Archives For Brandon Cox

MalcoThis past Sunday made the fourth week in a row we’ve worshipped in a local movie theater with January 15 being our official launch. We didn’t intend to launch in a theater. I fact, we spent a great deal of time looking at retail spaces, but eventually landed at the Malco because of space, price, and availability. There’s a part of me that fell in love with the idea before we moved in, and has remained attached to it since.

Advantages of Meeting In a Theater

We know that we won’t be in the theater forever. We’re already looking around for our next home, but we’re enjoying some great advantages in the meantime, such as…

  • The rent is great, especially since we’re only paying for a few hours per week instead of the whole week. For us, it’s $650 per week, which gives us access to three theaters.
  • The decorating is done. It’s not what we would do in our own space, obviously, but it’s something we don’t have to think about.
  • We don’t have to stack chairs.
  • There is a cultural barrier between the church and the community around the church that is…

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Velocity 2012I remember Shawn Lovejoy telling the story of how, when they had their opening service at Mountain Lake Church, he totally forgot to take up the offering, and they couldn’t meet the following two weeks because of ice. I love guys that are real who pour themselves into others, and that’s Shawn. He and his team host an annual conference for church planters and Angie and I have officially purchased plane tickets – so there’s no turning back!

If you’re a church planter or a church planting enthusiast, you’re going to want to hear from Derwin Gray, Geoff Surratt, Pete Wilson, Brian Bloye, Artie Davis, Ron Edmondson, Aaron Coe, Justin and Trisha Davis, Matt Keller, Mac Lake, Tony Morgan, Ed Stetzer, Jud and Lori Wilhite, Scott Williams, and more than a dozen other leaders.

The conference is in Cumming, GA (an hour from the Atlanta airport) on February 27th and 28th. If you’re not aware of Velocity, you are now. I hope to see you there!

Check Out Velocity 2012

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Favor of GodThe phrase “favor of God” seems to be growing in popularity, and I’m glad. It’s a biblical phrase – a good phrase. But it’s often misunderstood. I once heard a guy talk about finding a parking spot right up front on a busy shopping day because of the “favor of God.” I pictured in my mind the pregnant lady with triplets who had to park a football field away because of the favor of God upon this Pastor.

A recent story from LarkNews (satire, by the way – don’t start an email rumor mill – it’s fake) highlights our western view of God’s favor…

Christian family blessed through others’ misfortune

NEW CASTLE, Del. — Sam and Victoria Gutman have always been smart shoppers, but they have gone to another level during the recent recession, buying automobiles, computers and more from distressed owners.

“God continues to bless us,” says Sam. “All things really do work for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. We’re living proof.”

Last week they bought a Lexus coupe from a man who…

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Revival in 2012Back in the olden days (the mid-1990′s) I preached a few times at a small church (averaging 12 each Sunday) in eastern Arkansas. They had a rotation system that determined who would take the visiting speaker home for lunch, and one day my lot fell to two elderly ladies who made awesome roast beef!

As I sat in their living room visiting after lunch, they brought out some photo albums from the church’s history. I was amazed to see crowds of people stuffed so tight into the little white clapboard building that they were spilling out into the yard around the church with small groups gathered around each window leaning in to hear a loud evangelist thunder forth the gospel. The next few photos were of the mass baptisms they conducted in the White River – dozens had come to claim Jesus Christ.

Some argue that “revival” isn’t about people being saved but about the church coming back to life. I agree, but the byproduct of the church coming to life is nearly always that lost people knowing and claiming Christ as Savior to the glory of God….

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Exponential ConferenceGod has certainly used a battle with cancer to help Ryan and Jessica Woods to understand how God can use them to lead a Grassroots Conspiracy in downtown Vancouver, Washington. In Exponential’s Stories of Sifted, Ryan tells his story…

God has not promised me another day, I do not believe he has promised healing (though I do believe he can bring it!), but he has made an audacious claim to restore beauty for ashes, to give joy instead of sorrow, praise over despair—he has promised to tell a beautiful and redeeming story in our life and our death. And that is exactly what I have experienced him doing. The timing of my sickness was such that it seemed to interrupt our work of initiating a new gospel movement in downtown Vancouver that we are calling the Grassroots Conspiracy. But the reality that we have had to deal with is that the gospel movement has not been interrupted, rather it has been given a new canvas for fresh interpretation. Our ministry here is almost exclusively focused on those who are very far from faith, who have never set foot…

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Why Church Planting?

By Brandon Cox

SproutObviously, I’m passionate about church planting. On the blog of the Acts 29 Network is a great article that echoes my heart about the matter. It’s an adaptation of a writing by Tim Keller, and it really reflects the reason why we’re planning on planting out of Grace Hills as soon as possible.

The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else–not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes–will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial…

It is a great mistake to think that we have to choose between church planting and church renewal. Strange as it may seem, the planting of new churches in a city is one of the very best ways to revitalize many older churches in the vicinity and renew the whole Body of Christ….

New church…

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Global Church Planting SundayI’ve become convinced that healthy churches reproduce and unhealthy churches don’t. I’m also convinced that the key to fulfilling the Great Commission throughout the world is church planting. Therefore I can say with certainty, regardless of your denominational tradition, that your church should be directly involved in planting other churches.

On February 12, 2012, many churches will come together in a time of prayer, giving, and commitment to church planting, and your church can participate too.

Global Church Planting Sunday is a special Sunday set aside the second Sunday in February every year, where churches around the world come together to celebrate the church and focus on the planting of more churches.  The date of the very first Global Church Planting Sunday is February 12, 2012.  Any size church can participate and all of the materials needed for this Sunday are available for download free of charge.

via Church Planting Sunday

Dynamic Church Planting International and Outreach Magazine have partnered together to sponsor this global event, and they’re offering a

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Pastor, You Must Read IT

By Brandon Cox

ItIt is a really great book! It is all about “how churches and leaders can get it and keep it.” What is it? Though Craig Groeschel never really defines it, he does offer this clarifying list:

It is what God does through a rare combination of these qualities found in his people:

– Passion for his presence

– A deep craving to reach the lost

– Sincere integrity

– Spirit-filled faith

– Down-to-earth humility

– Brokenness

There are a few books I’ve read in the last decade that I would add to my list of “must reads” for leaders. Andy Stanley’s Next Generation Leader, J. Oswald Sanders’ Spiritual Leadership, and Paul Chappell’s Guided by Grace, plus almost anything that John Maxwell guy has written. And now, I’d have to add It to the stack.

Groeschel helps us develop a good understanding of it, and while he never makes an attempt to attach too much familiar verbiage to it (which is purposeful, to keep us…

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Grace Based LivingEven though none of us actually plays by the rules (according to Romans 3:10, 23), we still try rather hard to do so. We’ve all sinned and fallen short, but in our broken condition, we just keep on plugging away in hopes that in eternity all of our trying and fighting and working will somehow qualify us for heaven in God’s eyes.

Most of us find ourselves living a rules-based life. We have an assumption that our Creator will someday evaluate our performance to see if we’ve measured up to His standard. If we’ve been mostly good, we’re in! But Scripture is clear that God has already evaluated our performance. And the bad news is that He has already concluded that we don’t measure up. So that issue is settled. We can stop trying, stop fighting, and stop working.

When Paul wrote the letter to the Romans, he expounded significantly on the subject of the grace of God. In chapter five, he proclaims that, “since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith,…

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ChangeIs it even possible to really change? Millions of people must be asking that question, especially as we face another new year. You may already have a list of areas of your life you’re going to change. Whether they are “resolutions” or not, you’re hoping you can make it this year.

ONE GREAT TRUTH: Change is possible. In fact, it’s God’s plan for all of His children to change us into the image of Christ, but we have to be ready first – prepared for His use through repentance and renewal.

Saul made several promises not to try to kill David, but failed to keep any of those promises. David repented of his adultery and a real change was made in his life. What’s the difference between the two? I believe both wanted to change, but David did so in the power of the Holy Spirit through real contrition and repentance, while Saul was attempting to control himself in the power of his own will (and his own flesh).

Claude King shared a great illustration of this principle on his blog about 2 options for being filled with the Holy Spirit (video below). The…

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Pain CenterAs Paul concluded his second letter to Timothy, he expressed some hurt. Demas had forsaken him. Alexander the coppersmith had caused him much harm. At one point, no one was willing to stand with Paul. Rejection, criticism, and abandonment hurt! The world is watching believers to see how we’re going to handle it all.

Most of us handle hurt in one of two ways: we ignore or hide it so that nobody sees, or we handle it in all the wrong ways. Paul demonstrates some appropriate responses to hurt…

  1. Stay positive. Paul had been through some rough stuff, but he was looking forward to Timothy’s coming, to seeing John Mark again, and to receiving the parchments. There’s always a brighter day coming for the believer.
  2. Forgive. When Stephen was stoned to death for his faith in Christ, he asked God’s forgiveness upon his persecutors, who were laying their garments at the feet of Paul, who in turn prays the same for those who had forsaken him.
  3. Cling to God’s Word. Paul was looking forward to getting his books, but he couldn’t wait for the parchments – the Scriptures. The Bible speaks to…

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Large ChurchesThe Leadership Network has just released its findings from a survey of some of America’s largest churches. They’ve spelled out some of the common strengths and characteristics of them. Some are surprising, some are not…

  • These churches are wired.
  • Multisite interest has grown dramatically.
  • Growth is steady.
  • The leader at the helm makes all the difference.
  • Worship options extend beyond Sunday morning.
  • They are both big and small.
  • They have a high view of their own spiritual vitality.
  • Newcomer orientation is constant.
  • The dominant identity is “evangelical.”
  • The vast majority do not have serious financial struggles.
  • Staffing costs are comparable to those of other churches.
  • They are not independent.

Large doesn’t always equal healthy (which is the real goal), but it’s rather difficult to become large without being healthy. Therefore, learn what you can from this list and be sure to check out the whole article.

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