18And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. Luke 1:18-22
Zechariah was taking his turn serving in the temple when God sent a message. His wife would have a child who would be the forerunner to the Messiah. It seemed unbelievable to Zechariah. Not the part about the Messiah, but the part about his wife having a baby.
When Zechariah left the seclusion of the temple he was speechless. He knew what God had said; his friends and family knew something had happened to him and perhaps it was from God. But they did not understand him. All he could do was try to communicate with his hands. They did not understand.
Sometimes our attempts to tell others about God’s call on our lives may be like Zechariah’s attempt. God confronts us. We have a new experience. We get a glimpse of what He is doing in the world. And we know we get to be a part of it. And now we want to tell others about it. But nobody understands us. What has been conceived in our lives by God is not yet apparent to others. And perhaps we are not yet really believing God. We lack the simplicity and conviction of speech required to express what God is showing us.
We may need a season of quiet patience, simplicity, and trust. That was the issue for Zechariah. He didn’t yet trust or believe God in the matter of the child. His ten months of silence or speechlessness was a graceful gift. When you are struggling to communicate what God is forming in you and for your organization try something: spend some more time quiet with God ‘till He forms the words in you that resonate.
J. R. Kerr has an excellent article on Open Source Activists and leadership in LeadershipJournal.net. Internally I am conflicted. I love it, crave it, and know that I do things that frustrate it around me. At Cityview I hope we will keep working on it. Here is an excerpt:
My generation is hungry for something more than the 15 principles for building a better team or the 21 reasons why you should be a servant leader. They are not content filling a role on a task force for church growth. They are hungry for more. They want a voice. They want influence. They are a generation that isn’t content receiving a vision; they want to be part of shaping and creating the vision. My generation believes in open source influence.
Open source is everywhere and it is changing the world. Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat documents the way open source is changing how software is developed and how news is reported. Past generations went to a trusted authority, like the Encyclopedia Britannica, to find answers to their questions. The new generation logs on to Wikipedia, an open source web encyclopedia that doesn’t just provide answers but allows users to contribute their knowledge as well. And the Apple iPhone now has thousands of user-created applications available as a result of becoming an open source platform. The younger generation expects to participate in the creation and formation of products and organizations in a way earlier generations simply did not.
I recently had a conversation about vision and organizations. My friend made the statement that people give their lives to vision. I think that is true. Unfortunately I think many of us can live a subsistence life when it comes to vision. One of the great opportunities that I get week in and week out is to call people to connect their lives to what matters most. I get to help them shape a God-formed vision of their life. As well I get to remind them of the God-formed vision we have of our life together at Cityview.
LIFE is our vision. We envision LIFE-transformed followers of Jesus Christ. We see people who:
Love God with their all; they joyfully live the Great Commandment and elevate Jesus as Lord in a community of worship and prayer.
Include people in the grace of Jesus; they build healthy and loving relationships for koinonia and evangelism.
Find freedom in the Truth; they apply God’s Word in their actions and attitudes for a new and freeing perspective on life and relationships.
Engage the world as a servant; they infiltrate their circles of influence in the fullness of the Holy Spirit for gift-oriented, sacrificial service.
Now we have had a longstanding statement of our mission that says we seek to create communities of devoted followers of Jesus Christ in Vancouver and around the world. Out of that we know that we have three wins at Cityview. We are winning when people who are far from God receive Jesus and begin the process of becoming LIFE-transformed followers of Jesus Christ. We are winning when community groups are reproducing through the development of new leaders and dynamic caring relationships. And we are winning when new churches are being started in Vancouver and around the world.
Our strategy has three parts under-girded by leadership, prayer, and faithfulness.
Spaces: Worship Gatherings, Small Groups, and 3rd Space settings
Stances: Spiritual Disciplines and Servanthood
Domains: Oikos, Neighbourhoods, the “building blocks” of a city