Some of you know I was recently appointed to start a new Methodist congregation in North Louisiana. I have a mailing list I send out to anyone interested. A few people liked the first email so much I decided to post it here.
Why Plant Churches
One of the first questions I am asked when people hear about my appointment to plant a church is “…isn’t there already a Methodist church in Sterlington?“
Yep. There is.
“Then why start a new one?”
Here is where the rubber meets the road. The average church plant will bring 6-8 times more new people into faith than an older congregation of the same size. Newer people groups and situations require new methods and new churches. New churches are able to streamline and focus ministry in unique ways that existing churches can’t.
This isn’t just institutional reproduction. Starting new churches is evangelism.
If we want to introduce new people to Jesus, we have to start new churches.
Plain and simple.
Starting a new church isn’t just a desire for something new or cool, but it is about reaching new people for Jesus. I don’t want to pour years of my life and expend tremendous resources for “just another worship option” for church folks. It is about following the call to be part of something Holy Spirit led. For people who are already followers of Jesus, our highest calling is fulfilling the Great Commission. To follow the pioneering of the Holy Spirit and break new ground, go to new places, do new things and reach new people. God is calling not just Meredith and me, but others to be part of this new church. I don’t know who these people are yet, but I have been praying for them for the past year.
And I deeply believe that God is calling me to begin this in the Sterlington area. Not to be better or newer, but to go to a new mission field and meet new people and introduce them to Jesus. To follow the call of God without abandon. To create environments for them to experience God, possibly for the very first time. To help them discover the God-given purpose and call in their life. To create a culture of holiness and sacrificial love. To meet with God, see and experience His kingdom, and be part of doing everything we can to pull it into our place and time – “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” type stuff.
This is why we are planting a church.
In this episode of the Productive Pastor, I interview Justin Wise. Justin is a consultant and runs #ThinkDigital. If you ministry is curious about how the digital age matters, Justin is the person to talk too. When I sat down to plan out season 2 I knew I wanted to interview Justin. He was gracious with his time and shares plenty of great information with us. I especially appreciated the conversation about call and what ministry looks like (and doesn’t look like) these days.
How to Do More of What You Love (and Less of What You Don’t): Michael Hyatt
Michael has had several great podcasts on delegation. This is just the latest in the subject and it really digs into why everyone needs to be delegating.
How I Work On Several Projects At Once: Mike Vardy
Mike shares something each of us in ministry could learn from. We have jobs requiring multiple balls in the air at the same time. In this blog post, you can learn the benefit of intentional scheduling to keep everything moving ahead.
Schedule Productivity Around Ebb and Flow: Tanner Christensen
Do you ever try to do something important when you just don’t have the energy? The ebb and flow of our day matters, so schedule around it.
The Social Church (AMAZON link)
My review of The Social Church
Productive Pastor Insider Sign Up
Over the last few months I have been developing a toolkit for a weekly, priority driven schedule.
It was made with folks in ministry in mind…but I think it can add value to anyone. Bundled with it are easy instructions for making this part of your day to day.
You can download it here AND get a bi-monthly email specifically about productivity.
We haven’t done a guest post in a while. This one is from a good friend who has ministry and passion for Muslims. He wrote a great review of a book all of us could stand to read as we live in an increasingly multicultural setting. If you want to write a guest post, here are the things I ask for.
Connecting with Muslims by Fouad Masri. IVP Press, Downders Grove, IL. 2014. $12.00
Muslims are a great enigma in Western culture; especially in the Christian community. From terrorists who are commanded by their prophet and holy book to kill Americans, to Islamic evangelists poised to forcibly convert the world over to Islam and Sharia law, much of Islam is misunderstood. Yet, the Gospel mandate to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” compels us to go to Muslims with the Gospel, but sadly that rarely translates to our next door neighbor. Through immigration and globalized diaspora communities, millions of Muslims live next door and most Christians are too afraid to show them and share with them the love of Jesus. That reason alone is why Fouad Masri’s latest book Connecting with Muslims: A Guide to Communicating Effectively is such an important resource for North American Christians.
Masri not only answers many of the enigma’s that is Islam, he build bridges between Muslims and the average church member so the two can meet and Christ can be shared. The first half of the book focuses on practical ways to connect with Muslims like inviting them to share a meal or simply asking them to explain why they believe what they believe. Masri states “as ambassadors for Jesus, our goal is to construct a bridge by which our friends can cross over from misunderstanding to truth, from fear to faith. However, paralyzed with fear, many Christians hesitate to reach out to Muslims to offer them the same hope and security Jesus offered to them (24).” Jesus died for Muslims to know God and God has given us the responsibility and privilege to share that message with our Muslim neighbors, coworkers, and fellow citizens. How that is done is the contents of the second part of Masri’s book.
Addressing seven major “questions” or “themes” that may get brought up while in conversation with Muslims, Masri first and foremost reminds us that we must be intentional about sharing Jesus with Muslims. Being a Muslim’s friend does not create room for them to meet Jesus, only introducing them to Jesus does that. We do not convert or save, all we do is tell our story. Going through common objections like the Injeel (Arabic New Testament) has been corrupted or that Christians worship three gods, Masri gives helpful and visionary leading to North American Christians to most past fear and indifference, to evangelists who are sharing the life-transforming power of Jesus with a religion that desperately needs to know. “Muslims don’t know what we believe. They don’t know that Jesus has come to be the Savior- their Savior. It is a crisis of information.”
Practically sharing how and inspirationally sharing the what, Masri gives the church a practical and very helpful text in an area that very little has been written about- ministry to Muslims. Evangelism, missions, and church planting pastors need to read this book. God’s heart breaks for Muslims to know Jesus; will we be the carriers of that message? Masri says we must and I cannot recommend this book enough.
Welcome to this episode of The Productive Pastor. I have some great resources to share, great conversations and a great announcement. The focus conversation this episode is having a great weekend.
The Top Ten Lessons I Learned from A Year of Productivity: Chris Bailey
Chris shares why he took a year off before he entered the workforce to become an expert in productivity. He really hemmed in on why we should be doing what really matters. The whole website is great, check it out.
6 Subtle Things Highly Productive People Do Every Day: Eric Barker
Eric shares the tiny things that really matter. I love what he had to say about starting off your day well. It’s one of my secrets.
How To Have a Great Weekend
When I first started thinking about productivity I read Laura Vanderkam’s “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.” It changed everything. I quickly started reading the rest of her books. My favorite is “What The Most Successful People Do on the Weekend.” Go pick both of them up. They are only 2.99 and are really short reads.
Laura’s basic premise is weekends need to be planned. I know, some of you are instantly turned off.
Think about it. If you want a great weekend, you need to plan for a great weekend.
1. Find Something Special. Something you can only do on a weekend, with the space you have access too.
2. Find Something Regular. Plan a normal activity, a special breakfast or place you make part of your weekend routine.
3. Find a Way to Build Relationships. This isn’t just about you, but about those you love the most. Plan a great weekend that fills everyone up.
Tool Box Tip:
Do you have a day you regularly don’t look forward too? Perhaps it is just a really tough day and you are avoiding it. Because of this, you won’t give it your best. I recommend taking an extra hour and having your ideal morning before you get to the hard stuff. For me, this means plenty of time in scripture, Waffle House and around 30 minutes to drink coffee and read the internet. It puts me in the best possible mood to tackle whatever I need to do.
Productive Pastor Insiders List
I am super excited to release the Productive Pastor Insiders List. This will be a bi-weekly email featuring the best of the conversation about productivity, time management and the called life. It will be a place to feature community members and jump even more into the conversation.
As my FREE gift to you for signing up, I have developed an amazing weekly priority kit. It includes a weekly priority schedule, a day sheet and instructions on why I use this system every week. I want to give it to you just for signing up for the email list.
You can become a Productive Pastor insider HERE.