Monthly Archives: December 2010

Leadership is Lacking

In their most recent Zondervan/Leadership Network book entitled “Exponential“, Dave & Jon Ferguson gave a list of Twelve Indicators that Leadership is Lacking. I think it’s a great list that requires some serious introspection. So I thought I’d share. Hope they prove to be helpful:

  1. I wait for someone to tell me what to do rather than taking the initiative myself.
  2. I spend too much time talking about how things should be different.
  3. I blame the context, surroundings, or other people for my current situation.
  4. I am more concerned about being cool or accepted than doing the right thing.
  5. I seek consensus rather than casting vision for a preferable future.
  6. I am not taking any significant risks.
  7. I accept the status quo as the way it’s always been and always will be.
  8. I start protecting my reputation instead of opening myself up to opposition.
  9. I procrastinate to avoid making a tough call.
  10. I talk to others about the problem rather than taking it to the person responsible.
  11. I don’t feel like my butt is on the line for anything significant.
  12. I ask for way too many opinions before taking action.

Incarnational Community: Four Phases

Tangible Kingdom Primer Roll Out Strategy

Guest Post: Hugh Halter

Over the last several years we’ve trained thousands of leaders in how to begin a movement of incarnational communities in every niche and neighborhood in North America. So far, around 25,000 people have taken this seriously and we’re constantly hearing stories of conversion, cultural engagement, personal spiritual renewal, and even a few churches that began simply because they started some Tangible Kingdom Primer groups.

All movements need some ramp up time to inspire, process, and recruit people for the mission.  As we mentioned in AND, each church must determine how fast to push and how many to call to this more intentional way of community. Incarnational communities are not small groups, but small groups can become incarnational communities.  Small groups are typically first decision communities; by that we mean that anyone can be involved if they make the first decision to believe in God and show up.  Incarnational Communities are second decision communities where the participants make a second decision to live a more intentional rhythm of Inclusive Community, Communion, and Mission together.

Thus, we don’t advocate that a church try to get everyone going at the same time.  For churches where there’s been very little buy-in to missional/incarnational ministry… (Read More).

Bad News from Africa

Jen and I have been on the journey of international adoption for about a year now. We’ve been placed with a beautiful little 5 year old girl and 7 year old boy who are waiting for us at a transition home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. All that stands between us and getting them home is a court date and an embassy appointment.

Today was the day we were “pegged” to receive our court date. Instead, we got notice that they requested an additional document delaying our date. This is not unusual, but problem is that the region our little girl is from is in a bit of turmoil right now and who exactly is supposed to issue the document is up for debate. A debate that while could be settled in days, could also take several weeks if not more.

So we’re praying that it’s settled quickly. And we’re praying for patience and peace in the meantime.

This morning I was doing some reviewing/editing of a project I’m writing right now and the topic of peace came up. It was a good reminder for me and put things back into perspective. So I thought I’d share.


We’re doing a study through the book of Romans right now at ANC. It’s a pretty challenging study.  The topics are so closely connected and it can get so academic that it can be a challenge to keep each week fresh. However, one of the redundant themes of Romans is one that always refreshes:  Peace with God.

“Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:1

Peace with God is found to be a favorite theme throughout Paul’s writings. In several of his letters to the church he signs off with a hope for peace. He uses it as a blessing, an encouragement, and as a reminder of the way of Jesus.

The word “peace” in Romans 5 means to be “set at one again”. The doctrine of peace encompasses the idea that we are reconciled back to God through Jesus and are now at peace with him. Once separated. Now back together. Just the idea is refreshing to me.

So few of us live in peace. We have such a desire to prove ourselves that we’re constantly striving for the next thing we can do for God. Whether in ministry or life, this can become a chasing after the wind. If God does not require something of us, why do we require it of ourselves? If God considers us at peace with Him, then why are we not at peace with ourselves?

Being at peace with God means we can take a breath, relax, and stop performing. Because of Christ, we don’t have to prove ourselves worthy to God. We no longer have to find our identity in the approval of others. And we don’t have to be perfect. Jesus took care of that.

Peace is the gift of Jesus and should be a huge part of any believer’s success metric. The lack there of is evidence of upside down priorities, insecurity, or selfish ambition. Does something bring us strife? We should evaluate whether or not it’s of Jesus. Do we have a complete lack of peace? Most likely there’s a reason.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27

Listening to our Culture

Some amazingly thorough responses by a cultural icon to some great questions by a church leadership icon. Do yourself a favor and listen to all of it.

Church Planting: New Paradigms, New Metrics.

Earlier I mentioned a great blog posted by Jonathan Dodson on Four Ways Church Planting Training Must Change. I’d like to offer three “tweaks” to our thinking that must accompany his points. First, here’s a quick review:

1. We need to offer both information and experience-based training.

2. We need to train planters on both traditional “core teams” and non-traditional missional teams.

3. We need to equip planters to preach and to cultivate gospel-renewing environments

4. We need to cast vision for planters who plant not isolated churches but networked churches that partner for regional and urban renewal.

Based on what we’ve learned and experienced over the last few years of church planting, I think most of us would agree that each point would be beneficial. However, of all the benefits placing these four strategies into our training will gain, success according to many of our current metric is not one of them. Bottom line, success of these things are hard to measure.

A new way of training must come with a new way of thinking. In order to create sustainable models that embrace these changes there are at least three more tweaks we need to embrace:

1.  A New System/Standard for Funding: While many of our historic church planting strategies have come with a ton of up front money, the issue often comes in year three where the church has a breakthrough opportunity yet lack the resources to actually break through. The pressure to “arrive” before the money runs out can ruin a ministry and compromise a vision. Many of today’s training leaders are considering an “infusion” model of funding where the resources given up front are less but come with the understanding that more resources will be infused as growth deems necessary. Often we make early decisions based on resources we have, not on what we might have. Infusing funding along the way keeps in lean when it needs to be lean. This model of funding creates a second change we need to consider:

2. A New Time-line: Launching big happens. But it’s become more difficult to do, and is happening less and less in certain contexts. If our desire is to begin a faith community out of culture that transforms culture from the inside out, it will take time. While reaching Christians  can come quickly, cultivating new relationships from those far from Christ is a slow process. If these relationships are to be authentic, it cannot be rushed.

3. A New Scorecard for Success: We often talk about this, yet it’s difficult to embrace. We tie so much credibility to a leader (and ourselves) by how church is growing. We must realize that church grows in ways beyond Sunday morning. While measuring transformation and life change is difficult, it is possible to track community groups, those serving outside the church, what and how much we commit to mission, and how often we engage in Kingdom partnerships. All are significant qualities, yet are all ignored by the attendance report from Sunday.

These are just a few things that seem to be a frequent part of the conversation, what things have YOU seen that have changed or need to change in order to embrace a new paradigm for church planting?

Four Ways Church Planting Training Must Change

My friend Jonathan Dodson, pastor of Austin City Life, wrote a recent blog on Four Ways Church Planting Training must change. I think it’s good so I thought I’d share…

“With missional ecclesiology in full swing, many of the current missional training structures are becoming outdated. If church planting networks and organizations are going to continue to stimulate deep, sustained mission to all kinds of peoples, then some our training structures will have to change…. click HERE to continue reading.