Archive for January, 2008


Reggie McNeil Live Session 1

January 24, 2008

From One Thing event

Reggie McNeil opens up – to a capactiy filled banquet.
“Four Shifts For the Church”

Apastolic Leadership (rather than traditional based clergy leadership)
– most clergy want to change the world, but find out that their job is nothing more than “project manager”
-character of apatolic leadership
they bring vision to their role. they aren’t working from a “how to” leadership book
they operate on a future that is compelling
first disciples went into the world who did not want them.
If there isn’t a vision that grips you, it won’t grip anyone around them
They work in partnerships
They are preparing for what is coming, not what is happening
We must move from “planting” mentality to a “prepared” mentality
Thoise who prepare will ride the wave that God is directing
You don’t pull of “Exodus” in a strategic planning meeting
What do you need to do to prepare?
Vision of the people you lead: In old days you were told to be the vision castor to the people. In the new world, vision bubbles up (it doesn’t cascade down”
God’s already prepared a generation for Missional Church
Prayer isn’t begging God’s attention, it is getting into his reality
In order to get there, we must be willing to get paid differently
An apostalistic leader will find alternative funding sources
You will not be able to get your church to vote to go Missional, if you put it to a vote, they’ll vote to go back to Egypt.
You reach critical mass before majority vote – once you hit critical mass, you don’t need to vote, you can’t help but do it.

Results – what are you looking to happen?
If we aren’t willing to redo the scorecard (the dillema is that we have a builder scorecard) – if you want to try to do a missional church you have to change the scorecard
“How many better marriages do we have?”
“How man more people are in less bondage to money?”
Get in touch with stuff that real people care about

Strenths –
You as a leader must learn on how to lead from what you bring to the table not what you don’t
Your best shot is to get better at what you are already good at
In church life, the reason we have mediocrity is because we ask people to be playing all the positions

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January 21, 2008

So here are some random details if you are feeling sketchy about ONE THING.

Hotel:  The Hyatt Regency in San Antonio (on the riverwalk at Paseo del Alamo) 123 Losoya Street, San Antonio Texas  ph# 210-222-1234

Schedule of Events:

Thursday Jan 24 noon til 3 pm Registration; 3:30 til 5:00 pm Welcome session with Tim Vink;  6:00 Banquet with Reggie McNeal

Friday Jan 25 10:00 am Reggie McNeal am. workshops pm.  6:00 pm Banquet with Reggie (long day with little free time!)

Saturday Jan 26 9:00 am  til noon Alan Hirsch;  noon til 5:30 free time.  See San Antonio.  5:30 Regional dinner  7:00 evening worship and session with Tim Vink

Sunday Jan 27 9:30 Worship and commissioning.   11:00 am event ends.

See you in San Antonio! 


WYOMING….what’s going on here?

January 17, 2008

Sometimes we pinch ourselves to be sure we are not dreaming.  This time, pinch hard!

In recent months we have been paying closer attention to emerging changes in Wyoming.  Try these stats on for size.  Lee School now reports a 42% Hispanic population.  Wyoming Park and Rogers HS show nearly 25% Hispanic, or African American.   Talk around town to folks and there is a buzz.  There is a significant need for new churches to respond to this growth. Add to this a remarkable new cooperation with church leaders and school personnel in promoting spiritual renewal.  A recent evangelist to the area saw over 100 conversions of young people and talk about starting follow up discipleship groups.    A conversation with one youth leader indicated a desire to see the spiritual flame spread beyond to Kentwood and GRPS. 

Now comes the pinch moment.

Conversations with two…perhaps even three Wyoming RCA congregations indicates that consistories are noticing and are talking about starting new churches that will reach the young and diverse group that is ready for harvest.   Rather than build their walls higher or just ignore things happening around them they are dreaming and exploring.   Is it possible that we could see 3 new churches in Wyoming this year?

 Yup.  It is!

Pray for leadership.  I believe that the readiness exists with the community, the parent churches and the funding resources.   The right leaders could pull the triggers on a remarkable step forward in Wyoming.   If you know of qualified hispanic pastors, please forward those names so we can take next steps!


THEOLOGY in an AGE OF TERROR…Timothy George at Calvin.

January 16, 2008

If you have missed the January Series at Calvin this year here is a great one…. Timothy George spoke today, Thursday, on Theology in an Age of Terror.   As a historical theologian he presented parallels and insights drawn from the writings of St. Augustine, the fall of Rome to the barbarians of the 5th century, Karl Barth, the work of the Confessing Church of Nazi Germany and today.   It was a great reminder of how our times are both unique and similar to what has come before.  In this case, a era where a real threat could create terrible widespread change.

At one point he quoted Lewis who was lecturing at Oxford in the midst of the great battles and bombings of WWII.  In the lecture he asked the question…”Why study latin when the world is at war?  Why fiddle while Rome burns?”   This is how Augustine felt too watching Rome fall.   Still as Augustine laid dying and the vandals were pillaging the cities around him he quoted the psalms….”blessed be the Lord who has shown his grace while I was in a beseiged city”.   These two great voices, Lewis and Augustine, took a path between utopianism and cynicism.   That path was the path of their calling and ours can be the same.   What God has called us to….this is God’s great work…the building of the heavenly city while earthly cities shake and crumble.  

Get the cd for full effect.   Worth every cent.


NEW CHURCH PLANTS IN 2008…a bull run!

January 14, 2008

stork.jpg  By now you know the mantra….3 in ’03; 4 in ’04; 5 in ’05; 6 in ’06; 7 in ’07; 8 in ’08…..and so it goes up til 2013.  Do the math and we hit 89 new born congregations (actually our stated goal is 80 by 2013 so we have a little wiggle room built into the graduated goals).  In 2007 we hit 25 new starts…right on target!  

The cool thing is to see in January already where we probably planting in ’08…..and we are busting our goals!   Here goes…

1. Fellowship Church in Hudsonville is daughtering a new start in Zeeland/Holland.  Don DeVlieger is the stated planter.

2. The River is moving toward a new start with Nate Bull in urban Kalamazoo.

3. First Reformed Holland is working on a plant south of town.   Pray as they seek the right person.

4. Kevin Edelfson is working on an organic start in the urban Stewart neighborhood of Kalamazoo.

5. Lake Erie Classis is coming around Aaron Kleinfelter as he pioneers a simple church network in Cincinnati.

6. Muskegon Classis plans to “pull the trigger” on a start in ’08….potentially Coopersville hispanic.  Pray as they seek leadership.

7. A new start is emerging in Allegan.   Gun Lake is discerning a role as parent to the start  and likely planters are being confirmed.

8. Wyoming is emerging as having great potential for several starts.  Rick Oppenhuizen at Grace is likely to be the first parent!

9. A Korean new start in Atlanta is exploring entering the RCA.  They are working with Zeeland Classis.

10.  A simple church is emerging at the Panera Bread in Kalamazoo as students from WMU connect to emerging planters.

On January 15th North Grand Rapids Classis will meet to affirm a new start in Greenville.  Eric Branch will share his vision and Rick Tigchon will appeal to the classis.    I encourage us to pray for this and other plants in the region that are moving forward.   God is giving us more than we hoped for in new starts.  Pick a project….pray….enjoy the ride….these are the good  times! 


the soul never thinks without a mental picture….Aristotle

January 10, 2008

mysoul.jpg  so here is a cool resource I discovered recently…. a tool that can help leverage visual images for spiritual conversations.   check it out….at


Reaching and Keeping Successful People

January 9, 2008

So I just got off the phone with a planter who was wrestling with how to connect with people in an affluent community.   Hummm   After we got Jesus’ fairly discouraging words about the rich and “getting into the kingdom” out of the way,  we wrestled with options.    A few thoughts…..

1.  Successful people in north america are likely to be friendly to principles of business culture including measurable goals, evaluation, organizational clarity and team building.    Minimizing or (worse) demeaning the principles of successful business unless they are in direct conflict with Jesus is probably going to alienate successful people.    Utilizing and being transparent as a new church relative to these values is also likely to be attractive to these folks.

2.  Making and maintaining successful relationships continue to be a core challenge for most people in home and workplace environments.   Whether it be in premarital education, divorce recovery, parenting support or workplace settings, a ministry that is strong on this area is likely to be viewed as “value added” to those who aim high.   Preach it and model it. 

3.  While there are always folks who want to coast and watch, achievers are likely to at least respect an approach for them to pitch in an help.   Setting a bar early for becoming a “partner” in this plant is wise.   People who know success in their home or work want it for their church as well.   A clear path to discerning my place of service fits and the appropriate authority to go with that responsibility can be attractive.

4.  Pay attention to the discipline of detail….big time.   This is not about being formal, or stiff or corporate.   It’s about being intentional in what you want and appealing to that value in others.    Those who have pushed hard for success know that way often the difference between failure and success is the daily disciplines. 

5.  Get some of these folks on your leadership team.   If you are uncomfortable with their outlook on life then face up to what may be false judgments or bias.   Open yourself to “constructive criticism”.   

6.  Visit them in their homes.   Recently I talked with some affluent folks who were realizing how their large acerage and home had isolated them from others.   They were feeling really bad about it.   Recent studies have shown that a home visit if it takes place within 36 hours of a sunday worship visit can dramatically increase the chance of people coming back to church.   No pre phone call required if you do it soon and make it short (don’t assume you will be invited in).   People interpret it as warm and responsive which is very impressive in a world where the further ahead you get the more alienated you can become.   This has been tested in many neighborhoods and found to be effective.

some thoughts…..yours?