Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nerida's Birthday 2009

Hey just celebrated Nerida's Birthday with the three amigos. It was great. Presents from Australia. Presents from Georgia, Tennessee and a much deserved present from us boys. Love you heaps and heaps Honey.

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Bob Robbins

I love the way God speaks loudly to you at times. God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible and in these last days He has spoken to us by his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus also guides His church through godly leadership. Lately He has reinforced His guidance through the leaders He has placed around about me. Bob Robbins is one of those people. Here is his advice for church planters.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Church Planter Advice - Pastor Gary Lamb

My favorite red neck yuppie mate Gary Lamb (he knows I love him) has this piece of advice for church planters. By the way don't let him fool you with his tough hide, he's a big softie on the inside. Check out his blog here, he's always trying to stir up someone and his heart bleeds for planters.

Monday, February 23, 2009 Day One Roundup

Wow what a day! Firstly - the Mountain Lake volunteers did an amazing Job! The whole day ran so smoothly. It was a pleasure to work in the welcoming environment they created.
Pastor Shawn did a great job reminding us that for Jesus Stewardship IS Discipleship and the need to be faithful, prudent stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us.
Ed Stetzer did an amazing job of reminding us that the gospel that saves is the gospel that grows. If you aren't growing in knowing Jesus, walking in step with His Spirit and doing good works something is wrong with the gospel you're listening to.
My wife Nerida said Chad and Autumn Ward did an amazing job with the preconference childrens ministry. Nerida was so proud of Tricia Lovejoy's breakout for Planters Wives, she said "It was absolutely excellent, Tricia spoke truth from her heart - amazing job." I can't wait to listen to all the sessions and breakouts I missed. Too many great speakers to list.
Great to meet so many wonderful people, new people, planters I learn from, pastors I look up to. Again I thank God for the amazing season He has us walking through as a family. - Joe Sangl & Casey Graham

Joe Sangl & Casey Graham talk about Discipleship. - Larry McCrary & Caleb Crider - Bob Robbins

Pastor Bob Robbins, LifePoint Church. - Mark Clement - Mark Clement, creative administrative brains behind the conference. Also leading Breakout "Pop-culture: Culture, Trends & Media. Day One

Here's just some of the speakers / sessions for Day One :
Ed Stetzer - Spiritual Formation in a Missional World.
Shawn Lovejoy - Leading in Uncertain Financial Times.
David Putman - Breaking the Discipleship Code : Redefining Discipleship.
Casey Graham - Creating a Culture of Generosity.
Tony Morgan - Killing Cockroaches.
Gary Lamb - Reaching Men.
Reggie Joiner - Rethinking Family Ministries.
Brian Bloye - Built to Last Church Planting.
Matt Evans - Big Impact, Small Town.
Tricia Lovejoy - Best Practices of Pastor's Wives.
Will Mancini - How missional leaders cast vision, capture culture and create movement.
John Shepherd, Chad & Autumn Ward, Louie Lovoy, John Shepherd : Mountain Lake Best Practices.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 in the News

Here's a great News-story from the Forsyth County News that conveys the vision that Jesus has placed in Ps Shawn and my hearts - plant a church planting church in Brisbane Australia. It has been an absolute privilege and honor to have spent the last seven months interning at Mountain Lake Church. Ps David Putman has built solidly into my life and I know the coaching will make a difference as we seek together to plant a new church, one that will change the way people think about 'church' and introduce them to Jesus Christ.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Only in America

I'd like to introduce all my Aussie mates to the Quadruple Bypass Burger. 8000 calories. It is real and I will not be having one. Can you believe it?

Fueling the Movement - Part 2

Just finishing off some thoughts about how we might better fuel Jesus' movement.

3. Start Coaching and Mentoring. Scott Thomas, Director of Acts 29 says that men that have been assessed, trained and coached have a 250% better chance of planting a growing, healthy church. Acts 29 and both invest heavily in selecting, training and ongoing coaching young leaders. Acts 29 does this through their Online Network Hub "The City" where planters from all the world daily help each other in their ministries. This is an excellent thing. Young men need to be affirmed and given permission to lead. Sadly denominations have a tendancy to do the opposite.

4. Start Networking on Gospel lines. has invested in me and want to help plant a "Jesus church" in Brisbane Australia. Acts 29 want to do the same thing. Both Networks have spent the time to see if I am of the Jesus, gospel tribe and then they've got behind me and haven't got sidetracked with the denominational admin stuff. The post modern iGeneration runs in tribes not in institutions. Denominations need to face this fact and not be scared of it but rather work with what God is doing with this generation.

Friday, February 20, 2009 - 2 day to go!

For the past couple of days Ps Shawn has been in Chicago at a Planting Network Meeting. This is a clip he took with Ps Matt Carter, "Advice for Church Planters" - This is the sort of gold you'll be getting Monday & Tuesday at the Conference. If you're a planter, pastor or considering I highly recommend you get there - spouses get in FREE!

Fueling the Movement - Part 1

An Aussie mate recently asked me : "Any pointers you have as an intern on getting other young men committed to church multiplication?" Here's my thoughts.

1. Start Planting. I think the best way to get other young men committed to church multiplication is simply to just start planting and to get runs on the board. Movement draws leaders.

2. Start Challenging. I guess it simply takes a leader who is doing it to be able to challenge with authority the young men to step up to the plate and be men and make the sacrifices necessary to see the gospel go out to the ends of the earth. I love the way Shawn Lovejoy and Mark Driscoll both speak of the men needed to plant as being the 'very best men' and the 'cream of the crop.' The language they use is very challenging and reminds me constantly of Paul ("Stand firm in the faith; act like men." 1 Cor. 16:13-14) and Jesus (You - follow me. John 21:20-23 etc). Mark and Shawn both say they don't want halfhearted, uncommitted, weak men. They just don't have the time to waste. That fires me up to be the man Jesus is calling me to be. Run church planting conference, bootcamps, assessments, etc this allows men to take steps forward whilst also allowing for honest discussions to begin as to their gifting and character etc.

Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 4 days!

Wow what a day Tuesday 18th of February was : is less than 5 days away,
Computer server is still possessed and causing Coleson grief,
The new server mixes up Ps Todd and my pictures,
Freezing cold rain, antibiotics,
Tears, roaring laughter, sunburn and happy birthdays,
Indoor football results in glass smashing,
3 Tornados and sirens start,
Ps John Shepherd kindly yells at everyone to "Git out of the Church offices and GET Home!"
Our car literally stalls on the way to Pam's basement...
Sometimes I have to pinch myself to check this isn't some kind of weird dream.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's okay to lead differently

One of the things I love about the Bible is it's honesty and forthrightness when it comes to exposing the strengths and weaknesses of the men and women of God in the past. This includes their leadership.

And I love the way God does not emphasise any 'one' leadership style, rather He emphasises character and giftedness as the non-negotiables for leaders within His church. To God it matters not so much your style than what is going on in your heart. So don't glory in the fact that He designed you with a leadership bent towards being a Director-commander, Inspirational, Diplomatic or Analytical. Instead glory in Jesus Christ who's grace and presence in your life enables you to do anything that will last for eternity. You can read it here.

Movement or Museum

At the recent Acts 29 Raleigh Bootcamp Ps Mark Driscoll commented that the 'normal' lifecycle for movements is :
Movement -> Organisation -> Institution -> Museum.

Once a movement moves beyond organising to serve the mission and becomes institutionalised it's entering the stage of 'self parasiting' where the institution begins to live at the expense of the movement. The next natural step is to become a museum which glories in the institution and largely ignores the mission which launched the movement.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Henderson Circus

Today we went to the Circus in downtown Atlanta. The boys absolutely loved it. There were clowns, elephants, flying girls, singing, jokes, tigers, motorbikes, horses, explosions, crazy jumping dogs - you name it it was there. Nurtured their vitality... man I'm exhausted.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The power of a GOOD coach

On the weekend Wayne Bennett super-coached his new team the Dragons to a dominating 54-6 win over the Roosters. When asked if he was happy with the result, Bennett grinned: "They could've kept the scoreboard to zero."

I still can't believe that the Bronco's let this living legend go south but at the same time I wish Wayne every bit of success at his new club, the same success he had with New Zealand's 08 World Cup Win - ouch.
* 1988–2008 Brisbane Broncos 532 Games, 339 W, 12 L 181 D, 64 W%
* Bennett/Broncos won 6 premierships; 92, 93, 97, 98, 2000 & 06.

"Wayne is a man whose success is built on loyalty, discipline and an innate recognition of individual worth." — Lachlan Murdoch

For planters out there : The power of a great coach - 250% increase of success in planting a new church - Scott Thomas Acts 29 Director.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What more could a Southern Girl want?

Valentines Day 2009. Ten years Nerida has been my girlfriend. Wow. So apart from the choccies and lovely card etc I took Ps Shawn's advice and treated my beautiful lady to an extra special lunch out - Southern Style. Where? Roosters of course. She loves me ;)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Don't Miss 09

In a little over a week Planters, Pastors and Leaders from all over the world will be flooding into Atlanta for the annual Conference. I am so stinkin excited! The speakers have some amazing experiences, insights and principles to share - I'm sure you've already learnt from many of them.

Today I want to make sure you don't miss two key reasons to come;

* Tricia Lovejoy, Ps Shawn's wife will be speaking to the wives! Enough said.

* Jeff Murphy, Lead Pastor & Planter of MyChurch will be sharing principles he's learnt on launching large AND healthy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Missing Ingredient

I love this quote* from Ps Larry Osborne, pastor of North Coast Church :

"When I arrived at the church, I was armed with books and ideas on growth, evangelism, and reaching the community. Unity was the last thing I was worried about. If you'd told me to slow down and focus on camaraderie and unity, I'd have chided you for your inward, even self-centered, approach to ministry. We had a world to conquer. But it soon became painfully obvious that we were never going to change the world out there when we couldn't get along in here."

Unity on the core gospel vision is non-negotiable. We can flex on the other stuff. Reminds me of Jesus' last message to his men and His last prayer. John wrote it down and you can read it here.

Men - Let's seek to encourage not pick. Let's seek to understand and know before we try to change. Let's seek to be Jesus led Jesus centered leaders focusing on keeping Him as our focus and speaking to one another in the power of His love, a love that God liberally pours out on us when we ask through the Holy Spirit.
*The Unity Factor - L. Osbourne.

Leaders God has placed in my life

Obviously Jesus is THE man who I seek to follow but biblically speaking we all have men who are our leaders and we submit too. The ultimate place to be is where those leaders are men that you love to follow. I am in that place of privilege.

These are the key men I follow :
Peter Barson - Director of Home Missions, PCQ, Australia.
Shawn Lovejoy - planter & lead Pastor of Mountain Lake Church.
David Putman - Co-Founder of with Shawn and Executive Pastor of Mountain Lake Church.
Mark Driscoll - Leader of Mars Hill Church & Acts 29 Network.
Steve Addison - planter & Director of Church Resource Ministries Australia.
It seems everyday I'm inspired, challenged, encouraged and shaped in some way by their words, example, love, honesty and encouragement. Blogs, conversations, podcasts, meetings; all entwined around how we might together grow in following Jesus.

Who's really leading you?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mark Driscoll on Nightline

ABC Nightline 27 January, 2009

A good reminder

Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God:
God is always at work around you.
God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal through Jesus Christ.
Jesus invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.
Jesus' invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
You must make major adjustments in your life to join Jesus in what He is doing.
You come to know God by experience as you obey Jesus and He accomplishes His work through you.
(italics are my emphasis)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scott Thomas - Nerida's notes

Last week Nerida and I attended the Acts 29 Bootcamp held at Vintage 21, Raleigh, NC. During Scott Thomas' (Director of Acts 29) talk I had to pop out to break up a brawl the boys were in... Nerida took my notes while I was gone; today as I looked over them here's what she had wrote down: "Your church will suck if you don't have strong men. Only real men can draw men." See why I married her?

Application : Think about the men Jesus chose to invest His life with. They weren't the Pharisees or educated religious leaders of the day. They were ordinary everyday men. And once they were filled with the Holy Spirit their leadership demanded engagement : "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13

Monday, February 9, 2009

Wayne Grudem's message to the Acts 29 Planters

"Stand firm in the faith; act like men."
1 Cor. 16:13-14.

That is such a loaded charge. It's been running around in my head ever since he spoke on it last Wednesday.

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all you do be done in love."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Acts 29 Raleigh NC Bootcamp 2009

This past week my family and I attended the Acts 29 Raleigh Boot Camp. We had a great time. We missed our own beds. We made some great new friends. We got assessed by the Acts 29 Network.

Here's a snapshot of what God has and is doing through the Acts 29 Network: "Acts 29 currently has two hundred churches in the US. If we continue at present rates, we’ll be at five hundred churches in less than three years, and one thousand churches within seven years." Mark Driscoll

Raleigh Boot Camp stats:
* 350 attended
* 25 Potential Planters were assessed

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm always on the lookout...

I had to take this picture for my mate and coach David Putman. Next thing you know he'll be running for President ;)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Biscuits for Dinner

You've gotta love it when you get to eat biscuits for dinner, add to that some fried chicken and it's snowing outside and you have a whole nother world for us Aussies.

Monday, February 2, 2009

MyChurch Columbus - Week Two

Yesterday was WEEK TWO at MyChurch.
I gain so much encouragement from what God is doing in and through Jeff, Christy and all the amazing people who are "MyChurch"!
Here's what Christy had to say about their second week:

"We did a crash volunteer course on Saturday and had 40-50 new people show up to help us pull of the outdoor tent take #2. 576 people. 27 salvations. We are in awe. Now we're just trying to minister to all these people. We have our first baptism the 15th and first member class the 22nd. Hope to be in our building this week. Two services worked great--200 first service, 376 second. Kids divided in half pretty much."

I'm watching Lloyd Owens and "A Peculiar Place."

Today I got to reconnect with Lloyd again.
I can't wait to see what God continues to do in and through Him and the church He's leading in Downtown Atlanta.

What is up for "grabs"

Today was a great discussion in our weekly "Leadership Challenge" time. The interaction was primarily around how do you keep the unchanging mission/vision/values whilst constantly creating an environment of innovation for the sake of Jesus, the good news and the lost.

Just churning things over, and want to capture the thoughts flashing through my mind: Here's a challenging thought that keeps coming through my mind from the team at Elevation Church :
"Vision vs. Strategy. Elevation is committed to a vision, that vision is to see people far from God filled with life in Christ. That is the thing that drives every decision we make and guides every discussion we have. With time it has developed into an even great commitment to see that happen each and every Sunday. We are not afraid to try a strategy to see if it works and move on to something else if it was ineffective. With our end goal in mind we will embrace a strategy we believe will advance the vision. Strategies come and go, but the vision will never change. Programs and facilities are expendable and will constantly change, the vision will remain the same... That's our commitment to God and the city of Charlotte..."