Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti Prayer Guide for Kids and Adults

Follow this link for a prayer guide that guides children and adults in how to pray for those in Haiti. We did the first prayer time from Psalm 123 with the kids. It was a great source of discussion and prayer. Thanks to Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina for making this resource available.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Planting and The Vine

There isn't a lot of time for blogging these days, but I am going to try to continue putting up occasional posts. Posts related specifically to our new church plant in Madison will go on our church planting blog. Today I shared a quote on that blog from a new book I am reading called The Trellis and the Vine. Go here to read how I feel living a radical life is related to church planting.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Successful Organizations Are Made of Ordinary People

One of the books I am reading as an Acts 29 candidate is called The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber. More than a million copies of this book have been sold to people desiring to learn how to operate and grow a successful business. The book has some good transferable concepts for church leadership. Today the following quote struck me...
The typical owner of a small business prefers highly skilled people because he believes they make his job easier- he can simply leave the work to them. That is, the typical small business owner prefers Management by Abdication to Management by Delegation. Unfortunately the inevitable result of this kind of thinking is that the business also grows to depend on the whims and moods of its people.

If they’re in the mood the job gets done.
If they aren’t, it doesn’t.

In this kind of business, a business that relies on discretion, “How do I motivate people?” becomes the constant question. “How do I keep them in the mood?”

It is literally impossible to produce a consistent result in a business that depends on extraordinary people. No business can do it for long. And no extraordinary business tries to! (Page 101-102)
I think one of Gerber’s points is that we have gone wrong thinking that the way to build a successful organization is with successful people. More than successful people, organizations and businesses need successful systems that can accommodate and empower people with many diverse gifts and many abilities. If the organization is dependent on successful people the success of that organization will lack in consistency because its effectiveness will always fluctuate based upon who is on the team.

The transferable concept for churches is to reconsider how we view leadership and staffing. The temptation of church leaders is to say, all we need is highly talented people and we’ll succeed. I believe Gerber would argue that a room full of highly talented people, with their own dreams and passions, is far less effective than a room full of ordinary people with one shared dream and passion. Is it possible to have a room full of highly talented people who also share one dream and passion? It may be possible, but I think it is extremely rare and difficult to maintain.

Unfortunately we live in a society that gravitates to celebrities. Can you think of any large church that isn’t built off of a personality? John Piper, Tim Keller, Andrew Stanley, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and Mark Driscoll are a few of the examples. What happens to most of those churches when the celebrity dies or grows irrelevant? Under those circumstances most of these churches will die or suffer because the celebrity is no longer able to motivate the people and guide the vision.

Would it be possible to build a church whose only celebrity is Jesus? A church whose mission and systems are effective and reproducible on a grand scale? This is certainly a question I long to answer with a “yes”. I think the scriptures have given us this model but our cultural methods and environment often get in the way of this type of church becoming a reality.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Adopted by God

For those unable to attend services last weekend, here is my message from Sunday at Parkview Church entitled, "Adopted by God". It is a teaching based on Ephesians 1:3-14.

Adopted by God from The Vine Church on Vimeo.