Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Church Needs More Heretics

1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.
2. anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.

Seth Godin, in his latest book Tribes, defines heretics as the new leaders. The are the ones who challenge the status quo, who get out in front of their tribes, who create movements.

Today, October 31(ignore the post date above!), is known primarily as Halloween. Modern consumerism and industry has changed what was originally a religious celebration into something entirely different. But that's not what this post is about.

October 31 is also the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses, or points of discussion, on the door of the Church at Wittenberg Germany. That simple act touched off a series of events that led to the Protestant Reformation and the splitting of the Church into several branches of beliefs. The Reformation is not what this post is about either.

What we need today are more heretics. Check out some comments from a few of today's great church thinkers as they participate in a Reformation Celebration in Wittenberg.

Change is made by people, by leaders who are proud to be called heretics because their faith is never in question. I'm working through information that I've heard, talked about, read, and seen over the past three weeks that is beginning to crystallize in my brain.

I'm thinking I am becoming a heretic - anyone want to join my tribe?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Together Tuesday

"Together" was the theme of Catalyst 2008; from the opening worship set to the closing comments by Andy Stanley, the theme resonated throughout the event. Even now, almost three weeks later, Catalyst echoes of "together" are bouncing around in my mind and life.
  • Together Tuesdays - an idea posted on Catalystspace suggests that we meet up with another member of the body and talk about who we are, how God has gifted us and what our passions are. Today I started my Together Tuesdays by meeting a local pastor for lunch to get to know him better and find out what God is up to in our lives. It was great, and I'm looking forward to next week!
  • Catalyst rewind - that's my name for it. Every day I'm listening to a different audio of the Lab sessions as I drive about on business. I even take a few notes now and then (I multi-task really well, even while driving).
  • The great team at Community Christian Church kicked off my Catalyst Experience with their "Discover the Dream" half-day session. I can't get the story of Nansen out of my mind and am asking God to inhabit my dreams for Him.
  • Tribes - Seth Godin's book is making a powerful impact on my life. Already I've created two different tribes in my life, and am working on a couple of more.
  • Catalyst 2009 - that's right, 2009. I'm working on plans to attend along with at least one or two family members.

Together - we are much more effective than alone. Who are you "together" with this week? What new "together" partnership can you make next week?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Discover Your Dream

Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer who had personal dreams:

          1. To be the first to cross the interior of Greenland, bringing back valuable information for the scientific community

          2. To prove the theory of continental ice flow by placing his ship in the ice on the East side of the Arctic and letting it travel over the continent for three years until it was freed on the West side; and in the process reached the North Pole

          He achieved both.

          He planned to continue on with his dreams of exploration, but with the onset of WW1, funds for exploration were diverted elsewhere. Nansen now found himself in opportunities of global impact that he could have never dreamed possible. God's dream for his life was much bigger than Nansen's dream! As a result of this redirection, he:

          • Led the movement that resulted in Norway's independence from Sweden

          • Served as Norway's minister to Great Britain

          • Led the delegation that orchestrated the relaxation of the Allied naval blockade to save innocent lives during WW1

          • Worked to repatriate over 450,000 POWs after the war

          • Directed relief for the Russian famine of 1921-22, saving the lives of an estimated 7-22 million people

          • Mediated and led the resettlement of 1.75 million people after the end of the Greek/Turkish war

          • Helped feed and resettle 50,000 Armenian refugees displaced after the war

          Nansen: explorer, scientist, scholar, Christ-follower, humanitarian, politician, Nobel Prize winner.

          What dream are you passionately pursuing? Dreams change you, they change others, and they change the world. If you don't have a dream that causes you to be dependent on have not yet rediscovered the dream God has for you!

          My friends at Community Christian Church in Naperville, IL helped start my Catalyst experience three weeks ago with the story of Nansen. They outlined 7 steps to Discovering Your Dream. Your dreams start with identifying a "God-sized thing" that is calling you to a bigger vision than you've ever had before.

          I have no aspirations of being an Arctic explorer...but I feel a God-sized dream forming in the midst of the future.

          A Pain in the Neck

          No, really. I awoke Sunday morning with a pain extending from just behind my ear down into my shoulder. Since I was scheduled to play a handbell piece in both worship services, I started the Advil routine - 3 every 3 hours. It didn't get any better, so I headed home after the last worship while Anita and Aaron headed to the Panthers game. I spent my afternoon and evening rotating between the couch and the Serta chair, watching football and NASCAR. By evening the pain was still there so I started in with a prescription muscle relaxer. That helped it some.

          This morning I thought everything was normal, but the pain has returned, and so I am on the muscle relaxer again. I was going to post on "Less is More" as a follow up to "The Simple Church" last week, but we will see how the day goes.

          Friday, October 24, 2008

          When things are getting fuzzy

          The story of Michael Phelps in the Olympics last summer captivated the world. His quest to achieve more gold medals than any other athlete made for interesting stories during the coverage of the games. One interview featured his life, for years, leading up to the 2008 Olympics. He ate, slept, and trained – period. For years that was the sum total of his life. He stayed focused on his goal and said no to everything else.

          Finally we come to the fourth phase of Thom Rainer’s Simple Church focus. Once you have accomplished the other three – Clarity, Movement, and Alignment, then the hard part will begin, and it will never end. It will be ongoing for the rest of your ministry life.

          Focus is the commitment to abandon everything that falls outside the simple ministry process. Focus is the most difficult element to implement. Things outside the simple process threaten to steal attention and energy from what has been determined as necessary.

          To focus is to say “no” a lot. Saying no is difficult, and must be done with God’s wisdom and timing. Here are Rainer’s five essentials to focus:

          Eliminate nonessential programs-focus requires churches to forsake programs that are outside the ministry process.

          Limit adding more programs-less really is more; less programs mean more focus on the programs offered; less programs means more impact.

          Reduce special events-simple churches are so focused on their ministry process that there is little time for extra events that distract.

          Ensure the process is easy to communicate-in order for people to agree with the single-minded focus of your church, the process must be easily communicated.

          Ensure the process is simple to understand-people are incapable of focusing on something they do not understand. Understanding leads to focus and commitment.

          Simple churches have focus. It is necessary but not easy. The focus will be tested and questioned. Church leaders must have the single-mindedness of the Apostle Paul who said, “One thing I do”.

          Are you ready to be focused, to say no? Are you committed to staying focused on your simple ministry plan?

          Thursday, October 23, 2008

          Getting your ducks in a row

          My youngest son is playing rugby this fall. It’s a new sport to us, but he loves it. Even though it’s all new to me, I am noticing a unique feature of rugby. As the team advances the ball down the field, their formation is very much in alignment. It’s like a diagonal across the field: as the player carrying the ball is approached by the opposing team, he laterals it off to the next player in line. If it all goes well, they can advance the length of the field to score. If the alignment is broken, their advance is stopped and the ball is turned over.

          Churches can lose alignment just like a rugby team – anything from team members not doing their assigned tasks to outside forces breaking the alignment.

          Alignment is the arrangement of all ministries and staff around the same simple process. Without alignment, the church will be a multitude of sub-ministries. In a church that lacks alignment, it does not feel like one body. It feels more like a building that houses a variety of sub-ministries. Simple churches intentionally fight the drift into misalignment. They insist that every staff member and each ministry embrace their simple ministry process.

          Once again, Thom Rainer in his book Simple Church provides five essentials to maintain alignment:

          Recruit on the process-churches that bring people on the team who are committed to their simple process are enjoying the power of alignment. Everyone’s energy is moving in the same direction.
          Offer accountability-without accountability, people naturally drift away from the declared ministry process. Leaders should avoid the two extremes of micromanagement and neglect. Micromanagement stifles creativity and hampers shared leadership; neglect fosters complacency and leads to a fragmented team.
          Implement the same process everywhere-a church that is committed to alignment implements the same process everywhere. All ages should be following the same process so that understanding is increased; unity is promoted, and families experience the same process.
          Unite leaders around the process-if leaders are not united in the same direction, the body of Christ is ineffective. When one part wants to be a separate body, there is division, and the world is confused.
          Ensure that new ministries fit-the most challenging aspect of alignment is pulling existing ministries and staff in the same direction. It is much easier to align new people and ministries to the overall direction. If they do not fit, you simply do not allow them to begin.

          God’s plan is for His body to be one. A lot is at stake - Redemption. Eternity. Transformation. Unity is essential.

          Wednesday, October 22, 2008

          Is there a traffic jam in your church?

          I came through Davidson yesterday afternoon just as the elementary school was dismissed and the college was changing classes. Traffic was backed up for several blocks as cars were waiting to turn, college kids were crossing the street, and buses left the school.

          Congestion stinks. It’s bad enough when you’re trying to get somewhere; it’s even worse when it’s a church. Spiritual movement is stifled. The building of lives is slowed. Congested churches are filled with the same people-people staying the same. Unchanged. Unmoved. According to Scripture a believer’s life is to be transformed more and more. There is to be progression, movement.

          Thom Rainer’s book Simple Church describes four concepts that will help churches get “uncongested”. Yesterday we looked at Clarity. Today, we will examine Movement.

          Movement is the sequential steps in the process that cause people to move to greater areas of commitment. Assimilation effectiveness is more important than programmatic effectiveness. Movement is how someone is handed off from one level of commitment to a greater level of commitment with ever-increasing levels of commitment..

          To implement the movement element, church leaders must take a fresh look at the weekly church calendar and the regularly scheduled programs. All programs must be placed in sequential order along the ministry process.

          Here are Rainer’s five prescriptions to help you unclog your process, to remove congestion.

          Strategic programming-begin with a clearly designed process; choose only one program for each phase; design each program for a specific aspect of the process, and place the programs in sequential order.

          Sequential programming-order the sequence of your programs to reflect your process; designate a clear entry-point to your process; and identify the next level of programming.

          Intentional movement-create short-term steps; capitalize on relationships; consider the “Now What?”; and connect people to groups.

          Clear next step-new believers need a clear next step in order to nurture them in the movement of the gospel.

          New Member’s Class-teach the simple process and ask for commitment to the process.

          If this sounds a little too programmatic for you, consider this: Jesus had no Plan B. He simply poured Himself into His disciples. The Gospel of Luke shows three distinct phases of the discipleship process: calling, building, and sending. They are sequential, designed to move the disciples into greater levels of commitment.

          Should we do any less?

          Tuesday, October 21, 2008

          Making a List...and Checking it Twice

          What's on your church "to-do" list?

          More importantly, what's on your "stop doing" list?

          Jim Collins, author of two very important books (Built to Last, Good to Great) recently spoke at Catalyst 2008. As usual, his presentation was fast-paced, full of stories, and had lots of application to churches. In the middle of his talk, he threw out the following statement: For every item on your to-do list, you should also put something on your stop-doing list. He spoke to that briefly, and then contined on.

          That statement stuck with me, and has been bouncing around in my brain ever since. The rest of the week, I want to think about this in terms of some resources I've been working with and this statement, and encourage you to think about them as well.

          I start with a great book - Simple Church, by Thom Rainer and Eric Granger. The book has been out over a year, and is still making waves in churches across the country. It's based on case studies of over four hundred churches and attempts (and succeeds) in demonstrating that the process of making disciples is often too complex. Simple churches thrive by taking four concepts to heart.

          Clarity > Movement > Alignment > Focus

          Ephesians 4:11-12 refers to the "work of ministry" as "building up the body of Christ. As a ministry leader, you are in the building business! I can really relate to that, because I am in the building business - I want to help church leaders build their church - sometimes I even use bricks and steel. But that's another topic!

          Constructing lives, building people, developing disciples - whatever words you use, that's what we are about. The process of doing just that can often become complicated and lead to stuck people on a path to...nowhere. The first step to a simple church is Clarity.
          Clarity is the ability of the process to be communicated and understood by the people. Understanding always precedes commitment. When there is no direction, people assume a direction or invent one. Simple churches have a crystal-clear process. They work hard to ensure everyone grasps it. Simple church leaders know their church's vision and are able to articulate it to others with conviction. They are able to do so because they own the process.

          How is the clarity of your ministry blueprint, your plan for making disciples?

          Thursday, October 16, 2008

          It's No Fun Dancing Alone...

          You probably need to know that I love music but have never been able to connect my music ear to the rest of my physical body and get it to move in rhythm on a dance floor. As a matter of fact, it doesn't take even one hand to count the number of times I've danced: a couple of dances at friends' weddings, and a very emotional dance last spring with my son's new bride at their wedding reception. All of which makes the following story even more remarkable.

          Earlier this fall my wife forwarded an email to me from a friend, talking about some waltz dance lessons coming up at a local dance studio. They were really kidding around, but I put the double dare down on them, and before you knew it, my wife and I and three other couples had signed up for six weeks of lessons. That will teach them to dare me!

          I had to miss last week's class because of my Catalyst trip, and tonight my wife had to be absent due to an unexpected business trip. We agreed that I should go, to learn the new steps from last week and keep in practice so I could teach her. As it turns out, the step we learned last week, the under arm turn, is easy for the guy: lift your left hand as a cue for your partner to do a turn on her own, then move back together. Okay, I've got that part - now I've got to teach her the turn part!

          Even though I know three other couples, and we always switch partners at least 3 or 4 times during the class, it's just not the same. When you've traveled together for almost 29 years, it's no fun dancing alone. I can't wait to teach my wife the new step, and then keep dancing away!

          A final thought was spurred by our instructor: she said we needed to hear and feel the beat of the music, and to move rhythmically together. That brought to mind one of my favorite passages of Scripture from Ephesians 4, and a perfect end to a day in the life of disciple seeking to use the gifts God has given me:

          He handed out gifts..., working withing Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive in Christ.
          With Christ, we never dance alone!

          Leadership Lessons from Your Son

          Last night I had the opportunity to observe my almost 16 year old son continue to mature before my eyes. My wife and I are launching a new small group, and we gathered at a friend's house to take care of the logistics and get the group going. Since the gathering was originally taking place at Panera Bread, and supper was involved, naturally he wanted to attend (he is a teenager, after all - the kind that has to eat every 3 hours or he will waste away).

          Supper was fairly quiet, with routine conversation around the table. A last minute change in plans (a full moon, very temperate weather, and the offer of my friend's back porch for the small group) led us away from Panera. There were originally going to be some additional teenagers present, but for one reason or another, they didn't make it, leaving my son the only one - among 8 adults. He decided to stay with the encouragement of all of us - and ended up teaching us all a little about life and learning and what it means to be a disciple.

          This particular group is coming together "for a season" with the intent of multiplying into several other groups in the next year or so. Because all four couples have teenagers, the conversation shifted toward the question of teens and what they are looking for in a group, and in church. In recounting some recent events, the group was stopped dead in its tracks by my son's comment: "You all are doing it right - you're asking questions, and listening to us."

          You're asking questions, and listening to us. That's a pretty profound thought from anybody, but especially from a normally quiet teenage boy. The heart of that statement is a truth everyone in leadership needs to take to heart more often.

          Who are you talking with? What questions are you asking? Are you listening - really listening?

          Wednesday, October 15, 2008

          Lost...and Found?

          Why do so many young adults leave the church, and what will it take to bring them back? Who are the young unchurched, and how can they be reached with the good news of Jesus Christ? Thom Rainer and his son Sam tackle the first two in their new book, Essential Church. The last two questions are being addressed by Ed Stetzer in a book that will be released early next year. Ed recently gave a preview of his findings in a brief presentation at Catalyst, and in his blog. I wanted to explore them a little and get your thoughts and comments.

          It's a very personal subject for me, as I have 3 young adult children (two of them with families of their own) and a fourth not far behind. They have grown up in the church, all being very active through their high school years. Then, it's off to college, then family and career, and ...what next?

          Stetzer introduces us to four general types of younger unchurched:
          1. Always unchurched (never been involved)
          2. De-churched (having attended as a child)
          3. Friendly unchurched (not particularly angry at the church)
          4. Hostile unchurched (angry at the church or have had some negative experiences with the church)

          As might be expected, there is no "one size fits all" approach to these four groups. While there has always been a major effort on "bringing friends to church", Stetzer's research indicates a strong and growing focus on being incarnational - going and living among people who are far from God.

          Beyond identifying who these young adults are, we must also know what they believe. Here are a few snippets of Stetzer's research on a sample of over 1,000 unchurched young adults:

          1. They are spiritual, but not religious. 43% indicated this answer, and another 31% claimed to be both spiritual and religious.
          2. Even though church attendance is not important (the whole survey was to this group), 40% identify with a denomination or faith group.
          3. More than 60% reported attending church weekly when growing up.
          4. 81% believe in God; 74% claim that the existence of God does or would impact their lives.
          5. But, there is an abundance of spiritual confusion in the belief systems of young adults. 57% believe that only the God described in the Bible exists; 58% believe that the biblical God is no different from gods or spiritual beings worshipped by other world religions.
          6. The younger unchurched are not staying away from church because they have a problem with Jesus: 66% believe Jesus died and came back to life; 77% said that believing in Jesus makes a positive difference in a person's life.

          Statistics are tools - but that's all they are. This brief look at our young adult generation gives us a vivid picture of adults who are spiritual but wary, open to Jesus but not the church. (Dan Kimball has a great book on this as well.)

          I'm really looking to exploring these faith issues with my young adult children and their friends, learning how the church can impact their lives with the power of Jesus Christ, and sharing this information with other leaders.

          What about you?

          Tuesday, October 14, 2008

          Catalyst Roundup, Part 2

          Four days after the event has concluded, my head is still spinning, my heart is still resonating with a new beat, and my spirit is still soaring. Evidently, the Catalyst event will do that to you. For another first timer's thoughts, check out Church Solution Editor Karen Butler here. A quick perusal the past couple of days of some of the key leaders' blogs reflects the same excitement and amazement. Even leaders who have been to every Catalyst are saying this has been the best yet. But can the emotion and excitement translate into movement, action, and, most of all, a growing desire to be with, and serve, God. I think it can!

          I hope you have had a chance to take a look at the short blogs I posted from the event last week. If not, why don't you drop back and take a look at them now?

          My words are inadequate, but I hope you have been able to understand a little bit of the Catalyst event. I will certainly continue to relive the 3 days for a long time to come: Intellectually, because I want to understand what the message from all the leaders is and how it can help our churches; Emotionally, because I want to continue to feel the power of God for us, our woeful inadequateness, and His unconditional love for us; and Experientially, through the CDs and DVDs of all the sessions.

          If you are interested in a conversation about Catalyst, drop me a line at

          I want to close my Catalyst posts with 3 statements from various sources that Andy Stanley ended Catalyst with:

          • To reach people no one else is reaching, we must do things no one else is doing - Craig Groeschel

          • The Next Generation product almost never comes from the previous generation - Al Reis

          • When your memories exceed your dreams, the end is near - Michael Hammer

          We can do much more together than we can on our own.

          Monday, October 13, 2008

          Catalyst Wrap-Up, Part 1

          Though it's hard to pick a favorite from the tremendous lineup of speakers at Catalyst, Seth Godin has to be right up there at the top. He's long been one of my favorite authors, and his blog is one of my daily reads. For a little more details on his presentation to Catalyst, take a look at my blog at Church Solutions here. His latest book, Tribes, has a powerful message for church leaders-of all ages-that needs to be heard. Tribes want to:

          • Connect

          • Create meaning

          • Make a difference

          • Be notices

          • Matter

          • Be missed

          Where's your tribe?

          Craig Groeschel made a few comments about his latest book, it, saying that churches and leaders should have it:

          • It is not a model, system, or program

          • It changes lives

          • It attracts criticism

          • For those of you that have it, you can lose it

          • For those of you that don't have it, you can get it

          • Ministry can quench it

          • Don't be a full-time pastor and a part-time follower of Christ

          • Your heart should break for the things that break the heart of God

          Random observation #1: Some of the loudest, longest, and most heart-felt cheers came for an Army Staff Sergent, who chose to spend 3 days of his 15 day leave at Catalyst. He just wanted to learn more before he went back to his post in Iraq. He and his wife were showered with tremendous applause and a long, standing O. Catalyst guys raided the resource center and made sure that had a ton of stuff to take back.

          Andy Crouch, speaking about culture, observed that we often:

          • Condemn

          • Critique

          • Copy

          • Consume

          Instead, God asks us to:

          • Cultivate

          • Create

          Matt Chandler speculated that if church leaders have been at their churches longer than 4 years, where your church is weak is where you are week.

          We need to learn how to contextualize-learn how to say deep things in understandable ways.

          I'll be posting some final observations from Catalyst later tonight.

          Friday, October 10, 2008

          5 Enemies of Unity

          Dave Ramsey, leader of the Financial Peace group, works with over 250 employees on his team. UNITY is a core value, so here are his enemies of unity:

          *Poor communication
          *Unresolved disagreements
          *Lack of shared purpose
          *Sanctioned incompetence

          Churches need to exhibit extreme levels of excellence

          Leaders must go to battle early and often against enemies of unity.

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          Saving the World at Work

          Tim Sanders, former Yahoo executive turned author and business consultant, made the following observations:
          *Scarcity is in your mind
          *You can create abundance through compassion
          *Abundance is the essence of faith

          Take your values of Christ-like compassion to work with you.

          A single act of compassion will ripple like a wave throughout your organization.

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          Thursday, October 9, 2008

          Catalyst-Day One Wrap Up

          I am wonderfully, powerfully, emotionally spent. When a day begins with a 45 minute worship experience with 12,000 people on their feet praising God, includes powerful messages by Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick, and Craig Groeschel, AND includes challenging, relevant presentations by two of the most in-demand business writers of today - Jim Collins and Seth Godin - what other response is there?

          And I didn't even mention 24,000 white-gloved hands under black lights, moving to the beat of 3 DJs; a percussive dance troop that let their feet stomp out the rhythms; hilarious speaker introductions that included a school bus, mariachi band, dodge ball champion, fiddler, and a pig (you had to be there-ask me for the whole story).

          And I didn't mention the worship sets that kicked off each of the 5 sessions of the day - talented, humble musicians who led the arena into the presence of God.

          And I didn't mention the amazing stage in the round that dazzled the crowd with video and lights but didn't detract from the experience, instead ushering us into it.

          There's more that I didn't mention, but this I will: a catalyst is an agent that causes a reaction to accelerate, but is not consumed in the reaction. Instead, it is available to be used again and again.

          God, make me a catalyst-for my family, my faith, my friends, and my future with You.

          Homeboy Stephen Furtick at Catalyst

          Between the Promise and the Payoff is the Process.

          God is preparing you for what He is preparing for you.

          Hold on to your vision even when there is nothing to see.
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          Catalyst #3

          The movement of God has always been intended to be multi-cultural and global

          Brenda Salter McNeil

          Nobody wants to change the world more than God.

          Here is a place on the way to there that is between somewhere and nowhere.

          You've got to do it together because they won't believe you if you do it alone.
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          Catalyst Session #2

          What separates the exceptional from the good?

          Jim Collins, noted business author (Built to Last, Good to Great) asked this question of the 12,000+ leaders at Catalyst. The simple answer: a culture of discipline.

          Other tidbits:
          Your "to do" list needs to be balanced by a "stop doing" list
          Every generation of leaders needs to develop practices that passionately exhibit their values
          Be useful
          If you need to manage someone tightly you probably made a hiring mistake
          Humility is a signature of successful leaders
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          Catalyst Opening Session

          !!!WOW!!!BLOWN AWAY!!!AWESOME!!!

          I would like to tell you what I'm really feeling...but I don't have the words-not yet, anyway. That's right, the guy who reads 4-5 books at a time, has a burning passion for knowledge-has no words.

          Except Jesus is Lord.
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          Wednesday, October 8, 2008

          Catalyst Lab #4

          Pop Goes the Church
          Tim Stephens

          We don't live in a church culture, but our culture is increasingly searching for spiritual things.

          Reality #1: Most churches aren't impacting their communities. In fact, some churches are a negative impact in/on their communities.

          3 Groups:
          -churched - attending
          -unchurched - not attending
          -dechurched - former attenders

          Reality #2: Spiritual interest is growing in our culture.

          Unfortunately, churches are answering questions people aren't asking.

          Stephens has some great thoughts for your consideration in his book by the same name as this presentation. Pair it with "unChristian" by Gabe Lyons, and you will have a great insight into the current state of culture and thought patterns of those not attending church today.

          Catalyst Lab #3

          How do you position yourself to be a great leader?
          Reggie McNeal

          Good people get things done; great leaders bless the people around them.

          7 Characteristics

          Reggie McNeal is a great speaker and an engaging speaker. This material is fully developed in his book "Practicing Greatness."
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          Catalyst Lab #2

          How the kingdom of God Relates to Church Planting
          Ed Stetzer

          Matthew 16:13-20

          1: Lordship of Jesus is foundation
          2: Peter's confession get's at the foundation of the church
          3:The church has the keys to the kingdom

          Great speaker, presentation that needs to be processed.
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          Catalyst Lab 1

          EPIC Leadership-The Dorothy Way
          Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders
          Today's young adult generation is:

          There is not just one way to lead.
          Great leaders will change styles, but not principles.
          Lasting leaders determine their style by observing their people.

          3 kinds of leaders in Oz
          Wicked Witch-manipulation
          The Wizard-intimidation

          Yellow Brick Road of leadership styles:
          50's-Military Commander




          21st century-Poet/Gardener
          Connection and Growth

          Put your leadership training on ICE
          I-Images...which lead to
          C-Conversations...which lead to
          E-Experiences which transform our lives

          What's your yellow brick road leadership style?
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          Discover the Dream, Part 2

          7 Steps of Discovery
          Dave Ferguson and the New Thing Network used the story of Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen to illustrate how we can discover the dream God has for us.

          1 - God Thing: Look where God shows up
          2 - Vision: Preferrable future
          3 - Leader: Am I the leader to share this dream?
          4 - Team: Who am I bringing alongside?
          5 - Finances: Money follows vision
          6 - Alignment: What are the things that need to lineup?
          7 - Unstoppable: Do whatever it takes to accomplish the dream

          What's your dream?
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          Discover the Dream, Part 1

          Any session that starts off by having you pick a hat (I choose an early American tri-corner) and a prop (telescope) for a Polaroid picture of yourself is going to be way cool.
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          Tuesday, October 7, 2008

          Catalyst Road Show Begins

          I'm on the road to Boone NC for a client meeting this afternoon. Following that, I will stop by to see Jack and Jon and Hallie (!). Then, I hit the road to Atlanta and THE CATALYST CONFERENCE!

          Wednesday morning I start off with The New Thing network's "Delivering the Dream." Then a choice of four Lab sessions in the afternoon.

          Thursday the main event kicks off. Look for frequent posts the rest of this week.

          This is going to be so awesome!
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          Monday, October 6, 2008

          At the Flea Market

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          Around the family table

          Sunday my family and I were visiting with my son and daughter-in-law in Lewisburg, WV. We attended church with them, Lewisburg UMC. The services were special that day in that they planned a shortened regular service, then dismissed the congregation to attend a World Communion Service on the lawn of the town's Carnegie Hall (yes, it's a Carnegie Hall, but not THE Carnegie Hall).

          Congregations of two other churches - Baptist and Presbyterian - joined the UMC folk for a brief time of Scripture, music, prayer, and then the elements of communion.

          Simple, but powerful.

          Sunday, October 5, 2008

          Almost Heaven - West Virginia

          We're in our last day of a whirlwind weekend visit with Jason and Jaime at their new home in Lewisburg, WV. We rolled in late Friday night, and spent all day yesterday walking the streets of Lewisburg, looking at shops and art galleries, enjoying snacks of every kind, and then going to see the play "Souvenir", about the singing career (?) of Florence Foster Jenkins in the 30s-40s. Jason had done the set design, and Jaime was the stage manager (both firsts for them at their theatre.) It was a very funny 2-person play about Jenkins (who thought she could sing, but couldn't), and her piano accompanist, Cosme, who reluctantly (at first, but then willingly) accompanied her during her rise to fame. They have one more weekend performance of Souvenir, then they have three days to strike the set and get ready for "To Kill a Mockingbird".

          We're off to church with Jason and Jaime in a little while, then lunch at the Irish Pub, then it will be time to head back to NC this afternoon.

          Friday, October 3, 2008

          Making Hay While the Sun Shines

          On the way to the airport yesterday it was a warm sunny fall day so I had the sunroof open and the windows down. I came across a field that had freshly cut and baled hay in it - the old style small bales. The aroma of the hay took me back to my teenage years, when I helped nearby farmers as they would bring in hay for the winter. My usual job was to stack hay bales on a wagon pulled by a tractor - sometimes tossing them from the field, sometimes stacking them on the wagon. Hard work, but good exercise and fun for a bunch of teenagers.

          My instantaneous trip down memory lane was shattered when I rounded the corner and saw one man, driving a tractor pulling a machine that picked up the bales, stacked them in neat rows, and when a row was complete lifted the whole thing onto a trailer. The work was quicker, neater, and in the long run more economically advantageous for the farmer.

          On the way back from the airport, going down the same road, but on the other side, I saw an elderly gentleman driving a tractor cutting a small field around his house-but with an identical International Harvester tractor and mower that I used in the early 70s. Now, the tractor I used then was old - that made this one really ancient. But it seemed to be doing the job just fine, and the farmer was moving right along in his work.

          The more things change, the more they stay the same.

          The season and needs of both farmers dictated their actions. Each was using tools at his disposal to accomplish a task. Each was satisfied that they were doing the right thing, and they achieved their desired result.

          Looking back to yesterday's post, Bridges would translate the old French saying above to: There can be any number of changes, but unless there are transitions, nothing will be different when the dust clears.

          Situational change hinges on the new thing, but psychological transition depends on letting go of the old reality and the old identity you had before the change took place. Nothing so undermines organizational change as the failure to think through who will have to let go of what when change occurs.

          Got Change, anyone?

          Thursday, October 2, 2008

          How do you like change?

          My company is hosting a seminar on Thursday October 16, at Huntersville UMC. The theme of the seminar is "Welcome Home"-we're focusing on creating environments that connect people to Christ. We were the design-builder of HUMC, so I thought it appropriate that we have our next seminar there. If you would like more information, check out our company website or leave a comment.

          As lead church consultant for JHB, I'm responsible for organizing the whole seminar, but I'm also leading two workshops: one entitiled "The Hospitality Factor", the other, "Leadership for Change". I'll be posting more on hospitality in the future, but my son asked me an interesting question at supper last night that bears reflection - it's all about change.

          Out of the blue, he asked, "Dad, what's your favorite season?" Without hesitating, I replied "The next one." He asked if I meant Fall or Winter. I replied "Neither - I mean whatever the next season is. Today, it's Fall. If you ask me in late November, the answer will be Winter." I then replied, "I like to see the seasons change because that mean's something new is coming."

          Change, even as regular as the seasonal changes (at least in NC), is constant. I've been a student and practioner of change for a long time. One of the best resources for understanding change is William Bridges' "Managing Transitions". Don't let the title fool you: the first sentence explains the premise of the rest of the book: It isn't the changes that do you in; it's the transitions. Bridges sees change as situational-the new job, new boss, new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation.

          Transition starts with an ending, letting go of something. After letting go, you enter the neutral zone, the no-man's land between the old reality and the new. A new beginning completes the transition, as they mark a time of commitment to a new reality, to be the new person the new situation demands.

          So it's Fall, and change is in the air, literally and figuratively.

          Wednesday, October 1, 2008

          I'm a grandfather...

          My oldest son became a father earlier this year. That makes me a grandfather. Those are simple words to say but what implications!

          • I now have a heritage to maintain. Four children should have made that clear, but somehow having another generation, your child’s child, makes it different.
          • The world thinks you’re old. Check out the card section for any card dealing with any family event that has the word “grandfather” and a picture associated with it.
            Retirement is around the corner. That’s what all the commercials for financial services indicate.
          • AARP comes calling. That probably has more to do with the fact that I turned 50 this year, but you know what I mean. You’re a grandfather, so you’ve got to be old!

          I have news for the world:

          • My heritage was established twice; the moment I was physically born into my family, and the moment I was spiritually born into the family of the redeemed. I have responsibilities to be proud of, and to pass on, both heritages to my children and their children. They, in turn, have responsibilities to pass them on again. My heritage, my legacy? It’s to acknowledge Christ as Lord, and create an environment in my family so they can make the same decision.
          • I’m not old. My body doesn’t work like it used to or like I want it to, but it works. My mind is still curious; there are puzzles still to be solved.
          • Retirement is a long way off. I may not work for the same employer; I may not work at all in the traditional sense. But work is a part of who I am, and will be, for decades to come.
            I don’t need AARP for their advocacy, their influence, or for their discounts.

            I’m a grandfather – wow!