Archive for June, 2007

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COACHING CLINIC RESULTS…names and contacts.

June 22, 2007

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Ten participants along with Doug McClintic, Randy Weener and yours truly made up the first planter coaching clinic last monday.    Using “role play” and reflections on Church Planting Landmines by Nebel and Rohrmeyer we covered issues including Leadership Backlash, Evangelism Entropy and Fear of Money.   CPL is a book worth rereading.   There is wisdom here if your plant is less than 5 years old.   Some people made costly mistakes that led to the creation of this great resource!

Of the ten participants several were CRC coach prospects so we were glad to have them in the mix.   The new RCA coaches that are available to planters include Josh Blunt…(Josh is planter at Wayfarer in Caledonia and has had plenty of challenge to make him wise.   Josh is open to being a coach and can be reached at jblunt@wayfarercc.org) …and Burt Braunius (Burt was co-teacher at WTS in their church planting class and has significant experience in oversight of planting and parenting efforts in other parts of the country.  He can be reached at burt@braunius.org) …,and Cathy Gumper (Cathy serves in Classis of Albany where she is working with a new plant in the region.  We are fortunate to have more women join the team.  She can be reached at pastorcathy@readingtonreformed.org) .    Contact these folks to explore a new coaching relationship.

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EVAN ALMIGHTY…day retreat June 25

June 21, 2007

evan.jpgPlanters day retreat was redirected for Monday to take in the opening of Evan Almighty.   It’s a show that has some really cool possibilities for conversation in a missional plant.  So we will meet at Celebration Cinema north on the Beltline for the 11:00 am showing followed by lunch conversation and “checking in” at Johnny Carinos.   We should be moving out by 3:00.   In the meantime check out the trailer at www.evanalmighty.com    Oh yes, thanks to Gord and Marge who were ready to host us but now have one less carpet to vac.   Enjoy your Monday Gord!

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COACHING CLINIC JUNE 18

June 14, 2007

Here is a role that is absolutely critical in a new plant….someone who helps a planter work their plan and plan their work through the relationship of coaching.    On MONDAY JUNE 18 Doug McClintic, Randy Weener and yours truly are providing a coaching clinic that will add particular expertise in planting to the basics of good coaching.   We need coaches for new plants coming “down the pike”.  

There are still openings for good potential planter coaches for the Monday clinic.   Former planters & experienced generalist coaches can be good prospects.   RSVP to bingebretson@rca.org

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Notes on Stewardship

June 11, 2007

Enoch’s Path is currently studying “Affluenza” on the topic of consumerism and stewardship. Here are my notes from last night:

God calls us to live lives as stewards of His creation

Genesis 2:19-20

19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

Naming something is giving it purpose and meaning. Regardless if we read the Creation account as a literal account or a figurative narrative of beginnings, it is clear that part of mankind’s purpose is to give meaning to the seemingly meaning-less. A simple example of this is when we name a pet. Once we started calling our dog, “Spike” he became part of our family. He was no longer, dog, he became “spike” the Farrand’s.  Jesus himself did this with his disciples. We read in Mark 3:16-17:

Simon (Jesus later named him Peter, meaning “Rock”),
James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, to whom He gave the name Boanerges, that is, “Sons of Thunder”


(A funny side-note is that these names can also be interpreted as “nick-names,” whereas Peter can be “Rocky” and Boanerges can be “The Thunder Boys.” )

In giving his disciples new names he gave their lives new meaning. Their old identities were gone, and they were now living a life of God’s purpose. We see Adam giving purpose and meaning to the animals, and part of his role was to have “dominion” over the creation (nature). The Nazi’s give us the opposite example. In there hatred of the Jewish people, they would strip the people of their names at their death camps and assign them numbers which were branded on their arms, or necks. Why? Because, removing their names stripped them of their identity, their purpose and meaning.

The message behind the story is that God, being the Creator of all things, creates us to tend or be stewards of all of creation. To have “dominion” does not mean to dominate over, but to bring balance to creation. It is a critical lesson to learn.

One problem that many Evangelicals have with this understanding is that it rubs against their understanding of “the ends times.” The traditional escapist viewpoint of the end of time basically eliminates our stewardship of the earth. I mean, why tend to the earth when it will be obliterated? This idea permeates too much of our theology and gets applied to all the wrong things. Why care about the genocide in Darfur, I mean it really doesn’t affect us, and they are probably all going to hell anyway?

A more complete view of God’s Kingdom challenges us to bring balance to our lives. It affects how we steward our finances. God knows our love (or lust) of money, which is why Jesus talks about money more than heaven. God gives us the notion of tithe to help us live balanced lives in community. Kingdom living affects how we steward our relationships with others. We can no longer dominate others, Jesus calls us to serve one another and love our enemies. These principles help give us needed balance so that we may too understand love, compassion and grace. Kingdom living affects our role in the environment. Taking from the earth and not giving back to it goes against stewardship. Seeking ways to bring about a balance helps us to give balance to our planet. It goes on and on.

Jesus commands us to daily “die to ourselves (pick up your cross)” and to re-think our lives daily (Mark 1: “Change your life and believe the message”) and make sure it is in balance with God’s purposes of life.

So, reflecting on Affluenza, and seeking to understand what Stewardship is we must ask ourselves how are we living in balance with God’s purposes? How are we giving to our community of faith, our community that we live in, and our global community over just consuming from our communities?

Take a moment and reflect on the pattern of your own life.

Do you see a life of consumption greater than a life of giving?
Do you see a life bringing balance to relationships or one that seeks self-gratification?
Do you see a life in balance with the earth, or one that consumes resources?

A Prayer of Stewardship

(someone reads)

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we ask you, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Strategic Planning, Planting and Stewardship

June 6, 2007

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“Without a clear picture of where your ministry is going there is little reason for people to participate in it financially”.  With those words Chuck Roost launched session II on stewardship development.   Mission, vision, core values, key result areas, strategies, tactics, target group, evaluation plan, budget…these are essentials in the conversation.    Peter Drucker offers this wisdom….PLANS ARE WORTHLESS; PLANNING IS INVALUABLE.    The PROCESS of strategic planning has a far bigger impact on a ministry culture than the completed PLAN.   Strategic plans should be reviewed often for the ownership impact that process will have on your leadership and community. 

There is evidence in the Jewish Scripture of strategic planning….(see I Chronicles 28-29 or Nehemiah). When St. Paul made his decisions relative to ministry to Gentiles, to go to Rome, to mentor leaders, to leverage the systems of the Greco-Roman world, to “not build on another man’s foundation” and plant churches, to encourage local ministries be locally funded….there is evidence of his strategic plan.    

Strategic planning…..who owns that in your ministry and how clear are they about it?

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PRAY AS GREENHOUSE COMES TO PRINCE CONFERENCE CENTER NOV.16-18

June 4, 2007

thumbnailcaf44mzu.jpg  Neil Cole, the leader of the simple church movement in North America is coming to Grand Rapids for a GREENHOUSE this fall.   We are delighted to be working with apostolic leadership from a variety of protestant denominations to host this event.   The training will begin Friday evening continuing through Sunday afternoon and will be held at the PRINCE CONFERENCE CENTER.    Registrations will be received in September.   For details go to greenhouseflier-bw.pdf 

The Great Lakes Region is blessed with the presence of several organic church networks…Rick Patterson is pastor of Within Reach Ministries in the greater Kalamazoo area.   Chad Farrand pastors Tapastry which reaches well beyond the Lansing launch point.  Others are exploring going “simple”.   The regional multiplication team will be working to give a wide exposure to Neil when he comes.   We begin with prayer…in fact a prayer movement has already begun!     LORD OF THE HARVEST, WE SEE THAT THE HARVEST IS PLENTIFUL BUT THE WORKERS ARE FEW.  LORD OF TEH HARVEST WOULD YOU SEND FORTEH WORKERS INTO YOUR HARVEST FIELD HERE IN WEST MICHIGAN,  ACROSS NORTH AMERICA AND TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.