“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” (2 Timothy 2:2 NLT)
As a new member of the Saddleback staff, I know I’m here because of the principle of stewardship. Saddleback Church poured into me and the church I pastored for 18 years; then I passed onto other churches what I learned from them. You don’t have to be big to make a big splash for the Kingdom; you just have to be willing to help someone the way God helped you. There are no perfect models or churches — just growing ones!
I remember inviting a neighbor to my small group once, and his reply was honest and revealing: “I don’t need a small group,” to which I replied, “Maybe one needs you!”
I have no doubt there is a church near you or far away that desperately needs your help to learn what God has taught you.
So, where do you start?
1 – Begin by recognizing your own need. My first step in helping other churches began with recognizing that I needed help. I needed to learn. Pride stops us from being utilized greatly by God. When I confessed my need and became open to God, he opened a whole new world of growth and understanding to me. The barriers to helping other churches are not “out there” but inside our hearts.
2 – Bring other churches with you as God leads you to grow. I hope you don’t take this trip alone. The pastor down the street would be encouraged to see what God is doing in your church and to personally learn how he could do the same.
I love the story of one disciple who asked Jesus what appeared to be a dumb question, yet, as it turns out, it was brilliant: “Where are you staying?” This is the model question! “‘Come and see,’ he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day” (John 1:38-39 NLT).
Imagine spending a day with Jesus. If you’ve been with Jesus, you have something to say and to teach others. We learn best when we “come and see.” I’m often asked, “Why is Rick Warren so blessed?” I’ll tell you why: He’s let thousands of us come, see, and learn what God has taught him.
3 – Be a risk taker! When Hurricane Katrina wiped out churches, Saddleback Church stepped in and paid salaries to those pastors, which enabled them to pay attention to the needs of their congregations. Saddleback took the risk; they made the call when it was needed most. No excuses, no waiting for perfect conditions — they did what they could with what they had. So when a tornado hit my town two years ago, Saddleback’s model and love led my church to do the same for a pastor who lost his church. An entire region is still inspired today because a Baptist church reached out to a Church of God congregation in their time of need. We became a model of Christ’s love because Saddleback first modeled that love to us. There is no limit to God’s power and blessings on any church that will do the same!
Jimmie Davidson is the interim PEACE pastor at Saddleback Church. He previously served as the founding and lead pastor of Highlands Fellowship in Abingdon, Va. for 18 years. While at Highlands, he began the Global Glory of God PEACE House, which equipped more than 300 international leaders from 70 nations in the PEACE Plan and Purpose Driven model.