How can you multiply your effectiveness

Henry Reyenga: Welcome back. Henry and Steve here, and we’ve been talking about the Seven Connections. And last time, we did connections one, two, and three which are your personal connections often.

Steve Elzinga: Right.

Henry Reyenga: So, now we’re going to move on to more. 

Steve Elzinga: We’re going to be looking at connections four, five, six and seven. And remember, this whole section is under giving you confidence in your ministry, and you get confidence when you take a calling to something. And then you add to it competence, which is learning and growing and finding out as much as you can about these things - learning. And then, finally, confidence is when you put those two into practice in your life. So, we’re suggesting you start in your personal life: your marriage, your family, and then now we’re going to move on to connection four. So, connection four is really leading others. 

Henry Reyenga: People beyond your family. 

Steve Elzinga: You're going outside of your family. So, support others in their walk with God. So, if you’re in a church or with Christians, okay, how do you help other families or other marriages or other individuals? And you might do that by leading a Bible study or coaching or counseling, any kind of ministry that helps other people. 

Henry Reyenga: Before we move on, in some ways you take it out of your family connections. That is the essence of now doing public ministry - even if it’s one.

Steve Elzinga: Right. And that is, in some ways, you’re really stepping out when you do that. Small groups really have been a sort of recent invention. Because in the past, small groups were an extended family. Extended families went to a particular church and then after church, I don’t know about you, but we’d go over to my uncle’s house or my grandmother’s house.

Henry Reyenga: We hosted it in our house.

Steve Elzinga: Right. And so, then everyone came and it was every week, so it was like a Bible study. 

Henry Reyenga: My uncles and aunts talked about the sermon, both good and what they didn’t like about the sermons. In some ways, I look back at that going like, "Oh, roast preacher." But what they were doing was processing what was said.

Steve Elzinga: Right. And it was consistent.

Henry Reyenga: Yes.

Steve Elzinga: But they had the connection glue of family.

Henry Reyenga: Grandma was there - my grandma.

Steve Elzinga: But they lived around you, right?

Henry Reyenga: Yes, they did. We’re all in that little community of Delavan, Wisconsin.

Steve Elzinga: But now over time, at least in the west here, now that’s where some of you that live in other places of the world, have an advantage over the west. 

Henry Reyenga: You're still in the habit of going. 

Steve Elzinga: You still have strong, small group connections through your family networks. Whereas in our culture and many cultures like ours, families are moving all over the place. So, grandma or grandpa doesn’t live here. Uncles and aunts live in some other city. And so, because of that, churches have invented this whole idea of having small groups, but the glue is not the family connections. So sometimes it’s difficult, sometimes it goes well depending on the chemistry of the people involved. 

So, connection four is leading groups of people. It can be a bible study; it can be a program at your church. Whether it’s music--

Henry Reyenga: Neighborhood bible study. It could even be a bible study on Facebook. 

Steve Elzinga: Yeah, it can almost be anything where groups meet. 

Henry Reyenga: Right, friends.

Steve Elzinga: Maybe there’s a diakono group that goes out and helps neighborhood people and that’s a group. Or a class. A Sunday school class is sort of like a little group. 

Henry Reyenga: So, part of the curriculum around here for many of the commended programs - almost all of them - is leading a Bible study, because it’s such an important skill. We didn’t even have that trained at Calvin’s seminary, because they didn’t consider it a thing needing to happen. And today we see it as so essential in ministry to lead others in the Word. 

Steve Elzinga: Partly because of that family system breakdown. 

Henry Reyenga: Right. And they weren’t aware that that was happening. 

Steve Elzinga: Right. Connection five - and you’ll notice that these connections are growing. You start with one, then it’s two, then it’s a family, now it’s a small group. And now connection five is leading in a church.

Henry Reyenga: Hmm. So, a church service is really talking, listening--

Steve Elzinga: Yeah, it’s really devotions in some ways.

Henry Reyenga: It is. It’s just like corporate devotions. There’s worship and they're talking to God in prayer. And the bible, the preaching is the Word of God speaking to our hearts. So, it’s a complicated form of devotions. It's a pattern.

Steve Elzinga: Yes, and you do it weekly, so it’s repeatedly. So, every one of these is the same thing. Personal devotions have those ingredients, marriage does, family, small groups. It just gets more complicated, because there’s more people.

Henry Reyenga: Right. And leadership issues are more important beyond the family. Well, they’re probably just as important, but they’re different. 

Steve Elzinga: Right. So, leadership, in some ways, as it gets bigger, it becomes more challenging, which means you need more training. That’s why if you’re going to be a full-time pastor, we recommend going to the Christian Leaders College. Why? Because the managing of this talking and listening repeatedly is way more complicated. 

Henry Reyenga: And you’re going to be, then, leading part-timers and volunteers. So, you have more dynamics you have to deal with. So, you want a calling competency and confidence to actually do excellent work with that. 

Steve Elzinga: And that grows when you get better at personal devotions, marriage devotions. If you’re doing really well with your family, then stepping out and doing a small group with a number of families isn’t so hard. 

And then if you’ve done that well, taking a step to the church level is a little bit easier. So, first of all with church - and everyone can do this; this is not complicated - enthusiastic church attendance and participation. 

Henry Reyenga: Yeah. Oh, I can’t tell you enough, when you are all in it to win it at a local church, your minister sees that. And then if you will take classes at Christian Leaders Institute and show your minister what you’re doing and you’re all in, the door will open for volunteer ministry like nobody’s business - ordinarily. 

Steve Elzinga: Right. So, if you instead, let’s say your attendance and participation in church is really hit or miss and then you take all kinds of classes at CLI and then you come to your pastor and say, “I am ready to do stuff.” Well, he’s going to go, “Well, what? Hold it. I didn’t see any enthusiastic church attendance or participation.”

Henry Reyenga: "And now you think you’re the person that’s going to come in and change things?" So, you become a threat.

Henry Reyenga: Right. So, again, it’s starting small, earning your credibility a little as you go. If you do that, then people can see the growth in you. They see you’re enthusiastic. They can see you participate, and now you’re just gaining in competence. 

Henry Reyenga: Now you say, is that biblical - that the minister would not recognize you right away? Well, sort of. Look at the apostle Paul. He walked with Barnabas, then Barnabas introduced him to the disciples. So, even a guy like Paul, who's called on the road to Damascus, did not automatically get into the whole deal, yes. 

Steve Elzinga: No. He had to prove himself. They were suspicious of him. 

Henry Reyenga: Oh, yeah. There were bad reports about him and all of that. But he, right away, was open to mentorship and to connection, and then doors opened for him. 

Steve Elzinga: Right. So, help lead music, the Word, prayer, drama, liturgy. There are so many things going on at church, and churches need this. 

Henry Reyenga: And often, too, people say: “Well, I’m entrusted in marriage.” Okay so, the pastor says, "Well, do a little marriage bible study,” and then two people show up or two couples show up. And you feel like, "I'm going to do this, but why20people show up?" The pastor didn’t promote this enough. Uh-uh. That’s an opportunity. We’ve always seen that when we plant our churches. 

Steve Elzinga: That’s actually better. Yes, because you could do a good job with two and then they tell other people and now you have something. 

Henry Reyenga: Well, and we’ve known in church planting that whoever shows up is who’s supposed to be there. And if you do a good job with who’s supposed to be there, things start multiplying. And here’s one more little trick we’ve learned. A lot of times, there's a church bulletin. They put the minister in the church bulletin and think if it’s in the bulletin somebody will show up rather than going out and saying and promote, saying, “Hey, I’m going to be doing a bible study.”

Steve Elzinga: "Would you be interested in coming?"

Henry Reyenga: Or sometimes they want, "We want the minister to promote my Bible study in front and if he’s not, then he’s not on board." There’s a lot of ministries in the church. If he starts promoting one, they can spend 10 minutes at the beginning. So, the best thing to do is to just be on board and start small, and word of mouth will spread it.

Steve Elzinga: absolutely. That’s pretty cool. All right, connection six - leading in the Kingdom. So, the church is your local church, but the Kingdom is made up of all God’s people all over the world.

Henry Reyenga: Right. How can you lead there? 

Henry Reyenga: Well, there are ministries. We have so many ministries right now - ministries for the homeless, ministries for single moms. I believe paraministry could even be a ministry you might start.

Steve Elzinga: Right. It could be almost anything. 

Henry Reyenga: Yeah, and as a volunteer you could start a ministry in your community. A chaplain is a kingdom minister.

Steve Elzinga: An officiant doing weddings or funerals, there are all ministries. Parachurch ministries are ministries that come alongside the church and try to fulfill a specific function that needs some focus. Churches, in a way, are generalists. They do a general job on many things.

Henry Reyenga: And they support families.

Steve Elzinga: But sometimes like a home to pregnant teenage girls or something, the church generally doesn’t have enough resources or enough people to support, so they don’t start a ministry like that. Whereas, let’s say, a combination of many churches gets together, and now all the people who are equipped for that and have a passion for that, they make something happen. 

Henry Reyenga: I even like some of the exciting roles that we’re developing. The matchmaker minister role is an example that. More and more, everything is breaking down. But a matchmaker minister can maybe connect with churches or help people connect with other Christians. And that’s really more of a Kingdom function. It used to be that matchmaking occurred in churches that are big enough, there’s a critical mass, or combinations of churches that found ways to do that. But that’s all breaking down. So, now matchmaker ministers might be the answer to some of those Kingdom concerns.

Steve Elzinga: Right. Number two, a leading joint church effort is sort of like a Kingdom thing. So maybe you’re in a city. There are a lot of churches.

Henry Reyenga: That could be a matchmaker example.

Steve Elzinga: Or you might be a life coach and then you offer your services to several churches. Or you might try to get the churches to do something together - have a joint service in the park or be a witness together. Number three, encouraging others to get involved with Christian Leaders Ministries. 

Henry Reyenga: Oh, I think that’s just absolutely amazing to do is too actually promote Christian Leader Ministries and training and even mini classes.

I think that mini classes are a great example of how a Kingdom ministry - like, you’re at work and you hear about somebody who has a struggle with dating, and you say, "Do you know if there’s a dating discernment class over at Christian Leaders Institute where I’m getting ministry training? You can just sign up and take one class there. You don’t even have to get into a program." You’ve completed part one. You know what we’re talking about. Part one, you’re into taking classes, courses. You’re in part two now where you’re talking about some of the programs that fire the calling in your life. But you might be able to use this as a way to just promote classes. 

Steve Elzinga: Right, and use the material that you’re learning from. 

Henry Reyenga: So, the seven connections: connection one is your personal. Two is your marriage or maybe with a close friend. Three is your family. Four is ministry to friends or the small groups or ministry to community leaders even. And then connection five is to the church you belong to; how can you help? Connection six is the kingdom, which gives you new opportunities for building the kingdom. And seven, here we go with our seventh. 

Steve Elzinga: Connection seven is leading in the unconnected to Christ world. 

Henry Reyenga: So, the first six are all the connected to Christ. 

Steve Elzinga: Yes.

Henry Reyenga: Okay. 

Steve Elzinga: Yes. And in some ways, the first six, what is the point of personal, marriage, family, small groups, church, Kingdom? The reason why we’re here is because God wants his message of love to go to the unconnected to Christ world. So, in a way the foundation of evangelism and outreach is these first six connections. If you don’t have a walk with God in your personal life then why are you telling someone else that they need a walk with God?

Henry Reyenga: That’s right. 

Steve Elzinga: Connection seven, leading in the unconnected to Christ world. First a witness in deed. So, we do good things where we try to be Christ-like. Jesus did much of that in his ministry. He helped people, he healed people. And then a witness in Word. Jesus said words. He lifted people. He tried to tell them there’s a better way. There’s a way of freedom and opportunity and joy and the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit and all these things. Colossians 4:5-6, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders. Make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so you may know how to answer everyone.” 

Henry Reyenga: So, really it goes to the whole world. It’s really the great commission. It’s really why we give to vision partners. We want this to go all over the world towards more ministers so that more people are reached that don’t know Jesus Christ. 

Steve Elzinga: But now, in some ways, this seventh connection view of things is it adds a different flavor to evangelism. A lot of evangelism is, or at least in the past has been, “Okay, you have a point of view, and now I want to give you the Christian point of view,” and we end up arguing about points of view.

Okay, in the seventh connection style it would be like, “Okay, your marriage is falling apart. Can I share with you some things that I do in my marriage that really helps? If not, if you’re happy with your marriage, fine. But you were complaining about your marriage, and so there’s something that works." Now what works? Well, a walk with God. 

Or someone’s complaining about how depressed they are and how discouraged they are. Again, what helps me? What helps me is my walk with God.

I think you’re saying what is leadership? To the believers, we call it discipleship. To the unreached, we call it evangelism. 

Steve Elzinga: But it’s quite a bit the same, right? 

Henry Reyenga: It is. It’s the same type of behaviors. It’s about talking and listening repeatedly. If it’s real in our life, people will see that. And I have a say in that too. I've seen like the holy jealousy, where I believe that everybody shuts their eyes at night and they think of everything. They think of, "Is it true? Is it not true? Or why am I unhappy? How do I get happy? I’m depressed? Do I need drugs?" And all of a sudden, they meet you, and then they see someone who really lives with a personal higher power. 

Steve Elzinga: Yeah, your connections are going. You seem to have purpose.

Henry Reyenga: And they watch you. They’ll actually look in your cupboards and if you have an opportunity through hospitality - which we have another mini course there, actually - to invite them into your home. And then you open the Word briefly like you do, and they’re just looking and observing and they see your enthusiasm in your walk with Jesus Christ. That’s powerful.

Steve Elzinga: Right. People can argue with you if you engage in an argument. But if you just share what has happened to you, "Look, I got to know Christ. I put him into my family, my marriage, my personal life. I’m supported by friends around me. And this is what happened."

See, people can’t argue against what you didn’t experience. "No, this is what I experienced."

"Well, how does it work?"

"I don’t know, my friend. All I know is that when I put God at the center of all these connections, great things happen."

Henry Reyenga: Because it’s windy there. The Word of God will not return void. You put the Word of God in the center of your life, in the center of your seven connections – that's a windy place. 

If you pray and put prayer-- even in connection seven, if somebody has a trouble, we will do that. We’ll walk up to say can I pray right now? And this is somebody not going to church and they say,

Steve Elzinga: “I don’t believe in prayer.” 

Henry Reyenga: We say, "Do you know what? Let’s just pray." And then God shows up. We’ve even done things where people are curious, and we would say, "We’re going to give you seven bible verses and to say a little prayer."

"I don’t even know how to pray," like you just said. And it’s fascinating even God shows up in some of those ways. It’s almost a pre-decision walk for many people outside of the church.

Steve Elzinga: Do you know what? Try dating God for six days and see if he shows up. We have a track called Walk with God for Six Days and See if He Shows Up. It’s a windy place. I don’t guarantee what’s going to happen, but this is a well-worn path that God has honored in the past. And I don’t know what he’s going to do with you or whether he has a five-year plan or a one-week plan or whatever it is. But if you’re not happy with life, in your marriage, in your families, in your connections, and all these things--

Henry Reyenga: Which a lot of people are not happy about right now.

Steve Elzinga: Then I’m offering you something that I can show works in my life.

Henry Reyenga: An option for you.

Steve Elzinga: And if that’s not what you want, then you can stay in your miserable life. But if you want to try something - just try it. What’s the harm? That is winning and very powerful. 

Henry Reyenga: We’re glad you have listened to this, but an action step. What would be an action step after this?

Steve Elzinga: An action step is step one. If you don’t have a personal walk with God, that’s where you start.

Henry Reyenga: Okay.

Steve Elzinga: There's no sense talking to your wife about having a marriage walk, because now you’re being a hypocrite, right.? “Hey, honey, I think we need--” but you haven’t demonstrated it. So, it might be tough. I’m going to go to my wife, and she’s not going to buy into this. But if she watches you for two months faithfully doing this and she sees a change in your life, and then you suggest that maybe we do this? And it just follows. Go with the marriage. And then your kids, if you just say, “Okay, kids, here’s what we’re doing.” 

Henry Reyenga: Do we have something posted for people to assemble? Just to try it out even in this class? 

Steve Elzinga: Yeah. 

Henry Reyenga: Okay. We have something posted for you that you can just yourself start. And you might already have something going, so we’re not saying this is better than what you have. All we’re saying is we want you to start becoming reproducible in these connections and get confident that you are a Christian leader who is the real deal. 

Steve Elzinga: And if you want some more examples of how you might do a Bible and prayer in your life, we have a new mini course on how to do a Bible study, how to lead a Bible study. There are all these options. It’s only four hours long, and you’ll see all kinds of options that will help you.

Henry Reyenga: Very good.

Last modified: Thursday, December 2, 2021, 8:04 AM