Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Keith Urban "gets" Christmas

Christmas is really all about giving. And more specifically giving to others who can’t give back to you. Keith Urban get this. Last Saturday whilst buying a guitar for himself in a Brisbane store Keith noticed a teenage boy testing out a Fuzz Pedal. According to the Brisbane Times the music store owner Tim Brennan said to the ABC:

“Keith came back down the counter and was chatting away and had picked out a guitar he liked. He had heard the kid trying out the pedal for some time and he just leaned over and whispered, ‘How much is the pedal that kid’s looking at?’ “I said, ‘It’s $450, it’s not a cheap one’, and he just whispered, ‘Put it on my card.’

“Obviously I was quite shocked.

“I said, ‘Do you want me to tell him?’, and he said, ‘No, wait ’til I leave.’”

Mr Brennan said as the Caboolture country rock singer made his way out the door, he simply shook the teen’s hand, said Merry Christmas and left.

That my friends is what Christmas is all about. Christmas is when we remembering the amazing gift God gave us when he sent His one and only Son to be born in a cattle shed in Israel 2000 odd years ago. I appreciate the way Keith Urban "gets" it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Goodbye to the Team from Georgia

This morning Engage Church says a very sad goodbye to the Mission Team from Georgia, USA.
As I look back over the last week I am reminded of the incredible fact that the good news of Jesus changes people’s lives. As we have shared and served the community of Brisbane people have been deeply impacted forever. Not only people who might have heard the good news for the first time, but the people of Engage City Church. We have been so encouraged and strengthened by the Crosspointe Team.
Thank you Pastor David. The people of Engage Church and Brisbane have been impacted deeply and eternally because of the love of your team. We will miss having y’all around y’hear, but knowing that a powerful partnership has been reinforced in the good news of Jesus. I look forward to joining with you and CrossPointe in seeing people from many nations come to know God’s love and forgiveness in the days and years ahead.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bono on Jesus

"I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep sh**. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins on the cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to defend my own religiosity." -Bono

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Engaging and Serving Brisbane

On Sunday afternoon seventeen Georgians (USA) arrived to serve the people of Brisbane. Over the last two days it has been fantastic to see the heart and character of these men and women as they have fought through jet lag and embracing a different culture. I feel privileged to be able to serve alongside them as we seek to share the love and truth of Jesus with the people of Brisbane.

As we talked with people of Woolloongabba this morning it was amazing to hear the repeated concerns of adults about the needs of the youth and the homeless. It was encouraging to connect with so many "Brisbanites" today and I look forward to continuing to serve with my Georgian friends tomorrow and for the rest of the week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Collision 7

This is the email I sent out to the Engage Team after our amazing night...

Hey there Team,
Again, another great night together. It was great to have Chris and Sam along for the first time, I'm actually struck by how many godly, Jesus hearted MEN that God is connecting together at Engage City Church. The seeming lack of men passionate about stepping up and leading the church has been something heavy on my heart for years and I reckon it is flamin exciting to see so many real, honest, Aussie Blokes who are laser focused on honoring and following their Leader Jesus. Another highlight was the time of praying together, great stuff. We don't just pray for the work, prayer is where 'the work' happens.

Lee, thank you for sharing your heart with honesty and such clarity. I know the group was impacted, strengthened, encouraged and challenged to see people far from God engaged with Jesus by it. You are an amazing woman of God and it is tremendous to hear of God's hand of grace in your life and your families lives.

A couple of things:
Next week as we discussed last night we will be meeting not at .... but at the Music Cafe at West End from 5.30pm. If you can't make it along it would be great if you could let me know just so we're not worried about those who don't turn up... you never know what might happen in West End, people have ended up in Karaoke Bars :) I am working on a plan for baby sitting at our house for those who may want to come but have kids, again please let me know.
Thanks to those who have handed in their blue card forms, I appreciate it heaps.
Look out for an email in the next few days with a list of things people can volunteer to help with.
A couple of people asked for the details for giving to the church plant last night, here are the details, I thank you for those who already have committed to giving so generously and regularly to Engage. Giving details: ....

Finally Mike needs some help to fill up some rented skips at his place. The plan is for a bunch of us travel over this Saturday morning and help out from 10-12. Mike is shouting lunch and 'refreshments' for everyone. It will be a great time to be Aussie blokes and get down and dirty with some yard work. If you can give the bloke a hand this Saturday, please email him at - ... or phone ... so he knows how many to cater for. Thanks.

Again, keep praying and asking God to fill us with Spirit and grant us boldness to speak and live out His word in this city. Love you all and am blown away that I get to serve with you all in this work of Jesus.

Will Henderson

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Going and Inviting

Let us never divide the 'church' over those who are attractional and those who are missional. It has always been both and. As followers of Jesus we need to be always, always constantly living out our faith and hope in Jesus wherever we find ourselves. That is the real missionary heart of Jesus that pulses within us. At the same time it has always been the heart of Jesus for His followers to seek to 'invite' others to engage with Him and the life He offers. Jesus repeatedly invited people who were far from to “come, follow Me.”

Friday, October 9, 2009

Collision 6 Review

Well on Wednesday Night we had our 6th Launch Team Meeting. We call them “Collision” meetings where the aim is to provide an environment where community and vision can “collide.”

It is great to see the Engage Team continue to grow. The vision is clear and the mission is simple. We exist to see people who are far from God engage with Jesus and the life He offers.

A few people have asked us what do we do at our “Collision” meetings. Good question. We begin the time just hanging out and having dinner together. Nerida has done an amazing job with this and everyone loves the Barbies, Southern Chicken, Mexican nights etc that she has created and delivered. We then usually have some sort of “Icebreaker” where we share our names etc. Austin then leads us in a time of prayer and praise. We always have someone share their story of how they met Jesus and started to follow Him. We always open up our Bibles and read God’s word together. At the moment we are working on Luke – Acts and seeing how Jesus began and continues His mission through His followers. Vision time, praise time, prayer time, sharing time.

A simple night, but it seems that Jesus is really at work in and through it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Collision 4 Review

Wednesday night is a night that I will look back on for me as one of those real turning points in the journey that is founding Engage City Church. With a few key leaders away out of town for holidays and mission trip I was tempted to wonder if anyone would turn up after the amazing night we had last week. Well, despite all my stressing, again it was a fantastic night with more new familes and couples turning up with a heart to partner with a new church intent on engaging in the old mission of Jesus.

My very good friend John shared his powerful testimony of God's unyeilding grace in his life. It was so good as it connected so clearly into our discussion of Tim Kellers book “The Prodigal God.” Austin as always lead so well with our time of prayer and singing. I shared my commitment to stick with Jesus and His declaration that when we proclaim Him as Lord and Saviour He “will build His church.” (Matthew 16 verse 18)

We had some amazing food. Lorri blew us all away with her gluten free lemon tart! Hey, I need to say it again this is a Church that I can honestly invite my friends to. Thanks Jesus for your work in and through us, it is a privilege to be invited to serve the people of Brisbane with you. Also a huge thanks for everyone who is praying for this new church, God is definitely at work!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Launch Team Meeting - 2 Recap

Another amazing night last night with our Engage City Team.

It was great to see everyone back! Nerida's burgers and Southern Egg Pie were a knockout again! There were plenty of laughs going around as Nerida, Mike and others shared their most embarrassing experiences with the gang. That's what happens when sanguines are unleashed in a group!

After dinner we grabbed dessert while Tim and Nerida shared their story and Austin shared a song. In our time with God's Word in Acts 17 we revisited our purpose; that we exist "to see people far from God engage with Jesus and His life." It is so good to encourage one another In Jesus and His gospel and share Him with others. I talked about the unchanging nature of God, revealed in Jesus and His heart for those who are far from Him (Phil 2 & Luke 4).

The bottom line we landed on was this :
God created and sustains the universe. His attitude was and is one of grace and love expressed in humble service to His creation. Though we were at war with Him, hating Him, He nevertheless loved us. A love expressed in action. He set aside His heavenly glory and willingly humbled Himself. He chose to come to us and enter our 'culture' being born in the form of a man, Jesus Christ. Jesus loved us by living the God honoring life we could never live and dying the death we should have died. He was punished for our rebellion and wrong doing. Jesus served us so we could turn to God and be forgiven and enter into a new and right relationship with Him now and forever. This was all confirmed when Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. Now that is good news!

Jesus gifts His followers with His Spirt and eternal presence. It should be no surprise that as we follow Him our hearts are now inclined towards grace, mercy and love expressed in action to a lost and broken humanity. It is only natural for this is the heart beat of Jesus our God that now lives within us. This we pray is always the heartbeat of this new church.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Launch Team Meeting - 2

Woke up at 4am this morning to pray for our second launch team meeting!!
I'm so freakin excited I get to be a part of what Jesus is unleashing in Brisbane and indeed Australia.

Here are a few thoughts that are in my mind and heart:
* Engage City Church is a 'new' church specifically started to reach 'new' people. We follow Jesus.

* The vision is the same. It never changes. Jesus has set the vision. Engage City Church exists to see people far from God engage with Jesus and His life. We do this by following Jesus and lovingly sharing the truth about him in word and deed as we serve our city. Jesus and His gospel are unchanging and we unashamedly commit to sharing and living it in Him.

* The cultural strategy for doing this must however be constantly reviewed and retweaked. It's been said a million times before but why persevere with a 'strategy' that is obviously not connecting or bearing fruit with the culture Jesus has placed you in? Jesus Himself tells us only a fool would try and store new wine in an old wineskin! Missional strategy always flows from Jesus and His mission to see the broken and lost healed and rescued. Jesus demands that His followers engage with the 'world' and people who are not like us (Philippians 2:1-18). Therefore the way we communicate the truth about him and serve others must change in different cultural settings.

Church Planter Interview - Pastor Mikey Lynch

I recently got the chance to ask Pastor Mikey Lynch a few questions about his experience as a planter in Australia. Check out his Blog here.

1. What compels you to live in Tasmania :)?

I was born here and my family moved back here when I was in late high school. I would kind of like to live in Melbourne... or New York... one day, but for now it seems right to be here. For quite a while Nikki and I were thinking about working as missios in France, but as the church planting ministry developed here, it seemed this is where we should be.

2. What is the top three pieces of advice you would share with an Aussie Planter?

i. Take a lot of time to get to know your context. Don't be presumptuous.
ii. Be patient and look to God for approval. It'll possibly take 3 years to get anywhere.
iii. We don't just pray for the work; prayer is the work.

3. What is the top three pieces of advice you would share with young bible teachers?

i. Spend time in the text. The best illustrations and application will come from there.
ii. Learn the art of public speaking: practise gestures, tounge twisters, pitch and pace; imitate lots of other preachers; get interested in language.
iii. Become a people watcher: get fascinated with what makes them tick.

4. What five books would you recommend that you have read over the last few years.

i. Resurrection and Moral Order by Oliver O'Donnovan - we gotta have good ethical thinking to reach Australians I reckon.
ii. Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer - lots of good stuff here, as well as some weird American bits.
iii. Promoting the Gospel by John Dickson - a compelling, Australian vision for biblical, holistic, church evangelism.
iv. Manhood by Steve Biddulph - not a Christian book, but plenty of goodies there for thinking about Australian masculinity to help you understand yourself.
v. The Holy Trinity by Robert Letham - a broad, deep, gentle textbook on trinitarian theology.

5. What do you see as the greatest challenges facing Australian Reformed Evangelical Church Planters?

i. Evangelism is slow and hard but central to our task. We must not devolve into chasing after Christians, or only reaching the de-churched.
ii. We must not only have biblical doctrine, but thoroughly biblical models of ministry.
iii. There is great theological and moral value in maintaining those frustrating relationships with Christians outside our circles. That's why denominations can be so good for us.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fathers Day Australia, 2009

This morning I actually celebrated my second Fathers Day for 2009!
It is a privilege to be Dad, and every year I have watching my boys grow up I guess I get a little more of a glimpse of the Father Heart of God. I'm still staggered by the fact that I get to live this amazing life with such a beautiful wife and three amazing boys.
I love the fact that it all started with hand made cards, a new pair of super cool shorts and a big kiss from my gorgeous wife. Then after church we hung out in a park by the City and the boys rode their bikes down a steep hill! Those boys have a daredevil streak that has skipped a generation. Then we got to finish up the afternoon playing "Starwars - Revenge of the Sith!" It was great to hang with my family today. I love you all so much.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Launch Team Meeting

Last night we had our very first launch team meeting and it was amazing!
It was great to see all these people gathered together in our house, getting along!
We laughed, ate BBQ, shared the vision and prayed that Jesus will build His church in and through us.
Thanks so much to everyone who has been so faithful in praying for this new church in Brisbane.

Our Approach:
Jesus is first and central. As we follow Him and walk in His Spirit we naturally are lead into His mission. As we love and serve people new churches are formed as Jesus gives new life.

Jesus leads us on mission, and the natural result is culturally appropriate new Jesus communities.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mars Hill iPhone App shout out.

Here is what you’ll be able to do with the iPhone app:
Listen to any Mars Hill sermon available on marshillchurch.org
Watch any Mars Hill sermon video
Stream any Mars Hill music
Email sermon links to your friends
Give to the mission of Mars Hill
Stay informed and up to date through the blog
Get campus locations and listings

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Phil Campbell

Today I had the privilege of sitting and learning from Phil Campbell Aussie Planter and Minister at Mitchelton Presbyterian Church.

Here are his top three pieces of advice :
1. Work really, really hard at clear bible teaching. This is the foundation. As a planter you will be tempted to take shortcuts in this area, my advice is to do the opposite. Spend up to three days a week focusing on your teaching and do it really well.
2. Do everything else as well as you can. Doing this affirms your commitment to number one.
3. Love people, but be firm and appologise freely.

Thanks Phil.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Austin Sisk has touched down

It's great to have our mate Austin Sisk with us!
Austin is a singer/musician who hails from Athens Georgia, U.S.A. and he is over to checkout our beautiful city and to help us as we start to plant a new church in city. He certainly brought the HOT weather with him as today was a top of 85F / 29C - now that is Summer temperature not winter. Gotta love living in Queensland, Australia.
BTW let's not mention the Cricket...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A video for Mountain Lake Church

Last week I put together a short clip for our sending church, Mountain Lake Church, Georgia USA.
Here's the finished product. It is amazing that I get to partner with such a church to see the people of Brisbane City engaged with Jesus!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recurring thoughts

"I'm so excited that I actually get to do this with Jesus."

"Thank you God, you have loved me and my family well."

"I can't get over how much God has affirmed our move to Norman Park."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

We've moved in!

Well we've moved into our new house, boxes everywhere that need unpacking, but that is okay.
We're so excited that we get to do this thing!
Meeting with people this week, it will be great to pray together and share the vision God has given us to see a new church started that exists to see people far from God engaged with Jesus and growing as followers of Him.
Sitting in McDonalds Car Park using their free WiFi... one of the simple joys of being a planter :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Big Move

Today we shut the doors on the two trucks shifting our 'stuff'.
Tomorrow we drive down to Brisbane to sign up for the lease on our new house and move in.
Exciting stuff to be just a little bit closer to our living and start a new church in the city.
Nerida is "hopefully positive" about tomorrow and all the unpacking and sorting that has to be done :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Movements that change the world

Steve Addison, church planter and coach recently released his long anticipated book, “Movements that change the world.” As a pastor who is currently in the midst of planting a new church I highly recommend this book simply because Steve is the real deal. He has the insight having planted two churches himself and countless hours interacting, nurturing and developing pastors, leaders and church planters. Steve Addison has continually encouraged, challenged and mentored me as I have prepared to start a new church in the inner city area of Brisbane, Australia.

Most importantly I love Steve's heart for Jesus. A passion that is clearly expressed in his definition of a 'movement'. He describes movements as birthed from relationships that are energetic, committed and focused. A focus that includes those outside. This is good news. This is the Christian gospel. This is what Jesus Chris is doing today in and through His church. Jesus continues to move throughout the world as His followers love, care and serve people everywhere in His name.

Pick up Pastor Steve Addison's new book today at movements.net, I guarantee it will tip your world upside down. Good stuff, and while you're at it check out his blog steveaddison.net, it is chock full of insight for planters, pastors and leaders.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Team is Forming

Well my feet have not seemed to touch the ground this past week. We're busy looking for a new house to live and plant from and in between times we're busy preparing all our 'stuff' to be moved from storage. I'm so thankful for those who are praying for us and this new church, Nerida and I certainly know that God has been with us as we've been navigating the transition from our life in Cumming Georgia back to the inner city of Brisbane.

We've also begun meeting with interested people to share the vision for this new church and we're praying that Jesus will indeed build His church and gather those whom He wants as we prepare to start a new church together. Excitement is growing as we see Jesus bringing His Team together!

A couple of key Launch Team members that I'd like to introduce are Gerry and Shannon who are currently leading the preparation of American Mission Teams and are praying about moving over to help with new church next year. Check out Gerry's Blog here:- The Brisbane Project. Pray for God to show them what He wants for them and the faith for them to follow Jesus.

Tomorrow I'll introduce another key Launch Team member.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back in Australia.

Well I really don't know where the last few days have gone. We had a great flight from Nashville - LAX - Fiji - Brisbane. We were overwhelmed with family, friends and outlaws when we walked through customs. It is so good to hang out with loved ones. We spent the first two nights at my parents 'ranch' in the Brisbane hinterland and last night at Nerida's parents cattle property near Chinchilla. It was good to see Kangaroos and Emus again. Plently of dead Roo's on the side of the road :) Here's a picture of me and the boys with a Aussie Campfire at my Dad's place. Tomorrow we head off to catch up with friends and partners on the Sunshine Coast with Gerry and Shannon Brown.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Henderson Commissioning Bootlegged

On Wednesday night we were officially commissioned by Mountain Lake to GO and plant a new church in Brisbane, Australia. Here is the unofficial 'bootlegged' copy of our commissioning. We're so excited about the days, months and years ahead of partnership with MLC and planting church planting churches in Australia and beyond.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Last Week at Mountain Lake Church

Sunday – Last service at MLC, we love this place and the people.
Matt and Mary arrived to help us pack and clean the 'Aussie House.'
West campus moves their storage to a shed at the back of our house.
Boys sprayed water everywhere in the storage shed. Dad not happy.
John shepherd not happy.

– Packed van and took boys up to see John.
Dinner with the Buckalews.

Tuesday – Packed and cleaned some more.
Car breaks down – starter motor has given up the ghost. Take it to Hamby's.
Last leadership challenge. It's great to hang and pray with David, Shawn, Louie, John, Todd, Chad and Rodney for the last time as 'team.'
Dinner with James and Jenny Rodder.

Wednesday – Nerida goes to Hairdressers, comes back looking smokin' hot!
Clean, mop, vacuum and scrub the house. Final packing. Will we make it?
One last hang with David Putman, Shawn Lovejoy, John shepherd and the team.
“Merge” and say good bye to our family at Mountain Lake Church.
Drive to Nashville TN – drive through crazy storms, can't wind window up. Car actually splutters and coughs on at least 5 occasions, but is fine when the storms stop :) Arrive at 2am GA time. I lie down and thank God for everything.

Thursday – change tags with Mary.
Cook a massive Turkey – Thanksgiving! Seriously!

Friday – keep packing and arranging getting ready to go.

Tomorrow – We fly out of Tennessee → LA → Fiji → Brisbane, Australia!

Sunday is lost in space.

Monday – we arrive in Brisbane at luchtime and head out to my parents 'Ranch' in the hills to decompress with our friends Gerry and Shannon Brown.

Thanks Mountain Lake for the last year we really love you all and will deeply miss you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Good News or Religion - Timothy Keller

“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome… religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’. But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference.”
Timothy Keller

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You need a coach

Having a great coach really is the difference maker. It really is. Think about any premiership winning sporting team, they always have an exceptional coach. I don't know any side that's won the cup without a coach. I can also confidently say that this principle transfers into other areas of life having spent the last year being mentored and coached in church planting by Pastor David Putman at Mountain Lake Church. David's personal coaching has reinforced my confidence in the truth of Jesus to change broken lives, increased my vision for His kingdom, clarified the systems that healthy churches employ small or large and ultimately humbled my posture regarding the things that are out of my control. I look forward to returning to plant a new church in Brisbane, Australia with greater clarity and passion primarily due to the investment that he and others like Pastors Shawn Lovejoy, Ray Ortlund, Michael Lukaszewski, Tyler Powell, Bob Robbins, Steve Addison, Dave Fandey and David Rogers (to name just a few) have made in my life.

I believe there are basically three types of coaches; personal, strategic and skill (there may be more). I'll begin unpacking these over the next few days. BTW if you're considering getting a coach for church planting check out www.churchplanters.com, David and Shawn do an excellent job of building healthy planters.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Jeff Vanderstelt - Part One

Last week I had the privilege of meeting and learning from Pastor Jeff Vanderstelt of Soma Communities, Tacoma WA. Jeff shared some great things with me and I wanted to share the core with you. I will share Part Two later this week.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vail Colorado Acts 29 Retreat 2009

This past week Nerida and I had an amazing time in Vail Colorado with the Acts 29 Leadership Retreat. We truly thank God for this amazing few days, relaxing, being refreshed, encouraged and meeting so many men and women who are passionate about following Jesus and seeing His name being made famous throughout the nations.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pastor - Keep Yourself Healthy

Lead Pastors, if we are going to position ourselves to see maximum impact for Christ in our community/world we need to understand that there are five things that you must focus on (repeatedly):
1. Leading and equipping the team.
2. Casting the vision.
3. Financing the mission.
4. Being the primary communicator – constantly growing in delivering the multifaceted good news to lost, hurting, discouraged people in a clear, honest, gracious, hope filled and inspiring way.
5. Nurturing your personal vitality – You will only reproduce what you are.

This is your job description and five sweet spots you as the lead pastor need to be constantly positioning and repositioning yourself in as the spiritual leader of your church. Anyone can build a organization but it takes a disciple to be a channel for God to build a community of disciples. It really does begin with the lead man. It is your job and it is your second in charge’s job description to be your man at arms in guarding and helping you to get into and keep in these 5 areas.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How do I follow Jesus? - Part Two

Yesterday I threw down some thoughts in response to the question I was asked by a Christian: "How do I follow Jesus?"

When we're seeking to explain what following Jesus means I reckon it's very helpful to say what it is not. Here's just a few. Following Jesus is not praying a prayer asking God to forgive you and committing to follow Jesus THEN:
* Trying to earn your way right with God by daily ticking off a bunch of rules and laws.
* Living a lifestyle where you judge how good you are going by how bad you think everyone else is.
* Thinking it's all about you, about you always getting ahead in life materially and financially etc.

Pastor Matt Chandler from The Village Church shares some good thoughts on this below:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How do I follow Jesus?

How do you follow Jesus? That was a question I was asked earlier this afternoon. And as far as I'm concerned it is the question that needs to be answered over all others. You see, when Jesus began His ministry 2000 odd years ago He did so by simply inviting a bunch of ordinary fishermen to 'Come follow me'. They did and history records that they ended up "turning the world upside down." I also believe that Jesus continues to invite people today to 'come follow'. So it is really, really important that we understand what Jesus means when he says, "You, come follow me."

My Thoughts:
LEADERSHIP : Firstly, it's Jesus who's leading not you or me. Jesus invites us to follow Him as we walk through life. That means Jesus is the 'leader' not me, not you. It's Jesus who is calling the shots.

TRUST : It's about an ongoing trust relationship. To follow Jesus' leadership I need to continue to place my trust in Him and in His direction and ways.

MOTIVATION : Religion tells us, "Do these things and God will accept you or like you." Jesus on the other hand says, "I accept you as you are AND I invite you right now to place your trust in My leadership, the forgiveness I offer and My power to live a life that honors God." Where religion demands I strive to be good enough Jesus accepts, forgives, leads and empowers you to actually live a life of practical love, a life you never would thought was possible.

What do you think? Let's nail this down together for the sake of Jesus, His Kingdom and those who don't know Him yet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We can't believe it. It is only literally weeks before we
arrive back home to begin a new church in Brisbane!

As I look back over the last year there is one word that best describes my feelings: THANKFULNESS. I am moved with thankfulness to God for this time of growth as a person, leader and as a family. I am thankful to Pastors' David Putman and Shawn Lovejoy for investing in me and this new church. I am thankful for the people who are Mountain Lake Church, for their love and generosity to my family. I'm thankful for the vision and generosity of the Presbyterian Church of Qld, Australia and the relationships forged with various other churches and organisations who are encouraging this new church. I am also deeply thankful to God for the grace and generosity that YOU our friends and family have shown by supporting us during this time of training. Your prayers, letters, cards and support have been so encouraging to my family and I. They have been God's grace at work in our lives. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thoughts from the past week

Here are some of the things that I have been chewing on as I've spent time thinking, praying and reflecting this past week.

God : "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right." James 2:8.

"God measures people by the small dimensions of humility and not by the bigness of their achievements, or by the size of their capabilities." Billy Graham.

An emerging vision for Brisbane : A new church where people's lives are marked by Jesus' presence expressed in actions where small things done in big love change the world forever.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Archie proposes after 68 years

And I reckon he's made the wrong choice. Archie is all set to propose to his girlfriend Veronica and Betty ends up crying. Wrong choice Arch. Who's the girl who you can depend on? Who's the girl who's there to help you fix your car, encourage you and bail you out when you mess up? It's not Veronica!!
How dumb are some guys?
You can read the whole dumb mess here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Steve Dusek

This past weekend I visited the brand new church plant The Orchard Church. Planted in Ellijay Georgia and only six weeks old The Orchard is a warm, vibrant and growing community which meets effectively in the Ellijay Cinema. After the service I had the opportunity to connect again with Planter/Pastor Steve Dusek. I've only had a few opportunities to talk with Steve but from the talks that I've had with him and his daughter Lauren and sitting in on his sermon he is a great Dad, pastor and leader. Below is one piece of advice for planters from Pastor Steve (sorry it is so dark but the audio is great), also check out his blog by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Great Teams

This morning I had the opportunity to visit West Ridge Church and sit in with their Staff training time. Pastor Michael Lukaszewski spoke on the importance of “Teams”. Here’s some notes:
1. Great teams trust each other.
If there is no trust it is difficult to pass the ‘ball’ and this ultimately reduces effectiveness and increases burnout. Lack of trust automatically leads to micromanagement. Two causes; An ‘untrusting’ boss and ‘untrustworthy’ staff.
2. Great teams are diverse.
Different gifts equal effectiveness. There is no joy in winning at a game you should never have been playing in the first place.
3. Great teams communicate well.
Clear communication is massively crucial. Use communication devices well:
• text is simple – “is projector working?” - “Yes.”
• email for basic information sharing. Not for discussions.
• phone is for discussion and problem solving.
Always ask are you doing this or me? When two people are in charge there is no one in charge. We should all know each others departments ‘big pictures’ not micro details.
4. Great teams want to win!
Deep desire in their gut and commitment to win. Remember as the leader you can never manufacture passion and desire in other people. Celebrate department ‘Wins.’ You win means we all win. Michael does two things each Monday : sends out a weekly email celebrating & thank you notes to a few key volunteers.
5. Great teams practice.
Way more time spent practicing than playing. You are either getting better or worse at what you do, growing or in a rut. Getting better takes practice and developing your tool box. Growth requires coaching so get a coach. Read books, ask questions, develop a plan and work the plan.
6. Great teams have a great “head coach.”
A great “head coach” is the magic sauce. The Lead Pastor needs a coach too. There is only room for one coach calling the plays, God appoints leaders to lead under Jesus. Our job is to get behind the leader and support Him. It is great for you to give constructive criticism in the appropriate environment but once we’ve worked through it and we’ve landed the plane it is our bet behind 100% the leadership.
7. Great teams deal honestly with weakness.
You only have so much room on the lead team. You are playing a key role and if it is not being done then it needs to be dealt with. Lead pastor hire out your weak spots. Remember what is best for the church is best for the team too. Conduct 360’ staff evaluations as we all need to grow and get better. This takes input and challenge.

“For what is at stake I will do whatever it takes.” – Andy Stanley.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Steven Furtick - Advice on Going Multi-site

Here is Pastor Steven Furtick's advice regarding going 'multi-site.' The THR3E Event was excellent. Check out Elevation's Access Elevation Archive for some further great advice and guidance for new church plants.

Sticky Church - Leaky to Sticky - Pastor Larry Osborne

1. New focus to develop a healthy leadership team (Elders & staff).

2. Shepherd the flock I already have as well as reaching out to the lost.

3. Be a Believer targeted & Seeker sensitive church. This really means being a ‘user friendly church that grows followers of Jesus whilst ‘expecting’ seekers. Remember Jesus is an ‘equal opportunity’ offender. No in house jargon/procedures. Explain. Being Seeker expectant is assuming that as you preach the good news of Jesus God will draw. Remove all subliminal messages that say ‘This room is full of mature Christians’ as it will ultimately have a damaging impact on the believers who will assume that this is not a place to bring their lost friends to meet Jesus. By being ‘clear’ and talking as if there are unbelievers in the room you are telling the Christians ‘It is OK for me to bring my friends who don’t know Jesus.” Every service is an open meeting, an open receiving environment. Talk as if they are there and they will be.

4. Foster long term Christ Centered relationships. People ultimately stay because they are loved well. The church too often today has casual and task relationships. Strong ties to Jesus and one another lead to deep discipleship. The goal is frequent, long term and vulnerable relationships. The secret is to provide new groups for new people.


One of the e-newsletters I subscribe to is John Maxwells Leadership Wired. Here are the quotes on 'Poise' from the latest.

"The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom." ~ James Allen

"Whenever you get into a jam, whenever you get into a crisis or an emergency, become the calmest person in the room and you'll be able to figure your way out of it." ~ Rudolph Giuliani

"Calmness is the cradle of power." ~ Josiah Gilbert Holland

"Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances." ~ Thomas Jefferson

Sticky Church - Mission Creep – Pastor Larry Osborne

Assumptions :
• It is God’s desire that His Church is contagious with lives filled with the life givingn fragrance of the good news of Jesus.
• If something is amazing and life changing to someone then they will naturally share their experience with others and invite them to try it. If people are not inviting maybe it could be because they assume their friends won’t like it?
The Church Should Be A Community Where:
• Evangelism is natural not contrived. “Come and See” evangelism is the normal way and “Dog and Pony” events and “Marketing” evangelism are the exception. This will naturally decrease the pressure on “Assimilation Systems” as there are already existing effective relationships. Consider natural and artificial conception, both produce beautiful babies but one is ‘normal’ and less resource driven than the other.
• People are genuinely Changed not Just Touched.
• Long term the wider community is made better not bitter. Fact : Some large churches have reached their capacity to grow simply because over a period of time their surrounding community has more people who’ve ‘visited’ and been ‘touched’ by the church than there are people who’ve ‘stuck.’ Very unhealthy situation long term.

What Has Gone Wrong?
• Terrible ‘Packaging.’ Generally in the western world the church is more known for what we are against rather than whom we follow. People hear – “The church is against me not for me. They hate me not love me.
• Mission Creep. Consider the YMCA. Churches consistently move the target from the one Jesus set to somewhere they are hitting. If you are not accomplishing the goal STOP. Ask yourself, staff and church: “Why are we doing this? Is it working?

Mission Creep : Five Subtle Shifts:• From Discipleship to Decisions. Discipleship is not an extra credit add on. Consider the rich young ruler. For Jesus ‘eternal life’ was obtained by deciding to giving up running this life our way and following Him.
• From Obedience to Doctrine. We’ve sifted from obediently ‘following Jesus’ to maturity is a ‘self feeding’ knowledge accumulator. What about if you can’t read? What about life change?
• From Persuasion to Warfare. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and Daniel. Instead of resentfully attacking those whom the evil one is leading against us we must humble ourselves under God and seek to kindly win them over. God’s way is to win over not wipe them out. “Those Blues are amazing…”
• From Relationship to Attendance. Focus on sticky relationships with Jesus and others.
• From Jesus to Justice. Remember you can give Justice without Jesus but you can never give Jesus without also giving Justice.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Michael Lukaszewski

Hey some really important advice from Pastor Michael Lukaszewski of Oak Leaf Church. I highly recommend also checking out his blog for helping church planters - Behind the Leaf - it's full of stuff.

BTW this Sunday Oak Leaf Church begins meeting at the House of Rock! They're having a service on Saturday night at 6 p.m. and two services on Sunday morning at 9:30 and 11:15. The House of Rock is located at 245 S. Tennessee Street, Cartersville GEORGIA.

Rock on Oakleafers!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Andy Stanley’s Advice to the Uncertain Leader.

In an article from Catalyst Leadership eMagazine Pastor Andy Stanley gave some great advice to uncertain leaders. Here’s my summary:

Uncertainty is a constant factor and it is the reason we need leaders. Leaders simply make decisions with limited information. The goal is not to eliminate uncertainty, rather leaders seek to focus on being crystal clear in the face of uncertainty. Clarity is giving explicit and precise direction in spite of limited information and unpredictable outcomes.

Think of a Football Coach calling a play. All the very best can do is draw upon the knowledge and intuition they have and call a play. Coaches don’t say, “We don’t have enough information.” The clock is running down! Coaches make a decision and send everyone out to play with specific instructions. Only when the play is run do you know if the right decision was made.

Leading with clarity demands humility and confidence. Humility to acknowledge that at the very best you are making an educated guess. Confidence to move boldly forward in the direction you have determined.

The higher the level of leadership the greater the level of uncertainty. Success leads to increased uncertainty. Your leadership capacity is determined by your ability to deal with uncertainty.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Larry Osborne

Pastor Larry Osborne is an amazing leader and disciple maker. I have loved reading his books and always go away encouraged, strengthened and challenged to grow in following Jesus and in my leadership. Here is one piece of advice Pastor Larry had for church planters. BTW Pastor Larry will be joining Pastors Shawn Lovejoy and Greg Surratt at the next Mondays "Sticky Church Conference." A day of training on what it means to not just reach those who don't know Jesus but to nurture and pastor them well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Bob Franquiz

Pastor Bob Franquiz shares with us one piece of advice for Church Planters. Pastor Bob has been one of my coaches over the past few months as I've been working through the pre-launch preparation stage of a new church start. I highly respect and honor this man, he is the real deal and has helped me to grow as a follower, husband, Dad and to prepare to lead a new church. Check out his blog here and his resource website here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Giving grows me

"It is better to give than to recieve." Jesus Christ.

Yesterday at Mountain Lake Church we had our once a year annual special offering for special ministry initiatives in Cumming, USA and throughout the world. It was awesome to see God at work in and through the people who make up this amazingly generous church. The after service 'Cookout' was a huge hit with everyone and the weather held out to make it the perfect ending to literally weeks of vision casting during the 'Potential' series and the weekly Backstage Pass Lunches. Then Pastor Steven said at THR3E, "If you want your people to bleed you as the leader have to haemorrage!"

All that to say - For the past few weeks God has been challenging me again about my leadership AND MY FOLLOWERSHIP. Specifically, was I willing to keep letting go of the false security that little 'g' the god that is 'money' pretends to offer and instead keep embracing God again as my 'provider.' Let me tell you, the struggle hasn't gone away, in fact it has only increased as we've stepped out in faith to start this new church in Brisbane Australia. But every time I've stepped out and felt like I'm about to die God has stepped up and met our needs and MORE! God really has been speaking to me loud that it takes a growing, humble, and at all times faithful follower (of Jesus) to lead His people. It will not work any other way. Thanks God for stretching and growing me as a follower of Jesus.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Eric Metcalf

Hey I had the opportunity to sit and learn a bunch of stuff at the Exponential Conference 2009 from Pastor Eric Metcalf. Pastor Eric is the champion of Small Groups at Community Christian Church and oversees church planter recruitment with The Newthing Network. He's got some important advice for men considering starting a new church, listen in.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I love the new series at Mountain Lake Church - 'Potential'. Looking at the book of Genesis and specifically the life and calling of Abraham. God promised Abe that his descendants would be uncountable like the 'stars in the sky.' A promise ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. Through His life, death and resurrection Jesus has and is continuing to gather an amazing family from every nation called to be blessed by God's grace and to be a blessing to the earth.

People who Jesus has blessed me through:
My wife Nerida.
My three boys; Will, Fergus and Archie.
My Dad and Mum.
My four sisters, their husbands and their amazing kids.
My Pastors and Coaches - David and Shawn.
My Aussie Pastors - Mike, Wayne, Roly, Bob, Mark, Steve and their wives.
My Aussie mates - Dan, Jens, Phil, Ben, Tim, Sam, Chocko, Michael... Hang on I'll be blogging all day. I've been blessed by more than I can count let alone write down here!

Bottom line - Mountain Laker? Get to church this Sunday we're going to celebrate the Collective Potential that as followers of Jesus we have to change the world for good.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Andrew Smith & Derwin Gray

Hey it was great to meet Pastors Andrew Smith and D-Gray from The Gathering Church, Charlotte, North Carolina at Exponential last week. D-Gray was actually a linebacker for the Carolina Panthers and just talking to these guys on the flight and at the conference made me sure that The Gathering would be a church I'd be keen to check out if I moved to Charlotte. Great to see men like Andrew and Derwin leading the charge forward for Jesus.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

THR3E Conference Event - Elevation Church - Session One

Today I had the privilege of attending the THR3E Conference Event put on by Pastor Steven Furtick and the Elevation staff. It was a great day of teaching, encouragement, insight and in Pastor Steven's own words 'impartation.' Here's some of what was shared...

First Session - Casting Vision, Creating Culture.Three words Elevation is to be known for:
1. Audacity - it is a 'spirit', an attitude, not a set of actions. It takes audaciousness to start something from nothing but that is the essence of God present in our lives. He spoke into the nothing and created and now He speaks into and through us and makes that which was dead and 'not' alive and a new creation. Proverbs 29:18 "Where there is no revelation (from God) the people cast off restraint." Audaciousness comes from knowing clearly what it is that God is calling you to do. Humble yourself. Pray, fast and be secure in who God is in YOU. Don't try to be everyone else.
2. Honor - Honor one another and especially the leadership God has placed over you. Do not entertain a divisive spirit for a second. Respect is earned, but honor is freely given by honorable men. Pastors should allow others to not only respect but honor them, for their sake. Pastors should also honor down. 1 Samuel 24; David honored Saul and didn't steal what God had promised.
3. Generosity - 101 is the tithe. Lead by example. If you want the congregation to bleed you and the leader must go first and haemorrage yourself. Have the courage and confidence to call your congregation to grow in the gift of generosity for where their treasure is there their hearts are also. God doesn't need their money, they need to grow in generosity. Consecrate yourself to the Lord and purge the fear, deny and break the power of the flesh. Pray, fast and challenge them to give in the Spirit of Jesus.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Scott Hodge

Great to meet Pastor Scott Hodge at Exponential last week. Scott has in effect taken over his fathers established church and transitioned it into The Orchard, a healthy, growing 21C Christian community. I have learnt alot from Scott by just reading his blog over the last couple of years, check it out here. I also appreciated his advice for pastors considering a revitalisation work in existing 'flatlined' or declining church.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Matt Chandler

Pastor Matt Chandler from The Village Church gave some great advice for church planters. I really appreciate the way God is using Matt to encourage and equip planters and pastors. He is by far my favorite communicator at this season of my life. Check out his blog here.

ANZAC Day 2009 - Lest we forget

They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shawn & Tricia Lovejoy on Church Planting @ Troygramling.com

Pastor Shawn and Tricia Lovejoy share with Pastors Troy Gramling and Heather Palacios (Flamingo Road Church) about their journey as church planters and pastors of a church planting church.

I love each one of these four people and what Jesus is doing in and through them in their communities.

Listen in CLICK Here.

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Efrem Smith

Great to meet Pastor Efrem Smith at Exponential's Post Launch Track that Churchplanters.com ran this past week.

Church Planter Advice - Jan Greigo

Exponential - Monday April 20, 2009.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe - Larry Osborne

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of reading Pastor Larry Osborne’s new book, “10 Dumb Things Smart Christian Believe.” Firstly right up front I loved this book, it was an easy read and Biblically solid. I recommend it as a great tool for opening conversations about Jesus with seekers and also for encouraging Jesus followers to be discerning and continually seek to search God’s Word when it comes to the things we 'just assume' about God and what it means to know and follow Jesus.

In this book Pastor Larry succeeds in not only identifying ten sinister “spiritual urban legends” but clearly counteracts their claims with sound Biblical teaching. A few examples include the beliefs; “Faith can fix anything”, “A Godly home guarantees Godly kids”, “God brings good luck” and “Dead people go to a better place."

With this book Pastor Larry continues to deliver the goods as a Pastor-teacher. I am forever in debt to His earlier work “The Unity Factor” pick it up. You will not be disappointed with either book. Happy reading, and remember true life change comes only when we lean into Jesus and seek to apply His Truth in our lives.

Advice for Planters - God

" ...your fruitfulness comes from Me."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brisbane needs Jesus

Over the past few weeks I've had the privilege of sharing at five Mountain Lake "Backstage" vision casting events. I love the way everyone at MLC loves Jesus and His vision of reaching those who are the least and lost. Fires me up all the more for sharing the truth about Jesus with the people of Brisbane. A quick snapshot:

Greater Brisbane Area has a little over 2.5 million people.
1800 people are moving in every week.
If only 2.5% make it to church on any given Sunday in the next two years we will need:
31 new churches of 150 or
10 new churches of 500.
That's not even taking into account the 97.5% who don't know Jesus.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Perfect or Not?

I love that my Lord and friend Jesus came, lived, died and rose again for that which was lost. That includes me. I thank God that it matters not what others think about me or what I think, what matters is what God thinks about me because of what Jesus Christ has done for me. This clip of Matt Chandler sums it up well.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nerida V's Vanessa Branch

Gotta love this clip James Rodder pulled together for Mountain Lake Church's Easter Saturday/Sunday Services. For me Ned beats Vanessa hands down... FABULOUS! What do you think?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday Afternoon - Braves Game!

Thanks to our special friends and fellow Aussies the Henderson family got to have the experience of a lifetime, we got to attend a Braves home game at Atlanta's Turner field.

The boys loved every minute of it. Indian 'chopping' and whooping, general cheering, hotdogs, red ice, seeing a home run and booing Washington. Highlights of the day for the boys (and shy Nerida) was getting on the Jumbo-screen. The Braves WON! And for me to see all three of the boys getting to run around the bases (and got a certificate and a Braves T'shirt) after the game. Thanks Jason and Michelle, it was a day we will all remember for a lifetime.

Easter Sunday at Mountain Lake Church

What an absolutely amazing day to be a part of the church family that is Mountain Lake Church. Woke up to a beautiful clear crisp Spring morning. Along with all the last minute finishing touches I got to help set up an Outside First Time Guests Check-in station. What a great idea. With Heidi's canopy decked out with Pam's helium balloons it was a hit with all the nervous first time parents. We got to walk them right through to their kids rooms and then make sure they got a coffee and a seat. Every one I got to lead thanked me repeatedly. Another simple way MLC is changing the way people think about Jesus and His Church in Forsyth County.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday 2009

Woke up to 6 boys running riot.
Cuppa with Mum and Dad and then Cracker Barrel for Breakfast.
Then back home to enjoy the Tornado warnings, rain, hail and lightning with the family.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Aussie Men

Today I was remided of those who gave all... and never came home.

Think Team - Part one - Shepherding the Flock

Last Thursday Pastor Shawn Lovejoy lead our Churchplanters.com Coaching Network through 1 Peter 5:1-5. Here's a few insights:

Over and over God through His Word exhorts and reminds Pastor/Elders to shepherd His flock the people of God. To shepherd means to be diligent to care, tend & exercise oversight. Peter points out a few things about this oversight;

Determine to Shepherd.
Not under compulsion but voluntarily, willingly and according to the will of God. Eagerly provide oversight. Bottom line: This passage gives you permission: lead the church. Lead it well and do not succumb to the temptation to give the leadership away.

Humble yourselves
In verse five Peter makes it clear that the younger men are to humble themselves and subject themselves to their Pastors. Likewise the Pastor/Elders and indeed the entire church are also urged be humble when relating to one another as “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Bottom line: God’s grace flows through humble Jesus centered people.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Eyes on the prize

Growing up learning to play backyard cricket my Dad would often tell me and my sisters, "Keep your eye on the ball." Simple advice when it comes to slogging a ball over the back fence. Real hard when it comes to life. Today I remind myself of the prize that I must keep my eyes on - to know and follow Jesus Christ.

Jesus came not to be served but to serve. He came not to take what was His but to give Himself. He came to love those who hate Him. He came to seek and save the lost. His call remains; "You, come follow me." A challenge that has profound implications for you and me today, tomorrow, next year...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor David Putman

This past year I have had the once in a lifetime opportunity to be coached by one of the best church planting coaches around - David Putman. I love David's heart for gathering and developing men. The result - a growing movement of leaders who love and follow Jesus and are planting churches around the world.
David's books - click and try a sample chapter, you might get hooked.
Breaking the Discipleship Code
Breaking the Misssional Code

St George Illawarra Dragons beat Brisbane Broncos

ONLY Wayne Bennett could have pulled it off.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Think Team - Churchplanters.com

Today I have the privilege of being a part of the monthly Churchplanters.com onsite coaching network. It's simple really. 12 planters sitting in a circle discussing "best practices" with Pastors and Coaches Shawn and David. Today we're looking at the core component that is : "Thinking Team."

"Leaders who experience significant breakthroughs are always thinking team. It is one of their primary responsibilities. They have the ability to identify and raise up teams out of their organization. However, it doesn't end there. They also have the ability to attract high level team players and coach them to play at their greatest capacity. The best leaders spend lots of time with their team. The best leaders understand that entrepreneurship is not leadership. Entrepreneurship plus teamwork is. Are you thinking team?"
For all my American mates the picture is of Wayne Bennett, greatest football (Rugby League) player-coach that has ever lived. A hero, inspirational leader and fair dinkum Aussie Legend.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Trading the Vision for Success.

If the primary aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. - Thomas Aquinas

I keep seeing that the greatest enemy to true leadership is to achieve some success pursuing the vision. Once some success has been achieved the stakes are indeed raised. There is now a choice between continuing to move forward or to stop and guard. True leaders do take into account the added responsibility they now have to care for the success achieved but they also remain committed to leading forward. That is leadership. To decide to stop and guard the 'success' means decay, appathy and ultimately to loose both the vision you started with and the success you stopped to protect.

Jesus challenged His church about this very issue in Revelation 3. Have you traded pursuing the vision for a success achieved on the way? Beware it is pure folly and unless you return to the vision you risk loosing everything.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mission Partners Part 2

A Couple of days ago I threw down a few thoughts on the challenge that is raising partners in the mission.

Today I want to focus on the role of the Lead Planter when it comes to raising and stewarding the resources required for the mission. A few observations;

1. Jesus is the ultimate provider of all our needs however as the under-leader you are responsible to prayerfully gather the partners and raise the finances required to get this new work off the ground.
2. You are responsible to teach your congregation what gospel motivated giving is : giving generously, faithfully and concistently to the vision of seeing people impacted and transformed by the truth of Jesus Christ.
3. You are responsible to protect yourself. You need to lead your leadership to formalise the new churches financial system so you can lead and teach Biblical stewardship from a position that guards you personally. This means having a system where you aren't signing cheques, the church has accountability structures, there is a budget and it is transparent.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Week in - Week out

Now that the real football season has started back home in Australia I've noticed how easily the club world champions Manly's NRL premiership defence is already in terrible shape. Last years unbreakable Manly have now slumped to their third straight loss with a 12-10 defeat by Penrith. Whats gone wrong and what can I learn from this sudden slip? A couple of thoughts;
* No one is ever on the top of their game all of the time. Face it, it's reality. We get injured, tired and need seasons of rest and recovery if we're going to play a good game for the long haul.
* When you've got momentum you look and play better than you are. When you haven't got it you look and play worse than you are.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Upside Down People

Today at Mountain Lake Church we refocused ourselves on the heartbeat of Jesus as we read of His encounter with the "Woman at the well." What a beautiful reminder to us of what 'Church' should be about. Church isn't for perfect people. Church should be a place where 'upside-down' people can find love, healing and hope in Jesus.

I'm so excited about the opportunity I've been given as an 'upside-down' person to know and follow Jesus. And more than anything the amazing privilege I have to share the love God with others today as I serve them and tell them about my Lord and friend Jesus.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Insights from Pastor Chris Mavity

Today I had the privilege of having lunch with Pastors Chris Mavity (North Coast Church), David Putman and Casey Graham.

One of the great insights that Chris shared with us was the principle of 'transitions'. He explained that if you do not clearly identify the times of transition and guide people through them you run the risk of confusing them, destabilising them and loosing them. Example : the transition from kids church to youth group. Solution : bring the litte kids in for visits to the youth group so the 'environment' is not a huge surprise and so they can meet the older kids etc. Do not just expect them to 'make' the transition.

Mission Partners Part 1

One of the key challenges that Church Planters face is communcating their vision with the goal of raising partners, most of whom will never regularly attend the church that is being planted.

A couple of thoughts that have been very helpful to me:
1. Be clear about the gospel vision that Jesus is calling you to.
2. Pray and ask God bring partners with a heart for His vision.
3. Identify the relationships God has placed around about you:
Businesses &
4. Get in touch with them, communicate the vision and ask them to prayerfully consider partnering with you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Rory Dyer

Pastor Rory leads Glenridge Church International, Durban, South Africa.

"Rory’s philosophy of ministry is “keep it simple.” In fact, it is so simple they don’t even have a church website, yet the church gathers nearly 3,000 people! Glenridge focuses on three things: Inclusion, Intercession, and Increase. They do Sunday meetings and small groups, and that is about it." The Leaders Poole

Zero to Sixty Day Conference

Hey wanna give a BIG shout out to one of my Church Planting Coaches Bob Franquiz and his day conference "Zero to Sixty" to be held in Atlanta next Thursday. Bob will be sharing his leadership 'toolbox' and the "principles and practices that leaders of growing churches need to lead at the next level." If it's anything like the coaching network he leads it'll be an absolute great cracker!

Thursday, April 2, 2009
9:00AM - Noon

This seminar is hosted by:
Avalon Church
1467 HWY 20 West
Mcdonough, GA 30253

Here’s what you can expect to learn:
- How to communicate vision in a way that causes people to respond
- How to hire the right people and fire the wrong people
- How to gauge the health of your church
- Staffing strategies that add staff and reduce expenses
- How to maximize momentum for greater growth
- How to develop a system for raising up leaders
- How to develop yourself as a leader
- How to manage staff more effectively
- And much more!

To register click here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Scratchin' my way through

Hey though I dearly love Georgia for it's Southern BBQ, fried chicken biscuits, trucks, bikes, ballparks and genuine people... one thing I can't stand about Georgia is the freakin allergies I get from time to time here! I wake up at night my eyes itchy, throat itchy, skin itchy, nose is either clogged up or running. Headaches. Man it can make for a tough existence. By the way the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America lists Atlanta Georgia "the worst US city to live in." Dang it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Leadership Tip

Hey for what it's worth, and primarily to remind myself in the future:

"You can not and never will be able to recruit difference making leaders via email." Pastor Shawn Lovejoy.

Want to change the world? You can't do it alone. Real lasting change happens when leaders gather for the cause. How do you gather leaders? You must build genuine community based upon collective vision, trust and genuine relationships. Try to cut the corners on these three and to quote my Dad (who by the way is a great visionary leader) and "You're spitting into the breeze."

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Andrew Heard -

Hey some great foundational advice from Andrew Heard, Pastor of Central Coast Evangelical Church on the North side of Sydney, Australia. I really appreciate Andrew and his heart for Jesus, the gospel and reaching Aussies who're far from God.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Leading a movement

"Soldiers know it takes war to make a general." - source unknown.
My thoughts on this profound quote; It takes conflict and opposition to raise a true a leader. To lead any group of men well into harsh conditions it takes a man who :
* has been blooded by the battle himself and stood firm.
* has risen naturally into leadership & not by appointment or politics.
* has the trust, loyalty and confidence of the men who he leads.

"It had long been known that the Third Australian Brigade, consisting of Queenslanders, South Australians, Western Australians, and Tasmanians, had been chosen to make the landing...
During the whole of this trying time if one thing cheered the men more than another it was the behaviour of their officers. I saw one officer in charge of a machine gun who one knew for certain must be killed if the fight lasted...
Australia has lost many of her best officers in this way. The toll has been really heavy...
It would be absurd to pretend that the life of an officer like that one was wasted. No-one knows how long his example will live on amongst men. There were others, whom I will mention later on when the casualties have all reached Australia, who died fighting like tigers, some who fully knew they would die. One was sometimes inclined to think this sort of leading useless, but none who heard the men talking next day could doubt its value. "By God! Our officers were splendid," one Australian told me. Where I went I heard the same opinion expressed."

Charles Bean - The First Report (ANZAC landing)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor PJ Smythe

A highlight for me of the recent Acts 29 Seattle Bootcamp was Pastor PJ Smythe's message on planting gospel driven churches. Pastor PJ leads Godfirst Church Bryanston Johannesburg. Great post on the priority planters must place on loving and pastoring their household first.