Unlocking Value for Entrepreneurs

Month: February 2007 (page 1 of 3)

The Continued Rise of the Me Generation

Great article from CNN Study: Vanity on the rise among college students

Today's college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

"We need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children repeat that back," said the study's lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. "Kids are self-centered enough already."

The standardized inventory, known as the NPI, asks for responses to such statements as "If I ruled the world, it would be a better place," "I think I am a special person" and "I can live my life any way I want to."

The self-esteem project continues to proves itself to be a failure.  The more you think of yourself and how happy you should be, the worse you tend to feel.   As believers we must recognize that much of what is called issues such as self-esteem, looks, codependency, mid-life crisis – these infirmities are not much more than the pains of selfishness and ultimately sin.  Rather than self-focus, Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 16, that “if anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  Our mission as a church is to promote humble, honest, redemptive community in Jesus Christ among the people who attend. Only the gospel addresses our core problems and frees us from the bondage of looking to ourself as the answer.

(HT: David Fairchild's post Study: Vanity on the rise among college students)

Ideas for Church Websites and using Technology on Mission

ChurchBIT (a group of people who are involved in and passionate about how to use technology for the church)  Here are some suggestions from discussions about ways to enhance a church website.

(1) Use stories in your community.  Eg. Watermark Testimonies

(2) Allow people to participate in 'journal- like' responsive writing.  Eg. a church 'reading through the Bible' plan (

The Journey" is a church-wide bible reading plan. Each day everyone who has joined the journey gets an email with a devotional that has been written by a member of the church. This has been going for about 3 years and I have seen a lot of fruit from this approach. This approach has fostered great discussion within our Body.  With everyone reading the same passage everyday, there have been several opportunities for questions/difference perspectives. I like the continuity that this approach provides.I also think that the daily  emails serve us a eAccountabilityPartner reminding you to get in the Word that day. Our church has a bi-monthly meeting that allows people to ask questions/process what they are reading in the "Journey."

(3) Find the right social networking sites to participate in. Eg. The Rock ISU

Our ministry ( ) is focused primarily on college students at Iowa State University.  We have a reputation for "out advertising Coca-cola" as far as flyers, etc, but we rarely see visitors show up simply because they saw a flyer.  Flyers tend to act as a name-recognition driver (ask most people around our campus of 28,000, and they have heard of the Rock, even though our average attendance is only "130-give-or-take-20"), and event reminder for most people.

However, advertising events using Facebook, there have been several times we've seen folks with no other connection come to check The Rock out.

In the next couple of weeks, I am going to lead an advertising charge using Facebook, and attempt to track results by measuring average attendance over a couple of weeks and comparing it with pre-advertising numbers.  I'm also going to try to randomly sample new folks to get an idea of how they heard about the event.

Join ChurchBit to participate in these discussions.   Members include the founders of Church Marketing Sucks , Godbit, MyChurch Blog Ministry, Beta Church, Strategic Digital Outreach, Ekklesia 360, and the list goes on…

The Problem of Evil & the Fullness of God's Attributes

The Problem of Evil & Suffering was the topic of this months Men's Group at Kaleo Church.  I encourage you to visit David's site, as he put the study up and it an excellent work on the subject (philosophically, theologically & pastorally). 

One observation: David quotes a professor at Oxford by the name of John Mackie. Mackie states, "If God exists, there couldn’t be evil unless he would have a reason for justifying his permitting it."  And Mackie assumes God couldn't have a reason to justify this.  This reminded me how evil is necessary for us to understand God. Since we are created in God's image and are not like the angels, we have been created for a different purpose.  It is only through evil we are able to see God's mercy, grace, righteousness, justness, love, compassion, etc.  In light of eternity, we would not truly comprehend the fullness of God if we didn't go through this season.  (Now I say this knowing this is not the comment I'd give to someone experiencing suffering.  And the article clearly states it is wrong to deal with the problem of evil and suffering purely academically.  It must always be done with the heart of a pastor.)

Read the article, it begins:

Q-How can an all-powerful and all-good God allow evil and suffering in His world?


This question has a long history. It is a question that is not asked in academia alone, but increasingly the man on the street is aware of this problem and is either seeking an answer out of genuine curiosity, or is using this problem as a way to bolster their reasoning for disbelief in the Christian God.

As we come to this problem and attempt to consider whether or not a solution is possible, let’s do so from a couple of different perspectives. Since this is as much a personal problem as it is a professional academic one, we should strive to understand how to handle this question from both angles.

We need to think of this problem at the level of the philosopher as well as a Christian or counselor. For me to give you tips and hints to disarm someone from a philosophical perspective without addressing this issue as a pastor or counselor who is seeking to reach the person is not only damaging, but has no warrant Scripturally.

Continue reading: Problem of Evil & Suffering

Are you in sales? Sales Book Recommendations & Notes

strategic-selling.jpgOver the years I've done a lot of sales (staffing/recruiting, consulting, application development, websites, etc.).  Of course, most 'traditionally trained' sales people would now say, "Everything is sales" or "Everyone is in sales" but I digress. 

There are a few books I've thought are the best.  The first two by Heiman/Miller are 

The New Conceptual Selling: The Most Effective and Proven Method for Sales Planning

The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World's Best Companies

conceptual-selling.jpgI have a document you can download (Conceptual & Strategic Selling notes WORD document ) that provides an overview with notes on these two books.  The document includes things like:

6 Keys Elements to Sales (Analytical Tools)

1. Buying Influences

2. Red Flags/Strengths 

3. The Buyers Perception of Reality 

4. Win/Results 

5. Ideal Customer Profile 

6. Sales Funnel 

3 Phases of a Sales Call

The Essential Sales Tasks 

5 Types of Questions during the Sales Call  

Another book I stumbled on recently is CustomerCentric Selling which I'm reading now.

How Big is Yours? (Blogging for Righteousness)

One of the inevitable conversation moments that occurs when pastors (particularly church planters) gather is the question of size.  How big is your church?  Certainly there are times when size helps determine context, but often it seems to establish a pecking order among who hopes to learn from whom. The same can be said for blogging.  I was talking to one recovering addict recently who started blogging and became addicted to it.  Unfortunately, he wasn't addicted to the writing portion, but to the stats.  How many people have commented?  How many unique visitors today?  What can I do to get more?  His sense of worth (and right-standing) was determined by these numbers.   

It made me realize how quick I am to be proud and want to talk about the areas I'm having 'success' (as I define it of course.)  If the attendance from Sunday was low, maybe I had a big week at work, or I'll have a good blogging week, a post gets a lot  of attention or I get mentioned by a few other bloggers who link to me.  These things help me feel better.  It is sad how quickly we turn to functional Messiah's other than Jesus, the only one who truly can give us a righteousness that is perfect.  It is only through this gospel living that we can be truly humble and yet more courageous.  Daily I need to go read Preaching the Gospel to Myself

Poll Dancing Evangelism

pd2web.jpgLately, we've been gripped with the idea of what a city would look like as it's changed by the Gospel.  Oddly, in several situations in prayer and conversation the love for strippers has come up.  How would a church reach women and men in strip clubs?  One woman (wisely, only women are allowed to go in the ministry) from our church plans to attend a local ministry that reaches out to strip clubs.  Women pay the entry to strip clubs and buy lap dances from stippers.  It is during the lap dance they use the time to witness to the strippers.  

Last Sunday David mentioned one city changed by the gospel and how it impacted prostitution: 

There was an old preacher in Wales in 1735 which none of us have probably heard of because his messages were in Welsch.  His name was Daniel Rowlands.  He was an Episcopal minister who was spiritually dead.  No one liked his messages; his church was dying.  He thought Christianity meant being a moral person. 
He went to hear a man preach who was visiting, who said, “The determining factor in your relationship with God is not what you have done, but what Christ has done for you.  It is grace alone, through faith alone because of Christ alone.”  Daniel went back and thought about this for a month, until one night he was taking communion and this truth exploded in his heart.  He realized what Christ had done for him and it became a power to him. 

The first thing that happened to him was a revolution in his identity.  This is always what happens first in someone’s life as the Gospel becomes objectively and subjectively true.  You see yourself and a child of God first and everything else second. 

Secondly, the things that once controlled his life and scared him, like failure, simply lost its hold on him.  He no longer was ashamed of the Gospel. 

This truth exploded in his church and it began to experience revival.  This revival flooded out of the church into the streets of Wales to the degree that the prostitutes began to attend prayer meetings and morning services. 

People were inquiring as to why this was happening so they went and asked one particular prostitute why she was going to these meetings.  She said that there were a couple of factors.  One was that the business had but left.  People were no longer visiting the streets and looking for prostitutes.  But the most important factor she said was that for the first time people on the streets began to treat her with dignity and respect.  She couldn’t deny something was going on and had to come see.

This woman had previously been vilified by the religious people who spat upon her and scorned her and she was used by the irreligious who objectified her and treated her like peace of meat.  Not any more. 

Now if the Gospel had not come in power to these people, what would have happened if it were just religion?  Well, she may have no longer found clients, but she would have been more severely vilified and made to feel less human by the religious who spat upon her and scorned her.  Instead, these people were converted by God’s grace who understood the Gospel and treated her like she’d never been treated before. 

This is the power we need, this was the essence of the Christian faith, and this will cause a revolution. 

View/listen to the whole sermon:  Early Transformissionaries

Church Planting and Survivability

survivability.jpgEd Stetzer has been working an a number of church planting statistics that we've all been waiting for…well wait no more: 

Statistics are a dangerous thing. Some use them well; some use them badly; but most evangelical leaders use them—and church planting is no exception.

One of the statistics that is frequently cited but never sourced is the survivability and health of church plants. I've heard quite an array of statistics—but one of my favorites is that often repeated "80 percent of new churches fail in the first year."

Well, not so fast.

Full report by Ed Stetzer:  Church Planting and Survivability

'Secular' Work as a Calling and Design by God

your-work-matters-to-god.jpgPeople spend roughly sixty percent of their life in work or work-related tasks.  Yet, according to a poll conducted by Career Impact Ministries, ninety percent of Christians had not heard a sermon, read a book, listened to a tape or been to a seminar that applied biblical principles to everyday work issues.  Sadly, if you view sixty percent of your life as 'not counting' or not valuable to God (other than 'witnessing' or 'supporting ministries') we're talking series life/faith implications to a large part of your congregation.  People will either seek to reject Christianity because they will find their meaning from work or feel guilty they aren't in ministry.  

other-six-days.jpgSadly, most of us don't recognize God created us in His image as co-workers.  This means, God is a worker and we were created to do work (not labor post-Fall but the beautiful creativity of reflecting God's glory in His intended creation.) We are "co-workers in his creating, sustaining, redeeming and consummating work in both the church and the world." (The Other Six Days R. Paul Stevens)  Stevens goes on to say, we must be one people loving and serving in both the church and the world.  

Increasingly, churches need to understand the significance of people's work, in both the amount of time their congregation spends there, but in the redemptive process of God's great concern for humanity.  When we work with a Christian distinctive we see the world 'fabric' as unraveling because of sin. Our work of cultivation is to seek the knitting together of the 'fabric' to bring about shalom. Our call to the workplace is to serve the ordinary needs of others. We are here to meet our needs and the needs of others, knowing this redeeming process will not be completed until Jesus comes.  Your congregation needs to see that working in technical support or as a receptionist has value in itself.   We are fighting against the loss of shalom, miscommunication and chaos caused by the fall to provide and serve the needs of others.  People's work is God's work.  Only when your people have this type of theology, will they be set free to view their work in a Biblical perspective and see a holistic Gospel Redemptive plan that uses salvation but ends with the restoring of all things to God.

Some suggested resources: 

Your Work Matters to God

The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work, and Ministry in Biblical Perspective

Anointed for Business

Developing Leaders to lead

How do you develop leaders at your church?  This is a common challenge for churches, who must utilize the volunteer pool to lead important ministries in their church.  Harbor Presbyterian, Kaleo Church and a group of other church planters meet monthly to discuss these types of challenges.  This is a document Dick Kaufmann put together that we will unpack further in the months to come.  The first 6-steps occur prior to identifying the leader and must be in place prior to the second 6.  (Based on a triperspectival model for those keeping track)

1.    Understand who develops leaders In developing leaders in the church, the most important question isn’t “how?” but “who?”  Who develops leaders?  The Bible makes it clear: Christ develops leaders in the church (Mt.16:18; Acts 1:1, 20:28; Ep.4:11).  Christ does it by exercising his leadership, in our midst, as:  prophet, priest and king.  

A.  Prophet – Authority >  Vision >  “This is where God is leading us!”

B.  King – Control >  Plan >  “This is how we can get there!”

C.    Priest – Presence >  People > “You can be a part of this.  I’ll help you!”

2.    Clarify the values we want to instill in leaders
A.  Gospel-Centered – Committed to viewing all of life through Gospel

B.  Missional – Committed to living in mission to engage culture

C.  Grace-Renewal – Committed to on-going grace renewal

3.    Commit yourself to developing leaders
To develop leaders you must be willing to:

A.  Share the ministry
B.  Make it a scheduling priority

C.    Pursue personal growth

4.    Cultivate and communicate vision  
Leaders who develop leaders cultivate and communicate Christ’s vision for:

A.  The work of the church (Mt.28:18-20; Mk.16:15-16; Lk.24:45-49; Acts 1:8)

B.  The development of leaders (Ep.4:7-13; 2Tim.2:2)

C.  The potential of each developing leader (Mt.4:19, 16:18; see also A. above)

5.    Organize the ministry

A.  Develop a Ministry Map  

B.  Insert existing leaders

C.  Use brackets to show needs

6.    Pray for leaders

"One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." (Luke 6:12-13)
"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Mt. 9:37-38)

A.  Pray  

B.  Look

C.  Receive

7.    Understand the process

A.  Potential leaders  -To potential leaders, Jesus said, "Come and see" (Jn. 1:39). The key word during this phase is "know." The followers get to know Jesus, his character, his vision.  And Jesus gets to know the followers on their turf. (Mk. 1:16)

B.  Emerging leaders – to emerging leaders, Jesus said, "Come and follow me" (Mt. 4:19, Mk. 1:17). The key word during this phase is "show." Jesus models his life and ministry as the emerging leaders observe and listen.

C.  Existing leaders – to existing leaders, Jesus said, "Come and be with me" (Mk. 3:14). The key word during this phase is "grow." Jesus calls them into an intimate relationship with him and involves them in ministry.

8.    Know the potential leaders

A.  Where do you find them?  

B.  How will you get to know them?

C.  What’s the next step?

9.    Show the emerging leaders

A.  Identify (Three questions)

B.  Invite

C.  Involve

10.     Grow the existing leaders
What do they need from you?

A.  Clear expectations

B.  Personalized leadership

C.  Regular and honest feedback

11.      Take time to reflect

A.  Evaluate

B.  Celebrate

C.  Recalibrate

12.      Help your leaders develop leaders Things to consider as leadership needs/base expand

A.  Revise Ministry Map  

B.  Assist leaders in developing apprentices

C.  Facilitate leadership connections

Download  Church Planters’ Meeting Developing Leaders pdf

Wedding Message – Redemptive/Gospel Centered

I have new weddings scheduled this year.  I moved to a diff't wedding message I received from Stephen Trout (who is starting the Kaleo Christian Counseling Center) that is a redemptive historical/gospel presentation.  Feel free to download it.  Gospel Wedding Message (Word Doc)

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