Archive for the 'Church Planting' Category


A Monday morning word for my fellow preachers…

Take heed, therefore, brethren, for the enemy hath a special eye upon you. You shall have his most subtle insinuations, and incessant solicitations, and violent assaults. As wise and learned as you are, take heed to yourselves, lest he outwit you. The devil is a greater scholar than you, and a nimbler disputant: he can transform himself into an angel of light to deceive: he will get within you, and trip up your heels before you are aware…You shall see neither hook nor line, much less the subtle angler himself, while he is offering you his bait… O what a conquest will he think he hath got, if he can make a minister lazy and unfaithful, if he can tempt a minister into covetousness or scandal!…If you will engage yourselves against principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places; if you will undertake to rescue captive sinners out of the devil’s paws; do not think that a heedless, careless course will accomplish so great a work at this.

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, pages 74-78.


should I stay or should I go now: reasons to leave the church and reasons to return

I ran across these two blog posts that are worth reflecting on if you are frustrated with “the church” or if you are thinking about returning to “the church”. The first blog is the reasons this woman left the church at age 27. The second blog is the reasons this woman returned to the church at age 30.

I think many of these issues are important because they go deeper than just the matters of personal preference. My observations are that many people switch churches for stylistic and/or selfish reasons. But, some leave the church because of more serious matters like crisis, major life changes, or because they fail to see how their church adequately interprets the Gospel into practice (even if they don’t articulate it that way). Other times, there is just a compelling feeling that it’s time to move on, even if you can’t place your finger on it. I find that these deeper reasons are the same ones that cause people to return to church. When tragedy or children or spiritual questions arise, people see the church as the main place to go to find answers, help, or depth.

If you are among those who have left the church, what was it that caused you to leave? What would it take for you to return? What is preventing you from returning? If you are among those who have returned, what was the compelling reason?

I would guess that people who return to church don’t return because of what makes a church “cool” (is that possible?) like logos, marketing, entertainment factors, or the like. So the reasons they do return would then include qualities like depth, authenticity, relationships, etc. Thoughts?


Seth Godin For Pastors – Part 3

Yesterday, Seth Godin wrote about the “Mathematical Impossibility of Universal Delight“. I think he intends this to be another application of the saying, “you can’t please everyone”. Sometimes you can’t even please “someone”. Another important product of this Mathematical Impossibility is that neither you nor I can ever be correct all the time (maybe even most of the time?). So, for pastors and as a pastor, I think this calls for two responses. First, we must cultivate humility in our hearts. If you and I know we can’t always please everyone and at least some of the time we are wrong, then we must approach every truth claim, every church strategy, and every piece of advice we distribute with humility. Secondly, we must be faithful to our calling. Every leader we read about in the pages of Scripture was opposed at one point or another. Opposition to what we say and do as pastors isn’t necessarily an indication that we are going in the wrong direction. But, remember response #1.


Seth Godin for Pastors – Part 2

Seth Godin says “Time Doesn’t Scale“. Changing his thoughts into my words, the amount of time you put in isn’t necessarily proportional to the amount of work you get done. First, it depends on your profession. Secondly, it depends on your aptitude. Thirdly, it depends on your product. (It probably depends on lots of other things too, but we’ll stop at three.)

I don’t know what this may mean for an accountant, or a carpenter, or a photographer, or a teacher. But, I don’t have to. Whatever “product” needs to be created can often be done better and faster with increased aptitude. When I worked for Starbucks as a barista I got paid to make a product during a shift. When I became a manager, all of that changed. I needed to help baristas develop an aptitude. More drinks per hour meant more profit margin.

Now, I’m a pastor. I need to know what this means for me as a pastor. What “products” do I need to produce? Sermons? Bible Studies? Time for prayer? Time for people? 100 other things? For me, logging hours alone doesn’t always enable me to produce a better “product” in my study. Without devoting some serious time though, my product won’t be nearly as crafted as it should be.

One of my “products” right now is to find a meeting space for our church. Time and aptitude seem to be the solution for overcoming the obstacles things like the building code restrictions are placing in front of me.  I’ve got building code requirements working against me, but with increased aptitude (which includes networking), I should be able to find something soon (one would think). There’s no shortage of retail/office spaces, but it seems the code requirements are inhibiting us from repurposing spaces like that. Only time will tell how I can develop this “product”.

Sometimes you need to conquer the things you “have to do” so you can get to the things you “get to do”.

Pastoring is a weird job, maybe one day I’ll figure it out.

Seth Godin says, “Time doesn’t scale”. But I’ve heard it before as, “Work smarter, not harder”

Read Part One here.


Seth Godin For Pastors

Seth Godin is a marketing guru who I find simply brilliant. He has a way of simplifying complexities. He has lots to say about communication, advertizing, and organizational systems. He also helps me think about many things which I wouldn’t otherwise because of a cognitive autopilot. He doesn’t write for pastors specifically, but much of what he writes about overlaps into the world of pastoring a church. So, I find it helpful to think, “What does this mean for me as a pastor?” when I read his blogs.

He wrote a blog awhile ago called “Who is your customer?” Does a pastor work for himself? A congregation? A denomination? In some ways, he certainly does work for one or all of these. But as I think about my job as a pastor, who do I answer to? If I fail to do my job adequately, who am I responsible to?

For me, and many pastors I know, we have only one customer. If I honor Jesus, teach others about Jesus, and follow Jesus, I’m successful. There may be other customers, but there is only one that I must answer to. This is refreshing and terrifying at the same time.


Sunday Recap for August 29, 2010

We had our highest attendance to date at SonRise West OC yesterday with 60 people. I am even more excited about the guests we had yesterday from our neighborhood in West OC who were able to hear about Jesus.  They came to check it out since they live just around the corner. The lady told me since it was so close, she even rode her bike! 

We will have a car wash this Saturday from 9-11am at the West OC site to meet, greet, and serve folks in the area. We will have some refreshments an “Open House” so people can check out the place while we are washing their cars. If you want to help serve, email me to let me know you will be there.

This Sunday we heard from Pastor John Woods of the new Bayside Community Church in Pocomoke, MD that will begin services on September 12th at the Pocomoke High School auditorium.  We are going through a sermon series about the church entitled “In Tents” (Intense). Pastor John talked about the “Hazards of Camping” this week.  Since the church is full of imperfect people, there will inevitably be conflict. We have to make sure to keep our eyes focused on Jesus so that we don’t allow imperfect people to move us away from the perfect Savior.  We also must remember that there is more going on around us than what we often perceive.  Satan desires to spread division and discord in the church and in our families. And though he desires to kill, steal, and destroy, we must remember that in Jesus we have a full and abundant life. You can listen to Pastor John’s sermon in a couple of days here.

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