Monthly Archives: April 2007

A Blog I had to comment on.

Commented at Out of Ur. This blog discusses a lot of things “postmodern.” I read the post/excerpt linked above and had to respond. My comment should be posted with the blog entry. You can check out the original entry here.

Here is my comment that was posted in response:

Once again we get a “my way or the highway” bash from the Emergent movement. You complain of a “one-size-fits-all” mentality among the modern church, yet you are calling for a similar move within the Emergent church. Strict, CEO-like leadership is not a good thing in the Church, but neither is a haphazard, let ’em feed where they like attitude. People are creative, and in today’s society, fluid. They take advantage of “time-shifting” and “content-shifting” in ways never seen before. But the bible still calls pastors and leaders to LEAD! Leadership must be open to creativity, fresh ideas and relevance certainly. But leadership that subsists on the whims of everyone will never succeed. This is not leadership. It’s some kum bi ya utopianism that ultimately cannot function. God recognized this when He gave Israel kings. He didn’t want them to need a king-leader, but they failed in what should have been a more positive theocratic structure, in the biblical sense, not the modern-day sense. “Sheep without a shepherd” a wise man once lamented…. Thanks for the dialogue and the interesting points, but in your attempt to be more open and forward-thinking, I’m afraid the Church will get lost in a mire of leaderless communities wandering which ever way seems nice at the time. Culture is changing, postmodernism’s hold on life is unmistakable, we must change to impact people where the are today, but the Bible must remain the supreme source of our guidance as we lead.

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Pick up this book

Confessions of a Reformission Rev. by Mark Driscoll. I’ve only read the first chapter, but it’s worth the price of the book just for that. It’s Chapter 0, which an administrative friend of mine has trouble with, but yes it’s the first chapter of the book. I’ve been a fan of Mark Driscoll for a few years now. I first ran across him in a book from Relevant Media called the Relevant Church. I was at a point in my youth ministry where I saw things changing and couldn’t put my finger on it. I began to explore the postmodern church movement and was intrigued. It seemed to answer some questions that I had, and gave me insight into some of the directions I saw young people, and ultimately the church, traveling in. But it was missing something. There was a check that I had, I was reading Brian McLaren and others of that ilk but I wasn’t convinced they were totally on track. The more I searched the more I became uncomfortable with their theology. It seemed at the end of the day the full, unblemished truth of Jesus, our sin, His death, our complete need for Him, and the unquestioned validity of all the bible had to say was missing. It had become more of a philosophical movement rather than a bible-based faith movement. At this same time I began feeling the call to plant a church and was looking for a basis for this struggle I was experiencing and how it would relate to a future church. I knew culture and the views of people toward Jesus and faith were changing, but I was struggling to bring it all to a coherent whole as I explored my fundamental values of what church should be. Then I read Mark Driscoll’s chapter in the Relevant Church. He nailed it. He was reaching the current generations and cultural expressions effectively, and Jesus was at the core of it all. I remember telling Casey, “he nailed it!” So, I began listening to his podcasts. Devoured his first book. And am finally diving into his latest. He’s not for everyone. He’s brash. Sometimes he says things that maybe he shouldn’t, but you know people are getting saved at his church like crazy. He’s impacting the ENTIRE culture of Seattle. An entire city is being affected by this church. How many other churches can truly claim that?

We have to get outside of our traditions. Not in a crazy, tattoo-everything-and-pierce-what’s-left-over kind of way, but in a way that engages culture where it is now. Not where it was before, not where it was when we saw our greatest successes, not where we think it should be, not in a way that glosses over the “sticky” parts, but where it is NOW. People want real. Our culture is real. It’s right there in your face. Jesus was right there in the faces of the cultural giants of the time He walked the earth. Revelation presents a Jesus who will return and get right in the face of the world, riding a giant horse, carrying a giant sword ready to kick some tail. Why shouldn’t we follow that example?

You know I started this entry to be quick, just a short recommendation of the book, but it stirred something. I’m fired up, I’m ready to go preach!

Leaders…

As I jump into this church plant process with both feet all I can think about is leaders. I NEED THEM!!! If you’ve ever done church ministry without leaders around you and then done ministry with leaders on board you know where my need comes from. I’m not going to provide principles of leadership or write a new book, I just know how important leaders are. Quality, passionate, creative, visionary, loving leaders. I need ’em, the more the merrier. If you know where I can find them, please let me know. I want a team church. How much more excitement is there when you are moving forward as part of a team of motivated people. Pushing each other farther, building on each other’s strengths. Doing things you never thought possible. It’s a ride. The more I look at my planning and strategy, the more I realize I want to have happen and the more I realize I can’t do this on my own. I need the folks who want to see the lost and hopeless find Jesus and aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to see that happen.

Here’s my goals for the year

Successful Church Plants

There are ten common factors that successful church plants share, according to the results of a study released by the Center for Missional Research, a division of the North American Mission Board. The following factors proved to be the best predictors for higher worship attendance, as reported by christianpost.com:

Location. Church plants that start in school facilities show a distinct advantage in term of visibility, parking and low costs. In the longer term, churches that meet in movie theaters also exhibit higher attendance.

Reaching children. Special children’s events along with outreaches around holidays, and at other times, attract crowds and help churches sustain attendance.

Promotion of the church. Church plants with high attendance mail invitations for services, programs and events and to keep community awareness high.

Training new members. Successful church plants provide training and clearly communicate that the new members participate and find a place to serve.

Mandatory church covenant for new members. New members are required to sign a church covenant as a sign that they take their commitment to the church seriously.

Intentional financial stewardship. The pastors receive financial compensation as well as health insurance, allowing them time to focus on the church’s growth and not their own basic needs.

The staff factor. The most successful church plants do not start out under-staffed and their planters are full-time. They have also assessed staff for their suitability and have multiple staff members from the start.

Not just focusing on their own needs. Successful church plants start at least one church within three years of their own plant and those who are sent out to start a new church are replaced and even more are added.

Building leadership. Church plants with higher attendance conduct leadership training, build their leadership base and delegate leadership roles to church members on an ongoing basis.

The achievement factor. Church planters have a vision of what God wants to do and remain focused on accomplishing that.

That sure sums it up. Now I’ve got a year to get to it…come along for the ride!

Just coming home

Just got home at almost 2am this morning from FDIC in Indianapolis. You know I couldn’t even tell you what “FDIC” stands for, but it was a trade show/training for firemen, literally from all over the world. Was there doing “my other job,” trying to sell radios. It was long, tiring, and mostly boring, but I always find it interesting to get into the world of other folks a little bit. One of the things I love about firemen, is they are passionate about what they do. It really is more than a job for them. There’s purpose and meaning, and risk and tragedy and they get after it. Too few people get real passionate about what they do. They make work hard, and work well, but is there passion? To many folks are content to collect a paycheck and go home. God needs passion. We have to work to find it. We have to fight to keep it. So yeah, go thank a fireman. Ask them about what they do, you’ll see what I’m talking about.