Sunday, December 21, 2008

the trap of technique

Now that I've finished that pesky ordination exam, I'm back to reading and studying stuff I really enjoy reading. I'm on "Planting Missional Churches" by Ed Stetzer. I pulled a great quote out this morning.

“If new churches can avoid the trap of technique, they can engage the changing culture effectively with the unchanging gospel of Jesus.” - Ed Stetzer

This may feel particularly poignant to me because I've fallen into the trap of technique before, at great cost to the people and ministry I was leading at the time. However, I feel a big pull among the American church - at least the leaders whose circles I frequent - from technique-driven ministry to relationship-driven and Spirit-lead ministry.

I know this is a "duh" kind of statement to make, but if you're in church leadership, you know the tremendous temptation to take what a "successful" church in another city is doing and try and replicate it in yours. For those of us who are wired for success, whatever that means in church, it's a huge temptation.

Thankfully, as I enter a season of coaching church planters, God has settled my spirit down to know (and teach others) that the Holy Spirit loves a given community or people group much more than we and will always guide us toward how to share the gospel effectively with said people. It's not about growing churches and church for the sake of growth, but looking for ways to help the Holy Spirit do what He's doing anyway.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

quote of the day

The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach - Benjamin Mays


Tomorrow morning at 11am, I'll be taking a written exam to be an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God . I'd appreciate your prayers if you think of it. Thanks much.

I miss this

I'm up this morning doing some reading and now even blogging. I miss this stuff in the morning. I renewed my efforts to get my body into shape a couple weeks ago and I've been using most of my time in the mornings to go to the gym. I love it, but the saying, "When you say yes to one thing you say no to another" is so true. Couple my increased time at the gym with my ordination exam coming up tomorrow and I've hardly read anyone's blog and just barely kept up with e-mail over the last two weeks - any open time during the day has been studying for the exam.

I don't regret how I've managed my time over the last two weeks. I've done exactly what I decided to do. Nothing is out of control and I don't feel like my life is running me, but I guess I'm just a little frustrated. I'd like a little more time to read. I'd like a little more time to blog. I'd like to be more caught up on e-mail. Of course I could do all these today, but then I would be lamenting about never getting any exercise or not enough time with my kids. The stewardship of the time God has given me is a true balancing act I've not yet figured out adequately, but I'm getting better here and there. Overall, I'm improving. And I'll take painful improvement over comfortable stagnation any day of the week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

recommended reading

I read "In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day" and it was good, but "Wild Goose Chase" is about 10x better, in my opinion. I've not been this inspired by a book in a while. If you have a vision in your gut and you're afraid, check this book out asap. I'm not even finished yet, but I'm already recommending it!


I'm not a big fan of exams, but I have a big one coming up next week. I'll be taking my exam to up my level of ministerial credentials with the AG from licensed to ordained. I've been studying for a few hours this afternoon and it's really draining on me. I'm not much of a theology guy, but I do get the importance. My exam is next Friday at 11am, so I'd appreciate your prayers. I have several large blocks of time in the next week set aside to study, so I guess I better get used to this feeling I have today. Bring on the coffee.

On a more exciting note, I just got a couple great nuggets regarding church planting process from my friend Nick Poole at APC in Pittsburgh. Well, almost time to go home.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

almost back

I'm back from Houston and in a normal routine again. It's amazing how difficult it is to get back on track after a trip like that. My e-mail inbox is way overcrowded and my head's spinning just a bit with all kinds of new possibilities and old problems to solve. I'm looking forward to being with our South Hanover youth ministry team tonight. I also think that a ministry team from North Carolina Masters Commission is coming it tonight as well. Can't wait to meet all those great people.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Live from Houston Texas

I must be honest. I thought Houston was going to be a little bit nicer of a city. Maybe south Houston, where we are, is the bad part, but it's downright nasty.

With that said, I'm very excited for the second (and final) day of Multiplicity. With a full night's sleep under my belt I'm more focused and energized than ever.

I miss my precious family very much. It's the worst when I'm out somewhere, like a restaurant, and I see a family with little kids the same age as mine. I saw these two little ones at Quizno's yesterday and I wanted to go and scoop them up. Glad I didn't. That would have been weird and I would have been blogging from a Houston jail cell, most likely. But anyway, love on my family for me today if you get a chance.

I'll update via twitter through the day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

long, good day

I've been up since 2am, so this will be short and sweet.

Today was a good day. If I can boil it down to a word, it's inspiring. I feel inspired by the men and women I've met and listened to today.

Tomorrow is another long one. I'm hoping for a couple strategic meetings to help with our particular vision of building God's Kingdom in Central PA.

Thanks for your prayers. I can feel them at work.


Jared and I are at BWI airport and we are way too early. Our flight does not go out for almost 2 hours. He's sleeping and I'm online getting some work done.

Some background . . . I've felt a unique (for me) calling and gifting in myself over the last couple years for coaching leaders into places of success. I really have wrestled against that notion because I wasn't sure that it was legitimate or even a good thing. I mean, can you really do something that you love this much for a living? I've finally settled that and I'm embracing my role as a coach to other leaders.

I believe this trip to Multiplicity is a strategic thing in our efforts to plant churches in our area (and hopefully beyond) and in my own development as a coach. I'd like to ask you to pray for me in a couple ways over the next 2 days.
  • For my Spiritual eyes to be open to direction and relationships that would propel God's Kingdom forward
  • For God to birth a special relationship between Jared and I.
  • For my family to feel very loved and cared for in my absence
I'll keep you posted on the progress. Thanks for your prayers and friendship.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

this week

Last week was a vacation week. We did a tour of New England to visit Sara's side of the family. If you follow me on Twitter, you saw we did some serious driving. It was the best road trip yet since we've had kids, even with some health challenges on my part. The boys were really good and I think Sara and I are getting the hang of it.

This week is looking like one of the most exciting in a while. First off, I love my job, so to get back to work is a big bonus. On top of that, I'm spending some time today with Tom Rees today to talk church planting and such. Wait, it gets even better. Jared Ruddy and I are flying to Houston Texas on Thursday to the Multiplicity Conference. I'm really thinking that God is going to hatch some strategic stuff this week. I would really love your prayers this week.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'll be out in Houston, TX this Thursday and Friday for the Multiplicity Conference. You can see info about it here.

Are any of you going to be there? I'd love to get together if you will be.

Either way, please pray with me for my eyes to be open to strategic vision and relationships God has in mind for our upcoming church planting efforts and maybe other stuff beyond what I've even thought of yet.