Thursday, January 19, 2017

Introducing Lent to your Congregation

It starts with your example.

I will never forget saying goodbye to the church in which I served as an assistant pastor. As a full-time church planting res­ident, I had an opportunity to preach once a month for three years. I took this responsibly seriously and worked diligently to prepare and craft each sermon for maximum spiritual impact. Each time, I prayed for spiritual fruit to be produced. As my time drew to an end and the congregation said their goodbyes, a few people mentioned my preaching in passing. But, to my surprise, the most common refrain was about my parenting. I heard things like: “I was blessed to watch you be a father to your kids in church,” and “I appreciate the way you and Laura work together to raise your family.”

The people of God are looking for examples. They want their leaders to show them how to follow Jesus, even as we teach them. Challenging sermons and correct doctrine matter a great deal, but are inseparable from a godly life. The people we teach and exhort need to see us fail, repent, obey, and live by the power of the Spirit to love God and others. Another way of saying it is that our three dimensional lives are usually more interesting than our two dimensional sermons.

The most important way for you to lead your church through the season Lent is to show them with your life. You need to go first. Church leaders are far from perfect, to be sure. But we are called to lead with our lives. We cannot expect our people to devote themselves to Jesus in Lent at a level that we are not. With that in mind, consider how you might lead your church by example. Read More

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