Archives For Brandon Cox


oldbuildingThe church we are planting, Grace Hills, is part of the Saddleback Network, a new, still-forming initiative to cover the earth with purpose driven churches. Today, there are four of us in the network. Peter Dupre is planting Revive Community Church in the Boston area. Jose Gonzalez is planting a Hispanic congregation in Anaheim. And now, Lower Manhattan Community Church, led by Pastor Ryan Holladay, is part of us as well.

I just finished reading a post about the church written by my friend Alex on that tells the story well. As we approach the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America, I’m praying for a great response to Lower Manhattan Community Church as they minister to people who lived in the middle of the upheaval that took place. Alex wrote a paragraph about what they’re doing…

Lower Manhattan Community, which has a relatively small congregation, will be part of Saddleback’s 9/11 Hope & Freedom services this weekend commemorating the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the U.S. Holladay was recently filmed at Ground Zero for video to be shown during the Saddleback services, he…

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thereishopeWorshipVue is offering a free mini-movie download for churches to use this coming Sunday. A powerful video to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Set to the song ‘There Is Hope’ by Christian artist Dave Pettigrew, this mini movie reminds us all that no matter the circumstances, there is always hope to carry us through.

Download for Free

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graphicCan you effectively lead a church without being on Facebook? It may not be such a dumb question, in my opinion. Can you lead, teach, and shepherd without technology? Sure. But can you infiltrate the culture with the gospel while walking in a circle of avoidance around the culture? To put it another way, can you snub the local favorite coffee shop and still relate to the people around you?

So the question is, are the people you want to reach showing up online? Let’s see…

The Growth of Social Media

Source: Search Engine Journal.

I don’t know… maybe it’s starting to take off…


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unconditionalForgiveness is tough! It’s one of the hardest requirements of the believer in Christ. Brian Zahnd does a great job of dealing with some of the hard issues we face and issuing a call for a radical kind of forgiveness in our lives.

From the publisher…

In a world where the ugliness of rage and retaliation are driving the story line, Unconditional? offers the beauty, reconciliation, and total restoration of forgiveness the way Jesus taught us to live it. More than just another biblical exposition, this book begins with the horror of the Holocaust as it explores what forgiveness means—and how far it should go—in the real world of murder, rape, child abuse, genocide, and other atrocities. With unusual honesty, compassion, and depth, Zahnd incorporates some of the most compelling and difficult thoughts on the subject from history’s writers, philosophers, and theologians; always returning to the example Jesus gave us with his life and his death.


Read more details and sample chapters from the publisher’s website.

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diversityIt’s tragic that Sunday is still so segregated in American culture and until we embrace true diversity within the church, we’ll miss out on God’s best for us. How can I say that? because if heaven is a picture of God’s best for us, and if Revelation is clear that people from “every tribe, tongue, and language” will be there praising God together, then God’s best for us here and now would include the same.

Scott Williams has written an excellent work on this topic, calling us to face the facts and change the status quo when it comes to diversity within the church.

From the publisher…

Church Diversity is more than a book – it’s a movement of God, pastors, ministry leaders, volunteers, congregants, and the community. It’s about the Church changing its perspective to become part of a culture-changing and world-changing movement. A new and different future begins with the turning of these pages, taking this journey, and speaking the truth in this vital conversation:

~ How we can begin to implement change today

~ What key insights, strategies and practical tips can help

~ Who are the leading voices in diversity and what…

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billygrahmI’m writing this article to a generation that might never have heard the old song, Old Time Religion (so I included a clip from an old movie for you). I grew up in an old-fashioned church. We had an old building, built in 1833, and an old cemetery with civil war era headstones. We sang old songs on old instruments and most of the old people that were my heroes when I was younger have gone on home to heaven.

You may be preparing yourself for one of those “we need things to be like they were in the old days” articles, but that’s not what is on my mind. In fact, I think we need churches to ignore the opinions and criticisms of their surrounding Christian subculture and do whatever it takes to communicate the gospel in the context of the present generation. This will, in most cases, require louder music, fewer pipe organs, and a big surge forward in the area of living with integrity and character.

In that song, however, is a lyric that keeps ringing through my mind today… “makes me love everybody.” My wife read a quote…

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Only 10% of Christian believers live in America, but 80% of global influencers are Americans. Imagine for a moment if the portions of the church that are richest in resources could pool those resources and create a global platform for communicating about ideas and sharing resources globally. Apparently, just 500 partners investing $31 per day could pull it off.

That’s the vision behind OpenChurch, an initiative I was made aware of by friend and church communications leader Kent Shaffer. And you can be part of the project too. You can write, provide resources, volunteer, or donate to make this amazing, God-sized dream a reality. Just look for a moment at the graphic below and let the power of this huge idea sink in…

Visit OpenChurch


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handI’ve heard from plenty of people that church planting is tough. When Angie and I expressed a calling toward it, we were warned by quite a few ministry leaders to the effect of “Don’t do this unless God has definitely called you because it’s hard.” Church planters face isolation, criticism, and the constant pressure to become self-sustaining. But for me, none of these represent the toughest aspect of church planting. The toughest aspect so far has been fundraising!

One of my own pastors has well said that “He who casts the vision must fund the vision.” So I’ve spent plenty of time connecting with leaders who might be interested in becoming a strategic partner in Grace Hills Church. And I’ve noticed a variety of reactions. Some are eager to help, but aren’t sure how or where to begin. A few are honest and forthright that the funding simply isn’t available. And plenty of leaders choose, for whatever reason, not to respond to the initial contact at all.

I think for us, being one of the first Saddleback Network churches has helped to provide some legitimacy to our work. It has also…

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horseWe Pastors are the worst. We don’t want to ask for help from our volunteers because they are already volunteering. And we don’t want to ask help from our non-volunteering members because, well, they aren’t volunteering! Further, nobody could ever do as good of a job as we would at any given task, right? And who wants to help anyway, right? These are the illusions of lone ranger leaders.

We actually have the idea that it is our duty to appear out of nowhere to solve every mess ourselves, then ride off into the night with everyone asking, “who was that masked man?” But that’s not God’s intention. It takes teamwork to make the dream work. We’re in this together!

Why did Jesus organize His church and call it a body, a flock, a fellowship, and a family? Because He never intended for His Kingdom to be led by lone rangers. Why did He command us to make disciples, train people for the work of ministry, and pour our lives into the development of leaders? Because lone rangers will never have the impact He desires for His Kingdom. Hey, even the Lone…

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purposedrivenlifeWayne Hunt became the Pastor of Coteau Baptist Church at a time when the church had experienced division and frustration. Wayne had helped the church as an interim Pastor and was called to serve the broken church full-time.

After reluctantly accepting the position, Wayne introduced the church to The Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren and used it as a weekly Sunday evening Bible study. Wayne contacted Saddleback Church and received enough complimentary copies of the book to distribute to the entire church membership with supplies left to give to newcomers as well. What happened?

The church caught a vision for doing life together differently. They overcame some old struggles, went through a process of healing, and slowly became an outwardly-focused family concerned with the needs of its community. Wayne intended to use the book as a 40 week long study, using one day of the 40-day reading plan each week, but that stretched into a much longer period of time as the church dug deeper into its study.

Today, the church averages between 200 and 250 people each week and regularly baptizes new believers. We caught up with…

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seedWhat if work wasn’t just work? What if work was a vehicle to live and share a bigger purpose?
I believe there’s flawed perception in our society that in order to live a life of purpose we have to leave our jobs and go solve world hunger, feed the homeless, move to Africa or start a charity.
While these are all noble causes and many are called to do these very things, for many of us our bigger purpose can be found in the here and now, in the jobs we have, right under our noses. And when we find and live this purpose it will provide the ultimate fuel for a meaningful life.
You may not build libraries around the world but you can find the bigger purpose in reading to your children. You may not feed the homeless every day but you can nourish your employees and customers with a smile, kind word and care. And while you may not start your own non-profit organization you can begin a charity initiative at work. After all, “charity” means “love in action.” You can make a difference every day and touch the lives…

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Off Script BookOur friend, Cary Schmidt, who serves as a Pastor at Lancaster Baptist Church, has just been through a challenging battle with cancer. The only authorities on pain are those who have walked through it, and Cary’s experience has well qualified him to release a new book entitled Off Script: What to Do When God Rewrites Your Life. Here’s the Amazon description:

We all have a script for our lives. It resides in our minds and hearts–perhaps a good bit in our imaginations. Things are good in our script. But every now and then, God takes our lives off script. He reaches into our circumstances with events we would never choose. These unexpected adventures are often painful, uncomfortable, and scary. Off script times are pivotal, defining moments. If your world has gone awry, if your life is off script, this book will help you discover God’s heart, God’s joy, and God’s truth in the fog of an uncertain reality. If your life hasn’t gone off script, then these pages will prepare you for the moment that it does.

As I look at my own life,…

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