Wednesday, January 31, 2007

OC Movement Quick Report

I returned from the Organic Church Movement Conference excited, connected and sobered. The best part of the time was the people - this group represents a great collection of humble mission focused leaders - and some great new friends.

Big time thanks to Neil for hosting this event. It was nice to connect with Alan Hirsch and a number of other key leaders. Alan puts into words what many of us are experiencing in our gut.

Some observations from the time in Long Beach:

  1. Pulling this off in the west (church planting movements) is still not an exact science, but there is movement. I appreciate Neil, Alan, Carol Davis, George Patterson, Wolfgang Simson and others who are informing my thinking.
  2. Raise the bar of discipleship . . . .this is the most solid aspect of the OC Movement. I came away with a greater desire to follow the teachings of Jesus.
  3. The best results seem to come from the parts of our culture that gave up on church a long time ago. Effective simple church movements start best when initiated in the hearts of the recent converts.
  4. Mileage varies on starting OC movements in traditional settings - there seems to be a lot of frustration here.
  5. Nothing screams of movements everywhere like this stuff. It is simple, free, and replicable. I look forward to the future.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Johring in Mexico

This is from my good friend Craig Johring in Mexico City.
Here in Mexico City we are off to fantastic start of the semester. A huge addition to our team this semester are three Mexican staff from Oaxaca. I met these friends when they were students seven years ago when I did a Stint in Oaxaca. Since that time they’ve been launching movements and coaching leaders on campuses all around the state of Oaxaca. It’s so great to have Mexican national staff on our team as we believe God for launching a movement in every department of the 400+ university campuses in this city.

We are geared up, organized, and ready to host the numerous Spring Break groups who are coming to Mexico City in March. Our Spring Break website is It’s not too late to join the party and be a part of a historic time of pioneering new movements on campuses in this amazing and incredible city.

Our seven-week Summer Project is called The Mexico Journey. Students and staff will spend the first 2 weeks in Mexico City launching movements. Then in teams of five they will fan out across the country to believe God for pioneering movements in places we’ve never been before. Right now we have 18 staff and students on board, and have room for another 50. The website for The Mexico Journey is:

If you like reading blogs and want to track the latest and greatest adventures here in Mexico City…
Joe Cross
Kamp Ed Blog


-Craig Johring

Friday, January 26, 2007

OC Movement Conference

Later today I will show up at the main session of the Organic Church Movement conference in Long Beach, CA (sponsored by CMAResources). I have logged the last 24 hours with some of the leadership of this movement and it has been fantastic.

I am here as a human sponge . . . and I look forward to hearing from:

  • Neil Cole (author of Organic Church: Growing Faith Where Life Happens and Cultivating a Life for God) will speak on: "Why didn't I take the Blue Pill: speaking candidly about the darkside of Organic Church"
  • Reggie McNeal (author of Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church, Revolution in Leadership: Training Apostles for Tomorrows Church, A Work of the Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders, and Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraorginary Spiritual Leaders, will speak about: "Qualities of a Missional Leader)
  • Alan Hirsch (co-author of The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church, and author of the newly released Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church) will speak on: "Forgotten Ways: Apostolic Church Planting Movements"
  • Ori Brafman (co-author of The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations) "Starfish Organizations: the unstoppable power of decentralized movements)
  • Felicity Dale (author of An Army of Ordinary People, Getting Started, and co-author of Simply Church) will speak on: "Mobilizing the other half of the army: Women in leadership roles"
  • Wolfgang Simson (author of Houses That Change the World) will speak on: "Thinking prophetically and acting apostolically"
The workshops will be good as well.
  • Neil Cole: Breakinig Free from the Institutional Mindset
  • Carol Davis: The GlobaLocal Church Having an impact on the world from the very start
  • Dezi Baker: Transformation of a town: a case study of organic, incarnational impact on an entire town
  • Tony Dale: How to hear and discern real prophecy
  • Wolfgang Simson: Organic Church Finances, Part One
  • Panel Discussion: Transitioning conventional churches to organic churches (four models)
  • Richard Flemming: Marketplace Movements
  • Eric Herron: Organic church worship
  • Alan Hirsch: Acting your way into a new way of thinking: Leadership and action-oriented learning processes
  • Jaeson Ma: Campus Organic Church Movements
  • Panel discussion on Organic Church in the Black community
  • Wolfgang Simison: Organic Church Finances, Part Two
  • Brad Fieldhouse and Eric Swanson: Transforming Cities from the grass roots
  • Debra HIrsch: Organic church and the tough questions of ministry in the gay community.
Should be fun.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Plant, Launch, Build, Grow?

About a year ago, we had an interesting micro discussion on words during a US Campus Ministry National Team meeting.

Specifically, how do we describe moving ahead with movements. Do we launch and then build them? Or are they planted and then grown? And does it matter? Here are some observations.

  • Launch and Build seems man centric. We launch, we build.
  • The organic words lend more energy to the front end of the equation. We plant, but we cannot grow (any more than we can make corn grow). You plant corn and then it grows.
  • If we say build, it implies that we have to have a high degree of intentionality to make it work (I believe someone does, but is that meant to be us, or someone that comes from the harvest?).
  • Build implies a lot of work. You build houses, and barns and such. Growing involves watching and nurturing, but it happens via God energy. Again, I can water the corn but I don't build it.
  • Launch and Build sounds corporate and stoic. Plant and Grow sounds organic and simple.
At the same time, no one would argue that a campus ministry takes a lot of work. The question is, is that our work? Or is that the leadership work of the students involved. What does our work look like to care for the crop that is planted?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Lead Like a 5 Year Old

Sometimes it is profitable to lead like you are 5 years old . . . . not the tantrum part, but asking a lot of 'why' questions?

When we question what we have, it forces us to think toward broader solutions.

Here are some of mine. So, if we are moving toward movements everywhere . . . . then . . .
  • Why do we allocate staff at all? Why don't we allow people to allocate themselves? (because everywhere is everywhere)
  • Why do we determine the number of summer projects? Why cant anyone lead one?
  • Why do I tell people where to go for the summer?
  • Why do we hire people on a national level and place them from a regional level but have them answer to people on a local level? Couldn't we do all of this from a local level?
Just a few things to ponder.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Ronk and the GC Global Prayer Movement

Over the past few months I have been in a movement email dialogue with Steve Ronk, part of the Great Commission Global Prayer Movement. Here is a recent excerpt of wisdom:

"As you have probably read, most documented spiritual movements throughout history have been preceded with movements of prayer – a small remnant of people asking for God to do something in their church or community. I feel that a successful approach to prayer times asking for a spiritual movement need to focus on God’s will and desires, which are an intimate relationship with Him, surrender of everything to Him, asking Him to transform the individual into His image, which leads to God’s glorification and promotion (making God known). I feel that this focus of prayer should be sincerely and continuously prayed for the individuals, praying group, their church, community, city, country, etc.

(I feel that this is how God answers prayer requests. We tend to base our requests and requests for others on our will, needs and desires. God answers prayer requests based on His will and desires – intimacy, surrender, transformation, His glorification, and He being made known. We think our will, needs and desires can only be fulfilled through what God can do for us. God created us in such a way that we can only find fulfillment in Him.)

As the Holy Spirit transforms and empowers this praying group, God might draw more believers into the group – thus a movement can be formed. The new pray-ers need to be brought into the group, coached on this prayer approach, and continue praying for God’s will and desires. As this group goes out into their church and community surrendered, transformed and empowered, the lost will be drawn to them and Christ can be modeled and shared – thus a spiritual movement of multiplication can be formed.

All prayer and spiritual movements have to be empowered by God. We cannot create them, there is no magic formula, but I feel that the above approach can create the right situation that God may bless with His presence and power. The worse case scenario is that this group will be surrendered, transformed and empowered, which will lead to Christ being modeled, glorified and proclaimed."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Three Changes

I think if we made these three changes in the US Campus Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, it would greatly increase our effectiveness. Ready . . . hang on.

1. Allow local leaders to hire their whomever they want.
2. Allow a team to go anywhere in the context of the mission (in other words, anywhere there are students).
3. Allow a team leader to be anyone who can get two others to follow them (recognized vs. assigned leadership).

I have a few more additions, but I will hold off. A few things will happen with these changes. We will reduce our dependency on HR systems, we will free young leaders to move to open space and we be freed from any bureaucratic formations that hold us back.

Now, many will say we don't have the problem of people not being able to go where they want. To a degree this is true - in fact, if a young leader asked for a new role it would be considered (I asked to go to Duke, but that blasted Rick Hove scooped me). However, the system does not encourage this activity, but makes it a bit of an anomoly and somewhat presumptious. So then our systems and structures limit the types of leaders who desire freedom to succeed or fail on grand terms. If you want to be assigned something, then we are a great place to be. If you want to go crazy and take some insane turf, you had better get in line somewhere (is that to harsh?). Why did East Asia gather so many good leaders? Successful turf and wide open spaces. Leaders gravitate to the vacuum baby!

The above rules (and many others) are what the church at large operates off of. If you, me and someone's dog want to plant a church . . . . who is stopping us? We can do it in the back of some grocery store, a cigar shop or a brothel. The rules are gone and we gather who we need to gather to get er done. This is why you can drive from Orlando to LA on the back roads and never go through a town that does not have a church. It may not be a great church, but the open system allows them to form anywhere anyway and anyhow with anywho.

Wouldn't it be fun to capitalize on this power!?

For more thinking on this open system thinking read The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman & Rod Beckstrom

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Recently a old college buddy of mine accepted a new leadership role in the US Marines. I congratulated him on his promotion . . . and here is part of his response. Worthy insight.

"It is an awesome responsibility and will most certainly be the pinnacle of my career. I find it funny that it is something that I have aspired to for so long and when the moment unexpectedly came upon me, I hesitated. I actually debated not taking the job. It was some wise counsel from several mentors (my dad included) that showed me that I had a moral obligation to accept this responsibility. Part of my conviction was a quote by Winston Churchill..."

"To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour."

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I spent the end of the fist week of Jan in Boston. What a great place. From the hotel I walked over to MIT and strolled the grounds. It had a slightly more academic flavor the U of North Texas (Harvard of Denton County).

In Boston I was able to deliver two talks on my favorite subject. One was simply the principle of the Sower from Mark 4. I love how Jesus illustrates the role of the farmer and the work of the seed. That evening I was able to talk about God's heart and passion for the world. It is always fun to cruise through scripture and highlight the Great Commission sightings in both testaments. And since God is up to so much in today's world it makes it even better to tell the stories.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Students in Denver

I had the privilege of discussing kingdom pronicples with over 600 university students at a recent conference in Denver. The goal of the session was to help them move toward planting authentic faith communities on every pocket of campus - about half of the conference attendees showed up at this session.

We then divided up into groups of 3-5 people (all from the same school) and discussed five broad principles of kingdom expansion. Each small group was considered an 'apostolic band' - or a group sent to the campus in order to bring the gospel to as many people as possible.

First we discussed 5 Key Principles of Kingdom Growth:

  1. The Principle of Sowing (the Farmer of Mark 4)
  2. The Principle of Oikos (Households) (Matthew in Mark 2)
  3. The Principle of “People of Peace” (the Woman of John 4)
  4. The Principle of Apostolic Mission (The 70 in Luke 10)
  5. The Principle of Mission Focused Prayer (Jesus from Matthew 9)
We engaged in a brief discussion on each topic and then went to work. Each team identified at least 40 people groups on their perspective campus. After some time of prayer, each groups selected 5-10 of those groups based upon what they felt Jesus was leading them to do and then each team created a simple action plan for that community. There were only a few rules for each plan.
  1. Based in prayer and focused on the mission
  2. It could be implemented in less than a 48 hour period (see Luke 10)
  3. It involved revealing the gospel in Word, Deed or Power - or a a combination thereof.
  4. It 'outed' yourself as believer - in other words, you were not trying to sneak up on people with the gospel (so if you did a service project for a group, you did it in the name of Jesus).
After only 20 minutes of work, this group of students developed over 700 kingdom focused action plans for their universtiy environment. Very cool.