Starting A Church From Scratch

We are in discussion about helping some friends start their church, and so I am writing this post as a way of getting my thoughts together as a set of basic instructions. In my other posts, I covered a lot of perspectives and pitfalls which I would be of interest to those who are in the middle of it, but in this post, I am going to cover things you would want to know from the “ground up.” This is different from a church plant that you start with a group from another church. This is a church that Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice

The Institutional Church

It is very popular in some circles to criticize the institutional church. What's funny is which circles it's most popular with: radical Christians, some pastors, unhealthy Christians, and unbelievers. Three circles that would seem to have little in common. First, let's take pastors. Not all pastors are critics of the "church" -- many are on the opposite end, but I must say that I have been in more than one service in more than one place where the pastor starts rolling out the Barna statistics explaining Read more [...]

Church Planting Principles II

Here are a few more points about church planting, as a sequel to my last note. Most of the principles on this list are closely interrelated.   1.  More people will leave you than will stay with you. I know this sounds mathematically impossible, but it's actually the case. Most people that come will only be with you for a season, they will not be long term co-planters.  There are different groups of these: A.  Visitors.  They come for a week or a few weeks and just don't really connect. B.  Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice

What You Need To Know About Church Planting

I've been involved in church planting for 8 years, but I realized that I've never done any formal study on the subject.  After all they don't teach this kind of stuff in seminary (usually, apart from a special course). Too often, seminary is about parsing Greek verbs and understanding the filioque, not about the things that make you a good ministry leader. That means that the real training ends up happening on the job. There is all kinds of "folk knowledge" possessed by experienced pastors and ministry Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice

Why People Aren’t Getting Married

There are a lot of young Christian people out there who aren't getting married. It's a borderline epidemic. It was not always this way. It is a problem associated with our time and culture, and we're not doing enough to address it. Why aren't people getting married?   1. The Courtship Philosophy. Honestly, I think the problem is partly of our own making. Especially since the rise of the courtship movement we've been sending young Christians the message that they should not be pursuing a relationship Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice

Action Teams

Advancing God's Kingdom is a multifaceted an seemingly overwhelming responsibility at times. We look at what needs to be done and we are staggered with the enormity of "How can I do all of this" You can't. That's why you need a fellowship of people who each do a part. And ideally set it up so that their part doesn't have to go on indefinitely. First, let's identify three kinds of people in the church. People to whom you are ministering. People who growing by helping build ministries People Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice

An Empowering Ministry Model

Maybe you read the last post and you are thinking, "This guy must be house church." Or "He doesn't know how much work being a pastor is." I'm not, and I do. I'm just realizing that the core problem we need to solve is how to give rather than consolidate responsibilities. What's needed is a new conception of the leader of the church. So I'm working through an alternative model of how to enable people to grow. Here are my working thoughts. The leader of the church should be the conductor of the Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice

Paid Pastor Problems

If you've been around enough churches you know that the perennial problem is getting everyone involved. Pastors look for strategies to get people involved, but sometimes it feels like pretty much nothing you can do, outside of becoming a cult, will get more than 20% of people doing anything. The team and I have been reflecting on this lately, and I'm starting to have some thoughts about what needs to happen. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to hit some sacred cows. The firs thing is that I think Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice

Wesleyan Revival Structures

Much has been said of "Apostolic Movements" of late. These are supposed to be a restoration of the pattern of the first apostles. Too often these "apostolic" movements are just large churches built around an extraordinary leader who has planted a few satellites. What is needed is an explosive first century style revival movement, where the Gospel spreads like a flame so fast that can not be extinguished. I believe the closest thing we have to a well documented apostolic movement in modern times is Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice

Strategic Evangelism

To all of the observations in the last post, I would like to add one more that I believe is usually missed: evangelism is a team sport. In fact, when you look at the Biblical metaphor of the lost person as a "slave" to the world, evangelism is more like a prison break. If you were to break someone out of prison, you would very unlikely do it all on your own. You would develop a plan, marshall your resources, and spring the person out. I suggest that we do the same thing. This is what I'm Read more [...]
Categories: Church Practice