket. We have no idea who they are. They were rope holders. They did great things, but we don’t know their names.”
Zinn said the cause of Christ is not going to be accomplished by those whose names are in lights.
“Christianity is a team effort,” he said. “Without rope holders, the work will never get done. God didn’t call you to be in lights, but He did call you to be faithful.
“God not only knows where you are, he also put you where you are and how many hairs are on your head. God never puts you where He doesn’t want you.”
Zinn said Southern Baptists have some of the greatest outreach tools ever devised.
“No one else has anything close to the Cooperative Program,” he said. “We’re the only denomination who has full time missionaries. And, we have more seminary students than all others combined.”
But a pastor can’t do the job by himself, he stressed.
“As pastor, I am a counselor and a coach,” he said. “What we are playing for has eternal stakes. Being president of the United States would be a step down from being pastor of a local church.
“Still, no pastor I know will win this world by himself. No church will, either. It will take a team. God needs rope holders. Just take care of your end of the rope.”
He reminded his listeners that, “The only reason we are here is to reach the lost. Every thing else we are doing we can do much better in Heaven. But the only the thing we can’t do in Heaven is reach the lost. Be a rope holder for the kingdom of God!”
So, what does it mean to be a team player, Zinn asked?
First, a team player knows where the team is going.
“Get your vision from Jesus,” he urged. “More than 90 percent of us have no goals.Goals aren’t visions and dreams. And a goal isn’t a goal until it is written down and is measurable and reachable.”
Second, a team player follows the leader.
“You can’t have two leaders,” Zinn reminded the crowd. “Somebody has to follow, otherwise there is division. If you have more than one leader, you have a divided house. Somebody has to be in charge.”
But, being the leader is tough, he admitted.
“Sometimes it’s not fun to be the leader. Everyone wants to tell you what to do,” he said.
Third, a team player puts the team ahead of the player.
“Individuality hurts the team,” Zinn said. “When everything is working well, you don’t think about your members. It’s not about you. It is about them.”
Finally, Zinn said, a team player has a “whatever it takes attitude.”