More Than Clones

I'm not Andy Stanley.

That's probably obvious. I'm taller, younger, and weigh a lot more.

I'm not Craig Groeshel.

I don't have those muscles.

Nor am I like any other leader. I'm not as refined as some. I can't speak as well as others. My vision casting skills pale in comparison to the greats.
And that's okay.

Okay, I may be a lot like Rob Bell in writing these one sentence paragraphs, but please don't tell anyone that I'm like Rob Bell.
Here's the thing. We fly out to conferences. We go to workshops. We hear incredible messages. We get inspired. But then we make the mistake. The big mistake. We try to become like the one who has inspired us. We try to become clones of the popular national speaker.
This year at Exponential in Orlando, I heard one of the most fascinating stories from Choco de Jesus. You have to hear it yourself some day. He shares how he ran and biked 180 miles to raise money to buy a farm that would provide a safe place for recovering prostitutes. It was a story of hope, of disappointment, and of great inspiration. God touched me greatly in hearing it.

The great thing about Choco's story is that I wasn't inspired to duplicate him. Who would want to run or bike 180 miles? That's just crazy. And it made me realize how I strive to emulate these "rockstars" of the Christian faith.

But I only emulate the easier things.
I take on this trick or that program. I think this strategy or method will transform my church. But it doesn't.

And it's all wrong.

We can look at Andy Stanley's or Craig Groeshel's models of being the church in their communities and be amazed. We want those kingdom results. We want to impact our communities for God like that. So we come home, digest our notes, and try to duplicate their church in our communities. But I am really convinced that North Point and Lifechurch are the way they are, not because of the systems they have, rather, it is because of their giftedness and all the other great people they have surrounded themselves with.

Then we see someone like Hugh Halter doing something different in Denver. Ooh, I want that different church too. Community. Life. Bring it on! And so we jump tracks and try to emulate that church too. Yet have you heard Hugh Halter speak? Adullam can't be duplicated because Hugh Halter can't be duplicated.

We unwittingly play the role of the mad doctor Frankenstein and create the Frankenstein Church. A church that is a patchwork of all these other exciting churches who are relevant in their communities and local context. Yet they are often out of place in ours making our churches about as productive as Frankenstein's monster.

There is this fine line between being inspired and trying to duplicate. We are each individually and wonderfully made. God is working on us to become the pastors and leaders that He planned for and called us to be. Yet we will not get there trying to duplicate others.
We will only realize our true ministry potential when we mix the practical training with a genuine commitment to grow in Jesus. He is the one we are to try and duplicate. He is the one who knows what the church should look like lived out in our local contexts. He has the power to make it happen.
How would Jesus reach my community? What would Jesus do with the resources He has provided me with? Who would Jesus love and how would He love them?

Whether or not this is what we get from the Stanleys, Groeshels, or others, this is really what they have wrestled with and figured out. Likewise, this is what we need to wrestle with and figure out. Our communities need the church Jesus is calling us to shape.
How can I lead in my location like Jesus would? How can you lead in yours?