Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Great Plains and "The Way Forward?"

I am in Estes Park at the Stanley Hotel with the killer GPI region of Campus Crusade for Christ - they are having a discussion on 'The Way Forward' - the new directional direction from the National Team of the campus ministry.

You can look at the PowerPoint here - but here are some questions being asked by these leaders?

  • What systems are in place for coaching these new teams - how does that look?
  • What thought is given to getting more people on the ground?
  • Tension between organizational control and expansion?
  • What is a missional team anyway?
  • Are we going to have the same success criteria?
  • Does this mean that the local level with have more authority?
  • How doest this look in partnerships on campus? Internationally?
  • The strategic priorities - what exactly are these?
  • Is this initiated at the local level / regional level?
  • Is this an expansion of scope / or just a serious allocation to scope?
  • Is there a bigger change coming? or is this it?
There seems to be a lot of confusion on missional teams. I love the GPI leadership is because they are honest about the confusion - and not trying to answer questions that they are not sure of the answers to. Good job.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Supernatural on Campus

The speakers at Supernatural at UCLA are Banning Libscher, Jaeson Ma and Neil Cole. I dont know Banning Liebscher, but I am sure he is the reasl deal since he is hanging with Jaeson and Neil - this conference should be a good time.

Here is what it is about: Campus Church Networks presents "Supernatural on Campus" a college revival conference to equip and empower student missionaries to awaken a generation to the love of God, make disciples and move in signs, wonders, and miracles to transform their campuses for God's glory. Cool.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Texas Retreat #2

On Sunday morning we tackled, in an interactive way, six principles of kingdom growth.

  • The Principle of Abide / Obedience (of being a disciple) (John 15)
  • The Principle of Sowing (the Farmer of Mark 4)
  • The Principle of Oikos (Households) (Matthew in Mark 2)
  • The Principle of “People of Peace” (the Samaritan woman of John 4)
  • The Principle of Apostolic Mission (The 70 in Luke 10)
  • The Principle of Mission Focused Prayer (Jesus from Matthew 9)
On hindsight, I think I tried to cram to much of this in and would be better served to space it out over the weekend. I had the whole group divided in teams of five representing their campuses. Each team had a big poster board and a scribe as they worked the process.
  • On Abide we covered divine truth, nurturing relationships and apostolic mission.
  • On Sowing, we worked through observations of the farmer, seed and soil.
  • On households they listed each 'tribe' they could identify on their campus
  • On POP we talked about the seed surfacing people who are ready to respond
  • On mission, each team spent 10 minutes building a quick plan to 'out themselves and the gospel' among a few of the tribes they had identified in less than a 48 hour period. This is where we spent most of our time.
By the end of the time, there were a number of good plans in place and a number of teams were really excited about what could happen. However, I must admit that it was a bit too rushed and I think many of the students where simply not thinking bold enough (or concrete enough). I could have done a better job pushing the boldness quotient.

Time will tell.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Texas Retreat #1

I spent the weekend in the great state of Texas hanging with students from San Marcos, Houston, San Antonio, Laredo, Austin and Dallas-Ft. Worth at Camp Tejas near Giddings. The Cru staff from theses cities are doing a great job tackling the spiritual movements in all its complexities. Hats off to Erin, Ken, John, Lori, David, Sal, Lance, Mark, Cody, Becca, Doug and the rest. They are seeing some great things happen.

I continue to experiment (thanks guys) with the retreat format I used at UCLA last year - that is, to use the retreat for an interactive mission focused / training venue. Basically, assuming that the students that arrive at the retreat are the mission force for the schools they represent and that within them are the ideas to reach their fellow students.

On Friday I told my story and highlighted God's sovereignty and love. On Saturday night we got into 12 groups (by birthdays) and worked a simple process on the commands of Jesus (as compared to the commands of Jesus based religion). Jesus says obeying his commands will bring life and joy, so we wanted to see what those commands where, and then focus our conversation on what it would look like to live out this out on campus.

There is a sense of freedom that comes from obeying Jesus beyond (in spite of / without) adhering to the religious edicts of the day. All told, these students listed about 10 key commands of Christ. All very simple and doable and void of religious trappings and observable external rules. At the same time - simple to say but radical in practice. Things like 'love your enemies' are great on paper, but lived out can be a bit dicey.

I believe many of these students saw the implications of faith lived out this way. (and big time thanks to the Texas State Cru Band - they made a time of worship very strong and vibrant!).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Church Planting Movements

I took the opportunity to re-read David Garrison's Church Planting Movements booklet. Not only is this little booklet very inspirational, it also provides a simple guideline to rapidly reproductive church planting. You can download a pdf of the booklet at the link above.

David identifies ten key elements in a CPM:

  • Prayer - the vitality of the missionaries personal life is key
  • Abundant Sowing - cpms do not emerge where evangelism is rare or absent
  • Intentionality - must be deliberately engaged in church planting
  • Scriptural Authority - Bible (not training or men) must be the guiding source doctrine, church polity and life itself.
  • Local Leadership - not the church planter, but the local leadership
  • Lay Leadership - key leaders emerge from the people being reached. They reflect the same demographic
  • Cell or House Churches - vast majority of the cpm churches are small. 10-30 meeting in homes or other locations not associated with traditional church.
  • Churches Planting Churches - "members have to believe that reproduction is natural and that no external aids are needed to start a new church." (or movement I might add).
  • Rapid reproduction - "When rapid reproduction is taking place, you can be assured that the churches are unencumbered by nonessential elements and the laity are fully empowered to participate."
  • Healthy Churches - worship, missions, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship are all taking place.
So how does this transfer to 'movements everywhere' on university campuses in the US and abroad. It seems that we have a few of these key elements, but we may unintentionally prevent a few others. Prayer, scripture, health and decent sowing exist. We have a degree of planting intentionality, but more of our efforts seemed geared toward growing what currently exists. We struggle to see movements start new movements (in Campus Crusade language, a movement correlates with what David calls a church) and we do not rely on student leadership over our direction and coaching. We have very little expectation that we could plant a new student group and then come back to find that it has planted six more. In my experience, this is basically unheard of . . . but it does not seem that far fetched if we expect it to be so.