Monday, September 24, 2007


I heard a leader say, “If we change the questions, we’ll change the answers.” It caused me to consider the questions church leaders tend to ask, and suggest some that might be asked.

Questions we tend to ask:
How many did you have last Sunday?
How large is your sanctuary?
How much property do you have?
How many are on your staff?
What is your average Sunday AM attendance? Sunday school?
How many small groups do you have?
How many members?

Questions we ought to ask:
How many came to Christ through your ministry this last year?
How many have you baptized?
How many of your members been received by profession of faith?
How many churches have you helped plant?
What community involvements do you have?
How are you involved in social justice issues?
What is being done to develop leaders?
What are you doing to encourage women in areas of ministry and leadership?

What questions do you find yourself asking?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Questions! They provide insight. They spawn interaction. They can frustrate, deepen relations, and expand knowledge. A book on poetry entitled, “Living the Questions” gives an indication of their power. They are a critical aspect of life. They are something more than dilemmas to be answered and solved; they are to accompany us in our lives. Questions, even the unanswered ones, add vitality to our existence. At some level they contribute to our sense of living.

A questionless life is too predictable. Having no questions fools us into thinking we have it all figured out. We cease to inquire. We negate our curious nature. We lull ourselves into believing that a lack of questioning is an indicator of strength.

We strive too hard to have all the answers. Truth be told, thinking we have all the answers is the height of arrogance. When we think we hold all the answers we miss out on faith. Faith is the willingness and courage to continue in the face of unanswered questions.

Questions, in essence, are an entrance into deeper spirituality. They strengthen our faith, build our hope and deepen our love. It is in the midst of our questions we discover the reality of God. God tends to find a connection point to us through our questions.

Let’s not run from our questions. Instead embrace them. Ask them readily, wrestle with them regularly, answer them carefully and any that remain welcome them as friends.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


In the book, The Future of Competition, the authors state, “Most managers are reluctant to let go of familiar practices and tools—their zones of comfort.” This exemplifies many church leaders. We won’t let go of familiar practices. We continue to cling to our zones of comfort. We continue to see church as one place at one time. We refuse to look beyond the borders of the existing church property. We continue to hold onto our resources rather than invest them in the Kingdom. We continue to minister under the delusion that a non-multiplying paradigm can meet the diverse needs of the 21st Century.

Where are your zones of comfort? What delusion do you labor under? Are you ready for a paradigm shift? If not, why?

Sunday, September 9, 2007


I stated running, again, January 2006. I have worked slowly and diligently to increase distance and endurance. Currently I am running 4-5 miles five times per week. I have a consistent, but not fast pace. I am the tortoise not the hare.

Most of my running happens on the treadmill. I do this as I tend to be a fair weather runner. I could easily talk myself out of running if I was tied to outside. It can be too hot, too cold, too nice, too stormy, too sunny, not sunny enough…you get the idea. What I have discovered is that I find little rationale for not walking upstairs to the room that houses the treadmill. And it is there, mostly to the reporting of ESPN, that I plod away. The result has been a 48 pound loss and much better fitness.

But recently some folks have disrupted my running existence. They have invited me to run a mini-marathon (13.1 miles). What has to be understood is that anything that has marathon in it, associated with running, has held no appeal to me. I have run a 5k (3.1 miles) and a 10k (6.2 miles). Both have been more than satisfying. But my “friends” insist it is a small jump to the mini. I let them know that there is nothing “mini” about 13.1 miles.

I am going to do this! I am preparing to run 13.1 miles. I can’t believe I am even saying (writing) this. It still sounds so ominous. The target date is May 08. This seems far away, but these kinds of events tend to be here before you know it.

This is a big challenge for me. I believe I can achieve this for several reasons: I have friends to encourage me. I have people who will run with me. I have a plan to prepare.

Now that I think of it, it is not that much different that any other challenge we may face in life. When we have encouragement, others willing to join us on our journey and a plan; we can achieve more than we might think. WHAT IS YOU MINI?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Sunday August 19 my wife and I were watching the Today Show as we got ready for church. They were reporting on the progress of Hurricane Dean. It was projected that it would hit the Yucatan Peninsula as a category four storm later that week. NBC Correspondent Kerry Sanders was on the Peninsula reporting on the preparations. He made this interesting statement: “People are putting tape on their windows, which does absolutely nothing, but they do it every time a hurricane is coming.”

Did you catch his observation? People were doing something they had been doing for years although it accomplished absolutely nothing! I am thankful to say that church leaders do not make this same mistake…at least we don’t often admit it.

What is the tape we might find ourselves putting on our windows? I suggest a few.

Unasked questions: Organizationally there is a tendency to either ask the wrong questions, or to not honestly answer the right questions. The wrong questions are the ones that are formulated only to validate what is already being done. The right questions challenge the organization, but people tend to be dishonest in their responses. Dishonesty is evident when people recognize an honest answer would disrupt, so the response is so “politically correct” no clear answer is evident. Either way the result is the same, it becomes easier not to ask questions.

Soft accountability: Bill Hybels, at the 2007 Leadership Summit, stated: “Strong leaders submitted to no one are trouble.” I might add: Leaders with soft accountability creates an illusion of submission. Soft accountability is centered in organizational structure, not relational strength. Soft accountability has no clear expectations of effectiveness. Soft accountability nibbles at the fringe of people’s core. Soft accountability insulates leaders from the tough accountability giving a false sense of security against coming hurricanes.

Visionless leadership: Often the managing of an organizational machine is confused with leading a movement. Management can get misconstrued as leadership to the point that it is no longer expected that organizations be led. Carly Fiorina, former HP CEO, says, “Management produces acceptable results within existing parameters. Leadership is getting people to move in a new direction.” We settle for management and then ponder the lack of progress.

Organizational sacredness: When the organizational structure informs the mission and vision, and not vice versa, the organization has been sanctified. When the primary question is “How might we get to where we need to be within our existing structure?” The organization has become sacred. If there is mission clarity and vision passion nothing ought to hinder its fulfillment, including existing organizational structure.

Shadow mission: John Ortberg defines a shadow mission as that thing, a part from the grace of God, that undermines who we are. For many organizations that “thing” is putting its survival as its ultimate driver.

There is time to negate the taping of the windows. It can be recognized that these do nothing. We can find more effective methods. Are we willing to take that risk?

Saturday, September 1, 2007


1. The gospel informs the doctrine, not the doctrine the gospel.
2. If we don’t multiply as a denomination we will die.
3. If we can simply agree on where we are going, we’ll be able to figure out how to get there…
4. Loyalty does not mean we always agree, but it does mean we will do all we can to get along.
5. A genuine multiplication movement will never happen until it is driven by the local church.
6. Denominational structure must adjust to allow for a movement to be empowered, not
7. Freedom without responsibility is anarchy.
8. I don’t know everything, but this I do know: I don’t know everything.
9. Church planting and church planters can make denominationally leadership uncomfortable,
but I’m not sure “comfortable” is a Kingdom value.
10. God is God, we are not. We need to get use to it!
11. When it comes to church planting we just need to “get er” done!
12. If you haven’t thought about planting a church…you ought to!

What do you think?