Archive for category gca seminar

GCA Seminar Day 4

This is the fourth post in a series of recaps from the GCA Church Planting Seminar (click here for part 1, part 2, and part 3).

Session 10: Planning
This session helped us begin to implement all the previous things we had been working on and set key milestones that will help us get done what needs to get done before we plant. It’s both encouraging how much we have already done and discouraging how much there is to do. We’ll try to hold these plans loosely as they will surely change.

Session 11: Priorities
For this final session, anticipation was high. All week we had been told, “Don’t leave early. Make sure you stay for the last session, it’s always the best.” We were not disappointed.

In this session, Dr. Steve Childers (President of GCA) presented his “Eight biggest mistakes…that he can share publicly.” The gist of this session was that personal spiritual renewal and health is far more important than some version of of earthly “success” in church planting. This was a sobering session that caused both Molly and I to really think seriously about what lies ahead. Here are a few of the key takeaways for me:

  • I have views of what “success” is and most of them are illegitimate and not based on faithfulness to God’s call.
  • Joy comes from who I am in Christ, not what I do for Christ.
  • At the root of my frantic propensity to overwork is usually the sin of pride and an exalted sense of my importance in the kingdom of God.
  • Goals are things I can influence and control. Desires are things I cannot. Therefore, I should work toward my goals and pray for my desires.
  • God’s goal for my life is not merely to serve him, but to know him, love him, trust him, glorify him and enjoy him. God is not a means to another end–he is the goal of everything.
  • God loves me. Really. A lot. “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
  • I need people who don’t just tell me how to live and do ministry better, but also point me to the truth of the gospel.
  • I can choose to be content and enjoy life now, or I can put my hope in “I’ll be happy someday when…” and never actually get it.
  • I have an amazing wife who needs to be treasured and not sacrificed to the idol of “success.”

As you can tell, this was an impactful session. We’re so thankful to EVBC for sending us to this seminar. We learned a lot and were truly refreshed in many ways. May God be your joy and may you know the power of his amazing love.

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GCA Seminar Day 3

This is the third post in a series of recaps from the GCA Church Planting Seminar (click here for part 1 and part 2).

Session 7: Styles
This session was trying to uncover the particular styles that are necessary for doing ministry that will faithfully reach the culture of our community. Two dangers were discussed: 1) Under-adapting to the culture (ethnocentrism) and 2) Over-adapting to the culture (syncretism). Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s own culture, race, or nation is superior to all others and that one’s cultural ways of doing things is the correct and only way (ex: “Hymns are the most worshipful form of music in the church because that’s how I’ve always worshiped most fervently”). Syncretism is the contamination of Christian faith, ritual, or beliefs through incorporation of inappropriate cultural components (ex: “Most people co-habitate before marriage, so the church shouldn’t have a problem with it”). We talked about how worship style, learning style, community formation styles, and outreach styles all have to be faithful to biblical teaching and relevant to the culture that a specific church is in.

Session 8: Ministry Model
This session was one of the most helpful, and I look forward to sharing some of our insights in the future. The key question here was, “How will the church ministries work together?” This is an important question so that the whole church has focus, synergy and doesn’t let good things get in the way of great things. During this session, we worked to put together a flow chart that shows how all the church’s ministries work together. Very helpful.

Session 9: Finances
This was a practical session about the steps involved in fundraising and managing money. Fortunately, we have some good people already in place to handle the managing of money (I don’t want to be anywhere near it for many reasons). This session emphasized that as a pastor, even the accusation of improper use of money is as devastating as actually screwing it up. Nonetheless, we will need to raise a significant amount of money in order to start in strength. If you’d like to partner with us, click here.

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GCA Seminar Day 2

This is the second post recapping our lessons from the GCA Church Planting Seminar. Click here to read part 1. Don’t forget to comment!

Session 4: Philosophy
The key takeaway from this session was that in order to reach the community that God has put you in, you have to have a ministry philosophy that appropriately speaks not just to the behaviors of the culture, but to the beliefs, values, and worldviews that are truly the roots of the behaviors. We need to give gospel-based answers about the origin of the world, meaning of life, problems of evil and pain, hope of forgiveness, and promise for the future.

Session 5: Discipleship
To be honest, this session was the downer of the day as it lacked much practical help. I suppose the main take-away is that a church needs an intentional process that patiently helps people become more like Jesus.

Session 6: Values
This session asked the question, “What are your core motivations for ministry? What will you die for?” These are questions I’ve thought about quite a bit, and this session helped me understand how these values should begin to be integrated into the life of our church. A key lesson was that it’s important that the stated values of the church become the actual values of people in life. Lyle Schaller had a helpful quote here:

“The most important single element in any corporate, congregation, or denominational culture is…the value system. The values of any organization control priorities, provide the foundation for formulating goals, and set the tone and direction of the organization.”

Then the GCA handbook said:

“Church values normally take a long time to be truly owned and an even longer time to change later.”

I’ll post more in the future regarding our values. In the meantime, pray that the people in this new church will embrace the value system, join their hearts to mine, and live them out together in the power of the Holy Spirit.

More to come tomorrow!

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GCA Seminar Day 1

This is the first post recapping our lessons from the GCA Church Planting Seminar. Be sure to interact with the question at the bottom. We want to hear your thoughts!

Well, after a late arrival for me and a (mostly) sleepless night for Molly, we arrived in Orlando yesterday eager to learn and glad to be together. We’ve met some really neat people and were able to have dinner with Steve Ogne, EVBC’s church-planting coach. That time alone was invaluable.

Here were some of the key lessons from each session:

Session 1: Vision
The vision for church planting starts with a vision for the glory of God. The chief way that God has chosen to glorify his name is through the kingdom of God. The means God uses to advance his kingdom is the church of God. The church’s power and strength all comes from the gospel of God.

Vision for the Glory of God → Vision for the Kingdom of God → Vision for the Church of God → Vision for the Gospel of God

Session 2: Focus
This session was all about understanding the cultural context of the community we’re planting in. We thought through all the greatest needs of people in our specific community (physical, economic, social, emotional, mental, educational, spiritual and moral) and talked about ways that a new church can meet those needs with the Gospel. This session gave us a number of practical exercises that we’ll begin to do with the launch team so that we can really think like missionaries to the Williams Gateway/Queen Creek communities.

Session 3: Prayer
This session was about the need for strong prayer lives among the leadership and a culture of God-dependent prayer in the new church. I was very encouraged about how this is developing for Second Mile. Here were a few great quotes worth sharing:

Mary, Queen of Scots:

“I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.”

Francis Schaeffer:

“Our greatest danger is not liberalism, modernism, postmodernism, Bible criticism…the greatest danger is the church doing the work of ministry in the power of the flesh.”

Today we have sessions on Philosophy, Discipleship, and Values. Should be fun. Thanks for your prayer. Updates coming tomorrow.

QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION (leave a comment below): Other than the need for Jesus, what are the greatest needs of people in the Williams Gateway/Queen Creek community (physical, economic, social, emotional, mental, educational, spiritual and moral)?

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