Thursday, August 31, 2006

Face-to-Face: MAC, CCDA, CIR

Distance networking is great, especially in our instant age, but nothing beats getting together face-to-face with others for encouragement, motivation, fellowship and inspiration.

Information follows on conferences scheduled for the Mission America Coalition, Christian Community Development Assn., and the City Impact Roundtable next spring.

Attend the Mission America Coalition Annual Meeting in St. Louis ~ The theme of the Mission America Coalition Annual Meeting October 10-12 is CULTURE SHIFT: Have we passed the tipping point? Can restoring a healthy church culture transform our cities?

You are warmly invited to join others who care about our cities to the meetings at the St. Louis Airport Mariott. Featured speakers include Ted Haggard, Paul Cedar, Lon Allison, Mary Lance Sisk, Daniel De Leon, Jarvis Ward, John Olson, Dave Olson, Jim Overholt and others. There will be strong plenary sessions, but also a significant number of interactive discussion times. Every attendee will be an active part of this meeting!

A PDF of the Annual Meeting brochure is available at the web link below.

Come to the Table in St. Louis and Engage in These Critical Issues with Your Colleagues. Interact With:
• Directors of National & Regional Ministries
• Denominational Leaders
• City Movement Practitioners
• Kingdom-Minded Pastors
• Church Evangelism Leaders
• Marketplace Leaders
• Evangelism Strategists
• Resourcers & Researchers

  • Early-Bird Registration ($150) ends Sept. 1. At that point standard registration will be $175.
  • Single Day Registration has been added as an option (especially for those in the St. Louis area). Details are in the online registration form.
  • Breakfast and Lunch on Wednesday are included in the registration fee
  • Hotel Reservations must be made separately (details in the PDF brochure and on the web link)

Dr. Paul Cedar will be the guest on the September 21 monthly cityreaching call. The topic will be Compassion Ministries, and a tribute to Dr. Ted Engstrom, who recently went to be with the Lord.

To participate on the call on Thursday morning, Sept. 21, dial 605-772-3001. When prompted, enter code 595489#.

The call is at 11 a.m. Eastern time, 10 Central, 9 Mountain, 8 a.m. Pacific time.


[MAC Annual Meeting information]

Response to 8-17 call with Phill Butler
Interest is high in Phill Butler’s new book, Well Connected. The call is available for review either by printed transcript or by dialing in to listen to the recording of the call via a link at www.cityreaching.com (upper right on the home page).

Joe Walsh, Sacramento wrote: Read and Dialog Groups will be starting September 6 for pastors and non-pastors in Sacramento. You can read about it at http://kingdom-connections.blogspot.com/ and http://sacramentopastorsroundtable.blogspot.com/ .

Dave Hackett of vision/Synergy wrote It was good to be with your remarkable collection of people on the cityreaching conference call this morning. Every call I find myself thanking God for that forum where people come together for fellowship and learning.

Phill commended Dave’s paper called "The Limits of Good Intentions, and the Confidence Born of Skill." This pa! per on Crossing the Will/Skill Divide is also available for review on a link at cityreaching.com.

[vision/Synergy]

Christian Community Development Association in Philadelphia ~ Cities of Love with Liberty and Justice for All is the theme for CCDA’s 18th Annual National Conference will meet September 27 - October 1, 2006 in Philadelphia, PA at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.

The Christian Community Development Association conference Plenary Speaker on Thursday morning is Pastor Herbert Lusk, who has emerged as a leader in the Faith Based Movement, championing the role of faith-based organizations in leading community revitalization efforts.

Because of his accomplishments, Pastor Lusk is honored to serve as advisor to President George W. Bush. He hosts regular evangelistic services with inner-city and suburban churches.

Christian Assistance Network (CAN) was born out of Pastor Lusk's ministry with suburban churches. Together they help meet material needs of low-income individuals. Greater Exodus is also at the forefront of Faith-Based Community Econ. Dev. in Phila.

[CCDA Conference details]

BE SURE TO MARK YOUR CALENDAR for our next CITY IMPACT ROUNDTABLE (CIR) in El Paso April 19-21. Cityreaching: The Dynamics of Transformation (What’s Working?) will be the focus. the Design Team is working hard under Convener Glenn Barth's leadership.

JARVIS in a city near you in September? Look for Jarvis if you are in Charleston, WV Sept. 11-14, El Paso-Las Cruces-Juarez area Sept. 17-21 or Philadelphia Sept. 27-30.

Carolyn and her husband Bernie will be in Africa September 4-10, along with Dave Gibson, who served with Mission America for 2 years. Grace Church Eden Prairie, MN is launching a training center for pastors of small daughter churches around Accra, Ghan

Please pray for them and their ministry and don't expect to get the same excellent service when you email info@cityreaching.com until she returns! Jarvis

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CARE ~ Houston, TX: 42 Community Service Areas

We are a little less than 40 days out from our CityFest with Luis Palau and what I believe will be among the best news has already taken place. The attached article doesn't do justice, but it does begin to give you a sense of how widely and deeply the Body of Christ is being mobilized in Houston for compassionate service. Because we approached this Festival as a catalytic event that was built on years of prayer mobilization and in depth research, not only have these projects had real impact, but broadly the teams that conducted them are already asking, "What's next."

We are so encouraged that we can hardly contain ourselves. I had to share this with you.
blessings. jth

Usually when Luis Palau brings his weekend festival featuring Christian musicians, extreme sports, children’s activities and soul-stirring presentations of the gospel to a city one compassion project is selected in which area churches can invest time and money. Usually Palau’s CityFest doesn’t encounter a city with a unified church that is on mission.

Mission Houston’s long investment in uniting the church of the city around first prayer and then research helped lay a foundation that not only saw one third of the budget needed for the $3.7 million festival raised in two months but also allowed for 28 different schools to be blessed by 1900 volunteers through Operation Compassion Houston School Project.

“I don’t think anything of this scope has ever happened,” said Jim Herrington of Mission Houston, one of the initial supporters of CityFest’s coming to Houston and the group that requested multiple ministry projects for the city rather than the usual singular focus CityFest has employed in other festival locations.

“The efforts of these many volunteers will go a long way in improving the learning environment at the schools. We’ve been praying for the success of these projects and that God will open a door within these schools for us to be agents of change on a long-term basis.”

The Luis Palau Festivals are known for offering two full days of free Christian music, extreme sports demonstrations, and children’s activities along with gospel presentations by by a variety of people. While on-site expressions of care such as food drives have been included in previous events in Orlando, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and other locales, Houston is the first site to employ multiple venues for compassionate outreach.

Planning for the Operation Compassion Houston projects began before schools closed last spring. Preliminary interviews with school officials had Operation Compassion team members collecting such information as what administrators thought were the best aspects of the neighborhood and school as well as problem areas for both.

Those initial interviews translated into four August weekends of sweat-filled activities that ranged from landscaping playgrounds, to library refurbishment, to improving teachers lounges and even installing outdoor ponds and AC units. One group of churches in the Galena Park Independent School District served 3299 meals to children over a two week period when it was discovered that the lunch program had depleted its funds with days left in the school’s summer program.

The far-reaching Operation Compassion projects were made possible due to Mission Houston’s long term emphasis on seeing Houston as neighborhoods. Throughout its history, Mission Houston leaders have emphasized Community Service Areas -- 42 in all. Prior to CityFest, CSAs were called upon to unite churches in prayer gatherings and later for people group research.

With some CSA teams already in place more than a third of the needed $3.7 million CityFest budget was raised in only two months -- a record for CityFest’s history in other cities, Herrington explained.
More than half of the 42 CSAs hosted projects on elementary school campuses.

Resources and training for the compassion projects were designed by Mission Houston ministry associate Michael Aceves-Lewis who has devoted most of 2006 to working with CityFest. During the October 7-8 event, he will focus primarily on the on site compassion project Community Care Area offering health and wellness screenings and sponsored by Texas Children’s Hospital.

While two days filled with addressing individual and family health management issues will prove helpful to many, Aceves-Lewis is excited about the long-term implications of the school projects.

“With CityFest we’re really just casting the net. We’ve trained and provided resources but at the end of the day you can’t make people do it. . . . I was really amazed at the scale of the projects. What pleasantly surprised me is that a lot of these churches could do something on their own. They don’t have to collaborate and yet they did,” noted Aceves-Lewis of the teams often reflecting five to ten churches working alongside one another.

“We pitched this as a ‘serve-and-stay’ and they are already taken steps to see what they can do next,” he explained. “Once you know you can’t pretend you don’t know, it’s hard to walk away and not be involved. You want to stay engaged so these children can be all they can be in the school.”

At least 64% of the 20,000 students affected by the projects are considered to be from low income families. According to school officials that fact translates into children who don’t always have the proper uniforms and school supplies as well as family situations that place hardships on learning.

“In all school districts there are things you can spend tax dollars on and things you can’t and school officials asked for the things you can’t,” noted Herrington of the numerous efforts to refurbish playgrounds, provide better lounges for teachers, landscape, and paint.

Funding the various projects came from churches and in kind gifts from business community totaling an estimated $300,000.

For instance, in the Copperfield/CyFair CSA the Local Christian Business Owners were able to collect over $7,300 toward the donation of gift cards for the teachers of Bane Elementary School. Rick Ervin, a local Christian Business owner, presented gift certificates for Basic Office and Teacher Supply Store to all 85 teachers at Bane valued at $86 each.


When Guido Piggot, the project facilitator for this CSA heard school officials report that as the only Hispanic school in that system they often feel forgotten, he immediately spoke up.

“You’ll never be forgotten again,” he told teachers and administrators gathered for a post-project celebration.

Suzy Seidel, prayer coordinator for Copperfield/CyFair CSA, reported, “This school believed us when we said they were not forgotten. They believed us when we said they mattered and what they did mattered. They believed us when we said the church community wanted to remain a part of their future. They believed us enough to allow the door of relationship to remain open to us. Now, we, as representatives of Christ and His Church must remain faithful to those ideals and those words. I look forward to our journey together in that!”

At Piney Point Elementary, more than 400 volunteers showed up to focus on a school facility designed to meet the needs of only half their current population. One project there included building picnic tables so that students would have places to sit during lunch breaks.

But good intentions are not always combined with good weather and these numerous volunteers faced at least one rainstorm that left the landscapers covered in mud but still “smiling from ear to ear,” reported Peter Forbes, Director of Fundraising for CityFest Houston who was volunteering with Memorial Drive Presbyterian.

“What I saw was a lot of people sharing their blood, sweat and tears as well as their manual labor. I saw a lot of connections as new relationships were formed, often across racial lines. And I saw a lot of people having a wonderful time as they realized they could contribute to something much bigger and more significant than themselves. I think for many of us it may have been the first time we ever did anything quite like this. And we loved it!” he said.

At Piney Point, Memorial Drive Presbyterian, Abundant Harvest, and Clubcreek New Life Baptist provided the volunteers, the worship leaders for a service held on the premises of Piney Point the Friday before the labor began on Saturday, and prayer warriors who prayed through two pages of single spaced requests compiled by teachers.

Repeatedly, the Compassion Project leaders voiced gratitude for how churches were able to overcome previous barriers to cooperation and worship, serve and pray alongside one another.

Eleven North Channel churches pulled together to provide 3299 meals for summer school children when Galena Park ISD funds were depleted, powerwashed sidewalks, planted shrubs, and assisted teachers in returning to their classrooms for the fall.

More than $9000 was collected by the churches to fund these efforts and provide school supplies for almost every secondary school in the district.

Recounting the impact of the August compassion projects, Melanie Ayers of Sterlingwood Baptist noted, “The churches in North Channel through the power of Christ have pulled together and boldly stated, ‘We are united, and we do see and care about the needs of our community.’ We made this statement not with our words but with our tremendous generosity and acts of service.”

CityFest is chaired and sponsored by major Houston business, civic and spiritual leaders such as David Weekley of David Weekley Homes; Bob McNair of the Houston Texans; Drayton McLane of the Astros; and over 400 other Houston area churches.

“From its inception, most of us who have been involved in CityFest have viewed it as a catalytic event in an ongoing process. It has truly turned out to be a catalytic event. The recent weekends of compassion projects are unprecedented in Houston and are the most recent evidence of ways that God is using CityFest,” concluded Brian Gowan of Houston Prays and Mission Houston.

To build on that momentum 200 key leaders have been invited to a Mission Houston hosted September luncheon that will address how to carry the impact of the coordinated and cooperative compassion projects into 2007 and beyond.

Current compassion project leaders like Gerry Vander-Lyn of Bridgeway Charitable Foundation echo the need to continue rather than conclude the projects once CityFest concludes.

“I volunteered to be the facilitator for CSA-12 because I knew that this section of the city needed help more than most and I believed that my church, in cooperation with other churches, non-profits, and businesses could make a big difference. I also knew how desperate the public schools are and I knew that even a small amount of help could make a huge difference,” she said.

“In my mind, I had us doing a modest project this year and getting more ambitious next year. Well, we did a year two project in year one! We have made a great beginning.”


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Friday, August 25, 2006

PRAYER ~ "May I Pray for You?"

"May I Pray for You?"
by Os Hillman

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. - Philippians 4:6

I walked into the office. The secretary seemed physically struggling with her breathing and her countenance was different than normal.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

"Allergies," she replied. "Sometimes it gets so bad I can hardly breathe."

"May I pray for you?" I asked.

"Oh, I don't want to take up His time with something as menial as me. I'd rather not waste it on me. You should pray for someone much less fortunate than me. My mother always taught us to pray at the dinner table for those less fortunate than us," she replied. The woman was touched that I would offer to pray for her.

The next day I told her my prayer group was praying for her. She could not believe that I would do such a thing for her.

It is interesting what happens when you offer to pray for someone. Offering to pray for someone can be the most genuine and loving thing you can do for another person. It can be the one means of getting a conversation on a spiritual plane that cuts across religious stigmas and gets to the root of the problem-the person's real need. It immediately reveals your own values and sets the stage for future encounters. All it takes is a little holy boldness to step through the door when the opportunity seems to present itself.

Is there anything too small to pray about? Do we, in fact, bother God when we make any request that is not dealing with only the poor in Calcutta? Paul clearly tells us in this passage that prayer is talking with God. It is having such a relationship with Him that we can bring anything to His attention.

We've all heard the housewife's prayer for a parking spot or other such seemingly trivial prayer requests, but are they trivial to God? If God is our closest and most intimate friend, then it becomes very natural to talk to Him as you would a friend who might be sitting next to you in the car. Yes, God desires to have such close communion with you and me that we can pray about anything-even a parking spot.

As you enter the workplace today, ask a co-worker if you can pray for him about something. You may be surprised at what doors will open as a result.

Share TGIF With A Friend | Past Issues of TGIF


Prayers That Avail Much For The Workplace


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Thursday, August 24, 2006

CARE ~ Passion for God; Compassion for Souls

Exerpts from Doug Stringer's book -

Micah chapter four speaks of the people of God gathering at His holy mountain, and in that passage we see people for all nations - including the lame, the outcast and the afflicted - join together and form a strong nation (Mic. 4:1-7). In verse three we read that the people "shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sward against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more."

This kind of unity will only occur as we focus on the harvest. That is God's primary calling to the church today. In the world we will continue to hear of wars and rumors of wars, but there is group of people who are setting aside their differences. They have a common identity, a common enemy, and a common purpose.

Micah 4: 6-7 speaks of the kinds of people who will make up the harvest: "In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast, and those whom I have afflicted; I will make the lame a remnant, and the outcast a strong nation." What a beautiful sight that will be! Already the Lord is beginning to gather His people in such a way, taking outcasts and making us into "a strong nation."===>Click headline for a more complete list of exerpts . . .

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SHARE ~ Internet Evangelism

“MySpace vs. ChristianSpace”

Internet Evangelism Coalition Explores Social Networking Websites and Their Potential for Evangelism

(Chicago, IL) MySpace.com, Xanga.com, facebook.com and bebo.com are just four of the many Internet websites that have developed recently purporting to offer a place for people (particularly young people) to connect with others in an online “community.” What does this phenomenon mean for Christians: for Christian young people who are involved in this type of online networking and for denominations and ministries involved in online evangelism?

This fall’s Internet Evangelism Coalition (IEC) Annual Meeting (September 20-21, Chicago, IL) will seek an answer to that question with a report on how one major Christian ministry is responding, followed by a panel discussion by Internet Evangelism experts who will look at how Christians should respond to this online trend.

Dr. Sterling Huston, Chair of the IEC Executive Committee, emphasizes that the IEC Annual Meeting “deals with cutting edge issues” faced by the Christian web community such as social networking websites. Huston says the IEC meeting offers a unique opportunity for Internet Evangelism practitioners to network and learn from each other about evangelism on the web, as well as plan together for collaborative partnerships to make the most of web evangelism-related resources and personnel.

Social Networking Websites
David LeFlore, Vice President of Evangelism/Outreach, American Tract Society, will share how The American Tract Society (ATS) is taking the Gospel message to Myspace.com through an evangelistic page within the Myspace.com community that ATS reports has already seen several decisions for Christ.

Following his presentation LeFlore, along with Robby Richardson, Director of Internet Ministries for Gospel Communications International, Craig von Buseck, Ministries Director at CBN.com and John Sorensen, Executive Vice President for Evangelism Explosion International, will participate in a panel discussion called “ChristianMySpace” and “MySpace.com/Agapespace.” The panel will address questions such as “Should Christians create a Christian MySpace.com?” and “Should Christians embrace these types of sites and see them as open mission fields to share Christ?”

International Internet Evangelism
The guest speaker at this years’ IEC meeting is Gordon Robertson, vice president of Internet Media for the Christian Broadcasting Network, whose September 20 presentation will be “
Using the Internet for International Evangelism.” Robertson is also Vice President of The 700 Club; Vice President of CBN WorldReach Asia; Founder and President of CBN Asia, Inc.; Founder and President of the Asian Center for Missions.

Other speakers include:

· David Hackett, Associate Director, visionSynergy: The network of leaders of non-English speaking evangelistic websites continues to grow. David will report on the development of the International Internet Evangelism Network and its future.

· Debra Brown, President and CEO, Brown Governance: Debra will provide an update on 2006 Internet Evangelism Day and a look at how this event is raising the level of awareness about the opportunities for evangelism on the Internet.

· Andy Fish, Project Director, National Office, Campus Crusade for Christ: Andy will give an overview of www.storyspot.com which equips believers to share personal stories that communicate an element of the Gospel. The objective is that these stories about a person's relationship with God will become an extension of their online identity that creates opportunities for the gospel.

MEETING DETAILS
The 2006 IEC Annual Meeting begins on September 20 at
11:30 a.m. with lunch and concludes on September 21 at 11:00 a.m.

The Registration Fee for the Annual Meeting is $125 and includes 3 meals and refreshment breaks.

The IEC meeting will be held at Marriott Chicago O’Hare (8535 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631). Rooms are available for $124 plus tax per night. The deadline for making hotel reservations is August 31. Hotel reservations may be made by going to www.gospelcon.org/hotel (note the “n” in the address). (The IEC group rate is part of a package with another conference, Gospel Communications, International.)

# # #

Media Note: Dr. Sterling Huston is available for interviews concerning the Internet Evangelism Coalition’s Annual Meeting. Please contact Naomi Frizzell at naomi@webevangelism.com or call 1.904.262.5202.

•Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.missionamerica.org

CARE ~ Re-Examining Authentic Justice

The Great Giveaway
Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from Big Business, Parachurch Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism, and Other Modern Maladies


David E. Fitch
Has the contemporary evangelical church given away much of what it means to be the body of Christ? Indeed it has, argues David Fitch. The North American church has largely conceded its unique calling by relinquishing traditional church functions and adopting modern methods. As a result, the church's role in spiritual formation, leadership, worship, and other essential functions has become barely distinguishable from other societal institutions. (An exerpt begins below...)

Justice (Our Understanding Of)

Practicing Redeemed Economics:
Christian Community
in but Not of Capitalism

For anyone united to Christ, there is a new creation: the old order has gone; a new order has already begun.
2 Corinthians 5:17 REB

We were a small gathering of about forty-five people meeting in an old church on Sunday nights in Chicago. This night, a person stood up during congregational prayers and announced to everyone that she had cancer. She told us that she needed an operation and had no health insurance and did not know how she was going to pay for it. No one knew how to react, so we just prayed for her. To my knowledge, no one did anything else significant that night to help this woman. Prayer is good but empty if we separate it from social justice. Several months later this woman with cancer cautiously asked someone in the church to second mortgage his house and help her pay for her operation. That person responded with the question, “I don’t own my house free and clear, besides have you second mortgaged your house?” This perhaps was a legitimate question but no one, including the woman with cancer, would dare get involved in discerning the answer to this question. It seemed too big of a threat, not only to the homeowner but also to the woman with cancer. As a result, this woman with cancer was basically left alone with her economic problems despite being part of a close community. This same community, however, could get enthusiastic about volunteering aid to the local soup kitchen, offering financial help to the homeless, or walking miles to raise funds for pro-life and anti-poverty campaigns. But we did not know what to do when someone in our own community stood up and announced such a great need. Eighty thousand dollars (the cost of the operation) would surely have bankrupted us all. It seemed that this woman threatened everyone else’s financial survival. She put all of our own individual securities at risk and we were paralyzed. We didn’t have a way to “be the church” in the moment of her need. We didn’t know how to discern justice or mercy, what we should do, or what she needed to do.

I contend this episode is a metaphor for what happens in various and sundry ways in the majority of North American evangelical churches. Larger congregations may have benevolent funds to help out such a woman, but rarely do we take communal financial responsibility for one another. Larger evangelical churches may have committees to meet needs of hurting people in times of emergency, but rarely do we engage in what it means to restore justice and righteousness among us as a body of Christ in terms of economic disorder, conflict, and other issues of injustice. Yet when it comes to ministering social justice outside of the church, evangelicals are more active today than they have ever been before.1

I contend this disparity is dangerous because it leaves our churches prone to compromising the justice of Jesus Christ in society at large. If we do not practice justice among ourselves as Christians under Christ’s lordship, we will not have the skills to discern it out in society either===>Click headline to access entire chapter . . .

•Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.missionamerica.org

Friday, August 18, 2006

PRAYER ~ Focused Prayer on the Miracle Mile

Prayer and Evangelism

Ever Hear of the Miracle Mile?
For racing fans and those living near Indianapolis, the term miracle mile immediately makes us think of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Indianapolis 500 and the Nascar Brickyard 400 are held each year. But there's a church near Indianapolis--Rainbow Acres Church of God--where that term connotes something different.

Its Miracle Mile is a circle one-mile in radius from the church, where it has a focused prayer and evangelism effort.

The goal is to have every business, school, and family within that mile prayed for. They have done things like prayerwalks and pray drives through neighborhoods, getting yearbooks from the high school to pray for teachers and students, going to businesses and asking how they can bless that business in prayer.

As you think of outreach and prayer, perhaps this is a fit for your church. Depending on the size of your church, this plan will mean a joint effort of both the prayer committee and the evangelism committee. This has to be virtually all-church or it will be difficult to maintain.

  1. Map out a workable area around your church (so many blocks, the housing development you are in, or 1 to 2 miles, etc.) that will become your church's focus for prayer and evangelism.
  2. Give the effort a catchy name--something that would stick with people.
  3. Plot a multi-front strategy. You need to collect data. What businesses, schools and people reside within our area? How do we collect names of owners, students and teachers, and residents (www.anywho.com can give you names of residents)? What prayer efforts will we put before people. How can we keep them running? What evangelism events or efforts will we couple with the prayer? How will we report successes to people? How will we keep reminding people to pray (posters, announcements, a bulletin board, etc.)?
  4. Plan a launch Sunday where the pastor preaches on prayer evangelism and this project is presented.
  5. Keep it fresh over the long haul. Many people will get excited and join in at first. And you can keep up a fairly strong measure of involvement if you continually mention the project with posters, bulletin reminders, power point announcements, etc. But if you never add anything different or new to the mix, people's interest level will fade. Make sure every three to six months you are throwing something into the project that will add new life to it. ===>Click headline to access webiste . . .Courtesy of theChurch Paryer Leader's Network

•Become part of the Mission America Coalition ~ Visit: http://www.missionamerica.org

Thursday, August 17, 2006

CARE ~ Rcik Warren ACTs UP for AIDS

TORONTO, CANADA (ANS) -- It is a friendship that many still find hard to believe.

David Miller is one of the most well-known AIDS activist who works with the controversial group, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and author of The Purpose-Driven Life.

This unlikely pair met up again recently at the 16th Annual AIDS Conference in Toronto. When I told Miller, who is HIV positive, that this alliance shocked many people, he agreed to talk about his friendship with Warren, who was there with his wife, Kay, and also about his hard-hitting views about Christianity.

“Well it’s interesting that people in the church are amazed and shocked about it,” he began. “If Jesus Christ were alive today I think he would be a member of ACT-UP. Christ ‘acted up’; Christ made a big scene in the temple from what I understand. From my very vague knowledge of the New Testament, Christ stood up against tyranny and oppression…Christ believed in life.
“Rick Warren is a follower of Christ. I am not going to profess myself to be a Christian -- I’m not yet. I have thought about it I’m still thinking about it.”

Miller went on to say that he believes that it is wrong that so many people are not receiving “essential life-saving medication” describing this as “wrong and evil and horrendous and must be addressed immediately.”

He added, “Rick Warren is saying the same thing…I think Rick Warren has the potential to be the Martin Luther King of the AIDS crisis. I’ve said that before and I’m saying it again. Rick appears to be a very sincere man and I consider him to be a friend.

“Rick has made certain considerations towards this epidemic that I don’t think any other church leader has.

“The religious leaders that haven’t spoken up are the ones who need to be worried. Their congregations need to be worried, all over the world. Where are children whose parents are dead from AIDS? What do you think is going to happen to those children? Are they going to end up in rebel armies with an AK47 in their hand at the age of 14 so they can get a bowl of porridge?

“All over the world women who are faithful to their husbands, whose husbands are not faithful to them are being infected with AIDS and their children are watching their mothers die.”
Miller concluded by saying, “Rick Warren is filling a void. He’s a big guy and he can fill up a lot of space in this epidemic physically as well as metaphorically. I need Rick Warren here at the conference. People with AIDS need Rick Warren here. Rick Warren has a lot of learning to do and a lot of growth to experience, but Rick Warren also has the potential to change the course of this epidemic as much as Bill Gates has….

“Rick Warren changes churches and churches can change the course of the epidemic. But they have to come to us they can’t just come and say, ‘Hi, we want to change the AIDS crisis.’ That’s difficult to do because it is complex and it’s sensitive and it’s painful and it’s harsh and it’s not always very comfortable.”

With that, David Miller was off, possibly to lead yet another protest.

Note: An MP 3 audio version of this interview is available for broadcast on radio stations. Just request it from Dan Wooding at danjuma@aol.com.
I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
Dan Wooding is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 42 books, the latest of which is his autobiography, "From Tabloid to Truth", which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to
www.fromtabloidtotruth.com. danjuma1@aol.com.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Coaching ~ Holistic Balance


Releasing Your Church's Potential
Holistic Balance in Leadership Development Page 2-32
To evaluate your own balance in holistic mentoring, use the following worksheet for each leader.
Leader's Name: ________________________Date: _____
1. Being -
I have helped this person in the growth and development of character in the following ways:
2. Doing -
I have trained this person in the following ministry skills:
3. Knowing -
I have helped impart the following understandings to this person:
Reflection
1. The area of development I am strongest in is: _________
2. The area of development I need more intentional involvement in is:_________________________________
3. I will take the following steps to balance my personal mentoring with this person: _________________________
Releasing Your Church's Potential
A Natural Church Development Resource Kit
for Pastors and Church Leaders - Guidebook
Robert E. Logan & Thomas T. Clegg with Jeanette Buller
ChurchSmart Resources 1998
Permission to post from http://www.ChurchSmart.com


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MAC Partners ~ Impacting Schools

CEAI HOME
Christian Educators Association International is a professional association for Christian Educators in both the public and private school. Most of our members are in public schools and we are, in fact, the only association specifically serving Christian Educators in our public schools and have done so since 1953. Our focus is to encourage, equip, and empower Christian Educators…now estimated to total over 650,000…to make a positive impact in the schools where they serve.

We provide our members with resources that help them understand the true meaning of Separation of Church and State...that the state can not inhibit the expression of Faith within our public schools. Since schools are the one thing most communities have in common and are the gathering place for families, making schools one of the focuses as we Love our Communities to Christ just makes sense. Our vision statement to "demonstrate God's Love and Truth to the educational community."
We can be the source of written resources or human resources as needed. Contact information follows:
Finn Laursen, Executive Director, Christian Educators
www.ceai.org
Ohio Regional Office
30311 Clemens Road, Suite 30, Westlake, Ohio 44145
440-250-9566 office / 440-250-9584 fax
finn@ceai.org
440-667-4548 cell


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Thursday, August 10, 2006

How Do We Keep LC2C From Becoming A Program?

If you are planning for a year,
sow rice.

If you are planning for a decade,
plant trees.

If you are planning for a lifetime,
educate people.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

SHARE ~ "Pray ball!’ Faith Nights

Pray ball!’ Faith Nights debut in the majors
By Kevin Tibbles, Correspondent, NBC News


BUFFALO, N.Y. - Baseball fans have always thronged for the crack of the bat. But today, many also come as fans of faith — to hear Christian bands and player testimonials, even hug a Christian mascot, as America's pastime teams up with local churches for what's called "Faith Night."

"When people hear the term 'Faith Night,' they automatically picture a Billy Graham crusade," says Brent High, a sports promoter with a group called Third Coast. "And this is nowhere near what these events are."

Before a AAA Buffalo Bisons game, 1,500 extra tickets are sold to people like Noel Harris, who has brought his kids for some pre-game fellowship.

"Events like this are the perfect opportunity to show people, 'Hey, we don't all stand on the corner and wave a Bible and say if you don't come to Jesus, you're going to hell,'" says Harris, who attends the Love Joy Gospel Church.

For teams like the Bisons, whose game attendance is low, Faith Nights can be a godsend.

"We're working together to bring our communities together," says Bisons Vice President and General Manager Mike Buczkowski. "Baseball is a sport that unifies people of all walks of life, all religions."

Still, some question whether faith and fair balls are a good fit.

"When a baseball team starts to align itself with Christianity, or for that matter with Buddhism, or Hinduism or any other religion, it runs the risk of alienating people who are from other faiths," says Stephen Prothero of Boston University.

Traditionally, Faith Nights thrived in the Bible Belt at minor league games, but with their growing popularity, they have spread far beyond the Mason-Dixon Line.

And this season, for the first time, Faith Nights have been called up to the majors. The Atlanta Braves are hosting three "Faith Days" this summer, featuring testimony from players like star pitcher John Smoltz.

"The Atlanta Braves have done the best job possible to keep this truly distinct and separate from the baseball game itself," says Braves Vice President Derek Schiller.

Back in Buffalo, a local church choir belts out the “Star Spangled Banner” as Faith Night's fans go to the ballpark in search of a spiritual experience.
© 2006 MSNBC Interactive

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Monday, August 07, 2006

SHARE ~ Adapting Crusade Evangelism

Harvest Crusades Adapt to Change, But Message is Timeless
By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- There’s more music, more video enhancements, and even pod casting—something unheard of when Harvest Crusades began 17 years ago, but the clarion call of the gospel remains the same.

“Our message and our strategy never really changes for going into a community,” says John Collins, executive director of Harvest Ministries. “Our responsibility is to proclaim the gospel and it’s the Lord’s working that brings them to salvation,” he says.

Greg Laurie

Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie returns to Angel Stadium of Anaheim August 11-13 with a host of popular Christian music artists including Newsboys, Crystal Lewis, MercyMe, David Crowder Band, Joy Williams, Todd Agnew, Kutless, and Hank Nelson. Saturday night’s Harvest will include an event organizers call ‘Amplify,’ geared especially to teens and young adults.

In an effort to stay relevant, organizers utilize several cutting-edge approaches. “We’re embracing new technologies like podcasting as part of our overall mandate to take the gospel out to the whole world,” Collins notes. Last year, 50,000 people from 61 countries heard the Anaheim Crusade via the internet. Since 1998, more than 500,000 have downloaded Harvest events on their ipods or computers.

Greg Laurie will also use pre-made videos to communicate his ideas, and music will take a larger chunk of the evening than it did 17 years ago.

“We attempt to adapt from city to city and from culture to culture,” Collins says. “We want to be as relevant as possible in whatever environment we’re in.” In 2000, Harvest Crusades received an invitation to Australia for their first overseas event. Since 1990, some 3.3 million attended Harvest Crusades in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

One thing that resists change is Laurie’s reliance on the scriptures. “We stand very firm on what the Bible says,” Collins notes. “Greg will conversationally open up the scriptures and say, ‘Here’s where we get these ideas.’” Often Laurie explores themes that transcend cultural differences, such as ‘Why are we here…what is the meaning of life…what happens when we die?’

Typically, 10-12 percent of attendees come forward at the end of an event to make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. “We still have the greatest response on youth night,” Collins says. “Greg doesn’t change his style to appeal to a younger audience,” he says. “He’s as effective today as he was 17 years ago.”

There is no denying Laurie’s gifting. “There is an evangelistic gift in the scriptures,” Collins notes. “That gift is unique and it’s not common to everybody—it’s not proportional,” he maintains.

Some believe Laurie’s gifting makes him a logical successor to Billy Graham, but Collins resists that conclusion. “When the crusades were first starting people talked about that,” Collins recalls. “But Greg has always said it would take 100 men to do what Billy Graham has done,” he says.

“There will always be a need for evangelists and for Christians to come together in large settings,” he adds. “We see it in the Book of Acts and it will always be a part of the church’s mandate.”

Southern California Harvest Schedule (events are free and open to the public)

Greg Laurie preaching at Harvest Crusade 2005

Friday, August 11 at 7 p.m. Friday evening will feature a message from evangelist Greg Laurie and music from Crystal Lewis, Todd Agnew, Joy Williams, and the Harvest Crusade Band.

Saturday, August 12 at 7 p.m is called Amplify (Harvest Youth Event). Amplify, a Harvest concert event, will feature the David Crowder Band, Kutless, and Hawk Nelson, as well as a message from evangelist Greg Laurie.

Sunday, August 13 -- Sunday evening will feature a message from evangelist Greg Laurie and music from the newsboys, MercyMe, and the Harvest Crusade Band.

The Southern California Harvest begins at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (gates open at 5:30 p.m.), and 6 p.m. on Sunday night (gates open at 4:30 p.m.), and is free of charge. Angel Stadium charges $10 for parking. Each night of the event will be interpreted in Spanish, Korean, Arabic, and Vietnamese, and signing for the deaf will be provided.


MEDIA NOTE: For more information about the Southern California Harvest event or Greg Laurie, or to schedule an interview with a Harvest representative, contact Laura McGowan at (847) 328-8009 or laura@lauramcgowan.com.


Mark Ellis is a Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service. He is also an associate pastor in Laguna Beach, CA. Contact Ellis at markellis4@cox.net



** You may republish this story with proper attribution.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Coaching ~ Making Meetings Matter

Harvard Business Review June 2006
Off-Sites That Work
by Bob Frisch and Logan Chandler

Whether convening at a resort, at a Marriott around the corner, or in a conference room down the hall, almost all management teams spend a day to a week every year away from their regular responsibilities to plan for the future.

The greater expectations, the higher stakes, and the unique nature of strategy discussions require special planning to ensure that meaningful and constructive conversations happen.

We've distilled some best practices from our experience that meeting designers can use to make the most of this annual opportunity.

*Preparing for the Meeting
A strategic off-site's success is largely determined by what happens before it convenes. To make sure the meeting generates tangible results, its designer must do three things, First, answer the most basic questions: Who should be there? Talking about what, when, and why?

Second, compile and distribute relevant data. Third, create a structure for the meeting that will compel progress.

The basic questions. Most of the mistakes meeting designers make at this point stem from a faulty assumption: If you schedule a meeting, invite top leaders, and perhaps add an outside expert, a strategy off-site will produce a set of strategic priorities. In fact, that's backwards.

You must first understand where you are in the strategy process and determine what outcomes you want from the meeting.

Many off-sites derail because the meeting designer lacked the discipline to restrict the scope and number of issues to be considered. At the conclusion of the off-site, the company ends up with a laundry list of a dozen or more next steps but not a coherent strategic course of action.
...in many cases strategy is more matter of defining what you aren't going to do than deciding what you are going to do.

Another mistake companies frequently make is to invite too many participants. The number and identity of invitees should be based on the scope and objectives of the meeting.

If most companies have too many participants, they have too few off-site sessions. It's far more effective to break the off-site into an initial two-day meeting and a one-day follow-up session a month later or a series of subsequent half- or full-day meetings each quarter.

Structuring the off-site as multiple sessions also allows participants time to gather data and explore unforeseen issues that have arisen. Instead of giving off-the-cuff answers to difficult questions, team members can bring the fruits of their considered thinking to subsequent meetings. And when you hold more than one session, you can vary the size of the group to best fit the goals.

The relevant data ... Instead of overloading people (and practically guaranteeing they won't finish the assigned reading), companies would do well to create a fact book - a compilation of data about the company and its external environment - which provides a common foundation for the conversation.

Additional reading should be chosen selectively: a single book or a few chapters or articles that are relevant to the objectives.

A focused assignment forces participants to think in new ways about relevant issues and gives the team a frame of reference for the conversation.

The meeting is not the place to plod through data; in fact, Allstate has a rule against walking participants through material at the meetings that should have been circulated beforehand. "If we're going to be together, we're going to be problem solving or making decisions, not having ten people going through decks of PowerPoint slides," says Tom Wilson, the company's president and COO.

The right Structure ... Leaders planning a strategy off-site often create an agenda made up only of blocks of time devoted to various topics. Naively believing that creativity is synonymous with formlessness, they leave the discussion open. But experience shows that this rarely helps move the meeting forward. A structured agenda is much more effective - one that includes not only the sequence of topics and the time allotted to each but also objectives for each segment.

*At The Meeting
Structuring an off-site isn't the same as staging it. Unlike, say, board meetings, which can be as formal and stylized as Kabuki theater, strategic off-sites should be designed to induce genuine engagement, not ritualistic agreement.

As anyone who's been anesthetized by a hundred PowerPoint slides at a strategy off-site can testify, too many companies wrongly believe that strategy conversations follow naturally from copious data.

The momentum of the discussion ... Closure doesn't always mean reaching a decision; it can simply mean completing an important discussion, agreeing to undertake further study before making a decision, or even agreeing to disagree.

Alignment, the bridge from strategy to execution, shouldn't be confused with consensus, which describes an outcome everyone can live with because conflict has been avoided.

*After the Meeting

Follow-through begins right at the end of the off-site.

Best practices at this stage - develop action steps, clearly communicate the strategy, keep the initiatives on course.

By the end of most meetings, participants have simply run out of steam. But in well-designed off-sites, the momentum that comes from exploration, debate, and alignment carries over into a commitment to implementation. In fact, one qualitative measure of an off-site's effectiveness is how eagerly the executive team members embrace follow-up.

To give a strategy legs, the company's executives must first agree on an action plan that specifies roles, responsibilities, milestones, metrics, and reporting frequencies.

The team must also establish follow-up mechanisms to make sure initiatives stay on course and within budget.

*The Next Conversation

"An organization is nothing more than a network of conversation," says Rich's Duffy Smith.
Strategic off-sites are where the most important conversations for the future of the business occur.

As top management teams experience the power of well-designed off-sites, they become more adept at doing the work of strategy together.

If your executive team spends four days a year rafting down rivers together, you'll eventually get good at rafting down rivers. Spend four days a year having well-designed strategy conversations together, and within a few years you'll get equally good at revealing, discussing, and resolving strategic issues, not just at your off-sites but every time team members meet.

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Coaching ~ Look for Coachable Moments

HE IDENTIFIED COACHABLE MOMENTS
Do you want to be healed?
John 5:6

One of the fastest-growing movements in the country is personal coaching. Whereas in the past coaching was limited to the ranks of athletes, now everyone either has or wants a coach, or mentor.

When you look at how Jesus trained his team, it was not through a highly polished, spiral-bound, or even Power Point presentation. It was through a three-year series of individual "coachable moments." Any teacher can tell you that you cannot teach a student who does not want to learn, and Jesus certainly encountered his share of those. But he knew, and was trained to identify, those moments in people's lives when their hearts and minds were open to learn new ways of relating to the world.

Coachable moments come only at points of vulnerability, humility, hunger, fear, and need. For example, the adulterous woman about to be stoned to death was vulnerable, humbled, fearful, and in need. Jesus identified the coachable moment for her, and said, "Go and sin no more."
As the crowds departed after hearing some of Jesus' challenging statements, Jesus, rather than feel himself a failure, turned it into a coachable moment for his own staff, asking them, "Do you also want to leave?" Teambuilders recognize the opportunity for coaching even in moments of what look like personal crisis.

A coach must know not only what to teach, but, perhaps more important, when. This is what makes a coach a coach rather than, say a boss. "One man had an illness which had lasted thirty-eight years, and when Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been in that condition a long time, he said, 'Do you want to be well again?'" (John 5:5-6) Jesus identified coachable moments.

Questions
  1. Can you identify some coachable moments in your life when you were really (finally) ready to learn?
  2. Think back on a recent coachable moment you experienced with a member of your team. What were the circumstances?
  3. How can you, as a coach, be poised for coachable moments when they come?
  4. What is the difference between a coach and a boss?
Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork
by Laurie Beth Jones
Published by Crown Business, New York, New York 2002

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Coaching ~ Transacting or Transforming?

Teach Your Team to Fish: Using Ancient Wisdom for Inspired Teamwork
by Laurie Beth Jones
Published by Crown Business, New York, New York 2002, p.111

Teach Your Team to Fish (paperback)

He Taught Transformation, Not Transactions
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Matthew 4:19
Transactions are lateral exchanges between people- be it goods or services. Transactions occur every time two people engage in commerce of any kind. I give you this in exchange for that. Transactions are obvious and literal, commonplace and easy to spot. In contrast, transformations are invisible, uplifting, transcendent experiences that involve a fundamental shift or change.
Most transactions occur because people are seeking transformation. The drug deal that takes place in a backlit alley is a transaction, an exchange of goods, for a desired transformation. The person buying the drugs is seeking transformation from one state of mind to another. The cosmetics industry is a multibillion-dollar enterprise that has women lining up at counters, transacting for mascara or makeup, because they are seeking transformation from feeling plain to feeling beautiful.
Successful teams are those that understand that the desired end product is transformation, not transactions. Jesus embodied this principle in every encounter.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

LC2C Pilot City Profiles

Loving Our Communities to Christ Pilot Cities

In December 2005, Christian leaders gathered for the official announcement of the first nine “Loving Our Communities to Christ” (LC2C) Pilot Cities that will serve as the “proving grounds” for collaborative ministry. During the pilot phase, leaders are praying and working together within a collaborative and holistic strategy for reaching their city with the Gospel message. The experiences of these nine diverse cities in the pilot phase will give insight and prepare the way for LC2C efforts in future cities.

US Map of Pilot Cities


===>Click headline to access city profiles . . .

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