Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Nirvana Generation

There is a generational gap, especially among pastors today. We have been seeing a shift in Christianity for about the last 10 years that is coming to a head. There is the rise and separation of what I call, "The Nirvana Generation." The kids who were greatly influenced by Nirvana and the ensuing grunge movement are the ones leading the next wave of Christianity.
In 1990, music changed forever. We still see the effects of it today (even in church music). The 80's birthed hair bands. They were interested in fame, girls, fortune and they were all technically amazing guitar players. They wore make up. They wore spandex.

One day, music changed forever. A little band named Nirvana helped bring to the forefront the "grunge music scene." The metal, hair metal rock and heavy metal bands all took a hit. Grunge was about 4 chords, angst and real passion. You did not wash your hair, you sang angry, abstract songs and did not care if you got girls or fame. The scorecard changed. In 1990, music changed forever. I was around 12 years old at the time. I grew up listening to this music and heavily influenced by it.

Now, how does this apply to pastors and a church? Well, we are seeing the fall of traditional pastors and traditional religion. The way pastors teach, the music that is played and the environments have caused a great divide in the church. It is like the 1990's for the church, especially in America. Like hair bands being replaced by grunge, "churchy" pastors and churches are being replaced by the "Nirvana Generation." The rules are being re-written before our eyes. 3 Piece suits and Rod Parsley style of church is diminishing quickly. Televangelists are struggling like never before. Over 3,000 churches close a month. On the flip side, we are seeing some of the most creative churches and pastors arise. No longer is the scorecard Christian TV, 3-Piece Suits, Preaching at People, and Begging for Money. The scorecard is seeing as many people come to Christ through relevant ministry. The scorecard is flipping fast. Traditional is not hymns and suits anymore. Traditional is doing it the way you did last year, or 5 years ago. Traditional is not a building or name. Traditional is holding to ineffective ways of doing ministry in order to hold to the previous order of the great divide.

The hair/rock/metal bands that fought the change, went down when old methods disentegrated. The scorecard has changed for the church as well. It is not how big your building is, but how much community impact you are making. It is not how pretty or loud you preach, but rather your impact on your context/culture.

Yep- things are changing, changing fast.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When is Good Enough, Good Enough?

When is Good Enough, Good Enough?

Okay, this is the struggle of most people. It really has been mine. I was talking with a friend about 6 months ago on the issue of ministry and I told him what I had asked myself, "Is my good enough, good enough to see this dream come to pass?"

I was in the middle of a struggle yesterday. I am going to be very honest and real. As a pastor, sometimes it hurts (right in the heart), when someone chooses not to come back to your church and chooses another. I think every pastor, at the core of their being (and rightly should), believes that their church is awesome and everyone can be fed the most there. There should be a healthy love and respect for the work you are doing in Christ and Christ through you.

But, it hurts. I told God yesterday, "God, I cannot prepare any harder, pray any more, schedule anymore rest time, be more focused on my wife.... I am running on all cylinders. Why won't people connect here to our ministry like they do other ministries? Is my good enough really good enough to see this thing come to fruition?"

I felt the Lord answer back, "Kevin, your good enough will never be good enough if the standard is the approval of other people. Other people cannot dictate if your 'good enough' is good enough. Only I (the Lord) can dictate that. And am I pleased with you and love you. I gave David his ten thousands and Saul his thousands. I raised up kings and brought kings low. I am Sovereign. Don't let the enemy take you captive with this foolishness of being good enough in ministry to impress people so much that they come back. This is my ministry and I call those who are assigned to this ministry."

I feel the Lord has me at a stoplight. So many people and especially leaders are co-dependent on others to bring them a sense of self worth. So.....

Dear World, from this day forward I am going to be real and truthful. I will not sugar coat things in order to make you feel good if I am doing it to just gain your approval. I will also be very loving in delivering truth. I appreciate your congratulations on successes. I appreciate your feedback on messages. I appreciate your times when you really, really, don't like me. I have learned that my good enough was never and should never be based on what others think, but who I am in Christ. I am sorry for allowing my emotions to be dictated by your approval or disapproval. I am sorry that I cannot meet all your expectations all the time. I will remain accountable, and allow criticism, but my best is my best. God approves of me. He loves me and is walking with me. It is HIS grace leading through me. It is HIS grace that preaches and teaches.



ps.... hope you like this. :) J/K

Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Keith Rowell

BUST A MOVE: Keith Rowell

I’m honored that Kevin has asked me to be a guest on his blog. I’m just a young leader that knows that God has a plan for my life. I believe my purpose, no matter the avenue, is to empower people to be who Christ has created them to be. The avenue God has blessed me with currently is being the youth pastor at Celebration Outreach Center in Elberton, GA. It’s amazing and the students keep me feeling young.

Starting a movement is not a 1, 2, 3 process. It’s a living organism, something that will look different in every community. Just because it worked for that one person in that amazing, empowering book doesn’t mean it will work in your community necessarily. I’ve fallen in that trap. I read about five different books and look at dozen of models for small groups. I then took a little bit from each model and developed my own. I cast vision for it got everyone excited about it, trained leaders, got the audience pumped. We held a service just about small groups and afterward people signed up for different groups. Within a month the whole thing crumbled. It crumbled because of my leadership and my stupidity of focusing more on a model than what the people needed. Every movement revolves around people, moving them in the direction of becoming who Christ created them to be. It’s not about reproducing a method but making God’s will a reality. These are the concrete needs to start a movement, without them the movement will just be a ripple that will only go as far as the length of the puddle. However, if you implement these factors the movement will out last your leadership and even catch the heart of other leaders to start their own movements.

Dummy Disclaimer: If you want to start a movement it starts with you having a close relationship with God. If you have a hard time having consistent time with God, the most you’ll be able to accomplish is a big bible study. You have to know where God is taking you and what He wants to accomplish in the movement, because it’s His not yours.

Your obedience is someone else’s victory. When God calls you to go into “that” neighborhood to share Christ do so without hesitancy. Be obedient to what God is calling you to do. There are different type of movements, like before don’t try to mimic what God is doing somewhere else. Seek after God yourself and see what He wants to do through you to build His Kingdom.

A movement revolves around God’s will and His people. The people God will put around you develop the movement. Speak life into your people. It sickens me when I hear about leaders talking about how terrible there congregation is, about how they hate their city. If you hate the city you’re in do those around you a favor and leave, because you will never start a movement unless you love where God has placed you. Love the people that God has put around you because they will be the main ones who push the movement forward. The only things you do is fuel the people with the vision God has given you and empower them to make it a reality. Take time with them and share your life with them. Love them for who they are and for whom Christ is transforming them into.

If you truly love the people then you will serve the people. Perry Noble preached a sermon entitled “Saved People Serve People” and the title said it all. If you want to start a movement it means that you will spend time meeting needs, not just planning events. If you want a movement it will mean that will find out the needs of those around you and will do whatever you can to meet those needs. What does your community need? The answer to this question is fuel to your movement.

A movement moves. Your consistent pursuit of knowing God’s will and making it a reality is what keeps the movement moving. If at any point the movement becomes about you and not about God, it fails and stops. All Christian movements move towards the Father. Towards accomplishing His purpose and spreading the Gospel of Christ to everyone it comes into contact with.

Starting a movement is easy, but how long will it last. Every movement at some point will come to an end. This is not a bad thing, some movements last decades and some only a few years. But what will you do with the time God gives you? Who will be changed because of your obedience? What movements will erupt because of your obedience? Who will take the lead when your leave? What will this movement accomplish?

Keith and Lauren Rowell reside in Elberton, GA. They are the youth pastors at Celebration Outreach Center. I have known Keith since he first gave his life to Christ. He served faithfully as an adult leader at Celebration Outreach Center and Reaction Student Ministries when I was youth pastor there. He is now the youth pastor and taking the youth ministry to new levels. They are also expecting their first child.
follow him on twitter: @keithrowell

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why People Quit

I heard an amazing quote the other day, "People don't quit an organization, ultimately they quit people."

Out of all the times people have left a ministry I was a part of or an organization I was working for, this principle rings true.

We often peg people as "leaving" our ministries. We hear their frustration about "things." At the end of the day, people quit people.

So, the question should be for us, "Why would someone quit me or you? What personality/character issue would flare up in us to cause someone to quit?"
(note: There are many times that you do all you can do and they are going to leave anyway. There are some people that you don't mind if they leave because they are constant headache)

Honest confession time. I really don't know how many, if anyone besides my mentor (Dr. Brett Cooper) and a couple of close friends read this, but I am going to be honest. My issues and the reason people have quit and will quit is because I am defensive, prideful and I don't back down from any fight. I am really seeking God and asking Him to pour His grace out on me so I can overcome these issues. I want the people at our ministry and those who are volunteer staff to have the best experience ever. I can thwart this by having to correct every issue and show that I have some knowledge.

So, if 20% of the people that leave are those who are the constant headaches and the perpetually wounded ducks, then 80% may rest on our shoulders. Take some time today to look introspectively and ask the question, "Why have people or why will they quit me?"

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Guest Blogger: Brian Burgess- Making Hard Choices

Making the Hard Choices by Guest Blogger- Brian Burgess

Simply put, leadership is about constantly making hard choices. Rarely do we find ourselves in situations where absolutely everyone is on the same page as we are. The task of leadership positions us in the midst of various scenarios in which we are the final voice that decides the overall direction of our organizations.

I’ve heard it said that your level of leadership is directly proportionate to your threshold for pain. That is a truth that a leader will never fully know until they have experienced the body blows of being out front. Leadership brings with it a degree of pain and heartache, but we cannot let the pain of leadership stop us from the pleasure of progress.
The ability to make hard choices will be what separates you from the rest of the pack. In a time when strong leadership seems to be vanishing daily it is up to us to stand up for our vision and lead the charge into the future.
Vision is the driving factor giving leaders the strength and stability to make hard choices. Vision acts as an anchor to hold your leadership during the many storms that you will face.
Of course, this element of vision presupposes that you have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish as a leader. If you know what you want to accomplish you will conversely know what you don’t want to accomplish. If you find the direction of your organization drifting away from your vision then you will have a guiding light to draw you back to your goals and desires.
Your vision helps identify what is really important to the health of your organization. Most of the hard choices you will have to make as a leader will deal with people and their response to the vision of your group.
Some people flat out will never get your vision. These are the people that rarely have anything positive to say. They are always attacking the changes that are being made around your organization. Unfortunately many times these people refuse to leave your organization. With this people group you have a few options: 1) you can ignore them and lead anyway or 2) you can address the issue up front and deal with it completely.
If you ignore them and lead anyway you must be prepared to constantly deal with their antagonism. There is a restaurant in my city that is interesting to me because when they built the building they intentionally built around a live tree. Now when my wife and I eat there we always sit next to the tree and comment on how amazing the construction is. If you ignore this people group you must be willing to build around the trees!

If you address the issue up front and deal with it completely you must be prepared to have a catfight. Know that this is a drastic measure and not recommended as the first option. This should only be considered if the person is so vehemently against your vision that they are causing extreme division among your organization. If the situation has gotten that bad it has become a cancer…cancer must be cut out.

Some people will get your vision but have their own interpretation of it. These are the people that like where you are ultimately trying to take the organization, but want to do it their way. Many times this people group is the champion of your causes as long as the causes pass by their front door first. Their motto is: your vision done my way.
Dealing with these people can be more challenging than dealing with any of the other people groups. They are the people that leverage their leadership talents and abilities for negative purposes. They are always having unofficial “meetings” and creating their own momentum in favor of their personal agenda.

Once again you must have a discussion of your vision with these people. Take the time to sit with them over lunch and share your vision and values. Let them know where they fit in, but have the courage necessary to stick with your core values. It will be difficult because many times these are the people that you feel a connection with and genuinely care about. Don’t hesitate. Stick with your vision.
I do want to point out that these people may not necessarily by “evil.” They may see something that you don’t see. These people are valuable to the fulfillment of your vision. Listen to them carefully because you never know what you may learn.
Always seek to understand before you seek to be understood. Don’t throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water.
Some people will get your vision but not know how they fit in. These are the people that like where you are going but are generally clueless as to how they can be involved. Leadership in general is the task of motivating people to tie into the vision of the group. Show them where they can be involved and how they can offer their uniqueness to the overall goals of the team.

This people group is in great need of a leader. They understand the vision just not what they can do to make it happen. Once again you can sit with them over coffee and talk about the opportunities in which they can involve themselves. Create opportunities and greatly encourage them to avail themselves to them.

Over the course of your leadership you will face many great victories as well as defeats but the common denominator is the ability to make hard choices. You are the change agent that has been strategically placed in your organization to make the hard choices. In the end you must rely on your vision and constantly point the people back to what ultimately matters. Your vision will guide you and sustain you in the good times and the bad times. Learn what you exist for and be prepared to deal with interpersonal conflict. It takes time and effort and is emotionally exhausting, but dealing with interpersonal conflict effectively is the small bricks used to build the house of your ultimate vision.

Brian Burgess is the lead pastor at Carrollton Pentecostal Holiness Church in Carrollton, GA. He is married to April Burgess and they have a beautiful dog named Reno.
Follow Brian on twitter: @brian_burgess

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Price of Pioneering

The Price of Pioneering

We are in a generation where in the last 15 years there have been more attempts of new church starts than in any other generation. There have been more innovative ideas than ever before.

There is a "pioneer" generation that has been raised up. There is a generation who believe that they can steer away from the norm of church as usual and make a difference. This generation of pastors and leaders firmly believe that they can break traditional molds and do something "new." We have great models in this generation to draw from. We have the Rick Warren's for the late 40's and 50's. We have Andy Stanley and Erwin McManus for the early 40's, and Craig Groeschel and Steven Furtick for the 20-30 age range. Great examples.

The only issue with having models is that they are the "exception" and not the rule. Sometimes we believe that if we dress like certain pastors, preach like them and adopt their philosophy, then we can see the same results. As I stated before, we have more "church plant" attempts than any other generation. The reason we have so many attempts is because I don't think we fully grasp the idea of "pioneering." The idea sounds cool and cutting edge. The reality is that it is brutal and unthankful along the journey.

I sat with a pastor last night who is a pioneer model/hero to me. He does not run thousands of people or has he ever preached at Catalyst. He does not have the latest blog or newest book. He does not have a podcast (which he should!), or a video cast. He is a true pioneer. As we ate sushi last night he shared about what God was doing in their outreach program to the inner city. He shared with passion about prison ministry. He shared about the signs and wonders he has recently seen. He also shared the wounds that he has experienced in the past year.

As he was talking, I was thinking, "Who the heck am I?" Sure, I have good ideas and have done some good things, but man- I don't really get it.

Pioneers, please take this advice from a 31 year old. Honor the generation who went before you. Don't think because you have a better idea that you have arrived. Until you walk through the battle and live to tell the story, with wounds and scars, listen and honor the pioneers.

The "white steeple, white door, red brick" churches with pastors that are gray headed and wear ties have a place of honor. My friend Billy Mitchell calls them "Legacy" churches.


1) That church that you want to be so different from was the place (generally speaking) where your grandparents gave their life to Christ and began a godly line in your generation.
2) There are faithful preachers who will never be noticed and serve for years in these churches.
3) True pioneering is not glorifying, but crucifying. You are misunderstood, overlooked, under-appreciated and outcasted from popular groups.
4) You will experience a lot of failure before you see the great successes come forth.
5) Pioneering is not spiked hair (or bald in my case), graphic tees, LED lights and the newest music. Pioneering is not a cool church name or logo.

Pioneering is the cross. Pioneering is bleeding on the streets of your city. Pioneering is being underpaid and overworked. Pioneering is helping the hurt, not building a fantasy land for happy people. Pioneering is settling new land. Pioneering is being betrayed. Pioneering is feeling like God has forgotten you at times. Pioneering is reaching the least, last and lost of your city. Pioneering is totally worth it.

Let's gain perspective on the pioneering work we are doing. You may be pioneering a new kind of blog, ministry or organization. Let's also honor the pioneers of our previous generation and the crosses that they have bore.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Guest Blogger: Vic Pass- The Little Things

"Big Doors Swing on Small Hinges"
by Vic Pass

That is a saying that has been engraved in my life. It is all about the little things.

I remember this example shown so vividly as Pastor Jake Ishmael said this to 12 first year master commission students while watching their leadership of the church wash vans on a cold Colorado day. As I look back on it now, it is always about the small things. In order for God to bless you with big things in life, you must be a steward over the little things He assigns you to first. And as an emerging leader, "bouyancy" will play a huge role in your life. Taking care of the little things matters so much. There is nothing, in the Kingdom of God that is too small to be important.

Emerging leaders take initiative and do whatever possible to get the job done. Emerging leaders also take responsibility for their actions. Stepping up and taking ownership over the small things we do brings honor to God. Taking care of the small things makes you a "go to guy" for the leaders you are serving.
Pastor Brett, Lead Pastor at Emerging Life Christian Center, taught me that there is a time to be submissive and there is a time to become a leader. Bouyant leaders rise to the occassion; even in the small things.

Vic Pass is a Student at Covenant Bible College and Seminary. Vic also serves on volunteer staff at Emerging Life Christian Center in Denver, CO. I had the privilege of being Vic's youth pastor at Celebration Outreach Center in Elberton, GA (2007-2008). He is an emerging leader who is going to make a big impact in this world. (I also picked one of his goofiest pictures to use.) Love ya Vic :)

*Follow me on twitter: The pastors I lsited above: Pastor Jake, @jakeishmael and Pastor Brett, @1973life. Become the leader that God wants you to be; flourishing through every process to fully understand your God-given destiny.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

“Crossing the Rubicon”
Billy Mitchell

The crossing of a small stream in northern Italy became one of ancient history's most pivotal events.

It was January 49 BC, Caesar was staying in the northern Italian city of Ravenna and he had a decision to make. Either he acquiesced to the Senate's command or he moved southward to confront Pompey and plunge the Roman Republic into a bloody civil war. An ancient Roman law forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Italy proper with a standing army. To do so was treason. This tiny stream would reveal Caesar's intentions and mark the point of no return.

“Coming up with his troops on the banks of the Rubicon, which was the frontier of his province, he halted for a while, and revolving in his mind the importance of the step he meditated, he turned to those about him, saying: 'Still we can retreat! But once let us pass this little bridge, - and nothing is left but to fight it out with arms!'

Even as he hesitated this incident occurred. A man of strikingly noble mien and graceful aspect appeared close at hand, and played upon a pipe. To hear him not merely some shepherds, but soldiers too came flocking from their posts, and amongst them some trumpeters. He snatched a trumpet from one of them and ran to the river with it; then sounding the "Advance!" with a piercing blast he crossed to the other side. At this Caesar cried out, 'Let us go where the omens of the Gods and the crimes of our enemies summon us! THE DIE IS NOW CAST!'” -Suetonius was a Roman historian (taken from

There is something very powerful about that story and the idea of having a defined line that tells the whole world what you are all about. Imagine… crossing this little stream was going to inspire Caesar’s army to complete the mission at all cost (and possibly create fear from the opposing army). As far as I can tell there was nothing physically demanding about crossing this stream of water, but by doing so a story was told of the army’s intent. Crossing the Rubicon meant that there was something much worse than being considered an outlaw by your country. Life and death were no longer priorities, only the mission.

From my understanding this is what baptism once was and I guess still is in some parts of the world. Again, imagine living in a country that is violently opposed to Jesus and His followers. Think about what it must be like to have your country, your friends, and your family come after your life if you begin to follow Jesus. Thousands, probably millions, of Christians have been considered outlaws for following Jesus.

This is one of the reasons why Christ followers are to be baptized. It’s our Rubicon moment. Physically it’s a small action, but it sends a powerful message to the world around us. By wading into the water and ceremonially showing that the old you is dead and a new you has been born, you show the world that everything about you has changed. Self no longer matters. Defeat is not an option. You are a Jesus person and part of His bride and every moment is to be lived for Him and not yourself.

Honestly, I’ve made baptism pretty nice and peaceful. I’ve probably made it something it was never supposed to be. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like, but I’m praying and thinking of ways to remove the civility of baptism and infuse more of a “Crossing the Rubicon” mindset. May we never forget that we were made for war. May we never stop at a threshold because the world has told us to. May we cross streams, rivers, and oceans to show the world that nothing matters to us as much as fulfilling the King’s mission.

Billy and his wife Ellie live in St. Petersburg, Fl. They have 3 children, two twin boys, one girl and another blessing on the way. Billy helped me to transition to Port Saint Lucie, FL. He allowed me to rent his house when he moved to St. Petersburg, introduced me to other pastors and pretty much paved the way for The Well :)

Billy Mitchell
Suncoast Baptist Association
Church Planting Strategist
follow Billy on twitter:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Leaders Most Dangerous Thoughts

Leaders Most Dangerous Thoughts
Proverbs tells us, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he..."
As a leader, whether it is primarily your family or ministry; or both, your thoughts are usually torn in two directions. One direction is focused on your earthly priorities. The other direction is God.
Worry, anxiety, fear and doubt do not exist when our minds are stayed on God. Worry, anxiety, fear and doubt exist when we focus on our needs, failures and possible outcomes of the future.
Tuesday morning, I awoke at 4:30am thinking on possible outcomes for our ministry decisions, and things I could have said and done different Sunday night. I felt God speak and tell me that my thoughts are not toward Him, but toward this ministry. I felt the Lord say that your passion and engergy will flow from and follow your most dominant thoughts.
I was focusing on the faithfulness of people and unfaithfulness of people more than the faithfulness of God. I was focusing on how others viewed me instead of how HE viewed me. I determined that morning that I would focus more on HIS faithfulness and goodness instead of any situation or person; whether good or bad.
Our emotions will follow our thoughts.
What thoughts dominate your mind? What emotions flow from these thoughts?
What if HE dominated your mind? What if HIS great love for you and faithfulness toward you dominated your mind? What if HIS faithfulness toward the patriarchs in Scripture filled your mind?
How different would your day look?
You do have control over what you choose to think about or think on. Don't let your passion for your ministry and your thoughts about ministry ever be greater than your love for Christ.
Don't be balanced. Set your mind on HIM. Set your thoughts on HIM. Set your emotions on HIM.
A Leader's Most Dangerous Thoughts Are Those That Take His Mind Off the Goodness and Faithfulness of God.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Guest Blogger: Ben Miller

"When Your Greatest Obstacle is God"
Ben Miller- Campus Pastor of RWOC of Asheville, NC

As a pastor and leader, I’m learning that God is not bound to my calendar and appointment book. In fact, many times He hates it because usually it’s nothing more than filled up space and personal agenda rather than living my life to be filled up by Him. But that’s another subject for another day.

In 2008, my wife and I were asked to be the campus pastors of our church, Redemption World Outreach Center’s, first satellite campus in Asheville, NC. Excitement began to grow as we anticipated a move of God hitting a region that is spiritually dry and desperate for rain. So, naturally our team began searching for a building to hold our worship services. On paper, we are a slam dunk. Several hundred people in our database already drive upwards of an hour to Greenville, SC (where RWOC is located). In our eyes, this process won’t take long to complete – we’ll find a place right away. Now, two years later, we’ve seen probably two dozen or more locations and are still without a building.

As you can imagine, I became pretty frustrated. For the better part of those two years, I didn’t weather the storm well. Here I was ready to step out in faith and be a part of something bold for God, and I couldn’t understand why He wasn’t letting that happen. So, I did what any person who believes in Jesus does in a time like this – I opened my Bible and went on a search for truth. So I want you to do that now. Stop reading and grab a Bible. Seriously, open to Acts 16 and read verses 6 through 10, spend a few minutes meditating on these words, and then come back.

Okay – so tell me, did this statement stick out to you as much as it did me? It’s in verse 6 where it says, “they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit.” Not an angry mob of God-haters, not a bad decision in developing their leaders, and not a malicious, physical attack but rather a spiritual stop sign being held by none other than God Himself. Think about the reality of this for the Apostle Paul. The One who radically transformed his life on the road to Damascus, the One who he spent three years of One-on-one training with in the desert, the One who deposited an incredible, white hot vision to reach the Gentiles with the Gospel was now the barrier in his path to fulfilling that very same vision. Did God become a schizophrenic all of a sudden? Did He develop amnesia somehow and forget that He called Paul to reach these people? If not, then what in the world is He doing here?

Take this into your situation now. Is there anywhere in your life where you feel like God has promised you something yet you see no divine activity working alongside you? Is your circumstance like Paul’s here and it seems like God is actually preventing you from accomplishing your purpose? If so, then you have most certainly encountered frustration. Unfortunately, I believe most people surrender to this frustration rather than seek to understand its purpose and work it in their favor.

In my meditation with the Lord on this matter, He’s shown me three areas that blind us from discerning the ways of God in our life. Read the Scripture associated with each point and spend time allowing God to speak to you on this:
1)We forget God works in the fullness of time. (Galatians 4:1-4; Habakkuk 2:3)
2)When things aren’t working, we begin to assume control. (Phil 1:6; Rom. 4:21; Eph. 3:20)
3)We become “destination focused” & lose sight of our original call. (Mk. 10:35-38; Acts 16:9)

I’ve heard it said that expectation is the breeding ground for the miraculous. Well, I believe that frustration is the breeding ground for fulfilling our assignments in life. Any assignment worth giving your life to will have an equal amount of conflict also assigned to it. Don’t let the experience of frustration rob you of its benefits. The movement that is being birthed through your life right now is birthed through adversity. And it is the testing of our faith that produces patience in us (James 1:3).

Listen, a row boat can go through a tsunami as long as one thing happens - the water doesn’t get inside the boat. You can weather any storm in your life, even when God frustrates your plans and timelines, as long as you don’t let the storm of misunderstanding get inside of you. Your steps are ordered and He will birth this thing that beats so passionately inside of you. But He will do it His way and in His timing. Proverbs 4:7 says, “In all your getting, get understanding.” I pray God reveals that to you as you chase after Him to finish the work He’s begun in you.

Ben Miller, Campus Pastor of Redemption of Asheville

...Ben is a long time friend and college dorm mate while I was at Emmanuel College 2004-2007.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Love and Church Planting Pt. 2- "All About You"

"Is It All About You?"
Do you ever talk to those people who you ask, "How are things going?" and they talk about their life, ministry or endeavors only to never return the question to you?

This part of love and church planting deals with 1st Corinthians 13:4-5, "Love does not vaunt itself or is puffed up, and does not behave unseemly."

How does "love" deal with starting a movement or planting a church?

The Greek here is amazing. It conveys this idea, "Love does not go around talking about itself all the time, constantly exaggerating and embellishing the facts to make it look more important in the sight of others..."

When we are starting a movement we are always ahead of some, behind most and running in the middle of the pack with many. Wanting to feel signifigant can cause us to show our "shiny armor" to others, as did Naaman, or exaggerate our experience to make ourselves look good.

I would probably retranslate this as, "Love is honest. Love shares its hurts as well as its joys. Love cares enough about others to encourage them and ask them how they are doing instead of talking about ourselves."

Don't make your movement all about you. The greatest way to grow as a leader is to ask good questions to others, care enough to listen and share in their joy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Guest Blogger: Rick Kendall

Moving in the Unmovable

Guest Blogger: Rick Kendall, Body Network

The only way to have forward “movement” is on an “unmovable” base.

This is one of the greatest principles in genuine God ordained “progress”.

Hebrews 12:28 says: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” In other words it is we who are MOVING in an unmovable Kingdom. Even what we refer to as a “move” of God is not God progressing, but Him moving us into what He’s already done. He is alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. God’s Kingdom is eternal but He encapsulates His purpose into a time frame to give reference points of progress (or literally mandates). Our mandates, assignments, and plantings are part of a much bigger eternal landscape that weaves together with other men and women of God to become a tapestry revealing the King.

That which we are “planting” today is in a much smaller and different form than it will appear when it comes out of the ground at harvest. Seeds are important, but many times new churches remain “seeds” refusing to change and transform into something much greater. The problem with that is that the purpose of the seed is to bring forth a destiny much larger than itself and in fact, that seed must die to that tiny “form” to produce. The “movement” of God going on underground is a miracle of transformation, not into becoming a bigger seed, but a fully transformed fruit.

A move of God is always underground, hidden in secret “ops” with inner growth until time for a manifestation of God when the plant shoots up through the ground. Some have referred to “movements” in church history as the great revivals produced, but those revivals were the result of the underground movement shifting the church world to new levels of progress in an unmovable Kingdom. Sadly some considered the “movement” to be an arrival and camped out in that spot and stopped “moving.” Often denominations were formed in a manifestation of God but the “move” to the next dimension was missed.

We are in a day where we have learned much and now are taking note that when a “movement” begins, it is not the “movement” that we focus upon, but the unmovable Kingdom that will keep us moving.

Dr. Rick Kendall, and his wife Liz, live in Port Saint Lucie, FL. They are the founders of The Body Network.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Love & Church Planting? Pt. 1

1st Corinthians 13 is one of those chapters that we use for weddings and other special times. As I was doing my Greek devotion this morning in 1st Corinthians 13, I saw that we could really use this for church planting or starting movements. Your movement may not be a church, or you may be alongside of a leader who is planting a church. These next posts should encourage you and help give you insight on how love is key to starting any movement, especially a church.

1st Corinthians 13:1- Love (agape) suffers long and is kind...

The Greek word here for love is agape. I think everyone learns that at some point. That is a "God type love" for a situation or person. It is sacrificial. So, as I write these next blogs, you will see this as the preface. So love means= the sacrificial love only God can produce in us. King James Version says, "Charity." Charity means to give with no hope of getting back.

Love suffers long:
makrothumia (Greek): Two words- makros: long and thumia: passion, will , desire or 'swelling emotions.'

When starting a movement we have to possess this type of love. We have to have a love that has the "patient restraint of anger" so we can weather the seasons that ministry brings us.

The picture here is a candle with a very, very long wick. The candle does not burn down quickly, but lasts a very long time.

The point is this: As you do ministry, raise a family, mentor people or pursue a career, you will have seasons where you are frustrated with your current situation and the response that you are getting from what you are putting into it. The love that God produces is a powerful love that waits patiently eventhough there are swelling emotions and even anger that arises.

"Kind" is the type of response you must give to these people or situations that are creating the frustration. That is surely where I need help!

You may be only hours or minutes from breakthrough. Don't ever let the question, "What if I would have waited longer?" haunt you forever.

Allow God to produce a patience in you where you have a long wick.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In my daily leadership devotional reading I came across some great principles from John Maxwell.

The shark tank is an important leadership principle. Sharks will only grow to the environment surrounding them. The funny thing is that our potential is a lot like the shark. We will only grow to the potential surrounding us.

The kind of environment that allows you to grow should like this:

1. Others are ahead of you.

2. You are still challenged.

3. Your focus is forward.

4. The atmosphere is affirming.

5. You are out of your comfort zone.

6. Others are growing.

7. There is a willingness to change.

8. Growth is modeled and expected.

Is your current environment producing this? Rate yourself on each level and see where you are at.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Evaluating Yourself

Leaders who start movements are reflective. They take time to reflect over the past year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, etc.

Your past is one of the best teachers you have on this earth. You do not grow by experience, but by evaluated experience.

I have been working on building a Core Team to start a church for about a year here in Port Saint Lucie, FL (2009-2010). I have taken time to do an evaluation of misconceptions, fears and my most effective abilities in the past year. This was very sobering. Most of us can easily tell others what to do without sympathy because we are not reflective of ourselves.

Through my reflective time I have been evaluating:

1. Fear #1 Insignificance in my purpose (forgotten by people and not fulfilling God ordained destiny)
2. Fear #2 Rejection by people (not good enough in speaking, leading, conflict, etc)
3. Fear #3 Hypocritical leader (not good enough, mistakes, etc)

Misconceptions or Wrong Mindsets:
1. I Can Build God's Church. The Lord adds to numbers. No man can have anything unless heaven release it to him.

2. I am Here to Please Men. It does not matter if I am approved by people. I am only here to please God.

3. Stability and Predicability Can Be Achieved Permanently. In church planting and bi-vocational ministry there are seasons of this, but I always have to adjust to the ebb and flow of a season.

4. I Know What I Need and Tell God. I have to know that God knows what I need and who I need. It is just as sovereign when He keeps people from me as when He brings them to me.

5. If I Do it Right- They Will Respond Correctly. People are people are people are people..... People will be people. They are dynamic, not static. You will handle certain situations correctly and it will still turn out negative in earthly terms.

These are my yearly evaluations. I am still reflecting on these.
Take time to evaluate your deepest fears. If you do not, you will be driven by inward fear instead of faith. Evaluate wrong mindsets that brought frustration.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Accelators to Starting a Movement

My wife and I love to go camping. It seems that each time we have a problem getting the fire started. So.... we have created a remedy- lighter fluid. We can get big pieces of wood that seem impossible to get started and get them going quickly!

The only problem is that the lighter fluid accelerates the fire and the wood burns up in half the time it was supposed to burn.

Watch out for "accelerators" in starting movements. The very fact that you are reading this blog means that you have a passion for or are starting a movement right now. This means you are a visionary. You live in the future but tolerate the present.

Because you are only tolerating the present state you are suspect to push to hard toward the vision and abandon the process of the present.

The present needs the process so it can become the future in a healthy manner. You will have people and ideas that come your way that are "accelerators." They are going to get your engine revving!!! You will be moving forward with momentum, the whole time not realizing that they are lighter fluid. Either the person or idea can be this.

Accelerators are people or new ideas that:

1) Make you seem like you have just stepped light years ahead of where you were at just yesterday.

2) They give you a sense false momentum and hope.

3) They can get things started real quickly, but may not have the abiliy to follow through on commitments.

4) They cause you to burn up precious wood that could have been much more valuable.

Are you watching for accelerators?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ancient Methods to Starting a Movement

We have been studying Nehemiah at The Well for the past month or so. I know it is a book that every church has done a study on.

I found some very interesting points on starting movements from this awesome book. I believe we can all learn from Nehemiah and what he faced.

Chapter 1: Sensitivity to Your Context
Nehemiah was sensitive to his context. After he heard about the desolation of Jerusalem, he wept, fasted and prayed for 3-4 months.
As leaders, we have no right to talk about reaching a city until we are able to cry over a city. Nehemiah had the heart of Christ. He was visibly moved over the broken down walls of Jerusalem. Are you sensitive to your context? Does your city's "broken down walls" move you to fasting, weeping and praying?

Chapter 2: The Power of Prayer + Planning + Preparation
Nehemiah approaches King Artaxerxes with a sad face. The Bible states that he had never been sad before in the king's presence. He asked the king to change all foreign policies toward Jerusalem (the very nation that the Persians hated) and the king granted it. Nehemiah then surveyed the land, built a team and spent large amounts of time in prayer.
Most leaders put very little time into prayer, planning and personal preparation. Favor does not come to those who are not ready for it.
Every minute spent in planning, prayer and preparation will save you 5 minutes in execution.
How are you preparing, planning and praying? Are those your personal priorities?

Chapter 3: Building Together
Nehemiah was one of many who was building the wall. We must be the ones who dictate and keep synergy flowing in our ministries. There were many tribes, but one nation. They shared the work together.
Does your ministry share the work or do you find yourself doing it all? Help people find the small part they CAN do.

Chapter 4: Opposition to the Work
Nehemiah faced opposition from all sides. He faced it from those in Judah with him, those Jews on the fringes and from the Samaritans around him.
Let's face it. Opposition has one purpose- to stop the work. People will oppose you while you are trying to do a great work for God. There will be some that are in your camp opposing you. There will be some who are a part of other churches who oppose you and remember that you are in spiritual warfare the whole time.

They rebuilt the wall in record time- 52 days. Go over these 4 principles and see how you measure up to the "Nehemiah" test.

We are building ministries so people can worship the God of the Bible. This is a serious work. Let us learn from an ancient hero, Nehemiah on how to rebuild the walls and see the God of the Bible worshipped in our cities.

Friday, July 30, 2010

What Every Church Planter Needs from a Core Team

"What Every Church Planter/Pastor Needs from a Core Team"
Last night I formulated a leadership teaching for my core team called, "What Every Church Planter Needs from their Core Team."

This is an outline of the expectations of Core Team leaders for The Well:
Live Missionally: See your surrounding community as your mission field. Invest into people and invite them. Build relationships with neighbors and co-workers.

Respond to Conflict Maturely: Use the Matthew 18 model- Go to the person. Our motto is, "Be Hard to Offend and Easily Forgive." Most church folks are easily offended and find it hard to forgive others.

Be Involved Fully: If you are going to be a part- be a part of this. Another saying we have is, "Be present where you are."

Give Faithfully: This ministry can only do what you allow it do through your personal giving. As Paul, "Give in keeping with your income."

Pray for Dianna and I + The Well Earnestly: If you pray for your pastors, you will support your pastors. If you pray for your church, you will have more invested in your church. Spiritual warfare is a reality in ministry. The leaders are attacked first and need to be lifted up everyday.

Grow Spiritually: The greatest asset to a pastor is someone who seeks God and grows daily. Spiritual apathy cannot be a part of the leader's life. If a church is growing spiritually and someone does not keep growing spiritually, their general disinterest in spiritual things will drive them away. So- Read the Word of God Daily, Worship in His Presence and Set Up the Spiritual Disciplines in your life.

Praise People Generously: I want The Well to be a place where people verbally praise each other for every small thing that is done. I want it to be contagious.

Hand Out Criticism Cautiously: Make sure you are as critical on others as you want it dumped out more on you. Destructive critcism comes from pride, it comes from the idea that you are superior in an area of life or ministry. For every 10 praises, you get 1 rebuke.

Live Accountably: The N.T is about accountability. If you read Paul's letters to the churches you will find one common theme: accountability. Let us help you. Let us love you. Let us go after you or warn you if we as a ministry believe you may be going down a destructive path.

Leave Correctly: 3 out of every 4 new people will leave your church within 3 months to a year. People don't have to leave mad. You don't have to start finding things wrong or sharing your hurt feelings with others. How you leave this ministry will determine how you enter your next ministry.

We are going to continue to go over and over this for the next couple of months. This teaching will be part of our new members class as well.

I hope this helps you and your ministry on your journey.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Performance Enhancing Drugs

Something was sparked in me this morning as I was listening to Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio. They were disussing how the use of Human Growth Hormones and Performance Enhancing Drugs have tainted the records of those who used them. Baseball has been greatly affected by these drugs.

When Dick Vitale came on as a guest, you could hear the passion with which he shared about this situation. Fans and the other athletes discredit the records because they were reached illegally.

Why would an MVP in baseball risk taking these drugs when he became an MVP without them?

Why would a professional athlete risk destroying his body and reputation by using these drugs?

As I pondered this I realized that the main reason is to uphold their reputation. Actually, it may not be to uphold their reputation, but the reputation that they have built of themselves in their minds. Because of this self-bred pressure, they begin to try to find shortcuts to keep up with the legend they have created in their minds.

How does this tie into starting movements or leadership? Don't take P.E.D's? NO.

So many times we try to project what we are really not. We try to "enhance" our images by overexaggerating the numbers or stretching the truth about our accomplishments. Each time we bend a little to protect our reputation and save face, we are no different from the Major League Players who have subjected themselves to illegal drugs.

We will do more harm on our "spiritual hearts" and it will catch up with us. When we look for shortcuts to success and strive to accomplish things to impress others we end up doing harm to the "character" of our lives.

John Maxwell said, "It is not what you accomplish in life but rather, WHO you become by it."

It is not wrong to desire a great destination, it is just wrong to try to cheat to get there.

There have been many pastors, leaders of large companies, college professors, fathers and mothers who had been lying to protect their reputations and when they were found out... hurt so many people. People felt cheated and were damaged in the process.

What is your "Human Growth Hormone" that you are taking (or lie you are believing and living by) that is causing damage to your character, but you feel you need it to live up to self-imposed standards?

Be the best you that you can be and the people around you will celebrate that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Some May Not Have "It"

Some Have It and Some Don't
I was in a small group recently and we came to this discovery, "Sometimes we project what we want others to be or what we think we can help them become, but 'it' is just not in them."

Jesus put it this way, "Don't cast your pearls before swine or give what is holy to the dogs." The term, "what is holy" literally means the personal revelation in your life. It takes prayer and persistence + heartaches to have these "pearl" moments in our lives. "Dogs" in that day and time represented untamed, wild animals with no restraint.

In other words, "Don't give the personal revelation you have sweated for and fought for to people who have no restraint in their lives."

I have had the opportunity to mentor many people. Many of these have grown into great leaders. However, some of these people faltered and hurt me. The first time it happened I was shocked, now I know the principle: "It may not be in them."

Mentoring is the process by which potential in someone is realized to a certain extent. This comes by way of relationship where one person takes on the role of a mentor and helps "stretch" the mentee to be able to think on higher levels and handle more.

I have realized that some people may not have it. How do we find this out? How do we know?

We must not judge someone on appearance or gifting. We can judge them based on these factors:

1) Are they doing things now to grow themselves? Don't listen to what they want to do, ask them what they are current doing.

2) Do they pursue an appointment to meet with you or do you have to run them down? Also, see how punctual they are.

3) In emotional times, do they seek you out for advice or do they hide? This is important to look at during failure, criticism or relational situations. Do they tell you the truth or what they want you to hear?

Finally.... Time. Take time to know people and you will not know people unless it happens through the process of time. Time is the most important factor to know what is inside someone.

Don't let the hurt of a past relationship damage your ability to mentor. Realize from the start- "Some may not have it."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Purpose of Opposition- ReThink

I recently tweeted, "Okay God... I got it now."

I was speaking of the purpose of opposition. We often think of opposition as.... just that, opposition. I have been looking at opposition differently though. Could opposition to your ideas and methods be God trying to steer you in a different direction in a situation?

Let me explain. Inventions and innovation came because there was an obstacle or opposition. When you have a problem, let's call that opposition, you have to find a solution- right? Without a problem there would never be a solution.

So here it is, "Opposition produces innovation that reveals your unique purpose."
If you had it your way, you live a normal life and approach things in a normal manner. The opposition you are facing is causing you to critically think about ideas and options you would not have thought of before.

Our ministry meets on Sunday nights at 6:00pm. Now for religious folks, you have to do church on Sunday morning. We are attempting to plant a church called, "The Well" in Port Saint Lucie, FL. We have prayed and sought God but we have not seen the financial blessing that we thought we needed to see in order to launch. So, the opposition (problem) has caused us focus on our mission and find creative ways to complete that mission. We are thinking much more creatively than we would have if we would not have had this opposition.

What opposition are you facing? Where is it pushing you? What models or methods is the opposition causing you to re-think?

Opposition could be your best friend. Carry opposition out to dinner. Remember, all weight lifting is- using opposition to strengthen your body. Use opposition.....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Learning from the Down-Up

Learning from the Down-Up
I had a great conversation with a young man I have been mentoring recently. We were discussing ministry and dealing with situations. I stopped and asked him, "What would you do?"

He gave some great advice. It was what I needed to hear.

In 2002, my mentor, Pastor Brett Cooper ( asked me how I would deal with a situation in the youth ministry. I was attending and being mentored by Dr. Cooper. I gave my advice and he actually used what I shared.

Leaders who start movements have to operate in a place of humility to listen and learn from all those around them. They don't have to have all the right answers to be the leader. They just have to be able to discern the best ideas from all those around them.

As a leader today ask yourself, "What keeps me from seeing the whole picture?" Ask yourself this, "What will I regret the most about this decision three years from now?"

Learn to pull from sources all around you. Ask good questions and be willingly to change course when see a better perspective.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Narcissistic Leaders

I had a great conversation with a staff member today about narcissistic leaders. I looked deeper into this and found that there is acutally a disorder.

Read this:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a condition that is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, need for admiration, extreme self-involvement, and lack of empathy for others. Individuals with this disorder are usually extremely self assured and arrogant. They expect to be noticed as superior. Many successful individuals may be seen as narcissistic, but this disorder actually disables an individual to function in a healthy manner in society.

Vulnerability and low self esteem make these people especially crippled by criticism. Even though they are outwardly confident, they are haunted by criticism. They react to such criticism in rage, or a defiant counterattack. Their social life is impaired because of entitlement, the need for admiration, and the relative disregard for the sensitivities of others.
It is called NPD.

As I read this and looked at my own life. I asked God to help me see every part of me that operates this way. There are so many Christians who have NPD. The sad thing is that too many leaders have NPD. They are so in love with themselves that they cannot lead others.

Here is your litmus test for NPD
1. Do you find yourself unintentionally reverting conversations back to yourself?
2. Do you become disinterested in conversations or discussions if you are not the center?
3. Do you find your self always listing off your accolades when around other colleagues?
4. Is it hard for you to give praise to others or hear them praised without you being mentioned?
5. Do you get deeply hurt by criticism and retaliate?
6. How self-centered would you rate yourself?

A leader who needs admiration and a status of importance will never find enough.

Leaders who start movements are others focused and God-centered. They know that criticism will come and graciously accept that criticism. They don't find themselves saying, "What about me?"

Our greatest example of this is Jesus Christ. His life was for others. He never did anything just for the love of himself to preserve himself or make himself look good, but he did everything for the betterment of others. He started the greatest movement ever.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Grow to Your Potential

In my leadership devotional this morning, I came across a great breakdown of how to increase your potential as a leader. This is from John Maxwell's "Leadership for Graduates."

It has been said that our potential is God's gift to us, and what we do with it is our gift to Him. But our potential is our greatest untapped resource. Why? We can do anything, but we can't do everything. Many people never really dedicate themselves to their purpose in life. They become a jack of all trades and a master of none- rather than a jack of few trades, focused on one.

Here are four principles to put you on the road to growing toward your potential:

1. Concentrate one One Main Goal: Nobody ever reached their potential by scattering themselves in twenty directions. Reaching your potential requiers focus.

2. Concentrate on Continual Improvement: Commitment to continual improvement is the key to reaching our potential. Each day you can become a little bit better than you were yesterday.

3. Forget the Past: Maybe you have made a lot of mistakes in your life, or you have had an especially difficult past. Work your way through it and move on.

4. Focus on the Future: You can become better tomorrow than you are today. As the Spanish proverb says, "He who does not look ahead remains behind."

Ask yourself today, "Am I growing to my potential?"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Don't Just Start a Movement, Maintain a Movement

Stretch Your Capacity to Grow
I have heard it said by many leaders at many different times, "It is far easier to obtain than it is to maintain."

I was in a mentoring class last night and the topic was the "Capacity of Leadership is Wisdom."

God begin to speak to me about capacity. We love to preach about new levels and prophesy new levels. We talk in excitement of new places. The truth of the matter is that God will not allow you to move into a season you cannot inhabit.

Capacity comes only through stretching. That is the truth. If your life is comfortable and things are easy for you, then your capacity has been tapped out and you can prophesy until you are blue in the face, but until you stretch yourself you will never go into a new level.

Stretching hurts. It is like working out. I play basketball on Monday nights for about 2 hours and the next couple of days... I hurt. This pain is not a negative pain, but as one mentor said, "It hurts good."

When I was attending Emmanuel College in 2004, I decided to take N.T Greek. Our professor, Dr. Luper, was a tank driver in the Army. He drove us too! I went to him 3 months into it and said, "Doc, I have to quit. My blood pressure is up. I can't hang out with friends. I work 2 jobs and do youth ministry also." He told me to seek God on this. God told me two days later, "An ucommon anointing requires an uncommon preparation. If you want to remain common, prepare commonly. It won't hurt you a bit to do it commonly." I finished Greek 3 semesters later.

Learning the Greek was not the impact. You can read N.T Greek from a concordance. It was the stretching of concepts and learning at that level that enabled me to stretch to new levels. I would do things in my first few years of ministry, to just stretch myself. I hate preaching from manuscripts. It is boring having to compile a complete manuscript, but I wanted to get better so I took myself out of my comfort zone.

Playing golf is the same way. If you swing the way it is comfortable, you will be very unsuccessful. To learn to swing properly in golf is learning to put your hands in weird positions and it is a very uncomfortable swinging motion.

Expand yourself by:
1) Expose yourself to other models of ministry/organizational leadership. Go to the ones you despise and learn from them.
2) Do something you hate to do everyday. That is discipline.
3) Read, learn, make it HURT GOOD :)

So, are you ready for more capacity?