A Chemistry Conversation with Bob Logan
The chaos has shaken us up, and we've lost our first love. In this Chemistry Conversation, Bob Logan shares with us how he feels that God is calling us back to our connection with Him ... an authentic transformation. He is calling us back to the kind of relationships that are truly supportive and encouraging.
- Discipleship Difference Book.
- Currently gathering students for a Doctor of Ministry cohort at Fuller Seminary: Leading for Healthy Growth. The program focuses on missional discipleship, transformational leadership, and fruitful ministry. Learn more about this cohort here.
- Subscribe to Bob's blog here.
Read the Full Transcript
Matt Steen: Well hey, it’s Matt Steen again here with another Chemistry Conversation. Today I’m excited to be joined by Bob Logan. Bob has over 40 years of ministry experience. He has pastored, he has planted churches, he has spent a lot of time equipping leaders. He’s a guy who I became familiar with through his blog several years ago. There’s a ton of great stuff there. We’ll link off to it below. But he’s also an author. He’s written The Discipleship Difference and The Leadership Difference and The Church Planting Journey and just has really poured into a ton of great leaders through the years and really helped them figure out how to do discipleship well in the church. Bob, thanks for taking some time to talk.
Bob Logan: Hey, it’s good to be with you, Matt.
Matt Steen: So Bob, we typically somehow in 10-ish minutes, we go into three different questions. Tell me a little bit, right now as you’re surveying the landscape of the church world, what are you learning about the church?
Bob Logan: I’m really learning, Matt, that we have an opportunity to return to our roots. And I think that the chaos of what we’re experiencing right now has shaken us up a lot and in some ways I think we may be discovering that we’ve kind of lost our first love. I think God is calling us back to our connection with Him. And as we connect with God and experience Him, we can experience a kind of authentic transformation. Calling us back also t those kind of relationships that are truly supported and encouraging. Sort of in that Hebrews 10:23-25 kind of sense of considering how to stimulate one another’s love and good deeds. And through that kind of supportive environment, then reengaging in the mission of Jesus in the world.
Matt Steen: That’s fascinating. So go back a little bit and unpack. You said you feel like we’ve lost our first love. Unpack that. What are you seeing? What are we replacing that with in your estimation?
Bob Logan: Well, many, many things. Mostly activity. Trying to do these kinds of actions, like conducting worship services or trying to figure out how to go online and handle the digital challenges. Just lots of distractions I would say. And getting so busy trying to do the work for God, we forget the worship of God and that personal connection in that way. So I think that’s the critical issue is how do you see God at work in everyday life? One of the things that I do in the groups that I’m involved in is we always light a candle to begin, reminding ourselves that Jesus is the light of the world and His presence, His promise through the indwelling Holy Spirit. And after we light that candle, then the first question we always ask is how did you experience God this week. And I’m discovered that as you ask that question week after week after week, you begin to see God’s involvement in your own life in the lives of those around you far more than you were previously aware. I think part of that is just that perspective of awareness and sensitivity to God and then responding in that more personal, more intimate kind of way. That’s what I mean by the first love, going back to those roots.
Matt Steen: So you work with a ton of leaders, and I’m sure once or twice you come across somebody who you ask that question and they just kind of scratch their head and they’re sitting there thinking, “I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t know how I’ve seen God move. I don’t know when the last - “ getting so caught up in the busyness of doing ministry. How do you coach people in that situation to return to that first love?
Bob Logan: Well I think part of it is just awareness. And so if you’re aware that you don’t really have an answer to that question, “How did you experience God this week,” that is saying something, which means you’re either moving too fast or you’re not taking time to reflect. So sometimes just knowing that question is going to be asked, that increases your awareness and you start saying, “Oh my goodness, how did I see God at work?” And when you start seeing it, it’s pretty amazing. I go to a barber shop. It’s an African American barber shop and really kind of a cool place. And one of the other barbers there is now starting to get interested in biking. I had a sense of prompting from the Lord that I should see if this guy wants to go riding with me sometime. Yet, the last couple of times I was there he wasn’t in the shop. So yesterday I rode my bike out to have lunch with a friend at a place that was about 20 miles from the house, and lo and behold the guy walks down the street. I saw him. And then had lunch with my friend, and then later on I was riding back home and lo and behold I saw him again in his car in an intersection. Yet, there was one more time that I saw him. So it’s like, that was God. I don’t know exactly what He’s up to there, but that connection there was there. When you start opening yourself up to that sort of thing, you see that sort of thing. It’s kind of cool and exciting.
Matt Steen: That’s cool, that’s cool. That’s cool that you get into that rhythm and you get into that habit of regularly asking the question or having somebody ask you the question knowing that it’s coming. How about for somebody who’s just dry? We’ve been through a tough season. And bear with me because these aren’t the questions that I asked you, but you kind of poked something. We’re coming through a pretty bumpy season for a lot of church leaders. A lot of us are kind of beat up, a little bit bruised coming through this. Some of us are just kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel as our own spiritual wherewithal. How do you encourage somebody in that situation, and how do you walk with them to begin to reenergize their faith? I don’t know what I like that phrase, but I think it fits.
Bob Logan: Well, I think the question is how can you create some space to be able to just be still and listen to God. For me, one of the ways I do that is through my cycling. I bicycle and that gives me plenty of chance to unplug. The other way you can work with some folks is ask, “What do you already do?” Maybe you drop your kid off at school and then swing by a Starbucks or your favorite coffee place. Well could you then just add to that routine, just to sit down and spend a few minutes to reflect upon God, talk to God, or listen to God, say, “What do you have for me today that’s important?” I think that if you can kind of link it to something else, that’s a helpful thing as a first step. Sometimes just having a conversation with a friend. Maybe you already have a connection with that friend on a regular basis. Just say, “Hey, would you mind asking me this one question each week?” And that’s a way to do it. I think sometimes, Matt, we try and force a lot of stuff to happen as opposed to say what’s the natural rhythm, what’s the natural flow, and how can we incorporate something that just puts that little extra spin on it that maybe creates enough space for God to deal with us.
Matt Steen: Keep it simple, but just be doing it. That’s great. So you started off talking about how we have this great opportunity in front of us to return to our first love and lean into this. As you look at the season in front of us, what are you seeing as some of the greatest opportunities that pastors have to really lean into that in the season ahead?
Bob Logan: Well, I think the biggest one is to go back to the basics. Jesus said to love God, love others as you love yourself, and then He told us to make disciples. I think it really is that simple. How do we connect with God? How do we serve and connect with others? And then as we’re doing that, just living as God’s kingdom people, then keeping our eyes and ears open for what is God already doing in the lives of other people. And then how can we join with what God is already doing. I heard yesterday - I have no idea where the quote came from, but that effectiveness is really just engaging in the conversation that God is already having with somebody else. In the sense of God is already working, He’s already actively involved. So we just need to see what God is up to and in the words of Henry Blackaby, join God in that.
Matt Steen: That’s strong. As you look at this season and with the guys that you’re coaching, how do you see them leaning into this and really jumping into that conversation. Sorry I cut you off.
Bob Logan: No worries. I think the key thing is that we’ve confused the method with the mission. So in these chaotic times that we’re in, everybody’s trying to figure out how to do worship service. And worship service is very important, but it’s only one of the many means toward the ultimate mission God has given us to make disciples. One of the curious things, Matt, that I have been doing with people, I said what if this current situation, this COVID era, continues for another five years. And I’m not trying to be a pessimist, nor am I being prophetic on that sort of thing. But I said, “If it were to go on indefinitely, what would you start doing differently now?” And without exception, people would think for quite a while and then they would say, “We would start discipling parents on how to disciple their own kids. We would help people begin to see how they can be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus in their own particular context.” And they’re getting back to that notion of how do we live as disciples, how to we make disciples, how do we be God’s kingdom people right where we are. And I thought, that’s curious that that’s the real focus that we should have. And of course disciples want to gather together and worship God and have all those wonderful times together that God intends for us. But that’s the core thing. Our mission has not been stopped by a virus. And yet, that’s the core thing I think to get back onto the mission and then recognize that our methods need to adjust in accordance to the context and challenges we’re facing.
Matt Steen: That’s great. I think the mentoring the families is so huge. I think one of the things - and you may have heard this - but I feel like a lot of the churches that we have been working with, one of the common refrains that we have been hearing is that the young families are the ones that have pulled out and been the slowest to reengage over the last - but still wanting to find a way to be able to care for their families and that kind of thing, but they’ve for one reason or another are the ones that haven’t done that. Being able to pour into them is huge as they care for their kids, right?
Bob Logan: Oh, absolutely. And the fact of the matter is that they may have very legitimate reasons for pulling out, and yet that doesn’t negate the responsibility that they have to disciple their kids. So how do you come alongside them to help them in that process. That’s an adjustment of approach that would be very helpful in this journey.
Matt Steen: That’s great. As you talk to church leaders, as they’re leaning into this next season, what encouragement are you giving them as they go about ministry, as they go about doing ministry in a sustainable way, not just for their church but for themselves and their family as well.
Bob Logan: Well, I would say refuse the burden of distraction. To embrace serenity by asking God, “What can I do?” and then do it. I like the serenity prayer and we’re all familiar with the first part of it, but I’m not sure we’ve heard the entire one very recently. I’d like to read it to you.
Matt Steen: Okay.
Bob Logan: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as the pathway to peace. Taking as He did the sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He’ll make all things right if I surrender to His will so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with him forever and ever in the next. Amen.
Matt Steen: Amen. May it be. Well Bob, thank you so much for that and for just spending some time with us today. I really greatly appreciate it. If you want to learn more about Bob and what he’s up to, you can go to logalleadership.com. We’ll link off to that down below as well to his blog and this recent book Discipleship Difference. The other thing is - you shared a little bit about this before we talked - but you are getting ready to gather a cohort of students for a Doctor of Ministry cohort at Fuller focusing on leading for healthy growth. Do you mind telling us a little bit about what that looks like? We’ll link off to that as well.
Bob Logan: Yeah, sure. It’s actually a 3-year cohort. “Leading for Healthy Growth” is the title. We focus the first year on missional discipleship, so these core themes that we’ve talked about, and effective leadership and ministry systems. And coming out of that whole thing, you’re basically starting from the harvest all the way to living and loving like Jesus, making disciples, starting multiplying groups, raising up leaders, dealing with the organizational change and your own leadership as you grow, ultimately leading to multiplication. The goal of that would have you develop a plan for healthy development, to really live out God’s kingdom in your own ministry context. I love the opportunity to come alongside of leaders. It will be a great time to journey together. The main thing is that the applications for that need to be in by this fall because we’re going to start in spring of 2022.
Matt Steen: Well, there you go. You’ve got a little bit of time to be able to sign up for that. And like I said, we’ll link off to that down below. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you for the ways you care for pastors and churches, and we’re Grateful that you’re sharing your wisdom with us today.
Bob Logan: Pleasure to be with you, Matt. Thanks so much.