I took these notes from Andy Stanley at the Newspring Leadership Conference in September.
Text: Acts 15:1-21
One of his comments about the Scripture was that a controversy arose about the need for surgery to be saved.
He also said that every church has a “they.”
1) Churches always gravitate toward insiders and away from outsiders. Jesus liked people who were nothing like Him. The people liked Jesus who were nothing like Him. Resist this pull in the way you preach, build, and etc. We must keep our churches externally focused. Red flag prayer requests. Sin, sorrow, and death are what makes our message more important! Lost people are what matters!
My take: Prayer requests must be centered on people finding Christ.
2) Churches gravitate toward law instead of grace. People think categorically instead of relational. Love must always overcome rules. Acceptance paves the way to influence. Use grace to sort things out. We will have to accept people who sin; not the sin. Homosexuality, abortion, fornication.
My take: Those who live this way must not be influenced away from the church. The Holy Spirit can still work with them and that is His job.
3) Churches gravitate toward complexity instead of simplicity. Clarity. Partner don’t pioneer; fund and volunteer for other organizations that are already doing it. Don’t lose your uniqueness in your community.
My take: We are all unique and have a purpose in God’s plan. Sometimes we need to simply cut the fluff away and focus on the one thing we do. Discipleship should be a clear process too.
4) Churches gravitate toward preserving and not advancing. The Jews were trying to preserve the Law of Moses. The same Law that God gave him. Do not move into a protection mode instead of moving into the community. We cannot protect assets before fulfilling the mission. Think like a church plant. How did we think when we did not have money?
My take: Protect mode really brings everything to a stop. The assets that we protect are Gods; we must watch burying our one talent.
1-Be more concerned about who we are reaching instead of who we are keeping.
2-Let’s error on the side of grace.
3-Remain focused on our unique calling.
4-Remain open-handed. We started with nothing we may end with nothing; and that is okay.
This is great advice. I think this advice is great for a small church pastor. There is a lot to chew on and ponder on here. Everything in these notes I took are applicable even my small church situation. I recently shared this with my board. My goal was to help us focus on what is important.