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Sustained not Self-Sustaining (NCD Growth Forces) November 19, 2007

Posted by dan snyder in Leadership Reflections, NorthStar 2.0 (Heb 1).
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“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.”

Flowers are beautiful, but that is not their most important function in God’s creation. Every flower has the capacity to sustain its species. This capacity is most visible when it is wilting and “going to seed”.

 Living organisms have the power to sustain life beyond themselves and this power lies in seeds. Seeds make the principle of sustainability a reality.

This Hebrews text gives us insight into the source of fruit and seed. We know by observing nature that life is sustained by fruit and its seed that falls to the ground to die and grow again. But what we can’t see is how the seed finds its way into the fruit or how the fruit appears. Hebrews tells us that sustainability is caused by the “powerful word” of Jesus, God’s Son. Jesus speaks “fruit” and “seed” and they appear.

Ministries that operate with this principle are immersed in this powerful word of Jesus. Persons and ministries that are in relationship with Him, who take a posture of listening to and receiving His Word, will see this sustaining fruit growing around them.

*Is there seed in the fruit our ministry is bearing?

*What are we to do with this seed to sustain the life of this ministry?

*Are we working to hard to maintain/sustain this ministry or are our activities sustaining themselves?

When we speak of “sustainability” this is not independance from God. Our ministries must stay connected to Jesus, the Vine (John 15), for sustainability to be at work. Sustainability can be interpreted wrongly as a self-serving, self-propogating, human-driven machine. This is not the natural interpretation of this growth force. In living organisms (the church being one of them) the Life of God sustains it and releases more life to work in and through it.

*How aer we maintaining our connection to the Vine, Jesus, and His Word?

*How are we humbly honoring God, giving thanks and praise to Him for the seed He has bestowed upon us?

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Comments»

1. Michael Lee Stallard - December 29, 2007

I love your encouragement to stay connected with Christ and, I would add. each other. Love the Lord your god and love each other as yourself.

This is relevant 24/7. Consider this: the coming labor shortage and ongoing globalization of markets make it inevitable that the next step in the evolution of organizations will be the creation of “Connection Cultures.” A Connection Culture exists when people feel an emotional connection to their work(because it fits their talents and Spiritual gifts), to their colleagues (who feel like trusted friends more than internal competitors) and to their organization’s mission, values and/or reputation (because it reflects virtue). We all long for this.

Today, organizations idolize task excellence but fail to value relationship excellence that comes from human connection. This applies to the Church too. The fruit of the Spirit come from staying connected to the Spirit and each other. Task excellence is important too but not at the expense of relationship excellence. In fact, absent relationship excellence, task excellence is unsustainable and managerial failure is inevitable. History shows this pattern repeating again and again…in the Church, businesses, sports teams, and nations. My co-authors and I make the case that all great leaders create Connection Cultures in our new book entitled “Fired Up or Burned Out(Thomas Nelson, 2007).” I also confess my idolatry of task excellence in an essay I wrote entitled “Alone No Longer” that was just published by Amazon.com as part of its new Amazon Shorts series.

2. ordinarygrandeur - April 30, 2008

Michael, Great Addition. Ephesians 5:26 informs us deeper on this point by indicating that we are washed by the water of the Word “in community”. Like cleaning dirt out of a soiled shirt, the Word of God washes us. And this time Scripture informs us that the Word of God is Present in the Bride of Christ – believers learning, sharing, growing together. Thanks for pointing this out!


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