Wednesday, August 26, 2015

War Room...the movie

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against...the powers of this dark world...."  (Ephesians 6:12)

My wife and I just witnessed an advance showing of the movie, WAR ROOM.  We give it, "Two thumbs up, 8 more fingers and a side of 10 toes!"  The flick hits national screens this Friday, August 28th.  I highly recommend YOU see it as well!  But, just like following Jesus, don't witness the movie alone.  Instead, use this great tool to invite (even pay for) others to join you.  You have my word, the movie will inspire and challenge you in a manner that few movies are able.  After that, I invite you to consider developing small ministry group(s) to not only discuss the movie's impact, but to pray together in how its story-line can develop a renewed prayer-life-power for your church and your city!  

In case you men are wondering if this is some feel-good marshmallow-movie, I'm telling you it is anything but soft.  It hits the heart hard...penetrates the enemy of apathy...and blows it up!  I believe this flick will empower you with the scriptural-weapons you need to win life's daily battles over your family. WAR ROOM equips men, women and children to receive the truth of Jesus as warrior king, calling us to join him in the Holy Spirit of conquering the darkness that seeks to consume our families, work places and cities.  In Christ, we always win on the battlefield of life--- so watch the movie and experience how!

WAR ROOM is another family-friendly, Christian film written, produced, and directed by the Kendrick Brothers, Alex and Stephen.  They are the creators of such films as, Facing the Giants, FireProof and Courageous.  All previous Kendrick movies have been used by churches around the nation to ignite new ministries.  For example, while I was pastoring my Minnesota church plant, we used FireProof to jump start a marriage ministry, then a couple years later used Courageous to inspire our men's ministry to emulate the movie and develop courageous-covenants.  I now invite you to watch and experience WAR ROOM, in theaters today, and let the Holy Spirit direct you, and your church, in making a prayer-packed impact!

Check out a trailer preview here:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Morning vs. the Boat

Dave Jacobs, a church planter from southern California, recalls a time when he first started his church:  "Some of my leaders had chosen to go boating instead of coming to church (Sunday morning worship time) and I was upset.  I said to my wife, 'Don't they realize I'm trying to do something here?  How am I going to grow this church if my leaders aren't as committed as I am?"

His wife responded with the wisdom of the Lord: "Dave, this church is your life.  Your whole focus is on it.  Nobody cares about this church like you do.  No one will be as committed as you are.  They've got church and then they've got their lives out of the church.  You don't.  For you, it's all church.  You better understand this and get over it or you're going to push your leaders away, be unhappy all the time--- and make me unhappy!"

Church planters: I can relate to Dave response, and to his dear wife's retort as well--- mostly because once-upon-a-time, that was me!  Starting a church from scratch is hard enough, but when others aren't appearing to "appreciate" the difficulty of the mission, it hurts.

What might YOU do in such a situation?  Bellyache about it?  Yell at people?  Guilt them?  Go ahead and try all that if you wish, but I'll tell you right now--- it will only make matters worse for the momentum of your church start.

So here's what I believe can be one remedy for such dis-ease: start a church where its DNA is all about training, equipping and encouraging people to be daily disciples in the marketplace (practicing Ephesians 4:11-13).  This way, your folks are never only "in or "out" of the church (facility).  Instead, they are being the Body of Christ everywhere they go--- including boating!

Here's an example: let's say the above true story was the only time the new church leaders could go boating together with another couple from the neighborhood who are not Christian.  If trained well by the planter, the leaders see this outing as a grand opportunity to develop a trusting relationship with the unchurched couple.  The leaders see it as "an act of worship."  So, not only have they been trained by the planter to minister to each other on the boat, but they are boldly sharing ministry over the new couple as well!

This way your boating members become boating missionaries of your message.  They are living out worship as "fishers of men."

The same can be true for your countless families that follow their kids to weekend softball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, chess, checkers and hopscotch tournaments.  Instead of letting their absence drive you nuts, you focus on intentionally building-up your church body to BE JESUS to those other parents who are also at the weekend games, but are not familiar with the hope only Christ offers.  The same practice of faith can be implemented by your church youth towards their friends!  So planters: equip your members to pray over other people in the daily marketplace--- and be ready at all times to share the hope they have in Christ Jesus!

Perhaps, over time, these newly connecting, faith-sparking relationships will lead more people to showing up for the Sunday morning gathering--- to hear YOUR great messages!  Bottom line for this blog entry: please don't think I'm not advocating for Sunday morning worship time--- indeed it's crucial to faith development.  I'd prefer that no one ever missed!  If believers, however, are going to reach unbelievers, then we planters need to focus on equipping our people to be marketplace ministers on Monday, and not just pew sitters on Sunday.  It's a both/and outlook of faith.

This way, Dave's earlier laments (see paragraph one) are cancelled in the power of Jesus:
-Your people WILL SEE what you're doing--- and will be thankful.

-Your church WILL GROW in numbers and influence because others are serving with you.

-Your leaders WILL BE more committed because they are personally participating in the new church's mission.

                       For past blogs on church planting, see