Sunday, December 30, 2012

Encouraging Sciptures for Leaders

Here are 7 scriptures for you to read... remember... and even hang on your fridge :)

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. Matthew 20:26

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4

Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Monday, November 12, 2012

Consider this before you plant....

Before you plant a church... I pray that you know... without a doubt.. you are truly called. Many people have a "pie in the sky" view of a pastor / pastorate. They see Sunday service at an established church and they identify with that persona. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Sunday is only a small portion of the big picture. If you are pastoring for the wrong reason or with wrong assumptions, your eyes will soon be opened to the true reality. Here are some facts: According to the Pastor Care Network:
80% of pastors believe ministry has negatively affected their families. 33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their families. 75% report a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job. 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they started. 40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month. 70% do not have somebody they consider a close friend. 50% have considered leaving the ministry in the last three months. 50% of those who go into full time ministry drop out in five years. 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor’s ministry. And according to the Jan/Feb issue of The Christian Examiner, between 1,400 and 1,600 Christian leaders leave the ministry every month. {2004} The Alban Institute estimates that 17% of pastors are experiencing burnout. A study of one major denomination concluded that less than one-third of its pastors were happy in their work. Another 30% were "deeply ambivalent" about ministry. And 40% described themselves as "heading for burnout." Though the pressures pastors face are great, the resources God provides are too. And one of the greatest resources is God’s people. So, pastor.... if you know that you know you are called into ministry, stay strong be encouraged and never quit. Learn to balance all aspects of your life. take some time for you! Take some time for your family!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Church Plants Made to Stick...

Geoff Surratt wrote a great article about church planting and the "ebb and flow" or the perception that some have about new churches. Here is the question that he prefaces the article: How can we stop the merry-go-round and plant churches that stick? Here are Geoff's three ideas: 1) Learn the community before you plant 2) Build a sustainable model 3) Get a job Those 3 points should have your curiosity heightened... To read his entire article, click here GEOFFSURRATT.COM

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Here are 5 issues that can keep a church from growing:

Entitlement – When the body begins to think “this is my church”, it will soon start operating outside the complete power and utter dependency of the rightful owner. It will then lose the Spirit’s power.

Energy – The lack of energy stagnates a church. This is not referring to worship. You can worship to your taste, but energy is a part of any movement of God. The church is the body of Christ. Don’t forget…our God is not dead…He’s alive! A church is revived and reenergized when it renews its vision. As a church grows closer to Christ, and introduces others to Christ, it create more energy for the body.

Excitement – If you can’t get excited about the Gospel, you’re not looking at Christ close enough. Anyone who can raise from the dead, forgive sins, and reconcile us to God…that’s exciting! When the people who regularly attend the church aren’t excited anymore, visitors aren’t likely to be either. When a body becomes comfortable, it often becomes complacent, and it loses the excitement it once had. It is then no longer attractive to outsiders.

Engagement – The body needs all its members. When a few people do all the work burnout is soon to follow. The church shouldn’t depend on paid staff to do all the work, nor should ministry be limited to those with a volunteer title of some sort. If assignments have to be made before people are freed to do the work of the church, over time, the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few.

Efficiency – When programs are so structured that even God couldn’t introduce change, decline is imminent. Growing churches are always thinking how they can improve. The cliche is true, the message never changes, but the hearers do. Finding new ways to reach a changing culture with a Gospel that never changes is part of a growing church’s responsibility.

For more information like this and wisdom from an experienced church planter, please visit

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Free E-book - Top Issues Church Planters Face

This report was prepared by the team at Exponential in partnership with Ed Stetzer.  We listened to leaders with over 500 years of cumulative experience planting and working with 100′s of planters with the over 30 national leaders involved in this project. Individual planter interviews, online surveys, and volumes of real world experience were also included in the discovery process. This information will help you plant or help you help others plant for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom.

For your FREE download... click the link below!! (Courtesy of Exponential) 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

When the odds are against you....

600lb vs 169lb MMA Mismatch - Watch More Funny Videos

I normally don't post sports videos on this blog. But then I ran across this video and thought about David and Goliath. My thoughts then went to the area of church start-ups and how this applies to those who are planting a church.

Planting a church is just plain tough! The odds are against us! By all natural signs, we should quit! I mean come on - it's time consuming, (and with little or no pay), then you carry the weight of  the ministry.  People are fighting with one another. People seem to major in the minor things :)

That is a lot to deal with on a regular basis. Here is the key though. God is with us! This is not something we do just for pay.... just for the experience.... just for our own whatever! We do this because He called us. That alone keeps us in the ministry. That alone is enough! 

As we see in this video: we can overcome large obstacles if we stay diligent! We can overcome anything the enemy throws at us! 

Zechariah 4:6 (The Message)

Then he said, “This is God’s Message to Zerubbabel: ‘You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,’ says God-of-the-Angel-Armies. ‘So, big mountain, who do you think you are? Next to Zerubbabel you’re nothing but a molehill. He’ll proceed to set the Cornerstone in place, accompanied by cheers: Yes! Yes! Do it!’” 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

20 Questions to Assess Leadership Potential

  1. Have you ever broken a bad habit? To lead others, you must master your appetites. 
  2. Do you keep self-control when things to wrong? The leader who loses control under adversity forfeits respect and influence. A leader must be calm in crisis and resilient in disappointment. 
  3. Do you think independently? A leader must use the best ideas of others to make decisions,. A leader cannot wait for others to make up his or her mind.
  4. Can you handle criticism? Can you profit from it? The humble person can learn from petty criticism, even malicious criticism.
  5. Can you turn disappointment into creative new opportunity?
  6. Do you readily gain the cooperation of others and win their respect and confidence?
  7. Can you exert discipline without making a power play? True leadership is an internal quality of the spirit and needs no show of external force. 
  8. Are you a peacemaker? A leader must be able to reconcile with opponents and make peace where arguments have created hostility.
  9. Do people trust you with difficult and delicate situations?
  10. Can you induce people to do happily some legitimate thin that they would not normally wish to do?
  11. Can you accept opposition to your viewpoint or decision without taking offense? Leaders always face opposition.
  12. Can you make and keep friends? Your circle of loyal friends is an index of your leadership potential.
  13. Do you depend on the praise of others to keep you going? Can you hold steady in the face of disapproval and even temporary loss of confidence?
  14. Are you at ease in the presence of strangers? Do you get nervous in the presence of your superior?
  15. Are the people who report to you generally at ease? A leader should be sympathetic and friendly.
  16. Are you interested in people? All types? All races? No prejudice?
  17. Are you tactful? Can you anticipate how your words will affect a person?
  18. Is your will strong and steady? Leaders cannot vacillate or cannot drift with the wind.
  19. Can you forgive? Or do you nurse resentments and harbor ill-feelings toward those who have injured you? 
  20. Are you reasonably optimistic? Pessimism and leadership do not mix.
This list was derived from the website - Missional Challenge. To read the full article by Dave DeVries click HERE.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Plan ahead....

Success is intentional! The Olympic athletes didn't just find themselves on the winner's platform one day. They planned for it.... they worked for it. They set goals. They did everything in their power to accomplish their goal.

That being said... we as church planters need to be intentional. Intentional about the harvest field... about church systems, and learning all we can prior to implementation.

You need a starting place? I recommend the Exponential Conference. Exponential 2013 is back in Orlando, Florida on April 22-25, 2013.

PLAN to be there.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Video Elements...

Consider using videos prior to .... and after service. Think about the overall message of the service. Now think of a song that goes with that message. It may be better to choose a song that your praise and worship team doesn't already do. The idea is to add another element to the worship experience. The video should be able to catch their visual and auditory senses and drive the message home.

This and other ideas should be tried... and viewed simply as an experiment. If it works...great! If not... tweak it or cancel it outright! Now if it works.... dont overuse it! Pray for discernment!

Here is a video that got me thinking about adding another element to the worship service.

Throwing Stones, Planting Seeds from LCBC Church on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

7 Tactics of the Enemy

Here are 7 way Satan tries to destroy a church:

  1. Church conflict
  2. Burnout
  3. Rumors
  4. Busyness .
  5. Lies.
  6. Scandal
  7. Marriage and family disruptions

Thankfully, there is good news:

You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

To read the full article, please visit Rod Edmundson's blog

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Where is your focus?

As church planters we need to be aware of some statistics. In just about all churches, we will have approx 10% who are pioneers, 70% who are considered "settlers" and then about 20% who are "antagonists".

We happen to spend much time, energy and loss of sleep due to people who are in the last category. We will never make them happy so why are we trying so hard to please them? I think after discerning they are indeed antagonists at their very root, we need to smile, be cordial and then walk away. Let's give them over to God, believing that the Holy Spirit will do what you and I cannot do.... change their heart.

If you continue to give them your time and energy, I'm sorry to say... you will be exhausted and eventually burn out. It's amazing how many pastors leave the ministry just because of the stress of a few people. When your focus is on the 20% which are antagonists, can you really expect a different outcome? Let's be wise and focus on those who have a teachable spirit and continue praying for the 20% to change more into the likeness of our Jesus.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Worship without a full band?

Check out Band in Hand! This is a way to start with what you have and go from there! It's pretty ingenious. Say you have only a guitar player. Well, this app can supply all of the other instruments! Say you get a bass player the next week.. simply remove the bass from the mix and now you are able to do guitar and bass live!

Check out the "how to" video and also visit the site for more info:

Band in Hand Website

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mission Devoid of Discipleship = Failure

Every once in a while I find someone who writes or speaks the things that I'm thinking about. And to be honest I'm thinking and pondering these things and really wonder if I'm just being negative. I mean, who wants to be a glass half empty type person?

The word "missional" was something new and fresh a few years back. Many books and articles have been written about being missional both on a personal level as well as corporately. When a word is over-used, it tends to lose meaning and I find this true for the word "missional". Everyone and every church thinks they are "missional". Even their church programs are geared towards being "missional". The truth is... its just a word. Your programs are still just that...programs... sorry. Just sharing the truth in love :)

 Anyways, here is an article from Mike Breen which is entitled: Why The Missional Movement Will Fail. 

To read the article click here: Mike Breen / Verge

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quotes on Integrity

“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”
Eleanor Roosevelt

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
— Abraham Lincoln

 "He is not wise to me who is wise in words only, but he who is wise in deeds."
— St. Gregory

"Neither shall you allege the example of the many as an excuse for doing wrong."
— God - Exodus 23:2

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lessons from Exponential Day 1

Here are just a few nuggets I picked up at the Exponential Conference on the first day:

* Learn to "Self Correct" - If God corrects you in private, repent in private or you will eventually have to confess it in public.
* Learn How to Suffer - Suffering will change you, but not always for the good. You have to choose that.
* Learn to Lead Yourself to Christ - Your training was not just to "start the race" but to finish it.
Jeremiah 15:19 - This is how the LORD responds: "If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman.  
* The greatest test of being a servant is how we respond when we are treated like one.

Some more for you:
* Your responsibility is not a spectacular ministry but a faithful and sincere heart.
* "Ministry is messy because sin is messy."

If you are a church planter or are within the years 1-10 of your church plant... get to the Exponential Conference!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Most Radical Way to Find Great Staff

Here is a blog post from Artie Davis of Cornerstone Church. Please go to the link to see the entire post and read the comments as well. I was impacted by the faith some of the "volunteers". In the comments section, there is a person who went into the mission field by faith, without any assurance of funding. That's how you know you are truly called to do something :)


Friday, March 30, 2012

Quotes on Communication by John Maxwell


  1. Great communication depends on two simple skills—context, which attunes a leader to the same frequency as his or her audience, and delivery, which allows a leader to phrase messages in a language the audience can understand.

  2. Earn the right to be heard by listening to others. Seek to understand a situation before making judgments about it.

  3. Take the emotional temperature of those listening to you. Facial expressions, voice inflection and posture give clues to a person’s mood and attitude.

  4. Persuasive communication involves enthusiasm, animation, audience participation, authenticity and spontaneity.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Next Steps...

I'm a next step thinker. If you are a pastor, consider challenging your congregation to take their "next step". We all have of one! None have arrived at glory yet :)

For some folks, it may be seeking forgiveness from a family member. For others, it could be to start reading their Bible. Regardless of what it is, as leaders it is our duty to encourage them to take that step.

Possible Steps (in no way meant to be a complete listing - just things that come to mind)
1) Start praying - nothing fancy - just sharing their heart with Jesus
2) Start reading the Bible - 1-2 verses a day to start.
3) Join a small group (if your church has them) or Sunday school class.
4) Make a commitment to the local church
a) attending Sunday services regularly
start tithing
c) getting involved in a ministry
If ALL people are not always taking some type of "Next Step" in their faith life, it is highly unlikely that they will continue to be a sold out, kingdom building, church growing, follower of Christ!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Breaking Growth Barriers

Here is a excerpt from Rick Warrens blog on breaking church growth barriers.
You must change the primary role of the pastor from minister to leader.

What’s the difference? In leadership, you take the initiative; in ministry, you respond to the needs of others. When someone calls and you pick up the phone, that’s ministry. When you pick up the phone and call someone, that’s leadership. Typically, you learn ministry skills in seminary, but you learn leadership skills in seminars. Pastoring is a balance. Here are five skills you must learn if your church is going to grow:
  • Learn to communicate your vision.
  • Learn the ability to motivate through messages.
  • Learn how to equip for ministry. If you don’t learn how to coach, you will not be able to equip. And, if you do not equip, you will burn out in ministry.
  • Learn how to raise money. Those who write the agenda must also be able to underwrite it.
  • Learn the skill of managing your time and energy.
For more info - go to Rick Warrens article -

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Getting rid of distractions....

Our thoughts are often not our own - they are realy derived from someone else. Someone else thought them first ...spoke it and we caught wind of it.... ingested it and made them our own. Other people's voices often fill our minds. Think about all the influences around us that have access to your head:
  • The people in your home
  • Your co-workers
  • Your extended family
  • The TV
  • Your friends
  • The internet
  • Video games
We need to consider the value of our own thoughts. Why let anyone tell you what to think? Why listen to people who don't even know you and don't understand your value system?
Consider the possibility that perhaps there are certain voices that need to be edited out. Some voices are persistently negative or just not helpful. Why not establish boundaries?

Could this be why we can hear so much clearly when we are on the mission field? What if we quited the voices and influences around us and simply asked God - What would You have me do?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cafe Church.... getting out of the box

Culture is relevant! Dont ignore or fight against culture. Use it the way the Apostle Paul did! He used the culture as a way of reaching that particular people group.

Cafe Church philosophy and planting churches

The cafe church can be viewed as an organically based philosophy for planting churches, centered around the idea of making the message of Christ's love relevant to the needs of the local community that the church seeks to serve.

The goal of cafe church endeavors is to impact their local community with a message of God's love and the transforming power of Christ's love.

Some churches have already incorporated a "coffee shop" atmosphere at the beginning or end of their worship services. Why was this done? Answer: Because of our culture.

What if we took this to another level? Instead of just having this atmosphere once or twice per week... we had it 6-7 days per week? What if we used this atmosphere to glorify God and show the love of Christ to those who might enter the front door?

Think about it... pray about it.... and when God gives you the green light...DO IT! Dont be afraid to get out of the box of status quo church.

Be blessed,
Jeff Hoglen
Pastor - Church at the Creek

Friday, January 6, 2012

Entrepreneurial Aptitude? Yes!

Many people with a pastor's heart have tried planting churches and.... unfortunately failed. I have always felt that planting a church requires a different skill set. Some people are managers. They can take something that exists and make it better or at the very least manage it at the same level. I call this type of person a settler. I use this term in comparison to a pioneer. A pioneer has a very different skill set then a settler. A pioneer doesn't mind venturing into new areas and trying new things. So.... if you your hearts cry is to pastor an existing church, then you may fall into the manager/ settler mold.

If you, on the other hand have a desire to start from nothing and build from the ground up... and this excites you, maybe you fall into the other classification - visionary leader / pioneer. I have always felt that the church planter and the entrepreneurial gift parallel each other.

Check out this list I found on the Acts 29 blog:

Entrepreneurial Aptitude Micro-Skills:

1. Has demonstrated past successes in starting new ventures.

2. Is an innovative and strategic visionary.

3. Is highly energetic and enthused about starting a new work.

4. Shows ability to enlist others in new ventures.

5. Evidences being a self-starter.

6. Has a willingness to work intensely for an extended period of time.

Take a moment and ask yourself - what am I called to do - pioneer or settle / manage or lead? Note: One is not better than the other...they are just different. The sooner we realize which one we are, the better off we will be in the long run. It will save time, money and heartache.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Born Leaders...or taught to lead?

Leadership is defined as "INFLUENCE" or “the ability to influence others” Leaders can lead people for the good.... or for evil.... in a positive direction or a negative one.

The question often comes up, “Are you born a leader or do you learn to be a leader?” The answer to the question is “yes” and “yes.” Some people are born with natural leadership abilities, but leadership can be learned as well.

Some of the best teaching on leadership that I have read, is by the author John Maxwell. I highly recommend the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.

(The following excerpts are from the book “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”)

If a person doesn’t have influence, he’ll never be able to lead others, because no one will follow him.

“He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.”

How do people become “real leaders”? It is a process.