One thing I have learned over the last decade...
'The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.'
So here it is! 2020... THE 2020. The big change, the big deadline and starting line for a different era. I don't completely mean it when I say it's a touch underwhelming but only just the tiniest bit. Cynicism is death of dreams and I don't intend on lending my attitude to such a horrible master, rather I feel that maybe it's more accurate to say that I've been through a maturing process...and GOOD one.
As I have preached from many pulpits and spoken in training rooms, my journey with leadership was an unexpected one. The place and purpose that I am living in is so far from what I assumed my trajectory would be through out my daydreaming school years and I could not be more blown away by God's incredible faithfulness.
I started stepping into my leadership discovery journey about 5 or so years after the turn of the millennium (roughly 2005 for those young people trying to work it out). To be honest it was an exciting time to be a part of the Church, it was an era full of energising optimism! Could it have been that the crazy fears of Y2K bugs and the world falling into an abyss of chaos were now long in the distance and we could look to the future with a freshly techno-fuelled blank canvas to build the Church from? I don't know.
2020 was the big visionary marker point that leaders and visionaries pointed to for their big dreams and new realities. Having a "2020 vision". There were conferences and keynotes, exciting motivational mini-movies that captured our imagination around what was possible with big thinking a daring creativity!
VISION, VISION, VISION, and 'THE' VISION was the mantra, war cry and rallying chorus. A exciting new day awaits us, all is possible and all our wildest dreams can come true if you can find it within yourself to awaken the sleeping giant knitted into your divine DNA. Churches, ministries, Bible colleges, you name it - discovered the magic pill of progress..."being apart of an inspiring vision" is the way forward for you if you want to be fulfilled in the life that God is calling you to live.
NOW, here's the thing...I'm sure you have read the last few lines and might think - OK so, Joel is a little skeptical these days when it comes to language of grandeur and people who dare to declare their hopeful expectations with excitement...NOT AT ALL!
I think that the fingerprint of our Heavenly Father is the manifestation of dreaming, creating and living for something so far beyond yourself that it stretches you to be a person that is bigger than what one life can contain. So fruitful that it bleeds into the generations of other people.
But. now that this decade is done and dusted, now that we have crossed a line that has been drawn in the minds eye of many a mighty person, I feel that the most important thing I have gained on the journey to 2020 wasn't necessarily the gift of a "NEW REALITY" but rather a new "NEW CLARITY". The mistake I made maybe was having the distant future in focus, but not having a clear picture of myself!
A crucial story I see of this balance between "a new reality" and sense of "clarity". Is when we look at the life of Joseph in scripture. He is a young man who knows how to dream! To have a crazy dream, to hold on to it and declare it to the world around him. But if you are familiar with with story (Genesis 37-50) Joseph went through the most unusual process of becoming the person and living in the reality that God had place in his heart.
When I read the story, I get the sense that it's not so much the vision he had that made him successful in whatever environment that he was in, but rather an understanding of who he was. It wasn't the finish line that kept him moving forward, but rather it was using the things that God had put in his life to serve the people around him that ultimately got him there.
The most significant thing I have gained isn't just an exciting dream of a better future, its the exciting realisation of who God has made me to be. This has been the grand unveiling in my life over the last decade. Whilst a dream is important, and a vision will bring hope and also times of motivation. Being CLEAR and CLEARER on who I am in Christ, who I am created to be surely brings not just WHAT I am looking forward to but HOW it's going to come to pass in my life. Living as the person God has created me to be, in step with his plan and not the perception of other people.
My prayer for you is, that amongst all of the great intentions you have in life, all the great dreams and desires to outwork greatness in your world, is that you find your identity, your shape and calling in him. Now, that I feel that the path gets gradually clearer and clearer, I know my next greatest challenge is to lean into the grace of God and unlock a greater CONSISTENCY lived out of my life everyday.
The key text that I have placed at the top of the article is one of my (many) favourite scriptures...
"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives."
Of course, there is a lot to live for, there is incredible new territory to be taken and new horizons of freedom to be gained for all of us. But I can't help but notice, that it says the word "STEPS". The Lord holds the plan and power to make the phenomenal outwork itself in our lives...but it's the STEPS that he directs not the wild nebulous dreams that lead us to destiny.
Day by day, step by step, decision by decision aligning myself with the will of God...this is how the world will be changed. I am sure of it.
God bless you in the new year (and decade).
SOME LIFT LEADERS UPDATES.
What to say about the past year in the life of Lift Leaders and the Bagnall family. There is LOTS but for the sake of your eyeballs, I just want to give you a brief snapshot of what has happened and also what is to come in the year ahead.
LIFT LEADERS SUMMIT
Worth a big mention from this year is the Lift Leaders Summit, which broke all of our records! We had over 144 young leaders from all over Denmark and Europe gather for a weekend in Copenhagen which was significant for so many people. We were incredibly blessed by the ministry of Björn Lütke, OpenChurch Worship and Jacob Viftrup. You can see a few of the pictures just below of what was an amazing summit. The next summit will be held in MARCH 2021 in Copenhagen. We have changed the date for many reasons but one thing is for sure, it will be bigger and better than ever, make sure you stay posted for more details.
One of the exciting announcements made at the summit this year was the new alliance with Julian Clark and the 19 project! Julian is based at Xcel Church in the UK and has over 20 years of ministry leadership experience. He is a brilliant teacher and leadership communicator, he's written a great book called '19' and also much more leadership content. We will be working together in the new year and are hoping to release some dates for a "Leaders Tour" early in the coming year! Check out www.the19project.com for more info!
NEW TEAM MEMBER.
Yet another one of the exciting
announcements made at the summit this year was the addition of a new member on the Lift Leaders Team. Tom Jacobsen is the youth pastor of a fantastic youth ministry in Torshavn, Faroe Islands. He and his wife Gurid have done an amazing job pioneering this ministry and we are very excited about having Tom the experience that his brings on the team. We are really looking forward to all the great things God has planned.
FAMILY VISA APPROVAL.
The other main headlines for us this year is that finally after nearly 3 years of jumping through hoops and requirements of the immigration department, Joel has managed to get approved to stay long term on a family reunification visa in Denmark. This is significant because it gives a greater sense of stability for the whole family and also much better conditions for working and living. This a great relief and answer to prayer because it is a very hard (and expensive) immigration process in Denmark but GOD IS FAITHFUL!
One of the many positives that come from the Visa approval is that Joel has been able to accept a role as a pastor in a new multi-site church in Copenhagen. In fact, this actually means that Lift Leaders now comes under the roof of Københavns Frikirke as a resource ministry. We feel so honored about this reality. This involves being the campus pastor of a small (but HUGE potential) campus in a beautiful area in northern Copenhagen, and also a key member of the ministry team across three locations. This has been so great for us as a family but also a ministry as our primary desire is to see the local church flourish around the world. So it is an incredible joy to sow our lives into building the kingdom right here in Copenhagen - we are so excited about this!
OUR WORK IN NORTH MACEDONIA.
One of our great joys is the work happening in Macedonia. Click the link to the video testimony to see more!
A CHANGE IN THE GIVING SYSTEM.
THE GIVING PROCESS IS CHANGING! Most people that support Lift Leaders have been doing so via direct debit coming from a credit/debit card, which they did by filling out the online form on the website. Well...the account that these debits are going to needs to be closed by end of the year, due to the "not for profit association" that processes all finances for Lift Leaders changing from ImpactChurch to KBH Frikirke. This means if you would like to support or continue supporting Lift Leaders financial in the same way (please do!) you will just have to go back to the website and re-enter your details like you did the first time. It's only the "backend routing" that has had to change. Thank you SO much for your generosity! Just click the link below for more details.
THE COMING YEAR!
We have some very exciting plans for next year involving the previously mentioned Leadership tour with Julian Clark, some new online material that we are looking forward to producing (keep your eyes and ears peeled) and of course we will be out and about ministering and training at churches all over Europe. Stay Tuned for some big developments!
"To Inspire and empower generations of leaders for the Church across Europe and the Globe!"