Category Archives: Church planting

Thoughts, articles, ideas, and vision from church planters

My Long Leadership Journey

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Yesterday our staff at The Bridge spent the day at Crossroads for  the Injoy Stewardship Challenge and had the opportunity to hear from John Maxwell and Brian Tome.  (lead and founding pastor of Crossroads)

Anytime I get the opportunity to be around men who lead, and have led for a long time I feel challenged as a man, pastor, and leader.  Our executive pastor, Jeff Flowers had a great post about the conference, and talked about it “recalibrating” his leadership.

I have to admit that I have been in deep need of a leadership recalibration…the addition of two additional staff members at The Bridge has helped tremendously, but the conference yesterday really served as a major turn of the dial for me.

I have spent a good amount of time at The Bridge as the solo lead pastor.  It is a circumstance that I strongly caution against when I talk to church planters, and men who feel they may be called to plant a church.  Beyond the lack of push back, the lack of accountability, and simply being very lonely, the danger of burnout and a willingness to give vision away for peace is a ever present threat.

Maxwell started out by talking about vision and dreams in the first session yesterday.  He started by saying the more valid reasons you have for your dream coming to fruition the more likely it is to occur.  He proceeded by talking about the ownership question…is my dream really my dream? He said it was the pinnacle question for a leader…the one on which his or her dream hangs.  The notes were…

-All great visions have an owner

-Am I a believer of my vision, or a buyer?

(You don’t own what you haven’t bought.  He went on to use the example of a rental car, saying you never stop to wash and wax a rental, because it isn’t yours.  You therefore do not care about the treatment it receives from you)

-If you own your vision you will be willing to bet on yourself!

The following questions were about passion, a willingness to pay the price, and tenacity.  Each could not be answered in the affirmative unless the ownership question was a resounding yes.

I have to admit the point was a painful but profound turning of the dial for me.  The Bridge has experienced so many changes, with so many transitions and difficult decisions.  I had honestly come to the place that I had begun to question many things…had been willing to let some vision go in the name of humility, or for the sake of peace…I had begun to fudge on the ownership question.

Maxwell said that if you have bought your vision no one, no one, no one will be able to talk you out of it.  There have been times this was true of me…but not lately…and I needed to be reminded of it.

A vision that is rented will lack passion, lack tenacity, be expected to carry a low price, and ultimately fail.  It is the mistake of many church planters who either attempt to transplant the vision of another church, or attempt to plant a church alone.

In God’s incredible goodness to me He has seen fit to add two men into my life and leadership at The Bridge.  What He is teaching me, and how He is tooling me is a great reminder to me about His redemptive plans for The Bridge and for our city.  I praise Him for this, and trust He will continue to be kind to me as I seek to grow as a leader.

I plan on posting the notes from the conference over the next couple of days.  Please check them out and let me know what you think.

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Our New Executive Pastor…

Check out this interview of the new Executive Pastor at The Bridge, Jeff Flowers being interviewed about church planting

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Sobering Statistics on Pastors

Check out the post from Phil Pike: “Pastors: Wimps or Endangered Species”

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I Want to Be a Part of a Church… (part 3)

that exhibits humility

we all have things we pursue, and seek, vision that is right and biblical…but it is our relationships that define us.

it is how we treat one another that is important 

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

 

every church I know talks about how it values love…it is a requirement of the evangelical church to put “love” in its values

the truth is, if we don’t value humility, love will never occur

humility is the key that will unlock the door to true and biblical interaction, while pride is the lock that will keep us in our groups, in our buildings, gossiping, backbiting, being critical, and condescending

humility is  ALOT less popular a pursuit than love

no one got a Valentines Day card that said…”I lower myself so you can be raised up”…or “I am less important than you”

but as Christ followers we continue in the footsteps of one who chose to make Himself of “no reputation”, taking on the form of a “servant”, all the way to His death at the hands of His own creation!

Here are three quick foundations of humility to frame the conversation:

1.  You are created

your life was not once bestowed to you, but is continuously allowed

when you and I forget we are created bad things happen (Lucifer/Adam and Eve/Romans 1)

Humility then, is not a sacrifice we bring to God, but an acknowledgement of reality…He created all of us…we are dependant on Him…when I try to build my empire at your expense I am like an ant in an ant farm, building up my few kernels of dirt, refusing to acknowledge it is borrowed and temporal

2.  You are a sinner

Paul said that in him was “no good thing”! The Apostle Paul said there was no good thought/intention/action in him that was good!  

In our interaction do we assume ourselves right, our intentions good…how would our relationships change if we agreed with Paul?

3.  God gave you grace

We often consider sin to be the great humbler, but for a Christ follower, grace is the greatest humbler.  To be so depraved, and have been given so much, how can I seek power, seek to build my empire…

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I Want to be a Part of a Church that… (part 2)

seeks justice

It makes me angry…

that at the turn of the century the church split…with one side taking Jesus out of their message…leaving only their pursuits for social justice…and the other side reacted…deciding to remove social justice from their agenda…and only talk about Jesus

both sides thought they were right

both sides were wrong

because belief without action produces hypocrites

and action without belief produces heretics

It makes me angry

that the church has more access to information than at any other time in history 

but chooses to be naive that

25,000 children/every 7 seconds die each day of hunger or hunger-related causes (U.N.) 

40% of the people in the world lack basic sanitation

Nearly 2 million children exploited in the global sex trade (UNICEF) 

27 million slaves in the world today (National Geographic) 

1.6 billion people in the world have no electricity

One billion people in the world do not have access to clean water

One in seven children worldwide (158 million) have to go to work everyday just to survive.

that we embrace John 3:16 and ignore 1John 3:16-18

that we choose feeling guilty over planning action

It makes me hopeful

that our God is a God of compassion

that our God hears the cry of the oppressed, the hurting, and the mistreated

that our God is redeeming all creation back to Himself

that our God can take 2 fish and 5 loaves and feed 5000 people

that we get to be used by God in His redemptive work

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I Want to Be a Part of a Church…

that seeks truth

I am not interested in a church that does not give highest priority to their pursuit of truth

Honestly, what would be the point

I am not talking about pursuing what is true…the facts of a time or culture…I am talking about pursuing the truth…the overarching, timeless, transcending, understanding of the way things are

In the Old Testament truth is “firm/reliable/stable”

In the New Testament truth is: “disclosed/available”

I am talking about foundational, reliable truth that is available to anyone who is interested in it…not beliefs that change with time or are reserved for a select few

In the Gospels Pontius Pilate asks Jesus a question that is still applicable to today’s time…”what is truth”

It was a question that Jesus had already answered in two ways:

Truth is a person

Truth is that person’s words

Those that seek truth seek to know a person, and seek to hear what that person says

As in any relationship there will be times when we love, and are encouraged by what we see and hear…so anyone who is seeking truth will have to come to realize that their journey will include their acceptance that truth will sometimes be their friend, and will other times be their adversary

In the book of Genesis Jacob wrestles with God…and God lets Him.  

God throws Jacob, and allows Jacob to throw Him

What a great picture of how we ought to approach our truth journey.

Their will be times when the person of truth, and the word of truth will be a warm blanket, an welcome friend, or an encouraging word…there will be other times when truth will be a punch in the face, or a fight that wears you out and puts your hip out of joint

People that seek truth are willing to have both in their life

I want to be a part of a church that seeks truth…all truth…from all sources…

that when they hear truth in a song, a book, a statement, or movie (regardless of who said it) they identify it as an echo of their Savior’s words, and they claim it, and wrestle with it, and fight it, and allow it to challenge and change them 

I want to be a part of a church that holds truth with white knuckles, while at the same time never believes that it originated with them or makes them superior…

I want to be a part of a church like that

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Newness at The Bridge (Series and Space)

We had a great week in our new space last week!  

This weekend we are starting a new series… (on the place of the church in culture and politics)

Oct 15 we are beginning a mid-week series… (on spritual gifts)

Read the description for both here

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