Archives For Brandon Cox

It's Personal by the Bloye'sAccording to Brian and Amy Bloye, the two toughest jobs in the world are raising kids, and raising a church. And both tasks are deeply personal.

I’m a better church planter for having read It’s Personal. It’s now one of the books I’ll be pushing at every potential church planter. Why? Several reasons.

  • Calling is key, and while many books talk about church planting models and methods, few focus on the foundation, which is what matters when the going gets tough. They Bloyes make it plain. If you’re not called, do anything else.
  • Family is first. Brian and Amy share the real story of how they’ve had to fight to keep family first by establishing healthy boundaries and limits.
  • Friends are essential, and Brian and Amy give permission for the planter to have friends. One of the leading causes of the abandonment of a fledgling plant is the emotional toil the isolation often takes on a planting family. Friends aren’t optional.
  • Staff unity matters. As a lead planter, Brian helps others to understand the need to get “mean” about the vision and to tenaciously guard that vision…

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LidsAlways in the back of my mind is this thought, “Don’t be the factor holding back the growth of Grace Hills Church.” I believe in John Maxwell’s Law of the Lid. So if my leadership is sub-par, and I’m supposed to be at the head of the pack, where does that leave other leaders for whom I am responsible?

I need to be keenly aware of my blindspots, which means allowing other leaders, especially my wife, to look and speak into my life. I have some leadership flaws I’m working on right now, but at the top of the list is my slowness in delegating authority and responsibility to others. Here are some harsh realities about the inability to delegate that I’m trying to embrace today:

  • If I don’t delegate, I’ve snapped a lid on the growth of my organization. We’re done.
  • If I don’t delegate, it could signal a subtle arrogance in me that believes no one else could do as well as me with a responsibility.
  • If I don’t delegate, I rob someone of the pleasure and reward of serving and leading.
  • If I delegate tasks alone, and not authority, I’m…

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ServingWe called ours We Love NWA because that’s how people refer to our community. Whatever you call it, we’re glad we took a weekend away from having a worship service in our theater to serve our neighbors. We’re not the first, by any means to have a weekend to “be” the church instead of “doing” church. Other churches have cancelled their regular weekend worship time to go serve in various capacities. But why?

As we geared up for our big weekend, contacted local charitable organizations, and signed up volunteers, we kept the conversation going among our leadership about why we were doing this to begin with. Ultimately, we decided the concept reflected the culture of our church very well, and would accomplish some big goals for us. Let me clarify first, however, the reasons we ruled out:

  • We will not do this simply to attract attention. Attention is valuable, but is never the big goal.
  • We will not do this to “get people to come to church.” It wasn’t about serving in hopes of the return favor of a visit.
  • We will not do this to “take a break” from worship. If this isn’t…

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A few weeks ago, we asked you to send us pictures and short notes about whatever book(s) you’re reading right now. You are a community of variety! We’ve gathered together some of the responses and wanted to pass the suggestions on to the entire pastors.community. Here’s what you’re reading right now…

John Richardson (@RichardsonJohnD) is reading Giving Away the Collection Plate and Kenneth Boa’s Handbook to Prayer.

Handbook to Prayer and Giving Away the Offering Plate

John says,

Warning – self serving content ahead. I am reading and really enjoying Ken Boa’s Handbook to Prayer right now. It’s a guide to praying Scripture back to God each day. Great stuff!

I’m also including Giving Away the Collection Plate, which I wrote. I don’t know how many times I have read and re-read this, but the significance of generosity for our culture today cannot be overstated.

By the way, even though John wrote this book, we recommend it too! It’s a radical concept worth consideration by every church.

Michael Davies (@mrdadelaide) is reading Vertical Church by James MacDonald.

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Jesus said that the devil’s main purpose is to steal, kill and destroy, but that He came for us to have abundant life. So why aren’t most of us living what we would call a blessed life? What’s missing? Why do we feel like our prayers are hitting a glass ceiling?

Jesus is relentless in His desire to be first in our lives. In this series, learn how to put Him first and what the Bible lays out for us a the truly Blessed Life.

Get all the resources you need for this dynamic sermon series from Perry Noble and NewSpring Church for free!

Download From the Source

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Sermon on the MountI’ve heard plenty of talk about discipleship and multiplication recently, and it usually goes something like this…

If you want to make disciples the way Jesus wants, you have to do it the way Jesus did it. And Jesus, in His earthly ministry, chose only a few people, weeded out those who weren’t true followers, and avoided letting crowds follow him. Therefore, discipleship is one-on-one, takes a year and a half, and doesn’t involve seeing masses of people come to know Him.

If you’re arguing that the model of true discipleship is found in Jesus’ earthly ministry, you’re forgetting a few vital facts.

  • Jesus invited, accepted, and received tons of people who weren’t counted among the twelve.
  • Jesus was very intentionally laying the foundation for the church, which really took off after his earthly ministry was over, and now serves as God’s “plan A” for the discipling of the nations.
  • Jesus’ earthly ministry was not the end of His ministry. He was alive and well on Pentecost where He proceeded to add 3,000 souls to the church, all at once.
  • Jesus was alive and well when He empowered the first…

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Pastoral IdentityIf you can’t define who you are, someone else will do it for you, and the best way to define who you are is to understand whose you are. Everyone faces this same identity crisis and Pastors are no exception. Other people will define you as…

  • The on-stage celebrity.
  • The chaplain who visits everyone personally.
  • The champion of political activists.
  • The guy with the perfect marriage and perfect kids.
  • The hireling, here to do whatever the board says.

But your identity is wrapped up in how your Creator defines you. If you’re a born again child of God, you are redeemed… forgiven… called… sent… and empowered.

To my fellow Pastors I would say, don’t ever be defined by the numerical size of your church’s membership or even by the esteem with which your colleagues view you. Instead, define yourself as God’s child.

There isn’t anything wrong with being a good organizer, a skilled speaker, or an influential leader in the community. But some have been all of those things and have still lost their testimony and ministry as the result of moral failure.

King Saul was guilty of sins we would probably measure up as smaller infractions than those of…

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NewtonRemember Newton’s first two laws of motion? Here’s a refresher…

  • First law: Every object continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless compelled to change that state by external forces acted upon it.
  • Second law: The acceleration a of a body is parallel and directly proportional to the net force F acting on the body, is in the direction of the net force, and is inversely proportional to the mass m of the body.

In other words, things that are sitting still don’t move unless something pushes them, pulls them, or otherwise compels them by force… including churches.

I realize this post will most likely get me into a bit of trouble, but I’m going to state what I believe to be in keeping with the way God has designed things to work. Churches often don’t see much movement because they don’t see much movementChurches who are unwilling to adapt will die. This is simply the law of the universe in which we live.

If that sounds radical, consider that God Himself tends to move and speak in different ways, in different ages, through different means. He has progressively revealed…

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“Religion isn’t a word often associated with technology — but it should be,” says Amanda Pittman in a Mashable story about how churches use social media. I agree.  And as I said in my comment on the story, when Gutenberg finished his printing press, the Bible was the first thing produced and churches utilized print media like crazy. When broadcasting took off, so did churches and some of the longest running programs on today are church broadcasts that started many decades ago. But with the emergence of social technologies on the internet, we’re slow to adopt. What’s up with that?

Check out this infographic put together by Buzzplant and tell us how your church uses social media, and why you think the church is slower to adopt internet-driven social technologies than past innovations.

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Never waste a good sermon, especially after you’ve spent so much time preparing it! Thom Rainer recently wrote that more time in sermon preparation usually means a more effectively evangelistic church. If you’re one of those who spends 15 hours or more on a message, it must stink to realize that all you can squeeze out of all that work is 38 minutes of preaching on the weekend. So why not stretch it further?

In the world of blogging and social media, you can do just that, and here are some suggestions for how…

  1. Blog your points, one at a time. A full sermon transcript or manuscript is probably too long for a blog post, but one point with its explanation is just the right size. So if you’re presenting three or four major truths this Sunday, write three or four corresponding blog posts during the following week.
  2. Post memorable quotes from the message. Every good message needs to have single sentences within it that really drive home the truth of Scripture. If those sentences can be written in 140 characters or less, send them out…

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Nathan Creitz is planting City Life Church in Queens, New York, a multiplying community of Jesus’ followers in Queens who GO on mission, GROW in grace, and GATHER in His name for the glory of God among all peoples. They plan on launching publicly in the Fall of 2013.

Tell us how God called you and your wife into this journey.

The calling happened in my heart and my wife’s heart almost simultaneously. My wife is originally from Queens, NY and she hasn’t been back since she became a believer. Her heart has always been for her family and friends who are far from God. In addition to that, God burdened our hearts for the sheer multitudes of people living in Queens. There are 2.3 million people and 48% of them are foreign born. It is the most diverse borough in one of the most influential cities in the world. I can’t think of a more strategic place to “make disciples of all nations” than Queens. Finally, God confirmed His calling to plant this church over and over again by providing miraculously for our…

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Denominations don’t plant churches.  Churches plant churches. This is why churches should be proactive about church planting rather than waiting for denominational boards and agencies to get the job done.

Having said that, most churches don’t have the resources to plant another church on their own, so they need to partner together with other multiplication-minded churches to expand the kingdom. Denominations can and do serve a vital place in the grand scheme of church planting, such as

  • Connecting churches together in partnerships
  • Assessing potential church planters
  • Equipping and training planters and sending churches
  • Directing funds appropriately for better stewardship

So if my church shouldn’t leave the task of planting a new church to my denomination, but we’re not prepared to oversee a planter or project on our own, what should we do? Form a strategic partnership with a few other leaders and churches to multiply.

I love the idea of four or five Pastors and church leaders getting together to discuss regional church planting needs, pooling their resources, and providing people, money, and mentoring to see a new church get started. Imagine this scenario…

Five churches, small to medium in size, come…

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