Category Archives: Church Planting

An incredible leadership training opportunity

Church Planting Leadership Personal

This past week, Jen and I had the privilege to attend the Willow Creek Leadership Summit via satellite. Over the past five years, I have been able to attend four of these events live at the South Barrington campus, and they have been remarkably impacting for me.

This year, though, it was a little too far and a little too expensive to attend the main campus, so we went to the Noblesville satellite location, and even though it was by video, it was still incredibly powerful. I have really appreciated all the leadership resources that Willow Creek puts out.

Well, they have just announced a leadership training opportunity that has all the others beat. It’s called South Haven and it is an intimate Continue reading

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Clayton Miller Band (Cole and LD Miller)

Lafayette Video

America’s Got Talent has put two Lafayette boys on the map. LD Miller is one of the most amazing harmonica players, and though criticized on the show, Cole Miller is a rather gifted musician in his own right.

On the show, Cole was criticized for his guitar playing and his singing, but he admitted that he is primarily a drummer.

Well, tonight, Saturday August 5, 2006, the two Miller boys came back to Lafayette to reunite with the Clayton Miller Band and give the community a free concert. Riehle Plaza was PACKED with people, and I was really impressed by the quality of the music.

Oh, and Cole Miller is a GREAT drummer, a good vocalist, and LD has a great voice as well!

But the harmonica work was incredible.

Don’t take my word for it. Judge for yourself! Video will be posted tomorrow.

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The 28 Day Evangelism Tract

Church Planting Evangelism Front Page Leadership

While reading The Purpose Driven Life tonight, I had the thoughts run through my mind that went something like this:

  • If I really want this book to affect me, I need to ponder it through my day.
  • If I want to ponder it, I need to have it condensed into ponderable form.
  • I really appreciate the small ponderable devotions in books like that of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest.
  • Why should that way of life change be limited to devotionals?
  • Why not create an evangelism tract that is designed like 28 days of Utmost?

I’m thinking it might be a really worthwhile project. Just give people a verse or passage of the Bible and a little thought to ponder for a day, spend some time with them personally to work through any questions, and let God speak to them on His own schedule. Honestly, why would we think that major life transformation would really come about in 5-15 minutes with a gospel tract? Isn’t that why statistically, it takes a person 7 times hearing a gospel presentation before it really sinks in. What if we had an evangelistic tract that was simple, ponderable, and created to sink in over time?

I think I’m going to do it!

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How to be a wise blogging pastor?

Church Planting Front Page Geekery Leadership Tough Questions VIP

Colossians 4:5 says this:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

As a pastor who’s got a blog, I’ve been thinking about how this verse relates to blogging. I’ve been blogging for over a year, and I don’t yet have a “manifesto” like this guy on what my blogging policy should be. However, I’ve been prompted this week by some friends to consider it, so I’m thinking through the issues.

As I see it, there are three ways for a pastor (or anyone for that matter) to do a blog.

  1. Use the blog as a personal journal where you “get naked” (according to a book on blogging by Robert Scoble the guy I linked to above.) in front of your virtual audience and basically share anything and everything. Of course, there is some room for discretion, but in general, it’s your personal journal viewable by the world.
  2. Use the blog as a “content management system” which basically means you maintain your own online magazine with articles essays and whatnot and use a blog mechanism to manage your content and people’s comments on your content. One example of that is The Resurgence.
  3. Use the blog as a hodge-podge mix of the two—blogging about whatever seems to come to mind. (I’m not sure it fits, but I’ll link to it anyway.) See Tim Challies’ blog for an example of a blog that attempts to be personal & academic though it weighs more toward the academic side.

As I’ve been around the net a while, it seems to me that the majority of “Gen X” church planters who blog opt for version 3 with a heavy leaning on option 1.

I’ve been using this site as mostly #3 so far. As you can see from my categories on the sidebar, I’ve got sermons, Bible studies, personal journal entries, exposing my own spiritual life, computer issues, and even some posts on internet fraud. You can see it is all over the map like a Christmas tree with every kind of ornament ever invented showing up on it.

In fact, it seems that my posts on self examination and internet fraud are my most popular. Are people even reading my blog to grow spiritually?

So the question I’m asking myself now is this: What kind of web presence should I have? If you have any comments on this, I’d like to read them. Or you can give me a call on my cell at 765-404-0807 to tell me what you think personally. If you want to think this through with me, check out the links I placed above or my links in the sidebar of my .

What kind of blog helps people grow spiritually?
transparent academic

Where would the X fall for you?

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Palm Pilots and Web-based Calendars / Contact Database

Church Planting Geekery Leadership

Prompted by an article on

I’ve been a Palm Pilot PDA user since my mom bought me one when I graduated from seminary. (Palm Vx, and awesome tool!)

The best feature of the Palm is the ability to have my contacts and calendar on my computer at home and also on a device in my pocket. Being able to sync to the Palm Desktop has always been a valuable tool for me.

But my contacts are not my own anymore—neither is my calendar. As a church planter, I’m facing a need to have my personal contacts synchronized with our church contacts and having my personal calendar sync with my church calendar. But there is just nothing out there to do both of those and sync with my Palm. I need a centralized database that is…

  • Contacts & Calendars
  • Updatable by members of our congregation
  • Shareable with permission-based access control.
  • Web-accessible
  • pilot-sync-able

I’ve been looking for this for a long time and have had no luck. Actually, the only viable option I can find is to have an Exchange server paired with Outlook. Of course, that’s a hefty Microsoft tax that I don’t want to pay, and I don’t think it can be updated by users.

Here are some options I’m considering.

  • ical exchange — allows for publishing public and private calendars from any ical capable calendar for others to subscribe to or view them online through a browser.

Any ideas?

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A New Evangelism Tract

Evangelism Front Page Lafayette Leadership Spiritual Health

No one came to last night’s Bible 101 study that I had scheduled at our house.

In light of that, I’ve determined to not focus on programs that aim to “get people to come” and instead, focus on meeting people one-to-one to key in on evangelism and discipleship. In light of that, I’ve decided to put some time into producing a new evangelistic tract.

I’ll go ahead and post the content here, so you can comment if you wish.

Here is my initial design goal for the project:

  • GOD is real (and everything you have heard about him–well, almost everything–is true.)

    • he is perfect
    • he is good
    • he is loving
  • YOU are important (but most of what you believe about yourself isn’t true.)

    • you are loved
    • you have a purpose
    • you are wounded
    • you are distant
  • JESUS died for you

    • Jesus is real
    • Jesus is perfect
    • Jesus is alive — many convincing proofs (acts 1, 1 cor 11? 15?)
    • Jesus is King
  • GOD restores

    • to wholeness
    • to relationship
    • to your purpose
    • to your future

God’s work in your life looks like this…

  • Awareness of emptiness
  • Pursuit of fulfillment
  • Recognition of God
  • Acceptance of His Will
  • Surrender to Love
  • Living in Love

If you want to follow this project, be sure to subscribe to my new evangelism category.

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Mall of America

Church Planting

Today, Jen and I took the kids to the Mall of America because our conference doesn’t start until tomorrow and what else do you do in St. Paul, Minnesota? (Actually, I think St. Paul and Minneapolis are really cool, and I have seriously thought about moving here at times.)

Have you heard about the Mall of America? It is utterly huge! I’m not going to go into details about it. I’m sure you can google it if you want to. I’ll just say that we successfully navigated the ENTIRE mall and didn’t go broke:

  • One pair of flip-flops for Jen from Old Navy ($3.50) and we did NOT take advantage of the 2 for $5 sale.
  • One water wiggler toy for Katie and a set of three candy necklaces ($5 total from her own money).
  • One small bucket of LEGO pieces and a small LEGO tractor kit ($13 total from Charlie’s own money and an extra two dollars from Jen).
  • Lunch for about $12 at Nathan’s Famous (a hot dog stand that can’t hold a candle to any Chicago hot dog stand)
  • One bag of cotton candy on our way out ($3.50! Can you believe my cotton candy cost the same amount as Jen’s shoes!?)

While in the mall, we ran into The River Church‘s office. I had heard there was a church meeting in the mall each week, but I didn’t know they actually had an office there. The man in the office was the father-in-law of the pastor/church planter who started the church (about 5 years old as a church now) and said that the mall only recently allowed them to have an office presence there.

They pay $5000 each month for the office!

I also thought it was cool that The River Church is part of the same movement of churches that we are part of.

We had a good time today. Tomorrow, Charlie goes into the Elementary program, Katie goes into the standard Kids program, and Jen and I start our meetings. I look forward to these meetings each year and I hope to be challenged this year too.

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Pastor Hacking?

Church Planting Leadership

I don’t know if you have this problem, but I am a

  • procrastinating
  • distracted
  • creative
  • learning
  • computer geek

I generally have between 10 and 20 projects going on all at the same time, but I almost never finish any of them because I get new ideas and set to work on the new ones forgetting about the old ones.

However, there is one non-negotiable in pastoral ministry: People aren’t projects and people are more important.

So in my procrastinating, distracted, project-creating way, I can easily burn hours working on my projects or learning about new projects I could be working on.

Bob a church planter from the northwest US has started after being inspired by the famous LifeHacker to deal with at least one part of the problem—how to spend less time on getting things done to spend more time with people. Along the way, he is advocating GTD approach promoted by David Allen.

It’s good stuff, for the most part, but don’t spend all your time reading these things online. Get out there and talk with someone today about life-changing faith!

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We’re not competing with other churches.

Church Planting Front Page Lafayette Leadership

One of the truths about church planting is this:

We aren’t competing with other churches. We are competing with all the unspiritual ways people spend their time.

But sometimes it’s hard to really believe it.

This last weekend, Jen and I found on our door a flyer that seems to be for a new church getting started in the same area as we are. Here’s the flyer:

Wea Bible Church flyer side 1Wea Bible Church flyer side 2

Basically, they are running a Vacation Bible School down here (really close to our house) and they are asking people if they are interested in joining a Bible Study. As far as I can tell, they haven’t started any meetings yet.

I’m a competitive person by nature, and it’s hard for me not to feel competitive at this. In fact, there are some things they are doing that I think are missing the boat when it comes to church planting, but I don’t want to turn this into a rant against them.

In fact, I want to see if there is some way that “Wea Bible Church” and “southside church” can join forces and work together to reach the people here for Jesus. There might be some good opportunities for cooperation because Wea Bible Church doesn’t actually have a church plant pastor. Rather, it is currently being run as a ministry of Battleground Bible Church.

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Popple Rocks

Downloads Front Page Lafayette Podcasts

It’s late at night and my wife is asleep on the couch, but I just have to post this before I go to bed. Tonight at the Skylight Coffeehouse in Lafayette, I went to the open mic night as I usually do on Thursdays. Tonight, however, I was actually hosting, and I performed a little bit myself, but we were graced at the end with an act that was just so cool.

The band is called POPPLE, and you have to visit their websites:

You need to watch some of those videos and then come back here to leave a comment.

(Oh, and they are actually doing their music as a Christian Ministry.)

I hope they don’t mind my posting of this rip. (The live version was better.)

Contra by Popple

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