Unlocking Value for Entrepreneurs

Month: August 2006 (page 1 of 2)

Church Technology & Mission

I presented a session, Technology & the Mission yesterday at a church planting bootcamp . Session Description: "There are numerous opportunities for churches to use technology to expand their reach, spread the gospel and gather people to your local church. Come learn practical ways to enhance your ministry and become incarnational-minded in how you do online ministry. Learn from case studies and best practices from churches that have been successful online."

The two main thrusts dealt with (1) how are you as the church communicating to the world online and (2) how are your reaching out incarnationally to people through the web.  For example, if:

  • – American ages 13 to 24 now spend more time online than they do in front of the TV.
  • – 64% of wired Americans have used the Internet for spiritual or religious purposes.
  • – During usability studies, 88% of web users went to a search engine first to accomplish a task and 53% of searchers didn’t scroll down past the first 4-5 results above the ‘page fold’.
  • – MySpace (in terms of market share) is the top site on the Internet.
  • – 45% of internet users, or about 60 million Americans, say that the internet helped them make big decisions or negotiate their way through major episodes in their lives in the previous two years

What should the church be doing in response to this?  I presented 4 best practice cases where churches incarnationally used the internet to reach the lost and minister the gospel to them.  I'll post the mp3 of the session when it's ready. I'm thinking that in order for the mp3 to be effective I'll need to tie it in to my slideshow (I had 45 slides) or else it won't make much sense.  I used a lot of examples and case studies to demonstrate the point.  The presentation is all part of my plan to become a Church Technology Missiologist (You have to pick a niche since Ed Stetzer has wrapped up the missiology corner.)  

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Church Planting Bootcamp & Church Conference

Today was the last day of sessions for the Church Planting Bootcamp & Church Conference.  Overall, I was greatly blessed by the sessions.  Tomorrow will be all-day assessments of potential church planters.  Some of the sessions I will post more information about include:

Leading the Mission by Daniel Montgomery, The Gospel Driven Church by Richard Kaufmann and Multiplying by Multi-Site by Doug Swagerty (all done without video venue in case you are wondering.  This model allows church planters to begin a movement, not just a church plant.  Doug is hosting another Mutli-Site Multi-Congregational conference next year in March for those interested.  (There will be mp3s to all the sessions at the church bootcamp as well.)

Young, Restless, Reformed

Young Restless ReformedChristianity Today's September cover : Young, Restless, Reformed – Calvinism is making a comeback—and shaking up the church. There is a resurgence in theology, as I mention why I think this matters in Five Trends for the Future of Church Planting. (Liberal churches that chunk theology for relevance will become social clubs.  Emerging churches who are in a conversation on a journey together as an authentic community walking a spiritual labyrinth without theological boundaries and a destination in mind will not make it.) More and more young people are thinking through this as a backlash to the postmodern mess we find ourselves in. There will be a whole new cadre of theologians that come from our generation. Or as Mark Driscoll says it,

"I like big books and I can not lie, You other brothers can't deny.." (think Sir Mix-A-Lot)

Here is a quote from the article:

"While the Emergent 'conversation' gets a lot of press for its appeal to the young, the new Reformed movement may be a larger and more pervasive phenomenon."

 Here is a list of some of the people mentioned in the article:

Alistair Begg, Don Carson, Bryan Chapell, Timothy George, Mike Horton, Tim Keller, John MacArthur, Tom Nettles and Phil Ryken, as well as the Acts 29 Network (Mark Driscoll), the Alliance, Covenant Seminary, Cyrene Ministries (go Anthony and Sherrard!), Ligonier Ministries, the PCA, Reformed Seminary, RUF (Reformed University Fellowship), Sovereign Grace Ministries and Westminster Seminary.

 Some other blogs mentioning this: Caveman Unleashed, reformation21

Five Trends for the Future of Church Planting

1.  A move from denominationalism is going to radically alter church planting.  Local smaller churches will partner together to plant churches.  Larger churches will follow in Redeemer's footsteps and be more concerned with planting gospel-centered churches, than churches of their own denomination. Already, our church in San Diego has leaders as well as partners from multiple denominations.

2. Church planting networks will merge, collaborate and partner to more effectively plant churches.  For example, Todd Wilson, behind the 2006 National New Church Conference started a Church Planting Network, whose aim is to, "help champion an explosive expansion of new reproducing churches through an alliance of collaborative church planting networks."  He has already seen this shift begin in a couple networks.  Even next years New Church Conference states the goal of, "helping church plant leaders to the next level of collaboration.  Together we can experience exponential growth of new churches in our generation."  At last years conference, Bob Roberts of Glocalnet gave an impassioned plea to the leaders of many of the church planting networks in this regard at a dinner for church planting networks and sponsors of the conference.

3. In America, churches will be planted at a faster rate in the next twenty years than we have witnessed before.  God, Technology (see #5 re: video venue), technique (mutli-site) and theological urgency will drive this.  More and more of the pastors will come from the laity.  In this same period, established churches clinging to methods will die at a faster rate than ever before.

4. Philosophy/worldview, world events and a renewed focus on kingdom/gospel/mercy ministries will contribute to a revival in America.  First, in America postmodernism (particularly the view of truth being relative) will be replaced as people are confronted with radical and extreme views.  Second, the increase in chaos in the world and a shift in our economy will drive people away from worldview complacency.  Lastly, expressions of mercy and a greater gospel cooperation (1 & 2) will create a greater witness of the church.  Those who hold to the gospel and focus on gospel ecumenism will thrive; liberal churches will lose their identity trying to be relevant.

5.  More churches will be planted without the role of a preaching pastor.  Many church plant organizations will promote the use of 'best of' or license videos from top preachers across America.  Already there have been churches who have licensed Willow Creek material for tens of thousands (I heard $50k) a year.  Others will simply pick series that they believe will draw the biggest crowd.  There already is one church plant that has grown to over 600 within a couple months using this method.  (Someone could probably make some good money by contacting all the 'big name' pastors and create a company that licenses their work to churches.)

Gospel & Our Culture Network

The Gospel & Our Culture Network re-launched their site.  It has a great new design.  The GOCN is a "network of Christian leaders from a wide array of churches and organizations, who are working together on the frontier of the missionary encounter of the gospel with North American assumptions, perspectives, preferences and practices."  Influenced by Lesslie Newbigin and led George R. Hunsberger it collects the writings many great thinkers on mission in our culture.  I've personally been influenced by many of their books including; The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission, Foolishness to the Greeks, The Church Between Gospel and Culture: The Emerging Mission in North America, Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, StormFront : The Good News of God and more…  (HT: Reformissionary )

Discerning Reader

discerning reader The new Discerning Reader site is up for people looking for reviews "that bring glory to God and are consistent with a conservative, Protestant understanding of the Bible."  It is under new ownership (for those of us who had, umm…challenges with the previous management) of Tim Challies.  

The Rock launches on Ekklesia 360

The Rock Ames IowaCongrats to The Rock, Ames Iowa , a branch of Stonebrook Community Church launched on Ekklesia 360 Church CMS. Matt Heerema at Direct Steps developed the site, end-to-end, (planning, design, integration into the CMS) the logo is by Relevant Solutions and the CMS is Ekklesia.  


  • Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict, CSS 2
  • Custom Planet integration for blog aggregation.
  • Powered by the Ekklesia system.
  • Blog, Podcast, RSS
  • A Flash featured announcement banner powered by SWFObject
  • Photo gallery using phpFlickr and the Flickr API to integrate members’ Flickr photos.

Puerto Vallarta Vacation

 Puerto Vallarta VacationToday I returned from a week-long vacation to Puerto Vallarta (a few pictures from the trip ).  Each year I take my wife on a one-week vacation (without the kids) to celebrate our anniversary.  Last year we went to New York.  This year all we wanted to do is sit on the beach, enjoy the sea/sand and relax.  We went parasailing, too trips to Bucerias and enjoyed a lot of reading.  I highly recommend the trip to anyone.  You can even finance your vacation if you need to.

Books Read: Leading Change, Shepherding a Child's Heart, Getting Things Done (again.  Thanks to Cawley) and The God Who is There.

I'm back and man is there a lot to do.  Hundreds of emails in the inbox, a church conference to put on next week, a new SDSU church to plant by September 3rd and many more…

A Partnership of Externally Focused Churches

"Your church is not growing spiritually if its members are not serving," states The Externally Focused Church.  I'd follow that up by saying, in as much as your church understands the gospel, the response will include a passionate desire to serve and engage in mercy ministries.  Scripture is clear on God's concern for the poor and needy.  The Externally Focused Church is a book I'd recommend along with Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road by Tim Keller for churches seeking to think through their mercy ministries.  I preached a two part series on this in January at our church (post on my sermon: The Call to Mercy Ministries) and this issue is critical for churches to think through.  The Externally Focused Church provides a great series of case studies, theological overview, how to cast the vision, assessing the needs of your community and other resources for churches seeking to put 'hands' to the gospel.  Krista Petty (the editor of the book) posted on my blog earlier, and from that we've had several conversations.  Petty pointed me to Leadnet's site that has articles about becoming an externally focused churchI believe churches must not just engage in mercy ministries, but partner together to represent the fullness of God's Kingdom in our collective witness to the world and as a visible demonstration of God's redemptive work.City Impact: How To Unify, Empower And Mobilize God's People To Transform Their Communities

How can local churches partner together?  I spoke with Eric Brown (Imago Dei in Portland) and we are looking at documenting how churches can partner together to impact the city.  Some of this may be done through the Metro Church Alliance.   Krista Petty has been working on a paper that details how churches are partnering together.  She pointed me to City Impact: How To Unify, Empower And Mobilize God's People To Transform Their Communities a book that she says is helping her based on Daniel Bernard doing this in Tampa with a network of churches.  The back of the book states: "This book provides tools to begin solving problems in the community:  prayer tools to help bless neighbors,  twenty-five suggestions for bringing local pastors together, eighty ways to promote unity among churches,  twenty-seven reasons the church needs the poor, and  fifty-six ways businesses can be vehicles for ministry."  The biggest hurdle is pastors rely solely on their own denominational sources and rarely connect with other denominations or affiliations to learn and partner together.

Should local churches partner together?   We've always believed in ecumenism as long as it is gospel ecumenism.  Our partnering with other churches as a collective witness, to be about God's Kingdom and to spread the good news of God's redemptive plan is only legitimate when it flows from the gospel.  Denominationalism has done a terrible job representing the church.  It saddens me to see churches still host 'paedobaptism' debates or other theological scholasticism that move further and further from a centrality on the gospel and more to strict systematics.  We can hold distinctives that are important, albeit secondary, and still partner with gospel-minded churches.

Where are we going next? Kaleo has a few people working on putting the system in place to adopt (low income, under performing) schools to provide tutoring, mentoring, teacher appreciation, provide resources, clean up their campus, etc.  From here we would expand and have partner churches adopt parks, the library, community centers or other public places.  A group of mechanics in our church are coordinating how to offer free basic car care to single moms (battery changes, oil changes or other fixes).  We have and would continue to help senior citizens who struggle with household chores, yardwork and other needs.  This amongst other expressions of the kingdom will be developed with the purpose of inviting other churches into the cause, adding other church ministries as part of the vision and learning from other groups who are doing this far better than we are.    

If your church doesn't have the time/leader resources Krista pointed me to Agents of Grace and mentioned Operation: "In as Much" as two places churches can connect with others to begin serving.  If you are in San Diego, feel free to comment here, attend our Church Conference to meet like-minded churches.

Blocking SPAM from Outlook & Outlook Express

I know many people have moved to Gmail as their primary email client.  I've stuck with Outlook because it integrates with other systems, my pda and such.  Many people are not satisfied with Outlook because of the SPAM filtering.  I've found one product very helpful, Cloudmark.  It is unique because over 2,000,000 people contribute to what email is considered spam.  This brilliant way of handling spam means when people mark a message as spam, your inbox is automatically protected.  Or as they say it:

Only Cloudmark has the power to apply human feedback in real time to block spam, phishing, and additionally many viruses and spyware. Leveraging a highly sophisticated Trust Evaluation System™ (TeS) and groundbreaking technology, feedback is corroborated in real time, so that only a few people ever have to see a spam email before it is blocked for everyone. Cloudmark Desktop is entirely transparent and requires no configuration, making it powerful, yet simple and easy to use.

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