Sunday, November 26, 2006

Celebrate Small Wins

Having worked in business and church I can say with conviction that in the church we generally do not know how to measure success.

It’s easy in business, you must make a profit or you will not stay in business. You can celebrate small wins because you know they are the things that move you toward making a profit. However, in ministry “profit” is not the goal. In fact, many churches continue to generate income through tithes and offerings while never accomplishing much toward their mission. This is partly due to the fact that we are not clear on our mission!

In his excellent book 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, Andy Stanley states “It is possible for a church to become very efficient at doing ministry ineffectively.” This is because we do not have a clear picture of the end. We must work with the end in mind, or as Andy says it, we must clarify the win!

Yogi Berra once said “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” That characterizes many (if not most) churches in North America. When we don’t know where we’re going, we never know what or when to celebrate! We don’t know what the “small wins” are if and when they come. Without celebration, people lose vision, hope, and motivation.

In a church plant, we must have a plan of action! That plan must move us toward a clear vision and it must identify small wins along the way. These should be the focus of our intercessors (please tell me you have an intercession team), and they should be markers for celebration. I encourage planters to maintain a 90 Day Plan and to update it monthly. At least monthly you and your team should celebrate the small wins!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


On January 19-20 we are sponsoring an unprecedented event here in Houston. It is called "Accelerate." See for details.

Why is this unprecedented? We are pulling together the major denominational leaders in the area to lock arms to serve the city through church planting. I am deeply appreciative to co-sponsors such as Tom Billings (Union Baptist Association), Bishop Janice Huie (United Methodist Church Conference), Mike Cole (General Presbyter of the Presbytery of New Covenant), Jim Herrington (Mission Houston), and many others who are working together to make this event happen! Ed Stetzer will be our key note speaker and there will be over 20 different workshops (including a Spanish language track).

We will not only be joining all of the major denominations around church planting, we will also be joining all racial/ethnic groups and all church models (brick & mortar churches, cell churches, house churches, etc.) Our vision: unity for the transformation of our city through church multiplication!

Everyone is invited to experience this historic event that I hope will be replicated in cities all across America!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tell Your Story!

Every church planter needs to write and communicate his/her story!

People are drawn to passion and they are moved by stories. Every church planter has a story and they should be communicating that story with passion. To get focused and clear on it, you MUST write it down!

What is your story? Your story should answer the questions:
• Why are you planting a church instead of doing something else?
• Why are you planting in the location that you’re planting?
• What has led you to this place?
• What do you hope for/dream of?

Your story should define your calling. It should express your passion. It should articulate your dream. You must understand that stories touch the hearts of people. When you touch the heart, people will join with you to make this new church a reality.

To succeed as a church planter, your new church must have at its foundation a story that drives and directs it day by day. And that story begins with God’s story and your story! A compelling story will answer the “Why?” questions and cause others to want to become a part of that story.

Have you written your story? You should be able to do this in one page. Have you communicated your story? You should be writing letters, articles, blogs, etc. every week. Have you engaged others with your story? You should have 10 face to face appointments every week sharing your story with someone new!

You are not ready to plant a church until you have written and begun articulating your story!