We can develop a mindset as men that includes mission and vocation.
Many men struggle to understand how their personal calling converges with their vocational calling. In this episode of Man Talk, Vince Miller is joined by Dan Clites, Director of Church Ministry Development at LCMC and planting pastor who coaches planting pastors across the country. Today we hear Dan’s thoughts on how we as men can find this convergence and live in our mission.
Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I am Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re discussing the topic of how to have a mindset for discipleship and mission as a man.
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Well, I am excited to introduce to you, today – my good friend, Dan Clites – who oversees ministry development for LCMC. Dan has served as a church planter, lead Pastor, and Pastor for over 20 years. And today trains and equips men to be church planners across the country. Before graduating from Luther Sem in 1995, Dan worked for 9 years as a television sports reporter in North Dakota. Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan: Thank you, Vince, glad to be with you – a world changer – and all the guys that are listening, fellow world changes.
Vince: Yeah, that’s right man. And we get to talk like men about life and about changing the world, and about discipleship mission and living on that mission. And Dan, I’ve got to tell you – I’ve really enjoyed some of the podcasts we’ve done in the past. They’ve really impacted me personally. You get me fired up, man. You know that? I get fired up when I listen to you. It’s really exciting for me.
Dan: Yeah exactly.
Vince: So thank you for that.
Dan: Well that – you know what? There’s nothing more exciting than saying, you know what? Jesus is not just this pie in the sky, he’s – has power, he has authority, he changes your life. And then better yet, you can change other people’s lives.
Dan: I think guys are longing for that sense of, “What’s my purpose here? Is it just to go to go to work and raise a family and love my wife?” Those are wonderful things but beyond that? And so I love talking to guys about that stuff.
Vince: Well, and I meet guys all the time who are looking for that as well.
Vince: No joke. I mean, I meet guys every day that I would say are looking for this – their purpose in this world. And you meet them too, right?
Vince: And they’re searching for something, they’re searching for a mission. And the best part about it is – Christ has given them a mission. They’ve just got to discover it, uncover it – using the gifts that they’ve already been given. And that’s kinda the fun part about it. We’re just unwrapping something that’s already in them, right?
Dan: And there’s nothing wrong with going to seminary and being trained to do inside the church work. But when a guy says, “I want to do ministry. I have to go to seminary now.” I go, “Whoa, only if you’re called.” You aren’t (are?) called to be a minister, you aren’t (are?) called to be a missionary. You aren’t (are) called to have training, but it may not be inside the temple, because that might be a waste of your – of your time and your energy and your gifting’s. Maybe you’re anointed for business? So be in the business sector. We need Christian business people and government people that are followers of Christ and education people who are not just indoctrinating our kids, but–
Dan: Showing them that there is a different kind of hope besides–
Dan: What government we have in store or learning more stuff.
Vince: Yeah, exactly. Now I know recently that you were meeting with the church in a warmer state than Minnesota.
Vince: And you encountered a Pastor who engaged you about how to help guys to do that, right?
Vince: Can you tell that story?
Dan: I love this. It’s Kingman, Arizona. First of all, I love the town and the name of Kingman, right?
Vince: Yeah, right.
Dan: But they were doing just the opposite. They weren’t doing Kingdom work necessarily. They were a church started from 2009. They had like 170 people when they started, but they had dwindled down last year to about 30 – and they were in panic mode. Because they were pretty much saying, “Pastor Dan, show us what we can do to get more people to join us on the inside of the building on Sunday.” And I said, “Maybe we’re asking the wrong question here. Let’s do a paradigm shift, instead of asking what can we do to trick people or whatever it is–”
Dan: “To come on inside. What if we took this 30, which is more than Jesus started with, with 12. Less than 72, but we’re getting there.”
Dan: “And focus on training, equipping, encouraging, deputizing and then deploying you into the spheres of influence of Kingman, Arizona – and just let that play out. Now people may or may not come to your church. But success comes, not in whether there’s bodies inside your church building on a Sunday morning – as great as that would be. Success comes in the fact that you’re being obedient to what Jesus told you to do. Go and make disciples.”
Vince: Make disciples. There you go.
Dan: “And so, train the folks, encourage the folks. Come back, share stories of encouragement. And then get sent back out.” And lo and behold – because they trusted, and they obeyed – they’ve already broken the 100 person barrier. And they weren’t even trying to force the issue. They were simply trying to be engaging in their community. And folks said, “You know what? I’ve been looking for that kinda hope.” Or, “I need what you need.”
And then that person says, “Well, I’ll take you out to supper, and we’ll talk more about it.” He didn’t say, “I’ll take you to church on Sunday.” Said, “I’ll take you out to supper.” We’ll develop a relationship here. And the next natural thing is, “Hey, how about if we get together on Sunday morning? These people are not weird.”
Dan: “They’re not strange.”
Dan: And then they find out that’s true.
Vince: Yeah. There are 2 things that you said there that I think are very, very important in that illustration. Or it’s a real-life story, it’s not an illustration.
Vince: It’s an actual occurrence, right?
Dan: That’s absolutely correct.
Vince: First, you really to help your senior leader understand what it means to have a mindset for discipleship. Because we tend to have an attractional understanding of what it means to do church. And unfortunately, we’re very soured by that. Because we as men mentally compete in our minds, regarding how big the biggest church is in town and how little our show may be, right?
Vince: So we instantly go, “How do I get more people in?” When really the answer is – how do we deploy more people out?” And then not only is there a transformation in the mind of the senior leader, there has to be a transformation in the people that are there. And they have to embrace the mission and live on mission. That’s what they want anyway. They want to figure out, “How do I live on mission?”
We just need to give the people what they want and what they need. It’s a base core need. We have a desire for community, and a desire to be developed, right? I know that’s true, because there were 12 guys that didn’t have community and needed to be developed, and both of them found it in Jesus Christ when he called them, and when he chose to disciple them and develop them – they – all of a sudden, were called into a community that sent them out. They got developed, and boom – magic happens, right?
Vince: We’re sitting here today because of what Jesus did with 12 guys. I can’t say that enough. I’m going to say that for the rest of my life. We’re sitting here today because of what Jesus did with 12 guys. When we learn that lesson, we have learned the ultimate lesson about how to live on mission. So we bring those 2 entities together, where we bring a Pastor or a leader – who’s passionate about sending people out, rather than calling them in. And then we also help to develop the people around us and send them out. And then maybe more people will show up at our church. But really showing at a church is not the end game, right?
Dan: It’s not the end game. It’s a fruit – but it’s not the end game.
Vince: Yeah, it’s not the end game. And man, dude – I’m sure that you’ve seen this work. And sometimes there are guys that are stuck in that other mindset that they’re just failing, right?
Dan: I was watching a basketball game last night, and I was so intrigued. They were talking about a coach that had come from a lineage of another coach at a big school. And he had all these former players that were now coaches that coached under him, his assistants. And now they’re up coaching big-time basketball. And there’s a celebration of, “Yeah, we compete,” ’cause that’s the fun part. However, we are on the same team, and that’s called raising up young men to be greater people. Not just basketball players, but greater people in the community.
And I go, “Basketball gets it.” Well, this whole concept comes from Jesus. He started with 12 – as you mentioned. He focused really a lot on 3. But the whole point was – I remember when he did the miracle of the bread and the fish. He says, “Now you guys go participate in it. You clean up the mess.” He’s empowering them to take part in the miracle. Too often, I think Pastors are trapped up in, “I want to do the miracle, I want to be a part of that.”
Instead of saying, “How many people can I train and coach up to be coaches,” if you will, “For other church plants.” And to see a coaching line like that in the church would be awesome, wouldn’t it? To say, “I’m recognizing young people, and I’m going to mentor and coach them and send them out.”
Vince: Yeah, yeah. That’s really – it’s a complete mind change. It’s making a mindset shift from being a hero, to being a hero maker, right?
Dan: Correct, yes.
Vince: And if we can make that shift, we can become world changers.
Vince: And we can’t do it otherwise. We just get stuck in our old patterns.
Vince: And we’ve got to move into a new methodology, because the current one just is not working if we’re stuck in this attractional model, waiting for people to show up at what we’re doing. It’s not going to happen anymore.
Dan: I know, it talks in the Book of Acts, people that were non-believers noticed that things were changing around them. And they were amazed. Because this – this group of Christians were multiplying themselves. And it says in Scriptures, “Turning the world upside down.”
Dan: And they weren’t doing that by war or being negative or shoving anything down anyone’s throat. They were just – they were washing feet, if you will? They were taking on the posture of servant-hood.
Vince: Right, yeah. Just taking on – and that, you’re starting to get into some practical things. I want to chase this just for a little bit, Dan. But as a practical lesson, I think the lesson to the Pastors out there that are leading churches is – is we’ve got to abdicate some things. We’ve got to lose some things to gain a greater mission, right? We’ve got to – if we want to gain that greater mission – we’re going to have to give up some of our old ways.
Vince: And even our own mindsets.
Dan: Jesus said, “A seed has to die.”
Vince: Oh absolutely.
Dan: In order to it – to produce, multiply, change the harvest. That’s Christianity 101. Die to live. That’s Kingdom.
Dan: But the world says, “You don’t want to do that.”
Dan: But the kingdom is – if you die, or what looks weak or looks insignificant is actually in the Kingdom, extremely strong. Like a mustard seed.
Dan: That’s a mindset, like, “Yeah.”
Vince: It’s a mindset. And then for us who are just average, ordinary everyday guy – like you and me. We need to help people to understand their mission and to live on that mission, right? And that’s much harder work, right? It takes time–
Dan: Yes, yes it does.
Vince: But it sounds like to me, that you’ve seen the replication impact of that. When we help people to really discover their purpose – and I’m not just talking about their secular purpose. I’m talking about their spiritual purpose inside of their secular purpose, right? That greater purpose that is uncovered in them. That we as Pastors have a responsibility to help people to find that path. To live in it victoriously, and to use it as a means to helping people know Jesus Christ.
Because when I am the very best communicator – and then I use my communication skills to advance the Kingdom, then I’m blessing the Kingdom. Or – I’m a guy who runs and leads a business with thousands of employees. If I’m very good at leading and running a business with thousands of employees, and I do it in a way that honors Christ – and I’m expanding his Kingdom, right?
Vince: We have a responsibility to do this.
Dan: Well people are going to say – they’re going to give you radio interviews. They’re going to be on TV saying, “How did you do it?”
Dan: You get to talk about Christ. You’re not forcing it, they asked you.
Dan: And you get to talk about it.
Vince: Right, yeah. Because you’ve been using Christian principles to leverage the mission of Jesus Christ.
Vince: And expand his kingdom through the wonderful and beautiful gifts that he’s given you. Dan, I know that you’ve had another story or 2 kinds of brewing here. So is there any other success stories that you can recall how people have moved from thinking attractional or come to us, to moving into a mission and living on purpose?
Dan: That’s a great question. Here’s an example. I was in Quincy, Illinois – a new church start, a couple of years old. And they’ve been kinda plateauing. That’s what happens when you kinda lose your vision. After hey well let’s get started. Well, it’s more than just getting started, it’s where you’re going – what’s the purpose of it all?
So I simply asked him, “How big is your paid staff?” And with a scarcity mindset, they said, “We only–” Hear that? “We only have a Pastor, full-time Pastor, and a part-time secretary.” And I go, “Oh really? Well, how many adults who are working or making money do you have worshiping on Sunday?” And they go, “Well, about 125.” And I go, “Seems to me that you have 127 full time paid staff members of this congregation.” We’ve got to get away from–
Dan: How big is our staff so that people come in and get programming to – let’s equip folks that are already getting paid, and they already have spheres of influence.
Dan: They already have relationships going that the Pastor will never know or have, or be welcomed into.
Dan: And see them as your paid staff members of this church, to the Glory of God.
Dan: Boy, people just smile and kinda say, “It can’t be that simple.” Jesus didn’t say it was brain surgery did he?
Vince: Right, yeah.
Dan: It’s obedience.
Vince: Yeah. And see–
Dan: In the great commission, teach them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. He didn’t say, “Teach some more information.”
Dan: But teaching obedience. How to follow Jesus, trust him.
Vince: Right, yeah. Instead of attracting people to us, we’ve got to mobilize them, right?
Vince: And we’ve got to look at everybody as someone who wants to be and needs to be mobilized for the Kingdom, right? Like my-
Vince: Beginning with my wife, my family, my neighborhood, the people around me, the people in my church. We’ve got to mobilize them. We’ve got to encourage them to mobilize. And we’ve got to cast the vision, and we’ve got to embrace it. And as we close here, Dan – I would say – every church in this country today, should be having this conversation with their staff team, and at a board level or a session level – wherever.
Dan: Totally agree.
Vince: And it should–
Vince: This should be the conversation being had–
Vince: In every church today. And the most important – because if we don’t think this way, we will surely see the silencing of the Christian movement in our day. If we continue to think attractional model, we are done. We are done. Because I’ve got to tell you, there are a lot more things out there that are more attractional than what we’re doing. Netflix is way more attractional. The Xbox is way cooler. Concerts are way more fun. Comedians are way more fun. I cannot compete with those guys. I can not compete with the movie industry. We’re done if we don’t mobilize the Christian man and woman in our day. And I specifically believe it begins with a Christian man. We’ve been given authority–
Vince: To speak into this world.
Vince: God gave it to us before the woman was created. He gave us a responsibility. And gentlemen, we’ve been apathetic too long. Our problem is not engagement. Women always engage. That’s their pattern, they engage. Men – we sit back too long, and we need to engage. And I just want to thank you, Dan, so much for some of the conversations, we’ve had in the last few podcasts. And I pray that guys, that you are motivated by the gospel in you today. Because it is the gospel in you that makes a difference in the church tomorrow.
And that’s the show, thanks for listening. As we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free dash trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s study guide to go with it.
Well, guys, I hope you enjoyed this episode of Man Talk, but please know that the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you choose to act on it. So do something today – by getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of Man Talk.