Where are you headed?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Some Great Advice

When I was in the initial phase of starting my church, The Quest, I emailed one of my favorite authors - Rob Webber. Rob Webber passed away a few years ago, but I will never forget two things - 1, that he took the time and emailed me back; and 2, what he shared with me in that email. I have never forgotten it.

I emailed him because I was seeking advice and wisdom about planting a church. I simply asked, "If you could give advice/wisdom to a church planter - what would that be?" I must admit I didn't expect an email back. Authors and speakers like Rob Webber are very busy and receive tons of email and other correspondence. But I took the chance anyway. Quickly I received an email back from Rob. It was short and to the point. It simply read:

"Keep an ear to the Word, and an ear to the World. --- Bob"

As I started this new church venture, I couldn't stop thinking about what he said. In the last 5 years since I've been planting this church, I still can't stop thinking about it. It's such great advice. It's such incredible wisdom. Born out of years of fruitful ministry. An ear to the Word (God), and an ear to the world (our culture).

This is such great advice because it is exactly what Jesus did. He came as THE WORD (the "logos" in John 1) and came into THE WORLD ("pitched his tent among us" in John 1). He was the perfect balance of Word and the World.

Whether you are planting a church, in an existing church, wondering about church at all ... whatever you are doing ... keep an ear to the Word, and an ear to the World. And watch what God does.

Taking the drive,


Monday, June 21, 2010

Lessons I've Learned in the Past Two Weeks

This is sort of good news and bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
The Relevant Group had a booth at a church conference that was being held in Atlanta. 4500 church leaders from across the US and beyond were gathered for several days to do whatever you do at a large denominational conference.
I worked the booth for four days. I talked to a lot of “interesting” people.
One lady told me that in addition to attending her denominational church she also works with a declining Baptist congregation. Here’s the bad news. She went on to say the Baptist church is so small they are about to close their doors and the primary concern of the people there is keeping the church cemetery going after the church dies.
How crazy is that? They are more concerned about keeping the cemetery alive than keeping the church alive. Bad news!!!
Good news! My wife, Beth, who is a teacher, told me something about their public elementary school that I found so very exciting. Every day at school, the principal gets on the loud speaker and teaches leadership to kids, kindergarten – fifth grade. She teaches principles of leadership every day to all 1,000 students.
Question, who is your church teaching leadership skills too? If you teach it, they will get it. Later on, you will be so glad you started teaching leadership to your elementary age kids.
My eight year old grandson started being a part of a weekly small group, yes small group (that’s what the church called it) when he was THREE years old.
I’m thinking Jake will be leading a small group when he is in middle school. Why, because his church taught him the importance of being in and leading small groups.
Final thought…my guess is Jake will never have to worry about keeping the church cemetery alive.

Enjoying the drive.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sometimes Less is More

Successful businesses concern themselves with quality control. Is that true of your endeavors?

I mentioned the last time I wrote that I attend North Point and one of the things that is true about that church is they do not allow things to get stale. I have to believe that early on, the leadership made a decision to “keep it fresh and keep it meaningful.”

Another observation is at NPCC, things are changed BEFORE they get stale. In my travels, visiting and working with churches, across the country, I am shocked at how many churches that call themselves, “contemporary”, and are singing choruses that were “in” in the 70’s. Nothing wrong with singing choruses from the seventies, just don’t call your church contemporary.

It’s all about quality control. Just so I am being understood, quality control is good for traditional churches too. Each year I get to work with some outstanding traditional churches. They have no desire to be a rock and roll church and that is fine. Those that are intentional about being the best they can be are also concerned about quality control.

If you haven’t really focused on QC, how do you get started? Form an audit team and go through everything that goes on at your church. Set standards, make sure you have core values that are written and agreed upon by your leadership. My wife is a teacher and for years, her school has been creating rubrics to measure how their students are performing. Some churches have actually talked to me about how they have created rubrics to measure the effectiveness of their programs and ministries.

Here’s the bottom line, whatever you do, do well. Don’t’ be afraid to admit that now is the time to retire or take a break from some things that are not in alignment with your core values.

Remember, sometimes less is more.

Enjoying the drive,