Margins, Fringes, and Outsiders

Yesterday was overload.

Failure is the resonance that allows connection. – Dave Gibbons

My heart is so full today, so challenged, so humbled.  Leadership is profound.  To answer the call of God, to step out into an unknown reality, to accept the uncertainty because of faith in Him.  Yesterday was a parade of men who have all taken on that challenge and answered it as fully as they could understand.   “Love the Lord Your God with all…”  The word “all” is huge, and at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit yesterday, my spirit resonated with the challenge coming from men and women who love God and His Kingdom in just this way.

Newsong's Website - Check it out
Newsong's Website - Check it out

Dave Gibbons, Pastor of Newsong (a multi-site, “3rd Culture” church) started the day, and talked of leadership in a new culture.  “3rd Culture Leadership” he called it.   He flatly asserted that Jesus, in calling us to love our neighbor, specifically meant those unlike us.   Citing church movements that are built on homogeneous models that create consumerist churches, Gibbons called us to reach out to the edges, to the people on the margins, and that many creatives live out there, and they’re the ones who are starting the important movements in our world.   Go to the outsider, he said, to the misfit, the fringe.    Success may not be chart-friendly, as in “up and to the right.”  (Imagine the usual line drawn on a grid that moves up and to the right as profits or numbers grow over time.)  Failure, Gibbons said, is success to God.  Failure is the resonance that allows connection.

We don’t need more visionaries, we need more relationaries.

Gibbons closed by challenging us with 4 acts of obedience, obedience being more important that passion.

  1. Deeper Collaboration – We must take the challenge to co-create with others more seriously.
  2. Communal Living – Proximity is important in creating the Kingdom Community.
  3. Pray – We don’t pray because we don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  4. Radically sacrifice for the outsider.

And finally, Gibbons hit me between the eyes, landed right on the bulls-eye that God knew would get me going.

Gibbons challenged us to see “the beauty of this kind of living.”

Being Third-Culture means having the mindset and the will to love, learn, and serve in any culture, even in the midst of pain and discomfort. – Dave Gibbons

And so it went all day long.

At the end of the day, as I sat with friends around a table of bounty where conversation was rich, food plentiful, and the beauty of youth on full display, I kept thinking of God calling us, calling me.  And the question that keeps rolling around inside is how do I answer this call fully?  Transition is coming–our new preacher arrives this week–and I feel the path diverging, God moving me toward a place I’ve never been before.  I don’t mean geographically.   I sense He wants to plunge into a world I don’t yet see, one clearly in alignment with what He’s been talking to me about for most of my life.

The beauty of it…

What does it mean?  I don’t know.   But over the past two days, my listening got sharper, more intense.

Intuition and intellect both buzzing…

4 Comments

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  1. Are you going to post any notes on Tony Blair and Bono? Looking forward to those!

  2. Jeff, love how you’re ruminating on the HS’s move in your life during the Leadership Summit. HS was certainly moving in powerful ways. I didn’t want to leave.

    • Dave,

      Thanks so much for your words. Obviously, you moved me. The Spirit did, as you say. I didn’t want to leave, either. Peace, my friend. God continue to bless your work, and may we all learn to live 3rd Culture.

  3. The problem I have with Entrepreneur Gibbons is his, for lack of better words, hip labels. He states a hip label and then gives an explanation of what the hip label means. However, his explanations are things that Christians already understand and are obvious. What is with all these “hip sounding words he comes up with. It’s as if he just discovered the meaning of the “gospel” before anyone else. God calls us to preach his Word to the lost and help create disciples. However, the Lord also warns us to not be yoked with the world (culture) that Entrepreneur Gibbons has been “marketing.”

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