Archive for May, 2007


The Worship Industry – Brian D. Mclaren

May 31, 2007

My friend Brian has some good challenges to the contemporary worship “industry” here.

He talks about the rat race of the creation of worship consumers and how they put all this pressure on the worship leader to give them a certain experience or high. (I wrote an article entitled “Pavlovian Worship” in 2001 with these same ideas, I’ll try to track it down…)

This turns “worship” into propoganda rather than art.

Please do yourself a favor and watch this video.




LAKE ERIE UPDATE….moving and shaking out east!

May 24, 2007


I just returned from several days in Lake Erie Classis where I connected with 4 new start efforts.   Here is all the news that’s fit to print!

Dave Jansen is making a major move in Columbus Ohio.   Having worked hard to do “attractional church” for nearly 4 years now and seen modest (actually very good considering its a  parachute!) results Dave is moving his congregation toward a significant “incarnationational church” model.   Recognizing a desperate need in the area for daycare, they are relocating their space to a facility that will leverage gifts in their group for daycare service while Dave focuses more on marriage enrichment groups and opportunity for couples work.    It’s a major paradigm change for the church…moving toward a “serve the community” posture.   Dave reports two new adult baptisms last weekend!

Carlos Devetac is working hard in Detroit to reach Hispanics.  With two radio ministries and a building on Michigan avenue they have found a growing group.   THey are facing issues with their facilitiy…costly factors that may move them into temporary rental space for a season.  Pray for Carlos to have wisdom in their next move on the Michigan ave property.

Roger Biada is beginning to pull his core group together in Brunswick Ohio to launch Blackberry Ridge Church.   I met with them for their first core meeting along with over 25 others.  Great energy and Roger has done a tremendous job in planning his work and working his plan.   While there I met others who are excited about additional plants coming out of Brunswick Reformed CHurch.   Lead on Rog!

Sung Kim continues to work hard with URC Ann Arbor as they explore a major move after many years of plateau.   Sung feels the church needs to explore all the options these days and to not let their building become a liability.   They are making big steps as a consistory (average age is about 35!) at shifting into a new missional mode with all options on the table.  Pray for them as they seek to crack the Ann Arbor code.  This ministry could take a significant change in direction that would give it “new church start” similarities.

A new planter who is already developing a network of house churches in Cincinnati has come to our attention and is seeking to enter the RCA.  We have wondered about direction in that large metro area and God is opening a relational door.   Pray as our conversations continue with Aaron Klienfelter who is currently tentmaking in that city having had history with the Vineyard.

Feel the shake….pray the moves!


A Lesson from Francis Asbury

May 16, 2007

asbury.jpgIn 1771 John Wesley commissioned Francis Asbury to spread Methodism in north America.   Asbury, considering the size of the task, took as his strategy to recruit young leaders who would be fit to ride horseback for days, endure harsh weather, work on little sleep, accept meger pay and bear much lonliness.   Needless to say, few signed up.  For all Asbury would do to cast a vision and appeal to young leaders, few would rise to such a high sacrifice and challenge.

So Asbury took the challenge on himself and it is said that upon his death there were over 5,000 methodist circut riding preachers swarming north America!   As one writer puts it, “Someone will always have to GIVE UP before anything will ever GO UP.”  or “Whoever looses their life will find it.”   In the toughest times when you want to sit down on the curb and quit, Asbury gives a new perspective.   These are the days of putting seed into soil that can be very tough, stubborn and adverse.  We come home some nights with only bruises and bumps.  But there will be a harvest if not in our lifetime…..


Prayers for Jonathan and Kathy Mays….

May 11, 2007

What happens when you hit two major bumps in planting?   The Northern Michigan Classis Gaylord plant team met this week to hear, support and pray for the Mays family.   After significant struggles with municipalities (building code  chaos) and relationships (way inappropriate stuff in a fragile core group), Jacobs Well is facing a change.  The Mays have felt a call to stay in Gaylord while the “project” goes through a major shift in timing, target and method.   Pray for Jonathan as he seeks a job to support his family in the future.  The family (Kathy and their two adolescent kids) need our encouragement and prayers through this.   Often in planting, one vision must die in order that another be reborn.   That process is hard however.   We are pulling for you Jonathan and Kathy…and are challenged by your integrity under pressure and dedication to a call.   Lead on….


EXILES….living as missionaries in post christian culture.

May 9, 2007

thumbnailcatxoqse.jpgMichael Frost has given us a good read in his book by the title above.  Recently I locked onto a short portion under “Following Jesus into Exile”.   He picks up on the classic by Brother Lawrence on the Practice of the Presence of God.  To seek the presence…to see the presence…to live the presence…to speak the presence…to treasure the presence of God.    It is impossible to do church planting without feeling this desperate need for God and to long to know the “presence”.   The lonliness can kill us…the challenge can bury us…the slow progress can discourage us…the opposition can frustrate us…the temptations can derail us.   God…only God is enough in those times.   Frost begins the section with a quote from Simone Weil.  “The friends of God should love him to the point of merging their love with his with regard to all things here below”.   Fellow friends of God, find time for this in your hearts and lives.   It is your food.


Kaiser on accountability, structure, leadership

May 7, 2007

Responsibility relates to the scope of work to be accomplished the ends to be achieved, the mission, in other words: the object of the game.

Authority relates to the freedom needed to achieve these ends. Rules of the game.

Accountability relates to timely reports. how we keep the score.

4 Players and Their Positions in Accountable Leadership

(John affrims that this is A way of structure, not THE way)

the board – governs the church by composing and supporting guiding principles that authorize the pastor to lead

pastor – the pastor leads the church by inspiriing the board, directing the staff, and teaching the congregation

a staff – the staff manages

congregation – ministers. the members of the congregation  carry out the ministers of the church and affirm its leadership


John Kaiser – May 7th 2007

May 7, 2007

John Kaiser

Getting from Mission to Accountable Leadership

 “If you have no clear concept of what you want to accomplish, you will never go anywhere.”

Purpose and Mission

Mission: Why does our congregation exist?

Adopting one structure over another doesn’t garuntee success

1. It exists for us. (Inward Focus) – a gathering of believers – a spiritual version of a health club. We pay dues for services we recieve.

2. It exists for Others (Outward Focus) – Willow Creek – we aren’t going to be here for “us” we are going to exists for the unchurched.

3 It exists for Both – if so, who will be served first?

The needs of the people “inside” the church will always take precedent. If you do not intentionally bias your focus as “outward” you will be “inward”

The question is if we are willing to come second? Are we willing to serve first the un-churched before our needs are met? You can meet the legitamte needs of those inside the church without putting them first.

Mission: Why our congregation exists – supposed to be stable

Vision:  What will it look like for our vision to be lived out in a few years?

Core values determine how we behave

Deeply held priorities that either line up with the mission and vision or else undermine mission and vision.

How do we change values? By tinkering with structure.

Structure: The arrangement of resources, which reveals our true values and offers the best chance to change them.

Budgets, checkbooks, how we spend our time and resources.

Organizational structure = power structure

3 Forms of Structure

1. Bureaucratic

– responsibility minus authority – when you give people a job without trust. “Safe” but not effective.

2. Authoritarian

– responsibility plus authority – “effective” but not safe

we give someone all the power, but have no way of guarding from bad things from happening

3. Accountable

– Marry together responsibility and authority with accountability

safe and effective

1. We gave you authority, how are you doing?

2. Did you stay within the boundries of that authority?

Control Paradigm vs. Trust Paradigm

Everybody likes control. Some people are overt and others are passive/aggressive. With a controlling pastor, the pastor likes to control the ministries of the church to make sure that they are being accomplished in the “right” way. In a controlling church, but the people end up controlling the pastor. (like through the financial) 

“If you want something done right, you do it yourself”

In a trust paradigm. The pastor entrusts the ministries of the church to the people that the people bear fruit.