How Humility Transforms Lives : Dennis Edwards
How can humility help our local churches nurture healing in our divided world? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Dr. Dennis Edwards, New Testament scholar and Dean of North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. Dennis has served for over three decades in urban ministry, including as a church planter and pastor. He’s written a number of books, including his latest, entitled Humility Illuminated. Together, Dennis and Jason explore how rediscovering biblical humility can literally help transform our communities. Dennis also shares how embracing humility helps us negotiate conflict, endure suffering, and shepherd our people.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
- Shareable Social Graphics – Feel free to post them on your church social accounts, your personal accounts, or use them as graphics in your communications
Share the video with your ministry leaders >> YouTube
Share the audio podcast with your ministry leaders…
Additional Resource Links
www.revdrdre.com – Visit Denniss’ website to uncover valuable resources, such as his book and additional content, all crafted to assist you on your spiritual journey.
Humility Illuminated: The Biblical Path Back to Christian Character – New Testament scholar Dennis R. Edwards illuminates humility as a, if not the, distinctive identity marker of followers of Jesus. Tracing the theme throughout Scripture, he demonstrates how true humility is grounded in submission to God and becomes manifest in all areas of life. Edwards defuses common misconceptions about humility and explores its role in Christian community, conflict, leadership, suffering, worship, and stewardship.
~ing Podcast – Our world is increasingly complex, fast-paced, and divided. How are people of faith bringing their best selves to the world each day? How are we leading, growing, and being as people of God? ~ing Podcast is a place to share insights and stories from individuals creatively engaging the present and moving into the future.
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk? Complimentary Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- In the pursuit of recovering, respecting, and reenacting biblical community, humility becomes the key foundation, allowing individuals to submit to God and become peacemakers in their interactions with others.
- Embracing biblical humility involves starting with a posture of submission before God.
- Humility should not be equated with insignificance; rather, it is about maintaining a balanced view of oneself and avoiding extremes, such as false modesty or an overly negative self-perception.
- Negotiating conflict, instead of solely seeking resolution, aligns with the biblical understanding of humility, recognizing the complexity of some conflicts that may persist but can still be navigated with grace and godly wisdom.
- The link between humility and suffering is illuminated through the acknowledgment that, even in challenging times, submitting to God’s care allows individuals to endure and persevere, accepting help from others and patiently enduring the journey.
- Ministry leaders are urged to see life as their ministry, prioritizing health, family, and personal well-being for a holistic approach to leadership.
- Humility transforms by shifting focus from power to fostering a loving Christian community, influencing and shaping society through collective action.
- The call to shepherd found in 1 Peter 5 condemns approaches that focus on power and, instead, emphasizes the importance of setting a God-honoring example and leading with humility.
- Repentance goes beyond abandoning negative habits; it’s a continual reorienting toward aligning one’s will with God’s.
- Humility guides individuals through storms of suffering, preventing a sense of abandonment. The humble stance involves clinging to faith, refusing to give in to despair and tenaciously holding on to the Lord’s care, reminiscent of the disciples in the boat facing the storm.
Questions for Reflection
- How do I personally perceive humility within my role as a ministry leader? How do I view humility in relation to recovering, respecting, and reenacting biblical community?
- In my journey of embracing biblical humility, what steps do I take to initiate a posture of submission before God? How does this shape my interactions and relationships?
- How am I maintaining a balanced view of myself while embracing humility? Am I struggling with either extreme: false humility or an overly negative self-perception? If so, what can I do to move beyond these extremes and embrace a healthier understanding of humility?
- How has my understanding of humility impacted my growth, both as an individual following Jesus and as a leader in ministry?
- If I were to ask those closest to me in my personal life about how I model humility, what do I think they would say? What about those closest to me in ministry, like my key volunteers or staff?
- In navigating conflicts with a biblical understanding of humility, how do I approach situations where resolution may be elusive? How do grace and godly wisdom guide me through the complexity of persistent conflicts?
- Considering the link between humility and suffering, how do I find strength in submitting to God’s care during challenging times? Is this my default posture when I’m facing difficulties? If not, what can I begin doing to grow in this area?
- In what ways has humility allowed me to endure, accept help from others, and patiently persevere through difficult journeys? In what ways has my lack of humility hindered my journey? What can I learn from these examples?
- As a pastor or ministry leader, how do I view life as my ministry? How do I personally prioritize health, family, and personal well-being to contribute to a holistic approach to leadership?
- Reflecting on humility’s transformative power, how do I shift my focus from wielding power to fostering a loving Christian community? In what ways have I seen this collective action influence and shape society positively?
- Drawing from the call to shepherd in 1 Peter 5, how do I personally avoid authoritarian and power-focused approaches in my leadership role? Are there specific scenarios where I lean more heavily on authoritarian leadership styles? If so, what are they? How can I avoid power-focused approaches to leading in ministry? What might that look like?
- How do I prioritize setting an example for the flock and leading with humility? What are some specific ways I am doing this now?
- In my understanding of repentance as a continual reorienting toward aligning my will with God’s, how does this ongoing process show up in my daily life and interactions? How am I aligning my will to the will of God? What does this look like in my life and ministry?
- Do I ever feel abandoned by God when I face suffering and difficult circumstances? Why might I feel that way? How can humility help me navigate storms of suffering and avoid a sense of abandonment? How has clinging to faith and holding onto the Lord’s care shaped my perspective during challenging times?
How can humility help our local churches nurture healing in our divided world?
In this episode, I’m joined by Dr. Dennis Edwards, New Testament scholar and Dean of North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. Dennis has served for over three decades in urban ministry, including as a church planter and pastor. He’s written a number of books, including his latest, entitled Humility Illuminated. Together, Dennis and I explore how rediscovering biblical humility can literally help transform our communities. Dennis also shares how embracing humility helps us negotiate conflict, endure suffering, and shepherd our people. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello, friends, and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye. Each and every week, I have the privilege of sitting down with a trusted ministry leader. And we dive into a conversation all in an effort to help you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace healthy, sustainable rhythms in both your life and ministry. And we’re excited to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. And not only do we have a conversation every week, but our team creates an entire toolkit that complements the conversation. And in this toolkit are a number of resources including a Ministry Leaders Growth Guide. And you can go through this yourself or you can take your staff or ministry leaders at your local church through this growth guide and really dig more deeply into the topic that we discuss. You can find that toolkit at PastorServe.org/network. So be sure to check out that resource. And then at Pastor Serve we love walking alongside of pastors and ministry leaders, and our trusted coaches are available and offering a complimentary coaching session. So if you’d like to learn more about that, you can find out details at PastorServe.org/freesession. Now for those of you joining us on YouTube, please give us a thumbs up and take a moment to drop your name and the name of your church in the comments below. We love getting to know our audience better. And we will be praying for you and for your ministry. Whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please take a moment to subscribe and to follow so you do not miss out on any of these great conversations. And I’m excited about our conversation today. At this time, I would like to welcome Dennis Edwards to FrontStage BackStage. Dennis, welcome!
Well, Jason, thank you so much for the invitation. I’m happy to be with you.
Yeah, very excited for this conversation. I think it’s an important conversation. Really appreciate that you’ve recently released a new book entitled Humility Illuminated. And Dennis, in this book you make a very strong point regarding the current state of the church here in the US. And that is that we need to you say recover, respect, and reenact biblical community. And Dennis, I love this statement. I love how you set this up. Because I think it’s absolutely fascinating because you reference the division and the polarization that we see within the church today. Many voices are saying, Hey, listen, we need to focus on unity. The churches are focused on unity. You, Dennis, you kind of are calling us to take a step even further back and dig a little deeper and focus on biblical humility, right? And so, two questions, Dennis, to start us off. First, can you help us better understand what you mean when you say biblical humility? And then, secondly, why is it, Dennis, that biblical humility is sort of the starting point?
Oh, thank you. Well, the reason that I wrote the book, and you mentioned all the recovery kind of language I picked, is because humility was a true identity marker for the early Christian communities. And we can talk more about that in a moment, but I define humility as fundamentally starting with a posture of submission before God. And that submission before God allows us to then become peacemakers and reconcilers, if you will, in our lives and our interactions with others. So that’s kind of how I define it. I see it as primarily the kind of, Oh, I was trying to think of the right kind of action word, but it’ll be the vehicle that allows us to have more meaningful interactions with each other. So we start there, getting back to your question, we start there because for us to have unity we need to sort of lay a foundation of what does it mean to submit to God and be purposeful about our peacemaking. Sometimes we jump into the work of unity and we start with saying, Well, I’ve got to protect certain self-interests, I’ve got to make sure that certain people are not disappointed, or I have these other agendas. And I start here when I talked about humility with my position before God, and then that allows me from that strong position to then be a peacemaker with others.
Yeah, I love that, Dennis. And I don’t want this to be glossed over, really, because I think this is imperative. And I think this is where a lot of missteps happen. Whenever we are seeking to bridge divisions, oftentimes, whenever we are seeking to do the hard work of the church in the world today, is that sometimes we jump ahead, just like you said, we jump ahead, and we try to get into what we tend to think is going to put the pieces back together without first doing the important work of posturing ourselves in this humility. So, Dennis, share with us just a little bit about how you say that humility has the opportunity to really bring healing. And that the humility must come before the healing, that it sets up the healing. So how is it that we, as pastors and as ministry leaders, seeking to heal some of the divisions and the divides and the polarization in the church, how do we lean into humility in that regard?
Well, Oh, there’s a lot I could say about that. But one place, well, maybe there’s a couple of Scripture passages that come right to mind that I’ve treated in the book. One is the very powerful passage in Philippians 2, where Paul calls for this mutuality, same mind, same love, and consider others better than yourself. I mean, these things that seem so amazingly almost impossible to do. And he says, in fact, to have humility. That’s one of the earliest places we have in the New Testament where that call is made for humility. In fact, may be the earliest. And then he says, Let the attitude be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. So he gives us the Lord Jesus as the model, right? But all of his call for mutuality, and for sharing, and for being like-minded and having this joy of solidarity and good relationship is built around this notion of this is the way Jesus operated, right? So his argument is, if we can be like Jesus in that regard, then we can have the kind of mutuality we’re talking about. So for leaders today, I think my encouragement is not to take on a mantle that you have to fix every problem. Although we feel that. I’ve been a pastor for about 30 years, and I can understand that burden. But what I’ve been learning over the years is more about how do I learn to be the kind of person God wants me to be, work with the people I can, and model something. And that’s the other passage that I’m talking about is 1 Peter 5, where Peter says, I’m a fellow elder, I’m a witness of Christ’s sufferings. And then he says, Look, I want you to shepherd the flock, not in any power way, not any heavy-handed way, not doing it for money, but being an example to the flock. So that kind of example. And he ends that illustration, excuse me, that call. He ends that call with an appeal to humility. And he quotes a passage that is a thread throughout all of Scripture. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, he says, so therefore, humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, and He’ll lift you up in due time. So I don’t want to just quote Scripture back to your listeners. But I really want to say that that kind of anchoring, who I am in the Lord, modeling something to my people, trying to practice this mutuality like Jesus, with the example of Jesus emptying himself, that puts me in good stead with God to do then the work of unity and of healing in the life of a church.
Yeah, I love that, Dennis. And let’s lean into shepherding a little bit here. Because you devote quite a bit of an entire chapter on shepherding in your book and just the relationship between humility and shepherding. We look at the church today. One of the challenges that we see, unfortunately, one of the heartbreaks that we see is a lack of humility in some pastors and some ministry leaders, right? And very visibly, right? It makes headlines in the news, unfortunately. And so that tends to be a challenge. You know, it’s something that we’re seeing a little more I think, prevalent, it seems in the times in which we’re living. And a lot of that lack of humility seems to stem around, again, some of these divisive topics, right? And so there’s this leaning in and this sense that we need to declare what is right and what is true, we need to be defenders of the faith, you know that kind of language. And I’d love to hear, Dennis, your thoughts on that because it’s true that we’re called to preach truth and point people to the truth of Christ. So how are we maybe missing this? How are we taking this to extremes? What are we missing in the midst of all this as pastors and ministry leaders when it comes to really understanding humility and all those things in our ministries?
Well, Jason, there’s a lot in what you just said, I mean, we could probably have a whole episode on that. But maybe I can try to paint a different kind of a picture in that whatever we’re in today, if we’re trying to sort of see how the Scriptures speak to us, all of us New Testament scholars will tell you to try to make sure you’re paying attention to context, right? So when we look back at those words that 1 Peter gave or those words that Paul gives to the Philippians, we’re seeing a church in a marginal place, we’re seeing the church as not with the power of the Empire behind it and in fact, in many ways, against the Empire or coming up against the Empire. So many times when we see those kinds of strident, almost arrogant leaders or people who really are demanding stuff from their people and from society, they seem to think they’re functioning from a position of strength. Therefore, they can make everybody else or try to get everybody else to do what they think they should be doing. I’m saying the church needs to recover a posture that the early church had of having this power that exists in the marginal spaces. In other words, the best apologetic for the church is a loving, healthy Christian community. It’s not how well I can get on my soapbox and get other people to hear what I have to say. So for me, I don’t really care how strident some of these pastors seem to be, or even the sycophants who allow them to have these kinds of platforms. I would rather know what’s happening at a local level to see how much people are loving one another, caring for each other, ministering to their neighbors, and doing the work that I think the Lord Jesus kind of modeled for us. So for me, I’m not trying to fix those broken things. I’m not even trying to get those strident voices to be quiet. I’m looking for a whole alternative way of being. I’m looking to celebrate those pastors, many of whom are your listeners, I’m sure, who don’t have these huge platforms, but what they do have are faithful people who are trying to do the best they can. I want to lean into that. I want to celebrate that. I want people to feel like that’s enough. That’s what God’s calling us to do.
Yeah, that’s beautiful, actually, because that is where the church is literally the hands and feet of Jesus is in the community. And the majority of churches across the US, and really around the world are smaller churches that are showing up as you know, the local expression of the Body of Christ in our community, right? They’re not the mega-churches, right?
That’s right. And it’s not to say that they won’t make an impact in a mega way. I mean, obviously, if we are doing enough of this around the world, or around the country, or however more that this work gets multiplied, we saw in the early churches model that it starts to have an impact on those around us, right? So I don’t want to make it sound like I’m just talking about one individual being the best individual they can be, I’m talking about some of that. But I’m talking about communities being the best communities they can be in following the Lord and modeling the kinds of things I talked about in the book. And then I think it actually does have a transformative impact on our society. So that’s the way I think of it.
Yeah. I love that, Dennis. So on that note, how can we as pastors and ministry leaders help our local communities really nurture and foster humility and live out of a sense of humility?
Yes. So since I define humility as this posture of submission to God, I’m really saying, yes, the things that we kind of already know as disciplines that help us in our relationship with God, we definitely want to lean into those. The prayer, the solitude, the Scripture study, and all the things that we know are right. But we don’t want to just be individuals who practice a nice devotional life, we want to be people who learn how to live with each other, which is why there’s a whole book I write. So there are several ways to do that. But the essence of it is continually checking my motives and my desires with what does it mean to obey God. So I think of concepts like in the Old Testament of the fear of God or repentance that’s, of course, throughout the Scripture. Those kinds of terms are not just saying, Hey, I’m so wicked, I need to drop these things. It’s a posture of always reorienting, to recognize that God is other than I am. So I have this fear, this overwhelming sense of who God is. And then my repentance is not just about dropping all the nasty bad habits, but it’s always a constant reorienting. It’s always saying, I want to align my will with God’s will. But I do that on an individual level, yes. But I’m always working to see how, as a pastor, I can help my community to do that and not get distracted by the things that might take our focus away and be and even become idols at times. Now, please, I don’t want to be misunderstood to say that the church has no voice in the horrors in the world or injustices in the world. Of course, we do have a voice. But that voice should never be disconnected from the actual living out of our faith in a very real way. I don’t want to just be a trumpet out there who’s disconnected from the orchestra, I need to be connected to that whole community, especially if our collective voice is going to mean anything in our world.
Yeah, that’s excellent. Dennis, as we kind of think through this, one of the things you mentioned was that the early church obviously was living in a more marginalized condition. They weren’t in power. Here specifically in the US, for those of us who are in the US, the church has experienced power over the decades, right? I mean, that has been something that’s unique in some ways for our country. How does that present a challenge to embracing humility?
Well, I think we’re seeing it play out. The challenge has been, how much we think our voice is meant to be the shapers of, not the shapers of with the response to political kind of voices that come into our world. So this is maybe bigger than what you’re asking. But in some ways, of course, the church has a role to play in the whole political landscape. I’m not that naive. But at times, I’m concerned that our churches and Christians are more shaped by the political voices rather than helping to shape them. So if we are this powerful entity for God, then we can actually help shape society rather than have it shape us. And there are those, members in churches or attendees and churches, who will take their cues more from politics than they do from the Lord Jesus. So for me, that’s a concern that I have is yes, the church’s relative power in our society has meant that it can get away with things or it can sort of sway public opinion on things, or it can even mask certain things because it has been in this place of power. Now, some would argue and maybe some of your listeners say, No, but we’re getting pushed to the side, we’re getting marginalized. And maybe that’s true. But there is a sense that the clout that Christians have had in the United States hasn’t always been used to lift up those who are downtrodden, or even to show the kind of love that needs to be shown. So in some senses, I would argue that the church has often abused its power and privilege, and in some cases, is paying a price for that.
Yeah, that is a lot to consider. Because simply the fact that power, whenever you’re in power, can easily be distorted, and lead you to to doing things that aren’t necessarily aligning with the heart of Christ. And you actually touch on this idea that humility can, in fact, be distorted. And there are distortions to humility. Share with us a little bit, Dennis, about what a distorted humility might look like, how it might show up, and how to avoid making sure we’re not slipping into these distorted thoughts or ideas of humility.
It could perhaps be distorted in more ways than I even thought about in the book. But I mean, one of the reasons why I said illuminated in the title is that we all probably have a preconceived notion of what humility is. But the idea of it being biblically framed is something I wanted to push out because sometimes I think we take our cues from the culture we grew up in, or some societal model, or something that we see on social media. So I think that for us to recapture something that is biblical is what I was going for. But I think the distortions come in extremes, right? There’s the notion that I’m so low and I’m so insignificant or I’m so unimportant even, that humility means that I have no voice. I have to always defer to someone else. I have to always be this wiggly worm, and see myself that in a tiny, insignificant way. I don’t think that that’s a biblical concept. But I have seen it in writing and I address it in the book. So one distortion is to actually have a poor conception of who we are as human beings. But then there’s also a false kind of humility that’s sort of a false modesty that we turn on a certain kind of charm when in a setting to appear as if we’re not going for power when we really are. And that’s deceptive. I see people play that game, and some of us have seen it, too. It’s almost like the stereotype of a used car salesperson, although I don’t want to offend any car salespeople, but it’s a stereotype. And it’s that the person will be charming to us because, ultimately, they’re trying to get something out of us. They’re trying to get even more money out of us than we might have planned to pay. So that’s a false kind of humility. Like, Oh, I’m not so smart, I’m not so bright, you’re really charming, you’re a really nice person. And so that’s phony too. And so I don’t see those as real humility. It’s interesting, because in Colossians, the word for humility, if any of your audience is into using the Greek New Testament, is ταπεινοφροσυνην, which literally is the idea of low-thinking. But, literally. But the concept means humility. It’s used in Colossians in two different places. One, Paul is saying, Put on humility in chapter three. But in chapter two, he actually uses the same word and a host of other things for people to shed. Because there’s this false asceticism. There’s this sense of putting on more responsibilities that he saw as heretical. Like, he said, you pay attention to the new moons and the Sabbath and all kinds of worship of these divine beings. All these kinds of heretical things we see in chapter two and humility is listed in there. And I think a good translation is false humility, there’s a sense of keeping some kind of negative view of yourself in there, which is not what true humility is. So yeah, I’m sorry, I probably get a little carried away. But the idea of a distortion is thinking too low of ourselves or putting on an act of false modesty, I think are some distortions.
Yeah. That’s good. And you weren’t getting too carried away. Thank you. No, I appreciate it. Excellent. So as we are considering our roles as ministry leaders or as pastors in the local church and thinking about rediscovering humility, true biblical humility. One of the things that you share deeply about is the power that humility has when it comes to resolving conflict. We live in a world that almost seems to love conflict or celebrate conflict, let’s say that, right? It almost seems to celebrate conflict. And there are people that take a posture that, hey, you know, they almost champion that idea of, hey, we’re gonna create some, we’re gonna stir up some conflict, right? So how does humility relate to resolving conflict? And why is that so important for us to kind of rediscover and really lean into as ministry leaders?
Well, there are a couple of things I wanted to say right away. One is that sometimes it’s okay to provoke something that might turn out to be controversial because we do have to sort of uncover the myth and get to the truth of something. So sometimes we create conflict and don’t even realize we’re doing it. Because I mean, this is the prophets all over the place, the prophets are telling the truth and it creates conflict for the people and for the kings and such. But they came to do what God asked them to do. So I don’t want to say conflict is a bad thing. I don’t mean that. And in fact, I tried to be careful in the book, Jason, to not actually say resolve it, I tried to say negotiate it. Because sometimes the conflict will remain, but we can do better at handling it. So that’s kind of my language on negotiating conflict. Because sometimes it escalates to the point where we actually can’t have conversation and we can’t figure out a path forward. One of the examples is in chapter four of Philippians, we think Euodia and Syntyche are having a conflict because he says I plead with them, and he says the same language as in chapter two, to agree and come to one mind. So it appears that they may be having a conflict. And so in that he then appeals to a third party to say you are this genuine, this loyal sometimes it’s translated, yoke person, this companion and I need you to help this to happen. This humility is all going on in there because the women who have the conflict, Paul is pleading with them. So they need to consider, do I defer to my apostle’s plea here? And then there’s this third party that’s going to help negotiate this thing. So for me, I think that we can learn a lesson of help from listening to the people who are mature, and help us to see the conflict and know that we need to work on it. And also to have to be open to that third party that can help us negotiate the thing that we’re dealing with. Now, I mean, I’m not naive, I know that some conflicts will remain, but we can still come to a better place than we were at if we learn this way of humility to submit to God and listen to the godly voices that God brings our way.
I love your emphasis on negotiating conflict. Because that actually makes it a lot more real to us. Because we’re all thinking exactly what you’re saying, like, not all conflict does get resolved. That seems like a high bar. If it’s up to us to somehow resolve conflict, that’s not always gonna happen. I love that emphasis on negotiating conflict, I’m gonna use that, brother, I’m gonna hang on to that. Yeah, that’s good stuff. As we’re looking at this whole picture of humility and thinking about how this shows up in the local church. We’ve talked about conflict, we’ve talked about shepherding. One of the other pieces that I was fascinated about was you touched on the idea of suffering. Talk to us a little bit about that connection, the relationship between humility and suffering.
Yes, that was actually kind of a tough chapter to write. And I felt like the Lord put it on my heart to address it that way. Because I feel that there’s pressure put on people when they’re suffering. And sometimes it’s from other Christians who mean well, but they put pressure on us to get it together, or just trust the Lord, or somehow shake it off in some way that we can get back to whatever normal looks like. And I don’t want people who are struggling, and that suffering could be personal, or it could be even systemic, it can be a big thing in our society, I don’t want the folks who are suffering to blame themselves or to feel ashamed that they are going through this difficult time because others think that they should be able to get out of it. So for me, the humble part is to recognize that God is at work, whether I know it, or see it, or understand it at the time. And once again, lean into this notion that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. That there’s a sense that God will empower me and care for me. To know that and to trust that I’m being cared for is an act of submission, to sense that God really does care about my life. It’s the disciples in the boat in the storm with Jesus, and he’s sleeping. And their question is, don’t you care that we’re perishing? I mean, it’s that sense that when I’m suffering, I feel like no one cares, or maybe God doesn’t even care. The humility stops to say, Wait, God, yes, you care for me. So there’s a sense of, again, a reorientation to say that even when I’m going through this, I can’t give up. But I will cling on, hang on to the Lord. And I will also be willing to take the help that comes to me from somebody else as much as I can. There’s a certain American, maybe, streak that we have to say, look, I can do this myself, or I don’t need anybody’s help, or I don’t need their charity. Humility says I’ll take the help. And I will accept God’s gift to me, to help me negotiate the struggles that I’m going through. So I think humility works in that it allows me to sense that God’s at work, and that God might provide resources to help me through so I can endure. And I think that is the goal, endurance. I don’t want to just say it’s alleviating the suffering. But I think the language we see in the New Testament of patient endurance is the kind of thing we’re talking about, is to have the strength to make it along the way, even if the problem persists for a long time.
Yeah, that’s incredibly helpful. Dennis, what’s kind of cool about what you said, is it kind of harkens back to the resolving conflict versus negotiating conflict, which is enduring the suffering as opposed to eliminating the suffering. That some suffering isn’t eliminated. So I love that and it’s fascinating. I love the book, through and through. Because you do, in the title, Humility Illuminated, it honestly does illuminate several facets of humility, that I really don’t know that I’ve given a lot of consideration to and just kind of the depth of humility and how it really is foundational for us, as we are journeying with Jesus, and as we are impacting our community. And as we’re leading, as we’re called to shepherd. So I love that. Thank you so much. As we kind of close down, brother, it’s been an incredible conversation. Dennis, I would love for you to just, I would love to give you just a few moments for you to share just words of encouragement with pastors and ministry leaders. Like what would you share with them?
Well, oh, my goodness. I thank you for the opportunity to do that. There are so many levels to what I’m talking about, of course, and we’re not going to get into the whole book in a few minutes. But my word, if I could give one of encouragement, is to hang in there and to trust that God is at work, even in the messiness of the day-to-day of ministry. Somebody taught me when I was a very young guy, I was in a group, and he said this to the whole group, he said, Look, the ministry is not my life. My life is my ministry. And there are these times, and when some of us are in service, we think, Oh, the ministry is my life, I gotta do this, I gotta do that, I gotta do this. And sometimes we’ve even sacrificed our families, or our own health and well-being because we had to do the ministry. And this shift for me to say no, my life’s my ministry, helped to create a balance to say, look, I take care of my physical body, I’m taking care of my family, I’m doing these things that make me a whole person. That’s the ministry. And so that’s my encouragement to say, look, the ministry is not my life. My life is my ministry.
I love that, brother. So good. So good. Again, thank you for making the time to be with us. Humility Illuminated is the book that we’ve been referencing. And if people want to connect with you, Dennis, what’s the best way they can do that?
Oh, my goodness. My handle everywhere is @RevDrDre. My handle is @RevDrDre, so R-E-V-D-R-D-R-E. And I have a website revdrdre.com. So you can go there to see what I’m up to. And I’m on Twitter, and Facebook and Instagram, those places, but all RevDrDre.
Perfect. And for those of you watching or listening along, we will have links to the book, Humility Illuminated. We’ll also have links to Dennis’s website and to his social channels in the toolkit for this episode. And you can find that PastorServe.org/network. So don’t forget, we also have that Ministry Leaders Growth Guide in there for you to dig more deeply into this conversation around humility. So be sure to check that out. Brother, it has been an absolute pleasure to have you with us here on FrontStage BackStage. Once again, thank you for making the time to hang out with us.
Thank you, Jason. It was a real pleasure.
Awesome. God bless you, my friend.
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
Shareable Social Graphics
Strengthen Your Church
Strengthening your church, for us, begins by serving you, the pastor!