November 16, 2003
I think the division symbol is probably the most graphic symbol in math – a line with two dots on either side. I mean, when you see that, you know what that represents … division. I’m sure when a lot of you saw this topic on the docket you thought, “Well, Ed’s going to take a negative approach to division. He’s going to talk about racial division, social division, economic division and all that stuff.” If you guessed that, you guessed wrong, because I’m going to talk to you about the positive side, the up side to division. Division is a great thing because it’s a God thing. God is all about division. He made the division decision years ago before mathematicians ever thought it up.
Think about the essence of who God is – the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There is perfect division in the Trinity. But there is also unity.
The Bible is divided. The Old Testament, the Old Covenant; and the New Testament, the New Covenant that God made with His people. In the book of Genesis, God is dividing stuff. He is dividing light from darkness. He’s dividing plants and animals. He’s dividing man from woman. He is always dividing. Then you have Jesus giving us the church and you have the division of local churches around the world. So God is a God who is into division. He made the decision for division. And once we come to the point in our lives where we make the decision for division, the math will really work.
I think about Fellowship Church and the history of our church. We began Fellowship about 13 years ago and early on we made a division decision as far as the vision of our church. Our vision is very simple. We exist to reach up—that’s worship, expressing love to God. We state around here that Christians don’t come to Fellowship Church to worship. We come already worshipping because everything we do, say, touch, and feel should be an act of worship. We exist to reach up. That’s the first part of the division of God’s vision.
Then we exist to reach out—that’s sharing Christ in a creative and compelling way with others.
We also exist to reach in—that’s having Jesus fully formed in our lives. That’s discipleship. We divided God’s vision into little areas. We’re reaching up, reaching out, and reaching in.
When our church exceeded about 250 people in attendance, I looked at several people in my office and I said, “You know what guys? This church has outgrown me. It’s too big for me.”
They said, “What?”
I said, “It’s too big for me. You know, I used to know the name of every single person, the names of their kids, if Junior had scored ten points in the basketball game, or if Sally had kicked three soccer goals. I even knew the names of peoples’ pets even down to their Iguanas.” But once it got to 250 people, I mean, it was above and beyond me.
So they said, “Ed, what are we going to do?”
I said, “I’ll tell you what we are going to do. We’re going to make a decision for division. We’re going to divide up the church in ministry teams, and we’re going to form these teams around peoples’ areas of giftedness.” And from the get go we have had these ministry teams. And that’s how Fellowship Church began.
We’re all about division and when you think about division, though, and the decision for division, think about your life for a second. What do you need to divide? What do you need to separate? What choices do you need to make? Life is a series of decisions and choices. You see, on the surface it looks like just division. A decision for division – that’s cute Ed. But if you go deeper, division has a factor that’s always involved in it.
When you make this decision about division, there’s always another factor that most people miss – discernment. When you talk about division you’ve got to talk about discernment. You’ve got to talk about the right way, the right means, and the right methodology of making choices.
Here is what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:9, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment…” (NKJV). In other words, knowledge and discernment – those are big things.
What does it mean to discern something? Discernment means to separate one option from another; one choice, one decision from another. As I said a couple of seconds ago, the decision that we make about math, about division, is all about making the right choice. And we’re faced with choices – who to marry, what to do with our life, where to travel, what do we do with our money, how about the future, where our kids will go to college – all that stuff. We make decisions corporately and individually; as a family and as people who are married. We need discernment. We need the ability to separate, to choose.
So Paul said, “This I pray, that your love may abound still more in knowledge and all discernment.”
And check him out as he continues in Philippians 1:10, “…that you may approve the things that are excellent…” That’s good. I want to do that. I don’t know about you, but I want excellence for my life.
[The verse continues] “That you may be sincere…” I want sincerity, don’t you? “…without offense till the day of Christ.”
I knew intuitively as a leader and as a Christian that our church needed to divide if we were going to grow and become the kind of church that God wanted. So, we made the decision for division. And within that decision for division, we had to have discernment to group people in the right areas. Discernment is a towering thing.
We’ve made a bunch of decisions here at Fellowship Church. Think about it. It is all about division and discernment. I think about when we started two services. We divided in our church. Two Services? Wow, man! Then we went to three services on Sunday! Whoo!
Then we did something totally strange. We added a Saturday night service! [Ed sarcastically gasps] Saturday night, wow! We began it about eight or nine years ago and it started off with 400 people. And in six months we grew it to an amazing 120 people! [laughter] So, we almost canceled Saturday night. But thank the Lord, literally, we did not. Because now on a good weekend we’ll have between 9-10,000 people worshipping on Saturday night.
So, we’ve got to make the decision for division and we need discernment – being able to choose, having the knowledge to separate stuff and taking that option or that path or not. We need discernment.
Well, how do you get discernment? We’re not just born with it. If we try to do life on our own, if we say, “Yeah, I’m independent, I’m autonomous, I know what’s best for me,” then you’ll mess up every time.
The Bible tells us what to do in James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom…” Hey, that’s me! Man, I lack wisdom by myself. I’m not that smart by myself. If I lack wisdom, if you lack wisdom, what should we do? [The verse reads] “…he should ask God.”
Ask God? How do we do that? Well, through prayer and through his Word—the Bible. God has given us math. He has given us discernment. If we read it, understand it and study it, then it will give us some knowledge to step out there and make the right choice, to make the right decision for division. Because when we make the right decision for division, we’ll have discernment. And God’s math works.
Also, too, when I make decisions as a husband, a father, a pastor, a leader, or even an author talking to different publishing companies, I don’t just make decisions by myself. Every time I make decisions by myself I mess up. I don’t just say, “Oh yeah, I’ll just do that by myself. I’ll just write that book by myself. I’ll just do that message series by myself. I’ll just make that decision as a husband by myself.” No, no, no.
You know what I do? (I know I’m talking fast, but I’ve had a lot of coffee today and we’ve got a lot of stuff to cover). Here’s what I do. I ask God’s wisdom. I look at the Scripture, but I don’t stop there. You know what the Bible tells me? The Bible says, “There is a great genius in a multiplicity of counselors.” So you know what I do? I turn to others in my life who love me for who I am, not what I have or have not done. Let me say that again. [Ed “rewinds”] I turn to people who love me for who I am not what I have or have not done. And they, in turn, are mature believers that give me their take—either the thumbs up or the thumbs down sign as a leader, as a pastor, as a husband, as a father, as an author, as a speaker, or whatever. And then we step out and make decisions.
We’re faced right now with some great decisions at Fellowship Church. What do we do with this growth? Well, several things are out there. One of the things is that we’re going to probably add 3 or 4,000 seats to this – I almost said arena – to this church. It’s like an arena sometimes. I don’t know when we’re going to do it, but we are.
I tell you something else we’re going to do. We’re probably going to add some satellite Fellowship Churches around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That’ll be cool!
So, every time we have a decision for division, we don’t just say, “Well yeah, it feels good, it looks good.” Man, if I made decisions like that, I’d be messed up. If I just said, “It feels good and looks good,” I’d get in trouble! Wouldn’t you? We’ve got to ask God. We’ve got to read his Word and ask others. I’ve come up with a little grid that I try to use as a leader and we try to use around here at Fellowship Church every time we make a decision for division. This will help you with this sermon.
WHAT, WHY, WHEN, WHERE, HOW
The first part of the grid is … what. Let’s just take that “what” for example. Let’s say we’re thinking about adding seats here and we’re thinking about satellite campuses in Dallas or Fort Worth. “What are we doing?” We’re building the church. Then we ask, “Why?” Well, because we’ve grown from 200 to about 19,000. “Why?” Because people matter to God. Then we ask, “When?” Well, I’m not sure right now – maybe over the next year or so. “Where?” Well, we’re looking right now. “How?” That’s a good one. We had better answer that one. “How?” We will multiply the talent base here. Have you ever wondered why we have so many gifted and talented people at Fellowship Church? Yes, we have them here on the main campus. But I think we’re also to go out and spread the wealth that God has given to Fellowship Church and to increase and to multiply. So we run our decisions through those questions as a church, and I challenge you to do that individually as well.
Don’t you need discernment? I do. Don’t you need division? I do. Make the decision for division and have great discernment. There’s a song that we sing, a song of worship that I love. It’s called “On My Way to You.” I want to read the chorus because this is all about division and discernment.
[Ed reads the chorus of the song and comments] “Teach me to think like you think…” That’s what the song says. I mean, that’s discernment, isn’t it? “God, show me the things that are true.” I want to be sincere and excellent, God. “Finish the work that you’ve started in me.” The work – what did Jesus say when he died on the cross for our sins? He said, “It is finished.” The work has been done. We don’t work for our salvation. We work out what God has worked in. And in the last line the song says, “As I’m on my way to you”. God has great math for all of us, and we’re on our way.
So at this time, I decided to divide the message into two parts. I’ve asked Yanci and Eric [Two of Fellowship’s praise team members] to come on out here, and they’re going to lead us in this song of worship called, “On My Way to You”. I want this song to be your song to God, to be your prayer, to be your cry to God as you are thinking about choices and decisions that are facing you every single day. So let’s stand and let’s put our hands together and let’s sing this song, “On My Way to You”.
[The congregation sings the song “On My Way to You”]
I grew up loving Batman. I’m not sure if you loved Batman, but I loved the guy. But my favorite character was Robin. And I think I loved Robin so much because he had the cooler clothes, and I’ve always loved clothes my whole life. When I was like two years old my mother said I would make her sew stripes down my pants and wear certain styles. I would change clothes all the time. I’ve always liked clothes. Batman was not a good dresser. All he wore was gray and blue. Robin though had the red and the gold and the green. I liked him. I made my mother make my brother and I costumes. My brother was Batman and I was Robin. What was sad was, I’m like a head taller than my brother and my mom has a picture of us where Ben was this little Batman and then there’s a big old Robin.
Batman, though, was messed up in a lot of ways. Yes, he was the caped crusader, but Batman was terrible at this next aspect of division that most of us don’t think about. Batman was horrible at delegation. Yes, he was the caped crusader. Yes, he fought crime. Yes, he went after the Cat Woman and Mr. Freeze and the Penguin, but he always would try to do it by himself. You know Batman said, “I’m the man. I’m the only guy who can do it.” He had all these people at his fingertips available to help. He had Bat Girl. He had the faithful butler, Alfred. He had Robin. He had Commissioner Gordon, Chief O’Hara, and the entire Gotham City police force. But no, no, no, Batman wasn’t talking to those people. He was doing it by himself. And every time he would get in one of those crazy traps and people would have to come and rescue him. He was pitiful at delegation. He’d have been much more effective if he had given the stuff away.
We need delegation, but a lot of us have delegation frustration. And the reason is that we are the bottleneck to delegation. We make the decision for division and then we have discernment. But we stop with delegation.
Some Harvard MBA guy or girl did not think up delegation. Bill Gates didn’t think up delegation. God thought it up. God’s all about delegation because God’s all about discernment and all about division. God delegated the management of the garden to Adam and Eve. He delegated your salvation and mine to Jesus Christ. He delegates leadership to a lot of people. Think back in the Old Testament. He delegated his power and his leadership to David and Deborah and Moses and…. Delegation.
I wrote a book on leadership titled “High Definition Living”. It’s my favorite book that I’ve written because it’s all about making a difference in this life. The guy that I talked about throughout this book is a guy named Nehemiah. He is one of my favorite characters in all the Bible. I want to talk to you about Nehemiah just for a second because Nehemiah knew the power of delegation. It is something that we need in our family, in our career, with the team, at the church, in the board room, wherever we are. We need delegation, but most of us are fuzzy and don’t realize it’s a God thing. The decision for division is followed by discernment and from there it goes into delegation.
Here’s the deal with Nehemiah. Let me give you the quick Cliffs Notes®. God told Nehemiah to do something that people said could not happen. God told Nehemiah to rebuild the city wall around Jerusalem. Now Israel’s enemies had just trashed Jerusalem. The walls were obliterated, and back in Biblical times city walls meant something. They meant protection. They meant continuity. They mean synergy and all that stuff. So Nehemiah led in this venture, in this vision to rebuild the city walls, and he did it because of God. He did it because of division and discernment and delegation.
I want you to look at three aspects of delegation that we can take home from Nehemiah’s life. The first one is simplification. Whenever you think about delegation, you’ve got to think about simplification. Nehemiah did something that was highly complex but he did it in a simple way. The greatest complement that you can give anybody is to say, “Hey man, that was simple.” The greatest compliment you can give Fellowship Church is, “Ed that was simple.” Because week in and week out we take something highly complex, the Bible, and we make it, we try to make it simple. I didn’t say shallow or superficial. I said simple. You don’t understand something unless you can explain it to me in a very simplistic way.
I grew up playing basketball, and I’ve talked to these people who, who make basketball complex, man. But the genius coaches are people who can make it simple. Oh, I get it now. I understand it now, and that’s what Nehemiah did.
“Guys, gals,” he said, “We are rebuilding the city walls. We can do it. We’re going to break everybody up; we’re going to divide everybody up in these teams built around skill sets.” For example, the priests were hanging out in Jerusalem. Nehemiah asked himself, “How can I get a bunch of priests fired up about rebuilding a wall?” Then he thought, “I’ve got it! I’ll just get the priests to rebuild the wall around the area that matters to them.” They hung around the sheep gate because that was where the sheep would be ushered into Jerusalem to be used in the sacrificial system. So when he said, “Hey priests, I want you to rebuild the wall around the sheep gate,” they responded, “Yeah! Yeah!” So they began to rebuild the wall. I mean, they were doing it with excellence. You see, their gift, their skill, their passion, and their heart beat really fast for that sheep gate.
If you keep reading in Nehemiah, for example Nehemiah 3:10, you see that it says, “Adjoining this, Jedediah son of Harumaph made repairs opposite his house.”
If Nehemiah gave you a project and said, “Hey, I want you to rebuild the wall by your crib, you know, your apartment, condo, or house, you would make sure it looked good, wouldn’t you? Notice what Nehemiah did not do. Nehemiah did not say, “Hey, I’m going to do it by myself. I’m going to make every brick. I’m going to mix all the mortar. You stay out of the way because if you want it done right, I’ll do it.” He didn’t do that.
Do you know people who have that mentality? They’re intimidated. If they delegated, they might realize that another person could do something better than them. And that kind of freaks them so they say, “No, no, I’ll do everything by myself, man.” If you delegate, you will find that sometimes people will do stuff better than you. And that’s cool. Delegating will also raise your level to the next plain, you will find out things that you never thought possible and gifts you never thought you had. So, Nehemiah took these natural groupings, and he just delegated the rebuilding of the city walls.
Again, I go back in time to when Fellowship Church began. Remember, we divided our church into ministry teams. Well, to be a little bit more graphic, Owen Goff asked me the best questions anybody has ever asked me here at Fellowship Church over our entire 13 year history. Owen Goff [Fellowship Church’s pastoral care pastor] asked me this question when we were just starting out the church. It was around February 1990. He asked, “Ed, you’re coming from a church that has 300 staff members. You are by yourself, man. How are you going to do it?”
There were about seven people in the room when he asked me the question. And I said, “Well, uh, you guys are going to be my staff. You’re going to be the staff of Fellowship Church. We can’t pay you, but you’re going to be the staff.”
Well, Owen Goff has gifts of mercy, gifts of compassion. He’s great at counseling people. I’m terrible at counseling people. You don’t want me to counsel you. I’ve got ADD. After about 15 minutes, I’ll go, “Hey man, get over it. Have you lost your mind?” You think Dr. Phil is gruff. And I don’t like to go to the hospital. That’s not my bag. That’s not my scene. But Owen loves going to the hospital. If you’re in the hospital, you want Owen to visit you, to pray for you and talk to you. Not me. If I ever come see you in the hospital, then you are really sick. You better watch out if I come. If you see me you’ll say, “Oh no, Ed’s here! Oh, I must really be bad off!” That’s Owen’s gift. He’s much stronger than I am in that area.
Doris Scoggins [Fellowship Church original staff member] has a background in the financial realm. She was the CFO of a company. Well, that’s not my deal. Doris was over the finances, a natural grouping. She’s stronger in that area. I’m weak. So that’s what happens when you delegate. You bring people around you who are stronger than you are who are better than you are. The Bible says that two are better than one and when people are working together, I mean, awesome, awesome things can happen.
And that reminds me of my Ritz crackers. [Ed brings out a box of Ritz Bits crackers] Do you guys eat Ritz Bits? I hope you don’t because they’re terrible for you. They’re high in fat. These things are like 12% fat! But this corporate cracker maker, Nabisco, is pretty brilliant. The regular size Ritz crackers are big ole honking crackers. People would eat them and think, “Oh, I feel so guilty eating a big Ritz.” So Nabisco put them in little packages – Ritz Bits. So now people don’t feel as guilty eating them. You just kind of pop one in your mouth, and say, “No big deal, no problem.” All of a sudden, 48 crackers later the box is gone, you know.
That’s what Nehemiah did. Nehemiah didn’t say, “Oh we’ve to eat this whole box of crackers, man. We have to build this whole wall!” He didn’t do that. He said, “Hey here’s a Ritz bit for each of you. I want you to take this Ritz Bit and you rebuild the area by the sheep gate. And hey Jedediah, here’s another one right here. You rebuild the wall that’s right by your house. And, yeah, over there – that’s a Ritz Bits.”
Then suddenly, they looked around and said, “Whoa, we built the whole thing!”
That’s what happened at Fellowship Church. That’s what happened. I’ve seen it. And you have seen it in your lives as well. Simplification. We can easily keep things complex. But we’ve got to make them simple.
Here’s another aspect of delegation – participation. Here’s what I’m saying. Here’s Nehemiah’s life. You’ve got to work with the workers. There are two groups of people every time you do something – the workers and the shirkers. Those people who step up and work, “Man, I’m ready. Let’s go for it. Let’s do it. Let’s build the wall.”
And there are those who will say, “Oh, you know, I don’t really feel like it. Oooohhhhh, I don’t know. I just…It’s not my deal, you know. I’m going to wait for another time.”
There are the workers and the shirkers. And too many people waste time trying to motivate the shirkers. They say, “Come on, man. I’ll turn you from a shirker to a worker. Please, please, please, come on, come on. The preschool area needs you. The Children’s area needs you. Please give. Oh, please come on.” No, no, don’t waste your time doing that. Love everybody, but move with the movers and swim with the swimmers. Don’t hang out with the bottom dwellers.
And that’s what that’s what Nehemiah did. Nehemiah 3:17 reads, “Next to him…” Let me stop there for a second. Do you see that phrase, “Next to him”? When God says something once, you had better pay attention. When he says something twice, you had better, you know, sit up. If He says something 22 times in one chapter…Warning, warning! You had better highlight it, mark it down, and live it out. “Next to him” is mentioned 22 times in Nehemiah Chapter 3. You’re talking about team building. You’re talking about the Ritz Bit method of simplification and participation. Nehemiah had it down cold. [The verse reads] “Next to him the repairs were made by the Levites.” Seventy-four different people are mentioned in Nehemiah Chapter 3. Hmmm, amazing!
This past week Preston Mitchell [Fellowship Church’s executive pastor] told me that Dr. John N. Vaughan, a church growth expert, listed Fellowship Church as the sixth highest attended church in America. And here’s what Preston told me that was really unique. He said, “You know, Ed, of all the churches on the list, most of them have triple the amount of staff that we do.”
I said, “Wait a minute. Say that one more time.”
He said, “Ed, of all the other churches on the list, most of them have triple the amount of paid employees of Fellowship Church.”
And I said, “Yeah! That’s intentional.” We have a lean staff for a reason. It’s because a lean staff forces us to give the ball of ministry away. It forces us to understand the concept that membership means ministry. It forces us to realize that as the staff, we’re the administers. And you folks, the people, are the ministers. And that’s why we have several thousand, in fact, over 3,600 people that volunteer every weekend just to make Fellowship go and grow. And that’s one of the reasons we’re the kind of church that we are today. We have great and wonderful involvement, participation. We work with the workers. And the shirkers, we love you but, hey, you know. That’s between you and God.
Nehemiah 3:5 says, “The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa…” Now, now, now we’re getting ready to slam some people here. “But their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors.”
Whoa, these nobles, man, just didn’t want to work. They were shirkers. Ummph. They would not put their shoulders to the work. When we delegate, we’re going to delegate to the right people. That’s why we need discernment.
Several years ago, God taught me this lesson. I’m a trusting guy. I just trusted someone with some stuff. And I said, “Here you go”. I just delegated it. I though, “oh, yeah, this guy, oh man, I trust him.” But I didn’t check up on him. I didn’t really check his background. Oh, man did I get slammed. We’re talking about a WWF body slam. Who are you delegating stuff to? You better know ‘em. You better know ‘em.
Maybe you’re asking, “Ed, are you telling me to just like you know to just have a good dosage of common sense and street smarts?” Yes. Jesus said, “Be wise as serpents (hiss) and harmless as doves.” Jesus said that. Serpents are wise. They’re crafty, they’re smart. They’re not immoral. They don’t have anything wrong. You know, they’re just crafty. And we are to be gentle, but also strong.
So when you delegate stuff, whatever it is – corporately, relationally, financially – you had better know who you’re dealing with, because people will burn you if you don’t check them out. Know who you’re delegating to. Some people will work. Some won’t shirk, and some will just flat out lie to you. Participation is people stepping up, people doing the stuff.
There’s one more I want to talk about. You’ve got simplification, participation and one more – evaluation. That’s it, evaluation. And most of us mess up right here. When it comes to division and discernment and especially delegation, most of us kind of, whoa, do the push back when it comes to evaluation. We’ve got to evaluate what’s going on. Here’s what we say around here at Fellowship church, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth delegating. But delegation without evaluation is an abomination.”
Delegate responsibilities to your kids. You know, you can start this when they’re little. Tell them, “Put up your toys. Take your dishes to the sink.” Start with little stuff. Delegate to your teenagers. Delegate, delegate, delegate. But, you had better evaluate what’s going on. We better check up on them because people do what you… (You’ve heard it before) … inspect not what you expect.
As a leader at Fellowship Church, I don’t just say, “Well, Preston, here you go. Rob, here you go. Just do whatever you want to do, man. Just don’t worry about it. No problem.” No, no, I delegate. As a leader, I empower them, but I also evaluate them. I’m all about evaluation. We cannot do the pushback.
And most parents mess up because they don’t want to do the work it takes to evaluate. Most business leaders mess because they delegate stuff to the wrong people. They have no discernment, and they don’t evaluate. I’m not saying to get mean or get critical, but I am saying to speak the truth in love.
Read about Nehemiah. What did he do? Well, he had the Ritz Bit thing going on – simplification. He was giving the crackers to everybody. He was saying, “Here’s a cracker, do this. There’s a cracker, do that. Build that part of the gate and build that part of the wall.” Then he had people participating and then, if you keep reading, you see that he would evaluate. He would go counter clockwise around the wall and check on what people were doing. He would say, “Well you know, that brick there is a little bit off there and that mortar. Now remember I didn’t tell you to do the mortar exactly like that. That’s not quite right. You’re not supposed to carve your name in the brick.” You know what I’m saying to you. He did that. And that’s leadership.
Leadership is not a popularity contest. As a parent, your goal is not to be your child’s friend or buddy. That’s not the goal. Parenting is the process of teaching and training your children to leave, to individuate. That’s the goal, parents. We’re to love them and our kids are to understand that, but we’re to delegate stuff. And as we delegate stuff, we see the simplification, the participation, and we see evaluation. If they mess up, if they step over the line, there are consequences to be paid. And there are consequences in your family. There should be consequences at work, consequences at school, and consequences on the team. And if you don’t like consequences, you will never amount to anything. It’s not going to happen for you. Ritz Bits. [Ed eats some Ritz Bits crackers] These, these things are tempting. I can close these things up.
[Ed closes the box of crackers and someone from audience] “Here I’ll take them.”
You’ll take them? Alright, yeah. There there’s a brave soul. He wants a Ritz Bits. Right, there you go. [Ed hands the box of crackers to a man in the audience] Take those. Yes, my gift to you. Wow! Every time you see those, think about this message, okay? That would have been cool. We could have given everybody a package of Ritz Bits. That would’ve been pretty creative, wouldn’t it? When you leave, when I leave everyday, remember Ritz Bits, Ritz Bits, Ritz Bits.
God’s math, though, works. It works every time: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You see; when you think about division, know that division is purposeful. I mean, there’s a meaning behind it. God wants us to divide. It’s powerful. Man, there’s power in it. Think about the growth in your life, in mine, in this church and in other areas when we divide.
But division is also painful. There’s a painful part. I mean, as I told you, I used to know everybody’s name – the names of their pets, of their Iguanas. I would know how many goals your kid scored. But now, there’s no way I can do that, and it’s kind of a painful thing. I miss those days. Our database says we’ve got 30-40,000 people coming by once a month. It’s impossible for me to know everybody’s name. I wish I did, but I don’t. I can’t do it. I used to go outside and shake hands between every service. I wish I could do that now, but emotionally, I can’t. Try shaking 15,000 hands and then speaking five times in a weekend. That’ll fry your brain.
And also, I’ve discovered something else about my time personally, as a leader. The bigger Fellowship Church becomes, the more time I have to spend away just in leadership development. But the cool thing is the delegation and the power of it. Hopefully, you’ve seen it here. We’ve got people like Tianne Moon [Spiritual development coordinator]. We’ve got people like Preston Mitchell [Executive pastor], Tracy Barnes [Assimilation pastor], Randy Draper [Fellowship Church founding member], Troy Page [Spiritual development pastor] and many others who step up.
Great leadership, I believe, is measured not just when you’re there in the family, but also when you’re not there. Great leadership is not just measured when you’re there for the team; it’s when you’re not there. It’s not when you’re there for the church; it’s when you’re not there for the church.
And nothing thrills me anymore to call back to Fellowship Church when I’m gone and have Owen tell me, “Ed, you missed it man. It was unbelievable! Why don’t you stay gone for awhile, you know?” That is great.
So, we must have a shared thing, and let me tell you something. Fellowship Church has an unlimited potential as along as we don’t worry about who gets the credit. But the moment we start worrying about who gets the credit other than God, that’s when God will take his hand off of our church, off of your company, off of your school, off of your family or whatever the case may be. This math stuff is deep stuff. Don’t think it’s not. God is all over math. He thought it up. And the cool thing is he wants us to be a factor in his equation.
Are you a factor? Are you a worker or a shirker? Are you dividing? Are you making those decisions? Are you using discernment; delegation; simplification; participation; evaluation? I pray so, because God is still counting. He is counting because you count to Him.