Friday, December 15, 2006

Jesus Did Not Despise the Little Things

“He Did Not Despise the Little Things”
From Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership by Laurie Beth Jones
© 1995 Hyperion: New York (pages 76-78)
Posted by permission

In the Old Testament a verse reads, "A day of little things, no doubt, but who would dare despise it?" Jesus did not despise the little things. When he set out to change the world, he chose only a dozen people to work with — not a cast of thousands, He packed value into every minute, every glance, every question, every encounter because he knew that out of little things come big ones.

I see such an impatience with and disregard for little things in business that it disturbs me. Yesterday I listened to a woman lament that her bosses had taken away a key sale from an employee and "given" it to another one because it somehow made the store's overall cost of sales lower. Were they thinking that was just a minor incident to this salesperson? By trying to inflate the bottom line, they had punctured her trust and morale. "It was just a little sale," they assured her. Yet by depriving her of her little sale, they were losing their real customer — the employee herself.

I worked once with a boss who didn't want me to spend so much time with clients. "Go after the big clients, Laurie," he said. "Leave the peanuts to the others." And yet when the numbers were totaled, my combination of small sales out totaled his few "big ones." I thought to myself (as I resigned to start my own company), "Dinosaurs became extinct—yet rabbits still abound."

Aren't many of us hounded by a sense that only the big things count? I personally have had to battle- a mindset that said whatever I did had to be the biggest and the best. I couldn't just write a poem—it had to be Ulysses. Recently, out at Gold Rock Ranch, my artist friend Willy was teaching a group of us how to carve soapstone. Having seen her so quickly and easily carve out lovely shapes of bears and birds, I took my raw chunk of soapstone and began to study it intently. As if reading my mind, Willy called out, "All right, group, let's break for the afternoon while Laurie carves The Last Supper." I laughed and laughed. It was true. I thought surely I had to create — was about to create—a masterpiece on my first try. What I ended up with looked like a mix between a dove and a rocking chair — a silly little thing. Yet any creative person knows not to despise the little things —the first brush stroke, the first word on paper, the first phone call to a prospective client or Friend....

Jesus did not spend his time creating operations manuals that could be franchised and duplicated by the millions. He hurried to see a little girl who was sick, focusing only on getting her well; he knew that one boy's loaf of bread had all the ingredients necessary to feed thousands.

He did not despise the little things.

How in your life or business are you “despising the day of little things”?

What deed of yours today would you want to see multiplied?

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Local Church's Role in Mission

"The Local Church’s Role in Mission"
by Larry Reesor from Mission Frontiers (June 2000)

It is generally accepted that each individual who makes up the Body of Christ, His universal Church, is responsible to get the message of Christ's salvation to the world. Each of us is called to be a "world Christian." We must be reminded, however, that over 90 percent of the references to the church in the New Testament are to the local church. God values the life and ministry of local churches, the structure through which He primarily works. His work is primarily accomplished via relationships in and through local churches. Therefore, to put it succinctly, God's mandate to reach the world is primarily to individual believers who together comprise local churches...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The City and Unreached Peoples by Harvie Conn

The City and Unreached Peoples
by Harvie M. Conn

The following was a presentation by the late Harvie Conn at Urbana missions conference in 1987:

What is a city? For a North American white, a city is a melting pot. For a suburbanite it's a ghetto. For my next-door neighbor in inner-city Philadelphia, a city is "One large collection of nothings."

Now all these definitions are wrong, and they're all wrong for the same reason. Yuppie, suburbanite or black, most people can't see anything in the city except mathematical urban units of one. They're like the pastor I met once in our ministry in Korea. At a moment of truth he confided in me, "I have a very hard time telling all Americans apart. You look so alike." I think that's how we all see cities.

More of the article HERE

It is a two part article>>>

The City and Unreached Peoples Part 1: Here

The City and Unreached Peoples Part 2:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New Issue of thechurchplanter online!

Our 11th issue of "thechurchplanter" is posted online for all to read. Click HERE to check it out.

If you would like to receive a hard copy or multiple copies please contact Mike and we'll get them out to you.

Recent Back Issues of "thechurchplanter":

Women & Church Planting

Essential Evangelists

Churches Planting Churches


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Who Can Plant a Church?

In order to engage in church planting effectively, it is important to consider who can plant a church. Do only churches plant churches? What about denominations? What about an individual? For that matter, must an individual be ordained, formally trained, and sent out by an agency of the denomination? In both the New Testament and today, we see several patterns regarding the who of church planting. Check out the rest of the article HERE

Thanks to for this helpful article.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Multi-Cultural Church Planting Guide

The multicultural church matches a need in our society. In the “Foreword” to Manuel Ortiz’ book One New People: Models for Developing a Multiethnic Church,Harvie M. Conn crystallizes this point: In a day of fear and mistrust the multiethnic (or multicultural) church is a sample of recomposition in Christ. E pluribus unum (“One out of many”) is a visionary slogan in politics; in the multiethnic church it is a response of the Holy Spirit to culture wars. It is well worth more than a quick glance by a fractured society seeking unity in too many superficial solutions, and by a church that often doesn’t realize the treasure it has been given.

The multicultural church prepares us for a picture of eternity. “And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).In his book Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby counsels, “Find out where the Master is—then that is where you need to be. Find out what the Master is doing—then that is what you need to be doing.” God is already drawing people of every tribe and language and people and nation together to worship Him for all eternity. The multicultural church becomes an example of what can be done on earth and a foretaste of what will be in heaven. Is God calling you as a prayer supporter, a multicultural church planter, a church planting team member, a church planter’s mentor, or a helper from a partnering church? If “yes” or “maybe” is your answer to one of these, God may use this resource in and through your life.

The whole guide is available HERE

Friday, October 20, 2006

Great Bibliography and more in Church Planting Class Syllabus

I found this syllabus online for the following class:

by Steve Childers, Steve Ogne, Ed Stetzer & Others
Doctor Of Ministry Elective Course 2DME 853

This class was part of Reformed Theological Seminary ( coursework. As you can see from the Teacher List, this is a good crew. The bibliography in this syllabus is excellent. I thought it was at least worth posting for that reason.

Check it out HERE

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Reconciling Community

When sociologists want to provide evidence that there is still a racial divide in our country, many times they look to the Church for the compelling facts. Maybe you've heard the saying before, "Eleven o'clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America." Though the Bible is the most multicultural piece of literature you'll ever put your hands on, the bride of Christ struggles to look like the first Christian Church in the book of Acts or the future kingdom of heaven where believers will live eternally.

I have the awesome privilege of serving as the senior pastor of The Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, Minn. In just over three short years, this ministry has grown to become an intergenerational, hip-hop, multiethnic, reconciling and urban community of close to 800. Our congregation at the time of this writing is about 60 percent European-American, 35 percent African-American, and the rest a mix of Latino, Asian and others.

As an African-American male in my mid-30s, I often wonder not only how I came to pastor this amazing church, but also how I live in what I consider the spiritual warfare of the racialized matrix in American society. Let me briefly guide you through an experience of corporate worship at The Sanctuary:
On this particular Sunday morning, an experience of corporate worship is about to begin that has been focused on racial reconciliation for the last seven weeks. The service begins with our worship leader giving an opening prayer and then leading a time of praise and worship, which includes hip-hop, soul, rock licks and urban gospel. It's interesting to me that our church is 60 percent European-Americans, yet most Sundays our praise and worship style is so diverse.

Before the sermon, our Reconciliation Design Team presents a dramatic, spoken word piece titled "Where I'm From." The piece is presented by a multiethnic group of women and men who tell their unique ethnic stories of their upbringing, faith and take on the world around them. They end the piece by asking in unison, "Where are you from?" After that, I preach a sermon titled "Reconciliation and Worship," which ends with an altar call of people from different backgrounds committing to and praying through being ambassadors of reconciliation in the world.

I realize in that moment that this is something special and out of the ordinary for a church in America. The Sanctuary is what I would call a post-black, post-white church. I think about this, and I grieve because I want so badly for the norm of the Church in America to be an ancient-future Church that lives in the tension and victory of the first Church in the book of Acts and the picture of heaven that we see in Revelation 7.

One might ask why it would be so important for the Church today to be a Christ-centered, multiethnic and reconciling community. Well, there is the sociological reason that we live in an ever-increasing multiethnic and multicultural society, and if the Church is going to be a relevant force of evangelism and mission in this reality, we must strive internally for the multiethnic faith community. This is not the most important reason though. The Church ought to be multiethnic because it's biblical. We see this through the Great Commission, as well as the early Church and future Church; we also must wrestle with the multiethnic Christ, who is the Bridegroom to the Church we are called to develop through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

The black church and the white church are the most visible pictures of our need to become one so that the world might know that the Father sent the Son (John 17:21).

The black church historically is a community refuge, an institution of African-American empowerment and a place of escape from the remnants of racism and prejudice that have yet to be dismantled in our society. I believe that because of the history that the black church has in our country in terms of being prophetic, addressing social injustice and being bold and charismatic, it ought be one of the leading champions of the Christ-centered, multiethnic and reconciling church. This is truly what I mean by becoming a post-black church. Through taking a post-black church approach, the black church can also point other ethnic-specific churches to the biblical call to oneness and reconciliation.

Though not typically referred to as the white church, it remains the majority church in this country for the time being. Through the ever-increasing multiethnic and multiracial reality within our nation, however, the future of the white, dominant church is threatened.

By the black and white church embracing the mission and theology of reconciliation, we not only produce a church that is relevant to an ever-increasingly multiethnic and multicultural world, but we also become the beloved Church portrayed in Scripture. My prayer is that the multiethnic and Christ-centered Church would become the norm in America.

Efrem Smith is the pastor of The Sanctuary Covenant Church and is profiled in The RELEVANT Nation (RELEVANT Books).

From the 850 WORDS OF RELEVANT :: 10.16.06

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cross-Cultural Church Planting Models

If you are thinking about how your church could cross-cultures and start an ethnic church, this article can help give you some ideas of different ways it could work.

Read on for more...

Urban Cross-Cultural Church Planting Models by Jerry L. Appleby (1986) Reprinted with permission from Association of Nazarenes in Social Research

No two situations are the same. Each neighborhood, language, and church needs its own action plan. Each plan becomes its own model.

Several churches have followed somewhat similar patterns. The following criteria have been used to select and describe models that can be used as examples.

There are actual churches that have examined by the author.

They are successful in that growth and evangelism have taken place. It might be said that the model "worked."

These models do not seem to have geographic sectional overtones or to have successful because of their geographic location.

Certain adaptations can be made to these models without loss of workability. All the characteristics may not fit a given situation, but the models can still be a usable plan.
These examples are not meant to be exhaustive, but illustrative. Other examples no doubt do exist. God given ingenuity will probably create more in the future.

Read the article here

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Kurt in Mexico to encourage church planting at Equipo Internationale family conference.

Kurt is on a ministry trip to Mexico for the next week with Martin Guerena, Phil Guerena, John Baker and Tony Webb to encourage pastors and their wives in their church planting goals and work. He will speaking each night and at the annual Equipo Internationale family conference.

Friday night the group attended the Mexican Independence Day fesitivites in Tacate where nearly 100,000 people gathered to celebrate. The evening ended with a magnificant fireworks display. To see pictures and more info of the trip throughout the trip, click on the following link:

Your prayer support this week is greatly appreciated.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Women & Church Planting Issue of Posted Online

Our 10th issue of "thechurchplanter" on Women & Church Planting is posted online for all to read. Click HERE to check it out.

If you would like to receive a hard copy or multiple copies please contact Mike and we'll get them out to you.

Recent Back Issues of "thechurchplanter":

Essential Evangelists

Churches Planting Churches


Living Stuff Before Organizational Stuff

Powerpoint Of My Baby Boomer Church Workshop

I've had several people inquire about the powerpoint that I used for my Baby Boomer Church Workshop at our National FGBC Celebration. Well, it's posted now so you can glean the information you want. Click here (it's a 3MB give it a minute or so to load. The back and forward buttons are at the bottom of the window along with a slide-show button to the bottom right so you can navigate through the presentation)

If you would like to purchase the audio of this presentation, click here for the website to order.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Up-coming Northeast Assessment Center- January 18-20, 2007

GBNAM Northeast will host its sixth church Planter Candidate Assessment Center in PA on January 18-20, 2007.
The Center is a tremendous resource tool in assisting potential church planters evaluate their calling, ministry behavior, personality profile, leadership style, communication skills, and strengths and weaknesses in respect to church planting.

The overall goal is to assist each candidate to honestly evaluate their gifts and abilities regarding suitability for church planting. Candidates build relationships with assessor (pastors from the region) and begin to build a network of their greatest church-planting resource...other church planters.

Those who have participated in the assessment center have benefited greatly from this assessment process and highly recommend it to others. Many say the experience has been so positive that they would not consider starting a church without the assessment.

The Northeast has a trained quality assessment team. Several assessment resources are used during the process. A comprehensive composite rating is complied for each candidate with helpful recommendations for practical application.

Do you have an individual or couple in church that have interest in church planting?
The assessment center is a vital beginning step in helping people identify a calling to church-planting. Please contact Jim if you want to recommend someone to this assessment-- (

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Listen to Church Planting workshops from FGBC Celebration 2006

This year's National Celebration for the family of Grace Brethren Churches had the opportunity for many workshops lead by our GBNAM folks to talk about aspects of church planting. From grant writing to hospitality to starting churches. Lot's of experience to offer in these workshops.

Here's a list of the presentations connected with GBNAM:

The Aging Baby-Boomer Church - Kurt Miller

Grant-Writing for Christian Min. Pt. 1 - Jeffrey Rodman
Grant-Writing for Christian Min. Pt. 2 - Jeffrey Rodman

The Lost Art of Hospitality - Mike Jentes & Kevin & Siew-Choo Ong

Micropolitan Church Planting - Tony Webb

Strategizing for Mission at the Center of the World - Steve Galegor, Jr.

Launching New Churches - Ron Boehm & Jim Snavely

Click here for the website to order the copies you want.

Friday, August 18, 2006

New issue of "thechurchplanter" is in the mail to our Grace Brethren Churches

Our 10th issue of "thechurchplanter" about Women & Church Planting is in the mail traveling to our Grace Brethren Churches all over the continent. If you would like to receive a copy, please email Mike with your snail mail address, and we'll be glad to mail you a copy.

Soon we will be posting the magazine on the GBNAM website.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Issue of "thechurchplanter" hot off the press!

Our 10th issue of "thechurchplanter" is hot off the press. It will take a bit of time to get them mailed out to all our churches, but there will be some preview copies available at our FGBC National Conference next week.

The Topic for this Issue is Women and Church Planting. Here is the a teaser. Be looking for it soon!

Recent Back Issues:

Essential Evangelists

Churches Planting Churches


Living Stuff Before Organizational Stuff

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Aging Baby Boomer Church Workshop

What is your church doing to meet the needs of the Baby Boomers in your community? We invite you to join us at this special seminar at National Conference: Celebrate’06!

The Aging Baby-Boomer Church

With the largest population of Americans approaching retirement, the church needs to respond to the challenge. Kurt Miller, our National Director of Church Planting, is encouraging the development of boomer-focused churches for the 55+ crowd. Whether your church is in decline or you desire to plant a new church, the church needs to get ahead of the curve and be creative in its approach to reaching and ministering to the growing number of seniors. How about a “Seniors Only” church? Come and see why this may just be the next generation of FGBC church development!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I'm on My Space too!

Guess what, I've got a place on MySpace too. Stop by at

Church Planting Class August 14-18

Church Planting Class Offered

Grace Brethren North American Missions and Grace Theological Seminary together are offering a week-long church-planting class this summer, August 14 – 18!

Location: Winona Lake, IN

Dates: August 14-18, 2006

Reasonable housing available; contact Ron Boehm (

Registration deadline: July 17th

More information: CLICK HERE

Spouses may attend class at no charge (if no academic credit is desired) and are encouraged to do so.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

MICROpolitan Church Planting Initiative in Ohio

Southwest Grace and Tony Webb have sponsored Micropolitan Church Planting Summits to catalyze a church planting movement in Ohio with the dream of seeing a church a day being planted. Below is a link about the Micropolitan Church Planting Initiative.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Churches and the IRS

Churches and the IRS

Churches--if they meet the requirements of a 501(c)(3--are granted with the privileges of tax-exempt status without having to apply for a 501(c)(3). We thought it would be helpful for you to have some documentation about what the IRS says about churches.

Check HERE for a compilation of important and relevant statements from the IRS about Churches and some ideas and hints for doing things legally in setting up your church for tax-exempt status.

Here's the link:

Important IRS Publications for Churches

We put together a list of important publications by the IRS for Churches. These are helpful documents if you are starting a church, to know what the Federal Tax laws are and what you can do legally.

Check out the list below or click HERE for a PDF document to download and print:

Tax Guide for Churches and Religious Organizations: Benefits and Responsibilities Under the Federal Tax Law

Publication 1828

This publication is a quick reference guide of federal tax law and procedures for churches and religious organizations to help them voluntarily comply with tax rules.

Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status

Publication 4220

This publication presents general guidelines for organizations that seek tax-exempt status from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Although a church is not required to apply for 501(c)(3) to be exempt from federal income tax or to receive tax deductible contributions, the church may find it advantageous to obtain recognition of exemption.

Another important document with more specifics is Publication 557: Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization

Compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status

IRS Publication 4221

This publication presents general compliance guidelines for recordkeeping, reporting, and disclosure requirements that apply to organizations that have tax-exempt status from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Charitable Contributions—Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements
IRS Publication 1771

This publication explains the federal tax law for organizations such as charities and churches that receive tax-deductible charitable contributions and for taxpayers who make contributions.

Social Security and Other Information for the Members of the Clergy and Religious Workers

Publication 517

Unrelated Business Income Tax

Even though an organization is tax exempt, it still may be liable for tax on its unrelated business income. Unrelated business income is income from a trade or business, regularly carried on, that is not substantially related to the performance by the organization of its exempt purpose or function except that the organization needs the profits derived from this activity.

More details found at,,id=96104,00.html


IRS website

If you are setting up your church, there is a really helpful page on the IRS website about the “Life Cycle of a Public Charity.” It goes through a step-by-step order of what to do with links to the specific instructions. You can find it at the following link:,,id=122670,00.html

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What are Church Planting Movements?

What is a Church Planting Movement?
by David Garrison from the booklet called Church Planting Movements

A simple, concise definition of a Church Planting Movement (CPM) is a rapid and multiplicative increase of indigenous churches planting churches within a given people group or population segment.

There are several key components to this definition. The first is rapid. As a movement, a Church Planting Movement occurs with rapid increases in new church starts. Saturation church planting over decades and even centuries is good, but doesn’t qualify as a Church Planting Movement.

Secondly, there is a multiplicative increase. This means that the increase in churches is not simply incremental growth—adding a few churches every year or so. Instead, it compounds with two churches becoming four, four churches becoming eight to 10 and so forth. Multiplicative increase is only possible when new churches are being started by the churches themselves–rather than by professional church planters or missionaries.

Finally, they are indigenous churches. This means they are generated from within rather than from without. This is not to say that the gospel is able to spring up intuitively within a people group. The gospel always enters a people group from the outside; this is the task of the missionary. However, in a Church Planting Movement the momentum quickly becomes indigenous so that the initiative and drive of the movement comes from within the people group rather than from outsiders.

If this definition isn’t enough, we might also clarify what a Church Planting Movement is not....

Click HERE for more

Biblical Basis for Church Planting

Kurt Miller gave a presentation where he ran through the Biblical Basis for Church Planting. Below are the items he mentioned:

Church planting is based on the biblical mission of God.
Mission describes everything. We needto be reminded that “while we are going, make disciples” (Matt 28:19). The assumption of God was that his disciples would all live on mission. God lives on mission. Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son…” We must live on mission because our God is a sending God. He operates on mission.

Church planting is based on the teachings of our Lord.
Remember the parable of Jesus about the master who prepared a great dinner for his guests. Many turned down his invitation to eat, so the master said, “Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

Church planting is based on the Lord’s commission.
The main part of His Great Commission is “making disciples” (Matt 28:19). This is what Jesus asks. He is the one who commissions making disciples and the gathering of those disciples into new churches.

Church planting is based on God’s plan for building the church.
Ephesians 2:19-22 “…you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” God is building the church this way. Jesus said, “I will build my Church” (Matt. 16:18 NASB)

Church planting is based on an apostolic gift and function.
Paul was an apostle. He was the starter of many churches. But Paul wasn’t just an apostle. Consider 1 Timothy 2:7, “And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” Paul functioned in at least three roles as mentioned in this passage. In a similar way, I (Kurt) seem to play a multiple role. Primarily I’m an evangelist, but I serve in an apostolic function to see new churches started. 1 Corinthians 12:28 gives us order for church planting, “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers,…” The apostolic gift and function leads the way for church planting.

Church planting is based on God’s initiative.
God makes it grow. Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6). He is the initiator. He is the most interested in this enterprise. The apostolic and evangelistic functions are “seed-scatterers.” The more seed scattered, the more reaping will result. The more reaping is glory to God.

Church planting is based on the mission of the local church.
Every living thing reproduces after its kind. Churches reproduce churches. Additionally, churches must be active evangelistically and socially. For far too long we have held these as opposites in church work. These two functions of church life must go together. Evangelism and church planting are part of the mission of the local church.

Listen to the words of Emil Bruner, “As the fire exists by burning so the church exists by mission.” Both neighborhood evangelism as well as cross-cultural evangelism should be given equal emphasis. Both the home mission and the foreign mission must be emphasized in the total missionary involvement of the local church.

Theodore Williams explains it clearly in his book, The Local Church and Mission: “A church that has no concern for cross-cultural evangelism is not fulfilling its mission.” He emphasizes this point from a quotation from the constitution of the Church Of South India which he feels states this point beautifully: “Every congregation of the people of God is basic to mission in its neighborhood and to the ends of the earth. The mission of the local church does not end with the mere proclamation of the gospel. There must be the planting of churches among the people to whom the gospel is proclaimed. The mission of the local church is evangelization with a view to planting churches in the neighborhood and in the world. Local churches reproduce themselves in their neighborhood and on the mission field.”

Church planting is based on the growth pattern of the New Testament church.
The book of Acts documented with numerical figures the growth of the early church. Somebody was counting. The pattern in the New Testament was growth—an increase in numbers of disciples.

In our circles, we are often uncomfortable with the growth because we are concerned about the quality of the disciples. It is good for us to recognize the “quality and quantity” tension won’t go away. There were certainly problems with the Church Growth Movement heightening the attention to the quantity aspect. At the same time, God expects us to see disciples being made and churches being planted. We must make quality disciples and more of them. Let’s celebrate the tension.

Church planting is based on the nature of the gospel.
Start in Romans 1:16; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The Gospel is the power! Paul goes on expounding this in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “ For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”(NIV).
The faithful and effective communication of the Gospel should win people to Jesus and the planting of churches. We need to ask an important question, “Why aren’t more people coming to Jesus and more churches being planted?”

Church planting is based on the work of the Holy Spirit.
We see the example in Acts 13:1-3, where God in the person of the Holy Spirit sent out the first missionaries. They were to reproduce around the world. That is the work of the Spirit. The missionary or the evangelist should live in conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. No amount of study, training and experience would substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit.

Philip Hogan of the Assemblies of God has rightly emphasized this fact. “I am persuaded to believe, that after taking advantage of every tool, pursuing every possible human plan, all one needs to do to find plenty of service is simply to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. When one engages this truth and begins to live by its principle, there will be whole communities, whole cities, whole nations, whole cultures and whole segments of pagan religions that will suddenly be thrust open to the Gospel witness...”

The Lausanne Covenant states, “The Father sent the Spirit to bear witness to his Son; without this witness, ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth, and Christian growth are all the Spirit’s work. Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled Church. A Church that is not a missionary Church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. Worldwide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the Church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power.”

(Presentation by Kurt Miller to the Fellowship Council of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches Feb 2005)

Why YOU Should Plant a Church

There seem to be two distinct schools of thought in the church planting community. The first is “This is hard. Are you sure you want to do this? You don’t look like you’ve got what it takes… I’m not so sure you should do this! Have you prayed about it?"

Gee… thanks.

The second school of thought starts off sounding much like the first, but then takes a dramatic turn: “This is hard. What do you need? How can I help you? Man, what an adventure! Let me pray for you.”

Do you hear the difference?

For more click HERE

Monday, May 22, 2006

Why Plant Churches? by Tim Keller

The normal response to discussions about church planting is something like this:

A. 'We already have plenty of churches that have lots and lots of room for all the new people who have come to the area. Let's get them filled before we go off building any new ones."

B. 'Every church in this community used to be more full than it is now. The churchgoing public is a 'shrinking pie'. A new church here will just take people from churches already hurting and weaken everyone.'

C. 'Help the churches that are struggling first. A new church doesn't help the ones we have that are just keeping their nose above water. We need better churches, not more churches.'

These statements appear to be 'common sense' to many people, but they rest on several wrong assumptions. The error of this thinking will become clear if we ask 'Why is church planting so crucially important?' (more here)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Statistical Illusion- new study confirms that we go to church much less than we say

The following article was passed on to me by Clive Craigen and it's worth the read. Check it out:

Statistical Illusion
New study confirms that we go to church much less than we Bob Smietana | posted 05/02/2006 09:30 a.m.
From Christianity Today.

Did you go to church this week? That's the question that Gallup pollsters have been asking Americans for more than 75 years. And each year since 1939, about 40 percent of those polled have said yes. (The actual question: "Did you yourself happen to attend church or synagogue in the last seven days?")

That doesn't mean that, on any given Sunday, 118 million Americans (40 percent of the population) will actually be in church. According to sociologists who study religion, the actual number of people in church each week in the United States is significantly lower than the Gallup Poll indicates. Just how low is a matter of some debate. More here

Friday, May 19, 2006

Church Planting Class offered August 14-18

Partnership on Church Planting Class between Grace Theological Seminary and Grace Brethren North American Missions

Course Title: Seminar in North American Church Planting (MI 700)

Description: This seminar introduces the student to the basic understanding and skills necessary to start a congregation in any North American cultural context. It takes the student from call through self-assessment to reaching and bringing together a group of 25-75 individuals committed to being a church. A separate training track is planned to train developmental pastors to take a congregation beyond the 75 barrier through developmental pastoral ministry. Informed by David Garrison’s concepts of church multiplication, it seeks to train church-planters to form new congregations aggressively and rapidly with a dependence upon follow-on pastoral church developers. Some attention is given to participants who desire to pursue a founding pastor model as well. Students will be expected to engage the experience both intellectually and spiritually with significant encouragement given to building spiritual community within the class and Work Groups.

Date of Class: August 14-18, 2006

Three hour course credit from Grace Theological Seminary if accepted into the program.There is also opportunity to audit the class if graduate credit is not desired.


Check out the following page with interviews of students from the last class and more here

For registration questions contact Jessie Schroder, Grace Seminary Admissions Coordinator at 1-800-544-7223, extension 6413 or by email at .

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Interview about Church Planting

Our GBNAM missionary Ron Boehm recently got me behind a microphone and recorded some thoughts about church planting. I shared a bit about radical transformation, evangelism and gave three key ideas for anyone thinking about planting a church.

Check out the following link HERE

Monday, May 15, 2006

Evangelists Gathering 2

Because of a variety of reasons, the Evangelists Gathering 2 has been postponed until the fall. Stay tuned to my blog for breaking information.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Church as “Place” or “Service”

This article was passed on to us as top notch from GBNAM missionary Clive Craigen:

Church as “Place” or “Service” By Gailyn Van Rheenen

Increasingly Christians in North America are thinking about “church planting.” This phrase “church planting,” however, carries its own baggage.

I have found that many church leaders assume that the first step in church planting is purchasing a piece of property and constructing a church building. A church defined as “a place where things happen”... (more here)

The Missional Church by Tim Keller

I ran across this short article by Tim Keller. It is a solid, short explanation of the "Missional" Church. Here's a little teaser for you:

In the West for nearly 1,000 years, the relationship of (Anglo-European) Christian churches to the broader culture was a relationship known as "Christendom." The institutions of society "Christianized" people, and stigmatized non-Christian belief and behavior. Though people were "Christianized" by the culture, they were not regenerated or converted with the Gospel. The church's job was then to challenge persons into a vital, living relation with Christ... (more here)

Reflecting on the Gospel

"I have been reading poems, romances, vision literature, legends and myths all my life. I know what they are like. And I know none of them are like this. There are only two possible views of these gospel texts. Either this is reportage pretty close to the facts, nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century without known predecessors or any successors suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern novelistic, realistic narrative. The reader who doesn't see this has simply not learned how to read." – C.S. Lewis

"Mary (Magdalene) was on the outside of everything. And this is the gospel. The gospel is that God's salvation does not come on the basis of merit, it does not come on the basis of pedigree, and it does not come on the basis of race, class, gender, or any other pecking order. What is the gospel? The gospel is not that the good are in and the bad are out. The gospel is that the humble are in and the proud are out. The gospel is not that you give God a perfect record but that he gives you a perfect record. The gospel is that it is not your past that is the determining factor in your relationship with God but it is Christ's past and his record that is the determining factor. He chooses the Mary's of this world so that us non-Mary's will get it. And so will the other Mary's." – Timothy Keller

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Church Planting Resource Website by Ed Stetzer

At GBNAM, we highly recommend Ed Stetzer's book Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age. In addition to that book, Ed has a webpage with helpful articles, links and more. You can check it out at

Saturday, March 18, 2006

GBNAM & Grace Seminary Church Planting Class--Ron Boehm interviews Tony Webb

Grace Theological Seminary in conjunction with Grace Brethren North American Missions conducted their first class on church planting March 6-10, 2006 in Dublin, Ohio.

Dr. Terry Hofecker was the instructor and GBNAM Missionaries Ron Boehm and Chuck Davis were key facilitators.

Here is a link to a Podcast of an interview by Ron of Pastor Tony Webb about the class. Check it out at the following link >>


Below are some pics of class folks for you to enjoy!
a church planting couple from Iowa
the Latino contingent
break time fun

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ten Paradigm Shifts

Here's a suggested resource for your reading:

Ten Paradigm Shifts

Cost: free download
Date Posted: 3/9/2004
By: Leadership Network

This concept paper outlines ten paradigm shifts that churches are experiencing as they engage their communities with the good news and good deeds of Jesus.

Essential Evangelists Issue of thechurchplanter

The new issue of thechurchplanter was just released. You can check it out online HERE

Undertstanding the Emerging Church--Ed Stetzer

Below is a good article, sent to me by Jim Snavely, which I thought you would appreciate:

FIRST-PERSON:Understanding the emerging church
By Ed Stetzer

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--It’s been interesting to watch the emerging church conversation over the last few months. Important issues are being discussed. Unfortunately, like many conversations, good things are lumped together with bad and important conversations are lost in more heat than light.

My own observation as one who speaks at some events classified as “emerging” is that there are three broad categories of what is often called “the emerging church.” Oddly enough, I think I can fairly say that most in the emerging conversation would agree with my assessments about the “types” of emerging leaders and churches -- and just differ with my conclusions.

In this too brief article, perhaps I can make a few suggestions on how conservative evangelicals should view these types of emerging churches. I believe that some are taking the same Gospel in the historic form of church but seeking to make it understandable to emerging culture; some are taking the same Gospel but questioning and reconstructing much of the form of church; some are questioning and revising the Gospel and the church.

-- Relevants.
Yes, I made up the word. Sorry about the grammar. However, it expresses an important idea. There are a good number of young (and not so young) leaders who some classify as “emerging” that really are just trying to make their worship, music and outreach more contextual to emerging culture. Ironically, while some may consider them liberal, they are often deeply committed to biblical preaching, male pastoral leadership and other values common in conservative evangelical churches.

They are simply trying to explain the message of Christ in a way their generation can understand. The contemporary churches of the 1980s and 90s did the same thing (and some are still upset at them for doing so). However, if we find biblical preaching and God-centered worship in a more culturally relevant setting, I rejoice just as I would for international missionaries using tribal cultural forms in Africa.

The churches of the “Relevants” are not filled with the angry white children of evangelical mega churches. They are, instead, intentionally reaching into their communities (which are different than where most Southern Baptists live) and proclaiming a faithful biblically-centered Gospel there. I know some of their churches -- they are doctrinally sound, growing and impacting lostness.

-- Reconstructionists.

The Reconstructionists think that the current form of church is frequently irrelevant and the structure is unhelpful. Yet, they typically hold to a more orthodox view of the Gospel and Scripture. Therefore, we see an increase in models of church that reject certain organizational models, embracing what are often called “incarnational” or “house” models. They are responding to the fact that after decades of trying fresh ideas in innovative churches, North America is less churched, and those that are churched are less committed.

Yet, God’s plan is deeply connected with the church (see Ephesians 3:10). God’s Word prescribes much about what a church is. So, if emerging leaders want to think in new ways about the forms (the construct) of church, that’s fine -- but any form needs to be reset as a biblical form, not just a rejection of the old form. Don’t want a building, a budget and a program? OK. Don’t want the Bible, scriptural leadership, covenant community? Not OK. (For an excellent summary, see NAMB’s document by Stan Norman called “Ecclesiological Guidelines to Inform Southern Baptist Church Planters.”) Also, we must not forget, if Reconstructionists simply rearrange dissatisfied Christians and do not impact lostness, it is hardly a better situation than the current one.

-- Revisionists.

Much of the concern has been addressed at those I call revisionists. Right now, many of those who are revisionists are being read by younger leaders and perceived as evangelicals. They are not -- at least according to our evangelical understanding of Scripture. We significantly differ from them regarding what the Bible is, what it teaches and how we should live it in our churches. I don’t hate them, question their motives and I won’t try to mischaracterize their beliefs. But, I won’t agree with them.

Revisionists are questioning (and in some cases denying) issues like the nature of the substitutionary atonement, the reality of hell, the complementarian nature of gender, and the nature of the Gospel itself. This is not new -- some mainline theologians quietly abandoned these doctrines a generation ago. The revisionist emerging church leaders should be treated, appreciated and read as we read mainline theologians -- they often have good descriptions, but their prescriptions fail to take into account the full teaching of the Word of God.

Does that mean we cannot learn from them? Certainly not. I read mainline theologians like Marcus Borg and George Lindbeck like others in the past read Karl Barth -- good thinkers, but deeply wrong on issues I hold as important. I read many emerging church writers the same way. They ask good questions, but I am driven to Scripture for the answers.

So, where do we go from here?

Much of SBC life is absent from the emerging church conversation. Let’s jump in -- John Hammett at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has done a great job not just in his paper, but in entering the theological conversation that has flowed from it. His paper can be read at

To be in this conversation, we need to think biblically and critically. We should journey and partner with the “Relevants,” seeking to make the Gospel understandable in emerging culture. We can and should enter into dialogue with Reconstructionists -- learning, discussing and applying together what Scripture teaches about church.

But, we can and must speak prophetically to revisionists that, yes, we know the current system is not impacting the culture as it should -- but the change we need is more Bible, more maturity, more discernment and more missional engagement, not an abandonment of the teachings of scripture about church, theology and practice. Every group that left these basics has ended up walking away from the faith and then, in a great twist of irony, is soon seen as irrelevant to the world they tried to reach.

This is an important moment in the emerging church. Many “emerging” evangelicals are distancing themselves from the revisionist leaders. Papers have been presented, publishing relationships have been altered, and many in the blogosphere are questioning the ecumenical nature of new partnerships. That’s good. Let’s affirm the good, look to the Scriptures for answers to the hard questions, and, yes, let’s graciously disagree when others hold views contrary to our best scriptural understanding of God, Bible and church.

Ed Stetzer serves as research team director and missiologist at the North American Mission Board.

Church Planting Class

Seminar in North American Church Planting

Date: March 6 – 10

Location: Grace Brethren Church of Columbus
8225 Worthington-Galena Road
Westerville, OH 43081

Cost: Grace Theological Seminary three hour course credit: $960
Official audit: $480

Course Description:

This seminar introduces the student to the basic understanding and skills necessary to start a congregation in any North American cultural context. It takes the student from call through self-assessment to reaching and bringing together a group of 25-75 individuals committed to being a church. A separate training track is planned to train developmental pastors to take a congregation beyond the 75 barrier through developmental pastoral ministry. Informed by David Garrison’s concepts of church multiplication, it seeks to train church planters to form new congregations aggressively and rapidly with a dependence upon follow-on pastor church developers. Some attention is given to participants who desire to pursue a founding pastor model as well. Students will be expected to engage the experience both intellectually and spiritually with significant encouragement given to building spiritual community within the class and work groups.

Course Requirements:

· Completion of all required assessment materials prior to February 28, 2006
· Attendance at all sessions and experiences
· Timely completion of all prerequisite reading assignments and submission of a reading report on Friday morning of the workshop week
· Submission of a typed personal church-planter portfolio indicating completion of assigned exercises by April 30, 2006. This portfolio will represent the first draft of a personal management philosophy and strategic ministry vision document for the church planter’s proposed project. It will be based upon insights gained from the class and assessment materials. It will include the following
o First draft of a church planter self-management plan
o First draft of a bootcamp strategy, including KRA’s
o First draft of a contact-making strategy
o First draft of a birth design
o First draft of proposed metrics and two-year ministry plan for the new congregation
o Active and positive participation in the worship and work groups

Course title: MI 700 Seminar in North American Church Planting

Registration: Contact Jessie Schroder, Grace Seminary Missions Coordinator:
Phone: 1-800-544-7223, ext. 6413
Fax: 574-372-5114

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Evangelist Gathering notes and resources

Here's the beginning of a RECAP Article:
Out of the dream and invitation of Kurt Miller, the first Evangelists Gathering—a gathering of evangelists from the Grace Brethren family for conversation, encouragement and movement—happened over the weekend of October 7-9, 2005. No one knows for sure, but quite possibly the last time evangelists from across our fellowship gathered in this fashion was back in 1973 for the Grow73 initiatives. Forty Grace Brethren men and women from across the United States all came together for this recent gathering. READ More HERE

Reports & Resources from the Evangelists Gathering check out the links below:

Churches Planting Churches mini-magazine

My mini-magazine from last year on Churches Planting Churches is posted HERE

It was helpful to many. Maybe it will encourage you and your church to start new churches.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A new blog that connects with my newsletter-- "thechurchplanter"

This is me--Kurt-- and this is a new blog to have an online conversation connected to my newsletter.

I'm asking my assistant-Mike--to help with some updates for me so we can keep this current.

I hope you really enjoy this...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006