Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn

"There is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and how we think about and handle money."

Luke 19:8-9 Zacchaeus gave his possessions to the poor and paid back what he owed... Jesus said salvation came to him.

Mark 12:44 Poor widow gives two small coins and is praised by Jesus.

Luke 12:20 (Right before the widow story) A rich man spent all his wealth on himself and Jesus called him a 'fool'.

Consider the the costs-to-benefits ratio. (Pg 11)

Matthew 6:19-21 Where your treasure is...

"Live according to how you give. Don't give according to how you live."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Chapter 2 notes

Pg 37 “If the what is unclear, the how is not even on the radar.”

“What is our process for discipleship?” How would random people in our church answer this question?

Pg 38 Make the purpose the process.

Pg 41 “1st Church Programming: 1. Sunday morning worship service 2. Sunday night service 3. Sunday School 4. Discipleship Classes 5. Small Groups 6. Tuesday morning men and 7. women’s meetings 8. Thursday night visitation

FBC's Programming:
1. Traditional Service
2. Contemporary Service
3. Sunday School
4. Kidstuf
5. Small Groups
6. Bible Studies
7. Choir
8. Christmas Musical

Pg 42 “What is the program that you expect the majority of your guests to attend?” “What program do you teach your people to invite their friends and neighbors to?”
“What program do you attempt to move new members or guests to?”

Pg 46 “Simple churches don’t spend extended time on scheduling (calendars) but evaluates how the weekend worship services are working as part of the discipleship proces.”

Pg 47 Numbers at a Simple Church are evaluated based on horizontal movement through a process. A non-simple church looks at overall attendance.

Pg 49 “Simple Churches respond to needs in the congregation through existing programs. They deal with marriage issues in their small groups without hosting a weekend seminar.”

Pg 51 “Staffing the ‘best’ may result in multiple ministry philosophies on staff. Simple church hires those on board with discipleship process. Be more concerned with a united staff than an ‘all-star’ one.”

Pg 55 “Simple Church announcements are about movement to the next step.”

Simple Church Chapter 1

The following notes are from "Simple Church" by Thom S. Rainer & Eric Geiger. I in no way take credit for any of it, but do take full responsibility to 'lead up' in order to implement the strategy at my church.

Pastor Rush's work week:
Wed pm: 1. Lead prayer meeting, 2. return calls, 3. finance team meeting
(This is the day he returns from a conference too!)
Thurs: 1. Breakfast with one of the men on the church board, 2. Staff meeting 3. hospital visits 4. Small group 5.
Fri: 1. Disapoint a board member by passing on high-school game to date wife instead (and probably feel guilty during the date!)
Sat: Prepare message for Sunday (yes the day before... no small feat physically, emotionally, and creatively!)
Sun: 1. Preach in the morning 2. Preach a different message in the evening (with guilt due to lack of quality in evening messages)!

He has no time to meet neighbors due to constant late nights coming home. Prepares for staff meeting too quickly! Decides he doesn't have time or emotional energy to deal with staff issues so he will not deal with them.

He begins to ask himself questions: "Are the people in his church being transformed? Is his church making real disciples, the kind of disciples Jesus made? Or is everyone just busy?"

"People are hungry for simple because the world has become much more complex."

Over 400 churches surveyed.

Matt 11:28-30 Jesus' yoke is easy... living as a disciple is not complex. Does our church reflect that? "Jesus is adamantly opposed to anything that gets in the way of people encountering Him."

"Many people are busy doing church instead of being the church."

Pg 21 "Ministry schizophrenia." "It occurs most often when churhces attempt to blend multiple churhc models into one."

"Parts are evaluated but never the whole." pg 22

"Simple church leaders are designers." "They are concerned with what happens between the programs as with the programs themselves." pg 25

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Shanna and I decorated our condo today. My fifth time to do so here in the 'southland' where the palm trees are covered in foil and red ribbon (This Canadian will never get used to that!). There is something special about this time of year as I set up Christmas lights to match the 'pritteee liiights' (as Carissa says) across the street. Our real Christmas tree is decorated nicely and fills our condo with a natural pine smell. Carissa is in her first Christmas musical with her 2 year old classmates next Thursday. She has been practicing seeing "Mary had a baby boy" to the tune of "Mary had a little lamb". It's priceless and a slap in the head with regards to how fast she is growing up.
God is good! The local high-school is selling Holiday (Holy Day) trees and Wal-Mart says "Merry Christmas". I even saw "Merry Christmas" at the Post Office... a government run organization! We are off to see Santa Claus lane in Oxnard and tomorrow kicks off 2 of 4 "Christmas Shoes" musicals I play a part in... it's Christmas indeed.

Friday, December 1, 2006

"Everybody here has the ability to do anything I do and much beyond. Some of you will and some of you won't. For those who won't, it will be because you get in your own way, not because the world doesn't allow you."
- Warren Buffett speaking the University of Washington

Why is it that management and leadership and strategy books keep being published when merely adhering to most of them for an adequate amount of time would yield sustained positive results? Why is it that management and leadership theorists and experts keep reinventing the wheel instead of imploring us to just keep our nose to the grindstone until results happen? Why is it that positive thinking (and planning) is no match for negative behavior?
-Mark Goulston

Great question and even greater point especially looking at the church. I've yet to be at a church that follows a simple process with sustained pressure. There are many examples of these churches offering successful processes to follow (Saddleback, Northpoint, Willow), yet so many churches decide to only bite off a piece. Then they bite off a piece of another successful church's process, and on it goes... When churches push back on the total embracing of a process I hear, "We don't want to duplicate Saddleback we just want to be... (fill in your church name here)." I consider that answer to be completely disengaged from the issue at hand. NO CHURCH WILL BECOME SADDLEBACK. The complete and focused adoption of a system will not result in exact duplication. What makes a local church is the fact that it's a local church... it's the people. Unless you decide to clone Rick Warren and all his members, no church has to worry about becoming a Saddleback.
Peeling back this thought: Why would a church be more concerned about originality than effectiveness? When Church leaders get to heaven will God give more props to churches willing to be original or effective?

One of the biggest take aways from my time spent at Seminary is one sentence. It's still ringing in my ears four years later... and it doesn't come from any Bible class. It came from a text in an Interpersonal Relationship class:
"85% of an organizations' problems are the result of structure."

85% is a lot.
Structure (systems) seems simplistic, cold, not focused on people... but think deeply about this.
"Systems create behavior. God is a God of systems." Andy Stanley

See Solar System (above), 9 human body systems etc...

Systems don't change a local church into a clone. But effectiveness will result. My guess is that the 80% of churches in America that are plateaued or declining are due to bad systems... bad leadership...

Simple solution with hard work and focus (see below for focus) could change a countries spiritual landscape. Inspiring.

I also hear many churches saying... "we don't want to become 'corporate' like in the business world." I say, "Why not?" Today the business world has taken something Godly (systems) and is using it better than the church. Their end may be ungodly but they use Godly means to get there... so I say "Bring on corporate!" to the church.