Discover more from Len Wilson
Don’t Let Systems Subsume the Spirit
2023-08-10 Champions Weekly
1. On Not Screwing It Up
The Invite Press line up keeps expanding. We are up to 33 titles in the next 43 weeks, which is much more than even my 2x/mo projection from the beginning of this year. Amazing new projects emerge every week. What is even happening?!
Clearly, we are growing. But more than that, it seems clear from my seat that the Holy Spirit is up to something.
Now, I want to be clear. I am not trying to break my arm patting myself on the back here. In fact, it’s the opposite. My constant prayer is that I don’t screw it up - that I don’t run ahead, or assume I know where the wind blows. I love to build things, and if I don’t check myself, I will just build like crazy, and forget to look up. I am on a constant learning curve on what it means to let the Holy Spirit lead.
While good systems prevent problems and great practices ensure quality outcomes, we cannot allow systems to subsume the Spirit. When done right, the Spirit leads and systems follow. (It is easy for the order of these two things to become inverted, even in church. Especially in church. That is a topic for a future week.)
And by “Spirit” I don’t mean energy or some nebulous thing. I am talking about God—the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.
When the Spirit leads, what you end up with is ministry. People come first. This isn’t just true for the local church; it’s true for everything, including publishing. When we began Invite Resources, we asked ourselves, “What would publishing look like in the kingdom of heaven?” And then we’ve tried to do that. Foremost, we are a ministry. Of course, we are called to be good stewards, and to engage in good marketplace practice, but we cannot let systems subsume Spirit.
When I began this weekly note two months ago, I named it “Invite Champions.” One of the reasons is simple: being a champion is more than being a winner; it is believing in something greater than yourself and acting accordingly.
This week’s bottom line: The absolute foundation for any champion starts with knowing the source of your strength.
The absolute foundation for any champion starts with knowing the source of your strength. As Christians, we know that any new good improvement to society, be it a unique policy, a new product, or an invigorating picture of the future comes not from our own minds, sui generis, but from the power of God in us. The vision of the future that drives our labor is not our own; it is God who works in us, fulfilling his good purposes.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” — Philippians 2:13
Praise Jesus that it is not on us! Even as we work, let us never forget that ministry comes first. Let us not allow our systems to subsume the Spirit.
In the coming weeks, I’ll continue the Formula for Influence series, and will be highlighting several good practices we are learning that will help Invite Authors better share their message. For today, let us rest in knowing that the labor is not our own.
How do you keep from screwing it up?
2. Championing Invite - A Note from Shane Bishop
Shane Bishop, pastor at Christ Church and Invite Press author, asked me to forward this note to you:
Fellow Invite Authors and Supporters,
I am honored to be an author at Invite Resources. I see myself as a part of a team and you as my teammates.
Clearly, we are involved in something much bigger than a company; we are a part of a ministry. When Len first shared his vision for Invite with me, I was captivated. I still am.
There is little doubt that the success of Invite Resources and Invite Press is in all of our best interests and on that note, I would like to make the following proposals:
First, let's do all we can on our own platforms to promote Invite Resources as a whole. Sharing the link with those in our orbits to get on Invite's email list and receive discounts off books is a great start. I did so today.
Second, why not give "first consideration" to the use of Invite materials in our own contexts? We often do book studies at Christ Church. These range from individual groups and classes to all-church studies. I am sure you do similar things. What if we all made Invite Resources our "first stop?" It would be the first place we look to find the right match for what God is calling us to do and the resources that help us get there.
Finally, let's read as much of each other's work as we can and promote each other's material to the extent we feel comfortable. This will produce the "rising tide" effect. No down side.
I am honored to be a part of this gifted tribe of Christian ministers and writers!
Shane Bishop | Senior Pastor
mychristchurch.com | 618-277-4659 | | |