If you were not at RE:GROUP this past Friday night, you missed a great time of fellowship, inspiration, and learning in leadership! Our theme for the evening was Creating Margin for Transformation, and here’s what some of you are saying about it:
“Margin in my life will help transform the lives of those [I am] leading.”
“I’m definitely redefining my margins, spiritually, personally and professionally. Life changing information!”
“The breakout I attended was very useful. I took away some new ideas.”
“It gave me much to think about how to create margin in my personal life to get closer to the important things.”
“As leaders, if we are not healthy, how can we lead healthy and growing groups?!”
Do you have the personal margin to lead your group toward transformation?
The lie we too often believe is that by doing more, we are worth more; by maxing out our schedule and our commitments, we are accomplishing more. More…more…more. Margin is defined as:
1. an amount allowed or available beyond what is actually necessary: to allow a margin for error. 2. a limit in condition, capacity, etc., beyond or below which something ceases to exist, be desirable, or be possible: the margin of endurance; the margin of sanity.
The reality is we all have limits: physically, relationally, spiritually, among others. And, though it may seem counter-intuitive, when we live at or near those limits without appropriate margin our capacity in each of those areas is actually reduced! It is in the margin that we are available to be used by God. It is in the margin that life happens!
This is no less true in our service and leadership in the church. While we may recognize the need for margin in other areas of life, we too often subtly allow the lie of “more” to creep into our service to God! Perhaps it’s because we see the greater value of this service that leads us to think the laws of limits and margin somehow don’t apply? Maybe we feel better about being maxed out if it’s from “spiritual” endeavors? Whatever the reasoning, it’s still just as much a lie!
God has entrusted every believer with passions, gifts, abilities and opportunities to serve. The question is: Do we trust Him enough to be satisfied with that? “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. It was he who gave some to apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” [Eph. 4:7, 11-13 NIV]
If you have too much to do, not enough time for the things you really long to do, and are lacking the needed investment in relationships, it’s safe to say you’re outside of God’s design and intent for your life. I hope the challenge from Pastor Merle in the main session at RE:GROUP this past weekend is the start of a process of evaluation and meditation on where and how God is calling you to invest the life he’s given you. For some, creating margin will be a matter of re-prioritizing all that’s on your plate; for others it may require cutting some things–even “good” things–that aren’t the best; for some it may be creating the margin to hear from God; for still others it’s margin in the relationships and dynamics of your Community Group.
Merle suggested four very practical steps to creating margin:
Look in the mirror. The only one we have to blame for our lack of margin is ourselves! Quite blaming others/circumstances and take responsibility for creating margin in your life. 1 Cor. 11:28 says examine yourself. Do I have an unhealthy need to please others? Do I have an unhealthy need to be needed?
Listen to your body. 1 Thess. 5:23 and Rom. 12:1. What is my body indicator that I have no margin?
Lessen the speed of your life. Is God ever in a hurry? No! Live your life at the pace off God. Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Psalm 46:10. It’s hard to hear transforming truth when you’re uptight.
Learn to live with limits. John 3:27,30. When you don’t live with limits…you over-extend, you are trying to be God, and sensitivity to the Spirit becomes fuzzy. Are you living “driven” or “drawn”?
What changes do you need to make in order to have the margin for transformation to take place in your life? What changes do you need to make in order to have the margin to see transformation in the lives of those you lead?
Make a list of everything you do in a week. What is necessary? What does God want you to do? Make a “to don’t” list (things to take off your plate); then follow through!