Thursday, August 31, 2006

New Wine Skin or ????

When we speak of working with God to create a new wine skin that makes disciples who make disciples I am wondering....

For a disciple-making movement to be free to go wherever God wants it to go am I making a mistake to confine her to a new wine skin? A movement of God cannot be contained to a wine skin.

A wine skin reflects something that will hold new wine. A Movement of disciples making disciples cannot be contained and to contain it will be to stop it. This is what happens in institutions and systems of ministry.

So we are making new wine for a new day as God starts a movement through us. Coming generations will be lost if we do not break free to allow God to do it His way in this day.

Are you with me?

What is a Disciple?

What is a disciple? Someone asked this in a blog post at another site today. Hummm! Let's hash this out with some initial comments to get you going.

A disciple: A disciple has a personal encounter with Jesus and seeks to be like Him and with Him with the priority of leading others to Him so others can do the same all over again.

Because we have an encounter with Jesus we all should want others to have this encounter as well.

As a disciple - does the love you have for Jesus compell you to lead others to Him?

As a disciple - does your desire to be like Him cause you to reach others as He desire

Come on folks....

Come on folks it time to make this really simple... You can go to church a hundred times a week if you want. I don't care what you do. Let's see how spiritual we can get. I'm for getting spiritual fit and for doing whatever it takes to be their. But...

But... What good does our spiritual fitness do us if we are not letting God use us to be a little Jesus to the world? We are still called, each of us to Make disciples by "Going", "Baptising", and "Teaching then to obey."

Let's deprogram a bit. We need to put our methods of only making disciples at church on the shelf for a minute. It won't hurt anyone on the shelf for a few minutes.

Now that we have that taken care of that let me show you how to be a disciple who makes disciples and everyone can do this, it's easy.

#1 I am a Christ Follower who wants to obey Christ by making disciples as commanded in Matthew 28.

#2 As a Christ follower I begin praying for a person of Peace as recorded in Luke 10:6. This first person God sends your way needs Jesus and you build a relationship with him/her and you keep growing that friendship until your new friend trusts you and begins asking questions. As you continue to disciple (not with a curriculum but with Holy Spirit direction and your experiences with Jesus). This person of peace comes to Christ and he/she is baptised and then you send them out to do the same.

#3. You keep meeting with your person of peace who has found Jesus for as long as it takes for a level of maturity to set in. And your new Christ follower meets with his new Christ follower for life and down the line disciples are praying for a person to disciple and they lead their new friend who leads their new friend who leads their new friend.

#4. Each disciple maker hangs with his new disciple by discipling them for life and all that you share is filtered down as your disciples shares and they share and they share and they share.

Why do we pray for a person of peace to start this? Because a Person of Peace is a reproducer and we need a strong foundation. We won't pick this person, God already has this person and all we need to do is follow His lead. If we start with the person of peace (God picked) and we make disciples down the line to the fourth generation (four times) we will have a God anointed movement of disciple-making that cannot be stopped.

Does this movement exclude meeting with the Body of Christ? Of course not! Remember I said the Body of Christ can meet anywhere and everywhere at anytime in any setting. As the Bride of Christ we can meet in 3.3 million dollar addition or we can meet in a park or we can meet at Star Bucks. I really love the park. I don't like it when we try to do the Hollywood thing on Sunday.

Can you imagine believers in America doing this? As a believer I need just one person, the person of God's choosing to create a God birthed movement of disciples making disciples. And with that one person, my life-long charge is to pour my Jesus into his life.

Now take your method of disciple-making at church off the shelf. We want to lead people to Jesus here also. But this is not the only place and it is time we quit think we are making disciples ourselves by seeing people come to Christ on Sunday. After they come to Christ on Sunday who disciples them on Monday. And please, please, please don't put them in a 12 week discipleship class because at the end of 12 weeks they will likely never disciple anyone because they will learn how much they don't know and they will be filled with fear that they might miss something. These classes don't help new disciples make disciples right away and usually they learn to feel inadequate for this simple task we have made complicated..

Whether you want to face it or make all the excuses you want, disciple-making is your responsibility and mine and we must not wait until we die to see this. One we see the Truth we held accountable to it. So this post is a dangerous thing..

Come on folks - let's face it before it is too late.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Whoopie Goldberg

Whoopy Goldberg in "Sister Act" had this this to say about the Church....."It's like Reno, It's about getting more butts in the seat."

Does this remind you of anything? What?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Terminology reaps huge outcomes..

The terminology we use reaps huge outcomes. In fact, the terminology we use dictates the results we get. Let me give you some examples:

"Church planters" - Is not biblical because we don't plant churches God does. Our call is to make disciples and as we do that -God births new Churches.

"Let's go to church today" - puts an emphasis on "going" as the most important thing or going to something it really isn't.

"There's a nice church over their" - puts the emphasis of church on a building or location which it will never be.

It is sad that I have to use the term "church planters" in order to find leaders who will join with God in expanding disciple making movements of God. Using this term infers that we are the ones who plant churches. Our responsibility is to make disciples. When we think we are planting the church -we look for ways to plan an event or ministries to attract the multitudes while focusing on what we can do to make it happen. If we would focus on making disciples who make disciples God would birth a movement much larger and growing much faster than anything we can possibly do ourselves with our smart methods and styles and multimedia efforts.

It's also sad that when people refer to a church "over their" or "the church" as a place to go. This subtle change usually causes us to miss the fact that we are the Church everywhere. Is it any wonder that many who go to church fail to realize they are the Church and are supposed to love, give to and serve the world by showing the world who Jesus is everyday. If the shift was from a place to a person or a people representing Jesus in the world we would finally have positive impact. The burden of being Jesus to the lost would cause us to act different and the standard of loving, not criticizing and not judging others would be what Jesus demonstrated and taught and we would treat people like Jesus would.

I prefer to call the Church the body of Christ -we are the Church. We should never say, I'm going to church, or I'm joining this church. We should say, I'm going to be with the Church that gathers at such and such or I am committing myself to serve in the world with this or that particular part of the Body of Christ in the world. Can you see how our subtle uses of terminology changes the truth of who and what we are? Does anyone have any ideas on how we can get away from terminology that has subtle and damaging consequences for the expansion of God's kingdom around the world?

What about the competition factor of referring to church as our church at such and such a place?
When we look at church this way, we live to protect ourselves, expand ourselves and keep what resources we have for ourselves. When we become the Church as the body of Christ there is no room for competition or boundaries or control issues or protecting our turf -we will work together and help others in the Body of Christ succeed in discipling others to Christ and with Christ.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Organic Ministry is fun!

Organic ministry is fun! People in the group are catching the vision of everyone making disciples who are also making disciples. If this can work everywhere else in the world - God can (and already is) doing it here. You can visit Pastor Terry's blogsite and see for yourself.

They are calling themselves "True Vine" and after only 22 days as a Missionary Church sponsored disciple-making/church plant, Pastor Terry & Suzette Goodwin have reason to praise God (and so do I). Today we met in another park for a combined gathering. Everyone meets in home groups during the week and every two weeks they gather for a different kind of meeting -you could say the Church gathered together today. With a growing understanding that we are all supposed to make disciples - more and more people are signing on with the vision of making the Great Commission the most important thing we do.

Organic ministry is fun! We fellowshipped together, we worshipped God, we prayed, Pastor Terry gave an awesome lesson on the Parable of the Soil and applied it to our lives and how people represent the different soil -but good soil brings forth fruit and the fruit is changed lives through our lives. We had communion together, we shared a potluck together, we shared how God was working in our lives and we shared our burdens with one another. But more than that the "True Vine" group is solidifying around the vision of making disciples organically.

We didn't go to church today -we were the Church -the Body of Christ gathered together as a family and with our own families. Children were helping to lead some singing, children gathered up our song sheets, children were listening and quietly watching. Parents were not shuffling their kids to another place - we were the Church together and it felt like the New Testament to me.

Have you ever gathered as (or with) the Church among people who love you, are concerned about you, know what you are going through, are praying for you, who really care about your walk with Christ, who would do anything for you? My wife Michelle could not attend with the Church today but some from the group stopped me before I left and asked me to bring Michelle when we meet together again in two weeks because they missed her today.

Let's watch God multiply as we all take seriously the Great Commission and start doing what it says!

Friday, August 25, 2006

What would Jesus do?

A large church in town had a ground breaking this past Sunday for a new building. How wonderful huh?

The very next day on Monday a young lady got out of her car in the church parking lot where she spent the night. She went in to ask for help -just a room in a motel would do -or even a place to lay her head and take a shower.

The pastor told her that they have no resources to help her and that the resources they have for this kind of thing are only used for their members. She was then referred to another Church to ask for help.

Really, what would Jesus do?

Expanding Our Search

We are expanding our search for Disciple-makers who will allow God to create a new wine skin movement of Churches across America.

I'm taking responsibility for joining with God in launching disciple-making movements across America with a serious focus on the following cities: Kansas City, Mo; St. Louis, Mo; Lincoln/Omaha Nebraska; DesMoine, Iowa; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Memphis, Tennessee; Wichita, Kansas; North West, Arkansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma, Little Rock, Arkansas; Dubuque/Cedar Rapids/ Davenport, Iowa.

I am praying for the Lord of the Harvest to send forth workers and resources as needed.

The fresh wind of God's Spirit is blowing across America to bring us back to New Testament Christianity and away from our Western and European influences of distorted Christianity. Leaders all across America are weary and tired of the demands of the church (institution) that brings little or no fruit. If you will view the Great Commission with supremacy and put disciple-making as the main thing -we have little concern about how the wine skin looks.

Imagine New Testament ministry in America where disciples are made through relationships and where every new believer immediately begins making disciples who do the same. If Christianity is to ever de-Americanize the Great Commission must be first with all other purposes flowing out of the main thing. Example: Worship, Fellowship and Ministry flow out of the Great Commission and not on the same level of priority. Think about the implications of that for America.

We invest friendship, training and funds into disciple makers who will allow God to birth hundreds/thousands of disciple producing Churches active outside of buildings and structures of bondage. If you are willing to sacrifice whatever necessary to change the world and not just influence her please respond. *Do not respond if you like Americanized Christianity. We need for the church (Americanized) to become the Church (Great Commission-ized).

Some of our team members will be bi-vocational and others will not. We are looking for authenticity and relevance that relationally connects people to Jesus. If you read and are challenged by the writings of Brian McLaren and Rob Bell we want to speak with you.

It is time for a fresh wind and a fresh fire to fall upon us. It's time that we allow God to create a new wineskin (with Great Commission supremacy) to hold the fruit of a huge harvest. Are you interested? Do you value being connected relationally to a district team who are also focussed on fulfilling the Great Commission? We are following what Christ mandated after He rose from dead as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Matthew 28:16-20).

As God speaks to you please do your best to send a resume and cover letter responding to the content of this post, in word format. EMAIL:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Everytime I turn around...

Every time I turn around God is opening new doors for reaching people. I love it. Now that I turned the corner in my life to do ministry organically with the expectation that God is putting people in my path every time I turn around, I am seizing the moment(s).

Yesterday, I met with two pastors from southern Missouri and shared my heart about disciples making disciples who make disciples and we were having the greatest time. Our waitress had a shirt on that said Uncle Bill's (where a name tag goes) so I addressed her as Uncle Bill to break the ice. She loved it and from then on she was uncle Bill. She watched us, she listened to us and she spoke with us about how God gave her the purpose of loving and serving people as a waitress. She is reading the Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and she is growing closer to God. While there I was doing discipleship the way Jesus did (does).

There's more to the story! The guy cleaning the tables was a young 23 year old African American by the name of Alix - who was working hard. I decided when I had the chance I was going to speak with him and let him know I noticed his hard work and attention to detail. As he came around me, I rudely broke out of our conversation and engaged Alix and did just as I decided to do. He lit up with encouragement. He then turned and then turned back and said he was looking for a church home. Pastor Kevin told him he would find someone to get in touch at the restaurant. I continued to meet with my two pastor friends and the longer we met the more I understood what God wanted me to do. I approached Alix and asked if we could meet for lunch or supper, and then I learned that he lives in the heart of St. Louis, and then he told me that he was not just looking for a church, he was looking for ministry because God has called him to touch people. I have his phone number and will likely call him today to go to the next level.

Now here's the best part. Pastor Terry our first disciple-making disciples making leader in this metro region has been praying about doing home group house churches all over the metro region. He has mapped out ten places where He feels God is leading him to start groups with a focus on disciples making disciples who make disciples. You should have felt the excitement as Pastor T felt confirmation to proceed.

Here's where I need you. Please pray that Alix will want to be mentored and trained by us and connect us with others in the heart of the city. Pray that Alix will grow to become a leader of leaders in disciple making. I know he loves Jesus and I know he will love this idea. What he doesn't know is that he can minister without a church "building" ministry. When God gets done with him - Alix will have a ministry of exponential discipleship growth. The disciples that could come from this young man will use their lives also in making disciples who make disciples in homes, parks, around pool tables, restaurants and even on street corners.

Every time I turn around God shows up and is making my dream of a disciples making disciples a move of God in America. Will you join with me to change America for Christ and not just influence her?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Where does discipleship begin?

Where does discipleship begin? If you read my blog posts you know I believe discipleship is evangelism. And, I also believe our discipleship efforts need to change by being geared to our culture. Actually, that's the way it was supposed to be all along. The way Jesus showed us to do it through relationships will always be culturally relevant. As I grow, I do not believe we should rely on altar calls to get the job done and done correctly. If I had it to do all over again, I would do discipleship through relationships and not through the altar calls because we need to do discipleship through relationships as a process and not a one time event and our new Christ follower will not feel condemned when they fall back like we all fall back from time to time. Coming to Christ begins with a process of moving people to God until they understand and decide to follow Him and stand with Him in baptism. Now that I went down that rabbit trail -let me take this subject deeper.

I believe after 23 years of doing discipleship wrong at the very least I must get it right from here on out. I discovered how to do it right in Matthew 28, the "Supreme" Great Commission. (For those of you who think I am stuck on the Great Commission like a broken record, please don't check out on me).

Let's get some things straightened out here. Discipleship should not begin after acceptance of Christ. Discipleship begins with a relationship way before that. (So if you do not interact with the unreached you will never disciple anyone). Discipleship should not be done in a classroom with a designed curriculum. If you put a new Christ follower in a 10 week program the fire they have of receiving Jesus will weaken and the longer you tell them what they need to know and the more they see how much they do not know they will realize they are inadequate to do it right. This is the reason most believers don't share their faith through discipleship. Discipleship is not just worship on Sunday. In fact it must be Holy Spirit driven and instead of having our own plans on where to begin -we should see where our friend is and then let God lead our time together. (The Bible says something about not worrying about what to say because God will help you). That's a novel thought.

Having said all of that - whenever you meet with those who are without a Christ relationship you are discipling them by your actions and words. Just building a relationship with them and letting them feel and see your love is discipleship. Today I was in a meeting in a restaurant and our waitress was being discipled by us, and so were those around us as they watched and listened and felt our Jesus love for them. We were having fun and our discussion was about how the Body of Christ should be instead of how we often are. Whenever you are kind and loving and with those who need Jesus -the discipleship begins. That discipleship continues as you keep meeting and as your relationship grows the curiosity grows stronger and the questions get deeper. As you new relationship grows, they will drop those walls down, they will begin to trust you. And as that happens - they will hunger and thirst for the God you love and serve and you will lead them to Jesus and they will be baptised and declare that they are a Christ follower.

Oh, it gets better! As your friend accepts Jesus you keep the relationship growing and you keep pouring into their lives your own experiences with Jesus in the context of where they are. And don't worry they will tell you where they are and they will share their struggles and need for understanding in certain areas. So we let God lead -that's a novel thought. Forget the canned program -and let God lead them through you.

As you further disciple the new Christ follower (by maintaining your deepening relationship) must encouraged to also do discipleship by building a relationship with another who needs Jesus and the process begins all over again. You keep pouring into your new Christ follower and your new Christ follower pours all that he/she has learned about Jesus into someone else and on and on the Body of Christ grows.

When I speak with my neighbors by building a relationship of love and trust, I am discipling them the Jesus way. Every time I speak with someone - I am showing them Jesus and the more I show them Jesus the more and more I am discipling them. Discipleship is a real event as my life is shared with those who do and may not know Jesus personally. I'm not preachy and I am certainly not judging them -I'm just letting God work through our relationship and that is discipleship in her purest form -the Jesus way.

Discpleship must be done organically and it begins way before they decide to follow Jesus as your relationship grows with them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Church in the Park? A church planters perspective

Please visit:

Pastor Terry has been with the Missionary Church only a few weeks and does he ever have a neat perspective on what I shared earlier.

A Neat Party With New Lessons

I'm blogging deprived since I have been gone recruiting and fund raising the last few days.

Anyway, I had the great privilege to be with my two very good friends San and Dominic and their family and friends. This party was Sunday afternoon. There was lots of laughter, food, conversation, obvious deep relationships, good jokes, wisdom, discussions that were deep and even home made wine (yes I was around wine) in abundance and being consumed by some (and I never saw anyone who looked or acted intoxicated).

I made many observations as I interacted with mostly (Italians & Greeks) and (mostly of Catholic faith) and then there was me - I am Dutch and Cherokee Indian and Missionary. I did not feel out of place because they took me in. Not only was I treated like family - but they really made me family.

The Lord helped me quickly be accepted as a human being and not as a minister. The Lord helped me quickly overcome their wrong perceptions about ministers and Christians in general. The Lord helped me show them I loved them and appreciated each one. They let me in and I let them in. Some of my deepest relationships in life are beginning to bloom.

Then it dawned on me like a ton of bricks hitting me side of my head. The caring and acceptance and caring, and happiness of being together with a demonstration of great love and respect for one another was something I have never experienced at this level in my entire life. As I shared this with Dominic I almost cried as tears welled up in my eyes (and I don't cry).

The circles I have lived in never afforded me this depth. Some in my circles (perhaps many) would condemn being in this setting with (wine, differing church affiliation and whatever). But as I saw good in them they also saw good in me (no need to criticize or judge). I almost felt like I was at the Wedding with Jesus and the miracle of turning water into wine (the best and the real. I wondered about the actions of Jesus as I pictured him with his glass of (the real McCoy) wine with his bread (with no damage to his witness). How Pharisaical have we become and the only "offended" would be the religious with all of their self-righteousness in all of our judgemental attitudes and false measures of being holy? It was and is the Pharisee that said (or thinks) Jesus hurt His witness and for sure the tax collector never thought such a thing. Actually for us to act in any other way actually hinders His message. We do that all the time when we focus on man made rules and false measurements.

This is the way the Church should be; more kind, accepting of others, less critical, no judgemental and exclusive attitudes (as if we are so good). As I spoke with my new friends I discovered that home values are stronger and the children seem more respectful and they teach manners, work ethic and respect for parents. And you know what? Is is not my job to try to figure out who is with and who is without Jesus.

I am learning from the cultures of others who have much to show about life, love, community, acceptance and respect for others. I did see Jesus at the party working as He always does -through people.

Still Asking...

We are still praying for the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into the harvest fields of St. Louis and Kansas City and we'll even help you in other cities as God may be calling you.

But, if you think the Americanized version of Christianity is working and you like things the way they are -please don't call me unless the where you are is truly making disciples and you are not bogged down with the expectations of others. We need new wine skins to be mobilized in the world, to build relationships with the unreached, to begin an organic New Testament model that makes disciples by beginning the discipleship process before commitments to Christ are made and that continues for life.

Are you weary of what you have experienced, do you feel tied down and unable to follow an organic way doing ministry, are you longing for freedom in ministry, do you want an opportunity to be involved in a ministry that moves beyond boundaries and man made expectations that hinder God's work? If so, read on.

Our planters get to move into a disciple-making ministry to the world who birth new churches that are not tied up in a system that drains. We want disciples who make disciples who teach new disciples to make disciples and we care little about how doing that looks. I tell the guys -follow God-do what He says-live and teach the Great Commission- teach them to obey -but don't get bogged down in doing things that are not clear in Scripture. (People are tired of man made rules and arguments about things that really don't matter). We do not dictate the end product (look and feel) as long as disciples are made by "Going, Baptising, and Teaching them to obey.

You don't have to keep doing what is often ineffective. Let's be the Church and do ministry in an organic New Testament way. Of course we have worship and fellowship and ministry in our disciple-making movement - all disciples do this. But we will not put God in a box. We let him lead each planter in freedom so they can move with God without getting the boot from disgruntled church members.

Would all of you who long for this -please post your thoughts. Hit comments, if you have never posted -put your name and email (no charge) and begin sharing your thoughts.

And, everything is on the table, so get after it.

Excuse me, Rick Warren...

Excuse me, Rick Warren, the author of "The Purpose Driven Life."

While I have enjoyed the read and have benefited from the truth and wisdom, there is one huge flaw -the emphasis of the five purposes. I'm thankful people are-connecting and even re-connecting with God through this resource for living. I love that part.

The part I don't like is the subtle and sometimes direct implication that these are the five purposes all at the same level of importance. They are important but one big one drives the others

As you have read, according to Rick Warren, there are five purposes for living and five purposes for the church. As I recall, he says they are: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism all on the level of priority.

A pastor friend of mine told me this story. He said he had led someone to Jesus and recently and that new Christ follower said this: "What's all this hype about five purposes and all these churches making sure they have every one in their mission or vision statement? " He then said, "Isn't there only one purpose or mission for the Church (the body of Christ in and outside of buildings)? Isn't the Great Commission our Mission and Purpose for the Church (us) and doesn't worship, fellowship and ministry flow out of our Mission?" Out of the mouth of babes!

Let me add a couple more thoughts. Whats up with the separation of evangelism and discipleship. When did we ever read in God's Word that there is a separation? Aren't we supposed to disciple people to Christ and with Christ as we interact with them everyday we and they live?

I agree with the insightful new follower of Christ. There is one purpose (evangelism and discipleship as one): "Make Disciples" And there are three ways to make disciples: "Going into the world" Baptising them, and "Teaching them them to obey."

As was said, discipleship and evangelism are one priority or mandate for all of us. The other priorities like worship, fellowship and ministry are by products of living out our lives in obedience to God (teaching them to obey).

To do what Rick Warren suggests is to bring Christianity in American more quickly to her doom as we see Europe today. While Rick is doing good work and lives are changed, the long term implications of this teaching (which is not intentional, I believe) will lead us to keep doing what is surely not working in America.

It's time for a fresh new start in a fresh new wineskin filled with "making disciples who make disciples" even if we have to give our lives for it.

This is sure to get a rise out of someone. I welcome your thoughts.

Charlie Brown once said...

Charlie Brown once said (so I was told by John Maxwell that he said this):

"I love the ministry - it's the people I can't stand."

Bob Carder once said -(I know that's me):
"I love the people -it's the ministry (church) I cannot stand."

But when the church or ministry (a place) becomes the Church (a people mobilized for the world and not just for ourselves), I love that (them) too.

Are you ok out there?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It is ALL about the Kingdom...

I am proud to be a part of a group of people known as the Missionary Church, people who place the kingdom of God before our own denomination. Our leadership at the top love our Church -but love the kingdom more. With that in mind, I will help you-we will help you fulfill God's dream of preparing people for eternity and helping people take more people to heaven with us. We celebrate your conversions and baptisms and discipleship efforts. We are just as much excited when you lead someone to Jesus as we are when one of our members lead someone to Jesus!

Is anyone ever troubled by our "My church ministry focus?" I'm running into allot of people who care more about building their thing than about helping the entire Body of Christ across denominational lines build the kingdom of God.

May God help us celebrate the success of the Church next door or across town. When did we ever begin to think our little kingdom or ministry was more important? When did we decide to be in competition with other ministries who are growing by fulfilling the Great Commission?

I'm telling prospective Church disciple making - church planters that if they choose not to connect with us -I will treat them no different than I treat our own (they are not really our) teams. We will help each other, encourage others, and I will consider it a joy to be in "one accord" serving with "all of you" for the advancement of the kingdom.

It really is time we put ourselves and our own success and ministries at the same level as others (across denominational and cultural lines) , doing Great Commission work in our communities and world.

I celebrate those who view the kingdom above all else.

What do you think about this -I really long to hear from you. Are you with me? Are you O.K. out there?

It really is -ALL about the kingdom (God is smiling)!

I Love the Church of Jesus Christ!

I really do love the Church of Jesus Christ! Afterall, Jesus died for us. His reason for coming to earth was for us. He intercedes for us. He sent the Holy Spirit to us. He resurrected from the grave for us. He loves us! He wants an intimate relationship with us.

If at any time you feel I am not for her-the Church-the family of God, remember I am trying to help the Church realize her rightful place and tremendous priviledge of living out the Supremacy of the Great Commission which moves us beyond a place or structure and many more things.

It never bothers me where you choose to meet for worship, in your home, at a "church building, with friends, at Star Bucks, at a park and I wish someone would do it in a bar. I don't even think the Bible specifies a day and time. You can and should live a life of worship and you should meet with others in the Body of Christ for support and direction. But it never stops there. I love the concept of the Church (that is you and I who belong to Jesus) , being discipled and discipling others who disciple others. This doesn't take money (but we should give beyond ourselves), nor does it take a certain building, nor does it carry the baggage we have been taught. I love the Church - I love you. You can worship as the Body of Christ anywhere for sure. If we are to be effective in making disciples who make disciples we will need to broaden our view of where true discipleship takes place and the fact that it takes a lifetime.

New disciples do not need a class in a home or in a church building to reproduce disciples. I recommend that while they are hot we should turn them loose to disciple others in the things they know and the experiences they have enjoyed wih Jesus. While that is happening you continue walking with them and pouring your life into them while turning them lose to pour their lives into someone. If you wait until you think they know enough -they will have grown cold and they will soon learn that they don't know everything and therefore they will think they are not ready. I love the Church who is organic and reproducing and trusting the Holy Spirit to be our teacher while pouring our lives and Truth about Jesus into the lives of others. Every believer can do this, with the help of God.

I love the Body of Christ often referred to as the Church. She is never a building or a program or man's design. The Comforter is here to teach us and guide us and equip us to do the work of fulfilling our mission -the Great Commission. Who needs a mission statement when we already have one. Jesus told us what to do -"Go" Then He told us how to do it - "Make disicples" and "Teach to Obey" and "Baptize Them in the Name of the Father & Son & Holy Spirit". And then He reminded us that He would be with us always.

If I choose, I would rather have Jesus lead me -that me lead me. I have been leading me for way to long. Do you know what I mean? It i God's plan for us to to be led by Jesus! And when I let Him lead - things happen in tranformational ways - I never dreamed possible.

I love all of you who are in Christ...I love you - the Church! And the world will love you and me too -when we become the Church who represent Jesus in our daily lives.

Hummmm, this is really good preaching, don't you think? Are you with me out there? I love you!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Note from Sarah -Disillusioned...

Recently my friend Bill Huffhine posted a letter from Sarah on his site at: (A must site to visit). Sarah has written a new book entitled "Dear Church! - Letters From A Disillusioned Generation" by Sarah Raymond Cunningham. You can buy this book and check other stuff out on her site: . What you are about to read is Sarah's own words describing her experience with the Church. Her book reveals the feelings and experiences of twenty somethings. We better listen. Thanks Bill for putting us onto this excellent and revealing resource. Read and weep with me!

Sarah Raymond Cunningham writes:"Disillusioned with the church? Believe me, I know how it feels...and I truly wish I didn't.I wish I could tell you that every moment of my church involvement was pure euphoria, one spiritual rush after another. High upon high. But there's no Super-Christian fairytale here. My journey is not quite that romantic.Life is hard. Christian life is no different. It is hard too. That's not to discount Christ--who sources us with truth and leads us toward fullness. But to acknowledge that I'm human and the other people who are teamed with me are human too. And that, sometimes, this makes for one very human church-sized mess.

More than once, I have laid in bed at night physically drained, emotionally wrecked, and relationally torn apart by some painful church experience. I've lost sleep, shed tears, made hard phone calls...and often still felt like I came up empty, short of a solution...and sometimes short of others even acknowledging that there was a problem to begin with. I've been sad. Not just normal sad. But deep down, in-your-soul sad. The kind of grieving that happens only when you believe SO HARD in the Church, when you invest SO HARD in the Church, and then the very source of hope you so strongly identified with seems to unravel in your hands.

I've been ridiculously disappointed...let down by people I respected in ways that rocked me so hard it was almost embarrassing. I've looked them in the eye, talked to them, felt their hurt, heard their perspectives and walked away with shreds of my heart in my hands.

I've been jaded. Holy cow, you guys, I've been so furious at times. My disillusionment has made me cynical and skeptical--not in the cool, edgy "push-the-envelope" way, but in a way that made me wish I could return to being innocent and idealistic and believing the best of everything and everyone.

Some moments seemed to cost me so much, it lead me back to questioning parts of my worldview. Like the church and its role in it. What does going to church service every Sunday morning really have to do with anything? I would ask.

I could not believe, I mean, I was seriously dumbfounded that Church--a concept that had brought me so many amazing previous experiences--could dig that deep inside of me and then hurt me. It killed from the inside out.

Whew. Sounds terrible and over-exaggerated to those of you who aren't disillusioned, right? But to those of you who are in this phase now...who are frustrated beyond belief with know, don't you? You "get" it.

I almost hate to revisit those times, even for the book's sake or for this website. But I do it for a reason more worthwhile than selling a few books.

I want you to know that, one, you are not alone. And two, more importantly, that if you stumble through this stage--even imperfectly--and keep on interacting with God at whatever level you can, your disillusionment WILL NOT go on forever. The way you feel now will not be all you'll ever know of life and faith. This stage will not forever usurp or delete all the good you've ever felt in the name of Christ and his mission.

You WILL feel hope again.

I won't lie to you. It may hurt for a while still. And even when you pass through it, you will probably encounter other painful experiences in the future. But I'll give away the ending of the book before you ever read it: Jesus is the hope of the world and he told us, the minute he first used the word "church," that evil will not prevail against it.

Outside of any organization or local congregation, you are the church, my friend. And evil will not prevail against you.

I hope this book and this website will breathe fresh air in this difficult stage of your journey. But they alone will not right all your wrongs. What you need now is quality time with patient friends who share the faith, room to sort out your frustrations and ideals before God, space to examine the church and yourself, and need some time to pass.

There is a time to mourn. But there will be a time to laugh again. Be blessed, you who mourn, for my God will comfort you. (Matthew 5:4)"

Much love,


Monday, August 14, 2006

New Muslim friends...

Here you go, a picture of our Muslim friends we met at the park last Saturday as the Church reached out to them. Funny thing...they reached back to us. The Muslim ladies and children were at the beach, our ladies decided to let the men be with the men in this picture except for Tonya & Amy our two roses among the thorns.

The guy on my left - I have my arm over his shoulder is a Muslim spiritual leader visiting with this group from Chicago.

As you can see Pastor Terry and his group are off to a really great start. Earlier there were more men, women and children all over the place. But everyone was done eating. In this picture I wish you could see the smiles on all of our faces. As you view this picture -please pray for Pastor Terry & Suzette Goodwin & family, their group of Christ followers, and of course please pray for Muslim friends and for more contact with them in the future.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

How Was church & Church today?

Notice little "c" church and big "C" Church! In earlier posts I have spoken of little "c" and big "C" but not one speaks to it as well as Greg Getz at After reading his post I was spurred to address it from my point of view. So Greg Getz has motivated me with this excellent and challenging article. This is a must read and don't forget to post your comments.

Here's my take on the "c" & "C" in (Cchurch). Little church equals an event or place where believers and guests meet together, usually has teaching/preaching & worship.

Big Church equals born again people changing the world the way Jesus did with intentional reaches to those who did not know him personally while supporting each other.

How was little church and big Church today?

I asked my neighbor: "How was church today? Were any lives changed or transformed? He said no! Then he said there are never lives changed or transformed." I asked, " What happens in church?" He said, "People are supported!"

For all of you: How was big Church today? What did you do to "go" into the world to build relationships and impact lives for eternity. I would rather give up my blessing and tell you what happened to me today. I 'd rather give up my reward in heaven to help you see and really get this principle. This afternoon I decided to do an act of kindness in Jesus name. I burned two huge piles of brush my neighbor has been wanting to get rid of (trees and limbs), since he is cleaning out his woods like I have. It was about a three hour job with a roaring fire. He hasn't seen it yet.

The big Church of Jesus Christ is a loving, supporting and a world changing Church. It is not just a place in a building for support of ourselves (it can include this but not at the expense of the other). We the big Church are NOT called to make a difference in the world -we are called to make the world different. Let the little church become the big Church in the world that supports each other and allows the Holy Spirit to flow through us in transformational ways to those who do not know Jesus personally.

If every authentic Christ follower in America would become (lost -relational) and (service - oriented and committed to discipleship) to and with others in and outside the (little church) we would see America changed by God through big Church (that would be us).

Oh boy!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Church in a Park on Saturday Morning

Church in a park this morning (Saturday)? You heard it right. Terry & Suzette Goodwin lead several discipleship groups who are the foundation of a discipleship movement that will birth other groups who will serve as the Church alive and in action. Are they the Church? You bet they are. Did I go to Church? Not really! I went to be with the people who are the Church so we could be the Church in action.

I met with the Church at the park this morning. Wait until you see the pictures. It was indescribable, like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. God's Holy presence was there. We gathered together with I'm guessing close to 20 core people. We shared informally around the picnic tables drinking coffee and getting acquainted. We then hiked to the beach for several baptisms. You should have seen the people watching the baptism take place. Pastor Terry, lead planter baptized Sherry who just gave her heart to Jesus last week in his home. She grew up catholic and has attended an evangelical church over 15 years and through discipleship with the Pastor Terry & Suzette realized that she wanted and needed Jesus in a personal way. Two children, Danielle and Moriah were baptized by mom and dad after Pastor Terry pronounced baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Spirit. No baptism has touched me more as I witnessed parents taking the Great Commission seriously.

It gets better! We hiked back up to the picnic area and while the group was getting brunch ready, I walked over to a large Indian-Muslim group. They were real nice and I just loved them and joked with them. They gave me a Krispy Cream donut like you get when you "go" to church on Sunday.

As our group ate together we began to share and enjoy each other's company -informally of course. After we ate, Joe led us in some songs with his guitar. After we sang together, Pastor Terry introduced communion with a brief lesson from God's word and we shared some testimonials and thoughts from the group. We passed bread, breaking it ourselves and then we took communion in remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus shared on our behalf. It brought tears to my eyes. The children Danielle and Moriah are allergic to bread and grape juice so mom had a substitute and for the very first time they partook in communion. Whew!

Before we left - I asked the guys if they would be leaders in going out as the Church and let me introduce them to my Muslim friends and they said yes. So we all descended upon the picnic area of my new friends and both groups loved it. They offered us tea which we took graciously and we just got acquainted and pronounced God's blessing upon them. The guys in our group were touched by this interaction. I told my new Muslim friends that I loved them and their people and Dr. Sheik said, "It is easy to love people back when they truly love others." It really is easy to love and build relationships with people.

As we were readying to leave, a group of our new Muslim friends came over to us. They shared for 5 minutes about their Islam faith. They serve only one God -they stated. We told them we do also. They shared a brief and very simple and correct description of who they are and why they are Muslims. We shared with them about baptism (which they saw) and why we believe Jesus is our Savior and how He died for our sins and was resurrected (which Muslims do not believe). There was so much more shared by them and us. Neither group was defensive or argumentative -we just loved each other and respected each other and tried to understand each other. Really!

After our Muslims friends left Pastor Terry spoke to the group and other thoughts were shared as we again sensed that a God moment in time just happened. Our group understood that Jesus is missing in Muslim faith. Our Muslim friends saw and experienced our love for them. As an expression of kindness and love our Muslim friends brought us a large pan of chicken wings spiced up Indian style and they were yummy.

Again as we were readying to leave, Pastor Terry said, "Let's get a picture of our group with their group as one group". So we did! We took pictures of the entire group and they took pictures of the entire group. It was another one of the most beautiful things I have even been a part of. Our group "the Church" saw how easy it is to be the Church at the park today.

They have my business card and invited us to their meetings - so Pastor Terry & I are going to go. I told my new friends I didn't just want to go to their meeting -I want to get to know them personally perhaps in their home or at a restaurant or wherever. And, if they contact me which I am almost sure they will, we will go to them as the Church of Jesus Christ at their meeting or in a home or wherever.

This experience and God's work through the Church today has changed me in a deep fresh new way. It was a delight to meet with the Church, a new developing core fellowship with the Missionary Church. Can you believe this?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Leadership for Vision: Kansas City

We are pleased to announce that Todd and Yolanda Bush and children; Elijah, Levi and Joel have now relocated from Kentucky to Kansas City, Missouri- where they have joined Vision:Kansas City (a Disciple Making - Church Multiplying ministry of the Missionary Church Midwest District). We are trusting God for a disciple making movement that births more than 10 churches in the next 5 years. I'm believing that God will do even more if the movement remains organic.

They moved by faith with no commitment of funding past December 31st, when they will depend totally on funds raised for support and other work if necessary. I don't know many people who would do that, do you? Todd and Yolanda told me that if the ministry does not require faith it is not worth doing. They are laying the ground work, getting culturally adjusted, and are already meeting people who open to them and their ministry of making disciples for God.

If you want to partner financially with the Bush family you can give a one time gift, yearly, monthly or weekly as the Lord may lead. Really if all you have is a dollar a day -a dollar a day goes along way.

See contribution info on the right of this post and clearly mark your gift for the Bush family in the memo. Your gifts will result in partnership in the harvest that is yet to come.

Please pray for the Bush family!

New Leadership for Vision: St. Louis

We are pleased to announce that Terry & Suzette Goodwin and their children; Anthony, Mark, Jessica, Christopher and Amy have joined Vision: St. Louis ( a Disciple Making -Church Multiplying movement of the Missionary Church-Midwest District.)

Terry has a great job with his company and He and Suzette are committed disciple makers. In their home last week someone they were discipling realized she did not know Jesus personally and gave her heart to Jesus. She and several others (3 or 4) are being baptised this coming Saturday. I must join with you in praising God. The harvest is starting to come in and many of you are praying and have part in this. Please pray for the Goodwin family.

This family is a wonderful example of how discipleship works in the home. Terry and Suzette disciple their kids everyday and it shows. These kids ages ranging from 15 to 23 love spending time with their parents. Each one has a strong commitment to Jesus!

I am really excited about what God is doing as we trust God for a Vision: St. Louis & Kansas City harvest of new Christ followers. We are trusting God for a Disciple Making -Church Multiplication movement that disciples and gives birth to more than 20 churches in the next 5 years.

Reflecting Deeply

As I was speaking with my very good friend Jim H from Kansas City on the phone yesterday when the Spirit of God spoke to me in a very exciting way. So if I get on a tangent -blame Jim.

While I am deeply dissatisfied (really at times disgusted) with American Church disciple-making ineffectiveness, I should not be seen as attacking her. I am just sad in my heart that while pastoring all those years I did not do a better job insisting that we make disciples who make disciples. I promoted "Come and Bring" instead of "Go and Share". Let's face it, more people, more so-called conversions to count, bigger buildings and larger offerings is not success in the kingdom. I am still grieving deeply.

You know the story of a man on his death bed who was asked, What what would you do differently if you had your life to live over again?

WHOH!! Here's what I wish I could do or not do if I had the chance to do it over. One biggie first! If I had my life to live over again, I would argue and promote less orthodoxy (my system of doctrinal positions) since I really don't know if I'm right-I won't know that until I get to heaven and then I won't care anyway.

If I had my life to live over again: I would focus less on building big multi-million dollar facilities... I would not put all that time and energy (most of it) toward the Sunday worship "Come & See" event... I would build primarily on what Jesus can do and less and less on what I can do... I would spend more time building relationships with lost people and less time with the already reached... I would preach less, teach (disciple) more and allow other beleivers to speak more about how God is working through them to change the world... I would not raise large budgets for our own operation -but I would encourage people to give tithes and offerings so together and individually we could give it away to impact our Jerusalem (city), our Samaria (differing ethnic groups), our Judea (American cities beyond ours), and the World (across American borders). I would do fewer programs for the reached. I would do more discipleship for the community on how to live ( finances, parenting, relationships and keeping life in balance)... I would lead a paradigm shift where the Church (the body of Christ) would meet in the community everyday with the reached and unreached (in homes, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, parks, work, small groups and larger groups)... I would eliminate membership requirements or committees or board members and elections... Discipling children and youth would be the responsibility of parents primarily... We would not own buildings... I choose to make the world different rather than make a difference in the world... I would continue under the umbrella of the Missionary Church because I value her and because she and I value life, community and world transformation. Together we are committed to Making Disciples & Multiplying Churches and we have freedom in how we choose (with God's leading) to do this.iven more and more latitude on how we will do this. This list is not exhaustive and as I grow subject to change.

Now that I said all of that. Let me now simplify and summarize all the above in one neat little package. If I had my life to live over again: I would "Go" into all the world (myself and through others) and "Make Disciples" and "Baptize them"and "Teach Them To Obey." This paragraph is what I would do, this and only this -If I had my life to live over again.

*When you see "I" it implies total reliance on God, like (I with God's help -I do realize I cannot do it on my own).

I should get a commission....

As much as I quote or talk about the "Organic Church" by Neil Cole from Leadership Network Publications, I should get a kick back so we can invest more and more in making more disciple makers.

I'm joking... really! If I could write a book and if God would bless me that way, it would be neat to give all the royalties for kingdom investment in things like a training center for emergent leaders that focuses on Making Disciples and Multiplying Churches while realizing that as we make disciples who make disicples it is God who gives birth to the Church. Something like this would be totally free for anyone to attend. No one makes money but Jesus. What a crazy idea, heah?

Anyway, I got side tracked a bit.

Has anyone else read the "Organic Church"? Can you tell us how it impacted you and your thinking? No resource in a long time has so moved me like this one. I guess you could say -I highly recommend it for all.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

When will we ask the right question about church?

Are we asking the wrong questions when it comes to the church? What church do you go to? How big is your church? What style or music do you have? Where is your church located? What is your denomination? How many services? What ministries do your offer (us)? Who is your pastor?

What is the church? Neil Cole says that in seminary he was taught that the church is: 1. a Group of believers gathered together regularly... 2. That considers itself a church... 3. That has qualified elders... 4.That regularly practices the ordinances of baptism and communion as well as church discipline... 5. And that has an agreed-on set of doctrinal beliefs." Funny or sad, that's what I was taught.

Neil continues, "When looking at the list above, what's missing?" Are you thinking?????? Come on consider this? "Jesus is missing. Why would you assume Jesus' presence but make sure that a qualified elder is present? This assumption betrays a problem in our churches, a serious one. The church is often more about what we bring to the table than what God does." OUCH!

Neil continues to hit the bullseye when he says: "A better question is, where is Jesus at work in our midst?" And please don't tell me He is blessing us -He wants to do so much more. "Where do we see lives changing, and communities transforming simply by the power of the Gospel? Where do we see fathers restored to a life of holiness and responsibility? Where do we see daughters reconciling with their fathers? Where do we see addicts who no longer live under the bondage of chemical dependancy? Where are we seeing wealthy businessmen making restitution for past crimes that were unnoticed."

Let's come to grips with this! Neil says it better than I can, "The church is the presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet." Matthew 28:19,20

Jesus rarely speaks to the church as a corporate entity in fact there are only two references where Jesus (however subtly) refers to His church (perhaps as a corporate entity) -only two that I see (Matthew 18:20 & Revelations 2:1). The rest of the time He is directly speaking to us, individually, personally, and prophetically.

When will we realize that the church of Jesus Christ is meant to be organic? When will we stop using methods of addition by believers (shifting of the saints) moving from church (place) to church (place) and begin a multiplying movement where disciples are making other disciples and where God is birthing new churches all around us.

There is great latitude in Sctipture to gather as the church (family) in whatever wineskin, however there is no latitude in the supremacy of the Great Commission and her fulfillment through us out to others. "Go" still means go my friends.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What's More Important?

What is more important anyway? I'm not anti Church on Sunday. I am anti not being the Church on Sunday. Go to Church and enjoy the "Come and See" event. But please, don't forget to be the Church. Forget that nap and let God use you for the sake of the kingdom.

The thing that gripes me is that we love going to Church in America. It makes us feel so good and we make all the cases in the world why it is important. I agree, no one loses anything by going. That is unless we learn that going to Church is all that is reguired. In America we have this mentality that if we go to Church on Sunday we have fulfilled our obligation. Well, I have some bad news for you. If you feel good about going and refuse to be among those being the Church and taking Jesus to others you have missed it altogether. If you are among the going to the church and refuse to be among those being the Church -you are a self centered pharisee.

Jesus modeled what it means to be the Church. He made it a point to have relationships with those who would never go to Church on Sunday. He took the church to them.

To make the point I go to Church, but if I had to chose between going to Church and being the Church I'd rather be the Church than go to Church. Maybe we can all do both. I just think doing both is not the norm in America.

Do you go to Church and are you being the Church? If you are being the Church tell me about the people you are building relationships with who do not know Jesus! Tell me how you are being the Church for those who do not know Jesus!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Doing It On Sunday

With all the stuff we get to do on Sunday's I have found a practice that makes me smile. You can do what you want to do, but I enjoy a practice that makes me smile. Since I've noticed that my neighbors don't go to church I thought maybe I could take the church to them. As God opens the door I walk through that door. My Sunday "must do list" includes visiting with a neighbor or two. Since I am part of the church -the family of God - a child of God - I go to them. Isn't that what Jesus calls us to do?

What do they see? What will they hear? How will they see me and hear me? It's fun to get to know them. I spoke with Chris and Kim today and we are continuing to build a relationship. I just knocked on their front door and made conversation. They just finished some work in their woods behind their house. They cleared the woods to see the pond and it looked great. Chris took me back and showed me his work and I commended him for the end result. We had a great visit - God opened the door.

As we go to church on Sunday have you ever considered taking the church to others? I love being the church and taking the church to others. Life is all about relationships. The message of Christ is all about relationships.

Let's take the church to our neighbors by being the church and going to them.

What About Mel G?

What about Mel Gibson? Another one of those celebrities in the news. He was demonstrating the results of His fallen nature. He reminds us all that we are sinners in need of daily grace. He did and said something he now regrets. Kind-o-reminds me of something Jesus said.

He (Jesus) said, He who is without sin -cast the first stone.

I would recommend that Jews and Gentiles alike take a regular stone and draw a smiley face on it. Then place the stone where you will see it everyday. It could serve as your daily reminder not to throw stones or point fingers, because we are all in the same boat. While I do not like the fact that he got smashed, drove while intoxicated and spewed out poison - there were things in my own life I did not like today.

Please find your stone, draw a grace face on it and refuse to throw it away.

And while you are at it, pray for Mel G.

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