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e2e labs

We hope you join us in Cleveland, TN on Monday, November 3 and Tuesday, November 4 for our 3rd annual e2e labs! What are e2e labs? In short, they are Intensive Training Labs that Equip Church Leaders.

As leaders in His Church, we MUST keep our ministries focused on empowerment rather than entitlement. God’s desire for His Church is not that one man would stand in a pulpit and call down the power of God. It is not that the local churches would wait on the one man to do the ministry and accomplish the mandate. God’s desire is to raise up the people – the Church is the called out people of God empowered to carry the mission of God to accomplish the purposes of God all throughout the earth. POWER is evident in the Church when pastoral leadership operates in the Ephesians 4 :11-13 model.

The early Church knew that the only reason God gave pastors is to equip the people to have power in the ministry. The pastor was never designed by God to do the ministry for the people. The people of God are God’s greatest channel for God’s blessing to enter the earth – the only way the Gospel is preached in the earth is through the people of God every day, not a pastor once a week. The Scripture says the pastor is called to equip the saints of God for the work of ministry. Therefore the day I became a pastor, I left the ministry. Now my only ministry to the people I serve is to empower them for their ministry! I have no ministry apart from helping others discover theirs!

e2e labs are focused on three distinct areas: teaching and personal mentorship, peer networking, and education of disciple-making models for the local church. We believe Scripture admonishes all pastors to EMPOWER people for their ministry rather than RECRUIT people for their own ministry. The people’s capacity to achieve is directly determined by the leader’s ability to empower.

e2e labs will equip leaders to move the people they serve from entitlement to empowerment.

This year’s labs will really focus on the future of the Gospel’s spread in our world. Attendees will have the chance to hear from three different pastors, Pastor Craig Mosgrove from North Cleveland CoG, Pastor Chad Craig from Dwelling Place Church Acworth, GA, and from Pastor Jason Daughdrill from Gateway Church Shelbyville, TN. Some key facts that will be a part of this year’s conversation:

  • When you see people who are far from God, whether individuals in your world or people groups around you, what do you think the proper goal of the church should be relative those people? What is the role of the church in advancing the reign of God? Should we seek to get them in the church or to get Christ in them? Is our goal to get them into heaven or get heaven into them? Are we seeking to make church members (add to the saved) or draw them into submission to the reign of God in Christ? There are distinctions here.
  • While the making of disciple-making disciples will always result in the formation of communities of faith, or churches, and while disciples will instinctively draw others into their communal way of life, often producing growing numbers of people, the way we think and talk about the goal of our mission makes a huge difference.
  • As much a supporter of church planting as I am, we are actually 2never commanded in scripture to plant a church. That is our language. It is not the language of scripture. While Jesus and Paul used the agricultural metaphor of planting, they were referring to the gospel, or good news of Jesus and the reign of God, not an institution called church as we’ve come to think about it. We read our experience of church and evangelism back into the New Testament and this creates great distortion.
  • We are never commanded to grow the church. In fact we are told straight up we can’t. Paul told the Corinthians that he planted the Word and Apollos watered it, but only God can make the message produce growth. Jesus often talked about the mysterious nature of the growth of the Word in his parables. He encouraged Word sowing but never implies we can make anything grow. Jesus told Peter, after he confessed him as Christ, that if Peter and the other disciples would confess his Lordship that Jesus would build his church. Church or kingdom building is God’s business, not ours. Our job is confessing the Lordship of Jesus by way of our words and the total submission of our lives to the mercy-filled pattern of Jesus. Most of the time, if we are faithful in our confession, the end result will be more and larger communities of faith—but not always. Sometimes, being faithful to the way of Jesus will cause great and painful losses for a time. Ask Bonheoffer and the confessing church in Germany of the 1930’s and early 40’s .
  • What we are commanded to do is make disciples of Jesus among all nations (nationalities) by baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus taught us. That is something both Jesus and Paul seemed very concerned about. But neither got hung up on church growth or numbers per se. It is not that numbers don’t count. They do. Every number is a person and every person matters. But, the goal isn’t to have bigger churches as much as it is to have more people living under the Lordship of Jesus. That may result in larger churches, or it may result in more smaller communities that take on a variety of forms according to the nature of the communities in which the gospel is planted. One thing is certain, it won’t look the same everywhere.
  • Is it better for one congregation to plant ten different churches in different communities than just one congregation growing to thousands of people?
  • Many pastors find themselves working hard to make their churches grow and end up using strategies which increase attendance and membership but do not make disciples or make only anemic disciples who cannot reproduce themselves.
  • What we want to explore in these e2e labs is the idea for our leaders to get a clear understanding that our goal is to get the gospel into as many communities as possible and to make disciple-making disciples everywhere we can regardless of whether those people ever come to our existing churches. We need to measure our work by the impact we are having in the world for the sake of the Kingdom rather than by how many people show up on a Sunday. We need to count what we sow and let God count what grows. That number matters of course, but if church growth is the only way we can count, we will stunt the growth of the Kingdom and maybe even trap it in a place where it cannot reach the world.

 

We hope that you will join us for the conversation. You can register HERE for the labs!