In part 1 we got to know Cindy Hawks and consider her insights on the topic of discipling. Buckle up friends, there’s more…
Having “vision” is a catchy phrase these days. It’s tough to find a podcast or leadership book that doesn’t lead with the charge to have vision. How else do you measure impact, milestones, plan effectively, etc. if you don’t know where you want to go? Here’s the problem that came to light during my dialogue with Cindy: we seem to easily check the “I have vision” box because we buy into an idea, a goal, or a belief and determine that we also stand for it. We are excited and in agreement over whatever catches or convicts our hearts to commit; but we absolutely MUST take it a step further out of a “meta” idea and into something more, something personal. Only then are we truly missional. Only then can we create intentional plans to impact said vision.
So applicably speaking how does one live “on mission” to have eternal impact?
Cindy believes that being “on mission” requires having a personalized vision — as opposed to a more generalized/big picture vision. “I’m not talking about generally living on mission, but living on mission this week. Having personalized vision requires that we get specific. It means asking the question: “How does God want to use me specifically, right now, in my sphere(s) of influence? Who is He weaving into my life that might be far from Him and that I can be part of introducing to Him?” Additionally, we are wise to have an awareness of who we can be discipling (in order to make your efforts multiplicative). John Burke (pastor of Gateway church in Austin) has said ‘if you are not seeing people far from God coming to know him, you’re not missional.’ Make this effort with an open mind, hold these specific names with open hands to allow God to move and change as he pleases; but if you can’t name specific people, you are not really being missional. Getting specific enables you to get intentional. Perhaps you have been on mission and didn’t even realize it to articulate it as so! Perhaps you thought you were on mission, but haven’t been this specific. It’s a great gut check, huh?
I loved this example Cindy offered: “Here’s a revealing exercise – get out your calendar and take a look. If you are investing in people, your life is reflecting that. “
I must take pause to highlight her clear excitement over the freedom and JOY of being on mission:
“[We get to live] this crazy, exciting, day-to-day life of God using us to have an eternal impact! I mean, it’s just nuts that God would use us, in our complete gooberiness, to connect with people on His behalf and see lives changed. And, oh my gosh, we might be missing it because we are ignoring it, or worse, opining about it but not DOING IT!”
When we realize the incredible adventure, the remarkable HONOR of getting to be on mission with eternal repercussions; it changes our whole perspective towards the effort. We don’t have to, we get to. We’re missing out, when we don’t live this way. When you are on mission, lives are forever changed in the wake of yours.
This leads us to the reality of impact.
Cindy highlights this: “Know that you are always making an impact, the question is what kind of impact are you making? Are you effective and intentional about it? Or are you ineffective and unintentional about it – that’s the bigger issue. Ultimately the way you grow eternal impact as opposed to temporal impact is to faithfully and in a spirit of willingness do what you are called to do. As you grow your understanding of what your forte is, use it and develop it, and then faithfully continue to walk in the Spirit and turn away from the flesh. Do that – and God will grow it. Here’s the thing – on earth, that growth and impact may look very different in people’s lives. People pleasers and achievers are in danger of being led astray because of temporal impact. Be willing to say: ‘Help me be full of you so I am not full of myself!’”
My personal take-away to these statements was this: we disqualify ourselves from having eternal impact when we allow the temporal accolade to drown out the eternal one.
By now you can probably appreciate the frantic nature with which I was scribbling notes as she spoke. Pure gold – delivered boldly, but with such an inviting and endearing spirit! I enjoyed Cindy Hawks tremendously. Here’s the funny thing – you can find her on twitter, and you might find a brief mention of her on the HCBC website; but largely, she is sort of invisible to most of the world. If ever you needed convincing that the things God values are different from what the world values, she might be an example. Celebrity status is not following her, she is not self-inflating or self-promoting; she is not interested in prestige. But she has the wisdom and the spiritual capacity to be one of the greats. She is a beautiful story of someone who values the “unseen and eternal.” Her investments are hidden from the limelight, rich and personal — and my bet is that there will be a slew of souls in eternity because her life touched theirs.