Archive for March, 2008


WHAT ARE YOU MEASURING?…a conversation on the “scorecard”

March 26, 2008

New starts should be keeping track of some things…the question is “what”.

Count the number of unchurched in your community. Count the number of homeless people in your sphere of influence. Count baptisms. Count kids. Count money. Ok….so what’s worth counting. Failure to count can cause us to fail to see where God is moving, where people are responding, where needs are existing and where we should be ministering.

In the RCA there is an official counting tool that is used annually with congregations….the “consistorial report”. It has lots of categories that are fairly foreign to planters….(number of inactive members…members received on letter of transfer…etc.). In the past, we have not asked for many numbers from planters. That is changing. In the future you should anticipate measurement questions. They can include:

1. Average worship attendance.

2. Number of adult baptisms

3. Racial makeup of your church.

4. Offerings received.

5. Resources released for mission.

I would welcome your suggestions on what we should be measuring….help us do this well!    Also, consider again the impact of going public with your measurements.   It will help your congregation appreciate the issues and wrestle with decisions that you must make.   Too often we avoid this for reasons.    The result is to miss learning.   Be bold…be transparent…be accountable.   Measure!


Throw one back for the patron saint of planters!

March 17, 2008

it’s difficult to imagine a day more fitting to celebrate church planters as st. patrick.   when he began his mission the population of ireland numbered around 400,000 people and they were considered barbarians…unreachable…scum.  when he had finished his work there were 700 churches and 1000 priests.  nearly 40 of the 150 tribes were substantially christian and major inroads were made against slavery and intertribal warfare.  refined church leaders from brittany had only one gripe with patrick….that he spent the vast majority of his time with the crude, rude and uncouth commoners.  sounds like jesus…may it be so with us!  throw one back for the patron saint of planters!



March 14, 2008

A bit of a last minute posting here but if you are working to raise start up funds or if you are struggling with the giving in your plant you may want to consider the workshop on the 17th from 9 til 4.   The subject…RAISING FUNDS AND GROWING STEWARDS FOR A NEW CHURCH.   RSVP for lunch at



March 7, 2008

Blind spots.

How we handle money is perhaps one of a very few areas that can quickly torpedo a new start.   Who handles it….how is information shared…who are decision makers….what are the weekly collection, depositing and disbursement routines….how does accountability take place.   Perhaps the best single booklet…THE CHURCH GUIDE TO INTERNAL CONTROLS…is worth the few bucks in peace of mind it can provide.   Find it on Amazon.


SIMPLE ORGANIC FOLLOW UP….the greenhouse grows

March 3, 2008

A great weekend for folks leaning into simple organic planting in the Great Lakes Region.  50 folks at the Prince Center soaking up a vision for church long under represented in the Region.

Some one liners from Neil….(empowering decentralized planters) where we go the King goes and where the King goes people bow!   Or… (speaking of evangelism) when the light comes on there will always be cockroaches and moths that will show up.  Pay attention to the moths!   Or…(challenging us not to miss the key) a church planting movement must be taking place at the level of making disciples.  If we don’t multiply disciplemaking  we will only a add a few new churches.   Or…(going after the bible and buildings) according to scripture seems God tolerates church buildings like he tolerates divorce (ouch!).    OK….things got punchy!

Special thanks to Chad Farrand of Tapestry who is developing a coaching culture for follow up.   Check it out at


Neil Cole hits the mark at GRTS….a theology of death.

March 1, 2008

Most of us are aware that Church Multiplication Associates founder Neil Cole was in GR this weekend for a GREENHOUSE. What we may not be aware of is that Neil presented at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary Friday as a pre-conference event.

After sharing the story of multiplication….over 700 churches planted in under 10 years in over 25 countries around the world….Neil cut to the chase. What is the key to this organic church movement? Neil calls it “a theology of death”. Everything must die so Christ can be born in us. Name it….our notions about church….our visions for our ministry….the ego thing that churns in us all….our plans for church planting. Death. Facts are most of us approach church planting with a vigorous theology of life…like we could actually create it! All we can do is die to our stuff so that Christ might be formed in us and in a new community. OK….so this is real. So Neil starts talking about what is the essence of “church”. We know the list….elders, worship, community, word, mission….etc. etc….. So Neil asks the question, “Where is Jesus?” That only happens when we die to a lot of stuff.

Check out Neils new book SEARCH AND RESCUE (Baker) and his other key work ORGANIC CHURCH PLANTING (Jossy Bass) or