Monday, April 30, 2007

Mark Driscoll - Banned Video

I just got this comment on my previous post and thought that is was worth full post status; only because so many people are coming to this blog to find out about the whole Driscoll - Hybels thing. It is from Life Point Church. It sounds like the video thing was a bit of a logistics and possibly an expectations problem. But, apparently the lack of getting the video out to everyone was not an intentional way of avoiding controversy.

Now, this will be my last post on the topic. This kind of stuff makes the church look bad. We are on the same team. Praise God we do things different, because these two pastors are likely reaching different people and I don't want any of these people to go to hell. Do you?

Let me set the record straight about this once and for all. I was a volunteer at the conference and worked with Scott from Acts 29 all week on the logistics of handling the video out. We also had 1800 Acts 29 brochures that did not arrive in time to be put in the bags at the beginning of the conference. As the conference was winding down we made a decision to hand the videos and brochures out via tables and volunteers at the 3 main doors and not each door to the sanctuary. We just did not have the people to do this nor was it feasible due to exit strategy. In no way, and I know first hand as I was in on the conversation, was their EVER any discussion by anyone associated with the conference that I know of NOT to hand out the video due to Bill Hybels remarks. What was quoted above IS THE QUOTE he said. You will be able to see for yourself when the main session videos are available on the conference website.
These rumors about the video being pulled from being given out are just NOT true. I know first hand what happened and now the record should be straight.

Craig Groeschel on IT

Unfortunately, I could not be at he ARC conference in Austin last week to hear Craig Groeschel from Life Church in OK. I love this guy. I have read both his books and learned a lot from the honest experience of a great pastor.


But . . . Jeff Kapusta was there and he took some great notes. I have summarized them below. You can check out all the notes here.


Seven things that are present when IT is present:
1. Vision Alignment

  • Prov. 29:18—Where there is no vision the people perish.
  • Many churches have a vision statement but have no vision. Just cause you put it on a banner doesn’t mean you believe it. Most churches would say “we are about Jesus.” I would tell you I don’t believe it. You’re actions don’t prove it. You are about filling seats, building buildings, softball fields. If I’ve offended you…sorry.
  • You start with a Vision…do not surrender it.
  • Remember the church is not here for us…we are the church we are here for the world.
  • Q?–Do you have a God given vision?

2. Divine Focus

  • • Do only what you are called to do!
  • • We do five things
    • Weekend worship experiences
    • Small groups
    • Missions
    • Kids Ministry
    • Students Ministry
  • Funnel everything else through small groups.
  • When you are starting the church decide what you are not going to do.
  • When you know what you are not going to do it frees you up to do things you want to do.
  • How do you innovate? You don’t copy what everyone else does you do what no one else does.
  • Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it. Just because everyone else does it doesn’t mean you should do it.
  • Remember Nehemiah on the Wall—I can’t come down I’m doing a great work.
  • There are thousands of great ministries that you could do. Don’t!
  • Q?–What are we doing that we should stop doing?

3. An unmistakable Camaraderie

  • They have nicknames and practical jokes.
  • Play games—capture the flag
  • Have fun—bring a ball to your staff meeting
  • Hide a fart machine in the office.
  • Q?—What would make your ministry more fun?

4. You have a very high pain tolerance.

  • When you have it and others don’t they shoot at you.
  • When God elevates you, you will experience pain.
  • New levels bring new devils.
  • The difference between larger church pastors and smaller church pastors are their willingness to endure more pain.
  • The difference between where you are and where you want to be is the pain you are willing to endure.
  • Learn to be criticized with Grace.
    • To those who are in their 20’s and 30’s—I applaud your passion but fear your anger.
    • Smile and play hurt.
    • Do not sink to the level of striking them back.
    • When you experience the pain, embrace it. Thank God that He considers you worthy to suffer for His name sake.
  • Q?—What painful decision are you avoiding?

5. A willingness to fail.

  • Jesus tells a story about three guys given three talents to invest.
  • You should go to bed thinking “uh oh, I think this is what we are supposed to be doing.”
  • Maybe we missed God or maybe He had something to teach us.
  • People say, “Failure is not an option”…I agree. It is absolutely necessary. Peter couldn’t have preach at Pentecost if he hadn’t failed.
  • Let God bring out of you what he has put inside of you.
  • Q?—What is inside of you that you think He wants you to do?

6. Have a kingdom mindset.

  • When you have IT you are willing to share IT.
  • If you think you own IT you don’t have IT.
  • Can you celebrate with God if another church grows bigger than yours?
  • When you have IT, IT is not about you. It’s not your name. It doesn’t have to be yourname.com.
  • “I understand the importance of leveraging your name, I just choose not to do it.”—Craig
  • When we give it away God gives more to us.-Craig
  • Don’t complain how your people won’t give if your church won’t.
  • Take up an offering and send it on down to the mega church down the road who is in a building program.
  • Q?—What do you have that you could give away to help others?
  • When God blesses you and gives you influence, invest in the next generation.

7. You have IT.

  • For your ministry to have IT you must have IT.
  • It starts HERE with Me.
  • Get angry at the devil.
  • Allow your heart to break for the lost.
  • Trust what’s in here and not what’s out there.
  • “If I seem passionate about this it’s because I had it and I lost it.”—Craig
  • “I had become a full time pastor and a part time follower of Christ.”—Craig
  • I am a full time disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ who just happens to get to be a pastor.
  • Acts 4:13—They were idiots who had been with Jesus.
  • Don’t Lose IT. If you’ve lost IT, find IT.
  • Q?—Do you have IT? If you don’t, what are you going to do to get IT?
  • Sir Francis Drake—Disturb us Lord.

Driscoll Vs Hybels

That title should bring some traffic to my sight. In fact I have been getting a huge number of people coming to my blog by searching on Driscoll and Hybels due to the fact that I took notes on all the sessions at the Exponential Conference (NNCC).

It is just not that big a deal. Driscoll had spoke via video to the large group session and in his typical fashion did a sarcastic yet humorous call to mentoring men in the church. It was humorous. Most people were laughing.

Hybels, considered the father or church planting by many, followed the Driscoll video and said, according to my notes, "there are women in this world and many of them are used by God in church building. Just to set the record straight." This also got applause from the crowd.

In the end Mark Driscoll has planted a great church based on his sense of what is important to reach his audience and his concerns of needs in the church. That is a good thing. We do need to do a better job of bringing men to a greater level of discipleship in the church.

On the other hand his video was very biased toward men, so I am not surprised or shocked at Hybels response. God is using women in the exercise of church building in many ways. Their were a fair number of women in the crowd of about 1000 that day. Hybels wanted to affirm them. That is a good thing too. Hybels has planted a great church too.

Both of these men are reaching people for Christ. They are different but on the same team. It was a good day.

One more thing. They were supposed to hand out the Driscoll video DVD to all attendees and they didn't for some reason. I found out about this through Mark Drisoll's blog you can read his comment and watch the video here.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Undignified 2

God is up to something. I read about David's dancing before the Lord this morning in my time of reading through the Bible. It reminded me of the word's "live for an audience of one" I heard at the Nat'l New Church Conf in Orlando last week. So I blogged about it this morning before I want to my first Mosaic service.

Well this morning they were speaking on marriage relationships and Erwin's wife Kim asked us to turn to 2 Samuel. I immediately knew where she was headed. I was right. She talked about the same passage. God must be trying to tell me something.

Do you ever get these God coincidences? Maybe we get them all the time but don't see them. I want to dig a little deeper to learn more about what God might be trying to tell me. I don't know if that makes me a spiritual weirdo or not but I want to learn to hear his voice. I think people that hear God most clearly are people who listen for His voice in everyday life.

So I begin here:
-Live for an audience of one.
-I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this.

Hopefully I won't have to dance in my underwear.

Undignified

Well I am here in sunny southern California on a cool overcast Sunday morning sitting at Starbucks.

I am excited for what the week holds at the Origins and Ethos Conferences. But this morning I am even more excited to be attending my first Mosaic gathering.

This morning I was 2 Samuel in my reading through the Bible. I love the passage where David is chastised by his wife Michal for dancing and disrobing in front of the servant girls. I love his response, "I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this." Wow. I want this to become my motto. I don't want to a sanitized Christian that never offends believers at the cost of never reaching the lost.

At NNCC Wayne Cordiero said that he wants to live for an audience of one. I guess that's was David was doing. He was not dancing to show what a crazy new king he was; he was celebrating to his audience of one. And you notice he was confident that when he danced for his audience of one, that the servant girls would hold him in honor for doing so.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

NNCC - Origins - Ministry Toolbox

It has been an awesome week at the Exponential (NNCC) Conference. I learned a lot, was challenged and inspired, and maybe most important of all I developed new relationships.

After an insane 9 hour drive, I arrived home about midnight Thursday night. Then I had just a day and a half with the family and doing errands and preparing for the Origins Conference next week. It’s just not enough time. So hard to leave my beautiful wife and my 4 amazing kids. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often.

I love hitting a few of the best conferences each year. I just don’t know how you can succeed in church planting with out it. I think that God designed us to learn from others. That is why God called the church to be a body of individual parts interconnected to other parts to complete His mission. While you don’t have to arrive in a church planting situation with all the answers, I am so convinced that you need a toolbox full of tools. Going to conferences and hearing from other’s experiences of success and failure allow my to put tools in my toolbox that I can use later when we begin to connect to the culture in the community God has called us to.

Now I am in the O’Hare airport on my way to Los Angeles for the Mosaic Origins and Ethos conference. I am looking forward to adding more tools from guys like Erwin McManus and some of their International Mosaic Alliance pastors.

Friday, April 27, 2007

NNCC - Bill Hybels - Plenary Session

Bill Hybles

He came up after they showed the Mark Driscoll video. The first thing that Bill said was "there are women in this world and many of them are used by God in church building. Just to set the record straight."

He tells his story about how he gave up his privileges in a multi-million dollar family business with stock options company cars and corp jets to go on an adventure to be totally sold out to creating an Acts 2 community. His father actually had him sign legal documents giving up any claim on the family business, if he was really committed to something else. He said that is wasn't a bad thing as much as a commitment thing.

Counsel to people who want to plant an Acts 2 church (not exhaustive):

Know the difference between a hankering and a holy discontent. When God stirs so profoundly in your inner person that if you didn’t do what God is calling you to do you feel like you would implode.

Who has what gifts? Are you working in the area of your giftedness?
Bill's gifts are 1. Leadership, 2 Evangelism, 3. Teaching. Tell the truth about your own gifts and the gifts of others on the team. Rank is important. He sees his leadership role as more important than his teaching roles at Willow and therefore does not speak as many weekends as most pastors b/c it is not his highest gifting.

We walk by faith and not by sight. If you walk by sight you will lose heart. A CP will face a ridiculous number of unsolvable problems.

Figure out early on if you are going to take the high road or the low road. Do everything straight and honorably. The world is watching and there are lots of ministry leaders that have had public failures.

Ask God to let you finish with a few of the people with whom you started.

Most great works of God can be traced back to a defining moment in time. Write it down. Where were you? Could something that was said at this conference been that time. Do we need to say yes to something that God is nudging us about during this conference.

You were meant for open sea Kingdom living not hanging out in the calm waters.

NNCC - Mark Driscoll - Plenary Session - via video

Mark Driscoll
What makes the difference in successful Church Planting.
  1. Man
    1. Called
    2. Strong
    3. Competent
    4. Theological
    5. Clear message
    6. Clear mission
  2. Mission - to get the men
    1. Paul warns about getting sidetracked by civilian affairs.
    2. Has to gather the right men to learn both doctrine and practice
    3. They have to be able inspire and disciple men especially young men
    4. You have to get men to win the war
    5. The men want to know how to be a man
  3. Message
    1. Jesus leaving his kingdom and entering in to the earth to die a death we deserve and rose victorious in three days.
    2. CP's will only succeed to the extent that they proclaim this message.
    3. The message is really what it is all about and it is what will reach the men.

NNCC - Vince Antonucci - Pre-Launch Session

Session Seven Vince Antonucci
Has a book Coming out in Feb called,
“I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”

Someone’s got to say it:
There are lots of churches being started and lots becoming mega-churches, but . . .
Of 280 million in USA:
-40% say they went to church last week.
-49% in 1991.
-Research indicates that about ½ as many actually go as say they do.
-“In the past 15 years the church in America has spent 500 Billion dollars on domestic ministry and for it has shown NO appreciable growth.” (H.B. London, Pastor’s Briefing, February 22, 1999).

Forefront Church - 70% were previously unchurched

How do you create Evangelistic DNA in your church?
  1. It starts with having evangelistic DNA in you.
  2. It’s powerful to have evangelistic metaphors and stories.
  • Our church is like a steak restaurant for PETA activists: a church for people who do not like church.
  • I’m not asking if you want to be on this team, I am asking if you want to sacrifice for people outside this church. It is like the day after 911. If asked to join a team to pull people of the rubble no one would say what is in it for me. Our purpose for existing is to find people dying who still have the hope of life left in them.
  • He tells the story of losing one of his kids at a water park and the tremendous anxiety and fear of losing his child. After a long while he found his son and he felt like he knew what it must be like to be God searching for his lost children.
3. You need to be willing to make the sacrifices it takes.

Practical Principles to make Sunday Mornings truly evangelistic
  1. Unfolding people’s arms – They don’t like church and are saying prove it.
  2. Wear their shoes
  3. Treat your visitors at church like you would treat visitors at your home,
  4. Check your influences – we all should be getting our main influence from God but there are a lot of things we do that don’t come from the Bible. They are influenced in method by MTV, Letterman, Chuck E Cheeses, Starbucks, SNL, Disney, etc.
  5. Use their Culture – they use secular music to open and close the service, they use series on movies etc. They sometimes use series on books but might call them Elijah true Hollywood stories.
  6. Don’t use your culture – your assumptions will create your crowd. The way you speak will ultimately determine who will stay and who will leave. What do the people need to know to understand what you are saying. Ex supporting something with Ephesians 4:12 they are saying what is and Ephesian? Just change it to the bible says in Eph 4:12. Now they know that it is something in the Bible.
    1. - Instead of saying “sometimes when you pray . . . you might say if you pray, you know sometimes . . . by saying it this way the person who does not pray says he knows I am here.
    2. - Instead of saying Paul said you might explain who Paul is or say a guy in the bible named Paul said.
  7. Authenticity
  8. The Joe Dimagio principle – when he got walked he would run to first base. He always ran out to the field and back to the dugout. He said he did this because some kid is watching me to see how to play baseball and I do that for that kid who is watching. They want to model.
A walk though a new person’s experience at forfront
  • They have lots of signs to get you excited about the church before you get there. Like Disney or south of the border.
  • They don’t have greeters, because they assume that people aren’t wanting to meet someone when they first walk into a place. (There are people standing around to help and clear info table with people to help there)
  • They always play secular music coming in and going out.
  • They have someone handing out programs which contain 6 bible studies for the week.
  • Funny pre-service slides
  • Call to service “Lets Get It Started" by the black eyed peas.
  • They have a lean band without tons of band members or singers. No one does that except the church.
  • They try not to look too weird. The cross and the gospel are weird enough for unchurched, they don’t try to be too weird in everything else.
  • They don’t start with worship. He says it would be like a visitor coming to eat and you open the door and ask them to pray rather than waiting till you sit down to eat.
  • They do welcome, then do something creative to uncross the arms to get people to open up. He said they will do anything but sin to uncross people’s arms.
  • Before they move into worship, they explain what they are doing. They don’t explain the videos and dramas because those are not weird to them.
  • They don’t do an invitation. It is not Biblical. They sometimes invite people to come up after to talk to somebody if they want.
The Final Questions:
Are you willing to sacrifice to be a part of a church that reaches lost people?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NNCC - Dave Ferguson - Plenary Session

Fibonacho discovered that if you put 2 rabbits in a cage and the reproduced every month then there would be 30000 rabbits in 2 years. He threw out the roman numerals and came up with the numbers we know today b/c the RN were just to hard to work with.

How does the church do math for growth?
  • We are seeing many churches figuring out how to start new campuses. Church planting networks are emerging.
  • We have networks like Leadership Network and WCA that are highlighting those that are really reproducing.
We need churches that are reproducing on every level.

Rapid Reproduction
Acts 1:8
  • It starts when we dream big.
    • Real life and real ministry tend to decrease the size of our dreams
    • It is a tragedy to have a dream tucked away
    • They have a saying in there small groups, “treat them like they a Xians until they know that they are not.”
  • Big dreams change things
    • The bigger the dream the more profound the questions you are going to ask.
    • Big dreams will change your prayers
    • Big dreams change others
Start Small 2 tim 2:2
1. Start with Leaders –
  • Direct correlation between success and a Leaders prayer life especially those who spent 90 min a day
  • Goal for reproduction is also a factor
  • Reproduce small groups first
  • Every small group has an apprentice
  • Focus on the 2 smallest units
2. Artists – we need to reproduce artists to facilitate large group
  • they started a school for the arts

How do you know when you have found rapid reproduction?
  1. Seek the lost more than the found
  2. you begin to love the edge more than the center.
  3. prefer the going more than the staying

NNCC - Shawn Lovejoy - Pre-Launch Breakout

Amos 3:7
Senior pastor should be a prophet.
Prophets get their vision from God.
Many Church Planters are CPpansies rather than CP Prophets. They are too soft and don’t protect the vision of the church.

What does it look like to be God’s man for God’s church
  • Prophets get their vision/message from God. Not from other churches or websites or blogs.
    • Everyone who comes after the pastor knows the vision. They don't create it or vote on it.
  • Prophets communicate the vision
    • God is looking for pastors who will stand up and say “thus sayeth the lord. Here is what God told me and here is where we are going."
    • Vision is just as much of a felt need as anything else.
    • Vision leaks – it needs to come out of everything that you do.
    • They choose to be clear over cool in vision
    • God’s vision though a prophet always comes under attack. No prophet in the bible had 100% support even Jesus.
  • Prophets protect the vision – don’t worry too much about being nice when it comes to the vision. Most all churches begin with a great vision but they don’t always cross the finish line with this vision.
    • When it comes to raising people into leadership the most dangerous people are former pastors, semiarians and people who taught ss in another church b/c they have another idea of what church looks like.
  • Protect the vision by-
    • Confronting people – Matt 18
      • Gal 6 one person can spread problems like yeast.
      • They fire 10% of the small group leaders every year. They often fire people for not supporting the vision
      • Confront -
        • Consumer Christians – Illus baby birds with mouths open one day mama bird kicks em out the nest and says your gonna fly or die. They must learn to get out the nest and learn to feed themselves.
        • Spiritual mavericks
        • People trying to hijack the mission – the worst people are the ones on board 99%
    • By saying no –
    • By giving people permission to leave. Don’t try to get them to stay. Don’t try to close the back door. Sounds arrogant but a pastor must have a thick skin and a soft heart.
  • Prophets don’t care what people think about them. Live your life for an audience of one.

NNCC Mark Batterson - Pre-Launch Breakout

Five keys to creativity:
Creativity is not optional

#1 Keep Learning
  • read like crazy
  • kids have 125 interesting questions a day. Adults have 6.
  • pt 5% of budget into development and have budget for personal growth.
#2 Exegete Culture
  • if you want to cultivate creativity you need to be a student of culture
  • contextual intelligence – the difference between success and failure
  • all tribes described as warriors except for Issachar who was called leaders.
  • relevance is incarnation
  • Redeem technology-
    • podcasting
    • Coffee houses are modern day wells
#3 Brand Sermons
#4 Disrupt Routines
  • change of pace + change of place = change of perspective.
  • 40 day fast made a difference
  • law of confusion –
    • good leaders confuse people
  • Best practices
    • a lot of off sight meetings
    • retreats
  • keep what is sacred from becoming routine
#5 Keep Experimenting
  • everything is an experiment

Closing
There are ways of doing church that no one has thought about yet.

NNCC - Ed Stetzer – Plenary Session 2

Move beyond addition by being missional
We have to see believers multiplied
Make sure the centrality of what we do is built around the cross.

Acts 17 Come over to Macedonia and help us.

1. Come over - the NT is about a God who sends – even Paul struggles with direction, but he keeps going. Don’t plant a church with a vision for the church; only plant a church with a vision for the people.
    • Into your community not into someone else’s.
    • To may planters are in love with someone else’s community.
    • Don’t bring a model bring a plan.
    • Bring Christ not just a church
2. Help
    • Make sure that people know it is all about Jesus
    • 2 cor 5:11-20 - persuade
    • Jesus Compels us
    • He has committed to us the message
    • Francis Dubose, “God Who Sends” book written before missional was popular
    • Help gets dirty, sympathy alone does not give a way out.
    • Be. Do. Tell.
    • How do we express a loss of confidence in the gospel
    • When we focus on personal transform not gospel transform
    • When sermons are so practical they lack any gospel
    • When we talk about practical more than we talk about biblical
    • When your outreach demeans others that preach the gospel.
    • When your approach makes you the hero and not Jesus
    • When personal evangelism is an oxy moron
    • When invest and invite never leads to conversion
    • ??
    • When the cross gets less focus than your church
    • When not offending seekers is more important than the gospel
    • Relevance is a tool that helps seeker understant the gospel
3. Us
    • Missional has to be tied to seek and save the lost
    • Lost people matter to God – have you fallen deeply in love for the lost in your community. Ask God to break your heart for your community.

NNCC - Wayne Cordeiro - Pre-Launch Breakout

He showed graph where the church mostly helps the unchurched and helps the Christians less. He showed an opposing graph of how the church ought each Christians to help themselves.

Managing discontent
He used a bar Graph
Erosion of privilege (first bar on graph)
  • true test of a servant is how you respond when someone treats you like one.
  • Are you still enjoying the privilege of the call or are you bitter? If you lose a sense of privilege then you start to fail but if you still see it as calling you will plant roots deeper when difficult things happen.
Discontent
  • When privilege erodes discontent (second bar on graph) increases to a point that you hit a line of tolerance when you will start to look at other options in order to decrease the discontent.. you may bail or complain or go back to old bad habits. You must deal with it.
  • Nobody can put discontent into you. There may be instigators but You are the only one who is in control of your content or discontent. If this were not true Jesus would have blamed others, but he didn't. He said father forgive them. Use discontent to make you bitter or better.
  • God will never take you through time of discontent where he will not give you something of equal or greater value in return. Whether it is real discontent or just perceived you don’t know the difference at first. It has the same results. But through the word of God you are able to discern between the joints and marrow, soul and spirit.
Joy factor (third bar on graph)
  • the greater the level of discontent your joy decreases. You have to guard your joy. Consider it all joy when you … so that you might be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
  • Sometimes you push discontent underground. When you do that it will breed more discontent. It breeds something called “offense” even offense toward ministry.
  • 1 Cor 10:10 let us not complain. It opens a door for the evil one. Moves to immoral living.
  • Psalm 51:9-10 a pray for periods of discontetnt.
  • Satan can’t steal your ministry or marriage, but he will steal the joy out of it and you will destroy those things yourself.
Resolution (4th bar on graph)–
  • must have the word of God. Helps you determine between perceived and real discontent.
  • Prayer give impetus. Get going, today. Leaders, you must infuse yourself with the word or God and prayer. He called deacons so that the Word and prayer would not be overlooked or set aside.
  • Appealing to those in authority. Give someone permission to speak into your life. Samuel was that for Saul, when saul said he had done the will of the lord and Samuel said then what is the bleating of sheep that I hear/ someone you can appeal to if you are in trouble legally – board members senior staff. Do not be an independent church without a covering.

NNCC - Ed Stetzer

OK, I had a hard time taking notes on Ed. If there was a speed limit on talking the guy would be in Jail for Reckless driving.

Our desire is:
  1. To help you learn how to recognize and them build a biblically driven, culturally relevant church.
  2. Leave thinking more strategically
  3. Be aware you are not supposed to do the same things others have done

What is a biblically driven church look like in your context?
A Biblically sound church will look different as it is missionally applied.
  1. Contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, Jude 3, 1Cor 9:22-23
  2. Contextualize.

  • Good theology leads to good missiology.
  • Don’t plant a church if you are not settled and sound.
  • We need to redevelop a missiology mindset for north America.
  • What does a biblically faithful church look like in our culture?
  • How does the word become flesh in every cultural context? A struggle every time.
  • We must commit to thinking through tough issues of how the local church can contextualize the gospel.
  • What is the nature of the gospel and how is it lived out in this cultural situation.
  • Just as God is a missionary God so the church is to be a missionary church
  • God is a sender buy nature.
  • God exists for mission.
  • Jesus was the sent one.
  • As the father has sent me so send it You.
  • Jesus is the embodiment of the mission.
  • The church is the instrument of that mission.
  • The culture is the context in which that mission occurs.
  • 1Pet 2:9 you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood . . .
  • We have to be intentional to engage the culture
  • We must be focused on the mission of God.

  • Obstacle - Love or despise the culture too much.
    • The Baptist and Methodist churches were once considered scandalous on the western frontier church planting movements. Now they are in decline.
  • Tradition is an obvious and frequent barrier.
  • There is also an obstacle of technique. Some techniques don’t work in some places but do work in other places.
    • Most cp’s aren’t compromising the gospel but they are crowding it out with tips, tricks, and technique.
3 things to think about for biblical balance:
  1. Be Biblically faithful
  2. Be Culturally relevant
  3. Be a Counter cultural community for the kingdom and the glory of God.

NNCC - Wayne Cordero - Plenary Session 1

Wayne Cordero –Pastor/Church Planter from Hawaii. 11000 member church planted in 1995 and this church has already planted several churches throughout the world.

Everyone here is destined for greatness but not for largeness.

Image is huge. The world is crying for genuine people. If they don’t find it in the church what hope does the world have.

An oak roletop desk made of press board with a oak veneer s worthless. It would have to be oak to the core to have any value.

You are going to reproduce what you are. Tomorrow’s church will become what we are today.
We are the last chapter. God asked us to run anchor.

Acts 1:8
We must be genuine.

If elephant walked by on the beach in front of you but left human foot prints what would yo make if that? It must really be a human dressed up in an elephant suit. If a horse . . . and left human foot prints, then it too must have been a human in a horse suit. If you want to leave Jesus footprints what do you need to do.

When you begin your ministry you won’t have the wisdom. You have to garner it along the way.

2 ways to gain wisdom
1. From personal experience
2. From other people’s personal experience

We must have wisdom to give us genuine authenticity and ears to hear god.

God gives us 66 books that we can learn from. He will breath into us the same wisdom he gave to David, Moses, Abigail, Esther, Ruth, etc.

The Bible is best church planters book.

You need Biblical wisdom to develop a root system to bring good fruit.
Some big redwood trees fell because of the foot traffic over the root system. Now many of these trees have enclosures to keep the foot traffic off of the root system. We need enclosures around our root system.

Daily time in gods word – Practice scales (like for a great musician) for a leader.
This is where the holy spirit will mentor you.
Luke 10 – don’t get so bother and distract in ministry that you don’t listen to Jesus words.
You have to choose it. No one will discipline you to do it if you don’t.
There are certain things that you can’t learn from a book or class or seminary. You have to learn it from the master.

The church of the 21st cent has to have the voice of Christ coming through.
Don’t just give the Bible to others. Take it in yourself and then give it away.

5 Things to Bring with you to a Time in God's Word Each Day
  1. find a place and bring the Bible not the other books
  2. bring a pen – mark up the bible – what is holy is what you get off the page and into your heart.
  3. reading program – to get you through the Bible systematically. The minor prophets are the loneliest people in the bible.
  4. bring a journal – people have to learn to feed themselves - SOAP - Write Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer (you can even title the journal entry) write down an ongoing table of contents. 95 % of his sermons come out of this
  5. Daily planner – if something comes into you mind jot it down so that it does not distract you during the rest of your quite time.
Read 20 min, journal 20 (and in groups share 20) He mentors 82 leaders each week in this way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Travel to Paris

You have to check this out. Go to maps.google.com. Click on 'get directions.' Enter 'New York, NY' in the left blank and 'Paris, France' in the right blank.

*Note the time drive time at the top and step 24.

I have not tried these directions yet.

Nat'l New Chruch Conference - Orlando

Well, after an 8.5 hour drive yesterday, I made it to Orlando late last night. I made the drive without A/C because it went out last we. It actually wasn't that bad. A little trivia for you: from NC to FL, SC was the hottest state.

This is should be a great conference. It is the largest gathering of church planting leaders in North America with a great line up of speakers. I will be taking notes and posting them here periodically.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Road-Trip - National New Church Conference

I should have put this out there earlier, but . . .

Is anybody driving to Orlando for the conference from NC, SC or Virginia that might want a rider. It would be nice to share the costs of the trip.

I decided not to fly b/c I was driving with someone who is not going now.

Give me a shout if you want to carpool.

kwitcher@avmi.org
919-414-8405

Friday, April 20, 2007

Get off the Dead Horse

This is a great post from the Under the Iceberg blog.

Beatdeadhorse

“If the horse you’re riding dies, get off. “

Seems simple enough. When something doesn’t work, find a better way. Unfortunately in the religious world, being ruthlessly pragmatic is not a often embraced value. Instead, we often choose from an array of other alternatives which include:

1. Buying a stronger whip.
2. Trying a new bit or bridle.
3. Switching riders.
4. Moving the horse to a new location.
5. Riding the horse for longer periods of time.
6. Saying things like, “this is the way we’ve always ridden this horse”.
7. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
8. Arranging to visit other sites where they ride dead horses more efficiently.
9. Increasing the standards for riding dead horses.
10. Creating a tests for measuring riding ability.
11. Comparing how we’re riding now with how we did ten or twenty years ago.
12. Complaining about the state of horses these days.
13. Coming up with new styles of riding.
14. Tightening the cinch.
15. Blaming the horse’s parents. The problem is often in the breeding.

National New Church Conference

Getting excited about the National New Church Conference in Orlando next week. I am excited to see such a large group of great pastors and leaders there. I have always heard that you need to surround yourself with people who have the qualities that you want to posses yourself. I am praying for a little osmosis. It will be a good place to learn new things people are doing to bring the gospel to those far from God and a time to make new friends.

I am driving down from Raleigh on Monday morning so give me a shout if you are interested in carpooling. kwitcher@avmi.org


The conference program is now online. Here's a link.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Calling, Vision and Deacons

I attended the SE Regional Acts 29 gathering at Vintage 21 church in Raleigh, yesterday. Tyler Jones, pastor of Vintage 21 opened with some challenging thoughts on calling and vision.
He said:

We should never forget our calling. Remember the calling that you have. Go back and recall that. It is the only constant thing. Take time out of your busy schedule and spend time with God and ask him to speak to you about your calling.

We are called to all the world.

Calling inherently affects our vision.

Vision is the actualization of your calling. Vision should not be reactionary. Vision comes easy for church planters because God calls you. Don’t make the mistake of sitting down with a core group and develop a vision. Vision is the calling of the church planter.

Calling moves into vision and vision moves into systems and structures.
You need a system and a 3 to 5 yr strategic plan. You need a system for how to develop leaders.


Nate Williams, Executive pastor of Vintage 21 led the second half of the time by talking about their deacon structure. I see similar structures in many churches but with different names. They intentionally want to redeem the names "elder" and "deacon". I am not sure if people from an unchurched background wouldn't rather have the same role using a term that is more descriptive of their roles in our current culture. Either way they presented a very systematic approach to their process and seem to really be able to utilize lay people for greater areas of responsibility. The other thing that I really liked was separating service roles into volunteer roles and those who lead these volunteers. Those volunteer leaders are chosen, challenged and kept accountable based on the scriptural mandates for deacons in 1 Timothy.

He also said that tithing is a requirement for deacons and elders and they don't mind looking at giving records in some need arises. Bold, but why not?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Guys Rules

I got this from Chuck Musselwhite's Blog. This is Great!
*Note:The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the views or thoughts of the blog owner.

We always hear " the rules" from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side.

These are our rules!

Please note... these are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a Problem. See a doctor.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you won't dress like the Victoria 's Secret girls, don't Expect us to act like soap opera guys.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials.

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," We will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really .

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as SEX, CARS, the shotgun formation, or BASKETBALL.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. Thank you for reading this.

Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

Messy Church

Yesterday was a tragic day for VA Tech and our nation. Please pray for the injured, the family and friends of those killed, and for this community. We also need to mourn with those who mourn.

This world we live in, unfortunately is not becoming more civilized but more barbaric. There are a lot of messed up people out there. You cannot avoid the mess. We live in a sinful world; a world that is self rather than others centered.

The church can no longer be an institution that believes we can be a good Christian if we can check all the boxes. We cannot just hand out or read a tract to someone and pat ourselves on the back thinking we have done our job. We are the church and God called us to make disciples of all people. He did not tell us how. He told us to love Him and love people. He never told us to love ourselves. That comes naturally. If we love God we must love those he died to save. He gave his life for messed up people (I am thankful for that). We can do more than read a tract to a stranger. We can develop relationships with people. Even hurting people. It's messy. It will make church messy. But Jesus entered a messy world and died a messy death for messy people. Lets get our hands dirty.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Forty is the new Thirty

I have seen a lot of criticism aimed at large churches with "hip" pastors and ministries. The contention seems to be that churches or pastors develop "hip" ministries for vain self-serving reasons. Maybe this is true in some cases, but the "hip" pastors I know do what they do ("hip" or not, judge for yourself) to get the message of Jesus to an ever increasing number of people who are far from God.

I saw an old article by Tim Stevens in Rev Magazine this morning. Her is an excerpt:

I'm not sure why we've got to aim low to hit our target. I think it could be a result of today's pop culture, which says that young is hip and cool and that to be considered relevant you must be "on the edge." As a consequence, the advertisement-driven market pours billions of dollars into products to help us look and stay young. These contributing factors have turned us into a society where few enjoy aging and nearly all of us want to be perceived as younger than we are.

Whatever the reasons, 20 years ago we could focus on 35- to 55-year-olds and effectively reach them. Churches that continue to do this today, however, are likely to find their congregants to be in their 50s or 60s on average, with attendance decreasing as people die and few young people join the church. (entire article)

Preaching Surprise

I wore slacks and a jacket yesterday. It was a little bit old-school, but I didn't wear a tie. I was fill-in preaching for my father-in-law. He called me Wednesday around noon and I had to get my sermon title and outline to the church by first thing Thursday morning. (Note to self: next time use a sermon you've preached before on short notice).

So I sent in an outline for "Living a Full Life" by embracing uncertainty,and danger, and taking risks. You know the one from 1 Sam 14 where Jonathan takes his armor bearer and 1 sword and picks a fight with the Philistines and ultimately gets everyone to follow him.

Surprise! Only about 20 people showed up (maybe due to the weather) and most of them were Seniors (I don't mean in High School). I even used an illustration from the Tim McGraw song "Live like You Were Dying" about skydiving and bull riding. God must have needed a laugh yesterday.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dates, Temples, and Tombs

I agonized throughout the day yesterday, because we had a babysitter for the evening and because . . . well . . . I am a man. I suffer from date planning stupidity. Yesterday everything that I looked up on the internet or had in mind (not much there) was not turning up anything to "wow" my bride on a budget. Literally, 15 minutes before the babysitter arrived I found that the North Carolina Museum of Art was having a FREE grand opening celebration for the Temples and Tombs: Treasures of Egyptian Art from The British Museum. We got to see the exhibit for FREE (last night only). We got to hear music and watch belly dancers in the park and cool stuff like that. We even ate in the museum restaurant for $23 tip and all.

For a romantically challenged guy like me, it was bottom of the ninth, down by 3, with 2 outs, 2 strikes, and the bases loaded. God handed me a fastball down the middle and I hit it out of the park. Thank you Lord.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I'd Ignore Him Too

I saw this amazing analogy on Seth Godin's Blog today. It is a true story reported in the Washington post. [World-class violinist plays for hours in a subway station, almost no one stops to listen]. The experiment just proved what we already know about context, permission and worldview. If your worldview is that music in the subway isn't worth your time, you're not going to notice when the music is better than usual (or when a famous violinist is playing). It doesn't match the story you tell yourself, so you ignore it. Without permission to get through to you, the marketer/violinist is invisible.(read more)

Likewise, if your worldview of church is that it is an outdated religious exercise, you are not likely to check it out even if it would be good for you. If you think that the Bible is an outdated religious book written by ancients in an effort to make sense of a confusing world, then you are not likely to read it. Just as the violinist's music is the same in any location, the truth is still the truth. Why do we spend so much time arguing with each other about doctrine and so little time finding ways to bridge the gap between those who are far from God and his love for them through Jesus Christ?

Seth says, "I don't think the answer is to yell louder. Instead, I think we have an opportunity to create beauty and genius and insight and offer it in ways that train people to maybe, just maybe, loosen up those worldviews and begin the trust."

I have heard it said many times, "the Bible says it, I believe it, and that does it.

No
. It doesn't. Jesus last statement to his followers was not "believe in me", is was "go, make the world believe in me."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

One in a Million

Size and technology do matter. If you are one in a million in China there are 1300 others just like you. You have to see this video.

Shout out to Seth Godin's Dip Blog for the link.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Living out of Memory or Imagination

I love Mark Batterson's concept of doing ministry out of memory or imagination. How far are we willing to take this? Familiarity creates comfort. The unknown creates fear. But I think there are ways of doing the great commission that no one has thought of yet.

Call it Fear Factor. It is worth the risk (unless it involves eating maggots or roaches or something like that).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I’d like Attractional with a side of Missional and just a dash of Organic, please

Great blog from Geoff Surratt on the Mega versus Emergent discussion. Read the entire post here.

Here are some excerpts:

First my definition of terms as I understand them:

  1. Attractional: A model that says church should be an appealing, non-threatening environment to present the Gospel so that seekers can come and see. Relational connections flow out of these larger gatherings. Picture a large circus tent with people streaming in from every direction.
  2. Organic: A model that says seekers will be exposed to the Gospel through relationships with members in their community. Relational connections may flow into larger gatherings. Picture a group of pup tents with a campfire in the middle.
  3. Missional: A mindset that says the every member of the body of Christ is called as a missionary to her own culture and community. The missionary may or may not connect to a larger gathering of believers. Picture a climber pitching his tent high on Mt. Everest.

. . .


First, I've never seen a purely attractional church. Every church I've been connected with is deeply concerned with helping people become disciples of Christ. When I've sat down with the staff at the largest mega-churches in America they are all exerting an incredible amount of energy to discover new and better ways to help people grow in Christ. I'm sure that there are churches in America who care only about making the turnstile spin on the weekends, but I've never experienced one.


Second, I've never seen a purely missional church; every church I've seen has a desire to be attractive (from the Greek root "attractional") They sweep the floors, turn on the lights, set the air conditioner. They buy sound systems so the musicians and speakers can be heard, they set up chairs, they make coffee. While they may never buy a billboard or send out a mass mailer, every church I've seen makes an effort to be attractive to those who might attend. And the ones who do a good job grow. Bob wrote recently about experiencing so much growth he was having nightmares about having to start a video venue.


Third, every church I've been around is missional; they all see their members as missionaries in their communities. This whole idea started with Jesus when he told us to go into all the world and make disciples. His final instructions before he caught the last cloud back to heaven said our job was to share the good news in our neighborhood. So called attractional churches see the weekend service as an intregal part of fulfilling this missional calling. While their preference is that members share their lives and faith in their own neighborhood, they also recognize that most people need some help. Similar to the idea that parents should be able to teach their children to read and write, but we need schools to help, attractional churches see their weekend services as aid stations for their member/missionaries.


. . .


So for me the ultimate church is an attractional, missional body of believers growing organically through every means possible. We seem to waste so much energy throwing rocks at other people's tents we lose sight of the fact we have a very limited time on earth to spread the Good News and to build Kingdom community. If your church meets in a stadium, hires a rock band and is seeing people becoming disciples of Christ, that is very cool. If your church meets in a bar, features dialog rather than sermons and is seeing people becoming disciples of Christ, that is very cool as well.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Date Morning

Our 3 yr old daughter is going to have some serious sedation dental work at the hospital tomorrow. Too many problems to fix at the dental office. Before you think we don't brush our kids' teeth, her older brothers have had no cavities at all (kinda strange, I know).

We have to be at the hospital at 6am, but the 1-2 hour procedure doesn't start till like 8:30am. So it looks like I am going to have some alone time with my bride in the hospital cafeteria for breakfast. With 4 kids, we take alone time any way we can get it!

Transparency, Authenticity and Connectedness

I saw this post on the CMS website this morning. You can jump over to their site for the complete post but I loved this part:


When I'm given the opportunity to speak at church communication events, these themes are always met with resounding affirmation and rejuvenated commitment. The Story we're communicating is beyond Photoshop and nifty web sites. It's about connecting people to a Story that they're a part of. Not for us to fill a pew but so that Christ can fill a heart.

Easter and the Jesus Film

Well the kids and I finished the second half of the Jesus Film on Saturday. It was really awesome for me and the kids. I was brought back to the story of the crucifixion and resurrection with other senses than I use when I just read. The kids seem to get it better when they can see it, too. You can almost see their little minds working to put the pieces of the story together, as if to say "now I get it."

The Jesus Film is getting old. I would love to see the Nativity come together with the Passion and fill in the gap in the middle.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter with the Kids

Well yesterday I took the day off for Good Friday to spend time with the family. I still wonder about the term "good" every time I hear "good Friday."

Anyway we watched the Jesus Film to get everyone in the spirit. Well, the kids only made it about half way through. Maybe we can catch the last half on easter afternoon. After playing ball with the boys we got the family together and loaded them into the car to take mommy to the urgent care for her sinus infection. After having to wait a while, she was telling me she really felt better. Good thing I made her stay. The doc said she also had a serious case of bronchitis that would have been pneumonia in a week.

Then we took the family to Oh Charlie's for dinner. Did you know kids under 10 eat free? I know they question that policy after families like ours leave. But we will be back.

This morning we got together with all the cousins at grandma and papa's house to search for easter eggs. I actually had to go back show the kids where I hid a lot of them. I guess I took things a little too seriously.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Your Best Life Now

This post actually has nothing to do with the book by Joel Olsteen. It has to do with what is important to people.

Since I can remember, the idea of evangelism meant 2 things. Billy Graham Crusade and/or Tracts. Having a Baptist background, the tracts that we used began with some form of the question "if you died tonight do you know where you would spend eternity?" Our focus was on the "after death" part of life.

As I began talking to and studing French people I began to realize that their answer to those questions would be "who cares?" They are much more concerned with there current life situation than what might happen when they die.

Apparently, postmodern Europeans are not the only ones who think this way. Ed Stetzer and NAMB have some pretty interesting research. Check this out:

The standard evangelistic approach for several decades has begun with the question, "If you were to die today do you know for sure you would go to heaven?" I must confess, I typically do not use this approach because I have assumed that there are few people outside of hospital beds or foxholes actually asking the question. My assumption was that our survey would prove that to be the case. I was wrong.

Many people are wondering about their eternal destiny.

  • One of every 5 respondents said they wonder daily about the certainty of going to heaven.
  • Another 13 percent think about this weekly, 12 percent monthly, and 9 percent annually.
  • Only 44 percent, 4 out of 9, said they never wonder about this.

Interesting numbers, indeed. But, are there other questions that people are asking?

In the interviews, we also asked "How often do you wonder, 'How can I find more meaning and purpose in my life?'"

  • Remarkably, almost 1 of every 3 respondents wonders about this question daily.
  • Another 17 percent contemplate this weekly, 13 percent monthly, and 10 percent yearly.
  • Half of those interviewed wonder about how to find more meaning in their life at least once a week.
  • Seems that what we have here is a question very relevant to our culture.
  • In fact, only 26 percent, about 1 in 4, said they never wonder how to have more meaning or purpose.


Read more at the NAMB site.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Knee Surgery and Church Networking

Wow. This has been a crazy Wednesday. I found out today that I need knee surgery in the next couple of weeks.

I found my church listed on the Monday Morning Insight blog in a post about churches that "get it." It is awesome to see my church recognized by those I learn from. Today's post referred to a previous post about things he noticed about churches that "get it." Check it out.

So I am trying to juggle an Acts 29 luncheon in Raleigh, the National New Church Conference in Orlando, the Origins conference in Los Angeles and knee surgery in Durham in the next 3 weeks.

In the middle of all that we are trying to move. Pray for me. Better yet pray for my wife.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus

This morning I finished the book Soul Cravings by Erwin McManus. Wow! This is an amazing book. It gets us out of our "why don't lost people just get it when I explain it the way I heard it mode," and helps us to understand the human needs of the soul that were put there by God.

If you are like me and sometimes don't get the mindset of emerging generations, you must read this book. It will help you better understand people and find more effective ways to communicate with them and help them find the God their souls already crave.

Here are some quotes from today's reading"

"If God is real and you are created by him, your soul already knows that."

"My soul does not crave something from God: my soul craves God."

"God has placed cravings within your soul that will drive you insane or drive you to him."

"When you give up on yourself, you start throwing out things like dreams, optimism, hope, intimacy, love, trust, truth, meaning and faith."

"... the human spirit thrives on laughter. We really do need to take happiness more seriously."

"If we find ourselves endlessly thwarted in the search for our uniqueness, we may choose to end our quest and settle for a sterile life of empty existence."

Buy this book!

Power of the Blog

The church really can an should redeem technology. I often read Seth Godin's blog and books that talk about the power of the blog. It's true. The internet and blogging open up to us an unlimited audience.

Recently, I have seen the power of the blog like never before. The worship pastor at my church Jordan Leino and his wife Patience had a new baby about 6 weeks ago. A very sick baby. Baby Isaac needed heart surgery in the first week of his life and has had many more complications. Jordan and Patience have been blogging about their first baby since she was pregnant. In the last week the situation has become very serious and Isaac remains in critical condition. While many of us would have forgotten the computer during this time in lieu of being with our baby and sleeping, they continue to take the time to update their blog with his condition. Somehow they knew the payoff in prayer for their baby was worth it.

Seven days ago they wrote a blog entitled "Critical! Urgent Need for Prayer!" Since that day they have been on a roller coaster of good news bad news. Emotionally exhausted. But their baby is surrounded by so much prayer. In those last 7 days they have had 592 comments and prayers on their blog from all over the country and world. Many of these blogs are people saying that they are praying and their whole church is praying. Many are people who heard about baby Isaac from others. You have to actually read them to see how powerful this is. The readers on their own decided to make today a day of fasting for baby Isaac.

I have never seen as much prayer for healing for any child. And God used the blog to accomplish this. I don't know what God will do with baby Isaac. I still pray that he will heal him. I do know that the whole world seems to be watching. However the testimony works out it will be told literally around the world.

Please pray for Baby Isaac. Read his blog at babyleino.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Handicapping Missionaries

I found this great post about how churches can handicap potential missionaries. I see these all the time. Some affect me and some don't but it's a good view of the realities affecting missionaries or church planters that churches often don't realize.


15 Ways to Handicap a Potential Missionary in Your Local Church

Handcuffs-3

1. Force them to go through a “missions preparation” program which effectively weeds out the entrepreneurs.
2. Don’t consult with anyone who has ever lived with cross-cultural realities when you design your requirements for those who will be sent.
3. Choose people to oversee your mission efforts who have no experience or understanding of cross-cultural realities.
4. Make missions a “program” instead of seeking to make your church missional.
5. Decide to support missionaries 100% of their budget. It creates marvelous dependency.
6. Have standards that Mother Teresa or the Apostle Paul incarnate couldn’t meet.
7. Require seminary.
8. Make sure they have taught 5th grade Sunday School class as a pre-requisite which demonstrates loyalty to the church.
9. Imbue an ecclesiology that believes the sending church is supreme and missionary entities are appendages.
10. Ignore the concept of leverage and only support “front line” workers.
11. Adopt a trendy and unsophisticated view of missions that only supports those going to unreached people groups.
12. Placate the control freaks and don’t let potential missionaries raise money from anyone in the church.
13. Limit whom they can minister with to your own denominational or creedal group. Perish the thought that they would be contaminated by touching those who may be their neighbors in heaven.
14. Encourage “storehouse giving” so that all their money must come through the church.
15. Convince your congregation that short-term, tantalizing overseas experiences are most effective so that there is little money, prayer or commitment left for the few willing to commit their lives to longer term, incarnational, sacrificial service

Hillsong Hospitality

I visit a lot of churches as we develop partners to plant a new church in Paris. I am blessed to have the opportunity see so many ideas and talk to so many people. This will have a profound impact on us as we use others' experiences in our own church plant. It is the Newboxes concept.

While I was at River Valley Church in Minneapolis (Apple Valley), MN last week, one of the guys I met while walking around asking questions was Anthony Richards. He came from Hillsong Church in Australia and is the pastor of Hospitality, Alpha groups and Capital Projects. They could not have picked a guy better qualified for the hospitality (greeting/first touch) ministry (notice the RVC lanyard in the pic, its speaks louder than the tag at the bottom). I have never seen a church better at this than Hillsong in London and Paris. And, I'm sure their Aussie Mum church taught them all they know. They have lots of people outside and inside with matching shirts or jackets (cool ones/ 21st Century/ not obnoxious). You were never far from a smile, a greeting (you must have both of these), a person you could ask directions from, a person who would talk to you and someone who would find those who didn't look like they knew what was going on and make them feel at home. I know this all sounds logical and simple but I have been to many great, large churches and have seen no one pull it off like Hillsong. You could feel the excitement before you walked in and as you met a few of these folks while waiting, you would walk away feeling like you just made a new friend. In Paris these guys would give out their cell#'s so people could call them to get directions to fellowship groups or connect groups.

I don't know how they train these people but they hit it out of the park every time I am there.

Rob Ketterling and River Valley Church are blessed to have a guy like Anthony who has experienced this kind of hospitality and create a culture of it in their church.