Unlocking Value for Entrepreneurs

Month: May 2007 (page 1 of 2)

Triperspectivalism, Multiperspectivalism & Other Large Words

johnframe.jpg It's been well over a year since my first post on multiperspectivalism (or triperspectivalism), but more and more people & churches are seeing this as a framework to do effective ministry.  In the Acts 29 forum, there appears to be several churches who are re-thinking their structures based on this framework.  At Kaleo Church, Dick Kaufmann and Doug Swagerty (from Harbor Pres.) have influenced us greatly.  These two missional church planters have had years of applying a triperspectival approach to ministry. Also, they both taught on triperspectivalism with John Frame.  I've been told Redeemer is flying Dick out (who used to be 'Keller's right hand man') to do some consulting for them.  David Fairchild has also been emailing John Frame (right image, the man credited with introducing triperspectivalism) who we're trying to schedule for our regional event in San Diego. We are just at the beginning of unpacking this and seeing how it applies to the church & our lives but I thought it would be helpful to consolidate what we have so far:

pdf_icon.jpg John Frame's Primer on Perspectivalism (pdf)

Posts from my blogs: 

How Multi-perspectivalism and Tri-Perspectivalism should shape your Worldview

Triperspectival Ecclesiology – Being the Church as Corporate, Intimate & Group

The Decline of the Western Church and the Call to renew your Church’s Ecclesiology

Missional Eldership – Leading a Transformational Community

Creating a Church to Change Culture

Developing Leaders to lead

Triperspectival Ministry Assessment

How Mutliperspectivalism shapes Church Leadership and how you staff a church

Leadership Conflict Resolution: Prophet | Priest | King

What type of churches NOT to plant (triperpectival)

Deacon Training & Development

Other bloggers mentioning these perspectival approaches:

Ministry through the lens of Multiperspectival Epistemology 


Frame Friday: Multiperspectivalism

Frame and Triperspectivalism

Where Should a New Church Meet?

newchurch01.jpgEd Stetzer sent over his recent insights for Church Planters:

Church planters have a million issues to consider as they start a new church: what music style do we use, how do we let the community know about us, and when do we get started (to name just a few). Yet they may now be able to cross one more worry off their list—whether it hurts them to not meet in a "church" building.

This is something we had to think through as a church. Kaleo Church has met in a church, an office building, a theater, a warehouse and we are only a couple years old.  We've found that guests increased when we moved into the theater, but the downside it is hard to build community and do the family ministry. 

Our experience would agree with Stetzer's research, finding a church building is not important.  According to the survey of 1,200 people  asked, If you were considering visiting or joining a church, would knowing that the church does not meet in a traditional church building impact your decision?

  • It would not make any difference  73%
  • It would negatively impact my decision 19%
  • It would positively impact my decision  6%
  • Not sure      2%

Read the full article: Where Should a New Church Meet?

GCA – North America Church Planting Seminar

The North America Church Planting Seminar is an inter-denominational training event designed to equip church planters, coaches and supervisors to start, grow and multiply healthy, gospel-centered churches that result in the spiritual, social and cultural transformation of entire cities and regions. Christian leaders from more than 30 countries, representing over 100 denominations and mission agencies, have taken this church planter training.  This conference will be hosted at John Piper's church.

I will be presenting a couple sessions at the conference dealing with Message and Media: Communicating the Gospel in Our Post-Christian World

Session 1: Communication in Our Post-Christian World
The culture is changing and it requires new methods of communication.  This session will help you learn how to effectively minister in a post-Christian context.   Come learn the 1) five values of this Post-Christian generation, the 2) ten idols that enslave them and 3) effective ways to communicate the eternal and unchanging gospel message.

Session 2: The Internet & The Sovereignty of God
Pax Romana, the Gutenberg printing press and the internet.  God has used major technological and cultural shifts to bring sweeping change.  As our culture moves increasingly online, this session will help your church effectively use the internet to be missionaries to unbelievers, gather the unchurched and connect with your community.  Come learn how to use this powerful tool to change the community in which you are called to plant a church.

Session 2's title is a play of J.I. Packer's work, since a lot of reformed folks are there, I'm have to address the antinomy of internet outreach and God's sovereignty. 🙂  Let me know if you will be there…

View the other sessions & speakers such as Stetzer, Nabors, Childers, Ogne, etc (or view my mug shot). 

Elders – Missional Movements, Plurality of Leadership & First Amongst Equals

A group of Acts 29 pastors gathered for our monthly lunch together.  It was during this time we provide just-in-time coaching to those who would like to bring things to the table.  At this meeting three different churches discussed how to operate as a plurality of elders and yet make decisions when there is disagreement.  Several suggestions were given including weighing in how strongly you feel about the issue, but at the end of the day almost all church planter/pastors brought up the belief that there must be a first amongst equals.  Several people had tried to operate in a plurality of eldership without this, but both failed.  Further explanation: 

First Among a Council of Equals: Leaders Among Leaders: An extremely important but terribly misunderstood aspect of biblical eldership is the principle of "first among equals" (1 Tim. 5:17). Failure to understand this principle has caused some elderships to be tragically ineffective in their pastoral care and leadership. Although elders are to act jointly as a council and share equal authority and responsibility for the leadership of the church, all elders are not equal in their giftedness, biblical knowledge, leadership ability, experience, or dedication. Therefore, those among the elders who are particularly gifted leaders and/or teachers will naturally stand out among the other elders as leaders and teachers within the leadership body.

…the "first-among-equals" concept is evidenced by the way in which congregations are to honor their elders. Concerning elders within the church in Ephesus, Paul writes, "Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,' and 'The laborer is worthy of his wages' " (1 Tim. 5:17,18). All elders must be able to teach the Word, but not all of them desire to work fully at preaching and teaching. The local church should properly care for those who are specially gifted in teaching and spend the time to do so. Let us be clear about the fact that it is the spiritual giftedness of the elders that causes the church to grow and prosper spiritually, not just the eldership form of government per se.

 Source: BIBLICAL ELDERSHIP Restoring the Eldership to Its Rightful Place in the Church (pdf) NOTE: This excerpt is from an abridgment of Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Eldership by Alexander Strauch.

So how does this work? How are you operating as a plurality of elders?  Do you have a first amongst equals?

One of the ways I've been thinking about this is that as you look at a church as corporation, cause & community there will be elder(s) whose 'cause' is the mission/movement.  Taking from Outgrowing the Ingrown Church by C. John Miller, this is a 'missional pacesetter who is able to break through the church's natural tendency to erect barriers to guarantee the church's comfort and safety'.  This does not mean they are maverick decision makers but that they are focused on the cause of mission/movement in such a way that their gifts are being exercised in moving the mission forward. 

At Kaleo Church, while David Fairchild is the primary preaching elder, I have never seen him use this position as leverage to demand his way.  He builds consensus and seeks for unanimity even though many people at Kaleo might consider him the 'head pastor' because they are not aware of how decisions are made.  Releasing the elders to be on mission flows from a shared commitment to the corporate convictions.  This requires great trust between the elders, because other elders will have their own 'causes' that are guided by the normative/vision/values (corporate).  The plurality releases individual elders to make decisions at the edges of the church, advancing the mission or cause. 

All of this requires a shift for many traditional churches from a Pastoral to a Missional Church leadership paradigm.  For this, I'd recommend The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World by Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk.  Their contrast of Pastoral & Missional Church leadership is excellent.  For example:



Expectation that an ordained pastor must be present at every meeting or event or else it is not validated or important.

Ministry staff operate as coaches and mentors within a system that is not dependent on them to validate the importance and function of every group by being present.

Ordained ministry staff functions to give attention to and take care of people in the church by being present for people as they are needed (if care and attention are given by people other than ordained clergy, it may be more appropriate and effective but is deemed "second-class").

Ordained clergy equip and release the multiple ministries of the people of God throughout the church.

Time, energy, and focus shaped by people "need" and "pain" agendas.


Pastor provides solutions.

Pastor asks questions that cultivate an environment that engages the imagination, creativity, and gifts of God's people in order to discern solutions.

Expectation that an ordained pastor must be present at every meeting and event or else it is not validated or important. Preaching and teaching offer answers and tell people what is right and wrong.

  • Telling
  • Didactic
  • Reinforcing assumptions
  • Principles for living

Preaching and teaching invite the people o
f God to engage Scripture as a living word that confronts them with questions and draws them into a distinctive world.

  • Metaphor and stories
  • Asks new questions

"Professional" Christians

"Pastoring" must be part of the mix, but not the sum total.

Celebrity (must be a "home run hitter")



Make tension OK

Conflict suppressor or "fixer"

Conflict facilitator

Keep playing the whole game as though we are still the major league team andthe major league players. Continue the mythology that "This staff is the New York Yankees of the Church world!"

Indwell the local and contextual; cultivate the capacity for the congregation to ask imaginative questions about its present and its next stages.

"Recovery" expert ("Make it like it used to be")

Cultivator of imagination and creativity

Function as the manage, maintainer, or resource agent of a series of centralized ministries focused in and around the building that everone must support. Always bee seen as the champion and primary support agent for everyone's specific ministry

Create an environment that releases and nourishes the missional imagination of all people through diverse ministries and missional teams that affect their various communities, the city, nation, and world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Vegas

You know the commercial – sensual backdrop – good looking people tossing drinks back, maybe splashing in the pool, embracing in the moonlight – fade to black with the words, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” You have to admit, this is clever marketing. Las Vegas is just one of those notorious cities that conjure up all kinds of things in my mind: gambling, sex, prostitution, nude dancing, drugs, elicit affairs, fat Elvis, gangsters, and of course…CSI.

Until now, the grace of God is not one of the things that have crossed my mind when considering Vegas.

Read Full Article by Kaleo's worship guy:  Stripped: Uncensored Grace on the Streets of Vegas

Creating a Church to Change Culture

Lately churches have spoken a lot about being relevant to the culture.  For many churches, this was a necessary first step.  We had to begin by taking a missionary posture to understand the prevailing worldview and the ideological shifts that occurred in the last decades.  Sadly, many churches have not even begun this process.  For many of those that have changed, we are seeing new forms of church being expressed, new missional postures, great dialog with non-believers and a real intentionality to live as 'reformissionaries'. 

So now many of you have relevant churches,  what do you do?  What are the next steps for your church? 

Here is one area I believe Christians need to grow.  The Christendom Ghost (meaning the view that America is a Christian nation) is quickly disappearing. The reality we enjoy of morality, law and order are all based on this ghost that will be gone in a generation or two.  Being relevant is only one part of our calling, we also need to be a witness to a lost world.  Pastors and lay leaders need to train the church in triperspectival apologetics. Let me unpack these three apologetic perspectives:

Coherence (Normative):  We need to understand 'how we can know truth' and the framework through which all reality makes sense.  For Christians, we must be saturated with the  Biblical story & worldview and Presuppositional apologetics.   Often reformed or Calvinists focus on this area heavily.  (Further blog posts on worldview: Gospel, Story, Worldview, and the Church’s Mission, The Urgency of Reading the Bible as One Story in the 21st Century, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity)

Correspondence (Situational): Science is the king of the day.  For example, evolution theory is the dominant framework that corresponds to reality.  Often non-believers use these evidences to dismiss Christianity to the place of values/preferences which are quite separate from scientific 'facts'.   Christians need to understand evidences and understand how creation and the resurrection are central to the correspondence of the Christian worldview.  Often Armenians champion this angle.  Yet we must know that evidences are not enough.  To quote David Fairchild, "Unbelief is not the absence of something it is the presence of something else, namely a spirit of opposition. It isn't merely intellectual; it is emotional. This attitude of opposition and disturbed emotions drives us to be hateful of the Gospel." (source: Sermon Understanding Unbelief )

Correlation (Existential): Christians ought to understand correlating impact of people's worldview (including their worldview created by their evidential arguments).  Often people's worldview comports to their emotional needs.  People accept what they want to live how they want.  Most people are walking contradictions in this realm. For example, a strict naturalist who rules out metaphysics still longs for love, hope & meaning.   Any story but the Biblical story must be shown for how the worldview wrecks havoc on how the adherent lives or worldview. (Read: Trilogy – Three Essential Books in One Volume by Francis Schaeffer)

I say all the above with one caveat, as Christians it is much more important that we are about 'Thesis' rather than 'Antithesis'.  We need to live out the gospel positively to show the strongest apologetic of the gospel.

Credits: Much of this came from a conversation with Tom Moller

Missional Eldership – Leading a Transformational Community

traditional-eldership.gif Traditional/Centralized forms of church government destroy a church's mission.  At Kaleo Church we continue to re-think the form of our church and our church's ecclesiology for the sake of the gospel. As we do, we must also consider how we ought to lead, in light of a move from being a 'traditional, Constantinian Church' to a church designed to transform San Diego.

First, here are the reasons why we must re-consider traditional 'CEO' mentality churches shaped by Western ideas.  As a note this includes both CEO/Sr. Pastor churches as well as those who lead as a plurality of elders.  Traditional/Central led churches will… (see Traditional Church Leadership diagram)

1. be limited by it's leadership to be on mission.  This is because of the top down leadership which is a vote/control/power position.  The church creates a bottleneck where all decisions must go to the center to be processed by the few in order for action to take place.  The church will be limited by the leaders ability to make timely decisions on a frequent basis.  The overall organization is limited in scope based on what the leaders can support. 

2. significantly impair discipleship of their people.  The church creates a substantial 'pastor/leader' and 'laity' distinction where the people are trained to function as second-tier Christians.  Knowledge is centralized rather than teaching and sending people to make decisions and apply the gospel to diff't situations.  For example, one local church I know of would not let several young men who were passionate about starting a college ministry do so, because they were not seminary trained.  This church may be a great 'teaching' church but their people will not be discipled to apply this knowledge on mission to change their city.

3. have natural resistance to reach the margins of society.  Being the beautiful mess taxes the leadership because they will take on the counseling load or other challenges brought on by being missional.  It is easier to create a great family atmosphere where everyone is ok than invite broken people into the Kingdom.

4. cultivate consumeristic programs rather than equip people for transformation.  Ministry must be program driven because Christians are not freed to apply the gospel to transform the city.  Programs can only deal with problems, people on mission can transform a city.  

Side Note on Plurality of Elders:  I believe there is rock-solid Biblical case for the plurality of elders. (Suggested Reading: Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership) I don't see how a Sr. Pastor led church can ever overcome the above problems (much less the below suggestions), unless the church functions as a plurality of elders.  Elders have the privilege of being the under-shepherds of the church.  (Jesus it the one true shepherd.)   For some, this role of shepherding creates a picture of sitting around 'watching the flock' only. The elder should be responsible for leading the flock on mission, teaching them theology to deal with the paths difficulties and praying, counseling, watching out for those who are having troubles.  But all of this is done with the emphasis on mission.

missional-eldership.gifWhat does it look like to have a decentralized plurality of elders leading a triperspectival church?  How can we raise the bar of discipleship and create a sent people who are adaptive and on mission to transform a community?  Here are a few thoughts: (see Leading as a Missional Eldership diagram )

The leadership needs to view the church triperspectivally, meaning the church is a Cause (Normative), Community (Existential) and Corporation (Situational).   It is in this way the eldership will make decisions that are centralized, de-centralized and delegated to people on mission.  These are how these decisions might be made:

Corporation:  Elders should make central decisions about issues of doctrine, vision and values. It is critical they are united in their stand on principle issues of doctrine/theology.  This is like Paul gathering with other early church leaders in Galatians to ensure there was unity on the gospel.  Central decision making on vision and values will be heavily influenced by the elders involvement in the body and the goal is to install elders who have been raised up in the church and confirmed they understand the churches vision/values. 

Community: Elders should delegate and disciple the community to handle the bulk of the counseling, gospeling of believers and the function of mission.  If a community comes to a problem they can't handle, they can involve a community leader and escalate it up to the Missional Community Leader and eventually to an elder.  The goal is to push the active life of the church into the community.  This is like Jethro's counsel to Moses but also viewed in NT church life.

Cause: Particular elders (or leaders such as deacons) will lead people out on mission on causes.  These leaders may be particularly acute at mercy ministry, evangelism, apologetics, teaching, etc.  These leaders should be actively creating disciples in a systemic leadership development process so that decisions are made at the fringe of the community as those involved in a cause encounter difficulty.  It is only when the run into problems that they cannot handle or that impacts the entire corporation that they escalate problems inward.

The goal of all of this is to create a highly adaptable church body that provides flexible leadership decision-making at the appropriate level and creates a culture of people on mission.  This certainly is going to require great trust and a willingness to let people fail.  It also will require letting go of some of the control and trusting that the Holy Spirit that is in the leadership is also in the entire church body. 

CREDITS: A lot of this is triggered by Hirsch's The Forgotten Ways and The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World by Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk as well as conversations with David Fairchild & Harbor Presbyterian.

A La Carte (5/10)

Buzzard Blog: X-Ray Questions to identify your functional messiah/idols "The questions aim to help people identify the ungodly masters that occupy positions of authority in their heart. These questions reveal 'functional gods,' what or who actually controls their particular actions, thoughts, emotions, attitudes, memories, and anticipations."  From David Powlison's Seeing With New Eyes.  Read anything you can get from Powlison, the Tripp's or Ed Welch.

TallSkinnyKiwi: Pub Crawl for Jesus Churches urged to adopt-a-pub for a Pub Crawl in London.

Church Relevance: Evangelical Christians Disliked by University Faculty Sadly, the title could also be 'Evangelical Christians disliked by Evangelical Christians'

Leadership Development

At the monthly pastors meeting here in San Diego we discussed leadership development.  Dick Kaufmann noted that churches need both systemic and systematic leadership development

Systemic Leadership Development is using your entire organization (the church body) in the process of developing leaders.  This is organic and is often through inviting & involving people into leadership paths.  For example, a community group leader invites an attender to lead a portion of the meeting.  Over time this develops into an apprenticeship, which eventually leads to a new community group leader.

Systematic leadership Development is planning a process or system to develop people.  Formal education uses this model, or elder training would as well.  

As leaders are put in positions of responsibility, here are the four modes of managing them:

Delegating – What areas of responsibility do they have a handle on and only require my time when they need help or are having trouble?

Participating – What areas do they need my involvement, where I am available to discuss options they've come up with.

Coaching – Where do they need coaching to help grow and provide guidance.

Telling – Where do they need me to tell/do things to train them so they can learn to manage these on their own?

leadership-and-the-1-minute-mgr.jpgThe goal is to have all areas fully delegated and only require your attention when the leader needs help. Dick said the best book he's read on some of these things is  Leadership and the One Minute Manager.  Lastly, you are constantly working on issues of Confidence or Competence.  The most dangerous person is a highly confident/incompetent person.  You want to grow the confidence of the competent to maximize potential.  

The Decline of the Western Church and the Call to renew your Church's Ecclesiology

triperspectival-ecclesiology.gif The Western Church is in decline. Part of the challenge is the church is stuck in old models of ecclesiology based on Constantinian views of church.  The church is seen as a power structure seeking to 'attract' people from the outside to join.  This model is set to fail to change our culture, as author Alan Hirsch puts it:

A combination of recent research in Australia indicates that about 10-15 percent of that population is attracted to what we call the contemporary church growth model. In other words, this model has significant "market appeal" to about 12 percent of our population. The more successful forms of this model tend to be large, highly professionalized, and overwhelmingly middle class, and express themselves culturally using contemporary, "seeker friendly" language and middle-of-the-road music forms. (source: The Forgotten Ways)

In America, we may have a couple decades before we reach the 10-15 percent. Yet churches continue to try to one-up each other to create better programs, funnier messages, more creative marketing to capture people from this pool of seekers.  For example, Outreach magazine's June 2007 issue reported a seemingly encouraging statistic: 97% of Protestant churches reported doing something evangelistic within the year. (Source: Ellison Research's "Facts and Trends")  It was only when you dig deeper, the stat loses some punch:

  • 70% did a Vacation Bible School
  • 59% passed out literature such as tracts or magazines
  • 56% held large events such as block parties and fall festivals

These are good things to do, but all of these are attractional-based evangelism that will reach people who share a similar worldview to Christians.  Meaning, when people hold a similar morality, view of absolutes and typically conservative background these events are effective.  For most others, they are ineffective.

In response to this, here are a few items I am thinking through: 

1. Corporate Gatherings are important to reflect the exaltation of Christ, just as mission moves us into a more incarnational mode.  We need multiple forms of gatherings to reflect the fullness of the church. I say this in contrast to some in the emerging movement who prefer to abolish larger corporate gatherings.  Yet, in stark contrast to most Evangelical churches the corporate gathering is not the center of the church universe.   Goheen writes: “There is a need to continue to struggle with communal patterns of ecclesial life that will enable the church corporately to be a preview of the kingdom. However, this should not be done at the expense of the mission of God’s people in their various and scattered callings. This continues to be the primary point of missionary engagement in Western culture.”   (HT: Brad Brisco) For a visual on this, view the Triperspectival Ecclesiology diagram

Triperspectival note: As Corporate gathering & Classes occur there is a greater emphasis on Normative (red circle).  Missional Communities and Home Groups have an emphasis on Existential (blue circle) while Tribal encounters (going with others to where non-believers live/meet) and being a missionary to people is more Situational (green circle).

2. You need to rethink the success of your church.  Too many pastors find their identity in the number of people that attend on Sundays.  Your church can have a great number of people attend on Sunday's but if this is where their connection to being the church ends, you may only be feeding the idols of consumerism.  Churches should spend much more emphasis on creating disciples to embody the gospel in daily life. Goheen quotes Newbigin as he writes: “I do not believe that the role of the Church in a secular society is primarily exercised in the corporate action of the churches as organized bodies in the political or cultural fields . . . On the contrary, I believe that it is [exercised] through the action of Christian lay people playing their roles as citizens, workers, managers, legislators.” (HT: Brad Brisco)

3. Bible Studies are great, but to reach people churches need to form missional communities.  Small gatherings of people who are a committed to a neighborhood.  It is these people who pray for the area, are deeply committed to the needs and express this in acts of love and mercy.  These people need to be an active hermeneutic of the gospel on display for unbelievers to see.  This paradigm will require active engagement in a neighborhood to build trust and reach those who are open or spiritually curious. 

4. Churches that aren't actively embodying the gospel to tribes of people will only reach seekers.  Hirsch calls mission going out and incarnation as going deep.  We need to develop a culture in our church of mission and pastors, elders and deacons need to model how to be incarnational to reach people groups who do not respond to attractional ministries.  We need to create a new missionary mindset in our people.  It will be these individuals living out the gospel who embed in tribes of people who will be able to reach those who doubt, hold to alternative faiths or even stand in opposition to the Christian message.  The more extreme the resistance, the more relational mission becomes and often is only able to be bridged by specific people who either come from a similar background or somehow develop a connection based on other extenuating factors.

For most traditional or evangelical churches moving from a Sunday event with some mid-week Bible Studies to a church who takes mission seriously will be difficult.  It will take people completely out of their comfort zone and require both great patience and love as Christians move into active relationships with non-believers.  This is difficult being many mature Christians have completely isolated themselves from the unbelieving world.  For many Christians there will need to be a complete shift in ideology and a conversion to mission in order for this to occur.  Sadly, churches who go through this process will end up losing people unwilling to follow their leaders as they follow Christ.  But ultimately this transition is critical for the Western Church to once again move to the margins of society where we began and were able to completely change the Roman world through decentralized missional living.

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