Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How to's of Blogging for Churches - by Cindy Solomon

Brian Bailey is the primary author of the recently released book, The Blogging Church, written also with Terry Storch, and leads the web team at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX. An expert on the use of blogs in the church, Brian has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News and the corporate blogging book, Naked Conversations. The following excerpt is part of an interview with Brian that originally appeared in the Spring Arbor publication, Christian Advance.

How did you get into blogging?
I started reading blogs in 2000 and after experimenting for a couple of years, I finally launched my personal blog -- -- in 2004. Blogs are a wonderful way to connect with people across the globe. Through blogs I've been exposed to so many different perspectives, so much knowledge and so many interesting people that I never would have had the chance to experience otherwise.

Who is the audience for The Blogging Church?
The book is for everyone in the church who has questions about blogging. If you play a role in a local church, whether as a staff member or volunteer, and are curious about blogging, this book

is packed with questions, answers, ideas and inspiration. The book is equally about the why and the how of blogging. If you are trying to decide whether blogs are a good idea for your church, you'll find a lot of content designed to help answer that question. If you're already a blogging pioneer, hopefully you'll discover further ideas to help you be even more effective while avoiding common pitfalls.

What makes this book unique?
This is the first book on blogging written specifically for the church. Many books have been published on blogging, including Naked Conversations, a book on corporate blogging I highly recommend. The local church is a unique entity, with incredible opportunities and challenges that are unlike any business. The sense of what is at stake in the local church, that perspective, there's simply nothing else like it.

What do you hope readers will take away?
Equal doses of inspiration and caution. I hope people see the incredible potential of blogging and the many different ways a blog can be used to reach the committed and the curious in their church and community. Blogs can help open doors and start conversations and extend the physical community of the local church online.

On the other hand, I think blogging should have a huge warning label. A blog can easily become an ego-feeding, insular home of diatribes and self-congratulation. People naturally turn inward -- the warm, inviting glow of the spotlight can be hard to resist. A few months later, you realize that your blog is no longer about the church you serve or the One you serve, it's about you and you alone.

What questions should church staff ask when considering whether to blog?
One question that is a theme throughout is, What problem are you trying to solve? It's very tempting to start blogging for no other reason than to be able to say you have a blog or because it's the latest thing. In the church, time and money are too precious to waste on a gimmick. If a blog isn't driven by a passion to reach people and share the vision of the church in an authentic way, it isn't worth doing.

What are the advantages of blogging for a church?
Blogs are an amazingly simple and inexpensive way to share the story of your church online. You can connect with people and reveal your heart, and the heart of your church. You can cast the vision, keep people informed, learn from others, reach out, market your church, and keep your staff on the same page. The possibilities are endless.

What are the challenges?
Unfortunately, the world of blogs (the blogosphere) can become an endless, self-referencing circle of debate and criticism between people who are supposed to be on the same side. You may launch your blog filled with determination to connect with the members of your church in a new way. Maybe the blog will provide an easy, low-pressure way for people to get a sense of the church. But next thing you know, you've turned your back on your church in order to spend hour after hour defending what you do and how you do it to people thousands of miles away.

What are some of your favorite church blogs and why do you like them?
There are very few examples of really good church blogs, but there are many, many great blogging pastors and staff members. I honestly wouldn't know where to start. I will say that Dino Rizzo, the lead pastor of Healing Place Church in Louisiana, is one of the best. He always takes the focus off of himself and points people to Christ and to Healing Place. At the same time, you really develop a personal connection with Dino, through his openness and honesty about great struggles and amazing triumphs. His writing throughout the Katrina disaster was truly moving and filled with faith and hope.

Cindy Solomon is editorial coordinator for Christian Advance.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Don't Waste Your Life Video Podcast

From the Desiring God Blog:

Starting this week and over the next 12 months we will be releasing short video podcasts designed to be a weekly encouragement and challenge to not waste our lives. As the Lord provides, our plan is to produce at least 100 hundred episodes. Every episode will take a theme from the book, Don’t Waste Your Life, and challenge us to think about what we are doing with the lives the Lord has given us. We are encouraging everyone with a website, blog, etc. to use any of these episodes to spread the message around the world. We are praying that many who would never read the book may be impacted in a significant way by watching one of these podcasts.

to the video podcast. (You can also subscribe in iTunes.)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New North Point Ministries Website

From MMI Weblog

Andy Stanley's North Point Church now has a website that offers many of their church government, human resources, accounting, facilities, web and tech, and other resources online for free! According to the site, "Over the past ten years, we have brainstormed, strategized, tweaked, and modified our model. We have compiled much of our philosophy, strategy, practices, and processes on this site in an effort to help other churches learn from our experiences. We've included things like: why we do some of the things we do, what has worked well, and what hasn't worked well. We'll be the first to admit that we're not there yet! We hope you will find this site helpful as you create environments for people to connect meaningfully with God..."

Click here to visit

The trend here to watch… FREE. This is just the most recent addition of larger churches offering to share their resources to other churches FOR FREE. (LifeChurch and Seacoast are already offering much of their media assets online for free). I think this is a great trend. And it will change the face of church resources over the next few years as more and more churches and ministries offer their resources for free. It will also put a little pressure on some of the other big ‘pay for stuff’ ministries either be 1) more creative or 2) lower their prices or offer more of their resources for free.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Summary of Generation Next

I'm stealing the following from David Wayne aka Jollyblogger. For the full thoughts of DW click HERE.


The Pew Research Center has come out with a survey describing the lifestyles, values and beliefs of 18-25 year olds that they call "A Portrait of 'Generation Next.'" It's a 45 page document and I have put a summary of their findings in the post continuation below.

A few things stand out to me.

The message of conservatives, both religious and political conservatives, doesn't seem to have gained much traction with this generation. On the political end of things, it is noteworthy that the majority of this age group thinks immigration is a good thing, supports gay marriage and votes Democratic.

HT - CatalystSpace

Meet Generation Next:

• They use technology and the internet to connect with people in new and distinctive ways.
Text messaging, instant messaging and email keep them in constant contact with friends.
About half say they sent or received a text message over the phone in the past day,
approximately double the proportion of those ages 26-40.

• They are the “Look at Me” generation. Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and
MyYearbook allow individuals to post a personal profile complete with photos and
descriptions of interests and hobbies. A majority of Gen Nexters have used one of these
social networking sites, and more than four-in-ten have created a personal profile.

• Their embrace of new technology has made them uniquely aware of its advantages and
disadvantages. They are more likely than older adults to say these cyber-tools make it easier
for them to make new friends and help them to stay close to old friends and family. But more
than eight-in-ten also acknowledge that these tools “make people lazier.”

• About half of Gen Nexters say the growing number of immigrants to the U.S. strengthens
the country – more than any generation. And they also lead the way in their support for gay
marriage and acceptance of interracial dating.

• Beyond these social issues, their views defy easy categorization. For example, Generation
Next is less critical of government regulation of business but also less critical of business
itself. And they are the most likely of any generation to support privatization of the Social
Security system.

• They maintain close contact with parents and family. Roughly eight-in-ten say they talked
to their parents in the past day. Nearly three-in-four see their parents at least once a week,
and half say they see their parents daily. One reason: money. About three-quarters of Gen
Nexters say their parents have helped them financially in the past year.

• Their parents may not always be pleased by what they see on those visits home: About half
of Gen Nexters say they have either gotten a tattoo, dyed their hair an untraditional color,
or had a body piercing in a place other than their ear lobe. The most popular are tattoos, which decorate the bodies of more than a third of these young adults.

• One-in-five members of Generation Next say they have no religious affiliation or are atheist
or agnostic, nearly double the proportion of young people who said that in the late 1980s.
And just 4% of Gen Nexters say people in their generation view becoming more spiritual as
their most important goal in life.

• They are somewhat more interested in keeping up with politics and national affairs than were
young people a generation ago. Still, only a third say they follow what’s going on in government and public affairs “most of the time.”

• In Pew surveys in 2006, nearly half of young people (48%) identified more with the
Democratic Party, while just 35% affiliated more with the GOP. This makes Generation
Next the least Republican generation.

• Voter turnout among young people increased significantly between 2000 and 2004,
interrupting a decades-long decline in turnout among the young. Nonetheless, most members
of Generation Next feel removed from the political process. Only about four-in-ten agree
with the statement: “It’s my duty as a citizen to always vote.”

• They are significantly less cynical about government and political leaders than are other
Americans or the previous generation of young people. A majority of Americans agree with
the statement: “When something is run by the government, it is usually inefficient and
wasteful,” but most Generation Nexters reject this idea.

• Their heroes are close and familiar. When asked to name someone they admire, they are
twice as likely as older Americans to name a family member, teacher, or mentor. Moreover,
roughly twice as many young people say they most admire an entertainer rather than a
political leader.

• They are more comfortable with globalization and new ways of doing work. They are the
most likely of any age group to say that automation, the outsourcing of jobs, and the growing
number of immigrants have helped and not hurt American workers.

• Asked about the life goals of those in their age group, most Gen Nexters say their
generation’s top goals are fortune and fame. Roughly eight-in-ten say people in their
generation think getting rich is either the most important, or second most important, goal in
their lives. About half say that becoming famous also is valued highly by fellow Gen

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Ben Witherington on Rob Bell

Dr. Ben Witherington attended a presentation given by Rob Bell (of Mars Hill Bible Church, Grand Rapids Michigan) at the University of Kentucky's Singletary Auditorium recently and commented on his blog about what he thought of that presentation. Rob Bell is best known for his Nooma Videos and his book "Velvet Elvis". Below is a small segment of Dr. Witherington's thoughts on Bell, both positive and negative. For the full post by Dr. Witherington click HERE.

There are a variety of things to commend about Rob and his two books "Velvet Elvis" and "Sex God". They often raise the right sort of questions, and it is clear that Rob connects well with the 20 something crowds. He is an engaging dialogue partner, and witty at times. I especially appreciate how self-effacing he is in his books in dealing with issues like his own struggles for example with depression. He is good at the relational level of things, and one can readily see that he has some pastoral skills. He also has some teaching skills as well. I am thankful that he takes the Bible seriously, and that he seeks to understand it in its original Jewish context. And he has some justified complaints about modernity and its world view as well. It seems clear that God is using him to reach a wide variety of young people, perhaps many who are not darkening the doors of church or can't relate to traditional church. The videos are engaging from a cinematographic and musical point of view, and there is content which is challenging, and not just fluff.

Having spoken of the promise of his writings and speaking engagements and videos, it is necessary in all fairness to turn around and talk about the problems. I will stick to a few major ones in the way he handles the Bible and issues of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. First of all it seems clear that Rob, in his valid attempt to read Jesus and the NT writers in the context of early Judaism, has not used good enough sources to really help him understand the difference between Judaism prior to the two Jewish wars in the first and second centuries A.D, and later Mishnaic and Talmudic Judaism.
Jesus was certainly not a rabbi in the later Mishnaic sense, much less like modern ordained rabbis. It is telling that the only time Jesus is ever really called rabbi by any of his followers is when Judas does so when he is betraying Jesus with a kiss. Jesus' approach to the Torah is not like later rabbis in various ways, not the least of which is that he does not cite (indeed he often contrasts his teaching with) the oral traditions of the elders, such as Hillel or Shammai and the like. Jesus spoke on his own independent authority. At times Rob seems too uncritical in his reading of sources like the truly dated works of Alfred Edersheim, and apparently he spends too much time listening to folks like Ray Vanderlaan, a local teacher in the Grand Rapids area who doesn't really much understand the differences between medieval Jewish rabbis and the context and ethos of teachers in early Judaism of Jesus' day. Rob needs to read some viable sources on early Judaism, for example some of the work of Craig Evans or George Nickelsburg or Jacob Neusner if he wants to paint the picture of the Jewish Jesus using the right hews, tones, and features.

The second problem area is ethics, which became very apparent tonight when Rob Bell was asked about homosexuality. His answers was evasive in part, and disturbing in other parts, and clearly unBiblical in other parts and in this he sounds like some other leaders in the Emergent Church movement. Some specifics should be mentioned.

First of all, Rob made the blanket statement that you have no moral authority to speak on this issue unless you have gay friends and understand their struggle. While I am all for having pastoral empathy with people and their struggles, on that showing, Paul should never have spoken on this issue at all. This comment by Rob is simply an unhelpful way of silencing important voices in a divisive conversation, and its not helpful. Indeed it goes against the whole M.O. of Rob himself, which is to honor other people's views and beliefs and questions.

Secondly, Rob then makes an argument from silence which is in fact misleading. The argument is this--- "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality". This is not quite true. Jesus took all sorts of sexual sin very seriously, even adultery of the heart, as Rob admits, and so it is no surprise then that we find Jesus telling his disciples in Mt. 19 that they have only two legitimate options: 1) marital fidelity (with marriage being defined as a relationship between one man and one woman joined together by God which leads to a one flesh union), or 2) being a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Monty Python's Search for the emerging truth...

I'm not all that inclined to write satire. I get ideas for good satires, but can never get to the end of them in the thought process. So I had one that I thought I would share, hopefully someone else (Marc at Purgatorio is on a blogging break) could run with it.

Christian (pointing): "Look over there, it's a Truth!"
Thomas just continues to stare blankly.
Christian: You didn't look!?
Thomas (blinks): "Nope, they don't exist, and I didn't want to get two for looking..."

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

2007 Willow Creek Leadership Summit

Colin Powell, Jimmy Carter Among Speaker Lineup for Leadership Summit 2007

A former Secretary of State and former U.S. president will be among the speakers at The Leadership Summit 2007. Colin Powell and Jimmy Carter will join Bill Hybels and a host of other leadership experts for the two-and-a-half-day event, August 9-11.

The Leadership Summit, now in its twelfth year, will be experienced live in more than 100 locations across North America and via videocast and in an additional 50+ cities around the world.

This year’s speakers are:

Bill Hybels

Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church and Founder of The Leadership Summit

Senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, and Chairman of the Board for the Willow Creek Association. Hybels is known worldwide for his work equipping and training church leaders and is the author of Courageous Leadership and Holy Discontent, releasing June 2007.

General Colin Powell

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

U.S. Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 under President George W. Bush and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993, Powell is the founder of America’s Promise — The Alliance for Youth. He is also the author of a best-selling memoir, My American Journey.

Jimmy Carter

39th President of the United States and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Carter is founder of the Carter Center in Atlanta that promotes health, democracy, and human rights across the globe. Carter is well known for his work on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, and his many books include 2005’s Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis.

John Ortberg

Best-selling author and teaching pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California

Teaching pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California and best-selling author, Ortberg is a sought-after speaker on the subject of spiritual formation. His books include If You Want to Walk On Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat and the upcoming release, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box.

Carly Fiorina

Former President and Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard Company

President and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Company from 1999 to 2005, Fiorina lead the innovative technology firm in a rapidly changing business climate. She is familiar with the challenges of taking risks and making courageous decisions during organizational change and details her experiences in the 2006 memoir, Tough Choices.

Hon. Rev. Floyd Flake

Senior Pastor and Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York and President of Wilberforce University

Senior pastor of the 23,000-member Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in Queens and president of Wilberforce University in Ohio. He served as a U.S. Congressman for 11 years and is the author of Nine Action Steps for Achieving Your Dreams: The Way of the Bootstrapper.

Warren Bennis

Author, Professor, Consultant, and Pioneer in the Study of Leadership

Once named the “Dean of Leadership Gurus” by FORBES magazine, Bennis is one of the world’s foremost authorities on leadership. He is a pioneer in the study of leadership, the Distinguished Professor of Business Administration at the University of Southern California, and chairman of the advisory board at Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership.

Michael Porter

Professor at Harvard Business School and International Authority on Competitive Strategy

Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School and author of 17 books. An international authority on competitive strategy, Porter is creator and chair of The New CEO Workshop at Harvard which focuses on the challenges of assuming leadership, setting agendas, and addressing major communication issues.

Richard Curtis

Oscar-nominated Screenwriter and Founder of the Make Poverty History Campaign

Best known as the Oscar-nominated screenwriter for Four Weddings and a Funeral, Curtis’ most recent film, The Girl in the CafĂ©, asked hard questions about third-world debt and poverty in Africa. Curtis founded or co-founded the Make Poverty History campaign, Live 8 concerts, as well as Comic Relief, to raise money for victims of famine in Ethiopia.

Click here for more information about the Leadership Summit 2007 … and register your team today!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentine's Day

(From the Pastor's Weekly Briefing by FotF)

Saint Valentine's Day, or simply Valentine's Day, which falls on February 14, has become the traditional day every year when expressions of love are made using cards, candy or flowers. The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines will be exchanged worldwide, making it the most popular holiday except for Christmas when over two and a half billion cards are sent.

Many legends have developed over the years as to the origin of Valentine's Day, but most agree that it refers to a man named Valentinus who was martyred in the late third century during the reign of Claudius II. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, three men with the name Valentinus, which was common at that time, were martyred between 269 and 273 AD. Two of the most popular legends that have endured come from the 15th Century. One claims that on the night before Valentine was to be martyred for being a Christian, he passed a love note to his jailer's daughter that read, "From your Valentine." Another states that during a ban on marriages of Roman soldiers by the Emperor Claudius II, St. Valentine secretly helped arrange marriages. Claudius felt that in order to create a perfect army, soldiers should not have to deal with the distractions of marriage. Valentine believed that men who were about to face danger and possible death could only exhibit the required bravery if they were sent off to battle with the love of a wife.

Another theory — regarding the observance of Valentine's Day on February 14 — is that it is the Church's response to the ancient Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia on February 15. In the fifth century, Pope Gelasius abolished Lupercalia and declared that the feast of St. Valentine would be on February 14.

Valentine's Day has also now become a time to celebrate the permanence of marriage and to encourage couples to renew their vows. Since 1996, the seven days leading up to Valentine's Day have been designated as Marriage Week USA according to Smart Marriages which can be contacted at

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Discernment with Tim Challies...

Christian uber-blogger Tim Challies is writing a book about discernment. Today he posted on discernment. I've included his definition and how he breaks it down below because I think it is clear and insightful and useful for Christians to think over.


Discernment is the skill of understanding and applying God's Word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong.

When we practice discernment, we are applying the truths of the Bible to our lives. We are attempting to understand the words of the Bible and trusting God's Word to give clarity so we might see things as God sees them. Our goal in discernment is to do just this: to see things through God's eyes through the Bible and thus to see things as they really are. Like wiping the steam from a mirror, we seek to remove what is opaque so we might see with God-given clarity.

To aid our understanding, we'll now unpack this definition, looking at each of the individual components.

Discernment is...

...The Skill...

Discernment is a skill. It is not an inherent ability like breathing or chewing, but a skill like reading or public speaking that must be practiced and must be improved. There is not a person on earth who has been born with a full measure of discernment or who has all of the discernment he will ever need. There is not a person who has attained a level of expertise that allows him to move on and to leave discernment behind. Like the master musician who practices his skills more as his acclaim grows, in the same way a discerning person will see with ever-greater clarity his need to increase in discernment. He will want to sharpen and improve this skill throughout his life.

God graciously enables and equips us practice discernment with increasing accuracy and confidence. Like other skills, discernment increases with practice. An apprentice to a tailor will at first make slow, hesitant cuts to a piece of fabric. His experienced tutor, though, will confidently make accurate cuts in one smooth movement. In the same way, what is at first difficult can, with practice, become more natural. The more we know of truth, the more our ability to discern will increase.

While the Bible does not make it entirely clear, it is likely the God did not immediately bestow upon Solomon the full measure of his eventual wisdom and discernment. It is more likely that God gave Solomon ability but required that he continually sharpen this skill. After all, God also granted Solomon "both riches and honor," but these surely did not come in full measure that very day. Just as we are required to invest effort in learning what the Bible says and just as we are to strive after holiness, in the same way we are to work at the skill of discernment, attempting to become better at it through practice. This is clear from Hebrews 5:14 which reads "But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil." Distinguishing good from evil, and doing so correctly and consistently, requires dedicated, ongoing practice. It is a skill.

...of understanding...

The Hebrew word most commonly translated as discernment is otherwise translated as understanding. Discernment is closely related to understanding and depends upon a right understanding of God and His ways. Because we can only base what we do on what we know, we must first understand who God is and how He wants us to serve and honor Him. Understanding must precede both interpretation and application. This is clear throughout the Bible, but especially in Proverbs were Solomon continually ties knowledge, wisdom and discernment, not as separate disciplines, but as related. And so to be people of discernment we must be people who dedicate ourselves to studying, knowing and understanding God.

...and applying...

Discernment involves not only understanding, but the application of that understanding. This is where we see the interrelated nature of wisdom and discernment and where we see how difficult it can be to separate one from the other. Discernment is wisdom in action, wisdom applied, and here we seek to apply the skill we have been practicing. We do not only know (understand), but we also do (apply).

...God's Word...

God's Word refers to two aspects of God's revelation: revelation of Himself through the person of Jesus Christ and revelation of Himself through speech, and in particular, the words that were recorded in the Bible. Though in days past God revealed Himself through words of prophesy and other forms of personal address, today we know Him through the Bible which God has given to point us to the Word of God as it exists in the person of Jesus.

God's Word is Truth. In John 17:17, as part of His High Priestly Prayer, Jesus affirmed to His Father, “your word is truth.” God's Word is the very source of infallible truth. God's word is our measure; it is our source. Hebrews 14:13 says that “everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.” Conversely, then, those who are mature are those who are skilled in the word of righteousness. The word of righteousness, those doctrines that are fundamental to the Christian faith are synonymous with the word of God.

We can only worship and glorify God on the basis of what we know of Him. In order to be discerning, we must know and understand what is true about God. To do this we turn to God's Word. And so, to be discerning, we must first be students of the Bible. We must study it, we must read about it, and we must hear it taught from the pulpit.

When we engage in discernment we attempt to use God's Word to rise above our own limitations so we can see as God sees. Through the truths contained in the Bible, God allows us to see things with His eyes.

...with the purpose of separating...

God's word is the standard we use to differentiate between what is true and what is false. The concepts of separating and distinguishing are inherent in the words of the original languages translated as discernment. Discernment implies that we are to separate things in order to understand their differences.

Like the laser level that shows with perfect clarity any deviations from what is straight, the Bible teaches what is true, leaving what is false standing out with glaring clearness. We use God's Word as a tool to separate what is true from what is false. We use it to make the light appear lighter, leaving the dark to appear ever darker.

...truth from error...

A constant theme when discussing spiritual discernment is the importance of distinguishing truth from error. The Bible makes it clear that doctrine is either true or it is false. We are called by God to examine all theology and to make such binary distinctions. When we speak of truth and error we speak of doctrine and theology - about ways of thinking rightly and truly about God. We think about how we think, knowing that we what think inevitably affects how we act. What we think of God will necessarily impact how we serve Him. If we want to serve him in a way that is true and pure, we must think of Him as He really is, thinking of Him without error. Only when we have separated truth from error are we able to rightly worship God.

...and right from wrong.

At times discernment will be concerned with truth and error. At other times it will be concerned with right and wrong, words which indicate a moral dimension to discernment, for this practice concerns itself not only with doctrine and theology, but with the practical application of those disciplines to our lives. Discernment is a skill we need to live lives that are morally and ethically pleasing to God. We need to be discerning first in what we believe and then in what we do. Where the concepts of truth and error concern what we believe, the associated concepts of right and wrong concern what we do and how we live. In this way we see discernment as a discipline that applies to all areas of life. As I wrote just two days ago, there is treasure everything. Discernment allows us to see and to form a theology of everything, a theology that touches and impacts all areas of life.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

2007 National New Church Conference

Connect. Inspire. Equip. Challenge.

Exponential is a cross-denominational gathering designed to connect, inspire, equip and challenge church planting leaders. Nearly 9 of 10 attendees of last years conference said they would attend again and nearly 50% said the conference either helped them discern a specific next step in church planting or inspired them to pursue a next step.

Below are just some of the speakers at this year's conference. For a full list CLICK HERE.

efrem smithEfrem Smith - Efrem is an internationally recognized leader and speaker who uses storytelling, comedy, and passion to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ at a level that people can understand as well as presents principles for living the life on a daily basis. He also consults on diversity and multi-ethnic issues and has been a speaker at many high school and middle school assemblies and retreats. Efrem is co-author of the book The Hip Hop Church. Efrem is married to Donecia and has two daughters; Jaeda and Mireya. He has received many awards such as the Role Model Award from the Hennepin County Community Coalition, and the Community Service Award from Saint John's University.

ed setzerEd Stetzer - Ed has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, is an experienced church planter, and has served as a seminary professor. His book, Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age, helps church planters to start and grow biblically faithful and culturally relevant churches. The book has become a standard church planting textbook in many evangelical seminaries. He has coauthored (with Elmer Towns) Perimeters of Light: Biblical Boundaries for the Emerging Church which helps churches to determine what parts of church life are biblically commanded. Ed lives in Cumming, GA with his wife Donna and two daughters, Kristen and Jaclyn.

mark battersonMark Batterson - Mark serves as lead pastor of National Community Church (NCC) in Washington, D.C. Starting with a core group of 19, NCC has morphed into one church with five services meeting in movie theaters throughout the district. The church also owns and operates Ebenezer's, the largest coffeehouse on Capitol Hill. Mark is the author of ID: The True You, and a daily blogger at He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife Lora, and their three children.

matt chandlerMatt Chandler - Matt serves as lead pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, TX. He describes his 3 year tenure at The Village as a re-planting effort where he was involved in changing the theological and philosophical culture of the congregation. The church has witnessed a tremendous response growing from 160 people to over 2500. Alongside his current role as lead pastor, Matt is involved in church planting efforts both locally and internationally through The Village and various strategic partnerships. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over ten years where he spoke to hundreds of thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. His greatest joy outside of Jesus is being married to Lauren and being a dad to their two children, Audrey and Reid.

wayne corderioWayne Corderio - Wayne is founding Pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship in Honolulu, Hawaii; one of the nation's fastest growing churches. Since its opening in 1995, New Hope has grown to over 11,000 in weekend attendance with 8,500 of those being first-time decisions. Pastor Wayne is an author, songwriter, and highly sought after speaker. He has authored eight books, including Doing Church as a Team, Dream Releasers and The Seven Rules of Success in addition to releasing three music CDs. He is a church planter at heart and has helped to plant 80 churches in the Pacific Rim and beyond, including Hawaii, Montana, the Philippines, Japan, Myanmar, as well as Helsinki. Wayne and his wife, Anna, celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary this year with their three children, Amy, Aaron, and Abigail.

bill hybelsBill Hybels - Bill is the founding and Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. The church began in 1975 when a handful of young people gathered in a rented movie theater with a vision of turning irreligious people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Today, more than 20,000 people attend weekend services on the church's 230 acre campus and it's regional sites. He has authored 17 books, including such classics as Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Courageous Leadership, The Volunteer Revolution, and "Just Walk Across the Room".. In addition to providing leadership and vision for Willow Creek Community Church, Bill serves as chairman of the Willow Creek Association, a fellowship of over 11,000 like-minded churches worldwide. He and Lynne are the parents of two grown children, Shauna and Todd.

larry osborneLarry Osborne - Larry has served as the senior pastor of North Coast Church since 1980. Under his leadership, the church has grown from 128 to 6,500 in weekend attendance and now offers 23 worship options on five different local campuses. He serves as an adjunct professor for the doctoral and graduate programs at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Simpson College. He is the founder and president of the North Coast Training Network.

bob robertsBob Roberts - Bob is the founding pastor of NorthWood Church near Dallas/FT Worth, TX. He is the founder of GlocalNet (, an international network of like-minded leaders who are passionate about a multiplication movement that connects the body of Christ worldwide. Bob works extensively in identifying new places to start and train churches and in the placement and strategy of new churches. He teaches courses at universities and institutions around the world. Bob is a graduate of Baylor University (BA), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div), and Fuller Seminary (D.Min) with an emphasis in church planting. Bob is married to Nikki and they have two children, Ben and Jill.

Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller will both be presenting via video for this conference as well.


The 2007 conference is at First Baptist Church (FBC) Orlando located at 3000 S. John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL 32805. The FBC campus is ideally suited for the conference. From their 6500 seat audiotorium to their on-site food services, FBC is the perfect host...and their staff are as excited as anyone about the conference. Their passion for serving the Body of Christ and supporting church planting will be evident to everyone who attends the conference. The campus is conveniently located about 12 miles from the Orlando International Airport, 12 miles from Disney, and just a few miles from a large selection of hotels and restaurants (click here for a list of hotels).

Click here for a map of the FBC campus and for directions to the campus.

Click here to see a map of the Orlando area.

National New Church Conference web site



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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith - Christian Coaches leading the way

"I'm proud to be the first African-American coach to win this," said Dungy during the trophy ceremony Sunday night, according to the Associated Press. "But again, more than anything, Lovie Smith and I are not only African-American but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lord's way. We're more proud of that."
Tony Dungy is a member of Northside New Era Baptist Church. NNE seems to have a solid Evangelical basis from what I can gather from their website.

I'll admit that I thought the Colts would win, but that I was cheering for the Bears. I didn't think the bears were playing well enough on offense to overcome the new found defense for the Colts. When the Bears ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown I had a moment of hope, but Peyton Manning and the Colts offense systematically crushed those hopes for most of the rest of the game. Rex Grossman didn't help much either.

I was asked by my pastor (Phil Print) about how I choose who to cheer for in the game. When I told him I have a system to determine who to cheer for, he looked at me like I was a bit strange, so I explained.

I am a Lions fan first. Yes, it's hard to admit that. The Lions are TERRIBLE. I became a Lions fan when they drafted Barry Sanders, and it has been tough to watch them since his retirement.
The Vikings by proxy are my second team. I live in St. Paul, so it's hard to not be somewhat influence by them with every game of theirs on local TV.

From there I cheer for any team in the old NFC Central over any other team. So I'll cheer for the Bears, Packers, Bucks over other teams. I prefer NFC teams over AFC teams with the exception of the Miami Dolphins (influenced by my uncle Bob) and the San Diego Chargers.

I use a similar system for the NBA and MLB.

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