Celebrate Small Wins

Celebrate pinned on noticeboard

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at Exponential on the topic of transitioning a church with small groups to a church with Missional Communities. A few asked for some notes on it and thought I’d do a few blog posts on it.

The first step in this process is to start with why and the win of this transition. The second step is to get essential leaders on board. Next you need to handle leaders who do not get on board in a loving way, how leaders lead by example in showing a church what is most important and how a leaders shoots themselves in the foot by having too many options. Finally, when making any change a leader must learn how to grieve losses personally and help others grieve losses.

The last thing to keep a transition moving is to celebrate wins, no matter how small.

You may be great at celebrating things, but most pastors I meet, they are terrible at celebrating things. Part of it is personality, part of it is that they are trained to look for things that are broken and fix them, so they tend to focus on the negative. Many of them are big picture thinkers so they struggle to see how small things add up to big things, they are only looking for the life changing, new church, huge growth instead of the small, everyday life change.

If you don’t learn how to celebrate small wins, you will burnout and miss what God is doing. Your church will also wonder if it is winning.

One of the benefits to using the umbrella of discipleship as the win for your church and MC’s is that almost anything can be a win. That is a good thing. I also think that is how God wants the church to be. Baptism, people taking the step of following Jesus are win’s. But so is someone joining an MC, giving for the first time, reading their bible for the first time, sharing their story at MC, letting someone serve them when they have a need, serving someone when they have a need. All of those are wins because all of those steps are people taking steps to be more like Jesus.

To make any successful change, celebrate any win possible. To keep your church moving forward, having momentum, look for anything to celebrate and share it. Always point out to your people, we are winning, we are moving forward.


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Culture Trumps Strategy


One of the reasons that churches fail to change or be effective is the leaders change the wrong things.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. -Peter Drucker

In their book Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and ChurchesPeter Greer and Chris Horst point out corporate culture is tough to pin down. It’s difficult to define. But it sure is easy to feel. Culture is just “what happens.”

Every church says their strategy is to welcome new people, help people meet Jesus, grow in their relationship with Jesus, develop leaders and plant churches. Yet, for a very few churches is this reality.

Most churches do not see guests, new believers, baptism’s or disciples.


Their culture fights it.

So what do you do? How does a pastor change a church?

Go for the culture. Define the culture you want. Then go for that.

Don’t tell me that your strategy is the great commission if you aren’t seeing anyone start following Jesus.

Peter Greer said, “Leaders cultivate corporate culture within faith-based organizations just like they cultivate their own spiritual lives.”

You must create boundaries, policies, rules (whatever you want to call them) to keep the culture you are going for clear and on track.

You must celebrate the things that matter most, that help you accomplish your culture.

If your culture that you are going for has new Christians in it, celebrate when that happens. If it is baptism’s, celebrate when they happen. Tell stories. Show videos. Preach sermons.

Don’t leave it to chance. Too many pastors seem content to leave their desired culture to chance and hope that a strategy will enable to accomplish their vision.



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Looking Back on 2013 & Anticipating 2014


On a regular basis, I like to email our leaders at Revolution and remind them of where we were last month, last year or 5 years ago. For me, seeing where I’ve come from, where our church has come from, helps me to rely on God but also celebrate his grace towards us.

With that, here are some celebrations at Revolution in 2013:

  • 20 people were baptized this year, many of them new Christians. This is the most we’ve ever baptized in one year.
  • Our average attendance grew by 21% in 2013, from just under 200 to a little over 250. Each of those numbers represents a story and a person that is impacted by the good news of Jesus.
  • Planet Rev has grown by 25% in the last 3 months under the leadership of Jennifer Ingram, Cat Hibble and Rachel Redman. I love the passion these women bring to this important ministry. Since the start of Revolution, our kids attendance has made up over 30% of Revolution Church.
  • Mike DeAlto leading Rev Up. Mike is young (although he’s the same age Paul and I were when we started working in student ministry) and is on his way to becoming the leader God has called him to be.
  • Jason Wood started providing leadership to our Missional Communities and the impact he has made is already obvious.
  • We had 10 newcomer’s lunches with an average attendance of 14 adults.
  • We have 75% of the finances we need to launch our second Revolution Church (not sure on the location yet). From day 1 of Revolution, our dream has been to plant churches around the city and we are closer than ever to realizing this dream.
  • We preached through Ecclesiastes and the gospel of John. This is the first time we went through an entire gospel and it was stretching for me and our church to look at Jesus so in such depth.
  • We helped to plant Central Church in Midtown. So excited to see how God continues to use Dave Goffeney and his team.
  • Over $5,000 was given to our Christmas offering and over 100 pajamas were given to Magee Middle School to give to kids in foster homes in Tucson. I love the generous heart of our church.
  • We had 20 people take the 90 day giving challenge and take the first step in trusting God with their finances and letting go of control in an important area.

Things to anticipate in 2014:

  • We are doing our first woman series called Beautiful and our first man series called FightThis is the first time we’ve ever done anything like this and I think it will challenge the men and women in our church to be who God created them to be.
  • Rev Up participating in a summer camp. The impact that happens in a student’s life when they go to camp is enormous. Lives, futures and destinies are changed by going away and hearing from God. I’m so excited that Mike DeAlto is doing this.
  • Begin preview services for our second Revolution Church location in the fall/winter and Lord willing launch sometime in 2015.
  • Adding a second service. As we continue to grow, this will become more of a reality and open up space for more guests and give people options of attendance on Sunday morning. I had a mentor tell me: the more options you give people, the more people opt in. 
  • Hiring a full-time children’s pastor. I’m not sure when this will happen, but we are getting closer and closer to this reality and need. Our families need someone dedicated to this ministry on a full-time basis.
  • Adding at least 5 more missional communities. We need more space for the people God is sending to us.

[Thanks to Luke Simmons for the Image & idea for this blog]

Monday Morning Mind Dump… [Lunch Edition]

  • It was quite the weekend in our house
  • Saturday night after almost 4 years of waiting, Katie brought Judah home from Ethiopia
  • Hard to believe the journey to this moment has been so long
  • We are loving it and adjusting well
  • Say a prayer for us as we add him to our family, as he learns the English language and the patience we need while we adjust
  • Sunday was a great day at Revolution
  • We baptized 4 people
  • Always love hearing the stories of how Jesus has changed lives
  • Never gets old
  • I preached on John 14 and talked about who the Holy Spirit is and what He does
  • I had so many notes I could’ve preached for 3 hours
  • The Holy Spirit tends to be a divisive topic which is sad because without Him we are lost
  • He does so much and Christians tend to be ignorant as to what He does
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • Last Monday, I started my sleeve tattoo
  • Super excited about it as Katie and I have been planning it for almost 2 years
  • It is a koi fish with 6 flowers (1 for Katie and 5 for the kids)
  • The flowers will be colored in with their birth stone colors
  • Pumped about how it has turned out so far and I can’t wait to fill it in
  • I’m performing the wedding of some Revolutionaries this weekend
  • I love being a part of weddings and the process of premarital counseling
  • Really excited for this couple
  • We’re doing a child dedication in church next Sunday
  • I love seeing parents make a commitment to how they will raise their child(ren) and hearing their missional communities make a commitment to the parents and the child
  • It really is moving
  • Over the weekend I read through most of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David & Goliath
  • Like his other books, this was utterly fascinating
  • His books are just so interesting
  • Picked up Mark Driscoll’s new book A Call To Resurgence this morning
  • Definitely a book every pastor should read as we don’t live in the Christian nation most Christians think we do
  • I was reading through John 15 this morning which I’m preaching on this Sunday
  • So much in those verses on how we stay connected to Jesus and not feel alone
  • Can’t wait to unpack them this Sunday at Revolution

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

mind dump

  • Hard to believe that we celebrated 5 years as a church yesterday
  • Words can’t describe the feeling of being a church planter and seeing your church make it to 5 years
  • We had our largest attendance and our biggest baptism ever
  • Ever
  • It was so cool celebrating with people who have been at Revolution since the beginning, who have seen God do some incredible things over the years
  • The best is yet to come
  • If you missed it, you can watch the video that we showed yesterday chronicling what God has done and where we’re going
  • If you missed today, you can listen to it here
  • As we got closer to our anniversary, I shared last week some of the things that caused us to start Revolution and continue to drive us as a church
  • It was so cool seeing Dad’s being able to baptize their kids today and then seeing MC leaders baptize people in their MC
  • So many evidences of God’s grace moving and changing lives
  • I got to baptize 2 guys from my MC
  • Never gets old seeing lives changed
  • We are kicking off a brand new series this Sunday called Made for Glory on John 12 – 21
  • John is broken into two themes: signs and glory
  • I’m getting together with a guy this week who has been attending Revolution for a few weeks and has questions about who Jesus is
  • I love that those who don’t know Jesus yet are comfortable to explore Him at Revolution
  • Spent the weekend reading Jeff Iorg’s new book The Seasons of a Leader’s Life
  • Such a good book
  • I met a neighbor this past week who has a crossfit box in his garage and have started to lift with him
  • So cool to see that happen
  • We are hoping that we will hear about our son in Ethiopia this week to learn when we’ll get to bring him home
  • Say a prayer that we hear this week
  • It’s Steelers shirt day in our house
  • Hoping for a win tonight from our boys
  • Hoping…

Top Posts of June 2013

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for the month of June, 2013:

  1. The Most Important Minutes to a Guest on a Sunday Morning
  2. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  3. How You Know You are Being Divisive (And Sinning)
  4. A Man Feels Called to Plant a Church but His Wife Does Not. Should He Plant?
  5. I Can’t Compete With Your Perfectly Coiffed Hair & other Perfections
  6. Should I Get Re-Baptized?
  7. Letting Go of Ministry Hurts
  8. 21 Skills of Great Preachers
  9. Creating a Personal/Family Mission Statement
  10. The 2 Kinds of People Who Like to Talk Theology

Should I Get Re-Baptized?

This question comes up from time to time in our church. Whether from someone who was baptized as an infant where they don’t remember it, or from someone who was baptized as a child because they felt like they should or because they were genuinely a follower of Jesus.

Here’s a simple response from a fellow Acts 29 pastor that we have adopted:

If you were not a true Christian when you got baptized and you have (since then) trusted in Jesus alone for salvation, let’s baptize you again. But if you were a true Christian when you got baptized but just didn’t understand it fully, we would recommend that you don’t get re-baptized.

The reason we land there is because baptism will always become more significant for us as we learn and grow in the gospel. Sometimes, we don’t fully grasp our baptism until years after it happened. That fact actually highlights the beauty of Jesus saving us even when we didn’t fully understand every single detail. But thankfully there is a Sacrament for Christians to participate in even after they grow into a deeper knowledge and love for the gospel – the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is where we can continually celebrate the gospel at work in our lives.

So in essence, we see baptism as something that allows the believer to profess initial faith in Jesus (after genuine conversion), but the Lord’s Supper as something that allows the believer to continue to profess faith and celebrate the gospel.

This Weekend @ Revolution || Jesus Heals All Things


I can’t wait for this Sunday! Every week God continues to work in the hearts of people and we see more and more people taking their next step with Jesus. If you missed this past week as we talked about how the labels people place on us can keep us from God’s plan for our lives, you can listen to it here. It was one of my favorite sermons I’ve ever preached.

I’m really excited about this weekend at Revolution. Here’s why:

  • I’m preaching on a topic I’ve never completely covered before: healing. While this is a divisive topic and one that many people have questions about, Scripture is also very clear on healing.
  • I’ll be preaching from John 4:46 – 5:17 if you want to read ahead and see how Jesus healed 2 people. One person who asked and the other who didn’t.
  • We’ll also unpack how Jesus heals, does he heal every time the way we want, what happens if Jesus doesn’t heal us or a loved one?

That’s what this Sunday is all about.

We’ll also be having a baptism on June 16th. If you have never taken this step and would like to, simply email Ciara Hull and she will get you the information you need.

One other thing to put on your calendar if you have a child in grades K-5 is our Planet Rev Sports Camp coming up on June 24 – 27 at Magee Middle School. If you have any questions, contact Jared Carter. But make plans to be there and bring someone with you.

I’ll see you this Sunday at 10am and be sure bring someone with you (you never know when a simple invite will make an eternal difference).

Remember, we meet at 8300 E. Speedway Blvd. at 10am.

This Weekend @ Revolution || Experimenting with Boredom


Last week was an incredible week as we kicked off our brand new series Meaning. We had our highest non-holiday attendance ever. So many first time guests. This week is going to be just as great.

Here’s what we’ll unpack this week as we look at Ecclesiastes 1:12 – 2:26:

  • Ironically, with all the advances and technology available to us, Americans seem to be some of the most bored people to ever live. We put so many things in our lives in hopes of numbing the pain because our life isn’t as we hoped or because we simply just want to pass the time.
  • What if we came face to face with our boredom and saw how Jesus could bring us out of that?
  • We are having a baptism this week. You don’t want to be late and miss the stories of life change, as we’ll kick off the service with these.
  • We are also continuing off sign-ups for our Spring Missional Communities. If you don’t know what an MC is, you can go here to read more about them.
  • If you haven’t “Liked” the Revolution Fan Page on Facebook, do so now. It is one of the ways we communicate and pass on resources for sermons and other ways to help serve you in your spiritual growth.

This is definitely a week you don’t want to miss at Revolution Church. So, bring someone with you (you never know when a simple invite will make an eternal difference).

Remember, we meet at 8300 E. Speedway Blvd. at 10am.

Monday Morning Mind Dump…

  • What a day yesterday at Revolution
  • The first week of Meaning was incredible
  • So many guests yesterday
  • I had a couple of friends come yesterday that God is definitely working on
  • Love seeing the gears move in people’s heads and hearts as the gospel takes root
  • We had our highest non-holiday attendance yesterday for the past year
  • Crazy how God is working in the lives of people
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • We’re having a baptism next week and I’m blown away by the stories of redemption that we’ll hear as people take the next step of publicly declaring their faith
  • Yesterday we kicked off sign-ups for our new spring missional communities that are launching at the end of month
  • Stunned by how they continue to grow and how God continues to use them
  • Can’t believe we will have 10 of them
  • Jared shared about his MC yesterday and how they were able to work with office depot to give over 1400 dry erase markers to Magee middle school
  • Office depot dropped over $1,000 off the price
  • Can’t wait to hear how the teachers react
  • We have another home study today for our Ethiopian adoption
  • It’s been almost 3 years that we’ve been in this process
  • Definitely teaching me endurance as we wait
  • Always makes me wonder why it has to take so long
  • Started a great leadership book yesterday
  • Read great reviews about it, so I’m excited about the angle
  • It is about why what the leader believes is the most important part of the leader
  • Definitely a different take on leadership
  • Next week at Revolution I’m teaching on a topic I’ve never preached on: handling boredom in our lives
  • Everyone is bored, we all wish we had someone else’s life, so we’ll see what the gospel has to say about that
  • Should be fun

[Image Credit]