Please Stop Herding Me

As I said in my previous post, I think the primary business of the church is the Moving Business. We are called to help people move from where they are to where God is calling them. Today I’d like to share a contrast and a prediction. First the contrast.

Moving vs Herding

We are in the Moving Business, not the Herding Business. The Herding Business gets the livestock to go where the leader decides they need to go. There is a pre-determined destination for the herd; the individual isn’t important. The goal is to move as many animals (members, attenders, cattle) from point A to point B as efficiently as possible.The challenge is to protect my herd from poachers, who have a different destination in mind, while moving them closer to my end point.

In the Moving Business the goal is to move the individual toward their destination, not necessarily the destination the leader chooses. Almost everyone has a different destination, so there is no “one size fits all” ministry package. The Moving Business is much slower and more complicated than the Herding Business. The Moving Business is only effective when the herd is broken down into much smaller groups with many more leaders; each individual needs a leader who will help them move toward their God-ordained destination. While connection to the herd is important, these smaller groups are where the actual moving is accomplished.

The Moving Business has huge, untapped potential

Jesus demonstrated the Moving Business approach when he called his first disciples. He pointed them toward their God-given destination as fishers of men and then spent three years teaching them to fish. Although Jesus attracted crowds and taught the masses, his primary focus was moving 12 men toward their God-given destinations. Jesus final act as he wrapped up his mission on earth in John 21 was reminding Peter of the primacy and individual nature of his mission.

John 21:22 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

The Moving Business has potential for exponential growth. People desperately want to know how to find the way to their God-given destination. Rick Warren sold 60 million copies of “Purpose Driven Live” because of this drive. Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now” addressed the same topic from a different angle. Even “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne appeals to this desire. A church that delivers on the promise to help people discover and find their way to their true God-ordained destination won’t be able to contain the growth.

To see this kind of impact, however, a church has to change businesses. Educating, warehousing, entertaining and herding become secondary, and they refocus their energy and resources on the Moving Business. The key activity becomes equipping leaders to help people discover and move toward their God-given destination. The Moving Business is all-encompassing but hugely rewarding.

Read more from Geoff here.

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Geoff Surratt

Geoff Surratt

Geoff lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Sherry (CEO of MOPS International). Geoff and Sherry have two awesome kids (Mike and Brittainy), a wonderful daughter-in-law (Hilary) and the most beautiful granddaughter on earth (Maggie Claire) Geoff has served on staff at Seacoast Church and Saddleback Church. He is now the Director of Exponential and a freelance Church Catalyst and Encourager.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Renee Haupt — 02/15/13 4:52 pm

That is so spot on. Love it.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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