Archive for April, 2007



April 30, 2007

Stage theory states that before a person can make a significant change they must move through a series of stages one at a time.   Efforts to accelerate the process or skip a stage usually leads to disinterest or rejection of the change being considered.   The Engel Scale was introduced years ago to apply this theory to evangelism.  Engel proposed 6 linear steps toward faith….1. Aware of supreme being but not of gospel. 2. Aware of gospel. 3. Aware of implications of gospel for themself. 4. Positive attitude toward gospel and implications. 5. Counting the cost. 6. Decision to act.  

The Engel theory gives some helpful insight into the place some people may be at in our web of relationships and may remind us of how we might work with them.  Much of the time it is about answering objections through word or experience.  OK.  But I wonder about this linear approach and the unfactored impact of the faith community on a person’s process.  What is that impact potential?   What have you experienced?   And for that matter…what are you finding helpful in bringing people along a spiritual path toward Jesus?



April 25, 2007

thumbnailcawd3d3z.jpgRich Rienstra is working on a new planting model that just got a significant boost.    Rich has had a heart for prisioners for many years and recently was challenged to look into planting new congregations behind bars.   While many of us may have done the “prison chapel service” thing for a handful of inmates, few models of developing a congregation with indigenous leadership have emerged.  Wardens have been uncomfortable with “congregating” inmates.   Then a couple models emerged in South Dakota that worked, some key administrators and political leaders got in the loop and some denominational leaders put their heads together.   The result has been a grant given just this week from the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship to fuel moving this toward reality.   We are encouraged and hopeful for next steps.   How will the penal system begin to engage this possibility?   What prision ministries might come together to move this forward?   How can we bless the effort and multiply the love and freedom of Jesus behind bars through new congregations?   This remains to be seen…but things are looking up!


58,000 people underserved in Kent and Ottawa Counties?

April 23, 2007

thumbnailca76g97q.jpgRoger Greenway, former missionary to Mexico and mission educator for 30 years, looked me in the eye.  From his perspective the hispanic community of west Michigan (7% of our population) is significantly underserved despite great opportunity to plant new churches.   “They are more open by virtue of their new environment here.  This opportunity cannot be missed!”   Hugo Vasquez and Carlos Devetac are making new headway in their church plants in Holland and Detroit (pray for them!).   Hugo reports 30 new professions in recent months.   Pray for God to send us leaders and readiness to plant more in this community. 



April 19, 2007

Neil Cole and Brad Fieldhouse have confirmed their coming to W. Mich for a “Greenhouse” late fall 2007.   The event is likely to center on “life transformation groups” such that any church  could benefit with the added vision and training for the house church movement.   Details to come!


What is a "Missional Church"? Allelon Video

April 18, 2007

Our friends at Allelon have put up the first of two video casts with Ryan Bolger (prof at Fuller) and Alex Roxburgh (like I need to explain who he is). They are talking about what it means when we say “Missional Church.”

Check it out!






April 17, 2007

Jonathan Mays sent me an email today….”The workshop friday was very, very valuable to me.   I can hardly wait for the next session!”   Sounds like an endorsement to me.   On Friday 13th Chuck Roost launched the first of 3 workshops designed to help ministry leaders grow stewards and support for their ministries.   Chuck shared openly about the early years of his ministry…how he disliked talking about money and even considered it a virtue to be able to do ministry without talking money.   Then a crisis led him to look more closely at scripture and eventually do doctoral work related to the work of stewardship development.   The in our first session we not only revisited the major biblical texts on the subject but then dug deeply into the theory of “change communication” leading to an exercise of designing a conversation guide to be used with a potential donor.    The next stewardship workshop is scheduled for May 24th.   THose seeking to join the group will need to make special arrangements with the Regional offices.  Talk to Ben….thanks Chuck!



April 16, 2007

lake.jpgWe have done it for 4 years now…Gord and Marg Niederveld have graciously opened their home on Lake Michigan for church planters to gather for a day retreat of prayer, reflection and “catching up”.    This year we are looking at June 25th.    Check your calendar and let us know if that works for you.    We will gather at 10 and be done by 3.     Thanks much Gord and Marg….your support of this effort is always appreciated!