Sunday, October 30, 2005

Does it work?

Another note on . . . . from OK.

We started an "" website and just started promoting it…and someone trusted Christ on Saturday! Awesome!

Chris Burton
University of Oklahoma

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A few months ago Marilyn Adamson (her name be praised) launched - a way to locally focus this great web evangelistic tool. Here is a little write up we did for how it works.

Steve Sellers has said that " is the most effective evangelistic strategy of the last 10 years." On average, has been seeing over 3,000 per month indicate decisions to receive Christ.

Now you can have one of your very own! Introducing We have taken the most effective articles from and packaged them into a leaner version for maximum local effectiveness. An site for any location.

What can can do for local Movements.

  • Your sites will bring email questions from students on your campuses to easy way to surface those who are seeking and engage those hard to reach areas of campus!
  • It will give you an effective evangelistic tool for broad exposure to thousands of students on any campus. It is likely that for every 1,000 students who come to your site, 10 to 15 will indicate they have received Christ while on the site.
  • You can use this site to target specific ethnic or affinity groups on any campus no matter how large or small.
  • You can use this site to help surface key contacts and leaders for new movement launches.
  • For very little cost you can expose large numbers of people to great gospel content on a range of questions.
  • You will be able to report exactly how many students in your scope of responsibility are exposed to the gospel (who visited your site) and how many indicated decisions to receive Christ.
  • You can show specific, measurable results to donors.
To build this, you will need to:

  • Pray! Select a handful of students, donors and staff to saturate this effort in prayer.
  • Select a URL (website's name) (ex:,, We will set it up for you! You simply tell us what you want.
  • Select campus colors for the site design.
  • Select the site's home page masthead banner. Your site can be general, or for any group of students; African Americans; Asians; or Hispanics. You can even build a site for each group you are hoping to reach on campus.
  • Tell us the email address that will receive students' emails. (You would be committing to answering every email within a day or two. This is a great way to involve students - the point person can easily forward emails to an email team. However, it is imperative that all emails be answered as promptly possible).
  • Pray some more.
  • Marketing (see below). No one on campus will know these sites exist unless you advertise. A simple poster strategy with just the website name has proven very effective in generating traffic. One poster for every hundred students is a good rule of thumb.


$150 for the year. Thats it. This covers building the site, hosting it, technical support, as well as providing you with traffic reports.
Further costs: whatever promotional materials you use to move students on campus to your site...posters, banners, business cards, etc. The site will need to be promoted on campus in order to draw students to it.

Can I still use
You bet! is a simple attempt to maximize the incredible effectivenss of the concept. It is simply a new tool to help you get to more students with the gospel. Marilyn and her crew will continue to promote and improve for a mass audience and the email team will continue to handle these emails. Please continue promoting this site as well!

If you would like to have your own site for any campus or campus target, start now by clicking the title on this blog. The gang up in Mid-Atlantic are attempting to use this tool to launch a bunch of new movements. Tim Holcomb is leading the charge. I will try to stay up to speed how it is going. Pray for them.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Escobar - Spontaneous Expansion

I found this interesting from The New Global Mission by Samuel Escobar (pg. 19)

It was in 1927 that Ronald Allen (1896-1947) first coined the expression “spontaneous expansion of the church,” and we can now measure the incredible extent to which a Christian testimony among the masses of this planet has been the result of such spontaneous expansion, especially in China, Africa and Latin America. In many cases such expansion became possible only when indigenous Christians were released from the stifling control of Western missionary agencies.

As we look at the religious map of the world today we find a marked contrast between the situation at the beginning of the twentieth century and the situation in the early twenty-first century. Scottish missiologist Andrew Walls has described a “massive southward shift of the center of gravity of the Christian world.” He understands the history of the Christian church and its mission as a sequence of phase, each of which represents the embodiment of Christianity in a major culture area. This is followed by the movment forward through transcultural mission in such a way that when that major culture declines, Christianity continues to flourish, now in a different setting.

The recession of Christianity among the Europe peoples appears to be continuing. And yet we seem to stand at the threshold of a new age of Christianity, one in which its main base will be in the Southern continents, and where its dominant expressions will be filtered through the culture of those countries. Once again, Christianity has been saved for the world by its diffusion across cultural lines.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Douglass - A Dynamic Time

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending some time with Steve Douglass - el presidente of Campus Crusade for Christ. Steve spent some time with our national leadership team.

One of the questions we asked Steve (I think it was Sam Osterloh) was, "In the history of Crusade, what was the best year of the campus ministry (best meaning missional / exciting / effective)? " Of course Steve answered . . . . it is still in our future - the best is yet to come.

But as we pushed him, he nailed it down to 1967-1970. Here are the six things he said were true of this dynamic period.

  1. Expectant: There was an expectation of God working. You could feel the electricity in the air - nothing was too big for God to accomplish - and we expected him to do so.
  2. Simple: The tools were simple, well taught and used effectively. You quickly learned and then were expected (even called) to action and reproduction. You went to campus and you knew exactly what was expected and what you needed to do.
  3. Consistent: Everyone was on the same page. Simple, transferable and universally used.
  4. H.S.: "We talked about the work of the Holy Spirit much more than we do today." Everythings was about the movement of the Spirit - conversations flowed from what the Spirit was doing. (so much so that many people thought we were a charasmatic group).
  5. Student Ownership: "I owned it - and so did my roomates. Not that we did it perfectly, but we deeply owned it and were allowed to run."
  6. Quick Turn Around: After someone trusted Christ they were out sharing the next day. You could become a new believer and be teaching basic lessons in less than three weeks.

Interestingly, Steve said that maybe only 30% of the whole of Crusade was operating at this high octain (he was gueussing and speculating), but it was enough to dirve a huge level of work, excitement and resources for the Great Commission.

As I look at thoses six . . . . well, it does not seem that complex. Again, Steve was answering off the top of his head, so I am not sure he would identify this as THE SIX THINGS - but it is telling to see the organic nature of movement in this simple list.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Spooky Reality

I am usually a positive post kind of guy, but these stats bear some reflection. They are from an American Society for Church Growth (ASCG) report titled "Enlarging our Borders." This was presented to the Executive Presbytery in January 1999. (I snagged these from - a group committed to rapid saturation church planting in the campus setting. We will be hearing more from Jaeson Ma and his crew).

  • Churches lose estimated 2,765,000 people each year to nominalism and secularism.
  • Between 3,500 to 4,000 churches close their doors each year in America.
  • Last 10 years, the combined communicant membership of all Protestant denominations has declined by 9.5% (4,498,242), while national population has increased by 11% (24,253,000).
  • Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through "conversion growth"

Ouch! It seems like the way we "do" church may be suspect.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Revolution: George Barna


IN THIS EDITION: An article by American researcher Geoge Barna that gives insight in a major shift in the church landscape that is currently taking place in North America and Europe. Comments are welcome and can be sent to


TREND: A faith revolution is redefining 'church'

For decades the primary way that Americans have experienced and expressed their faith has been through a local church. That reality is rapidly changing, according to researcher George Barna, whose new book on the transitioning nature of America's spirituality, entitled 'Revolution', describes what he believes will be the most massive reshaping of the nation's faith community in more than a century.

Relying upon national research conducted over the past several years, Barna profiles a group of more than 20 million adults throughout the nation labeled 'revolutionaries'. He noted that although measures of traditional church participation in activities such as worship attendance, Sunday school, prayer, and Bible reading have remained relatively unchanged during the past twenty years, the Revolutionary faith movement is growing rapidly.

"These are people who are less interested in attending church than in being the church," he explained. "We found that there is a significant distinction in the minds of many people between the local church - with a small 'c' - and the universal Church - with a capital 'C'. Revolutionaries tend to be more focused on being the Church, capital C, whether they participate in a congregational church or not."

"A common misconception about revolutionaries," he continued, "is that they are disengaging from God when they leave a local church. We found that while some people leave the local church and fall away from God altogether, there is a much larger segment of Americans who are currently leaving churches precisely because they want more of God in their life but cannot get what they need from a local church. They have decided to get serious about their faith by piecing together a more robust faith experience. Instead of going to church, they have chosen to be the Church, in a way
that harkens back to the Church detailed in the Book of Acts."


One of the most eye-opening portions of the research contained in the book describes what the faith community may look like twenty years from now. Using survey data and other cultural indicators he has been measuring for more than two decades, Barna estimates that the local church is presently the primary form of faith experience and expression for about two-thirds of the nation's adults. He projects that by 2025 the local church will lose roughly half of its current 'market share' and that alternative forms of faith experience and expression will pick up the slack. Importantly,
Barna's studies do not suggest that most people will drop out of a local church to simply ignore spirituality or be freed up from the demands of church life. Although there will be millions of people who abandon the entire faith community for the usual reasons - hurtful experiences in churches, lack of interest in spiritual matters, prioritizing other dimensions of their life - a growing percentage of church dropouts will be those who leave a local church in order to intentionally increase their focus on faith and to relate to God through different means.

That growth is fueling alternative forms of organized spirituality, as well as individualized faith experience and expression. Examples of these new approaches include involvement in a house church, participation in
marketplace ministries, use of the Internet to satisfy various
faith-related needs or interests, and the development of unique and intense connections with other people who are deeply committed to their pursuit of God.


In the effort to increase their obedience and faithfulness to God, Barna discovered that Revolutionaries are characterized by what he identified as a set of spiritual passions - seven specific emphases that drive their quest for God and a biblical lifestyle. Although these are areas ofspiritual development that most local churches address, millions of adults who are the most serious about their faith in God were the ones least likely to be satisfied by what their local church was delivering in terms of resources, opportunities, evaluation and developmental possibilities. The consequence is that millions of committed born again Christians are choosing to advance their relationship with God by finding avenues of growth and service apart from a local church.

Asked if this meant that the Revolution he describes is simply a negative reaction to the local church, he suggested that most Revolutionaries go through predictable phases in their spiritual journey in which they initially become dissatisfied with their local church experience, then attempt to change things so their faith walk can be more fruitful. The result is that they undergo heightened frustration over the inability to introduce positive change, which leads them to drop out of the local church
altogether, often in anger. But because this entire adventure was
instigated by their love for God and their desire to honor Him more fully, they finally transcend their frustration and anger by creating a series of connections that allow them to stay close to God and other believers without involvement in a local church.

One of the hallmarks of the Revolution of faith is how different it is for each person. "It would be wrong to assume that all Revolutionaries have completely turned their back on the local church," the researcher stated. "Millions of Revolutionaries are active in a local church, although most of them supplement that relationship with participation in a variety of faith-related efforts that have nothing to do with their local church. The
defining attribute of a Revolutionary is not whether they attend church, but whether they place God first in their lives and are willing to do whatever it takes to facilitate a deeper and growing relationship with Him and other believers. Our studies persuasively indicate that the vast majority of American churches are populated by people who are lukewarm spiritually. Emerging from those churches are people dedicated to becoming Christ-like through the guidance of a congregational form of the church,
but who will leave that faith center if it does not further such a
commitment to God. They then find or create alternatives that allow that commitment to flourish."

How do most Revolutionaries justify calling themselves devoted disciples of Christ while distancing themselves from a local church? "Many of them realize that someday they will stand before a holy God who will examine their devotion to Him. They could take the safe and easy route of staying in a local church and doing the expected programs and practices, but they also recognize that they will not be able to use a lackluster church experience as an excuse for a mediocre or unfulfilled spiritual life. Their
spiritual depth is not the responsibility of a local church; it is their own responsibility. As a result, they decide to either get into a local church that enhances their zeal for God or else they create alternatives that ignite such a life of obedience and service. In essence, these are people who have stopped going to church so they can be the Church."


While the Revolution brings with it some very promising qualities -an intense pursuit of godliness, new networks of believers supporting each other, heightened financial giving to ministry endeavors, greater sensitivity to the presence of God in the world, a greater sense of freedom to be a genuine disciple in the midst of a secular society - Barna also pointed out that the Revolution brings great challenges to those who choose that pathway.

"There is the danger of exposure to unbiblical or heretical teaching. There is the possibility of experiencing isolation from a true community of believers and the accountability and support that can provide. It could become easier to hoard one's treasures rather than giving generously. Some might find it more difficult to sustain a life of worship without a place or means of expressing that praise to God."

Barna contends that these are very serious challenges faced by
Revolutionaries - but that they are no more serious than the threats to the spiritual health of regular church-goers. "Objectively speaking, these are the very same problems that we identify among people who rely upon the efforts of a local church to facilitate their growth. We find plentiful evidence of unbiblical teaching in small groups, Sunday school classes and
other local church venues. We know that few churched Christians give 4% of their income back to God, much less 10%. We recognize that most people attending worship services in a church sanctuary leave feeling that God was not present and that they did not personally connect with the living God through that experience. We have identified the relative absence of accountability within most congregations. So even though Revolutionaries face serious challenges in blossoming into the fervent God-follower they
hope to become, perhaps the main difference is simply that they have a wider range of options for achieving their faith goals than do people who are solely focused on faith delivered through a local church. In either case, it is ultimately up to the individual to make sure that they have their spiritual priorities right, that they are investing themselves in activities that draw them closer to God, and that they stay focused on pleasing God more than themselves or other people."

The explosion of Revolutionaries in the U.S., however, raises new
challenges for people involved in ministry. "This new movement of God demands that there be new forms of leadership to appropriately guide people in their faith journey," Barna said. "It requires new ways of measuring how well the Church at-large is doing, getting beyond attendance figures as the indicator of health. And it demands that new tools and resources be accessible to a growing contingent of people who are seeking to introduce their faith into every dimension of their life."


Having written three-dozen previous books about faith and culture, Barna feels that this book may ultimately wind up being the most significant volume he has written. In the course of doing his customary national research studies, he stumbled onto the Revolution. "Having been personally frustrated by the local church, I initiated several research projects to better understand what other frustrated followers of Christ were doing to maintain their spiritual edge. What emerged was a realization that there is
a large and rapidly-growing population of Christ-followers who are truly want to be like the church we read about in the book of Acts. We began tracking their spiritual activity and found that it is much more robust and significant than we ever imagined - and, frankly, more defensible than what emerges from the average Christian church. But, because the Revolution is neither organized nor designed to create an institutional presence, it
typically goes undetected."

Revolution, published by Tyndale House, is what the author calls "a brief introduction to the most important spiritual movement of our age." He believes that fifty years from now historians will look back at this period and label it one of the most significant periods in American Church history. "I would not be surprised," the California-based researcher noted, "if at some point this becomes known as the Third Great Awakening in our
nation's history. This spiritual renaissance is very different from the prior two religious awakenings in America, but it may well become the most profound."




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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Steve Van Diest: Thinking about NCAA movements

Van Diest has take Cole's Organic Church thinking and adopted it for a collegiate setting. Good stuff.

Steve Van Diest: Thinking about NCAA movements

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Report: More Kids Being Home-Churched

And the church marches on. Read . . . . and nervously laugh to yourself.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Crocker: Evangelicals Tilting Left?

I am adding Crocker to my worthy blogage. Scott has a deep understanding of racial issues in America - he is white and thinks black. He sees things from both perspectives and is able to help the rest of us bridge the gap

Crocker Chronicle: Evangelicals Tilting Left?

MegaShift on Male Leadership

This from Rutz - a shot across the bow on developing male leadership. Rutz is a huge proponent of open church for the spontaneous expanision of the church. Open church is a small group of believers gathered to openly interact over scripture. This type of empowerment helps to rapidly increase leadership in the body.

Why don't more American men attend traditional services along with their wives? Is it maybe because they've figured out that the pastor has taken on the role of surrogate husband of every woman in the congregation? Is it because they instinctively recoil from a game where they're shut out and have to play a passive part? You betcha. When there's no room left for strong men, they opt out.

Open churches offer a reason to opt back in: unlimited empowerment, which produce men of iron and women of fire.

You don't' grow strong men by making them sit in rows. You grow men by whacking them on the shoulder and saying, "On your feet. What has God been showing you this week?"
Strong males who are forced to to be pew warmers are like the bench warmers in football: They're aching to to grab the coach by the lapels, get in his face and yell, "Just put me in the game! Just gimme the ball!"
In team Christianity, as in war, everybody is in the game, and everybody gets his hands on the ball. Typically, men will do roughly 60% of the talking and women 40%. That's not something we aim for, it's just what happens - and everyone seems to like it that way.

Lions do not grow in small cages. And after a life time in a cage, it does no good to set them free, either. Zoo-born animals fed by keepers never learn to survive in the wild.
Rousseau observed that men are born free, yet are everywhere in chains. I would add that men are born wild at heart, yet our churches are filled with captured lions, tamed pew-sitters who no longer know - if they ever knew - how to feed themselves spiritually.
Megashift pg. 124, 125

Monday, October 10, 2005

MegaShift - Selected Stat o Rama

I have enjoyed James Rutz' MegaShift. He writes with zeal and passion and enjoys lobbing the occasional bomb at his audience.
The ten engines of change are not just clever experiments. God has been using them to expand His family quite rapidly. Here is a brief summary:

  • Between 1990 and 2004, Christians in Cambodia grew from 200 to 400,000.
  • Kazakhstan went from 100 evangelicals in 1990 to 6,000 in 2004.
  • Guatamala is now 44% born -again Christians.
  • El Salvador is at 53%
  • About 25,000 house churhes were started in India in 2002.
  • China has the largest church in the world with 115 to 120 million true Christians, mostly in house churches. They have about one million active church planters.
  • As of 1970, Nepal had 5,200 Christians. As of 2000, its 543,340
  • [My favorite] More than 100,000 members of the Hmong tribe in northern Vietnam have turned to the Lord after listening to Christian radio programs (no missionary visits). This was discovered by accident because none of them were literate enough to write the station and report their massive response.
These are tough times for a pessimist.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Go Adam Go

This is a recent email I recieved from Adam Go at The University of Minnesota (that hotbed of ethnic student activity). Adam is launching an Asian American student movement (Epic baby!).

At about 7:50pm, I was like, "Why in the world did I ever sign up to do EPIC. This is stupid. No one is gonna show up."

Tonight was our 1st EPIC meeting, our 1st actual event, 1st evangelistic attempt... And we had a Severe Thunderstorm and a Tornado Warning... NOT GOOD... But I thought, "Adam, every step of the way, God has surprised you. He's done something when you didn't think anything good would happen."

Well, by 8:30pm, we had 16 people! More importantly, I didn't know 5 of the people - brought by friends and one just got handed one of our flyers! It was a good 1st meeting, very informal, shared names, small group question, I share my salvation testimony (I got saved frosh year in Crusade!) and then shared out of Matt 6 - Do No Worry - but Seek His Kingdom 1st... that was the message - even through your year and what we hope EPIC to be about -- is to seek God over all other things, even good things out there.

We're doing good - I have student leaders - aligned as far as I much as I can expect with what I've shown them. And one of our women today asked, "Do you want bible studies yet? Cause I'd love to lead one." I mean... sure! So, a women's bible study to come!

God's good... I've planted... My students have sown... Only God can make things grow.
Go Adam Go!

Monday, October 03, 2005


Back in the early 1990’s Rick Hove and I used to joke about some of our Crusade tag lines. It went something like, “why do we say every student every year when it is neither." It was not that our hearts were not into iit it simply seemed that our directives and dreams were pie in the sky because no matter how hard we worked the plan, we could never see it happening. No matter how big we stretched our models, they always failed to break into the whole of the campus.

Here is how I saw it: If you took the average campus, you may typically have 1-2% of the student body involved in spiritual things (from the Newman Center to the Abundant Word of Living Faith Gospel Tabernacle). At only 1% (and usually bunched up in 5-20 groups), this group of believers is fairly ineffective at getting the gospel to the whole.

As a result, many non-Christians may never encounter a believer on campus. Or better said, they never encounter a believer in a real life setting. They may see Jesus posters, or get caught in a random conversation, but they can easily avoid the lives of kingdom people.

But what if you could radically raise the percentage of believers involved in missional activity? What would it look like to actually get to 10% - or even 20% of the students? At that point, everyone would know someone who knows Jesus. At a school like Ohio State we are talking about 5,000-10,000 committed believers mixed in with the whole. But getting to that level seems like a daunting task.

Part of my dilemma is I lack a paradigm for this type of growth. I traditionally think about how big each existing group would have to be in order to accomplish this. Or, how huge my organization would have to be to get to every.

But what if we looked at getting to the whole by moving smaller, more organic and highly missional?. This is the essence of saturation church planting – churches (or movements?) that max out at 20 people, split, and max out again. In each case a leader (a student team) is in charge of the group and is trained. Trained to train and to split.

In my 15 years of working in college ministry, I have never heard anything that gives me as much hope as saturation church planting with a simple/organic flare. If we could mobilize and launch just 20% of the students currently involved, it would radically change the campuses we are on.

Of course I am one of those guys who jumps onto potential solutions while it is still very potential. I am ready for the new thing. Only in this case – it is an old thing. A very old thing - dating back to the initial expansion of the kingdom. Rapid growth through group multiplication centered on body life and those who are lost.

What we need are some working models and some leaders willing to risk a brighter future by leverage the pretty decent present. More on that later - but for now . . . . this just might work.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Next 10 Books I will read

  1. Organic Church: Neil Cole
  2. An Army of Ordinary People: Felicity Dale
  3. Revolution: George Barna
  4. Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church: Reggie Mcneal
  5. Primal Leadership: Goleman
  6. Megashift: Igniting Spiritual Power: Rutz
  7. Waking the Dead: Eldridge (ok, Im late on this one . . .)
  8. Apostles and the Emerging Apostolic Movement: David Cannistraci (this is older as well . . )
  9. The Restoration Of The Apostles & Prophets And How It Will Revolutionize Ministry In The 21st Century: C. Peter Wagner
  10. Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything: Steven D. Levitt (ok, I just finished this, but I will add it to the list).