The Campaign of Nain

American society thinks they’ve heard enough Christians—people they’ve decided are rigid, judgmental, hypocritical bigots. And, since we’ve reduced Christian ministry to explanation and oration, we keep trying to teach them the right way to think, believe, and act.

Did Jesus do it this way?

Consider the Campaign of Nain [Luke 7:11-17]

Jesus approaches the town and sees a funeral procession. A widow is broken over the death of her child. People are in despair. What does Jesus do? As he sizes up the situation, his heart goes out to her. He walks up, touches the casket, raises the boy to life, and hands him to his mother.

That’s it!

No altar call.

No self-promotion. No advertisement about next Sunday’s meeting. Jesus doesn’t tell them to do anything. Jesus brings the Kingdom and because he does, people are blessed. He is a messenger of good. An “ev-angel.”

And they all get it.

Their conclusion is stunning: “God has come to help his people.” [Luke 7:16]

Is that what people conclude when you and I come to town?

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Teaching, as the Means of Evangelism

Because of the predominance of the teaching grace in American churches, we have embraced a dysfunctional over-emphasis on teaching as the means of evangelism.

Realize this, whenever you are with anyone, you create an experience with that person. When you keep trying to teach those who are not postured to learn, what do they experience?

I suggest that it’s like scratching someone where they don’t itch.

It is irritating.

Trying to teach those who don’t want to learn creates the experience of annoyance, condescension, and frustration—not openness.

What is worst of all, we do this in the name of Jesus.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

The Prophetic and the Pastoral

What if the prophetic voice was just as visible, authoritative, and influential in the Church in North America as the pastor-teacher’s voice has been?

Imagine if the prophetic and the pastor-teacher stood side-by-side to mature the Church and to improve her efficacy in society.

Which of the high-profile scandals that have rocked the Christian Church might have been avoided? More imperative, how much more mature, godly, and authentically Christian might the Church be today?

“Christ gave some to be apostles and some to be prophets…” Since Christ has given them to the Church, don’t you wonder where they are?


–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

The Prophetic Grace

Consider how dominant the pastor-teacher has become in Christian leadership since the Reformation. Of the five ministry graces God’s given [Ephesians 4:11] three are essentially absent. As a result, we have what we have today.

Consider what we’re missing:

The prophetic grace brings clarity when the church and her leaders wobble and wander. The prophetic brings courageous correction. It is the scalpel that cuts between the diseased and the healthy tissue around it. It provides a clear word from God (or from God’s Word) when the Church is blurring the lines of biblical acuity.

So, what becomes of the Church when the prophetic is marginalized?

You get an indistinct, mushy, shallow, and disingenuously “nice” message week after week. The trumpet blows a vague, indistinguishable, uncertain sound. [I Corinthians 14:8] And where there’s no prophetic voice, there’s no distinctively Christian lifestyle either.

Sin can thrive in an atmosphere like that.

And, it does.

Doesn’t it?

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

The Apostolic Ignites Action

Last time you were challenged to consider how dominant the pastor-teacher has become in Christian leadership since the Reformation. Of the five gifts God has given to his Church [Ephesians 4:11] three are essentially absent.

As a result, we have the church and the society we have today. So, let’s consider what we’re missing.

The apostolic grace ignites action.

It generates groundbreaking innovation. It leads change. It is consumed with whatever could expand the reach and impact of the Kingdom of God. The apostolic is risk-taking, not safety-centered.

Its orientation is forward. Forward looking. Forward leaning. Forward moving. Teaching, on the other hand, is valuable in so much as it produces Christ-honoring Kingdom advance in individuals, in congregations, and in society.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship


Christ gave three distinct ministry gifts to the church: apostle, prophet, and evangelist to compliment that of the pastor-teacher [Ephesians 4:11]. Yet, since the Reformation, pastor-teachers have been leading, largely, in a vacuum.

I want to suggest that the over emphasis on shepherding and teaching has produced both the Church and the society that we have today.

To lead the Church well includes restoring the apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic graces to Christian leadership.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Optional Cross-Bearing

We’re considering the powerful reality that what we treasure reveals our hearts. [Matthew 6:21]

A capital campaign—like the claims of Lordship that Jesus so clearly articulates–calls each of us to painful sacrifice. In Matthew 10:38, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, and 14:27 the gospels record Jesus’ clearly: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Yet, in our commitment to be visitor-sensitive, we communicate in dozens of ways that cross-bearing is optional. It is not expected. And, certainly not insisted upon.

And then, when we finally call our people – all of them – to get into the game in a sacrificial way, many of them pack up and leave.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book: “Leadership Courage,” more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

Treasure…and the Heart

Pastor, how frequently and how clearly do you teach your congregation about giving?

Funny, isn’t it?

Jesus spoke more about money than any subject other than the Kingdom of God.


Because what I treasure reveals my heart. [Matthew 6:21] Yet, most pastors dread speaking about finances. “People will think that all we care about is money” some of you say.

So, you rarely teach the topic and how closely allied it is to all issues of the heart of your people…and yet you think about money all the time.

Don’t you?

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

No Strings Attached

As you and the pioneers in your church love and care for the unchurched in ways that bless their lives, those you serve will be skeptical, initially. They’ll be wary that church people would serve without a hidden agenda, an ask, a “gotcha,” a hook.

As you continue to be with them for their benefit—and not for yours—their skepticism will be replaced with gratitude, then curiosity.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at

#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship


Excessive ministry planning is an almost irresistible temptation for church people. Don’t waste your vigor over-planning how you’ll serve the community from the comfort of your church conference room.

Quick, before you lose your nerve, get out of the church property and begin to bless people. Meet with civic leaders. Learn where your congregation can help make a God-honoring difference and go after it.

Thrust yourself into action with your pioneers.

Love people.

Serve them.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


#leadership #courage #courageousleadership #leadershipcourage #Jesus #pastor #discipleship

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