Links for your Weekend Reading

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

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Chuck Lawless on 10 questions every leader should ask every week.

Most leaders, though, would benefit from more regular evaluations – particularly self-evaluations. Even daily and weekly self-evaluations merit our consideration if we want to lead well, regardless of our position.

12 things TEDx speakers do that pastors do not.

“An idea isn’t just a story or a list of facts. A good idea takes evidence or observations and draws a larger conclusion.” Of course TEDx talkers often have multiple points, but they always have direction: they’re always moving forward to a set conclusion (and that’s all big idea preaching is, for all the flack it gets). They also suggest to the speaker: “Get your idea out as quickly as possible.”

Joe Stengele on 4 time management tips for leaders and pastors.

I get to meet lots of leaders. Some are young, some are old, but without a doubt the ones who get the most done always manage their time well. Most young leaders I meet have no idea how to manage their time. I’m one decade into what I pray will be a lifetime of ministry, and I have made plenty of mistakes, but there are four time management tips I have learned. I pray these will help you as you grow in leadership, by God’s grace.

Brian Dodd on 5 lies men believe. This is so good.

J.D. Greear on Why plant campuses when you could plant churches.

One of the most frequent objections I get to our multi-site approach is this: “Why do you plant more campuses when you can plant churches instead?” Since our church is committed to church planting, I take this objection very seriously. And at first glance, the objection seems rather intuitive—people and money you could be investing in a church plant are instead being re-directed into a campus. This objection, however, is built upon two assumptions: first, that church planting solves the problem of overcrowding; second, that the multi-site approach competes with—or even precludes—church planting. But neither assumption is true.

Dave Page on Why people leave a church plant early.

Those who start the journey with you seldom finish with you. In the church planting world I call this principle THE LAW OF SCAFFOLDING. The people you start the church with are not the people you grow the church with. This is one of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a church planter.

Ruth Graham on The heresy of Jesus Calling

I’m tempted to call this blasphemy. Thomas Nelson specifically requested I not use the word “channeling” to describe Young’s first-person writing in the voice of Jesus—the word has New Age connotations—but it’s hard to avoid it in describing the book’s rhetorical approach.

Todd Rhoades on Are you more like Jay Leno or Jimmy Fallon as a leader?

Leno was, by most accounts, forced out early by NBC.  A new article/commentary at Mashable tells why:  Jay Leno, while he was doing great in the traditional measures (nationwide TV audience in a given demographic) could not make the switch to the future (which included youtube, vine, twitter, facebook, and all the viral directions that TV and late night was going).

Bryan Rose on How to ask the right questions when hiring a church staff member.

Mistakes are most often made when hiring is based on surface characteristics like stage ability, resume experience or fashion sense, rather than on the foundation of church culture. Your values define your church’s culture. Therefore, values should form the basis of your staffing logic, whether the prospective leader is paid or unpaid. Well thought-through interview questions, based on values, could be the difference between a perfect match and the perfect storm.

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Church Multiplication with Geoff Surratt | Session 3

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Paul and I are spending the day learning about church multiplication and multi-site with Geoff Surratt. Really excited about today as we are looking towards church planting in the future of Revolution Church.

Here are some notes from the third session:

What should a multi-site church reproduce:

  • What do you value?
  • What are you uniquely good at?
  • What is reproducible?
  • What is non-essential?
    • The more you reproduce, the harder it is and the more it costs.

Funding questions:

  • What model are we going to use?
    • The model you are going to use will determine what you will need to spend.
  • How many will we launch?
  • What are our financial expectations?

Two views of operating budgets of multi-site churches

  • Shared Purse: From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.
  • Capitalism: Each church lives on its own income.

Defining DNA

  • What are the irreducible minimums?
  • What is up to individual leaders?
  • Are you a high accountability church or a control church?

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Church Multiplication with Geoff Suratt | Session 2

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Paul and I are spending the day learning about church multiplication and multi-site with Geoff Surratt. Really excited about today as we are looking towards church planting in the future of Revolution Church.

Here are some notes from the second session:

Could multi-site work for you? (The following stats are from Leadership Network)

  • Campuses grow faster than autonomous church plants.
  • Campuses have a greater evangelistic impact than church plants.

Questions a church must ask before going multi-site:

  • How healthy is your church?
  • Is your church growing?
  • Are people finding Jesus through your church?
  • Are disciples being made?
  • Are people excited about inviting their friends and family?
  • What is the driving impetus behind going multi-site?
  • Are key leaders onboard?

Keys to successful multi-site

  • Start with a compelling vision
  • Choose the right campus pastor (visionary leader from the second chair, owner’s work ethic, a great communicator, a self starter)
    • A campus pastor is a great communicator, a preaching pastor is a gifted communicator.
  • What will sink a campus pastor?
    • He is not approachable, he is unmotivated, he is a responder instead of an initiator.
  • Create a compelling experience
    • Whatever your DNA is, you must keep it across the board.
  • Embrace a one church philosophy
    • Every church needs to be treated the same and gets the same finances and staff as everyone else.
  • Go all in.
    • At some point, there is no turning back as a church.

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Vision Night – August 25th

On August 25th, we will gather together as a church family to celebrate where God has brought us from and where we believe He is taking us.

Just 3 years ago, Revolution began as a dream for 15 of us. A prayer to change the city that we live in, a city we love. In those 3 years, we have seen God stretch us, grow us and challenge us. Sometimes we prayed big prayers, other times we lacked faith. Yet, through it all, God proved to be faithful.

We are maturing as a church, getting older so to speak. With that maturity comes responsibility. Over the last year, the leaders at Revolution have been seeking God, asking questions, evaluating everything that we do as a church and seeking how we can become the church God intends for us to become. Our dream is to be a church that multiplies all over the city. Raising up people from within Revolution to be on mission in their neighborhoods, serving those around them, being discipled and discipling others, being the family of God. To be a gathered AND scattered church.

But how?

It is one thing to say we want to change the world, to change Tucson or the places we work, the neighborhoods we live in. Almost every church says that.

Curious?

If so, join us on August 25th at 6:30pm for our first ever vision night. We want everyone who calls Revolution home or is curious about Revolution, wondering if this is the community of faith to get plugged into. It is so important, we will be providing childcare so that no one will miss it.

Links of the Week

  1. According to Christianity Today, being a pastor is a risky profession. This is a helpful article for pastor’s to know the dangers and for their churches to know how to support and pray for their pastor.
  2. Brent Thomas gives his favorite albums of the year so far. Admittedly, I have none of these, some were on the list, but they’re now moving up the list.
  3. How the gospel makes us generous and content with our money.
  4. Ed Stetzer on Freedom of religion has to be freedom for everyone.
  5. New Barna research on how churches are impacting their community and how they are viewed by their communities.
  6. Will Mancini on 6 ways to communicate vision every week. This is helpful and important for leaders to understand.
  7. The missional student ministry. Makes me grateful for the leadership Paul Samson gives to Rev uP.
  8. Pete Wilson Taking a digital detox. I cherish going on vacation, leaving my computer at home and handing Katie my phone so I don’t check it.
  9. Spiritual warfare in the home. This is real and you need to pray against it.
  10. Michael Hyatt on 5 reasons you need to get better at saying “No.”
  11. Instant churches. We are blessed to meet in another church, but I definitely could see us having 1 or more sites that meet in schools in the future.
  12. Charles Stone on 5 really bad ways pastors react when people compare them to more successful churches.
  13. Factors that predict multiplication of communities.
  14. R.C. Sproul on Understanding what the Bible says on homosexuality.
  15. Leadership red flags.

Links of the Week

  1. Tim Keller on The importance of hell. I realize the doctrine of hell is always a debated topic (especially in light of Rob Bell’s new book), but Keller offers some great insight, as usual, on how to handle this discussion and why it is important.
  2. Sex is cheap. Definitely highlights a major problem in culture, marriages and gives great insight into how the church can speak into the lives of men and women.
  3. 6 unfair market advantages you should steal from Apple. Definitely some things pastors and churches could learn from Apple.
  4. Russell Moore on God, Freedom, and “The Adjustment Bureau.”
  5. Chan Kilgore on Creating a culture of multiplication in your church.
  6. A very helpful review of Rob Bell’s new book (from someone who actually read the book).
  7. Jesus Christ:  The Only Way and Our Only Hope. If you have ever wrestled with this question or had to answer it, this is definitely worth reading. It is a free chapter from Tim Challies from the book Don’t Call it a Comeback.

Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers

Over the last few months, I have been reading books on how to multiply leadership and churches. One of the dreams of Revolution is to multiply leaders at all levels and to multiply our church into a movement around Tucson. I started by reading Exponential by Dave and Jon Ferguson. Then, this past week I was in Kansas City and spent some time with some planters there and several of them were talking about Viral Churches by Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird. One of the ways I decide on what books to buy is how often I hear about a book, so I quickly bought it and read it on the plane ride home. Definitely worth picking up.

The whole point of the book, which you probably picked up from the subtitle is how to create a church multiplication movement. According to the authors, “A church multiplication movement is a rapid reproduction of churches planting churches, measured by a reproduction rate of 50% through the third generation of churches, with new churches having 50% new converts. To achieve such momentum, churches would need to plant, on average, a new church every two years with each church reaching at least half of its attendees from the unchurched community.” What they lay out is how they is happening around the world, some of the reasons it is not happening in North America and some ways leaders can use principles from Scripture and global leaders to create movements here.

The book was based on a study through leadership network on the state of church planting and it breaks many of the myths of church planting. One of the myths is that only 20% of church plants survive.

The key the authors pointed out to church multiplication, either through church planting or launching sites is leadership development. They said it is the key to every movement from the 1st century until now. One of the things I am most excited about at Revolution right now is some of the things we are learning from other Acts 29 churches on leadership development and how to train future worship leaders, teaching pastors, campus pastors, community leaders, church planters, etc so that we can be a multiplying church. You will be hearing more about this in the coming months because we are going to start putting some of our learnings into practice next month! For me, I am realizing that the best way for me to spend my time is to multiply leaders. It is the best way for our church to reach more people, to multiply, to care and shepherd those who are in our church. As Bob Logan points out, “Leadership development is the limiting factor in most churches.” This is one of the concepts that the book Exponential hit on over and over. The idea of developing apprentices. One of the things this study found is “The likelihood of church survivability increases by over 250% when the church offers leadership development training to new church members.”

To be a multiplying church, a church must change its scorecard. All churches count offerings, salvations, those in community, serving, attendance, which are good things to measure. A multiplying church counts those, but puts more emphasis on “whether or not people are learning to reproduce themselves. Disciples multiply churches.”

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

  • Church planting is only worthwhile if it advances God’s kingdom.
  • When the church advances, the forces of darkness recede. So here’s an important question:  is your congregation advancing through the dark territories?
  • Reproduction breeds life. For church planting, multiplication provides viability. If you want your church to live, produce more leaders than you think you will ever need.
  • Stagnation of growth often follows closely on the heels of bloated church programming. Explosive growth often follows easily reproducible ministries.
  • A church grows bigger by doing small better.
  • Church multiplication will become inherent in the DNA of our churches only as far as it is inherent in the DNA of our leaders.

As I said, definitely worth reading if you are a church planter or pastor interested in creating a movement of churches. As the authors pointed out, a movement of gospel centered churches is that only way we will plant churches fast enough to reach our cities.

The 5 Things that Impact Whether a Community Reproduces

Joel Comiskey released a study in his book Home Cell Group Explosion and he showed the 5 factors that impact whether a community reproduces and multiplies into other communities. This impacts churches reproduce campuses and missional communities reproducing more missional communities.
  1. The Leader’s prayer life. The one factor in the survey that seemed to have the greatest effect on whether a group reproduces is how much time the leaders spends praying for group members. The leader’s devotional life consistently appears among the three most important variables in the study.
  2. The leader’s setting goals to multiply. The seven hundred leaders surveyed were asked, “Do you know when your group is going to reproduce?” Possible answers were “yes,” “no,” or “not sure.” Leaders who know their goal and know when their groups are planning to reproduce consistently reproduce their groups more often than leaders who do not know their goal.
  3. The leader’s receiving effective training. Comiskey’s research also found that small group leaders who felt that they had been trained to reproduce their small groups did so more rapidly. However, training was not as important as the quality of the leader’s prayer life.
  4. The group’s evangelistic efforts. Comiskey found that there is a direct correlation between the number of guests in a group and the number of times a leader reproduces the group. In other words, if you have lots of newcomers, you’re more likely to reproduce your group.
  5. The group’s “outside” meetings. This is the fun factor. The research found that groups that met more frequently outside of the regular small group gathering – just for fun – were more likely to reproduce than those that didn’t.