Velocity is over but…

Those who know me tell me I’m addicted to conferences, twitter and facebook. So in the afterglow of Velocity, I’m thinking…

what it is about conferences that I love so much?

Hearing live speakers, passionate about their topic is certainly compelling and challenging. My thinking is always stretched, even if I don’t agree 100% with a speaker. I love the opportunity to ask questions in a breakout session where the goal is practical takeaways. But I don’t think it’s just the additional insights, or the gained new perspectives that draw me to the next conference.

What really inspires me is meeting all the people doing Kingdom work! From the volunteer support staff to the potential pastor; the worship leader to the vendor; the ministry ‘nuts and bolts’ to the well-known speaker. Each and every one of these people inspire me! All have found a place, or are looking, in the collective body of Christ.

my Who’s Who list

You may, or may not, recognize the people I connected with. But to me, their friendships/connections are the breath of life at a conference and beyond. I met a few people offline for the 1st time that I already knew so well from twitter that it was like running into an old friend: Aubrey Howell, Lloyd Owens, Brett Crimmel, Michael Trent. And I met some for the first time that I hope to remain friends with online: Nicole Hawker, Jenni Catron, Tricia Crimmel, Jenny Rodder, Bobby Williams, Josh Husmann, Tony McCollum, Dave Travis, Shawn Lovejoy, David Putman, Jeff Redding, Alan Hirsch, Jody Forehand, J. Michael Smith, Mark Clement, Michael Stewart, Carlos Whittaker, Jan Paron, Jeff Kestner. There were many I had already met but I just loved seeing their faces again: Sherry Surratt, Jeff Wright, Chris Mavity, Casey Graham, Larry Osborne. If I missed anyone, please don’t tell me, it would break my heart. Seriously.

I’m super excited about being at Synergy 2010 Tuesday where I will meet more online friends and reconnect with long-time friends. If you are coming, please let me know, or find me, and say hi. I can’t imagine this ever getting old!

twitter, facebook and blogs

These are just the tools that keep us connected and allow relationships to grow between conferences. See you online!

Synergy 2010

Here are my top 5 reasons for attending Synergy 2010!

  • Mike Breaux “DNA of a Dangerous Church” (’nuff said)
  • Ministry-centered round table discussions led by the best – share ideas, resources
  • Connections, connections, connections
  • Chicagoland area
  • Oh, yeah. It’s FREE!

So, what are you waiting for? Register for Synergy today!
Follow @Synergy_2010 on twitter for the latest info including the breakfast tweetup.

Make the most of this conference by joining the fan page on facebook today so we can start connecting now! Hear Tim Harlow’s (Pastor at Parkview Christian Church and conference host), vision behind Synergy on the fan page. See you there!

Synergy

Tuesday, March 2
9am – 3:30pm
Lunch Provided

Exponential Conference 09 – Matt Chandler on Making Disciples

Matt Chandler, Lead Pastor of The Village Church, Highland Village, TX, led a great session on The Leader’s Capacity to Make Disciples.

Matt 28:16 Teaching them to OBEY, OBSERVE all that I commanded. Chandler contends that these were followers, not converts. They were actively following Christ. Today’s churches lack a system to hold the people of faith accountable to following the Lord.  We need to adopt a “disciple and send” mentality, rather than the “convert and retain” that we ue.

While many churches keep people busy going to things, empirical data doesn’t show disciples being made. Below are what Chandler feels are the two models of discipleship that exist.

Mechanical/Linear Model

Usually in a classroom with a given timeframe.
Programs quickly become sacred
Stop measuring whether people are discipled, tend to just count the # going through the program

Pros

  • No better/easier way to disseminate info
  • Has historical success
  • Tons of resources/curriculum (Google Christian lit)
  • Easy to measure success
  • Easy to motivate people to join and participate
  • Lends itself to strong, historic, orthodox theology

Cons

  • Hard to sustain
  • Starts Big; Dies out quickly
  • Can lead to coldness
  • Lends itself to a type of person
  • Mechanical, linear type A people
  • Can lead to the ‘theology police’
  • Can lead to arrogance and stupidity

Organic Relationship Model

Discipleship happens through relationships; less structured

Pros

  • Produces belonging; built relationally
  • Tends to appeal to a broader personality types
  • Most people not linear

Cons

  • Organically we’re sinful – maturity doesn’t just ‘happen’; arrogance to youth
  • Huge schism between generations on models

Try to strike a balance between Mechanical and Organic

1.   The air that your church breathes must be the air that celebrates transformation and change
  • Regular testimonies – but include every stage, even unbelievers People will be able to better relate and not feel unworthy
  • Teaches maturity, growth, movement of ALL stages
  • Hope comes from showing struggle w/faith
2.    Need on/off ramps
  • Seasons of whole church study in groups followed by less structured opportunities
3.    Keep flexible
  • Keep only the mission end goal sacred!
4.    Needs to be a relational aspect to everything, even the mechanical
  • Home groups
  • Teach application by asking the How? and When? questions.

Sticky Church

sticky09_conference07Suncrest had the pleasure of hosting the STICKY CHURCH Conference on Tuesday. It was such a blessing to host AND participate. I had the chance to meet tweets and leaders from across the country. I am such a student at heart, I always love learning from others who have experienced success. Some take-aways from this conference for me…

What’s the Big Idea?

Dave Ferguson, Lead Pastor of Community Christian Church, opened the conference with an observation…

•    When more information leads to less action, that’s a big, big problem.
Solution?
•    You give people one big idea, there’s a better chance that it’ll stick
•    Big idea can lead to speedy obedience
•    Church should not just be a place of information, but a place of transformation

Turning Attendees into Advocates: The Sticky Church Paradigm

Larry Osborne, Lead Pastor of North Coast Church, says, “the stickiest thing you’ve got in your church are close and tight personal relationships.”  And what really struck me was his comment,“’at least they got a good start’ was not what Jesus meant in the parable of the sower.” BAM! Has your church become more worried about who was coming in, ignoring who was already there? Larry shared the new priorities that helped turn North Coast around and the lessons he’s learned. If we can’t learn from him, we just aren’t trying.

Missed a few sessions because I had the privilege of leading a workshop on Leveraging Social Media, with Greg Lee. Will post on that soon.

The North Coast team was a blast to work with and has epic organizational capacity and coordinated efforts with our own Cindy Barker! The result was a smooth-flowing conference that impacted hundreds of church leaders with fresh ideas on how to further God’s kingdom.  Loved meeting all of the North Coast bunch and look forward to staying connected with them on Twitter.

Sticky Church Conference

sticky09_conference07

Does it matter how many people are coming through YOUR front door if YOUR back door is wide open?

There are plenty of ways to get people to come to church.  Keeping them there is another matter.  Many of our churches seem more like Teflon than Velcro.  So what will it take to make your church Sticky???

Find out at the One-Day Special Sticky Church Conference hosted by Suncrest Christian Church!!

Sticky Church is a “can’t miss” event with main speakers Larry Osborne, Dave Ferguson and Scott Chapman! The reasonable cost also includes 12 practical workshops! Check it out and register now – just click on the picture.

Social Media Workshop!!!!
Live interviews via webcast with DJ Chuang , Tony Steward and Cynthia Ware !

I am thrilled to lead a workshop along with Greg Lee that includes interviewing three great friends I’ve made through Social Media.

DJ Chuang is a Director at Leadership Network, launching digital initiatives, and connecting multi-site churches, and Asian American churches.

Tony Steward is the Online Community Pastor at LifeChurch.tv using Social Media to connect with the internet campus community.

Cynthia Ware has served in pastoral  ministry for 20 years.  Her blog, The Digital Sanctuary, encourages Christian leaders to embrace and employ new media technologies to serve the Kingdom of God.

Hope to see you on March 31st!


Breakfast of Champions

bfst-of-champs

Ok, at the request of friends and tweets, I am posting about my breakfast with Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley and Bobby Gruenewald.

Last Thursday, Suncrest sent 25 leaders to Granger Community Church to participate in Catalyst One Day. Heard so much about the Catalyst event in Atlanta, and was really excited to attend this smaller-scale version. There were about 1500 attenders.

A really nice touch was the offer of 1 ticket per 10 purchased to have breakfast and lunch with conference speakers Craig Groeschel and Andy Stanley. So we had 2 for each meal. I jumped at the chance to join them for breakfast.

We expected 150 people at a breakfast where Craig and Andy would talk or stand in front and answer questions, but there were only about 8 tables set up.  Kevin Richardson and I joined one other guy at a table, chatted a bit, then made our way to the food table. I turned around for a minute and saw that Craig was sitting at our table in the seat right next to me. Ok, let me admit right here, I get a little giddy around high profile people. Just a warning in case any of you are reading this. Ha! 

Craig, Bobby Gruenewald, a pastor friend of theirs from OK and Andy were talking, and I assumed they had prayed already, so I sat and prayed quietly.  When I finished, Craig turns, shakes my hand.

“Hi, I’m Craig Groeschel.” My intelligent response? “Oh, I know!”

 …Sheesh!  Mom will be so proud of my manners.

Great conversation after that. Andy and Craig talking ’09 budget challenges, ministry initiatives, fun stuff. At some point, I mentioned starting of a snowmobile club at Suncrest, and Andy said how they had a pretty big snowmobile club at North Point. No smile, not even a smirk. Ha ha Andy, I wasn’t that giddy! Snowmobile club in GA!?!  Andy’s so funny and deadpan, it’s hard to tell when he’s playing.

Yes, it was fun, and I’ll remember it for a long time. Maybe next time, I’ll even remember to introduce myself.

Catalyst One Day Session 4 – Andy Stanley

andy_stanley1Don’t Be That Couch

Andy Stanley


Whereas programming begins as an answer to a question, over time it becomes part of organizational CULTURE.

A.  As culture changes, many of the questions remain the same, but the answers DON”T.

B.  The tendency is to institutionalize our answers.

C.  If we institutionalize an answer, the day will come when it is no longer an ANSWER.
Couch metaphor – grandma’s stained couch – in love w/it because of the memories, stains are memories. Couch fulfilled a function when new, now needs to be removed. Stained now. Not beautiful.

When we fall in love w/programming, tendency is to keep it around too long. We become emotional about programming/ministry. Identify couches that need to go. But everybody’s in love w/the stupid couch.

See the couch differently, for what it is now. Can drag around expensive, ineffective couches.

II We must continue to be more committed to our mission than to our programming or our model.
Don’t fall in love with program/model.

A.  Over time, sustaining the model can become the MISSION.

B.  Over time, the model can work AGAINST the mission.

III Points of discussion

A.  What have we fallen in love with that’s really not as effective as it used to be?
What are we emotionally attached to? We created it, and trained for it.

B.  Where are we manufacturing energy?
Pretend/manufacture enthusiasm about an event. Cringe factor? Have a mtg about it asap. You should feel great about everything that’s happening. Don’t kid ourselves. That couch is good!?

“If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he or she do?  Why shouldn’t we walk out the door, come back in, and do it ourselves?” – Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove
New person would see the ugly couch and it needs to be addressed. As leaders we are responsible to step up and acknowledge the ugly couches.
i.e. baby dedications – good leadership saw that it looked old, took a year to revamp.
Write a letter to the child that they receive on the day they receive Christ.

C.  What are our organizational ASSUMPTIONS?

Leaders must bring the underlying assumptions that drive company strategy into line with changes in the external environment.
Wrong assumptions lead to bad decisions.
What assumptions about how to connects Singles? Not band/speaker/production. Community service. works

The assumptions a team has held the longest or the most deeply are the likeliest to be its undoing.  Some beliefs have come to appear so obvious that they are off limits for debate.

  1. What do we assume about people and how to reach them?
    What assumptions drive our programming decisions?
    We assume Christians love to worship.
  2. What do we assume programatically?
  3. Which assumptions are false?
    Information and inspiration are enough for transformation.
    Moments create movements.
    If parents and kids attend kids programs together, they’ll be better at raising their kids spiritually.
  4. Which assumptions are true, but not fully leveraged?
    People don’t stick to a production, they stick to a relationship.
    How do we create sticking points for relationships?

To reach people nobody is reaching, we need to do things nobody is doing.

Conclusion:

What we are doing is so important, we can’t keep these couches around anymore. Tools come and go. Challenge is to lead people in our church to know this.