Jan
4
2011

The Last 10%

conversation

When was the last time that you had a hard conversation with someone? The type of conversation where you had to speak the truth knowing the other person didn’t want to hear it. The type of conversation that could potentially ruin a relationship, but it was worth the risk. No one likes to have tough conversations… but it seems as though over the last several years our culture has made these conversations even more difficult. […]

Dec
25
2010

Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh

mary and jesus

Merry Christmas! What child is this, who, laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping, Whom angels greet with anthems sweet While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing; Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The baby, the son of Mary! Why lies He in such mean estate Where ox and ass are feeding? Good Christian, fear: for sinners here The silent Word is pleading. Nails, […]

Dec
24
2010

Oh Come, Oh Come

expectation

The day before Christmas… I often wonder what the day before the birth of our savior felt like so many years ago. Was the air charged with anticipation? Was creation groaning? Was there a difference between then and now? And so today as I soak and reflect on all that Christmas is, I offer up this hymn as my prayer of anticipation… Oh come, Emmanuel… and soon. Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive […]

Dec
23
2010

Rocky III, Tiger Woods, King Saul, Francis Chan, and Getting Rid of Distractions

rockyIII

Perhaps it is the fact that I was watching Rocky III last night, maybe it is my frustration with all the extra crap of the holiday season, or maybe it is the blog posts that I have been reading lately.  Whatever it is, I am starting to believe that we need a good refocusing. Over the last few months my wife and I have significantly downsized our living space.  We moved from a big, beautiful […]

Dec
22
2010

Surviving Church Burn Out: Reconnecting with the “Perfect” Church

burnoutchurch_thumb

A former pastor of mine used to say, “When you find the perfect church, don’t join it. You’ll only ruin it.” That advice rattled around in the back of my mind when I began trying to reconnect with the church after my burn out. Could I find a church that lived up to my ideals? Over the past eight years, I’ve had to rethink the church. And then I had to rethink my rethinking of […]

Dec
21
2010

Becoming Dependent on Training Wheels

trainingwheels

This morning I was thinking about the law… My Tuesday morning bible study has been walking through Galatians these last few weeks and it has been good.  I have greatly enjoyed seeing the example that Paul puts forth when it comes to dealing with conflict in the church and being gracious.  This morning was a little different as Paul started to walk through how the law does not make us righteous, but serves as a […]

Dec
20
2010

Missional Monday: Mission Statements vs. Lifestyle Centric Understanding of Church – Contrasting Examples

After the last post I’m feeling the opening line of Eminem’s Love the Way You Lie, ”I can’t tell you what it really is, I can only tell you what it feels like…”  So maybe sharing some of my experiences with mission statements and statements created out of a Lifestyle Centric Understanding of church will help get my thoughts across. Building and Using a Mission Statement While on staff at one church a few years back […]

Dec
17
2010

Finance Friday: 10 practical tips about ministry funding for church planters

Ben Stroup

Matt Note:  The more I speak with Ben Stroup the more impressed with him that I become.  Ben is a consultant with Generis and helps churches across the country develop the concept of generosity within their congregations.  If you are not reading his blog, Church Giving Matters, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Earlier this week, I posted about the role of faith in ministry funding. In that post, I promised to provide some practice […]

Dec
15
2010

Surviving Church Burn Out: Everything Isn’t Terrible

burnoutchurch_thumb

I tried to avoid the word “never” when I spoke about my future in the church. I knew I couldn’t return to the same kind of church and ministry that I’d come from, but I also knew that church did many things well. There were a lot of good people seeking God, and I couldn’t overlook that. Everything wasn’t terrible. The same is true for just about every other church out there. We may pick […]

Dec
14
2010

My Evil Plan to Save the World

plan

I have a confession. I often find myself utterly convinced that God needs my help. I have a hunch that there are many of us in church leadership that feel this way… that God would not have wired us the way that he did and called us to what he called us to if he didn’t feel like he would not succeed without our help.  And so we go and make our plans to ensure […]