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The One Secret Ingredient for Herding Cats

Meredith Mahon Morris February 7, 2012

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Lesley BakerLast year I was asked by Russ Fortier (who is now my boss) if I would facilitate a new session at the 2011 ACS Technologies Ideas to Impact Conference. The session was  about “Herding Cats.” When I heard that phrase, I was immediately intrigued – and also honored to be asked to facilitate it. Naturally I had no idea what the response would be to the session, but being obedient to what I really believed God was in the middle of, I started praying and preparing the material.

The session was offered twice, and both times the room was filled to capacity; in one session we even had to switch to a larger room. I was humbled by the response to the Herding Cats session and it became the inspiration of the blog series I’ve been working on – and the blog post that you’re now reading.

Standing in front of such a large group, the largest group I’d spoken to at any Ideas to Impact Conference, I was nervous, but I was prayed up and as prepared as I could be. The funny thing was, at each session as I chatted with folks as they were arriving someone would comment, “I hope you brought cat nip!” Funnier yet, as I’ve now gone on-site with churches whose staff sat in on the Herding Cats session, right before we begin a training session or implementation session with their staff they’ll make the same comment, “I hope you brought cat nip!” That’s what I’m writing about today: Cat nip. The secret weapon of cat herders.

The secret ingredient (it’s not really cat nip)

Through my short four years as a staff member at a megachurch, I learned very quickly through bumps and bruises that the only way to get folks to follow you in what you’ve been called to do in any ministry is to possess one key ingredient: Love. That is the cat nip that every cat herder should possess.

One of the greatest commandments we’ve been given is to love one another. You can’t be a cat herder and not love the cats – all cats! All too often we can find ourselves being as patient and loving as we can be to our congregants, but sometimes it seems we fail at expressing those same sentiments to the person sitting in the office next to us.

Did you notice in December how much nicer people were? I love the element of Christmas that seems to flow through the air like the aroma of freshly baked banana bread. It spreads like a heavenly invisible wildfire and brings a smile to your face (unless you’re fasting). Did you sense it among your fellow staff members? It’s a shame we only see this level of kindness at Christmas, because  as believers we’re supposed to radiate that from the inside out. We’re supposed to radiate kindness to all – and yes, I means that staff member or that volunteer. The one who makes you want to scream.

Doing your homework: Read The Word

The commandment to love one another can be found in John 13:34-35, “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

After studying these verses and few others in 1 John 1 & 2 I found myself asking God, “how do we live the greatest commandment to love one another?”  I found the answer in 1 John 2:10 ” … the one who loves his brother ABIDES in the Light.” According to a Bible Dictionary the word “abide” means “remain, stay; often describes the believers continuance in Christ.” In the NASB version of this verse the word “abide” is used.  I did some research and found that in other translations other words like “remain” or “continue in” can be found. All of which can be interpreted to mean “abide in Him.” That’s how we live the greatest commandment, we abide in Him to live love.

Lessons learned

The days when I used to find myself loving the least where the days I hadn’t spend any time with God.  I’d stop whatever I was doing and do a short devotional to get myself back on track and in the right frame of mind. When we figuratively lay down our lives and live for others rather than our selves (putting others first), then we become selfless and can love the way God commands us to, ultimately being as effective as we can be where God has planted us.

Here’s a nugget to help you digest this big pill I’m encouraging you to swallow – God never asks us to do something we’re not equipped to do.

I pray you live love, by doing so you become a powerful Cat Herder (Kingdom vessel) that God can work through for His glory! If you live love then you will always have cat nip in your pocket, ready to herd cats at a moment’s notice.

Did you enjoy this post? Read more posts by Lesley Baker, our in-house Cat Herding expert.

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