Henry Venn, Ministry, Mission

Aiming for Redundancy…


“Success isn’t success without a successor”…

I remember thinking about this, the idea that things only work when it can carry on after you have let the stage.

Henry Venn one of the (often forgotten) heroes of the missionary movement talked about the THREE SELF CHURCH.

To be Church it must be:

In other words it could only be Church once the western missionaries could leave it along and it would govern, fund and grow without their input.

Henry Venn’s idea of Success wasn’t just getting a successor, but actually heading towards redundancy, when you are no longer needed anymore (that’s not to say you are not massively loved and people would want you to say).

Interestingly although the apostle Paul never articulated  his Church planting strategy it was this type of thing, planting Churches and moving on, and planting another one.

The idea of handing on the batton, stepping away  means allowing other peoples hands and finger prints on stuff, it means someone else getting credit that you worked hard for (often invisibly) passing it on is something easy  to say but harder to do… but always worth doing.

Part of leadership, is investing in people, nurturing and encouraging them.

Yet, by holding on to something that we should have laid down, we run the risk of actually killing it, shortening its life or never letting it become all that it could be.

Much of the Kingdom is counter intuitive…
After all Jesus’ talk of dying to live, is a strange idea to think of really.
Yet we know from nature the truth of the idea of “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains only a grain of wheat but when it dies it produces a ten, twelve hundred fold harvest”.

In a world that is about power grabbing, I’ve recently over the last few months thought much more about ‘power giving’ about enabling and empowering rather than doing stuff myself which as an activist and an enthusiast I find this something really hard to do…

But in letting other people grow as leaders and become confident in their faith this is probably the most effective thing I can do with my time in fact my life.

Maybe this new year think who can I invest in?
Who can I encourage?
Can I see potential in people, (even unlikely people and in the most unlikely places)

I remember a joke which went something like “in your sunday school you may have the next archbishop of canterbury, so you’d better be nice to her”… yet there is truth in this, the investing in our young people, the giving people chances, the taking risks….

Lets aim to be redundant unneeded as others are empowered

As John the Baptist said “I must decrease so Christ must increase” -Maybe we need to decrease and allow others to grow, letting people do what we love doing will be a painful sacrifice, but one worth doing.