Unlocking Value for Entrepreneurs

Month: April 2006 (page 1 of 2)

Return from the National New Church Conference

I returned last night from the National New Church Conference in Orlando, Florida. It may take a bit but will unpack:

– Conversations and dinners with Ed Stetzer (Stetzer don't just lurk, post a comment!), Bob Roberts Jr., Acts 29 guys. I received a preview copy of Breaking the Missional Code and Planting Missional Churches by Stetzer, so I'll post thoughts on those as I read.
– Sessions attended on Fundraising for a Church Plant by Dr. Tom Jones at Stadia, Outreach Networking: Building Strategic Relationships in the Community and The State of the American Church – Why Church Planting is Critical to the Future of American Christianity by Dave Olson, Director of Church Planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church and Director of The American Church Research Project.

…and so much more. I don't know how much I'll do before I board a plane to head to the Resurgence conference in Seattle.

Raising Money for your Church Plant

Funding Your Church PlantYesterday I met with 9 church planters here in San Diego. Admist the conversation, one guy told us how he raised $450,000 for the next five years. He got the idea from Funding Your Ministry: Whether You're Gifted or Not

His primary method was to approach local churches that would allow him to speak to 10 congregants. He then pitched his vision to these congregants and asked if they would be willing to make a monthly tithe commitment of $300, $500 or $1,000. There you have it, that is how he has $7,500 a month above and beyond his congregations tithe. [btw- If you want to support church planting in the South West, I'd be more than happy to take a monthly commitment!]

UPDATE: The Tentmaker Group has launched to help church planters raise funding.

Biblical Theology, Systematic Theology & Perspectival Theology

I found this post by the JollyBlogger to be an extremely interesting discussion around the flaws of systematics and singular perspectives rather than reading the whole of the Bible with perspectival lenses: [read my previous post on triperspectivalism]

Frame understands that we all come to the Scripture from different perspectives and it applies in different ways from different perspectives. These differing perspectives are not in conflict, and we should do all we can to harmonize the different perspectives. But, we are not a blank slate when it comes to reading the Scripture. We all have particular bents and questions we bring to the study of Scripture. The questions we ask of Scripture will determine the answers we get.

In one of his books (sorry I can’t remember which one) Eugene Peterson argues that, through systematization we often flatten out the bible. What he means is that the bible is full of peaks and valleys, different landscapes and different points of view. There are those who think that systematic theology is the only way to approach Scripture, or that systematic theology is the “queen of the sciences.” In such a perspective, the system controls the interpretation of every Scripture. Thus, the peaks are lopped off and all of the valleys are filled and the bible ceases to become the story of God’s mighty acts in history, but becomes something along the lines of a tech manual or legal brief.

Continue reading

The Heart of a Servant Leader: Letters from Jack Miller

The Heart of a Servant Leader I’ve been reading a book given to me by Dick Kaufman at Harbor. I’ve really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone in ministry: The Heart of a Servant Leader: Letters from Jack Miller

Though he passed away in 1996, Jack Miller’s influence is still felt through the various ministries he served (the New Life Presbyterian churches, Westminster Theological Seminary, and World Harvest Mission) and the continuing ministry of individuals he personally mentored. This collection of letters, written primarily as counsel to pastors and missionaries, addresses issues basic to the life of every believer: prayer, confession of sin, repentance, and living by faith.

Miller’s advice is frequently challenging, demonstrating a deep understanding of sin’s insidious presence even in the midst of Christian life and service. His calls to labor selflessly for Christ and through Christ are wrapped up with confession of his own struggles with sin. As in his life and ministry, Jack Miller calls us to repent of sin and prayerfully focus upon the glorious good news of a glorious Savior.

Publisher Review: The pastoral letters serve as models of compassionate leadership. Jack Miller taught that a Christian leader should be the chief servant, and that right attitudes come only from a heart changed by an encounter with God. Miller leads his reader into a deeper understanding of the gospel and a life of humility, faith, and prayer.

Miller gently challenges those called to serve as leaders to find their primary motivation in the glory of God alone.

At Amazon: The Heart of a Servant Leader: Letters from Jack Miller

The Importance of Art When Engaging Non-believers

My co-elder at Kaleo, David Fairchild writes an article, The Importance of Art When Engaging Non-believers.

I believe that Dr. Francis Schaeffer was right when he said that the best way to understand the basic world view of a period of history is by studying its art forms, and it is because of this observation that I write this paper. My hopes are that we recognize our challenge in finding appropriate vehicles of communication directly connected to our interest, or lack thereof, in works of art produced by those who make up our culture.

If we are to be faithful to the cultural mandate given to us in Genesis 1, we must see that this mandate was and is not limited only to “creeping things” on the face of the earth, but to the entire scope of our existence and the expressions of our life in every conceivable area. This means that our engagement, understanding, and enjoyment of art as part of our culture and time is not optional if we are to see the whole of life under the reign of Christ, especially if our interest is to see this reign extended to the hearts of those we love most.

Leadership Conflict Resolution: Prophet | Priest | King

Each of us has an area of strength that most greatly influences how we make decisions. Earlier, we said these three modes are Prophet, Priest or King. [read How Mutliperspectivalism shapes Church Leadership and how you staff a church]

When we get into arguments, often, our inclination is to emphasis our area of strength at the expense of the others. It is valuable to understand this as you work with diverse teams of people in leading. If conflict arises:

A PROPHET will point out the authority of the situation to make their case. This authority could be their take on what the Bible says or other source. The danger is when a Prophet is more concerned with ‘being right’ than applying the authority properly. By this I mean that often a Prophet can be right, dead right. Being dead right is when there is no grace or thought of how it effects people impacted by the conflict.

A KING can tend to emphasize what they think is most pragmatic or what is the ‘most fair’ way to deal with the matter? This pragmatism avoids the cost of wrestling through what is the ‘authority’ that determines what should be done particularly if it is the hardest road to take. Secondly, the decision often trumps how it effects people because feelings and grace may not be accounted for in the resolution.

A PRIEST will emphasis the impact on people. Their concern is who (including themselves) is being hurt by the circumstance. Often they will avoid the ‘authority’ or ‘the way it is should be implemented’ if it causes too much emotional damage.

As with the other posts, most people will be a combination of two of the above. I’ve found knowing the people I am working with and where we tend to react toward does a great deal of preventative maintenance in our relationships. Before conflict arises [particularly if I am instigating it] I need to be in prayer that I would not run towards my common idols [KINGly systems] but think through God’s Word [PROPHET] and how grace [PRIEST] needs to be brought in the situation.

Marketing Resources

Lately, I’ve been reading a bunch from Seth Godin. Some of this thoughts are a bit unconventional, but I’ve enjoyed the contrast between (old method) interruption marketing vs. permission based marketing. That and his emphasis on creating a story around a product/company. If you haven’t read much in the way of marketing and you want to get an idea out there, here are a couple resources I’d suggest:

All Marketers Are Liars : The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World

Permission Marketing : Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers

The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: How to Trigger Exponential Sales Through Runaway Word of Mouth

This has circulated the web, but also check out Godin’s presentation at Google.

Church Plant Media

Church WebsitesChurch Plant Media signed up with Ekklesia 360 in the Fall last year. They now are landing 2 new clients a week for our combined companies. Pretty sweet. I’m going to fly to Orlando to the 2006 National New Church Conference to support their booth. (I also get to hang-out with all my friends from Acts 29, so I’m jazzed about the trip.)

What type of churches NOT to plant

To contrast what type of a church we should plant, here is the contrast of what not to plant….hmmm…more tri-perspectivalism. Most churches error toward one of the perspectives; Normative, Situation or Existential. Normative relates to authority and concern with ‘right thinking’ about doctrine. Situational is concerned with the world and culture around you. Existential is concerned with the person and their feelings/experiences. Here is what an error would look like in EXTREME cases:

Normative Church – Typically these are going to be hyper-orthodox churches who are heavy on doctrine and systematics. The pastor will be a PROPHET and the messages will have great information about the Bible. Typically people are more inclined to attend a debate about paedobaptism then evangelize [cause hey, they are hyper-calvinists].

Situational Church– Either this church has become so absorbed in the culture around them that in order to be ‘relevant’ they have lost any claim to Biblical authority. Or because they don’t like the culture around them, they have created their own subculture with it’s own language, mega-campus so you never have to leave the church because heaven forbid you talk to a ‘sinner’ and catch sin like a virus. The pastor will be a KING.

Existential Church– An existential church is willing to let go of God’s authority (the Bible) in order to offer cheap grace. This church never talks about repentance, hard doctrine but would rather talk about faith, forgiveness and unfortunately this all come without a Jesus as God or the cross. The pastor will be a PRIEST.

Now, the above are extreme cases, I’d say few churches fall into these. Most often a church will get two out of the three. Here are a couple examples of TYPICAL errors a church would fall into.

Normative/Situational– The church preaches messages that are ‘here’s God’s word, now go do it!’ Often a more guilt-centered. Service is joy-less and done from duty. People will have to put on a mask because they know they are not living the way that they are told they should. The preacher is the taskmaster. The preacher must remove themselves from too much interaction with the congregation, or they would discover he is a fraud.

Existential/Normative– My guess is that this is the least common combination. The pastor loves his people, teaches from the Bible but rarely helps the congregation apply it to their life. “They need to figure out how to apply these things themselves!” Right? When difficult teachings come, they are ‘tough love’ at this church. The preacher is the loving professor.

Situational/Existential– The ‘seeker sensitive church’ that preaches ten tips to being a better father. Little feel good messages that people can put in their back pocket and go try at home. Difficult teachings and doctrine is avoided at all costs. Program-driven to create a better experience for people. The preacher is a motivational speaker.

Not How or Why but WHAT type of church should you plant

As I posted earlier, the influence of Keller/Harbor/Frame and tri-perspectivalism is far reaching. It should be the very worldview that we filter everything through, we looked at its influence in church leadership development and preaching. Now, here is a take on how it influences WHAT type of churches you should plant.

First the NORMATIVE is that the church must view the whole Bible as the gospel. This means it is the gospel that is not just the entry into the Kingdom, but is the very way a Christian will grow in grace. Second, the SITUATIONAL impact is the gospel calls us to mission. We must plant churches that are on mission. We are a church 'for' the city/culture/people where God places us. We must learn the context, speak the stories, understand the myths, heroes and struggles around us. Mostly we must not be of, against or above but for the culture we live in. Lastly, our EXISTENTIAL stance is one of constant grace renewal through faith in Jesus Christ. We are motivated by grace (not guilt) and understand all challenges, problems and answers need the Gospel. I have 50 pages of notes from lectures Harbor (Doug Swagerty) and John Frame gave that go over these in much more depth. They go into the theology of ministry, including leadership development, preaching/teaching, administrating, counseling all through this framework….I'll ask Doug if it's ok if I post more about this stuff….

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