Multisite? Really?

Multisite?  Really?

Jim Tomberlin answers the question:  what are the characteristics of a church that is on its way to becoming a true multi-site church?  Here are some of the traits that I have observed among churches that seem to have made the shift from single-site to a multi-site paradigm:

1.  Four or more geographical campuses.

2.  A dedicated multisite champion on the senior team.

3.  At least 50% of total church attendance beyond the original campus.

4.  A teaching team that fully or partially utilizes video delivery.

5.  Dedicated central staff that supports all the campuses.

6.  A dedicated campus pastor at the original campus who is not the senior pastor.

7.  Regional campus-focused decision making rather that central campus-focused decision making.

8.  Grandchildren campuses. Multi-site campuses launching campuses.

9.  Campuses beyond 30 minutes from the original campus. Most of these will come through church mergers.

10.  Empowered local campus pastors who are unquestionably committed to the mission, vision, values and strategy of the founding church.

Is your church truly multisite?

via Is Your Church Truly MultiSite?.

2012: The end of the world

2012:  The end of the world

I had no idea that Denver was such an important part in the end of the world.

Watch this entertaining look at how one internet ‘prophet’ thinks the world may end… people of Denver be warned.

Warning that the content here is a little graphic at times:

 

Thoughts?

Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World

Many Christians have an impending sense of doom about our country and the world. But are their fears based on reality or myth? In this book Wright examines issues of concern to Christians, including poverty, sickness, sexual morality, the environment, and the global church. Did you know that global poverty has been cut in half over the last several decades? That infant deaths have decreased dramatically in recent years? That Christianity is a growing and influential force in Asia and Africa? Maybe the world isn’t in a downward spiral after all. In an age of pessimism, this book offers good news to Christian readers looking for glimpses of hope.

It’s easy to get discouraged or feel paralyzed by what you hear about the terrible state of the world. But what if the media and other prophets of doom have misled us? Could the world actually be getting better? In Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World, sociologist Brad Wright uses the best available data to uncover the truth about the world’s most important issues, including poverty, sickness, education, morality, and the environment. While admitting there is still work to be done, he shines a light on why so many things are improving and why no one is talking about it.

 

Read an Excerpt…

Upside:  Surprising Good News About the State of Our World - Chapter 1:  Pessimism About our Nation and World

 

About the Author…

Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. After receiving tenure, he switched his academic focus from crime to religion in order to research American Christianity. Brad received his PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, the top-ranked sociology graduate program in the United States. He has a popular blog (brewight.com) based on his research. His first book, Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Toldreceived the 2011 Christianity Today Book Award. He’s appeared on numerous national media outlets including USAToday.com, Foxnews.com, Moody’s Chris Fabry Live!, and the Drew Marshall Show. Brad is married with two children and lives in Storrs, Connecticut.

 

Videos…

Author Video:  Upside

Author Video:  Upside

 

Buzz…

SeekingExcellence says:

The author’s goal is to separate fact and fiction, and he does that well, so that we can recognize and celebrate the genuine progress and successes on this earth. I recommend this book. It is worth reading for an accurate assessment of the state of the world, especially our country, and an appreciation of how far we’ve gone in the past century… [more]

Fundamentally Reformed says:

Reading Upside, was like inhaling a deep breath of fresh air. On so many fronts, there has been remarkable progress in the world. Life expectancy, health and disease, poverty and access to clean water, air pollution, crime, financial well-being, literacy — all these areas and more have seen astounding improvement in the last 200 years… [more]

Gently Mad says:

In his book “Upside” he takes on the challenge to prove that the world is not getting worse but mostly getting better. Using studies and graphs, Wright shows, statistically, people’s perception about the state of our world and if these perceptions match up to the concrete math of the graph.
Wright breaks down these perceptions in each chapter, covering finances, intelligence and education, health, crime, war, religion, marriage and the environment. He looks at what studies say people believe about these different topics and how our perceptions actually measure up… [more]

Kruse Kronicle says:

Wright is not saying that everything in the world is getting better (think things like obesity and environmental challenges) but it is hardly a planet on the verge disaster. In fact, there are reasons for considerable optimism. Following Matt Ridley’s lead, he sees the coming to fruition of specialization and exchange as a key to the recent rise in human welfare. One area where I would like to have heard more, is why pessimism is so pervasive. He offers some insights. For one, our modern society is highly adaptive due to the rise of specialization and exchange. But it is incomprehensibly complex. Because of our inability to grasp complexity, we are prone to simply extrapolate present trends … particularly negative ones … indefinitely into the future. There is a radical underestimation of our adaptive ability. Furthermore, we seem programmed not to see incremental improvements in life. Once an improvement arrives it quickly becomes the new normal. But we easily fixate on negative news and trends that we experience as threats. And, of course, news sources are aware of the fixation and they highlight such news to attract readers. That is how we create a society where are large majority think there life is good or getting better but also think other people’s lives are going downhill… [more]

Portland Book Review says:

This book takes a look at many of the most important topics of our day: health, crime, the environment, and war to name a few, and then takes a moment to explain, in real world and measurable terms how things have improved, or are improving. An optimist, he says that most of the problems we face are fixable, and that in a real sense, our lives today are measurably better than those of generations past… [more]

 

Get this book at Amazon.com…

PAPERBACK: Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World

KINDLE EDITION: Upside: Surprising Good News About the State of Our World

 

YouVersion Minute

YouVersion Minute

Here’s a fascinating infographic that tells exactly what’s happening in YouVersion in ONE MINUTE.

I remember hearing Bobby Greunewald giving his elevator pitch for what he though YouVersion could be.  Hats off to Bobby and his team at LifeChurch.tv.  You guys are making a difference!

We all know that God’s word is powerful.  More than 12 BILLION minutes of reading scripture so far with YouVersion.  That is stinkin’ awesome.  Take a look at the impact:

Where are you investing?

Where are you investing?

Guest post by Josh McFarland…

It’s approaching the end of 2011 and I continue to hear politicians, business leaders, economists and journalists telling us that the economy is still struggling even with some minor improvements over the past few months.  This is in contrast to the reports that Americans spent 16% more on black friday in 2011 than they did in 2010.  For a country that is struggling financially, we sure do spend a lot of money.  I’m not trying to go all Dave Ramsey on you, nor am I preparing to offer a solution to all our economic woes; I simply want to make an observation.

December is routinely a month where charitable giving increases substantially.  Why?  Some do it for the tax benefit, some do it out of guilt, others out of genuine charity and others do it simply because it “feels right.”  Whatever the motivation, people are more generous during the last 4-6 weeks of the year.

 

Is it bad that people increase their giving at the end of the year?  No, of course not.  In fact, many non-profit organizations that are designed to help meet the needs of real people depend on this yearly trend.  For them, this generosity is what allows them to continue doing what they do best…helping others.

 

The biggest problem is that people aren’t just needy during the last 4-6 weeks of the year.  And, while many are in need of financial assistance, it doesn’t stop there.  With unemployment hovering between 9 & 10% nationally for the last few years, many families are finding themselves in unfamiliar situations.  Not only are they struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, a whole new set of problems are developing.  Financial stress, as it often does, is manifesting itself emotionally and relationally.  Many people in this country find their identity through their jobs, financial status and/or their possessions.  When those things disappear, they find themselves lost and alone.

 

Helping a family put food on the table and gifts for the kids under the Christmas tree is a great help this time of year, but what about the other 11 months?  These things are valuable, but they don’t solve all the families problems.  I find that these people need friends, they need a relational and emotional support system as much or more than they need the financial assistance.

 

Jesus was really good at pinpointing peoples needs; all of their needs.  While he routinely took away people’s physical needs through healing, feeding and forgiving, he never stopped there.  He recognized then and now, that everyone desires a sense of hope and belonging. Humans were created with the inherent need for relational and emotional nourishment in addition to physical nourishment; its part of our DNA.

 

God created us for relationships.

 

So, continue being generous over the next few weeks and supporting the work of organizations that are making a difference in your community and around the world, but don’t stop there.  There is more to generosity than money.  True generosity is an investment in people.

 

Find a way to invest in someones life:
  • Become a mentor in a local school.
  • Volunteer at a food pantry.
  • Help the residents of a homeless shelter prepare and enjoy a meal.
  • Connect with local seniors and provide rides to the grocery and/or doctor appointments.
  • Invite a neighbor over for dinner and coffee.
  • Create a free job training seminar at your local church or civic organization.
I will warn you, it is a lot easier, cheaper & less time consuming to simply write a check once or twice a year.  Investing in people can get messy.  However, everything of value has a cost.  Thus, the question remains,  “Where are you investing?”

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Galatians 5:13-14

—–

Josh is a happily married father of 2 beautiful girls. His writings are sporadic, his thoughts are random, and occasionally the two collide. He currently serves as the Lead Pastor of First Baptist Church in Hillsboro, OH. You can find Josh on twitter, facebook, blogspot and usually drinking coffee:

www.twitter.com/joshmcfarland
www.facebook.com/joshmcfarland
www.jmacrev.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

Ir-rev-rend: Christianity Without the Pretense. Faith Without the Façade

Ir-rev-rend: Christianity Without the Pretense. Faith Without the Façade

Ir-rev-rend (ir REV rund) noun

1. a pastor who is somewhat critical of what is generally accepted or respected

2. a pastor who is trying to make sense of life, love, the church and other confusing things from a slightly satirical point of view; an irreverent sense of humor.

3. a “normal” guy pursuing God

Whatever you may think about the “typical” pastor, throw it out. Do they make bad decisions? Yes. Commit sin and experience severed relationships? Yes and yes. Pastor Greg Surratt is not perfect, and he unashamedly tells the stories that have strengthened his faith. He writes that the choice to follow Christ is never clean, is often scary, is usually clothed in mystery, and is always an adventure.

For some people, God appears in dark, dirty, lonely, or just plain odd places. Greg found God while huddled under a grand piano, hiding from overzealous friends and family trying to accost him during an altar call at a Pentecostal revival. So began a life of sharing stories of God’s endlessly creative and often surprising work and seeing God’s transforming power in unexpected ways. Despite years of vocational ministry, Greg never underestimates the power of divine/human encounters in some of teh least “churchy’ places on earth.

Humorous, insightful, and challenging, IR-REV-REND is a revealing and joyous look at real-life Christian living. As Greg himself affirms, if God can use his missteps and blunders, God can use anybody’s.

Whatever you may think about the “typical” pastor, throw it out. Do they make mistakes? Yes. Bad decisions? Yes. Commit sin and experience severed relationships? Yes and yes. Pastor Greg Surratt isn’t perfect, and he unashamedly tells the stories in this memoir that have strengthened his faith. He writes that the choice to follow Christ is never clean, is often scary, is usually clothed in mystery, and is always an adventure.

To some people, God appears in dark, dirty, lonely, or just plain odd places. Greg found God while huddled under a grand piano, hiding from overzealous friends and family trying to accost him during an altar call at a Pentecostal revival. So began a life of sharing stories of God’s endlessly creative and often surprising work and seeing God’s transforming power in unexpected ways. Despite years of vocational ministry, Greg never underestimates the power of divine/human encounters in some of the least “churchy” places on earth.

Humorous, insightful, and challenging, IR-REV-REND is a revealing and joyous look at real-life Christian living. As Greg himself affirms, if God can use his missteps and blunders, God can use anybody’s.

 

Read a sample chapter here!

 

Author Video:  Ir-Rev-Rend

Author Video:  Ir-Rev-Rend:

 

About the Author:  Greg Surratt is the founding pastor of Seacoast Church (www.seacoast.org), a trendsetting, multisite church. An Oklahoma native who grew up in Colorado, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, with his wife, Debbie. They have four children and nine grandchildren. You can find out more about Greg on his blog at www.gregsurratt.com or on Facebook atwww.Facebook.com/pastorgregsurratt.

 

Newspaper Interview with Greg Surratt about the book:  The Post and Courier

 

Buzz about Ir-Rev-Rend:

Robbie Foreman says:

Pastor Greg Surratt is one of the most humble men that you will ever meet.  I am a little biased because Pastor Greg serves as an overseer for our church. With that aside, he is very humble and transparent.  Its his humility and transparency that made his book IR-REV-REND an incredible read. Pastor Greg gives great insight to topics such as worship, family, doubt, money, and many others. His book is a must read for everyone! I promise you will laugh and will be hooked on his every word! [more]

Brandon A Cox says:

Brutal honesty, plus hilarious anecdotes and some inspiring stories of redemption at work changing lives is what I encountered when I read Ir-rev-rend: Christianity Without the Pretense. Faith Without the Facade. by Greg Surratt.

As a church planter who is trying to figure things out on a week-by-week basis, I loved Greg’s opening chapters in which he relayed plenty of advice about how NOT to plant a church, all learned in the laboratory of his own experiences plantingSeacoast Church in the Carolinas. Greg would almost have us believe that the church came into being in spite of his ministry there. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, but Greg is that brutally honest about how he learned things the hard way… [more]

Book Reporter says:

Unlike his elder family members who preached firebrand style and got people filling the altars, Surratt didn’t feel that people felt much of anything when he spoke. But at the wise counsel of a college professor, he realized there must be a group of people out there somewhere who needs his brand of preaching/teaching. No worries. Finally, Surratt recounts how he was fired from his first three jobs in ministry: first by his father, then by his grandfather, and finally by a stranger. Good for Surratt that he never gave up, and neither did God. After all, he now pastors one of the largest churches around, and his influence (like his sense of humor) knows no bounds… [more]

The Cyberlibrarian says:

It was not until I got to the chapter on worship (by far the strongest chapter) that I began to appreciate his religious understanding and his sensitivity. Over a short span of time, Surratt experienced religious awakening in several diverse ways, including a service at an Episcopal church (heaven forbid), and a visit to the Iona Community in Scotland. I know several people who have been to the Iona Community, so I was not the least bit surprised that he was extremely moved by the experience there. He also had an experience of an anointing as well as an intercessory prayer candle lighting. The very best part of these experiences was that Surratt realized that his congregation was missing some of these intense spiritual moments. He was humble enough to realize that the services at Seacoast Church may have been lacking in quiet, prayerful, and peaceful surrender. And, wonder of wonders, he incorporated some of those spiritual aspects into his Sunday morning worship experiences.  I wanted to put my arms around him and say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  [more]

 

Purchase this book from Amazon.com:

Hardcover: Ir-rev-rend: Christianity Without the Pretense. Faith Without the Façade

Kindle Edition: Ir-rev-rend: Christianity Without the Pretense, Faith without the Facade

 

 

Matt Chandler: Fulfill YOUR Ministry

Matt Chandler:  Fulfill YOUR Ministry

Watch this short clip (one minute, 40 seconds) on why Matt Chandler thinks you should fulfill YOUR ministry, NOT Mark Driscoll’s.

Thoughts?

Negativism in the Church

Negativism in the Church

Take a look at this video…

As I watched this video, I thought that this is how some church’s approach preaching the gospel.

I’ve heard quite a few sermons over my lifetime that start out just like this photographer.  It goes something like this.

The world is horrible.

Sex is on the rise.  (Pick what kind of sex you want to talk about… adultery/divorce; homosexual/gay marriage; illegitimate births/abortion).

The family is falling apart.  (divorce, young people living together, pre-marital sex, homosexuality/activism, broken families).

Culture is corrupt (look at the movies, music, tv, computer porn, facebook)

Society is collapsing (anything that can show just how terrible it is; and how much worse it is now than 20 years ago).

That’s the introduction.

Then the main point:  Jesus came to save us from all this crap.

The truth is… Jesus did come to save us from all this… but by the time you get to the good news, your portrayal of the bad news has lost people lost.

The seasoned saints are all saying ‘amen, great sermon’.

But you lost the people who need to hear the good news way back at the beginning of your message.

Preaching about sin is primary… we have to be saved from something.  And we are all sinners.  But opening with everything that’s wrong with society and individuals is taking the easy way out.

Most of the time, it’s much easier to preach against ‘things’ than to love ‘people’.

People are messy.  People sin.  But it’s the people who need to hear the good news.  Many of them already feel bad about their life.

I see a growing divide between how generations of pastors in our church share the good news.

Are you seeing the same divide?

86 Year Bible Reading Plan

86 Year Bible Reading Plan

The guys over at @TweetTheBible86 may be on to something.

A new Bible reading plan that people can actually stick with.

A verse a day.  Tweeted.

It started on 11/11/11; and will end sometime in 2097.

That’s right… it will take 86 years to complete.

There are just two problems with this plan:

1.  We’ll all be dead.

2.  In 2097 people will be asking, “What the heck is Twitter.”

Hmmm.

Thoughts?

SOURCE

 

Saddleback Cancels

Saddleback Cancels

In a rare move, the 20,000-member Saddleback Church in Orange County is canceling all of its worship services during the second weekend in December in order to help facilitate a huge neighborhood volunteer opportunity.  Rick Warren is Saddleback attenders to take at least a half day on Saturday or Sunday (Dec. 10, 11) to go “serve in the community and love your neighbor as yourself.”

In its 31-year history, the megachurch has canceled weekend services less than a handful of times, according to Warren.

Church officials are hoping to mobilize Saddleback’s base of 5,000 Bible study groups, referred to as “small groups,” to perform their own chosen acts of kindness in their neighborhoods.

Pastor Erik Rees, designated as the pastor of Ministries and Life Worship at the church, is leading the team that is championing the event called, “Good Neighbor Weekend.”

“Saddleback has always been a loving and caring church that gives and gives, so this weekend will continue our commitment to love our neighbors,” Rees told The Christian Post. “The weekend will include a variety of ways to shower our neighbors with compassion, kindness and love. These opportunities include on-campus, in the community, and through our 5,000 small groups.”

SOURCE:  The Christian Post

Great idea or horrible one?

Would your church ever consider doing something like this?

 

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