The first is Watchman Nee. In his book The Breaking of the outer man and the Release of The Spirit he says that for most ministers of The Gospel the biggest limitation they have is themselves. They are the blockage! Therefore God's work is to empty the leader of him/herself and allow The Spirit to be "released." He makes a great point when he says, "The Holy Spirit has only one goal in all of His disciplining work: To break and dismantle the outer man so that the inner man can break forth. But the trouble with us is that we murmur as soon as we suffer a little defeat. the Lord has prepared a way for us. He is ready to use us. As soon as His hand is upon us, however, we become unhappy." Bam! Spot on. At least for my journey. A genuine shift of perspective and a challenge to my priorities as well.
Secondly, on vacation, I happened on a book by Marva Dawn in my Dad's library. I can't recall the title but it had something to do with a theology of weakness and the tabernacling of God. Her basic point, taken from 2 Corinthians 12:9 is that when Paul is speaking of weakness, he is talking about the "end of self" and he talks about "being strong" he is actually using an Old Testament image of God coming and "tabernacling" over us; the tabernacle being the place of dwelling for God with men. So in putting this together - when we reach the end of ourselves, THAT is when God comes and begins to live with us in a dynamic way.
What I find with this teaching and the one from Nee is that it reminds me that one of the primary things going on here is the shaping of a character, not primarily a church. Churches are a collection of characters shaped by the finger of God - often thru hardship and struggle. When it is less than that, when it is just an organism that lives on an institutional level, it does great harm to the Kingdom. Maybe the "organic" for which we are all striving is, perhaps, simply characters being shaped by God and doing the journey together in covenant?
One thing I do know is that I am glad He is still shaping me. If I have learned anything over these months is that the tendency in our church culture to elevate leaders, and in particularly entrepreneurial leaders, is crap. What if this had worked better than it has to this point? Would the speaking invites had started flowing? Just because I got one or two practical decisions right when I could've gotten them wrong? That is really all the difference between this thing going differently! Church planting doesn't have to be spiritual. Yet I would have had a reputation for spirituality that was informed by my "success." Yet I am a schmuck. I know this reality more deeply than ever. I am not an expert and no one is just because they may be great organizers or visionaries. We are all just dust being shaped by the sculptor into something useful.