Saturday, November 21, 2009

6 Attributes of Effective Elder Boards – Rick Thompson, Acts 6

Rick wrote the book – Effective, Empowering Elders


One of the first glimpses of a board and a congregational meeting in the New Testament

  • Effective Elder Boards Pray – v. 4 - if elders don't guide and drive the ministries of prayer and the Word, it won't happen…guard it, develop it
  • Effective Elder Boards Guide Process – v. 1-2 – got the disciples together to bring solution to their problem
    • Discuss
    • Dialogue
    • Decide
  • Effective Elders Empower Others – v.3-6 -
    (See Vines on "to mend nets" from Matt. 4:21 7 & Mark 1:19 – not necessarily torn nets, but nets that need tightened and perhaps need arranging to more effectively catch fish).
  • Effective Elder Boards Govern with Proposals – v.3-6…we don't know how long it took the apostles to come up with their proposal, but we read it like it was automatic. It could have taken days or weeks for them to make a unified proposal. The proposal pleased the whole group.

    "Vision is insight into God's Purposes"

    • Bringing about changes in the Life Cycle and Stages of Congregational development usually requires "s-curve" changes to redirect your direction. Examples include:
      • Changing to small groups from Sunday Schools
      • Changing location or building
      • Changing styles
  • Effective Elder Boards Govern by Policies – (v.3-4)…men full of the Spirit and wisdom (their policy). The board does not manage or perform the operations, they set policies.
  • Effective Elders Boards Protect the Church
    • They protect vision and values
    • They protect the elder board and its values as these determine the health of the church
    • They protect their pastor
      • 3 Kinds of men who will be our pastors (insights from Driscoll)
        • Priests – love people
        • Prophets – love the world of ideas
        • Kings – big picture, see organizational development, may struggle with relationships, may not be best preachers, but can certainly lead

Friday, November 20, 2009

Knute Larson – Ministry & Organization in the Church

Knute had a lengthy hand-out which charts Phil. 1:1 levels of leaders

Below are Random Nuggets gleaned during his presentation:

  • It's not about our meetings, it is about God's plan for the ages.
  • The mysteries of God should give us passion for the gospel and for the church….we have been given the secret things of God to explain.
  • Phil. 1:1
  • One head…all our decisions and actions under Him…then the overseers to carry-out His mandate!
  • Phil. 1:1 lists all the jobs in the church – Jesus = Head, overseers, deacons, all the saints in Philippi.
  • Lay elders cannot and should not ever "eat and sleep" church like the pastor does.
  • All staff members report to the senior pastor, and not anyone else in additions.
  • Bible does not mandate any particular church organizational chart.
  • God often shepherds by what "seems best" to a whole group of leaders
  • Good leaders are servants first.
  • It takes years to develop the mood of a church and only moments to destroy it.
  • People hate changes and surprises…but many leaders surprise churches with changes and lose.
  • When a decision-making group is over eight or nine, it is too big.
  • Pastors and elders share a large ministry description
    • Lead – Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet 5:2
    • Rule – 1 Tim. 3:4-5
    • Shepherd – Acts 20:28-29
    • Teach – 2 Tim. 4:1
    • Equip – Eph 4:11-13
    • Example – 1 Pet 5:3
  • Governing boards must model Phil 2:1-13
  • Overall health of a board is equal to the sum of its parts
  • It's not the things in the Bible that I don't understand that gives me problems, it's the things that I do understand that gives me fits.


    Check out or to listen to the podcasts (should be up early next week). Look for EFCA-Training as the link at the Providence site.


Effective Elders – Allegheny District & GLD Elders Training Retreat

Effective Elders

Rick Thompson – GLD Superintendent



Acts 20:13-18 – First elders retreat


An Effective Elder:

  • Leads God's People v. 18-19, 28
    • 2 Best Books on Leadership
      • Peter Drucker
      • Jim Collins – Good to Great
      • Spiritual Leadership – Sanders
      • Unity Factor – Osborn
      • Sticky Church – Osborn
      • Taking Your Church to the Next Level – Gary McIntosh
      • One Size Doesn't Fit All – McIntosh
      • Wild Goose Chase – Mark Batterson
    • Most commonly repeated word in this passage – "I" 20 times in the passage…
      • Lead by example
      • Close emotionally attached relationship with the people


  • Bleeds for God's People – tears 3x in the passage
    • Really care for God's people
    • Can't be out of touch with the people
  • Feeds God's Flock
    • V. 20 – preached everything helpful…publicly and house to house.
    • V. 32 – committed them to God's Word
    • Titus 1:9 – holds firmly to the message…encourage others by sound doctrine
    • 2 voices – one to gather the sheep, and the other to frighten away the wolves
  • Seeks Lost Lambs v. 21- "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus."
  • Heeds for God's Flock – v. 28-31…"Keep watch over yourselves…be on your guard."
    • Catfish – Catfish chasing the codfish actually kept the codfish fresh…sometimes the catfish in our tanks are good for us.
    • Dragons – well intended (Doug Marshall) but burn everyone around them
    • Wolves – Distort the truth, Divide the flock…self-willed person
  • Intercede for God's Flock – Exodus 18:17-18



Becoming a Missional Church – T.J. Addington

Notes from our combined Allegheny District/Great Lakes District Elders Training Retreat

Institutional Churches

  • Emphasis on organization at the expense of other factors.
  • Focused on themselves
  • Love meetings, boards, committees, and bureaucracy
  • Guard status quo and resist innovation
  • Have little interest in influencing the community for Christ.
  • Often characterized by infighting and power struggles
  • Stay in the comfort zone
  • Few conversions and little spiritual growth
  • Are threatened by strong missional leadership
  • Rely on Professionals
  • Make it hard for people to get into ministry
  • Are resistant to change
  • Lots of rules
  • Live with illusion that everything is okay
  • Worship the past and want the future to look like the past

Missional Churches

  • A deep commitment to the mission of the organization where the mission always comes first and is the driving force of all energy, direction, funding and personnel.
  • Leadership is about the future
  • Celebrate the past but always reinvent their future
  • Understand the mission of the church: more and better believers
  • Flexible in their methodology
  • Empower everyone to be involved in ministry
  • Regularly innovate
  • Little Bureaucracy
  • Have great trust
  • See significant fruit
  • Have an attitude of "whatever it takes"
  • Few rules
  • Make it easy for people
  • Are change friendly


Jesus was about mission, not institution

  • Jesus was not about institutionalism, but was about mission
  • The Pharisee were about the institution not the mission
  • Matt. 28L18-20
  • Acts 1:8
  • John 17:18
  • Jesus designed a church to survive and thrive in any economy, any political system, any social environment. It was designed to be the most missional, most effective, most flexibly organization on the earth.

How to Get to Missional and Stay There

  • Single most important thing a leader does is to provide maximum clarity to those they lead about what is important to the church and how the church is going to accomplish its mission.
  • Four Areas of Clarity
    • On Mission – why are we here?
    • Maximum clarity on guiding principles or values…the unchanging channel markers that must guide all decision making…
    • Maximum clarity on your Central Ministry Focus…Eph 4:12
    • Maximum clarity on your Culture of Spiritual Vitality and Growing Maturity

How to Integrate and Live-out this Clarity

  • Challenge of alignment
  • Keeping the main thing the main thing
  • Not allowing missional to be subverted by institutional
  • Teach the congregation
  • Remind leaders what we are all about

The Sandbox Principle – see the book – "Leading from the Sandbox" – the 4 sides of the box

  • Clear Mission
  • Guiding Principles
  • Central Ministry Focus
  • Culture of Maturity

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Raw Footage of Alex Ielase's Fall Festival Message

Crossroads - Altoona - has a great Day!

This past Sunday, Crossroads Community Church in Altoona had a great friends day with about 50 people in attendance. This is a great encouragement as this work continues to rebuild itself. They are currently in a series entitled - The Fear Factor. To hear Pastor Mark Petras' first message in the series go to

In addition to reaching out to their community through both hands-on involvement and invitations to special events, the folks at Crossroads continue to faithful at seeking to making disciples, not just gather attenders. Again, you can see read more at their website.

Keep up the great work, Mark & Crossroads family!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sights from Redeemer on the Mount's Fall Festival 09

What a day of outreach on Mount Washington!

Alex & Jennifer Ielase and the growing family of Redeemer on the Mount Church did a fantastic job of loving their community on October 24th. From Hot Dogs to a Chocolate Fondue, from Face Painting to Football, From Gifts and Prizes to Hugs, tears and laughter...young & old, black & white, big & doesn't matter when we come together in Jesus' name we can be one as we trust in Him!

IN THE COMMUNITY ... this is where the church need to be, this is where the church needs to live, needs to minister. Taking the gospel, not expecting people to come to it! Accepting people where they are and taking them to where God wants them to be in Jesus...that is DISCIPLESHIP...that is our Mandate, why we were left here when we trusted in Christ.

Redeemer on the Mount may not be a big congregation yet, but it is growing, and she and her Pastor are quickly becoming the Church (note the big "C") and Pastor to this community...WHY...because they love on this community...they wash toilets, listen to hurts, serve, love, embrace and care and share the Gospel of Jesus!

We've got to be proud of our planters and the work they are doing, and maybe even LEARN from their EXAMPLE.

The Gospel, The Savior...this is what life is really all about!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

EFCA Missional Summit – September 09

Hugh Halter – The Tangible Kingdom,

  • Community, Communion & Mission are the three things you build around.
  • Pure Religion, integrated community…caring for people's real need, a place where people feel that they can discover their spiritual journey, mixing saints and sojourners in the same community.
  • Mix Saints and Sojourners in life…don't make it a worship service, but include talk about God, about the Kingdom, share Scripture.
  • Your church will emerge from where you live…but church is community. Convergence of saints and sojourners.
  • We need to talk not so much about the missional, but much more about the incarnational.
  • Our posture in saying the truth is just as important as the truth…John 1…the word became flesh. Don't just be proclaimers, but incarnaters, that is where the sticking value is in our homes and with those sojourners we rub shoulders with.
  • Church needs a balance of the gathered (modalic – those structured) and scattered (sodalic – those just wanting to continue to expand). Paul did both…went to places evangelistically (sodalic), then established leaders (modalic). We need to bring both together in the church…whether from organic plant to established church, or from established church to organic outreach.
  • Help existing churches do an R&D pilot project that is safe for them, but also allows them to try a new approach also.
  • Gathering people and scattering them are both important.
  • Moving the church toward the world is really a heart issue.
  • Both the house church and the mega-seeker church can both be consumer oriented.
  • Barriers to the tangible kingdom…individualism, materialism, consumerism.

What did Jesus order? Make disciples!

  • What did He mean by disciples? Not just adherents or attenders. He wants people who are like Him, that is what a disciple is.
  • Engaging culture costs very little. Developing community costs very little. Developing structures is where we begin to see more costs involved.
  • When a tornado develops a vortex, all the forces on the inside pushing out create suction…so the church should seek to create vortex.

Process of Apprenticeship

  • Evangelism training is not good news for most people…teaching people to live incarnationally is.
    • Observance - Observe stories – 2 to 3 months – but then a call to come and die
    • The Talk – the death talk…you must die to self to become alive to others.
    • Preparation – 8 – 10 weeks of spiritual formation process done with friends outside the group
    • Public sending at 6 months
    • Participation – front end of the entire process has higher bar, here the bar gets lowered
    • Partnership – now they are doing the mission

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From Maine to Minneapolis

I have just completed a week of Team Service Ministry at Fair Haven Camps in Brooks, ME with 2 teams from Pennsylvania. On Sunday Night I wrapped up my time there by training 55 adults and students in the SHAPE overview of discovering how God has wired us. Monday it was off to Minneapolis for our Evangelical Free Church National Conference. Tuesday was a day of StartChurches Team meetings and then the evening concluded with worship and a challenging message by Pastor Bob Roberts about how the conversation we need to have is about making better disciples not growing larger churches. If we make better disciples the great commission will be fulfilled. Today is a day of training seminars and networking with other leaders and prospective planters.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Great Day at Mount Washington Outreach

Redeemer on the Mount Church was joined by nearly 100 other teens and adults from various of our the Allegheny District's Evangelical Free Churches, plus from other groups brought in by Urban Impact.  The day was packed full of activities and prayer and connections in the community of Mount Washington.  I don't know how many t-shirts with information about ROTM we gave away to people in the community.   Kids and adults alike from the community had a great time as we ministered to the community via service projects, prayer walks, and the Kids Olympic Festival in Olympia park.  It seemed that everyone had a great time and ROTM has once again connected in a very significant way with its community.  With the amount of enthusiam that was felt in the park and surrounding community, ROTM should be poised to begin to see more and more people drawn into their ministry and more importantly to Jesus.  Alex and Jen and their Body at ROTM did an absolutely outstanding job in the event, and we give special thanks for the partnership with Urban Impact of Pittsburgh for the opportunity to work together with them.  And Alex is quite the preacher of the gospel!  Go to their website to learn more.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Allegheny District Welcomes First African-American Congregation

Although we are a small district, we take very seriously our mission to "glorify God by multiplying healthy churches among all people."  We have been working on the health and planting part very steadily, but what has been missing is fulfillment of the "all people" component.  That being said, we are so very glad that God has linked us together with Pastor Eugene Williams and Lifeway Church of Beaver Falls.  Over the past 3 + years Lifeway has investigated the possibilities of partnership with the Evangelical Free Church of America and the Allegheny District.  At our Saturday Board meeting, the District Board heartily and unanimously affirmed Lifeway Church to become a member church with us to be affirmed by the conference at our March 27 - 28 District Conference.  We have so much to learn from the urban and multi-ethnic ministry of Lifeway.  Rejoice with us in this new development!

More Stay Sharp Resource Links

This is post 2 of resource links mentioned by Greg Strand at the Allegheny District Stay Sharp Event - Day 2.  Special Thanks to the ever-impressive Pastor Matt Mitchell.

Paul Grimmond    We Need More Shack Time
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy
In My Place Condemned He Stood (Foreward, Preface, Introduction)
D.A. Carson    Themelios 33.2 Editorial (On the Gospel & Deeds of Mercy)
Tim Keller    Themelios 33.3  The Gospel and the Poor
Ed Stetzer    First Person: Understanding the Emerging Church
Michael Patton    Would the Real Emerging Please Stand Up?
Lausanne Covenant

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stay Sharp - Day Two

What a start to a day! Nearly 60 men (and a few ladies) singing a few great hymns like For a Thousand Tongues to Sing & The Solid Rock (acapella). How glorious! Books were made available from NextStep Resources and from .


For slides and other resources from this conference go to and for more great thoughts and notes!


Theological Issues


Knowing God, J.I. Packer (transcendent emphasis but does not preclude the issue of immanence)

Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby (immanent emphasis but does not preclude the issue of transcendence)

Yet often people focus on one aspect and almost neglect or ignore the other.

20th Century Theology: God and the World in a Transitional Age, Stanley Grenz & Roger Olson


People swing between the Transcendence of God and the Immanence of God. This shows in the people's interest in the book The Shack by William P. Young. How should we respond? The good is the book encourages people to get with God in the Shack of difficulty, the bad is that it undefines God and makes Him much more like one of us than the God who is revealed in Scripture. We need to leave not with question marks in our lives, but exclamation marks from God's Word! See Paul Grimmond's review at



"How should we respond to The Shack? My first response was to run away as quickly as I possibly could. But then I realized that The Shack gets one thing right when it encourages us to meet God in the difficult issues. 'The shack' functions as a metaphor for two things: it is the place where we stuff the things that are too hard to think about, and the place where we meet with God face-to-face.


Young is dead right to suggest that we need to get to know God in the midst of the hard questions. The problem is that he brings us face-to-face with a God who is not God at all. In his zeal to 'free' God from the chains of misunderstanding, Young has shackled God beyond recognition. The solution, though, isn't to run away from 'the shack'; the solution is to spend more time there—not in William P Young's 'shack', of course, but in the place where the living God speaks for himself about the big issues of life. We need to spend more time gazing into the face of the God who reveals himself in the Bible. We need to think about the big

questions of suffering and obedience and truth while we sit at the feet of our Lord. In fact, if we have been reading our Bibles, we will have found that these are issues that he is only too willing to discuss. Indeed, it is the triune God of Scripture alone who is both sovereign enough and good enough to deal with evil.

I am not pretending that there won't be difficult questions. Nor am I suggesting that the answers will be totally satisfying for everyone. We may even need to

accept that God is not willing to answer some of our questions right now. But we will certainly be better off hearing from the God who sent his Son to die for us,

than listening to the god of our imaginations. If western Christianity had spent more time in 'the shack' with the true and living creator, and less time wallowing around in our felt needs, then, just maybe, less people would have been fooled.


We might have recognized The Shack for the empty shell that it is. Our churches might even have become places where people could meet face-to-face with the holy God of Scripture. Only when we come into the presence of the loving, holy, majestic, glorious, gracious, judging, rescuing, creating, sustaining and redeeming God, who holds the future in his awesome hands, will we have a real message to offer a world obsessed with pain."




How Do We Define Inerrancy? The Chicago Statement on Inerrancy -,,PTID307086%7CCHID750054%7CCIID2094584,00.html


Paul D. Feinberg, "The Meaning of Inerrancy"

(chapter 9), 267-304.


Inerrancy means that when all facts are known, the Scriptures in their original autographs and properly interpreted will be shown to be whollytrue in everything that they affirm, whether that

has to do with doctrine or morality or with the social, physical, or life sciences.


We cannot answer today's questions with 50 year old answers, so we must constantly be reforming our reformation back to God's Truth revealed in His Word.


Challenges Today:


1. The postmodern shift in epistemology(i.e. post-foundational) has led some evangelicals to question propositional revelation.

2. A significant number of conservative students have/are graduating with doctorates in biblical studies and theology from non-evangelical institutions.

3. Relevance and respectability in the guild is often desired more than faithfulness.

4. The notion of parallelomania is used when doing background study, and if a similar account is found in some other ANE (ancient Near East) document, it flattens and possibly even

negates the supernatural nature of the Word.

5. Modernism's strength was an emphasis on truth; its weakness was that it came at the expense of God's overarching story. Postmodernism's strength is an

emphasis on story; its weakness is that it comes at the expense of Truth.

6. There is a healthy focus on the church doing theology (e.g. Vanhoozer, Green). This is good. But the problem is that it is often theology that is tangentially related to the Bible.





Essential to the Gospel

"We believe this doctrine (penal substitution) to be central and essential to the gospel. While the atonement accomplished by Christ cannot be reduced to this understanding alone (and no one should claim that it should), to deny or confuse this doctrine is to deny that Christ died on the cross for our sins and as our substitute." Al Mohler, In My Place Condemned He Stood, forward, 15.



THE CHURCH: Emerging-Emergent


"First Person: Understanding the emerging church" by Ed Stetzer, January 6, 2006


  • Relevants - emerging
  • Reconstructionists – emerging/emergent
  • Revisionists – emergent

(the quotes to follow are from Stetzer)


Relevants – Emerging (i.e. Mark Driscoll)

There are a good number of young (and not so young) leaders who

some classify as "emerging" that really are just trying to make

their worship, music and outreach more contextual to emerging

culture. Ironically, while some may consider them liberal, they are

often deeply committed to biblical preaching, male pastoral

leadership and other values common in conservative evangelical

churches. They are simply trying to explain the message of Christ

in a way their generation can understand.

They are, instead, intentionally reaching into their communities

(which are different than where most Southern Baptists live) and

proclaiming a faithful biblically-centered Gospel there. I know

some of their churches -- they are doctrinally sound, growing and

impacting lostness.


Reconstructionists -

The reconstructionists think that the current

form of church is frequently irrelevant and

the structure is unhelpful. Yet, they

typically hold to a more orthodox view of

the Gospel and Scripture. Therefore, we

see an increase in models of church that

reject certain organizational models,

embracing what are often called

"incarnational" or "house" models.


Revisionists - Emergent

Revisionists are questioning (and in some cases

denying) issues like the nature of the

substitutionary atonement, the reality of hell, the

complementarian nature of gender, and the

nature of the Gospel itself. This is not new --

some mainline theologians quietly abandoned

these doctrines a generation ago. The revisionist

emerging church leaders should be treated,

appreciated and read as we read mainline

theologians -- they often have good descriptions,

but their prescriptions fail to take into account

the full teaching of the Word of God.




See C.Michael Patton in his writing, "Would the

Real Emerger Please Stand Up" for some helpful charts that help to define


Michael Patton, "The Second Coming of Emergers":



A New Alliance

Scot McKnight and Dan Kimball

They have not yet named this new community, but those who are

participating share an "urgency about the mission of Jesus and

evangelism." Here is how it is further described:

Friends, pioneers, innovators and catalysts who want to dream and work

for the Gospel together rather than alone.

Leaders, entrepreneurs, pastors, misfits, and artists who share a high view

of Scripture and a radical commitment to evangelism while being faithfully

committed to what is expressed in the Lausanne Covenant.

Missionally-minded people from different backgrounds who use different

methods in different cultural contexts but share the same experimental

passion and risk-taking heart for serving, loving, and helping people

connect to God through Jesus.


What is going to unite this new alliance is the Lausanne Covenant, which

consists of a strongly worded statement of the Bible and a strong

commitment to the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ in evangelism, among

other pertinent doctrinal matters:



CONCLUSION: This Stay-Sharp Workshop was loaded, and I highly encourage you to go to the website and download the powerpoint and pdf files for a lot more insights than I could put in this blog.


Resource Links for Greg Strand Talks

My thanks to Pastor Matt Mitchell of Lanse Evangelical Free Church for his list of links to Greg Strand's talks at the Allegheny District's Stay Sharp Conference.  

Resources Greg Mentioned Today That Are Online:

DA Carson    "What is the Gospel?" [manuscript pdfaudio]
Stan Guthrie  All Monotheisms Are Not the Same (Responding to A Common Word)
Mike Andrus Outline "Drawing Doctrinal Lines: Where and How?"
Albert Mohler  Theological Triage
Alfred Poirer    The Cross and Criticism
Roger Nicole  Polemic Theology: How to Deal with Those Who Differ From Us

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Theological Issues and Trends in Evangelicalism

Lead by Dr. Greg Strand, Director of Biblical Fidelity, Evangelical Free Church of America.

Isaiah 66:1-2 – Biblical Foundation - This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.



Is this our posture? Humble, contrite and trembling at God's Word.

  1. Challenges & Obstacles
    1. Post-modern Relativism with Epistemological Implications (we live in a day in which truth is denied, so we don't know what to believe or what to do)
    2. Pluralism or Multiculturalism – denies any unique exclusive religious claims, and any group that does this in anathema.
    3. Personalized Globalization – cultural differences are pressed into closer proximity than ever. The things that used to seem so foreign to us are now very familiar to us.
    4. Omnipresent Technology – we have so little time to reflect because of everything that technology brings to us. This puts people into their own world…personalized world.

    Local Issues

    1. "Twitter" – your own personal newscast to the world about your life (are we twittering our lives away? Do we feel so small about ourselves that we must make more of ourselves by broadcasting our lives?)
    2. Biblical Illiteracy
    3. A – theology and theology-ology – against theology and the study of the study of theology not necessarily about God.
    4. Evangelicalism – definition and fragmentation. What is the definition of evangelicalism we are working from? We are fragmenting in to more and more groups. Sociological vs. biblical. We are defined by our commitment to…(see Rich Trimble, Anglican and Evangelical)
      1. Biblicism
      2. Christosism
      3. Conversionism
      4. Activism
    5. Most Dangerous trends we do not see…
      1. Justification
      2. Scriptural inerrancy
      3. Racism
      4. Family
      5. Pornography
      6. Etc, etc., etc

The Primacy of the Gospel – 1 Corinthians 15:1-19 (see The Gospel of Jesus Christ by John Stott). & See D.A. Carson for more.

  1. It is Christological: the gospel centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ (life, death, resurrection)
  2. It is Theological: the gospel tells us that sin is first and foremost an offense against God, that salvation is first to last the action of God, not our own.
  3. It is Biblical: the gospel is essentially the message of the whole Bible.
  4. It is Apostolic: the gospel is passed on to us by Jesus' disciples as authoritative eyewitnesses.
  5. It is Historical: the gospel is not a philosophy
  6. It is Personal: the gospel must be personally believed and appropriated
  7. It is Universal: the gospel is for every person
  8. It is Eschatological: the gospel includes the good news of the final transformation, not just the blessings we enjoy in the age


  • Gospel, Church & Culture
  • Gospel + Culture – Church = parachurch
  • Church + Culture – gospel = liberalism
  • Gospel + Church – culture = Fundamentalism
  • Gospel + Church + cultural = Ecclesia Reformata et Semper Reformanda (the church reformed and always reforming)
    • Centrality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ –
      • Jesus is Lord and is at the center of everything we do and has entailments in all of life.
      • When this doesn't happen & the gospel is assumed, walls go up based on special interests (home schooling, abortion, etc) and the gospel gets displaced
      • When the Gospel is Denied no effect and no interest.
    • Black, White, and Gray
      • Orthodoxy – there is a body of truth
      • Heresy – there is also heresy, that which is untrue but believed by some to be true.
      • Gray Matters – something that is hard to really tell if it is orthodox or heretical….where do these things land?
    • Theological Triage – A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity – Al Mohler (


    Primary essentials are determined by: (Michael Andrus – "Drawing Doctrinal Lines: Where? And How? – How do we determine between the essentials and non-essentials of the faith.

  1. Exegetical Certainty
  2. Theological Importance
  3. Biblical Emphasis
  4. Historical agreement in the church – historical theology with a small "t".


Second-Order Doctrines are determined by: the fact that believers disagree and which will create significant boundaries between believers, but don't preclude the occasional coming together.

Third-order issues are issues cause us to totally part ways.


9 Marks Ministries – What is the Discipline of Biblical Theology? (See also Grant Osborne's – The Hermeneutical Spiral)

  1. Text
  2. Exegesis
  3. Biblical Theology
  4. Systematically Theology
  5. Historical Theology
  6. Practical Theology
  7. Theological Presuppositions

J.I. Packer

    1. Exegesis

2. Biblical Theology

3. Historical Theology

4. Systematic Theology or Dogmatics…and these four are the foundation from which everything else arise.




    1. How to Deal With Those Who Differ From Us? – Roger Nicole, "Polemic Theology: How to Deal with those who differ with us" We have obligations…
      1. We have obligations to people who differ from us…we other them love. First we want people to know what we are saying or meaning. Second, we seek to understand their aims.
      2. What can we Learn? - Make sure inner concern and outward approach are right, then seek to learn.
      3. How can I cope with the person who differs with me? Biblical arguments and general arguments.
    2. Our Goal – are we seeking to win an argument or win another person to truth?


NOTE: these notes are only partial and incomplete notes that at least provide some reference to the dialogue or discourse. For more complete notes, please request a copy of Greg's powerpoints from me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to Create a Culture of Reproduction

How To Create a Culture of Reproduction

Dave Ferguson, Community Christian Church, Chicago-land

Movement Leader of "The New Thing Network"



1988(Reproduce Cells) 5 leaders lead small-groups. Every group had an apprentice. Every ministry area would have an apprentice, that reproduces leaders and workers at every level. Those churches that are most effective at reproducing churches, already reproduce leaders through apprenticeship


5 Steps Process:

  1. I Do, you watch, we talk
  2. I do, you help, we talk
  3. You do, I help, we talk
  4. You do, I watch, we talk
  5. You do, someone else watches…and it reproduces


1989 – Going to Multiple Services (Reproduce Congregations)

  • Went to 2 services of identical twins
  • Pro-active reproduction…don't wait till you need it, plan & prepare for it…artists, musicians, leaders, etc
  • Don't form multi-sites because you have run out of space, do it once you have some leaders ready to go (LEADER READINESS is the trigger)
  • Always talk about reproducing, send the leader, let the people do what they want when a leader goes to start something new.


1998 – Going to Multi-Campus (Reproduce Campuses)



2002 – (Reproduce Churches)

Now – Reproduce Networks of Churches


Chronically asking: "What's Next"


Reproducing Leaders and Artists


  • We need to reproduce more and better leaders and more and better artists to be able to reproduce churches . Book: Leaders at All Levels – Ray Charan
  • 2 Tim 2:2 – 4 Generations of reproduction…Paul to Timothy to Reliable Men to Others
  • Reproduceable things are simple …we have made the church very very complicated. We must work to make things more simple. NAPKIN TEST – does it fit here, then it probably reproduces.


  1. Apprentice leader
  2. Leader
  3. Coac
  4. Staff
  5. Campus Pastor



  1. Apprentice
  2. Second Chair
  3. Understudy
  4. Shadow
  5. 1st Chair


Apprenticeship Provides 4 Crucial Experiences

  1. Practice
  2. Feedback
  3. Correction
  4. More Practice


Uses Both Informal and Formal Approach in Reproducing…Formal Process Steps:

  • Vision Cast
  • Huddle…how's it going
  • Skill Training



Multiplying Small-Groups

Eric Metcalf – CCC with Dave Ferguson


  • Always apprentice before they lead…make potential leaders do this
  • 5 Options
    • In existing group they are already in
    • Apprentice with a coach
    • Apprentice with pastor
    • Turbo small-groups…put potential leaders together to study small-groups
    • Host led using DVD curriculum and learn from that OR use Field Guide Tool
  • Leadership Expectations – a tool they use to help them understand what is expected
    • R – Relational
    • P - physical
    • M – Mental
    • S – Spiritual
  • Ministry Role Description that is area specific
  • Every group has a leader, facilitator, host
  • Annually take groups through core theology, core philosophy, core values
  • Groups can have more than one apprentice
  • Their groups are pretty homogeneous and don't have end times, other groups are driven by curriculum and end when its over
  • We need lots of different environments to grow in our faith…small groups, one-on-one, large celebration, etc. Search to Belong – Joseph Myers
  • All leaders in the ministry lead a small group…many benefits



Reproducing from Day One

Matt Larsen – CCC Trained EFCA Planter in California


Cast Vision from DAY 1

  • Start the conversation of reproduction before you start your first church.
  • Developing people's hearts for reproduction will juice people up.
  • Start developing others before you start your church.
  • Start with a church name that is reproducible…several locations will cause people to see the name everywhere
  • Call your church-plant the first campus
  • Hire staff that are reproducers
  • Bring on a church-planting apprentice from day one, have them build their team even while you build yours'


Reproduce as Soon as You Can, Not Once You Have To

  • Thinking this way changes the questions you ask


Develop a Permission-giving Culture

  • Lead with a guest, God is the guest that leads
  • God moves faster than we do, why do we hold back?
  • Coaching so people are ready to play


Measure Reproduction Internally (Dashboard)

  • Celebrating – privately with leadership community, publically with congregation
  • Connecting – help people connect the dots to see what could be next for them
  • Contributing – pipeline of people and provisions


Develop Clear Leadership Expectations

  • Creates common standards so people know what to do
  • Creates communication pipeline
  • Model it ourselves


7 Steps in Starting a Church (see

  1. It is a heart & God thing first
  2. Vision
  3. Leader
  4. Team
  5. Finances
  6. Alignment


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Asian-American Church Experience 101

Dr. Peter Cha - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Asian-American Church Experience 101

Dr. Peter Cha – Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

See Pew Report


I.                     Asian American Experiences in the U.S.

A.      Demographic pictures

1.       Who are Asian-Americans?  Wide spectrum, but we will focus on Eastern or Confucian Asians.

2.       Rapid demographic growth – 250,000 to 13 million in last 58 years.  1965 Immigration Reform Act opened door for people to come…not where from, but what do you bring to U.S.?   Asians brought a wealth of medical experience. 2/3 of AA are 1st generation immigrants.  1/3 second generation at this time.  1.8 million AA reported as bi-racial in 2000 census. This group will grow the most rapidly!  This group struggles to find places to belong, hence they will move toward multi-racial churches because they can relate to each other. 

a.       What are the challenges here?  What do we need to learn?  How do we prepare and proceed.

b.      Largest groups – 2.7 million Chinese who historically came from Hong Kong, but now from mainland.  Philippino. 2.4, Asian-Indian 1.9, Korean 1.3, Vietnamese  1.2, Japanese  1.1

3.       Geographic  Distribution

a.       West Coast largest

b.      Northeast 1.4 Asian-American

c.       South 1.1

d.      Atlanta fastest growing area right now.

e.      Mid-west 750,000

f.        Top 10 Cities

                                                                                                   i.      NY – 790,000

                                                                                                 ii.      LA – 370,000

                                                                                                iii.      San Jose/San Diego – 250,000

                                                                                               iv.      Honolulu

                                                                                                 v.      Chicago

                                                                                               vi.      Houston

                                                                                              vii.      Seattle

B.      Understanding Confucian-Based culture

1.       Three Levels of culture:  artifacts, shared values and world-view

a.       Visible and Invisible cultural components, visible are artifacts …if you only study and practice based on this level, you will likely miss what this people group is all about.   You must understand more deeply to

b.      Shared Values- …every culture has redemptive value and demonic value

c.       Shared world-view  - use of “Grand-Turino” movie as a dialogue starter, maybe read a novel by an Asian-American, not an academic study to learn about the culture…”Clay Wall” is a suggested book. 

2.       Bi-Cultural World of American-born Asian-Americans

a.       4 types of racial/ethnic identities

                                                                                                   i.      Acculturation with the white culture

                                                                                                 ii.      Over identify with their ethnic culture…reject white majority culture

                                                                                                iii.      Bi-cultural – making sense of both ends

                                                                                               iv.      Withdrawl – not happy with any of it (Virginia Tech Student)

b.      Minority Identity Development Theory – the internal struggle with the connection between both worlds, then the change in middle years…like return to immigrant ministries to reconnect with their roots thinking how to reconnect their children and best way to bring their 2nd or 3rd generation children up.

C.      Asian Americans as a racial minority group in the U.S.

1.       Model Minority – 60’s the group that seemed to be doing fine – Asian-Americans.  It is a myth.  Not all Asian-Americans are well-adjusted, educated, etc.  Pressure is now placed upon Asian-Americans to fit the stereotype.  Drove/Drives to more emotional breakdowns and suicide because of performance expectation.

2.       Perpetual Aliens – doesn’t matter how long your family has been here, you are still not American, (i.e. – 5th generation American).  Sample Survey Taken

a.       I feel most uncomfortable when a person of this ethnic background becomes Pres. of US. 11% - Jewish, 14% – woman, 15% – African, 24 %– Asian-American (published prior to 911)

b.      Sense of never fully being an American because of perception

II.                  Asian American church Experiences:  post-1965 immigrant churches

A.      Selective Migration:  De-Christianization of America or De-Europeanization of American Christianity

B.                                                                        Rapid growth of immigrant churches

1.       Fellowship with other co-ethnics

2.       Socialization of the emerging generation

3.       Meeting Spiritual needs that don’t seem to be met in standard American churches

C.                                                                        The Challenge of generational transition

1.                                                                               The “silent exodus” of second-generation young people

2.                                                                               Emerging second-generation ministries in Asian immigrant churches

D.                                                                        The Formation of Asian American Ministries

1.                                                                               Asian Americans and college campus ministries are on the rise, then return to

2.                                                                               Pan-ethnic Asian American congregations

3.                                                                               Multi-racial congregations, led by the Asian-American pastor

III.                Implications for Church-Planting with and/or among Asian-Americans

A.                                                                                          Opportunities – spirituality that has been instilled

B.      Challenges – Asian-Americans are between the powerful and powerless, between the haves and have-nots. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Increasing Our Harvesting by Effective Church Planting Residencies

Talk given to the National Church-planting Team of the EFCA by John Herrington, Church Planting Director of Hill Country Bible Church Austin, TX. Contact info linked above and included below.

Make a city movement with the view of reaching every man, woman and child. Do your church leaders own this burden? 

Mission Statement: That every man, woman, and child in Greater Austin has a chance to experience the Life-Changing reality of Jesus Christ because they hear the gospel from the lips of someone at Hill Country Bible Church (Disect this thinking)

  • Multiply Disciples
  • Planting churches that are spiritually vibrant adn strategically located
  • Partner with like-minded ministries

If 10% engage, in our lifetime we can reach the city

  • Voluntary association
  • Share same vision/purpose
  • Each church has 5-year planting plan
  • Seven Characteristics of a missional church
  • New church begins as daughter
  • 200 adults in weekly attendance
  • 5 elders
  • Multiple staff
  • 10% giving
Paradigm Shift:

  • From gathering from the church to gathering from community
  • From Transplanting to Transforming
  • From critical mass to Missional Core
  • From financial dependency to financial freedom by creative Funding.
  • Outside supporters
  • First Fruits offering from the Core over and above tithe as a part of the charter ... these people will stick and drive the ministry
  • Network your Core to invite others to give to the First Fruits offering (get viral)
  • Teach people sacrifice for the Kingdom
  • Look at the well not the bucket
  • CP Essentials Training Class
  • Taking it to the Street Training Opps - Let them taste it before they commit to it...evangelism
  • Core Group SWAT/SWAP
  • Infinity Alliance - middle ground of social action and pure gospel (both required)
  • PlantR Network - get people into a network for support
  • 12 Month Program (you can flunk-out)
  • Personally tailored Learning Contract
  • Instruction from subject matter experts
  • Coaching in Evangelism, Discipleship, exegeting culture, Project Management, Administration, Speaking, Leadership Skills
PHASE I -Training, Testing, Targeting, Teaming (4 months)
  • DWAP
  • Character Development
  • Target Area exegesis presented to cp team
  • Enlist a Missional Core Team...friends, up to 10 families from Sponsor Church, from community
PHASE II - Evangelizing (5 months)
  • Envisioning, Equipping, Engaging Missional Core team to Evangelize
  • Missionall Living Course, then weekly meetings
  • Farm the Community...200 Contacts, 50 unchurched cultivated to "gatherability"
PHASE III - Launching
  • 1st cut of MAP in month 4, but get to work
  • Training for Key Launch Systems
  • Project Planning - get someone who loves to manage projects
  • Stewardship Prep
  • Elder Development
  • Pre-Launch group life
  • Continue farming the community
  • Administrative and Training Costs covered in sending church annual budget
  • Church-planting Acceleration Fund Established
  • Intensive Stewardship Training for Missional Core - Charter Service First Fruits Offering
  • Recruit Prayer/Support Team
  • Missional Core Giving
  • Up to $100,000 loan like a temporary bridge loan repayable within 1 year
  • Up to $50,000 grant
John Herrington - or 512-336-4377