Archives For Steve Timmis

Two areas I’m particularly invested in are the centrality of the gospel and leadership development. My home library has shelves full of books in each of these categories, and yet those shelves (and the books therein) seem to have little in common. The leadership books are shaped with great principles and best practices with no gospel lens or hermeneutic. The gospel books gives us a great lens but have yet to show us how the gospel colors our understanding of leadership in the local church. Insert Steve Timmis’ newest book, Gospel-Centered Leadership: Becoming the Servant God Wants You to Be (Good Book Co., published October 2012).

In the Introduction, Timmis stakes out the thesis of the book:

“I have a deep and enduring conviction that it is the gospel that should shape my attitude to and practice of leadership. That what God has done in Christ should define who I am as a leader and for what kind of leader I am. That there should be something distinctive about leadership among the people of God, that springs from the message that brings it into being” (Loc 43, Kindle).

In contrast to the style of leadership that presupposes self-actualization and omnicompetence, Timmis explains that gospel-centered leadership leads from a position of repentance and faith, from the leader “recognizing his deep and enduring need for Jesus and the patient work of His indwelling Spirit”. This leadership style works from a profoundly different premise than typical leadership books operating under the delusions of self-adequacy, and the substance of this book provides the “shape, color, and texture” that the gospel brings to leadership, particularly in a local church.

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In his newly published book, Gospel-Centred Leadership, Steve Timmis discusses what he calls “by far the most important responsibility of leaders.” What is it?

Culture creation.

Timmis writes,

“Every group, whatever its size or demographic, will naturally create its own culture within a short space of time. Those within the group will have a certain way of doing things and a certain way of relating to one another. They will have a certain outlook and set of expectations. Someone within the group, or one group within a larger group, will be particularly influential in that process of culture-creation. . . . An existing group will change its culture depending on the characters who come in. Leaders should therefore take the lead in creating a particular culture. If the leader isn’t setting the culture, he is not the ‘leader’–regardless of the title. Leaders need to know:

  • what kind of culture they want to create
  • what kind of relationship they want to see develop
  • what kind of priorities they want to see people take on board
  • what kind of expectations people are going to have of one another”

What Timmis argues is that every person in a leadership position should be proactive in creative, cultivating, and maintaining a gospel culture. He adds,

“What leaders need to do is create a gospel culture which will, always at some point, be at odds with the surrounding culture. . . . The ambitions and expectations of those outside the church will differ from those within the church: the gospel will shape those in the church instead of the tyranny of self. leaders need to take the lead in forming that gospel culture; it is not something that will happen naturally or inevitably.

This gospel culture not only needs to be created, but also sustained. A culture needs to be created where it is normal to know what the gospel has accomplished (the indicatives), and consequently how we are to live (the imperatives); a culture where people are constantly reminded of who they are in Christ. We need to remind on another of the essential truths of the gospel: that we are more sinful than we dare admit and more loved than we would ever dare believe. All the imperatives of the gospel (what we are to do) will flow out of these indicatives (what the gospel has accomplished). We will therefore forgive one another because we are forgiven much. We will want to be holy because we have been made in the image of God to be holy. These truths about who we are in Christ are going to be the main means by which leaders can shape a culture. 

This is an important issue because our surrounding culture fights to shape and define us. If the gospel is the defining feature of a group, then people are pastored more easily and pointed to Jesus more effectively. Problems become more acute when anything other than the gospel is the defining feature.” (bold-face added, italicized original)

What Timmis highlights in this section of his book is an aspect of leadership I think many pastors overlook. The culture of a community is more than an event or service, though it certainly encompasses those. It is the air we breathe, the environment we inhabit, the governing spirit of the community ethic. In the work of bringing renewal and revitalization of a church, creating a gospel culture has to be one of the most challenging and yet most rewarding things gospel-centered leaders can do.

For what it’s worth, I shared a process of crafting culture through a triperspectival framework (Steve, if you read this, don’t hate!). It might be helpful in giving some practical tracks to moving toward a gospel-centered culture in your church.

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Get all the info here.

Register this week for a special opening week rate of just $29.

We are only making this rate available to the first 100 who register. I would love for you to this training opportunity on how to cultivate gospel communities on mission from Steve Timmis and Jared Wilson, along with local practitioners. More to come . . .

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GCM Everyday Audio

Tim Brister —  November 26, 2010 — Leave a comment

Last month, he GCM Collective held a one-day training focused on the gospel, community, and mission in everyday contexts.  Steve Timmis and Tim Chester has a new book coming out soon on the “ordinary” church–living as gospel communities on mission in everyday life, not just Sunday’s.  The audio from this one-day conference is not available, so check them out!

There are some additional resources that you can check out here.  I also recommend that you check out their online community, which is a great place to learn with/from others.

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This morning, Steve Timmis rolled out a series of tweets that are really convicting.  I have compiled them here and want to share them with you.

* How can I be sure I would lay down my life for sake of Jesus & the gospel? Perhaps I’ll be like Peter in his bravado and subsequent denial?

* Can’t ultimately be sure until I’m called on to do so. But there are indicators in what I am reluctant to give up…

* If I’m not prepared to give up my bed to go and serve someone, I can be fairly confident I won’t give up my life…

* If I refuse to give up a holiday abroad so I can support someone in gospel ministry. I can be fairly confident I won’t give up my life…

* If I’m not willing to pursue people who are different from me in order to bless them, I can be fairly certain I won’t give up my life…

* If I’m not prepared to miss out on promotion so I can stay & help plant churches, I can be fairly certain I won’t give up my life…

* If I’m not prepared to jeopardise a friendship so that I can tell others about Christ, I can be fairly certain I won’t give up my life.

* “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus Christ

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One of the more significant books of 2008 was Total Church: A Radical Reshaping of Gospel and Community by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis (#9 on my top 25 list).  Mike McKinley (from IX Marks) recently interviewed Steve Timmis on various issues including preching, membership, leadership, evangelism, and missions. I thought the interview was well done and worth the read.  Here are the links:

#1 – McKinley and Timmis on Preaching
#2 – McKinley and Timmis on Membership and Leadership
#3 – McKinley and Timmis on Evangelism and Missions

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