Equip Retreat 2016

vtcpequipretreatblank-01This weekend, January 29-30, we host our third annual Equip Retreat through Vermont Church Planting.   Forty church planters and potential church planters from across Vermont and the neighboring region are attending with Mike Breen from 3DM Movements leading our sessions.

This week I sensed God leading me to pray three specific things for this retreat.  Will you pray the following with me?

For God to remind us Jesus is worth the risks we’re taking and sacrifices we’re making.
For God to encourage us  as we share stories with other like minded guys.
For God to equip us with some practical tools for our ministry toolbox.

Thank you for your prayers and partnership.

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lessons I’m relearning: marathon mentality

I’m often asked by other pastors and church-planters to describe ministry in Vermont.  It often reminds me of a century ride I did on my bike a couple of summers ago.  Me and a buddy mapped our route so the pinnacle of Smugglers Notch would be the exact halfway point- which means at 42 miles in, youBike-Pedals-to-clip-or-not-to-clip begin an eight mile, 1800 ft climb.  About three miles into the climb you begin feeling the stress in your thighs and calves, and your simple focus becomes spin that flywheel, spin that flywheel one pedal push at a time.  You quickly realize you have no idea how far you’ve actually traveled, because all of your normal training rides felt much easier than tackling this mountainous behemoth.  Your hope is to eventually reach the summit… you will know it when you get there and not a minute before. Continue reading

Unspoken Plumb Lines

Italy, Tuscany, The leaning tower of Pisa with plumb lineplumb line noun:  tool that consists of a small, heavy object attached to a string or rope and that is used especially to see if something (such as a wall) is perfectly vertical

This past week my good friend Ben Presten shared with me this interesting idea of “plumb lines” from the book “Sticky Teams” by Larry Osborne.  Here’s what Osborne means by plumb-lines:

Plumb lines are like organizational proverbs—a list of pithy sayings that describe clearly and concisely what we value and what our staff needs to think through when making decisions… Continue reading

Church Planters Equipping Retreat

I realize I have not updated this blog in quite a while.  As I return to the blogosphere, I want to solicit your prayers for what I believe is a potentially eternally significant event this weekend.  God gave me the opportunity to organize an equipping retreat for church-planters in the region.  We originally expected ten to twelve guys, but we had to cap the numbers at twenty-two.  All of these men are either presently leading a church-plant or sensing God leading them to plant a church in their community.  All of these men live in highly unchurched and underserved communities in Vermont, Eastern New York, and Northern New Hampshire.  Many of them feel isolated and under-equipped for the task ahead.
Please join me in praying… Continue reading

Spurs vs. Heat- Built vs. Bought

NBA_Finals_logo,_2007Last night during the NBA finals halftime show, analyst and former player Jalen Rose used two interesting terms to describe the two basketball teams’ roads to success.  Rose explained how the San Antonio Spurs were built while the Miami Heat were bought.  No one questions the success of either team as the Heat play in their third final in three years and the Spurs seek their third championship since 1999.  Both enjoy remarkable success, yet take two radically different approaches to building a winning cultue. I find some striking parallels with how we develop leadership teams (and people in general) in both established churches and church-plants.   Continue reading

No church-planting Kobes

I like sports… a lot.  I’m not so good at playing sports anymore, but I certainly enjoy watching whether it’s my alma mater’s college football team, high-light reels of Kobe, Lebron, and Durant in the NBA, or cheering on my teen neighbors playing rec ball.   I’m also intrigued by how often topics in sports intersect with following Jesus and leading others.  How scripture uses athletic metaphors from the 1st century is hardly coincidental. Continue reading

Questions that matter most

Since I began my first ministry leadership position over twenty years ago, the metrics for success have seemed to shift somewhat from church to church.  How many people are on the church membership role?  How many people did we baptize?  How many people attended the weekly worship service?  How many people did we connect with through an outreach event?  How many people were assimilated into small groups?  In every case we were measuring numbers.  Don’t misunderstand me: numbers matter because they represent real people with real names who really matter to God.  The bigger issue revolves around what do these numbers mean?  What are we really measuring? Continue reading