Archive for April, 2008

h1

DANDELION SEEDS IN THE WIND

April 28, 2008

Next week the campus ministry leadership from 5 universities in Michigan will meet at my home in Lowell for a significant conversation. They are currently reading BLUEPRINT: A Plan To Plant Missional Communities on Campus by Jaeson Ma. Seems there is interest in exploring campus ministry as a training ground for simple organic church planters. Hummm.

Some time ago I had an image drifting through my mind. What if students learned how to plant churches on campus. They would incubate their simple church for 2-4 years with 3-13 other students and learn the simple work of community, ministry, evangelism, discipleship and worship. Simple…small…reproducible.

Then comes graduation day and they scatter like dandelion seeds in the wind…blowing wherever their next step takes them…to grad school or to the workplace…back home to find a job or wherever. As they land again they have learned how to plant and seed again a new simple church.

Facts are that student volunteer movements have been huge in the missionary movement of the church historically.   Going back to Wesley at Oxford in the 1700’s or the haystack prayer movement in Massachusetts in the 1800’s there is plenty of evidence to point us to students as tinder for a blaze of missional energy.   Ok…now we are mixing our metaphors!

Pray for this conversation. Pray for these leaders. Pray for dandelion seeds in the wind!

h1

National Church Planters Gathering Highlights

April 24, 2008

2000 plus people gathered in Orlando this week for the cause of planting in north America. Some highlights….

* Alan Hirsch was identified (by nearly everyone) as the prophet for our times. Forgotten Ways was flying off the shelf while Alan tried to get out of town. He does not get the hype.  Meanwhile, the attractional concepts and methods continue to dominate the discussion.   Not for long.

* Ed Stezer is big time into organic. Suprise…but this key leader simply sees the key factor of “reproducibility” as most likely in the organic movement.

* Dump your ego if you want to get with the movement. Dump it. Now.

* Kingdom…kingdom…kingdom…(did I say) Kingdom!

* Dave Olsen’s new book THE AMERICAN CHURCH IN CRISIS is hot…really hot.

* Last year the number of churches planted may have come close to equaling the number closed.

* The keynoters for winter RCA Great Lakes Planters gathering were confirmed in a hallway conversation!

* Kensington Church in Detroit is moving with the RCA to explore planting in Detroit together.

OK…. nuff for now, more for the askin.

h1

Kensington…Vision 360…& 80 new churches in Michigan

April 18, 2008

Some of us are aware of the “spark” that Al Weiss, CEO of Disney Theme Parks, provided for church planting in North America 18 months ago. Al’s dad was a church planter and midlife called him back to his roots in a vision to plant 100’s of new churches in the US.

Al feels that business leaders, those with significant capital and leadership ability, have a place to play in God’s call to plant churches in North America. Working their networks they can potentially release millions of dollars for mission. Furthermore, many of these people have apostolic gifts that found no home in the church and so went to work in the business world. They are people who can vision and execute with outcomes that sometimes elude ministry professionals. They could be a remarkable key to the future God has for us! We’re not micky mousing around here!

Michigan now has a branch of the Vision 360 movement. You can begin to find out about these partners in planting at http://www.vision360.org In Michigan, Kensington Community Church in metro Detroit is the point congregation. We rejoice that the east side of the state has a strong leader like KCC…..and we will work hard to partner and keep up with the call!

h1

IS WATER GETTING TO YOUR PLANT?

April 14, 2008

Sunday (4/13) I was at Alas de Aguila a Hispanic new start in Holland. The planter, Hugo Vasquez, has done good evangelistic work in seeing new people come to faith. Sunday however was a remarkable day.

After some worship Hugo declared that today the sermon would be a drama…and from there moved into a hot tub of water and plunged 7 new believers below the surface (no, he didn’t hold em down). Each time there was prayer and worship as Hugo declared the Romans 6 passage…buried in baptism, raised to new life. After the 7th he then challenged those who were there to come to the water…and 2 more came to be baptized.

New church start is about life transformation and it is difficult to find a moment more profound than the experience of baptism. Jesus called us to do it…so the question is, “IS WATER GETTING TO YOUR PLANT?” or is the plant parched?

h1

DAVE OLSON STRIKES AGAIN! the american church in crisis

April 10, 2008

So most of us recall the bookish guy from the Evangelical Covenant Church who spoke to us a year ago on a snowy retreat in northern MI.  Dave Olson has led the planting efforts of the Covenant church for a lot of years and now has published a key work.

THE AMERICAN CHURCH IN CRISIS sounds alarmist and dramatic….but if you read the research and watch the trends you understand the merits of the language.  The US of A needs 3000 new churches every year and that number calls for a radical new attitude in our existing congregations.   OK…most of us know that.   Hopefully this message will find a root in more places where there has been defensive and resistant attitudes.  Pray for it…and then pay attention to our own little place in the vineyard of vine dresser!

watering….

h1

MAKE THE CASE: funding your plant with stewardship dollars

April 3, 2008

Rare is the plant that does not depend on generous donors.    Rare too is the presence of an idle donor dollar!

Enter the need to “make the case”.

Fund raising requires a gracious yet intentional conversation with people about their giving.   St. Paul coached Timothy to do the same in his epistle (“command those who are rich in this world to be generous…”ITim.6). Part of that involves “making the case”. Of all the appeals out there for a stewardship choice, why this ministry or that? So how to build a case….7 steps.

1. Who are you and what is your purpose?

2. Why is your purpose necessary?

3. What is your track record?

4. What unique opportunity are you responding to?

5. What is the plan?

6. What is the cost?

7. Have I touched your heart such that you would consider a stewardship decision?

This simple 7 step formula is also usable in a public worship setting. Take one question a week and make the case for people to give generously!