Archives For Missions

Father’s Day was very special.  My family was planning to attend the 11:15 AM service with my wife’s parents at North Metro Church where they attend.  However, located just six miles to the east of North Metro is Piedmont Church of Marietta, GA.

Led by the incomparable Ike Reighard, Piedmont is one of my favorite churches in America.  Ike has been a dear friend for 15 years and is always a privilege to reconnect with.

On Saturday, Associate Pastor Marlon Longacre (another dear friend for 15 years) advertised an event called DadFest on his Facebook page.  In response to churches traditionally beating up on dads on Father’s Day for all we are doing wrong, DadFest celebrated all the positive contributions we bring.

DadFest included a classic car show, inflatables for the children, health screenings, hamburgers and hot dogs, and they even gave away Green Egg b-b-q equipment.

My family attended Piedmont at 9:30 AM where we celebrated DadFest prior to arriving at North Metro in time for their 11:15 AM service.  We called this our Church Road Trip. 

That evening we reviewed our day and the consensus was that Piedmont was the friendliest church we had attended in a long time.  As…

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Dear Church Planter,

do you feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster?

Some days you feel like Jesus is going to plant the greatest church in the history of the church through you.

Some days you feel like your massive inadequacies are going sink the church plant like the Titanic.

May your fear, inadequacies, and lack of resources cause to fall into the arms of the One who is your courage, who is your adequacies, and who is unlimited in His resources, Jesus.

While preparing a future sermon series, while listening to Google Play, I came across the song “Bullet” by Mat Kearney.

Let these words inspire you.

Yesterday I was sitting recalling reminiscing
Trying to remember whenever there was nobody listening
Before the hugging and the kissing, the booing and the hissing
All I had was just a vision, all I had was my ambition
Your love without condition kept me swinging when I’m missing
My eyes upton the prize kept me striving for the mission
When I was down for the count, falling out of the commission
I can hear your voice now screaming out, ‘son, listen’
Get on up, don’t give up, though you struck opposition
Time to buck all that stuff, find out what’s your condition
Like a pull in…

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Newspring Unleash ConferenceAlmost anytime I mention numbers related to church life, I anticipate some responses about the value of numbers and congregations. In the 1980s, this type of discussion came primarily from more liberal churches that weren’t growing. Some of these leaders felt that declining membership and attendance was likely a sign of health. The members who really cared about the church were the ones who remained. They could make the biggest difference without the more nominal members remaining as obstacles.

Today, it is not unusual for me to hear from more conservative church leaders that declining church numbers may be a good sign because it is an indication that the numbers reflect true regenerate members. But, for the purpose of this brief article, let’s assume that attendance growth is a positive indicator. Presumably more people are hearing the gospel and being discipled when a church is growing.

It is in that context that I hear almost every week from church leaders whose churches seem stuck at some level of attendance: 100, 200, 500, 800, and so on. I even got a call a year ago from a church where the pastor was…

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On Tuesday morning, June 11, 2013, I presented a motion at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention about the issue of mental health challenges. From that point until late last night, I encountered people all over the convention center who stopped to thank me, many with tears in their eyes, for standing in the gap for those who struggle daily with mental illness. Additionally, emails, twitter messages, and text messages were expressed.

Why Were These People Passionate With Their Gratitude?

They were passionate and thankful because their lives have been interrupted by the challenge of mental illness. What was expressed?

*People losing children and fathers to suicide

*Pastors with depression

*Parents dealing with major issues with their children like bipolar disorder

*Parents with special needs children

Imagine…these are numerous people overwhelmed with gratitude for presenting compassion for the least of these.

What Did I Present To The Southern Baptist Convention?

I presented the following motion to the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2013 Order of Business Committee:

Mr. President and messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, since 58 million Americans and 450 million people globally suffer with the enormous challenge I bring before you today, as well as the world needing us to address this issue, I make the…

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I just can’t believe it is already the middle of June.  Busy, busy, busy!!!  Every season has certain rhythms with summer being the time of vacations and trying to get away.  We must redeem even the summer time by taking full advantage of the opportunities that God gives us.  Are we doing that?  Are we taking full, complete, total advantage of the doors HE is opening?  What goals has God placed upon your heart for the next three to six months and what are you going to do to make them become a reality?

Please do not think I am talking about being busier because all of us are busy enough but we need to make sure we are doing the necessary things God has called us to do.  This is not about doing more, but rather, about doing the right things in the life rhythms we are already in.  Thom Rainer put it this way.  “God calls us to make a transformational impact on the world, not provide a carnival of frenetic activity for ourselves.”

This is one of the reasons I believe in a coaching/mentoring relationship so strongly.  All of us need a…

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I’m currently reading Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church by Mark DeYmaz. It’s one of several books I’ve read on the subject because it’s a big area of concern for me as a Pastor who is planting a church in a community that is diversifying much more quickly than the churches within it.

But I hope the multi-ethnic conversation among church leaders is short-lived. Why? Because we tend not to spend a lot of time talking about things we have figured out. You don’t hear church leaders saying things like, “We need people to be givers, so let’s encourage more churches to take offerings,” or “Ya know, we just need more fellowship time – let’s encourage churches to have potlucks.” We’re done with those conversations, at least for now.

My prayer is that planting and leading churches that are ethnically representative of the diversity in their surrounding communities will become so normal and commonplace that we don’t have to talk about a strategy for getting it done anymore. But in the meantime… we need to talk about getting it done. If your church leadership hasn’t had a conversation about this, it’s time.

It’s time to evaluate by asking the…

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When Jesus told his disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations” he was giving his group of young disciples a directive. He was propelling them on the ultimate mission of making disciples everywhere they went. The stories of how they carried this command out is the stuff of legends.

What’s interesting is that, in the Koine Greek (the language which the New Testament was written in), the word “go” is a participle. Instead of “go and make disciples” it could read, as you are going, make disciples.”

Think about how that little change in the reading of this big mandate influences the way we view mobilizing our teens for mission.

As your teens are going from class to class they can make disciples.

As they are involved in band practices, drama rehearsals and sports scrimmages they can make disciples.

As they are going to their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and engaging countless friends via text messaging they can (and should) make and multiply disciples.

Too many times those of us in student ministry use the word “go” only when it comes to sending teenagers on a short-term mission trip to a foreign country. But each of our teens are called to be…

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Does God desire for your church to grow?

The short and simple answer is “yes.” We can make this deduction from the fact that God has called us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20) and that ultimately; disciples from all nations will be gathered together in heaven (Revelation 7:9). In the mean time, God is working through His body, the Church, to gather His children (Matthew 16:18). Therefore, as the Church grows, God’s global kingdom grows. –and that’s not just God’s goal, its promise.

But there is another answer and its slightly more complicated.

Imagine you have a friend with two wild, unruly children. When his kids spend the night with your kids, you hide every breakable item in the house and never let them out of your sight! Although you love your friend immensely, you are really concerned about his lack of parenting skills.

One day, over lunch, your friend tells you that he and his wife are praying for another child. He explains how they are confident that God wants their family to grow and he even quotes Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children…

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SelectionIf your church could reach more people for Christ by focusing on one “people group” in your community, would you do so?

Certain people around your church are more receptive to the Gospel than others.  I suggest that good stewardship of your church’s human and fiscal resources calls you to find and focus on these receptive people.  They are the “fertile soil” (see Mt. 13:1-23) who are “ripe unto harvest” (Jn. 4:35).  And your successful evangelistic results will be praised by the Master with the same words heard by those who returned more talents than they had been given: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (see Mt. 25:14-30).

The “Receptivity-Resistance Axis” below illustrates a person’s openness to becoming a new creation in Christ.  Every non-Christian is somewhere on this Axis.

screenshot_75

Some people are open and responsive to the Good News—the “good soil,” as Christ described them in the Parable of the Sower.  Others are resistant to the Gospel—the rocky soil.  When Jesus concluded this parable with, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” I believe he was suggesting that the Good News we proclaim will not be…

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multiplicationRevelation 7:9-10 reveals a future scene in heaven.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Did you catch that?  Heaven will be inhabited by people from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.

Question: How will people from every nation, tribe, people & language get there?

Its not by accident.  God has been planning world-wide worship from the beginning.  In the very first book of the Bible, God instructed Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply… (Genesis 1:28) Why? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

After the flood, God repeated the command to Noah: Be fruitful and multiply. (Genesis 9:7)  Later, God told Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him.  (Genesis 12:2).  God repeated that promise to Abraham’s son, Isaac, and…

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Mercy RoadThe NEXT Church Planting Network is hosting a conference late this summer that every church planter needs to attend. This no-holds-barred, church planting conference in Ocala, Florida will take place August 27-28, 2013. Nuts & Bolts is how-to training designed to provide you the tools needed to successfully launch and lead a healthy church that reaches this generation.

Join Ron Sylvia, Dave Page and the NEXT Team as they take you from conception . . to launch . .  to leading a new church. Whether you are currently in a church plant, thinking of planting a church, or in need of re-launching a stalled church, this conference is for you. And you will have the opportunity to walk away with $10,000 to help fund your church plant!  Learn more about $10k Giveaway here.

Nuts & Bolts is a no hype, practical How-To event taught by experienced church planters who are in the trenches. You’ll learn how to:

  • Recruit a Launch Team
  • Cast a Compelling Vision
  • Teach for Life Change
  • Take Your Personal Leadership to the Next Level
  • Raise Financial Resources
  • Build the Worship Experience
  • Launch Larger Than You Ever Thought Possible
  • Capture the Attention of Your Community

The cost is only…

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Plans Announced for Three-Day Exponential West 2013 Conference Oct. 7-10 at Saddleback Church in Southern California

Rick Warren and Choco de Jesus Already Confirmed as Speakers

On the heels of Exponential ’13 in Orlando selling out and drawing 5,300 leaders on site and 40,000 to the live Exponential ’13 Webcast, Exponential has announced plans for an Exponential West 2013 this October. The conference will be hosted by Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., Oct. 7-10, and like the recent Orlando event will focus on discipleship.

For the last several years, Exponential has been asked to bring the annual event held in Orlando each April to the West Coast. However, Exponential leaders have been deliberately slow and cautious to expand, not wanting to lose one of the conference’s unique distinctives—a family reunion-like, highly relational environment fueled by the energy of more than 5,000 entrepreneurial church planters gathered together in one place.

“Overwhelmingly, the feedback we get from different leaders is that there’s not another experience like Exponential where the speakers are so accessible, just hanging out with everyone,” Exponential Director…

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