Tuesday, October 31, 2006

SHARE ~ Steps or Strategy?

Witnessing Winzone: A Soulwinners Handbook

Most of this book takes a traditional approach to witnessing, hence the subtitle, The Soulwinner's Handbook. However, chapter two, The Bibilcal Strategy to Win Souls, presents a "hidden" scriptural strategy rooted in receptivity, questions, stories ... an approach used by Jesus and Philip the apostle that is much more appropriate for a post-modern culture. Read pages 23-38.

===>Click headline to access book information. . .

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Monday, October 30, 2006

CARE ~ Be Care-full With Guests

First Impressions Last Forever

How Does Your Church Measure Up?

A few years ago, Kathy and I were in Williamsburg, Virginia on vacation. We awoke on Sunday morning and decided to visit a church near where we were staying. Once at the church, we tried to enter what looked like the worship center main entrance, but the first two big wooden doors we tried to open were locked. I could hear people on the other side, so I knocked. The door opened. The greeter came out and said, “You can’t come in. We’re full.” she then went back in and closed the door. It was done rudely and we were shocked.

It was at that moment that I understood how Joseph must have felt at the Inn when he was told it was full. I stood there for a second thinking about the poor pastor serving in a church like this one. We started to walk away and try another church. Just then, someone else on the other side of the big wooden door came out and caught us. He told us they were having a special musical that morning and while the downstairs was full, there was space upstairs. He offered to take us around to a side entrance of the worship center. He did not, however, offer an apology. We went and enjoyed the presentation anyway. If we are ever in that town again, I doubt we would ever return to that church. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make sure it is one that gives God glory, not shame.

A church that is so comforting to its members can be intimidating to a guest. Church members know their church grounds and building like they know their homes because it is a second home to them. It is a place where they regularly meet with their brothers and sisters in Christ. But it is not like that for the first-time guests. Guests can be full of questions and anxieties. Where do we park? Which of the many doors do we use? What’s on the other side of that door? Where do we go when we get inside? Where is the nursery? Where is the worship center? Are the people going to be friendly? Am I late or early? The more of these questions you answer from the moment they drive on to the property, the more comfortable they will feel.

You may think to yourself that being a first-time guest is no big deal. Through the years, I have had many visitors tell me otherwise. Many have driven into the parking lot and kept right on going because they were not sure where they were suppose to enter the building or park. I have had people tell me they have been trying to get up the courage to come visit for up to eight months and got to the parking lot and went back home. You might think this is odd behavior. Let me explain just a few scenarios which could be occurring. In some cases, they are not Christians and God is tugging at their hearts and they feel they can find the answers at church. Others have been out of church for awhile and feel like it is time to come back. That first-time visit can be delayed for months if we don’t make it as easy as possible for them to come in. So how do we do that? The answer is really very simple. The church needs good signage and the guest needs to be treated in a special manner. These two suggestions alone can solve about 95 percent of the problem. I’m in a different church almost every week with my ministry and 90 percent of the churches I’ve visited this year, did not provide adequate signage and attention to visitors. Interestingly, those churches that did handle that issue very well were the ones growing.

From the moment a guest arrives on the property, have signage directing them to reserved parking for first and second time guests. If you are a large church with many people coming in at once, have a sign that says turn on hazard lights if you are a guest. Or you could have them turn down their sun visor. Then a parking attendant can wave them over, greet them and direct them to guest parking. The guest parking needs to be marked and as close as possible to the door you want them to enter. That first door they enter should be glass if at all possible. That way they can see what is on the other side before they open it. For many people their heart is already beating from the stress of meeting new people and to walk up to a big wooden door that keeps them from seeing what is coming next just adds to the stress.

Make sure there are signs visible from the guest parking area to direct them to the guest information center. Place the guest information center as close to the door they are entering as possible. Your building should have signage throughout that directs a guest to all major areas including Worship Center, nursery, restrooms, kitchen, fellowship hall, gym and classrooms for children, youth and adults. At all entrances and hall intersections, place signs that direct to every major place down that hall. Every room should have a sign telling what takes place there. Don’t place it on the door but to the side of the door so it can be read if the door is opened or closed. You can use special names such as The Zone (grades 10-12) but always tell what age, grade or group it is for. If you have separate buildings, make sure each one is identified outside as well.

Your people are the key to making a guest feel welcome. My ideal welcoming team starts when the guest drives on the lot. Have someone near the main entrance to point the visitors to their special spot (they have hazard lights on or visor down). Then someone meets them at guest parking, welcomes them and points them or guides them to the visitor entrance. The next person to smile and greet them is outside the door to the guest information area. Then someone inside takes them to the visitor information area. Someone takes them from the visitor information area to the nursery, classes or worship center depending on where they are going. If they are going to the worship center, the usher greets them and helps them find a seat. If you have adult Sunday School classes or small groups, divide the worship center into sections and have a designated SS Class or small group assigned to sit in their section each week. Because they sit together each week in the same section, they will know who is new to their section and it gives them a chance to get to know the guest and invite them to their small group or SS class. If you do this and genuinely care about them, they most likely will return and in many cases come to that SS class or small group.

You might be thinking that you do not have enough people to do all that or enough visitors to assign that many greeters. You may be wondering how to get started. In order of priority, I’d assign SS classes or small groups to sections to relate to the guests, then ushers to greet them, then someone at the information desk, then the greeter outside the main door, then the person inside the main door, then the person at the guest parking and then the person at the main parking entrance.

Make sure your congregation goes out of its way to great new people. I was in a church recently that only had 40 people in attendance. I was introduced as a special guest of the pastor. Yet the only people who talked to us after the service were the pianist, who is not a member, and the pastor. I know now why they only run 40 and why everyone the pastor leads to the Lord only comes once before they go to another church. Make sure you make a good first impression because it lasts a long time for good or ill.

Mike Sparks
Pastors Heart 2 Heart
5205 Tomahawk Tr.
NC 27610
919-773-9656 Work
919-631-1641 Cell

Mentoring ~ Prayer Summits for Pastors

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PRAYER ~ Prayer Keeps Unchurhced

5 Church Habits That Reach and Keep the Unchurched

Learn what effective churches are doing to connect with the unchurched, according to a groundbreaking seven-year study by Thom Rainer and a Southern Seminary research team.

1) Habit of Cultural Awareness. Churches that want to reach out to the unchurched are highly intentional in bridging culture. They understand the culture but do not compromise with it.

2) Habit of Effective Preaching. Effective church pastors spend an average of 20 hours a week on sermons—including the task itself. Among ineffective churches, pastors spend an average of four hours.

3) Habit of Prayer. Churches that pray together and pray often keep their new members. New members are called and told they are specifically being prayed for. The survey found 83% of effective churches have corporate prayer ministries that are operational and emphasized.

4) Habit of High Expectations. There's a direct correlation between how much is demanded of a new member and how long the new member stays active in the church. Churches that expect much receive much; churches that expect little receive little. New member classes are vital to keeping people in the church.

5) Habit of Risk Taking. Effective churches truly act on faith and do what seems to be risky in the world’s eyes—even in the church’s eyes—that other churches do not. These churches have a willingness to lose members. They do not make decisions based upon who might leave as a result of the decision, but based upon, “Who will we reach?”

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

CARE ~ Categories or Compassion?

“…the most powerful things happen when the church surrenders its desire to convert people and convince them to join. It is when the church gives itself away in radical acts of service and compassion, expecting nothing in return, that the way of Jesus is most vividly put on display. To do this, the church must stop thinking about everybody primarily in categories of in or out, saved or not, believer or nonbeliever.” (167)

Repainting the Christian Faith

Rob Bell

Zondervan, 2005, 194 pp. ISBN 0-310-27308-0

Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, MI, a church that began with 1000 people the first Sunday and uses no marketing plan. The book is a rambling, broad-ranging survey of Rob’s spiritual thinking-in-progress on repainting the Christian faith for this generation===>Click headline for dozens of more quotes from the book . . .

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Coaching ~ Interview with Coach to Fortune 500 Companies

Bill ZIpp

Coaching: The Old, New Way of Leading . . .

1. Bill, coaching has become a buzz word in Christian ministry lately. Are we merely copying a recent trend in the business world?

No. Coaching is as old as time. God came into the garden to confront Adam as a good coach would, asking questions. “Where are you?” were his first words and “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:9, 10) Jesus coached his disciples repeatedly in the same way. “Who do people say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?” (Luke 9:18 – 20) are two of the many questions he asked to develop his disciples.

2. Some would say that coaching is just another term for consulting or counseling or training. Would you agree?

No, I wouldn’t. Coaching is a collaborative relationship focused on the future. A consultant is a content expert whose primary role is to bring his or her expertise to bear on a particular problem. I do not have a collaborative relationship with my mechanic. He know cars, I don’t. I pay him for his expertise. And, like my mechanic, a skilled consultant is invaluable. When you need expertise in a specific area, find the best consultant available.

A counselor is more collaborative than a consultant may be, but the focus of a counselor is primarily on the past not the future. That is the key difference between the two. Again, like the consultant, and good counselor is invaluable when tangled webs from the past need to be unwound. Coaching sometimes will reach an impasse that only a counselor or skilled therapist can break through.

Finally, training differs from coaching in that training has a set agenda based on the curriculum being delivered. The curriculum of coaching is the context of a leader’s life and ministry and is often a moving target that no classroom can address. Coaching, however, can offer great follow-up to training as the details of a particular program are applied to a leader’s individual context.

3. What makes a good coach? What skills are necessary? Is one personality type better suited to coaching? What type of experience is beneficial?

In the coach training I deliver, I help coaches develop these six essential coaching skills:

1. Asking Questions

2. Active Listening

3. Action Planning

4. Providing Accountability

5. Giving Affirmation

6. Advising (with caution)

Every one of these six is critical to the coaching process to achieve world class results. Some coaches listen better and other coaches plan better with their clients. Both listening and planning—and the other four essentials—must be done, and done well, for a person to excel at coaching. That is why there is no set personality type for coaching. Coaching is a skilled-based practice that we bring our whole self to, sometimes holding back, sometimes giving more as the situation requires.

Finally, a good coach needs good tools. Like a master craftsman, a master coach comes into a situation able to wield a variety of tools to get the job done. If all a coach has is a hammer, or a personality profile, every client will look like a nail (or a convoluted set of letters and numbers). Every coach should fill their toolbox with high quality assessments, exercises, and applications that can be used flexibly to bring clarity to the many challenges facing their clients.

4. Why do you identify questioning and listening as two of the most essential skills for a coach?

Because coaching is about the client’s agenda and not my own. I must know what is going on in the context of their life and leadership, not import my own predetermined assumptions.

I often say that the very first thing a coach needs to be in a coaching engagement is confused. In other words, we must so immerse ourselves in the challenges of another person’s context that we don’t know what to do. We are, at that time, at a place where we can come along side and discover together with our client the specific answers to their pressing problems. Asking open-ended questions and following up those questions with active listening is the only way to do that.

5. How important is it for a coach to explain the philosophy or process of coaching to a new client?

Not very. That may sound crazy, but coaching is best experienced than explained. I set a few grounds rules with my clients and then jump in. As an old preacher once said, “It’s better felt than tellt!”

6. Do you have a list of resources that can help someone develop their coaching skills?

The best coaching book I have read from an evangelical Christian perspective is Leadership Coaching by Tony Soltzfus. You can find Tony’s book at the Christian coaching resource web site www.coach22.com.

For coaches just building their practice, there is no better book that Stephen Fairley’s Getting Started in Personal and Executive Coaching from Wiley and Sons. Stephen and I are co-writing a follow-up to that book for Wiley that will be released next year.

I have developed a training curriculum for coaches called The Coaching Power Pack. It has an interactive manual and five cutting-edge coaching tools that I use extensively with executives in Fortune 500® companies. Email me at bill@leadershiplink.net for more information. Everyone who inquires about this material I will send a FREE special report entitled World Class Coaching: Six Essential Skills.

7. Bill, please write a prayer every Christian coach can pray as they seek to serve the Body of Christ

Dear Lord,

Teach me to wait.

Quiet my heart. Still my mind. And teach me how to listen, truly listen, to what is going on in the life of another. Before I offer my “humble” opinion, Lord, may I always ask my clients “Where are you?” and wait for a full and complete answer to that question.

Use me, Lord, by the power of your Spirit to change lives one person at a time. May fruit be borne through that change and may it remain for generations to come. Amen.

Bill Zipp,
President, Leadership Link, Inc.
Leadership and Team Development

(541) 752-LEAD / Fax: (541) 754-7288


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PRAYER ~ Is Prayer a Smokescreen?

Prayer as a Smokescreen
By Steve Sjogren

Steve Sjogren

Prayer is absolutely essential for any ministry longevity.

I used to use the word “success” flippantly to describe what I one day realized was really longevity. What most of us are really aiming for is long-term fruitfulness --- something that will endure for the long haul. All too often in modern Church history it is common for a flash in the pan of ministry momentum to appear. A decade later that “ministry” or “minister” is no where to be found. The unique idea the person was proclaiming is no longer spoken of.

Indeed, what we are seeking after is longevity.

Question 1: How do we gain longevity in life and ministry?

Prayer is the beginning and the end of that which will last. It is in a life that trusts in our hearts at all times, relies upon and clings to God that is ultimately blessed. I am known by my friends as being an “idea person” or a “brainstormer” but I am quick to confess that my well of creativity, thoughts, the flow of originality would dry up in a New York minute without the stirring up of the Holy Spirit within and upon me. I lean into the Holy Spirit constantly to get ideas for outreach.

Hold that thought. Let’s switch gears for a moment.

Jesus calls us to step out of our safety zones and become extenders of his kingdom. Prayer is more often than not used as a cop out for obedience or an alternative to taking the obvious risk involved in these steps.

You do know that is what you are don’t you? You are more than anything a Kingdom Extender.

Jesus made clear it as can be in Matthew 28 on the Mount of Ascenscion when he called the original Apostles to go to the ends of the earth exporting this message --- this life that he had shown them --- the life he had lived before them. It was a simple enough matter. It was a matter of obedience.

Question 2: What is the greatest barrier to God’s invitation to us to export his kingdom across the span of Planet Earth?

From where I have been and what I have experienced in the last three decades of Church history it seems obvious that the greatest obstacle is “Fear of the future” or perhaps, “Fear of change.” In any case it is some form of fear. Fear stated simply is “loss of control.”

As a new believer and in a great Bible Institute in the Los Angeles area, one of the hallowed ministries that budding “spiritual giants” got involved with was the “Street Witnessing Team.” Being the incredibly shy person that I am, I felt immediately called to this outreach (that’s a joke about being shy). Long story short, a dozen of us met every single Friday evening for an entire school year from 7:00 to 10:00 PM and prayed in preparation for going out to do ministry. We prayed for everything imaginable and then some things not even a highly creative person could conceive of.

By about our Spring break it dawned on me --- we were never going to actually go out to do anything. At the end of the year I was correct AND I was asked to pray and fast as to whether God might be leading me to take over as leader of this group for the upcoming school year. I told the leader, “Pray and fast about that? You may have several years on me as a believer but, pardon my French --- you are a spiritual flake and are stuck in a place of fear. I love you bro, but please drop this prayer and fasting smokescreen stuff. You are confusing new believers and making outreach seem mysterious, complex and ultimately miscommunicating what Jesus clearly had in mind. I will lead the group but not because I have gone off on a prayer and fasting jag - --it is obvious I am the one to lead it. Enough said.” Of course he shook his head and said something about me learning my lesson one day...blah, blah.

The last I heard that super spiritual guy has had a string of jobs over the past 30 years from selling vacuum cleaners to used cars. I wonder if he prayed and fasted for days on end for each of those moves... He was so spiritual he was like Brer Rabbit in the midst of thorns. The only question at hand was, “How many pokes am I going to receive, hundreds or thousands?” He set himself up for punishment by his super-small confining life.

Coaching Tips:

* Call to Action! Of course we pray our way through life, but we don’t ever use something as intimate, as powerful, as heartfelt as prayer as a synonym for human fear. It works like this, it’s really not complicated: Pray, Listen, Obey, Move Out in Boldness. The time frame for all of this happening tends to be rather fast more often than not. In some cases in my life there are issues that take weeks, some are months, and some are years. IMPORTANT: If you are surrounded by people where everything is measured at least in months if not years, reconsider your commitment to the relationship with that group. The call to live “decently and in order” is just one verse amongst 11,499 that model an activistic relationship with God.
* Plan On The Way to Doing! Where is the balance? This may sound overboard but this is pretty much how I have operated in my day to day application of the living out of Servant Evangelism: If we have a group activity going on we get in the car or truck with serving implements and pray and plan as we drive. It’s that simple. Obviously if you have a large group of people you need to do more than that, but you get the idea. The simpler the better.
* As you model to your people be careful how complicated you make things. Human nature is to over-prepare and over-complicate all things around us. At CoastlandTampa we will give out ziplock bags of 12 items to each person as they leave to give away to people they run into as they go their way each week. M&Ms, chewing gum, chapstick, most things run about 20 cents. Also each item has a super duper high quality connect card (four paneled) to pass along with each “seed” planted, with each invitation offered. This is done every single week, 52 weeks a year. Important: Many people will take 3 or 4 packs of these to give out during the week. It is very exciting. t is atmospheric. Just be mindful of this: Keep it super simple. Do this and you will stay on the tracks!

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pilot Cities ~ Charlotte, NC: 35 Congregations Collaborate

Loving Our Communities to Christ--Charlotte, N.C.

More than 35 pastors committed their churches to be involved in the prayer-care-share evangelism initiative, Loving Our Communities to Christ, in Charlotte, N.C. last month. In addition, a singles' ministry pastor committed his group of over 4,000 singles, and the executive director of Charlotte Youth Commission committed his 60 chapters of both junior and senior high school students to Loving Our Communities to Christ. "Charlotte Awake" is the ministry coordinating the Loving Our Communities to Christ initiative with the Mission America Coalition. According to local leaders, the prayer-care-share strategy caught on like wildfire during the luncheon. Over and over again you could hear the words, "It is time!" among the participants. Larry DeWitt, facilitator of pastoral ministries for the Mission America Coalition, addressed the group.

Pastors attending represented all sizes of churches as well as representing youth, singles, the marketplace, and intercessors. Jill Milligan shared her "Canning Hunger, Neighbor Connection" strategy to reach neighborhoods, with testimonies from three pastors as well.

"Every presentation was electric with the Holy Spirit," said Mary Lance Sisk, chairman of the National Lighthouse Council and Love Your Neighbor Ministries.

Charlotte Awake! prayer meetings take place the first and third Wednesday morning of every month. Charlotte Awake! is sponsored by the Metrolina Prayer Network, and facilitated by Dr. Bob Lowman and the Charlotte Awake Leadership Team.

Featured City Conference Call: Houston, Tx.
Oct. 31, 9:00 a.m., Pacific time.

Houston is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. The leaders of Mission Houston have teamed together with Luis Palau in a unique way to work for the harvest. The Houston Festival took place October 6-7. On the call we will hear the story of how and why they teamed together and also the short- and long-term harvest results.

Join us on Oct. 31 at 9:00 a.m. Pacific time. Dial 712-775-7000 and enter code 257835# when prompted. This call is co-hosted by International Renewal Ministries and the Mission America Coalition.

*Please note that the phone number for this conference call has changed. We are using a new service that allows us to record the call in a digital format. The number above is correct.

Northwest Regional City Impact Roundtable
December 4-5, Portland, OR
Watch for more information.

Annual City Impact Roundtable National Gathering
April 19-21, 2007, El Paso
Watch for more information.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

PRAYER ~ Does Prayer Change An Unchanging God?

Does Prayer Change God?
by Philip Yancey

Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?
“I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

“My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused” (Hosea 11:8).

Those two statements, both recorded in the Bible as the words of God, frame a mystery. I could marshal other verses describing a changeless God and balance them with more passages that show God changing his mind. Truth to tell, we want some of both: a dependable God we can count on and yet an attentive God whom we can affect.

Not everyone worries about the philosophical underpinnings of prayer. For those of us who do, however, what we conclude about this issue may well determine how we view the utility—or futility—of prayer.

Origen was the first Christian writer known to mull over the paradox of praying to a God who does not change: “First, if God foreknows what will come to be and if it must happen, then prayer is in vain. Second, if everything happens according to God’s will and if what He wills is fixed and none of the things He wills can be changed, then prayer is in vain.” Origen came down solidly on the side of a changeless God, arguing that from the moment of creation God could foresee all that we would freely choose, including the contents of our prayers. Many philosophers followed the same track: Immanuel Kant, for example, called it “an absurd and presumptuous delusion” to think that one person’s prayer might deflect God’s plans===>Click headline to access complete article . . .

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Coaching ~ Leading Congregational Culture Change

Is it possible to breathe new life into a dying church?
Subscribe to Outreach Magazine
Church leaders across the country chronicle the stories of their own congregations and the changes they made to become vital and relevant for the Gospel once again.

By Amy S. Eckert
, from Outreach magazine, March/April 2005

Hope International Bible Fellowship had a rich history. Founded in 1920s Hollywood and a church home for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, there was much to be proud of. The problem? The historic church didn't seem to have much of a future. Over the years the neighborhood had deteriorated. Attendance dropped to 25 people, debt soared to $280,000 and negative cash flow reached $3,000 per month. The church leadership knew they had to change or die. And as a last ditch effort for new life, they called Ed Carey to be their pastor.

To the surprise of the leadership and dwindling congregation, on his first Sunday at the church, Carey preached his sermon with a sledgehammer in one hand and a message about idolatry in the other.

"In the Old Testament when people needed to repent of worshipping idols they were told to destroy those idols," he told the church. "I've prayed long and hard over this issue, and I've come to the conclusion that one of the idols here is the choir."

Then he took the sledgehammer and began pounding holes in the solid wood of the choir loft. After about 10 minutes of hammering, he turned to his new congregation and asked matter-of-factly, "Well? Are you going to help me clean up this mess?"

Today, 10 years later, Hope International is thriving. More than 200 people worship every Sunday, and they've helped plant several churches. The congregation serves two meals a day to any who will come, "on real plates, with real silverware," says Carey. "We want to treat them with dignity." The congregation is debt free, multigenerational, multicultural and socio-economically diverse. Now the members envision raising leaders who can minister in ethnically diverse neighborhoods and establishing an urban church plant training center.

According to a Church Growth, Inc. study, an estimated 80% of churches in America are either plateauing or declining in attendance; either on the verge of closing their doors or in need of revitalization. Pastors of every background, in every denomination, wonder: How did this church go from being a growing, vital ministry to treading water? How did we lose sight of our mission? What is our purpose? And how can we turn the tide?

Breathing new life back into a dying congregation isn't an easy task, but it is possible. We talked to pastors and experts around the country to compile nine proven principles for resurrecting a Lazarus church. And with any luck, no sledgehammer will be necessary.

PRINCIPLE 2: Identify your instrument of change.

Arn points out that churches which continue to do what they've been doing with no real attempt at change will, in turn, keep getting what they've been getting. "You need some new aspect in order to achieve new excitement, new energy and new mission opportunities," he says.

A church's method of change might take many forms . .

PRINCIPLE 4: Determine your church's unique call.

An individual mission statement is a powerful reminder to members—and a strong declaration to visitors—of a church's unique role in a community. Once that statement is embraced, future changes can be made more easily as they are explained in light of the congregation's mission.

Frazee thinks a church's mission should be so clearly understood that any member could recite it verbatim. To communicate Pantego's mission (to transform people through the work of the Holy Spirit into fully developing followers of Christ), the church prints the shortened catch-phrase ("Fully Developing Followers of Christ") on every bulletin and piece of stationery that leaves the office. Each worship service cites the mission at least once, and the congregation has even gone so far as to print the statement on T-shirts.

One of Senior Pastor Dan Gillett's first steps at First Reformed Church in Holland, Mich. (firstchurchofholland.org), was to get the entire congregation thinking about its spiritual call. An historic church, the oldest in a 150-year-old community, First Reformed had lost sight of its original mission.

Gillett and his consistory moderated an all-church brainstorming session to determine the congregation's greatest strengths and to discuss their vision of the future. From those findings, the consistory developed a church mission statement. That statement, often shortened to the "3 E's: Exalt, Equip and Evangelize," is visible on a church banner in the sanctuary, and the church organist even wrote a choir anthem that incorporates the core of the mission in its lyrics.

PRINCIPLE 5: Put your call into practice.

The best mission statement in the world won't revive a church if it doesn't commit to putting its call into practice...

PRINCIPLE 8: There is no status quo===>Click headline for complete article . . .

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Coaching ~ When Brainstorming Isn't Brainstorming

When Brainstorming Goes Bad

Fruitless sessions are a clear sign that your company isn't doing idea generation the right way.

Much of what's called brainstorming isn't brainstorming at all. "Nowadays, brainstorming could mean a discussion, a debate, or a wild idea," says Scott Isaksen, founder of the Creative Problem Solving Group in Buffalo, N.Y. "It's an abused, misused term."

Most often, modern brainstorming involves a group of people sitting around a conference room, staring into space, and waiting for ideas to come. But in its true form, it's a rigidly structured process. [The term was coined by Alex Osborn, the founder of advertising firm BBDO. in his 1953 book Applied Imagination]. ...but most corporations still tend to be very haphazard when it comes to idea generation; Isaksen estimates that just 4 percent of companies actually know what they're doing. Here are the three mistakes that cripple brainstorming.

No trained facilitator. One of the key tenets of Osborn's approach is assigning a trained facilitator to guide the sessions. But most corporate brainstorming is led by someone who has little understanding of the process or by a manager who has vested interest in the outcome.

Lack of rules. A facilitator is useless without guidelines, but most corporate brainstorming sessions employ a freewheeling style. ...a good starting point: Criticism and judgment of ideas should be deferred until after the session, and each brainstorm should last no more than 45 minutes. Most crucial, says Howard Gardner, a Harvard professor of cognition and education, is that the facilitator politely but firmly enforce the guidelines to keep the group from veering off track.

Unprepared participants. If there isn't time to prepare in advance, Isaksen suggests warming up the group on a practice problem to help spark creativity and familiarize the group with the rules. "A good runner doesn't just jump up and start sprinting," Isaksen says. Stretching your brain doesn't hurt either.

Business 2.0 October 2006, p. 76 Michael Myser

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Coaching ~ Not Broken? Fix It Anyway!

It may not be broken, but it's still worth fixing.

That is how Robert Joss, dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, views its M.B.A. curriculum, which will be overhauled by next fall. Stanford joins a small group of high-profile business schools, including Yale and the University of Southern California, that are revamping their programs.

Can something like leadership be taught?
Clearly, it can be learned. Now, that learning is a combination of knowledge, practice, and self-reflection.
So what will actually change in terms of Stanford courses?
The traditional thing was to give everybody the core first - which people sweated through in varying degrees of pain and pleasure. Increasingly, we've asked ourselves, are we not better off setting some context for them right at the beginning: Here's what management's all about.
And that means a new core?
There will be an opening core that's common to everybody, five courses in strategic leadership, global business, groups and teams, managerial finance, and critical and analytical thinking. Then they go into their choice of electives.
It still sounds difficult.
Obviously, the changes are motivated by our views of how best to serve the next generations of students. The outcome of your efforts is not known for the next 20 years. It's a pretty humbling business.

U.S. News & World Report
October 2, 2006, p.69
On the Record, Robert Joss

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SHARE ~ Code Breaking

Breaking the Missional Code" sees churches as "missionaries"

By Mark Kelly
Baptist Press
Click to download Hi-Res Photo

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--Many Southern Baptist churches once were remarkably effective in their outreach but now are struggling because their evangelism techniques no longer connect with communities whose culture has fragmented and radically changed.

"Too many churches are boldly pressing forward in the third millennium with the methods and ministries that worked in 1954,�" Ed Stetzer and David Putman write in "Breaking the Missional Code," a 2006 release from the B&H Publishing Group of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Referencing the Southern Baptist Convention�s highly successful "Million More in '54" Sunday School campaign, Stetzer and Putnam note: "The problem is that we aren�t sent to the culture of 1954."

Stetzer is a missiologist who directs the North American Mission Board's Center for Missional Research; Putman is executive pastor of the Atlanta-area Mountain Lake Church in Cumming.

Southern Baptists need to adopt the process used by their missionaries in seeking to be an incarnational, loving presence of Christ on their mission fields, Stetzer and Putnam write.

"The missionary studies the culture, looking for the ways God is already revealing Himself to the people," the authors recount. "When that 'bridge' is found, the missionary can express the eternal truth of the Gospel in a way that is indigenous to the culture. People respond with joy and the Gospel spreads like wildfire through the network of their relationships."

A "missional" church, then, is one that acts like a missionary in its community, Stetzer and Putnam write.

Many church leaders, however, see evangelism as "something that takes place near us, while missions takes place overseas," Stetzer and Putman write. "Our paganized, secularized, spiritualized North American culture," they point out, "should be seen as a mission field."
===>Click headline to access complete article . . .

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Marketplace Ministry

The Business of Business

Feature Dallas Willard

Business is a profession, and professions have a moral role in society

Apple and scale. Courtesy stock.xchng

What is business (manufacturing, commerce) for? Today the spontaneous response to this question is: The business of business is to make money for those who are engaged in it. In fact, this answer is now regarded as so obvious that you might be thought stupid or uninformed if you even ask the question. But that is only one of the effects of the pervasive mis-education that goes on in contemporary society, which fosters an understanding of success essentially in terms of fame, position, and material goods.

This response, however, only reflects a quite recent view of the professions—of which we will here assume business to be one—and even today it is definitely not the view of success in professional life shared by the public in general. No business or other profession advertising its “services” announces to the public that it is there for the purpose of enriching itself or those involved in it. All will say with one accord that their purpose is service. I have never met any professionals who would tell their clients that they were there just for their own self-interest. Still, many professionals today are dominated by self-interest, and that is the source of the constant stream of moral failures that occupies our courts and what we now call the “news.” Many, too, who would never say it publicly really do think of their success in terms of self-advancement, and will say so “after hours.” But the “professional” yet holds a moral role in society, not just one of technical expertise in the marketplace of untrammeled competition.

The older tradition of the profession as having, at bottom, a moral role in society was more obvious and defensible before the days of mass society and urban anonymity. Today an individual doctor, lawyer, or other such figure more or less disappears as a person living together with other persons. In other days, they received special training, position, and respect as an appropriate response to the special and potentially self-sacrificing good that they made available to the ordinary people around them—to the public or “common” good, as it used to be called. Considered with respect to the merchant and manufacturer, there has always been less clarity about this role than with the traditional professions of clergy, medicine, and law, but their elevated position and power in the community was nonetheless understood to bring with it unique and unavoidable moral responsibilities.

Writing of this in 1860, John Ruskin remarks: “The fact is that people never have had clearly explained to them the true functions of a merchant with respect to other people.”[1] He then puts what we today would call “business” in the context of the “five great intellectual professions” necessary to the life of “every civilized nation.” With respect to that nation:

The Soldier’s profession is to defend it.
The Pastor’s to teach it.
The Physician’s, to keep it in health.
The Lawyer’s to enforce justice in it.
The Merchant’s to provide for it===>Click headline for the complete article . .

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Pilot Cities ~ Nine Updates

Update on the LC2C Pilot Cities (Oct. 10, 2006)


Jim Overholt and Larry DeWitt received an immediate "Yes!" from the group of pastors gathered last fall and Cedar Rapids has been moving in the Loving Our Communities to Christ strategy ever since. Thirty-two congregations and a Christian school of 233 students have been praying for lost persons and many congregations are reporting salivations and baptisms. A Prayer Task Force is being formed, the Care and Share Task Forces are planning macro-events (citywide) for 2007 and 2008.


Ron Thaxton and the team from Charleston have long been collaborating partners with the Mission America Coalition. As an LC2C pilot city they understood that there was much potential for a broader calling together of God's people in the Charleston, WV area to love their community, and beyond just Charleston, the state of West Virginia to Christ!

They understood that God needed to restore right relations among pastors and key Christian leaders. After a visit by Jarvis and later Jarvis and Jim, the local leaders asked for MAC's convening and facilitating help in calling together pastors for a meeting on September 12 and 13. The focus of the meeting was "Toward Wholeness in our Community-Recognizing, Confronting and Overcoming the Obstacles to Right Relationships!" The Lord met in a wonderful way at both meetings. Several next step ideas were suggested for the church to come together and address:

  1. Developing effective ministry to the young generation
  2. Addressing major injustices and becoming positive agents of healing and change
  3. Expanding networking across the state with other cities for shared ideas and resources for sustained prayer-care-share ministry
  4. Growing the Charleston based City Impact Roundtable to include Righteousness and Justice


We give praises and thanksgivings to God for the LC2C meeting held in Charlotte, NC on Thursday, September 15. The Lord's presence and blessing was on this meeting as over 35 Pastors committed their churches to LC2C, a Singles Ministry (CHARLOTTE ONE) committed his group of over 4000 singles to LC2C and the Executive Director of CYC (CHARLOTTE YOUTH COMISSION) committed his 60 chapters of both Junior and Senior High School Students to LC2C.

The Prayer.Care.Share strategy "caught on" like a wildfire and over and over again you could hear the words, "It is time!" We had 50 persons signed up for the luncheon and 60 attended. We were truly amazed at what God did in our midst. Larry DeWitt gave leadership to this meeting. Pastors were there from large churches, medium size and small churches. There were people representing the youth, singles and marketplace as well as intercessors.

Jill Milligan shared about her "Canning Hunger, Neighbor Connection" strategy to reach neighborhoods with testimonies from 3 pastors as well and Larry Jackson encouraged everyone to attend our Charlotte Awake! prayer meetings the 1st and 3rd Wednesday morning of every month. Every presentation was "electric" with the power of the Holy Spirit.


A very strong representation of pastors and leaders attended the Vision meeting and responded very positively. The Corvallis leadership has been calling for collaboration for over a decade, so the soil is ripe for creative approaches to praying, caring and sharing. Another coaching visit is planned for early December to strategize next steps.


As we enter a new ministry year of the LOV Movement of the Coachella Valley in Southern California, we are immensely encouraged and blessed by what our Lord is doing. As participants in the "Loving Our Communities to Christ" initiative, we are actively engaged in the Prayer, Care, Share strategy.

  1. Prayer: Later this month, we will be involved in our third Prayer Summit at the Palm Springs Convention Center where we will be praying that God will use us to spread His light in the spiritual darkness that envelops the Valley.
    Also, we are gathering in bi-monthly Valley-wide Prayer Gatherings and are preparing for another "Go to the Wall" Sunday on November 12th when thousands of Christians will commit themselves to pray for lost people by name, to prayerfully care (love) for them and then to share the Gospel with them at an appropriate time and in an appropriate, loving way.
  2. Care: A strong Care Committee has been prayerfully working to lead the 38 LOV churches in a Week of Caring from January 14 to 20, 2007. In addition, the committee is preparing an ongoing strategy for the communities of the Coachella Valley.
  3. Share: The Share Committee is preparing for our first Week of Sharing for the spring of 2007. It will include a number of small, affinity harvest events.

JUAREZ, EL PASO & LAS CRUCES (Three for the price of one)!:

There is much encouragement on the part of the leaders in this three cities/two nations region. Over the years, the Lord has knitted the hearts of key leaders in these three cities, and although they are uniquely different they all agreed that they much continue to call the churches together to love first, their communities, and then their region to Christ.

Since becoming a pilot city-region, the MAC staff has been invited in several times for key meetings of pastors, Christian ministry and marketplace leaders. In October, Steve Douglas came to the region to serve and encourage pastors and ministry leaders for collaborative prayer, care, share ministry.

Below are some of the efforts unique to each of the cities for the coming months and year:

El Paso--

  • YEAR OF PRAYER---Distribution of 100,000 prayer cards in the local newspaper asking El Paso Christians to pray for the city.
  • HISPANIC ALLIANCE---3 Hispanic alliances working together on a telethon for the local Christian TV for deeper gospel penetration in the region.
  • CHARACTER FIRST---as a tool to open doors to the gospel
  • 2007 CITY IMPACT ROUNDTABLE---April 19-21, hosted by the 3-cities region

Las Cruces---

  • PASTORS'S PRAYER SUMMIT---Tom White will facilitate in October
  • PRAYER-CARE-SHARE CARDS---distributed among churches
  • MARRIAGE AGREEMENT---Working with the Mayor to get greater implementation


  • GROWING THE PASTORS' NETWORK---there has been a major increase of pastors coming together to practice the prayer-care-share lifestyle. The leadership has made building and cultivating right relations their key focus and they are seeing results.
  • CHRISTIANS IN THE MARKET PLACE---the pastors and churches are committed to helping their people practice their walk with Jesus in the Market place.
  • 10 PROJECTS TO SERVE AND LOVE THEIR CITY TO JESUS---after meeting with the Mayor of Juarez, the pastors are working on a list of 10 projects they will focus on and demonstrate how the Church is loving the community to Christ.


Progress has bee slow but is beginning to gain significant momentum. After an initial agreement to participate by the leadership core, it has taken longer than we anticipated to connect and cast the vision to a wider group of pastors and leaders. The Fox Valley is a region that encompasses four Pastors' Prayer Groups, from Aurora, St.Charles, Elgin, and West Dundee. Involved leadership are well connected throughout the Fox Valley and many are also involved in collaborative ministries throughout Chicagoland.


Santa Rosa, a medium-sized city in Sonoma County, an hour’s drive of San Francisco, has a history of significant spiritual and political influence. The spiritual leaders of Santa Rosa have a twelve year history of connecting with God and one another in Prayer Summits, and still carry on a monthly, inter-church Friday night prayer gathering called “CitiReach.”

In recent years, the leadership team has established rapport and credibility with city and county governments, involving churches to help with local problems with gangs, and mobilizing numerous congregations annually to participate in “Spring Clean,” practical endeavors to literally cleaning up the city. Over the past year, the leadership team has worked intentionally to re-configure the leadership to be multi-generational, multi-ethnic, mixed gender and blending a mix of ministers and marketplace influencers. Most recently, Dr. Sam Williams, former pastor of Foothills Community Church, has stepped out in faith to serve as full-time city facilitator for the transformational movement in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County, particularly for the LC2C strategy.


Home of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa is a key city of economic and intellectual influence in the Southeast. The spiritual leaders, black and white, young and old, have walked together in Prayer Summits and cooperative local ministries for twelve years. Inspired by the Little Rock city model, the city has for four years successfully mobilized large numbers of Churches and money for “Reach Out Tuscaloosa,” meeting practical needs of schools and social institutions. One year ago, the Tuscaloosa Prayer Network successfully mobilized to house and feed over two thousand post-Katrina evacuees, for which they received a special commendation from FEMA.

Most recently, the leaders of the Tuscaloosa Prayer Network have set out to re-configure city leadership to be multi-generational, multi-ethic, mixed gender and inclusive of ministers and marketplace influencers, with a new branding called Tuscaloosa Impact Roundtable, led by Dr. William Scroggins. At the LC2C Advance Visit in early September, Steve Douglas addressed a highly motivated mix of over one hundred ministry and marketplace leaders with a stirring word, “true community transformation occurs when individual people are dramatically transformed.” Tuscaloosa is truly pushing out on the growing edge innovating a new wineskin of kingdom leadership for the one Body of Christ in the city context.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

SHARE ~ Leave Them Breathless

"We think if we can disperse adequate information, people will be convinced that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and turn to him. Those methods don't work any longer. I'm not sure they ever did. People aren't looking for information about God. They want to experience God, himself. Information leaves them bored, uninterested. Experience, especially the ultimate experience any human being can ever have, leaves them breathless. And that's exactly what we have to offer."

Mark Tabb, Mission to Oz

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Friday, October 06, 2006

RESOURCE ~ Encounter God in the City

Encounter God in the City
book cover

===>Note: Check out Chapter 20: Three Transformational Actions

God is at work in the city. And he invites his people to join him. But the city is not merely a mission field for Christians to target. The city is also the environment where Christians are discipled and lives are forged into the image of Jesus.

Urban ministry veteran Randy White shows how God transforms us when we answer God's call to the city. Urban life peels away our sin and self-deception and challenges our unexamined assumptions about privilege, race, class and power. Experiential discipleship moves us from abstract theory to hands-on learning and on-the-ground action, revolutionizing our perspectives and making a difference in local neighborhoods and beyond.

Passionate and practical, White's vivid narratives of experiencing God in the city show us how our spiritual health is intertwined with the health of the metropolis. Seek the welfare of the city, and both you and the city will be transformed.

IVP Extra! Download the Driver's Ed online supplement (PDF, 2MB).

Table of Contents & Book Excerpts »
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pilot City: Juarez, MX + El Paso, TX

A report form Larry DeWitt after a coaching visit . . .

God is turning up the heat in Juarez, Mexico!

Here’s a peek at some of my experiences while ministering in Juarez this past week. I met with the mayor’s cousin, Pastor Pancho Murquia, who openly shared that the mayor has provided a room right next to his office where pastors and Christian leaders can come and pray for the city. The mayor also recently made a decision that the city will close down 140 adult businesses in Juarez . . . He has asked the churches to help rehabilitate all those who will be unemployed, and to help them find new work. The churches have accepted this challenge.

Pedro Hernandez, president of the Evangelical Alliance of Pastors in Juarez, invited us to a meeting of the 30 pastors/leaders for the city. He looked into my eyes and stated his focus: It’s God’s harvest time . . . now! It was inspiring to have Steve Douglas, president of one of the largest mission organizations in the world (Campus Crusade for Christ), come and stand with us to speak his endorsement and blessing for the PrayCare-Share strategy for Loving Our Community to Christ.

I shared a vision of what it will take to call 100 or more leaders to raise up an army of thousands of believers to Love Their Community to Christ.

I will never forget our car ride back to El Paso after the strategic meeting in Juarez, Mexico. We were in line at the border crossing. The air conditioner died . . . the car windows would not roll down. We estimated the temperature to be 103 to 105, and we just sat in the car for two hours, waiting to get back across the border. God was turning up the heat on us, and we prayed all the more that He would turn up the heat for a great revival in Juarez.

I’ve already been invited back to meet with a broader representation of Juarez pastors to train and prep them for the harvest.

I met with 150 key leaders regarding Loving Their Community to Christ. Before we spoke, Mayor John Cook came before the group to openly state that God had called him to be a shepherd to the people of El Paso. He enthusiastically supported our efforts to Love El Paso to Christ.

Steve Douglass, President of Campus Crusade for Christ and a member of the Loving Our Communities to Christ Steering Committee, endorsed the Pray-Care-Strategy for El Paso. His focus was that cities will be transformed as people are transformed, one at a time, for Jesus Christ. Barney Field, who leads the pastors of the city, in tears shared his vision for a million people in El Paso/ Juarez to be ready when Christ returns.

God is already changing this city. They’ve distributed the Jesus video to more than 100,000 homes and have given out 60,000 Bibles door-to-door. God is changing El Paso from a city previously known as a city of violence to now being known as the second safest city in America with over 500,000 people. They’ve literally just established a border prayer network . . . so that Christians on both sides of the border can pray about border-related issues. They are convinced, and I am too, that God’s time is now for a profound spiritual impact on El Paso!

God is moving in Juarez! God is moving in El Paso!

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