All Black Haka (Photo by Kiwi Flickr)

I’ll also post my responses to Ian Foster‘s points rather than just make this a listing.

On vision it seems to me that while most NZ Baptist church leaders have got and run with the need for a clear vision. We have often been less good at the vital follow up work. It neither matches Ian’s advice, example or Scripture to simple work out and announce a vision. It must be shared, and for this there must be buy in, and usually for buy in people need to feel involved.

Sometimes like in Acts 15 the vision does not come initially from the leaders (the conclusion James announces there was almost certainly not what he would have wanted when the “Jerusalem council” started. But he and the others listened and prayed until the conclusion was clear, articulated pretty much by one respected “elder”, Peter (another who was perhaps “on the other side” when the meeting started, cf. Gal 2), and then announced by James. Like in Acts, or in the All Blacks, it is worth taking time and listening so that the final “vision” is shared. “We all agree to make sacrifices for it” in Ian’s words.

Unless the vision is repeatedly reinforced people will forget or drift off to follow their personal goals. Russell Watts (pastor of Ranui Baptist Church, a church that aims to baptise a new convert every week) exemplified this as he spoke about efforts to ensure that all his people remember to gossip the gospel1 all the time. Since in our “secular” Western world this no longer comes naturally he keeps finding neat simple ways to remind people, or draw attention to examples.

On “team first” I have little to add, except to underline how surprised I was that “humility” should be listed as the first quality mentioned when an All Black coach is asked what makes Richie McCaw a great captain. Rugby stars and humility are not naturally associated in my mind ;) Though it seems they should have been!

  1. My term not his. Russell is not a great one for programs, and is not really sold on “evangelism” in the style of the Open Air Campaigners, but he does believe we should all let slip comments in our daily conversations that witness to God at work and the gospel. More on this probably in a future post. []