Sunday, April 29, 2007

Internet Evangelism

"Sixty-four percent of Americans seek spirituality on the Internet, and as Christians, we need to be there for them," said Craig von Buseck, director of ministries for

The whole story here.

This is pretty profound, but I often wonder how the difference is showing up in real time. I continue to think that the Internet will prove to be an incredible church [movement] planting tool - and not just cyber churches, but real live churches based upon conversions made online. Tools like will continue to morph into tools that help new believers plant new simple churches / spiritual movements (without ever connecting to original forms). On a biblical front, very akin to the demon possessed man of Mark 5 heading back to the ten towns, or the Samaritan woman of John 4 in her own village.

If we apply Mark 4 (the sower) to the decisions that are being made on line, there should be hundreds of people instantly ready to multiply 30, 60, 100 fold. Very nice.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Neil Cole - Detox

Linda, Stacie Fletcher and spent a wonderful evening with Neil Cole last night. I appreciate Neil's hard work and diligence in decoding simple, replicable and multiplying. When talking to Neil it becomes obvious that much of what we hope is multiplication is simply fancy addition.

One of the interesting points that Neil often brings up in our conversations is what he refers to as Detox. Part of moving ahead in simple replicable forms means individuals detoxing from what has become standard operating procedure in western Christianity (that can hamper our growth and obedience).

  • It involves listening primarily to God via the scriptures, prayer and silence (as compared to speakers and books).
  • It involves looking at the gospels (Jesus) as the key source of learning and mission.
  • It involves a paradigm shift in understanding the priesthood of the believer (as opposed to defaulting to a professional clergy class for guidance - we can do it, yes we can).
I am sure it involves other issues as well, but these stand out to me. And this is not to say that books and speakers and such is bad, but that we must move to our primary source being our own engagement with Jesus and scripture. This may sound obvious, but we are a Christian culture littered with many good and meaningful things - that may prevent us from hearing from God and then acting on it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tall Skinny Kiwi has left the building

Andrew Jones (aka TallSkinnyKiwi) just walked out the door headed to the airport and then off to Denver - he was able to stay with us for 2 days during the church planting conference.

Andrew's perspective on church and mission is very refreshing and if you are not currently reading his blog, I suggest you add it to your list (he has been accused of being the Keizer Soze of the emergent church). Andrew has been blogging since the mid '90s and has tracked the advancement of the kingdom like few people I know.

Connections like this are life giving. Thanks Andrew!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hirsch, TSK, IHOP and the USCM

I mentioned earlier that Alan Hirsch was in the house last week. Alan was a featured speaker at 2007 National New Church Conference but he carved out time to hang out and connect as well.

On Wednesday morning I arranged a time for Alan (and TallSkinnyKiwi - Andrew Jones) to meet with part of the National Leadership Team of the US Campus Ministry (of Campus Crusade). Marc Ruter, Carrie Walker and Mark Gauthier joined us for some good conversation at our resident IHOP (observation - have you ever seen an International House of Pancakes in a country besides America?).

Alan was his usually drawing and sketching self and it was great to get these leaders connected. Andrew added tidbits of deep knowledge and overall it was a rousing good time (for a breakfast). I look forward to debriefing with Marc, Carrie and Mark.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


This has some serious potential and I am excited about the possibilities.

The goal of Shapevine is to give missional leaders the opportunity to engage in live learning environments with a wide variety of authors and thought leaders. This will all happen via video cafes, podcasts and live Webinars - and they have already signed on the likes of Reggie McNeil, Carol Davis, Michael Frost, Neil Cole, Brian McLaren, Andrew Jones, Leonard Sweet, Tony & Felicity Dale and others. Very Nice - they are just getting rolling, but you can check it out here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Test Time

Linda and I had a grand time entertaining Alan Hirsch for dinner on Saturday night. Alan is in town for the 2007 National New Church Conference (1800 people out at First Baptist Orlando discussing and scheming on planting new churches). Scott & Lori Crocker joined us for dinner and processed life, church and the state of the western world (Alan - you know you love the car sizes in America!!).

Update: At The Forgotten Ways website there are some newly released tools that are worthy of mentioning.

As you know, I have been quite enamored with concept of APEPT leadership from Ephesians 4:7, 11-12 (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher) (here or here for more). In my mind this gives us a much better context for leadership assessment than the current US Campus Ministry leadership model - mainly because this takes into account spiritual gifting, kingdom advancement and the inter action of leaders with primary motivational gifting.

This tool, developed by Alan in connection with some folks from Strength Finders, is a simple means to help leaders determine their leanings. It is clean, quick and cheap. If I was leading a local team I would have everyone take it in the 360 mode - and then lead a serious discussions on how the effects the way we move toward the mission.

This tool ( will help reveal much about how you lead, why you lead that way, and what are primary motivating factors in your spiritual leadership.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Facebook and Beyond

A bit off topic, but this stuff has changed the world. My friends Rhett and Link just put this together - these dudes got some talents.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Lid

This is an old ad for PS2, but I think it illustrates a great point. I wonder how our lid has trained us?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

And now page 104 [more disciple making]

Hirsch goes on to say that he thinks we have lost the art of disciple making. He identifies three reasons as at least partly responsible:

  • We have reduced it to the assimilation of intellectual ideas
  • The abiding impact of cultural Christianity embedded in our understanding of church.
  • The phenomenon of consumerism pushes against a true following of Jesus.
This appears to me to be the values of knowledge, safety and comfort. As a result, we have lowered the bar for participation in the Christian community to the lowest common denominator.

Alan goes on to say that the phenomenal Jesus movements of the past operated against this type of intuition - the early methods seem to go directly against many of our basic church growth principles (and yet they grew much much faster and deeper). In fact, it was difficult to join, but not complicated.

Alan then leans on Neil Cole's often quoted line regarding this principle - 'We want to lower the bar of how church [movement] is done and raise the bar of what it means to be a disciple.'

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hirsch on Disciple Making

From Alan Hirsch in The Forgotten Ways (pg. 103 if you are following along at home):

"It is interesting that when we really look at the dangerous stories of the phenomenal movements, at the most uncomplicated level, they appear to the observer simply as disiple-making systems. But the rather funny thing is that they never appear to get beyond this - they never move beyond mere disciple making. This is because it is at once the starting point, the abiding strategic practice, as well as the key to all lasting missional impact in and through movements." Amen and Amen.

Two observations.
1. In Crusade, I believe we would say this used to be our strong suit (along with evangelism).
2. I believe we have suffered as a movement / organization as a result of moving away from this staple and replacing it with complex issues of personal growth and theology (not bad, but maybe as essential).

It is interesting to me that over time our methods have become more complex and at the same time less effective. We think people need more information to grow and yet the rapidness of this growth seems to have decreased. Is this a false observation? Is this simply the aging of us as an organization? How are we missing this key component? Or are we?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rutz on "Christians in Diapers"

I loaned out (and apparantly lost) my copy of Megashift. Bummer - I will have to buy a new one. I copied this quote sometime in the fall of 2005. I think it is fitting (if not biting). (The comments in brackets are my additons).

Most people who are called Christians are spiritual babies. They can't even feed themselves. they have to be spoon-fed weekly by sitting passivley in a church service (weekly meeting). Trouble is, this only make the problem worse.

That is why improved sermons, bigger churches, and better trained pasotrs can't help. Quaker statesman Elton Trueblood once gave me a copy of his book The Company of the Committed, in which he lamented dumping all religious affairs onto the clergy (staff), this secularizing everybody else: "The basic trouble [with the traditional church] is that the propoesed cure has such a striking similarity to the disease."

I will be back on Alan Hirsch book and next steps in a day or so.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Expansion in Indonesia

From Joel News: In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, thousands of new charismatic churches have sprung up. Most of these have a young membership, and there is a growing acceptance of women as leaders.

Indri Gautama, a former businesswoman of Chinese descent, is one of Indonesia's female church planters. She wants to see her nation transformed by Christ and says: "It seems like 60 percent of the disasters happening in the world are in Indonesia. God has allowed this so we will seek Him." Her 1,500-member Apostolic Generation Church that began in 2002, feeds hundreds of the city's poor every week, and it provided significant aid to victims of Jakarta's recent floods. Gautama believes her calling is to train a new generation of Christian leaders. "We have to be willing to take risks. We must adopt a kingdom attitude."

National prayer mobilizer Daniel Pandji says that more than 60,000 churches have been planted in Indonesia in recent years - so many that almost every hotel in Jakarta rents out meeting rooms to congregations that don't have their own buildings. Christians in 500 cities in the country have organized 'prayer altars' where believers are storming heaven for a national revival. "It used to be so hard to gather churches together," Pandji says. "But now we are in a season when churches want to come together for prayer."

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Association for Christian Character Development

Long time no post. The past 14 days have been filled with some meaninful life events.

Last weekend I was in Austin TX for 'Breakthrough' sponsored by the Association for Christian Character Development. It was an intense four days that I was talked into by my good friend Shannon. He said we would endure together - and indeed we did - and the Lord used it to surface all kinds of stuff in our lives. What a joy - if you ever have a chance to attend one of these events, I would highly recommend it. Here is how their web site describes the event I attended - and I agree.

"The Breakthrough Training, an intensive four day experiential training event, is an opportunity to discover the belief systems that prevent you from achieving the fullness of God's purposes for you in such a way that you can realign these beliefs with His purposes and calling in your life and become fruitful. You will experience a transformation in your ability to love others as Christ loves you, liberating your conscience to fulfill God's unique purpose for you with freedom, passion, and power."