We began our sabbatical on July 6 with Christin and I flying to southern California to attend a preaching/teaching conference at North Coast Church with 25 other couples involved in church planting. Larry Osborne and Chris Brown provided the best training I’ve personally experienced concerning preaching and teaching. None of this would have happened, though, without Brian Bloye and Kevin Dunlap of West Ridge Church providing this for church planters they’ve invested in over the years. These guys LOVE church planters and it shows.
10 takeaways from the training:
- Legalism turns principles into laws and tools into rules. We can easily focus truth as binoculars on others’ sins instead of as a mirror on our own.
- Know your role and God’s role in teaching. Be faithful to scripture, adaptive to your audience/culture, and live what you teach.
- Discover and develop your unique voice. Like being the type of pastor God wired you to be. People will respond to your confidence, security, joy, and passion… or lack of it.
- Drip your core values into everything you teach and do. This doesn’t require teaching a series on core values as much as persistent (and creative) repetition.
- Learn to take a seat as an observer in the stories from scripture. Big keys are understanding the back stories of the people, places, and their spiritual, economic, and political lenses. Always answer how this story applies to us or don’t teach it.
- Know what stage your church is in and how it impacts communicating with your team. You learn a lot about whether people are team players when they lose in the arenas of power, prestige, or preference.
- Aim preaching/teaching at believers in a way that seekers can be included, understand, and not feel stupid. Recognize subliminal messages you’re giving that say “this is only for insiders.”
- Being a collaborative leader does not mean everything is collaboration. Allowing people to give input and sharing leadership are not the same thing- recognize and communicate the difference.
- You don’t have to immerse yourself in culture to understand it. Most of what our culture labels as “adult,” scripture labels as “risky.” You never mature to the point where you don’ t need to flee sin.
- Always begin with you and the Bible. Trust God to speak to you through scripture. Look at other pastors, authors, commentaries only after you’ve first created the space to listen to Him.
- Connecting with other church planting couples, including a few old friends.
- Getting some hang time with one of my spiritual big brothers.
- Spending quality time with Christin exploring the beach and town of Carlsbad with no children in tow.