4 Spiritual Positions

What is your spiriutal position in relation to God?

Which group do you most desire to live Jesus’ mission with?


What is Success in Church Planting?

While discussing this question, Kevin Haah and I considered how God’s definition of success may be the antithesis of man’s. As men, we easily become caught up in the physical size of the launch team, opening Sunday, one year anniversary, baptisms, and stories of changed lives. To us, success is often measured by what we can count. But God looks beyond the physical realm and considers the attitude of our hearts which leads to the conclusion that success by human standards may often be seen by God as failure. Where as, failure in the eyes of men, may be seen by God as success. It is in our failings and humility that God leads us to a place of greater dependence on His Spirit and power – success.

With this in mind, Kevin captured the meaning of success and ended our conversation with one word – “OBEDIENCE”. When we are obedient to God, physical outcomes are immaterial because God’s purposes are achieved. Success is obedience.

In a recent article in “Mirror”, Patty Park quoted Kevin saying, “Success is not defined by results, how the church does or how many people come,”…. “The definition of success is not about moving up in the world; it’s about obedience. I’ve realized that success just means figuring out what God wants me to do, and doing it.”

You can also listen to a message given by Kevin titled “The Definition of Success”.

Larry Osborne on Multiplying Leaders at Exponential Conference

Larry OsborneLarry Osborne – North Coast Church
Multiplying Leaders

Empower people and then platform people – this gives people power with authority.

Barnabas factor

  • personal financial generosity – if we won’t share our earthly treasures, then we won’t share our leadership resources. If someone is stingy with their stuff, they will be stingy with their ministry. This enables us to raise up people who will raise up people who will fly higher than we can.
  • He looked for anointing and track record – God has a great track record of picking wrong people and making this soar.
  • He looked for people who were different. Defend the right for people to be different withing the vision. Make people color in the vision, but not within the lines. Look for young eagles, but remember they won’t see the world the way you.
  • Be willing to step aside. Don’t raise up helpers. Multiply leaders.
  • Don’t let a favorite child, become a spoiled child. The mission is more important than the relationships.

 Random thoughts and musings:

  • “Ministry is addictive; don’t ask for too much too fast.” Work people into ministry positions slowly – let them grow into ministry leadership.
  • “The ponies are more important than the mail.” Take care of your leaders – they are more important than the people they serve.
  • “Develop a nose for leaders and a heart for the regular guy.” This prevents us from seeing people as leaders and losers.
  • “As you multiply leaders, beware of high passion – high contentious people.” If someone is a pit bull for righteousness, they are still a pit bull. Be careful of people who are contentious for the right reasons. Because when they disagree with you; they will bit you. Pit bulls love to growl. They are easy to identify.
  • “Beware of suffocating discipleship.” The process is intense but no one is becoming a leader. Suffocation happen with too much relationship and training.
  • “Accept the fact that you can’t have both empowerment and excellence.” Empowerment and excellence are always in some tension even when people are operating in gifts. Empowerment doesn’t mean everyone gets a chance.
  • “Have a plan to make room at the table.” Make a plan to get young leaders involved in decision making processes.

Rick Warren on The Challenge at Exponential

Besides this blog post – you can email Rick Warren Directly for his “8 Laws of Spiritual Maturity” – prw@saddleback.com

“Pastor, listen to your wife. She is usually the Holy Spirit. When you disagree with her, she IS the Holy Spirit.”

The purpose of marriage is not to make you happy, it is to make you holy. Listen to her. Let her be a counselor to you.

“You don’t have to have a building to grow a church.” Saddleback did build a building until they had 10,000.

“Never compare yourself to anyone else.” “God wants you to be you.” Don’t listen the the critics or the complements.

 Suggestions on how to build a reproducing church:

  • Never stop growing personally.” You can never delegate your faith. God can only reveal His vision for you to you. How do you stay consistent. You must make disciples. God takes 6 hours to grow a mushroom and 28 years to grow an oak tree. Do you want your church to be a mushroom or an oak tree. Integrity – humility – generosity.
  • Pay attention to your family.” Love your wife and kids. You have to take a day off. Take a sabbath every week. Which means you don’t read email or answer your phone. You gotta build your family before you build your church. It’s all about surrender. If you start living like Jesus you won’t be liked by other ministry leaders.
  • You must develop a Kingdom mindset.” God’s agenda is bigger than you. What is God’s agenda – the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is wherever Jesus Christ is King. The Kingdom is wherever God’s will is done. When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus answered with evangelism.
  • Focus on building people NOT the church”. You focus on building and God will build His church. Build the purposes of the church into the people’s lives. It takes more than than sermons for people to grow spiritually. Acts 13:36 (Rick’s life verse) – he served God’s purposes in his life and then he died.

Andy Stanley on Apostalic Vision at Exponential Conference

Andy Stanley - Making Vision StickAndy Stanley’s talk on Apostolic Vision at the National New Church Conference – Exponential – is the outline of his book “Making Vision Stick“.  As Andy encouraged us, listen to this session (or in your case – read this blog post), save your money, and don’t buy the book. Here it is…

How do you make vision stick as a church planter?

Vision – a mental picture of what it could be, fulled by some passion of what could be

Vision always begins as a burden for what could be – we do what we do because of a burden for the way things should be.

The challenge of leadership is to take what is clear in our head and make it clear to others. How do we bring others to do what needs to be done?

1.  State it Simply

  • Keep it simple stupid! Memorable is Portable. Make it memorable. Make it portable. Vision that sticks must be memorable and portable.
  • Never assume people know as much about what you are doing as you know about what you are doing. Keep your language the same on your vision.
  • Only simple visions can communicate from person to person, from church to church to reproduce disciples. Keep it and state it simply.

 2.  Cast it Convincingly

  • Define the problem – help people feel the problem – craft vision as a solution to a problem – what must be done in the environment we are in? What would go undone if your church ceased to exist?
  • Offer a solution.
  • Explain why and why now – be sure to answer why now? Have a long discussion with your team on this.

3.  Repeat it Regularly

  • Look at the rhythms of your church and use them to repeat the vision.

4.  Celebrate Systematically

  • When you find someone living the vision. Tell the story – celebrate the story. Stories do more to communicate and clarify values than anything else. Celebrate the win. Showcase the win of those people who are living the vision.

5.  Embrace it Personally and Publicly

  • Let people you really believe in the vision by telling stories and living the vision. People need to know that you are bought into the vision God has given you.


The Emasculated Church

Two years ago, David Murrow stirred conversation in evangelicalism with the publication of his book “Why men hate going to church“. Church leaders across the country tried to crack the code on reaching men. Mark Driscoll began speaking about “the ‘Chick-i-fied’ church” (see video below).

AND … nothing changed. Most churches are still emasculated. Why? Perhaps pastors have spent so much time discussing what they need to “do” to attract men, they have forgotten that leaders attract  people like themselves – a feminine man will attract femininity. Brian Jones addresses this in his recent blog titled “Effeminate Pastors“. The issue of the emasculated church may be found in the nature of today’s church leaders.

Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels

Courageous Leadership by Bill HybelsI’ve just finished reading “Courageous Leadership” by Bill Hybels – a great book for church planters, mission minded pastors, and high capacity volunteer leaders. In this book, Bill provides ministry and leadership wisdom from both his success and failure. He provides what seems to be an authentic look at his struggles in pastoral leadership and the lessons he has learned through the journey. I pray that God continues to weave these pastoral leadership principles into the fabric of my own life and leadership.

Following are the cliff notes I gleaned from “Courageous Leadership”:

“Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion.” page 33

During my years as a Willow Creek Association conference speaker, I would teach Willow’s definition of “vision” as “the ideal picture of the future”. This is true, but limited. I greatly appreciate how Bill has modified the definition to include passion. Vision is not just a picture of the future; it is a picture of the future that produces passion and excitement within the church body for accomplishing Jesus’ mission. If you know me, you know that I am a very passionate person and leader. It’s no wonder this expanded definition resonates so strongly within me.

The selection process for building Kingdom dream teams is based on ‘three Cs’: “first character, then competence, and finally chemistry…. Character, Competence, Chemistry.” page 81.

In hiring ministry staff, I have always focused on character and competence, but I learned the hard way that chemistry is essential. My most recent staff teams have possessed all ‘three Cs’. Ministry certainly is easier and more enjoyable when I labor in ministry with people I enjoy sharing life with. Relational chemistry on ministry teams brings added joy in fulfilling Jesus’ mission – even when the journey is hard.

“…leaders are at their very best when they are raising up leaders around them. Or put another way, leaders are at their best when they are creating a leadership culture.” page 122

One of my greatest passions in ministry is empowering leaders. I love coming alongside emerging leaders and coaching them to a place where they experience the fullness of God’s power through their spiritual gifts in accomplishing Jesus’ mission. This is why reproduction of leaders is an essential part of our spiritual formation process in the new church and community based organization we are starting. Click here to read a brief overview of our CPR2 spiritual formation process.

“Who is your toughest leadership challenge?” “YOU.” page 182

How true! Great leadership begins with great self-leadership. If we can’t be disciplined enough to lead ourselves, how can we ever expect to be great at leading others? For me, this is holistic. Self-leadership involves my physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health. How can I lead, encourage, or disciple others into the fullness of life that Jesus offers if I am unfit in any of these areas of my own life? I want others to be able to follow my example. Like all pastoral leaders, I have to focus with un-wavering determination to live healthy. It doesn’t come easy. But I have found that the ongoing practice of spiritual disciplines goes a long way in helping me maintain my physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health.

Another chapter worth noting, but not quoting, do to it’s reflective nature is “Discovering and Developing Your Own Leadership Style”. chapter 7

Bill first presented this chapter years ago at a WCA Leadership Summit – a message I have heard multiple times over in various context, and now again. But it never gets old. I love coming back to the fundamentals of how God has wired me up. Even if you have heard this message before, get your hands on this chapter, and let God speak His truth of who you are into your life and leadership. My primary leadership styles are the “motivational”, “team building”, and “entrepreneurial” and shift smoothly as the environment and needs of the ministry change.

And now for the home run. “Developing an Enduring Spirit – Staying the Course”. Chapter 12

After 14 years of full-time ministry, I have seen far too many peers benched due to moral failure or exhaustion. So how do pastoral leaders develop an enduring spirit and stay the course. Bill suggests three courses in the graduate school of endurance – 1) “Make your calling sure and stay focused”, 2) “Enduring by developing the courage to change”, 3) “Enduring by discovering safe people”.

The principles presented in “Courageous Leadership” are essential in developing pastors and churches that reach their fullest potential reaching people with the irresistible love of God.