Wendy Mann is part of the leadership team of the Kings Arms Church in Bedford, and in this Broadcast she will teach church planters about their identity in Christ.
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Knowing Our Identity Impacts Our Leadership
- Understanding our identity in Christ is important for every believer, but really important for those who lead. This is not necessarily leading church plants, but any kind of pioneering for the Kingdom.
- Knowing who God says we are will make a significant impact on the way that we lead and interact with people around us.
- Above every other 'title' we must first know that we are a daughter or son of God, and as we lead out of that identity and operate out of a child-like relationship to Him, God will be faithful to carry us on from there.
Knowing Our Identity Can Be Our Biggest Battle
- The enemy knows that if Christians really know their true identity in Christ, it changes how they behave and think.
- The enemy is on a mission to disempower the knowledge of who we are.
- Our leadership is a target for the enemy, the enemy wants to make us out as a fraud, and undermine our identity.
- The aim is to try to make us less effective.
- It is important therefore, to be on a mission to know who we truly are and study what the scripture tells us: we are dearly loved sons and daughters, seated with Christ in heavenly places, ambassadors of Christ.
- Our identity cannot just be head knowledge, but an understanding enough to impact the way we behave.
- We must go on this journey to have a revelation of who we truly are, not just for ourselves but also for those we are leading - we can only lead the people we are leading as far as we have gone ourselves.
Knowing Our Identity Raises Our Expectation
- Understanding who we are in Christ makes us more expectant for what God can do through us and for us, for example, when we get revelation of the fact that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, we expect something will happen when we do what God has called us to. If we know that God's power is in our lives then we know He will be at work through our actions.
- Wendy was at Centre Parcs this week at a Christian conference for gap year students. During one of the sessions she was leading, she knew a man at the back of the room had God's hand on him, and was working in him. Wendy felt that if she could just get to him and lay her hands on him that something will happen, because Wendy had an extent of knowledge of the power and authority that lives in her. As Wendy prayed for this man, things in his life began to shift for him, and he began to get very emotional and experience a great level of freedom. Knowing who God says we are impacts our actions.
- If you have revelation of the fact that we are called to be the light of the world, that we are not meant to be hidden, it will impact how much we will want to be seen for the glory of God and expect God to work through us.
Knowing Our True Identity Won't Make Us Proud
- There can be a fear in some of us that if we emphasise identity and try to make it known, then it will make us as followers proud - that the focus is only and simply on us. So there does have to be some caution and sensitivity.
- God opposes the proud, and gives grace to the humble. But humility does not mean beating ourselves up or not succeeding, humility gives God all the glory as we know our identity more.
- The more we truly know our identity, the more we fall in love with Christ and worship Him. We know we are not just forgiven, but brought into a new relationship all because of grace.
Knowing Our Identity Will Bring Internal Peace
- Our identity is won by all Jesus did on the cross, we don't have to strive or strain to win our identity. Our performance is not in the question when thinking about our identity.
- The pressure is off to somehow gain an identity, it's all through grace.
- This knowledge will impact our leadership, because it will bring a lightness and trust in God to a different level.
- We don't have to work hard or feel as if we have to achieve something, especially in church building, as our identity isn't placed in it.
- Leading is a lot more enjoyable when we know our identity, and stops the issue of comparison.
- We can be fully us and celebrate who other people are.
Knowing Our Identity Means We Can Take Risks
- We can take risks and get things wrong knowing our identity is secure.
- We can take risks and get things right and know it is all through grace.
- We can bring prophecies knowing God has our back. Wendy felt that God had given her a word of knowledge at the same centre parks event of 'brooks street', knowing her identity was fully in Christ Wendy knew that whether or not it meant anything to anyone, her identity was the same.
- We are called to be obedient to God.
Knowing Our Identity is a Life Long Journey
- We won't ever get to the place where we feel we totally know our identity in Christ, it will always be a discovery.
- Make 'son' or 'daughter' of God your primary title, above 'leader, 'church-planter', 'wife, 'husband' or any other title you hold in this life.
- Learn what it means to relate to God as your Father.
- Bit by bit God will change our thinking and perspective of our identity .
To Know Our Identity We Need to Recognise Lies
- The enemy will undermine our identities often through lies. We need to unravel the lies and deal with them.
- Wendy had to deal with lies battling against her own identity when she was praying for her sick mother, and the enemy said 'your prayers aren't very powerful.' Wendy knew how to combat these lies because scripture tells us how important and powerful our prayers are.
- Sometimes lies can be a bit more subtle, and we can believe things about ourselves that have subtly been placed into our thoughts that only arise when someone may say something to us and we realise we've been believing a lie.
- When dealing with a lie, we need to first recognise it and unravel it. We need to ask why the enemy is feeding us the lie, and what use it would serve the enemy if we believed it. Then we must make a decision to respond in a way the enemy doesn't want us to.
- We must actively and intentionally believe what's true - the renewing of our mind. Speak out truths, when we do life flows in our words.
- Focus in on what the bible says about us, and hear what God says about us.
- Sometimes lies are attached to pain, we've believed them for years and to step into freedom we need to express the pain to God. That processing toward God has to happen in order to step into truths.
- One of the biggest robbers of knowing true identity is shame. Keeping things hidden brings on shame and makes the enemy's lies feel weighty. We need to value authenticity in the church and have love and acceptance toward people's failings.
1. What are the best ways in our personal time to truly best know our identity fully?
- Going on your own journey for what helps you best in your quiet time is the main thing. Being intentional about your quiet time, and reminding yourself out loud with truths.
- For some people sitting quietly and allowing God to just shower His love on you and speak to you is a good method of knowing your identity.
- It's difficult to love other people if you don't know you're loved first. Intentionally take time to let the truth impact your heart of God's love for you.
- We can sometimes worship from our mind, and sing the words because they're familiar, but we need to engage with what the words are really saying. Being mindful of the words you sing and allowing the Spirit to open the truth to you.
- Let the Spirit lead you in your quiet time.
2. How important is it to be surrounded by people who will encourage you to think of yourself as Christ sees you?
- Wendy's church, Kings Arms, has a culture where it is very difficult to speak ill of yourself.
- Having friends around to encourage and speak truths into your life is very important.
- Emphasise the value of others and yourself in the church.
- Words are powerful, as you can breathe life into someone.
- If someone is in a culture where that isn't happening yet, then be someone to start it. It's a culture of encouragement which is the prophetic.
3. How would you create a church culture of knowing your identity?
- Be intentional about encouragement. At meetings prophecy over one another, send encouragement cards, challenge people by example.
- If you're with someone who seems to speak a lot of lies over themselves then depending on how well you know them, you respond to them differently. If you don't know them too well be sensitive to call them on it, and speak to them about how the truth is different to what they think. If you know them a bit better then honestly ask how things are, what is going on, and ask them why they just said that.
- Sometimes by asking questions you expose some deeper reasons for what they just said and work it through with them. This is the process of unravelling.
4. How does the culture of honour shape the way that you give feedback to people and shape their ministry?
- Some of the outworking of being a good leader is having the ability to give good feedback and to challenge people. A culture of honour doesn't allow people to just say and be who they like, that is a culture of absence.
- A culture of honour says 'you are valuable because you are made in the image of God', but that doesn't mean you can't learn or be challenged in the way you host or lead. We don't want to be in the mindset of a performance-mentality, but rather have a Christ focus of who we are in Him.
- Above all else, when giving feedback, we have to be thinking of whether they were obedient to God, even if they went wrong.
- When giving feedback we need to regard whether the person either sees the issues of their work, or, sees no problems nor need for growth whatsoever. Depending on their stance, the feedback will be different, either more encouraging or more growth orientated.
- Giving areas for growth should always be backed by a reason why.
- Knowing your identity helps you to give and receive feedback well.
5. How can we learn to stop comparison, whilst being ourselves?
- This, again, is a journey. We can look at others and other churches and compare and think 'we'll/I'll never get there.'
- God needs to help us deal with hurt and insecurity from our past.
- What we need to truly want is what God wants, and be more comfortable in our own skin, thanking God for making us the way we are.
- We can see ourselves as a problem. For Wendy, being a woman in leadership was difficult because there were few examples to follow, and she sometimes wrongly saw herself as a problem since the men at times didn't know what to do with her. But she soon realised that her gifting and leadership was a helpful provocation to others. This was a process for Wendy.
- We are learners and followers of Jesus, not of people or strategy. We need to ask God if we are doing what He has asked us and whether we are doing it correctly, and whether we are wanting to please God more than anyone else.
- We are so much more successful when we do things as 'us'.
- You don't have the grace to be someone else, and they don't have the grace to be you. Only you have the grace to be you.
6. How do you go about being authentic and yet be vulnerable with people you lead?
- You have to be lead by the Spirit.
- People can tell if we are just teaching theory, there is something special about authenticity, and nothing changes culture like it.
- Freedom comes when our leaders choose to be vulnerable to the congregation.
- Wendy was honest about a very live struggle she was wrestling with at a meeting with students, and asked those who were struggling too in that area to stand up. Half the room were standing, but because of that they were able to access freedom.
- There is wisdom, we don't share everything, and that's what we have friends for. But there is a real need for honesty, people you're leading won't be able to be lead properly if all they are seeing is a persona.
7. In new church plants and for newcomers, what would you do to help those people understand their identity in Christ?
- When you're meeting someone one-to-one, you can ask them questions to reveal where they're at and what they think of themselves. Being lead by the Spirit to see what comes up and genuinely show an interest in them and encourage them, pointing them back to God all the time.
- From the front, reinforce truth when you pray. Use scripture to explain who we are.
- Jesus' servant-heartedness came out of a knowledge of who He is, that is why He was able to wash the disciples feet.
- Share about breakthroughs.
8. What are some of the lies directed toward our identity that we need to be aware of when church planting?
- A common lie is 'you don't love people very well, because you're always going onto the next thing' which impacts how we see our faithfulness.
- Another lie is 'you're going to make a mess', in order to stop us taking risks.
- A lie that church planters could wrestle with is, 'who do you think you are?' A tone that is very accusatory. But the enemy in that moment is wanting you to question your identity because they are scared about what you could do. You must know that you are perfect to do church planting because God has asked you to do it.
- Success looks like obedience.
9. Do you use any secular tools to find out more about who you are?
- StrengthsFinder can be very useful, they are helpful for knowing ourselves better.
- Using those tools can help teams work better as a group, and who would do better at what.
- It's important to really analyse the results.
- The more self-aware you are the more you can adapt and adjust to be better in what God has called you into.
10. Are there any books you would recommend on identity?
- Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton.
- Birthing the Miraculous: The Power of Personal Encounters with God to Change Your Life and the World by Heidi Baker, and her other books on being like a child.
- Christ in You: Why God Trusts You More Than You Trust Yourself by Eric B. Johnson.