Friday, 27 August 2010

Growth plans or life plans?

Ed Stetzer in his book Planting Missional Churches shares something of the journey of Atalanta Church Planter Danny Presten.

Church growth plan 1: Cool preacher and cool music.

His plan was this: Put together, “cool worship band and a cool speaker.” (himself) “people would come. They weren’t going to church because it wasn’t cool enough – I thought.” Presten found out by talking to people in the area that downtown residents weren’t interested in going to any Church and weren’t really interested in Christianity either.

Conclusion:“We figured out that all the attractional stuff might draw Christian friends because it was a little cooler than their church. But that’s not why we came here. We’re here to reach lost people.”

Church growth plan 2: Good venue, great events.

“So Presten shifted his strategy to renting a storefront and staging different events every night that would attract the different subcultures – skateboarding competitions for skaters, poetry readings and concerts for the artists, etc.” Presten’s place would be where the various subcultures of people wanted to hang out and a church would eventually result. That too, ended up to be flawed thinking, according to Presten.

Conclusion: “We started looking for a storefront property and realised all those things were already going on around us.” He said. “There was already a skating place where they had competitions all the time. There already were three concert venues on one block. Did we really need a fourth that was owned by a Christian?”

Church growth plan 3: Live like Jesus

Instead they took up jobs and spent time becoming 'insiders' in various communities. They won trust, shared life and gradually spoke about Jesus.

Presten himself got a job at a motorcycle shop. In two weeks of working at the shop, Presten built deeper relationships with people than six or seven months of "outsider" ministry had produced.

Conclusion: I guess people walk with Jesus and become like Him. The Father loves it as we follow the footsteps of his son. In the case of Danny Presten, they now have a Church of 6,000. Thank you Lord.

"These Churches define themselves much more by how many people they serve and how "members" live out their faith in their particular circles all week long. It is not a "come and see" approach, but it is rather a "go and tell." 

Hugh Halter insightfully writes, "The biggest assumption we had to get rid of is: If we build it, they will come to us, if we do it well enough." "We had to start assuming that they are not going to come. The only ones that are going to be drawn to our programs are Christians."

I find this very provocative. I know that Jesus came to us. I know that he sent someone to speak to me about Him and I know that I would never have gone to Church otherwise.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

New Matt Giles Track

One highlight this weekend was learning and singing another Matt Giles song. I felt he led particularly well at Westpoint. Good to see my old mate doing so well.

Here is a rough recording of 'Our God is King'. C'mon Church, what shall we say....

For music, lyrics and more from Matt click here.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Parenting #4 You're in charge

Christians should experience and trust that true freedom is found, not with no master, but with the best master!

Like a fish 'restricted' to water is how I feel when I live within the commands of God.

Under God's commands, parents, receive authority from God, over their children. I find this amazing to ponder. God has set my wife and I 'over' my son. What a responsibility he has given us.

We therefore respond to the loving commands of God. Tedd Tripp writes, "You (parents) act at his (God's) command. You discharge a duty that he has given. You may not try to shape the lives of your children as pleases you, but as pleases him."

I will answer to God for how I have answered his call to me as a parent.

He calls us to be in charge. Yep.

"You must undertake all your instruction, your care and nurture, your correction and discipline, because God has called you to."

Parents, under the authority of God are called to be in authority over their children. God really calls parents to be in charge of their children. Ephesians 6

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 t “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, u but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

PJ Smyth writes, "With the anti-leader, child-centred, men-are-just-the-same-as-women, don't-you-dare-lay-a-finger-on-a-child culture we live in, parents need to be confident that they are called and commissioned to lovingly but firmly train and disciple their children."

Roles and goals

This is something of our role. However, authority is not given by God with no purpose. Authority is not given by God without also giving a manner by which we are to behave and a goal to which we are to lead to.

He calls us to take responsibility and also gives us goals to aim for and methods to use... I do like to 'let the paint dry' here for now. This makes me pray more, like right now!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Together@Westpoint

Westpoint kicks off tonight and  I am really excited. I'm expecting to catching something of the heart of Guy Miller and Dave Stroud as they speak about God and His mission. I'm looking forward to singing to the Lord with thousands of people and I expect we'll win the football tournament.

It will be special for us as a Church with Matt Giles leading worship. He is a good friend who is a very gifted worship leader. It's exciting to see him being raised up and used to bless many people.

Weekends like create memories, build friendships and shape lives as we seek to live for him together. Chloe and I are moving into our friends house for the weekend so that we can share babysitters and many people who I have spoken to are growing in anticipation.

I am sceptical of hype and I do get a little tired of the jargon and hot air which appears to be recycled at times in contexts like this. However, away from the event I see men and women who hunger for Jesus and are walking with Him and learning what it means to follow Him. As we gather together therefore, knowing that the Father is so willing to bless, I am in good faith that many people will receive deposits which will see fruit in the grit of local Church missionary life. I think we will actually see the kingdom advance in our nation!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Leaders who last



A few of the guys in my Church read this recently. I have to say that I found it really helpful.

I have re-shaped the start of each week as a result of this book and feel a little sharper on what the Lord is calling me to.