Archive for October, 2007


Pick-up Lines….

October 30, 2007

“We are here to make this a great city.”

That is the line the folks at Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan NYC use to describe their church.   Provocative…I think so.    So what line have you designed to “pick up” a new relationship with someone?  OK, this does not have to be about church or your “ministry”….probably best that it not be!   The best “hook” is genuine interest in another person…or as Jim Henderson puts it, “pay unusual attention to people”!    But there are times when it is appropriate to share your ministry vision.  You only get 10 seconds to set a verbal hook.   Long rambling speeches only create a “glazed face”.  Call it your “elevator speech”.   Here are some I have heard recently….

My work is to build you a new house.

I help people help people.

My job is to improve your kids lives.

We are creating a community that accepts anyone.

My work?  I help people turn over a new leaf.




October 30, 2007

Add it to your prayer list for the week…over a dozen new planting teams from coast to coast are meeting in GR this week to plan their new start in an intense environment.  From the Great Lakes Region we can celebrate the following new planters…..Aaron Kleinfelter who is planting in Cincinnati, Don DeVlieger who is planting along the lakeshore area, Eric Branch exploring a plant in Sparta/Greenville area and Toby Gruppen who is planting in North Holland.    Way cool…..    Pray for these people this week!



October 26, 2007

Christian Community Development Association

For an amazing resource, go see the CCDA’s mp3’s at:

If you haven’t heard of CCDA, if you are interested in seeing Christians actively blessing their local communities, THIS is the place for you!!


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where would jesus plant?

October 24, 2007

jesus-icon.jpg  Recently as I’ve sat with potential parent pastors to explore the planting subject I get asked a question.   “Where do you think we should be planting?”   Way cool….. 4 years ago when I began these conversations the more common question was “Why should we be planting?”  Times they are a changin’!

Then I sat with a planter prospect who asked the question with a slight yet significant twist.   “What area of this region has the greatest need?”  In this case, we talked about Greenville, a community north east of GR and recently “gut punched” with major layoffs and economic downturn.   To plant there you have to understand the struggle of unemployment, depression and the human coping behaviors that kick in under such circumstances.   So where would Jesus plant….in Greenville?  How about a burned out neighborhood in San Diego?   Or do we only show up after the neighborhood has been rebuilt and “saved”? 

 I like one pastor who said his congregation has been thinking about daughtering a new church the part of town with high density trailer parks and low income apartments.  Hummmm.   Honestly, some planters show up at my office with absolute clarity as to the location of their plant and when I hear it (OK, affluent people need Jesus too and surely God wants us all to stay close to our bio families), I have to wonder a bit about motive.   Is this about personal preferences & not disrupting our lives or about following Jesus in mission?  Jesus came to mess up my life………………….yours?    So perhaps we are getting better at asking the right question…wwjp?  (i am willing to pass along  your suggestions to people who are serious about an answer).


Who pays attention to you?

October 23, 2007

Paying attention to people takes energy.   Not that “pastoral care” is necessarily the biggest part of what pastor types do for a living.   Facts are, church planters often are not so hot at being quiet and listening to people like a pastoral counselor might.   Church planters, taken as a group, tend to not permit themselves to get deeply enmeshed in a prolonged crisis.   There is just so much to “do” relative to the plant that we often need others with listening and “care” gifts to step in and help.   But what happens when the planter gets “thumped”.    Attendance takes a drop (we all know that funk)…finances slip…and then nerves get short at home…and then….    So who pays attention to you?   Recently I reconnected with John Smith (yup, real name) who launched a Michigan chapter of Pastorcare (   I am grateful for John and his ability to “pay attention” to pastor types when they need it.    The Great Lakes Region is committed to the pastors that give their lives and hearts to plant.   Most times they are positive and healthy experiences.  Sometimes not.   We can count on John Smith to pay attention at a time like that.    (If you need help, give us a shout and we’ll do what we can to honor John for his time spent with you.)



October 18, 2007

money.jpg   Neil Cole, north American leader of the “simple church” movement, is coming to Grand Rapids for a workshop November 16-18.   Here is a chance to learn from a planter who sparked a multiplying movement of 300 churches.     Whatever your plant model, there is juice in this event for you.

The Great Lakes Region wants to encourage your participation by providing scholarships ($120. value) for any Great Lakes RCA planter AND key lay leader  and one member of each Classis CMT to attend….first come first serve.   The event begins Friday night at 6:00 pm, Saturday 8:30 am til 4:30 pm and Sunday 1:30 pm til 5 pm and is held at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College.    For details and to apply contact 


Soularize Webcast – FREE!!

October 17, 2007

Soularize FeedLive AdTomorrow night, October 18th, at 6pm PST there will be a free Soularize webcast (also see This week, join Spencer Burke and author Ori Brafman – of “The Starfish and the Spider” courtesy of

Ori Brafman is a peace and economic development consultant and activist. He is co-author of indie business cult favoriate “The Starfish and the Spider,” about leaderless groups and what makes them so powerful.

Spencer Burke is a “pastor alumnus,” author, speaker, heratic (see his book “A Heretics Guide To Eternity”) founder of and our friend. In Thursday’s interview, Spencer will talk to Ori about the Church that is primarily running as a Spider organization in a Starfish world; together, we’ll investigate Starfish front-runners and Hybrids – can organic and institutional models live in harmony?

You can ask Ori and Spencer questions, take live polls and more! click on “preview” and you are in!!

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