REVIEW: The Leader 101 Course: Cultivating Habits of Highly Effective Spiritual Leaders
- Lesson One (June 2015). Cultivating the habit of joy
- Lesson Two (July 2015). Cultivating the habit of praying 10:2b
- Lesson Three (August 2015). Cultivating the habit of looking expectantly for 10:2b answer
- Lesson Four (September 2015). Cultivating the habit of carrying people (especially 10:2b answers) in your heart.
- Lesson Five (October 2015). Cultivating the habit of shepherding your flock.
- Lesson Six (November and December 2015). Cultivating the habit of interactive gratitude.
- Lesson Seven (January and February 2016). Cultivating the habit of attention paying
*Watch the video and then continue with the assignments below the video (click on the picture to watch this video).
Eugene Peterson on “prevenience”
Note: As always, invite the Coach (Paraklete) to be your personal teacher. Watch until He stops you. Read until He stops you. Then, write that idea or concept in your journal and ask Him what He wants to say to you about it.
I first learned the word “prevenience” from Eugene Peterson in his book The Contemplative Pastor (p. 65f). I was struck by what he had to say because it seemed so obvious in spite of the fact that it was exactly the opposite of what I had been taught. I was stunned! You see, I knew how to be proactive. I knew how to “run the church” and get things done. I knew how to “make it happen”.
I had a lot of unlearning to do!
Here’s what Peterson wrote (with a few of my comments in italics). Read these next paragraphs slowly. Let the words sink in. This understanding of God’s character calls into question the typical American approach to ministry!
Make it happen ministry
In running the church (or house church), I seize the initiative. I take charge. I take responsibility for motivation and recruitment, for showing the way, for getting things started. If I don’t, things drift. I am aware of the tendency to apathy, the human susceptibility to indolence, and I use my leadership to counter it. (Isn’t that what we have been taught that leadership is? If it isn’t, what is it?)
A cultivated awareness
By contrast, the cure of souls (he means here the true work of a pastor or leader of a church) is cultivated awareness (we call this “cultivating the habit of attention paying”) that God has already seized the initiative. The traditional doctrine defining this truth is prevenience: God everywhere and always seizing the initiative. He gets things going. He had and continues to have the first word. Prevenience is the conviction that God has been working diligently, redemptively, and strategically before I appeared on the scene, before I was aware there was something here for me to do.
…there is a disciplined, determined conviction that everything (and I mean, precisely everything) we do is a response to God’s first work, his initiating act. We learn to be attentive to the divine action already in process so that the previously unheard word of God is heard, the previously unattended act of God is noticed. (The questions we should be asking are) …What has God been doing here? What traces of grace can I discern in the is life? What history of love can I read in this group? What has God set in motion that I can get in on?
Implications and applications
- Have you experienced “make it happen ministry”? Where it was your job to seize the initiative, take charge, take responsibility for motivating and recruiting? What impact did that have on your life? What fruit did you see? How does an understanding of God’s prevenience change this?
- Have you experienced “just in case learning”? (“Here are all the things you need to learn just in case you might need them some day.”) How is “just in time learning” different? How important is it to cultivate the habit of attention paying?
- Have you seen functional deism in action? What did it look like? How did it feel
- What do you notice of God’s prevenient work in your life currently? in your house church? What is He initiating? Do you have a sense of how you are to join Him?
- Share what you learn from the Coach in this Lesson with your CO2 partner and with your Leader Team.
- Teach prevenience to someone this week. Ask the Lord if there is someone you know who would benefit from this concept of “prevenience”. Forward this Lesson and discuss it with them.
For further study
- Planning: Something better than WWJD?
- Why the missional movement will fail (1)
- Why the missional movement will fail (2)