Archive for May, 2008


MISSION DETROIT…church planter wanted!

May 20, 2008

It sounds like a page right out of Isaiah.

Last week I spent time with Steve Andrews and Nick Boring of Kensington Community Church in Troy . KCC is a modest little shop of 12,000 people with a big vision to plant 40 churches in metro Detroit. We wondered out loud if there might be a partnership between the RCA and KCC.

So here is what they offered. If we can provide a planter, they will invest a one year residency with them during which that person can recruit as many people as possible from within Kensington to plant somewhere in Detroit. Bingo! Here is an offer from the mother of all mothering churches in Detroit to partner in planting an RCA church. Lake Erie Classis is eagerly exploring funding this possible relationship and together we are asking the key question….”who will go for us?”

“Here I am Lord, send me.” Isaiah’s words. Who will say them for Detroit? Interested? 616-541-0843.


PLANTERS DAY RETREAT out in the weeds June 16

May 19, 2008

Time has come for the great lakes planters annual day retreat. This year we are leaving the sandy shores of Gordy’s cottage on the big lake to the weeds of Lowell. Bummer!

Our agenda is as follows….

1. what’s working and not working that you would want to pass on to others in this work. everybody gets their 10 minutes of fame on this one.

2. anyone interested in forming a “planter network” (qualifies for lilly grant of $1,000 per planter for prof dvp!)? details

3. follow up conversation on reggie mcneal….how does his message impact planters?

OK…so we are at my house out in the “weeds”. Be sure you RSVP to for this once in a summertime event and for some directions through the hayfield (and do watch where you step)!



May 14, 2008

I hear it often….”we are able to attract people but cannot seem to get them to stick”. You know the profile, they come a few weeks…or less…and then “poof” they’re gone! It can be down right demoralizing.

Enter the feedback loop. Most of us have blind spots and assumptions that could stand to be challenged once in a while and that could be keeping us from keeping visitors. A great way to do that is through a feedback survey designed by the Off the Map people. The idea is to have a stack of these ready to distribute every Sunday to any visitor. Get ’em thinking about your improvement from their first visit. Hook them with the need you have for their help in pointing out the stuff that’s not working. You can find a copy of this at click on “multiplication” and then on “resources” and you will find a pdf file called “church survey”.

One more note…so if this all sounds way to consumer driven for your taste just recall the last time you visited a church where there was glaring problem with the sound or the temperature. Need we say more?  Of course there are many more ways to make church “sticky” but don’t miss this obvious one.


HOT GROUPS….how to get past a plateau.

May 8, 2008

So I spent time with John Wasem who is finishing is doc work on the area of organizational leadership. John is working on the issue of church planters who struggle with bringing their project to the next level. His key insight….the number one reason plants level out between 100 and 200 is the failure to build good teams.

Planters tend to be good at building the first 100 people….they do it through relational and ego strengths (evangelism is in that for sure). The problem is that once a project gets over 100 there is not enough of “you” to go around. Only planters that build teams and wisely give away power…serving the teams with necessary fuel….only those planters compensate for the weakness that come with the ego and relational strengths they naturally have.

In business culture the new lingo on this is “hot groups”.   Get the energy of innovators and thinkers into a group and watch them collaborate and push through a shared problem or roadblock.

So get over yourself quickly if you want to see your ministry take off.



May 2, 2008

Catch Reggie (again!) kickin’ some dust up Monday May 5th at Remembrance Reformed from 1 pm til 8 pm. You can still bring along unregistered attenders but be prepared for bleacher seating. We can count on the big “R” to pry loose some of our more sacred convictions. Let the fun begin!


Ying and Yang: discerning your apest

May 1, 2008

Alan Hirsch has done us a favor again by advancing the conversation around ministry gifts and who has them. With his book, THE FORGOTTEN WAYS, we have a clear call to the Ephesians 5 model for equipping leaders as apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers. Unfortunately the Reformed tradition has given such emphasis on the pastor and teacher gifts (not necessarily the heaviest biblical emphasis we might add) that the apostolic and prophetic gifts have atrophied. Suddenly those with the apostolic and prophetic gifts are feeling affirmed and we are exploring how these gifts can work in teams. Could this be true!

Ministry needs “slow” and “go” . Teachers and shepherds give us a slow deepening and discipling of the community of faith. Apostles, prophets and evangelists give us a kick in the “go” for the expanding of the KIngdom. These are the ying and yang of the ministry engine. So this raises the next question of discerning who is what. First, not everyone has one of these gifts. These are equipping leaders. They could be consistory leaders (to use our RCA language) folks with vision and maturity. Everyone is gifted but not everyone is an equipping leader. In a new church start where things are pliable we can make room for these gifts so there is balance and long term vitality.

Enter Alan Hirsch again…we can be grateful to Alan for providing an assessment tool that can help discern the presence of these unique gifts. For details and to self assess visit and click on APEST.