Tuesday J. D. Greear released his newest title, Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Church Belongs to Churches that Send.
Vyrso got the inside scoop on why Greear wants big givers, key volunteers, some of the best leaders and friends in his church to leave . . . .
In the last few years, you have not only written multiple titles, but also maintained a blog, preaching career and grown The Summit Church substantially. What inspired you to write your latest release Gaining by Losing?
I wrote Gaining By Losing because it is so easy for those of us in church leadership to focus on the wrong things when celebrating success. We only celebrate size. A large size is not bad, of course—we should be grateful when large numbers of people gather to hear our message like they did with Jesus.
But the promises Jesus gave about the greatness of the church related to sending, not gathering; through losing, not gaining.
The kingdom grows by the principle of the harvest—only what you give away can you really keep (John 12:24).
It’s taken me a while to really let that truth sink in. And the more I talk to other people in ministry, the more I realize that I’m not alone. Is it possible for us to be praying, “Thy kingdom come,” when what we mean in reality is, “My kingdom come?”
The true measure of success for a church shouldn’t be its seating capacity, but its sending capacity. [Click to Tweet!]
Tell us more about the title Gaining by Losing.
Churches should be more excited about the people they lose than the ones they gain. When we raise up and send out leaders, we multiply the kingdom. It feels like loss, and it’s painful, but it is really gain.
Just as you can’t out-give God in your finances, you can’t out-give him with your leaders, either.
The more leaders we give away, the more leaders God raises up in their place. Again, it is the principle of the harvest: ministry surges when it gives, not when it hoards.
In Gaining by Losing, you confess to your original focus on filling the seats in your church and not growing the church by sending. When did you realize your focus was set on growing your kingdom instead of God’s kingdom?
It was embarrassing, but I remember it vividly.
One afternoon I was praying for massive revival in our city. In the midst of that prayer, it seemed as if the Spirit of God asked, “And what if I answer this prayer . . . and send a revival into Raleigh-Durham beyond all you’ve asked or imagined . . . one that they will talk about for hundreds of years. . . but I choose another church through which to do it? What if that church grows, and yours stays the same?”
I would love to say that my answer was an emphatic, “Yes, Lord! You must increase and I must decrease!”
But the answer that bubbled up from my heart was, “No.”
Yes, I wanted to see the city reached, but I also wanted to see my church succeed, my kingdom enlarged, my name magnified. Somehow “thy kingdom come” had become all jumbled up with “my kingdom come.”
At that point, I knew that I needed to repent for my idolatry in ministry.
That afternoon marked a turning point in which, by God’s grace, the eyes of my heart began to shift to building God’s kingdom instead of my own.
What is the biggest challenge to being a “sending church”?
“Sending” preaches well, but it can be painful when it’s really executed. [Click to Tweet!]
I remember sitting at a table with our four church-planters-in-residence for the year, listening to them give their final report before being sent out from our church. We had given them a head-hunting license, and they had recruited 150 of our active members to go with them. I knew I was supposed to be excited, and I was . . . but I was also feeling a bit of panic.
Their lists included big givers, key volunteers, and leaders—even members of our pastoral team. Leaders whose absence would leave significant gaps.
As I listened to those four leaders give their reports, I put my hands under the table and literally forced them open to God. Opened in surrender. Open in the belief that God builds his kingdom as we let go, not as we hold on.
Tell us more about the myth of a calling, and what a new mindset around calling can mean for believers.
In the church I grew up in, “missionary” was a sacred and scary title, bestowed only upon the spiritual elite, the Navy Seals of the Christian world. We considered them heroes, sat in awe through their slideshows, and gladly donated our money to their ministries.
It was years later that I first realized that every Christian was a missionary, that all Christians were called to leverage their lives and talents for the kingdom.
God’s calling into mission is not a separate call we receive years after our salvation; it is inherent in the very call to salvation. Every believer is given a spiritual gift and a role to play in the spread of the Great Commission. [Click to Tweet!]
Read more insights from Greear and dig into why it’s so essential for the church to send out leaders in Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Church Belongs to Churches that Send! This new release will inspire and challenge you to reorient your church’s priorities around God’s mission to reach a lost world.
Tuesday J. D. Greear released his newest title, Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Church Belongs to Churches that Send. Vyrso got the inside scoop on why Greear wants big givers, key volunteers, some of the best leaders and friends in his church to leave . . . . In the last few years, you have not only written multiple titles, […]