Tag Archives: church

Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley

“It is completely false that churches must sacrifice quality to get quantity,  must artificially choose between evangelism or discipleship, or cannot have depth and growth at the same time.  Few prove this fact better than the ministry of Andy Stanley who has grown North Point Church on purpose and with passion. No Christian leader can afford to miss this book.”

Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church

“The most common question I get from pastors is, ‘How do I get the people in my church to be open to change?’ From now on my answer will be, ‘Read Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley’. Thanks Andy. Great book!”
- Craig Groeschel, Pastor, LifeChurch.TV

Download the Deep & Wide Team Discussion Guide

or Read a Sample Chapter

With surprising candor and transparency pastor Andy Stanley explains how one of America’s largest churches began with a high-profile divorce and a church split.

Andy Stanley, North Point ChurchBut that’s just the beginning…

Deep and Wide provides church leaders with an in-depth look into North Point Community Church and its strategy for creating churches unchurched people absolutely love to attend. Andy writes, “Our goal is to create weekend experiences so compelling and helpful that even the most skeptical individuals in our community would walk away with every intention of returning the following week…with a friend!”

Later he says, “I want people to fall in love with the Author of Scripture. And while we can’t make anyone fall in love, we can certainly arrange a date.”

For the first time, Andy explains his strategy for preaching and programming to “dual audiences”: mature believers and cynical unbelievers. He argues that preaching to dual audiences doesn’t require communicators to “dumb down” the content. According to Stanley, it’s all in the approach.

You’ll be introduced to North Point’s spiritual formation model: The Five Faith Catalysts. Leaders responsible for ministry programing and production will no doubt love Andy’s discussion of the three essential ingredients for creating irresistible environments. For pastors willing to tackle the challenge of transitioning a local congregation, Andy includes a section entitled: Becoming Deep and Wide.
If your team is more concerned with who you are reaching than who you are keeping, Deep and Wide will be more than a book you read; it will be a resource you come back to over and over!

Order your copy of Deep & Wide at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com, or wherever books are sold.

“Couldn’t be prouder of my son, Andy. And I couldn’t be more excited about the content of this book. I wish a resource like this existed when I was starting out in ministry.”
- Dr. Charles Stanley, Founder, In Touch Ministries

Deep and Wide pulls back the curtain for all of us to see what is required behind the scenes to build a prevailing church. I was both challenged and inspired by this book.”
- Bill Hybels, author of Just Walk Across the Room

“No one has given me more practical handles for establishing a focused vision than Andy Stanley. Deep and Wide is a rich resource to help all of us stay intentional about the main thing – building a church that reaches people who are far from God.”
- Steven Furtick, Lead Pastor, Elevation Church

Download a sample chapter.

What is a Small Group?

There are as many theories on how to do small groups as there are churches.  Some are connection groups, providing ways for people within a church to get to know others; some are discipleship groups, for serious Bible study; some are seeker groups, trying to connect people just exploring the faith.  There are many other models as well.  I came across a video that one church posted promoting small groups to their congregation.

What are your thoughts on this video?  What kind of small group are you involved in?

(HT: Mark Howell)

Keep the Bible in Your Bible Study

I read a great article on reformation21 (HT:Challies) about Effective Group Bible Study.  My main focus at Zondervan is to tell the world about our fabulous small group curriculum, so naturally I was interested in how to help people have an effective small group.  Pastor William Boekestein, who wrote the article, has some great points about effective group study, but one that really rose to the surface for me was to keep the Bible first.  Now this sounds like a given, but  too often in our groups, we rely on the study material and use the Bible as extra credit work.

Scripture studies are almost always aided by a well-written guide. Some of the best guides are commentaries, especially those that began as a sermon series. Homiletical commentaries combine the best of careful exegesis and pastoral application.(1)

One of the dangers, though, of using a study guide is that the Bible can become eclipsed by a lesser book. It is easy to subconsciously begin to treat the Bible as the “raw materials” and the study guide as the “finished product,” favoring the latter.
To avoid misusing supplemental materials, make them the last part of your preparation for the group study. First, work through the scripture passage in focus. Ask questions about the text. Note observations and applications. Use the study questions to stimulate thought before turning to the “answers” in the commentary. In this way the commentary becomes a sounding board for your ideas and conclusions rather than a source book. The Bereans took such an approach. They “…received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).
A related principle is that group discussions should be guided by Scripture not by personal opinion. This does not mean that a question or comment is inappropriate just because it is an opinion. It does mean that conclusions that are reached and counsel that is given should be biblically based.

Much of the curriculum we produce has been used as sermon material that was preached in the pastors church:

What I appreciate about our video curriculum is that each teacher grounds what s/he has to say in the Bible.  Our participant’s guides have Scripture discussion, and point people to the Bible.  But in our groups, we cannot view that as bonus or “if we have time”.  No matter how good a communicator the teacher is, or how well written the participant’s guide is, they are all just commentary on the Bible.  The Bible must remain the central focus in all our small groups and Bible studies.
In addition to what Pastor Boekestein mentions in his article, here are some other thoughts:
  • make sure everyone in your group brings a Bible to small group
  • read all the recommended passages in the participant’s guides
  • consider standing as you read Scripture as a reminder of the weight of it’s words
  • before you share an opinion, know how you would back it up with Scripture

*Above I have linked the full first sessions for those curriculum.  To see more full first sessions on YouTube, go to the curriculum playlist here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL592D0CEC3F56A982

N. T. Wright on Female Bishops + Some Thoughts on Disagreement

Watch N. T. Wright's thoughts on women in leadership.Our friends at euangelion alerted us to an interesting video: N.T. Wright shares his thoughts on hubbub over female bishops.

I like Wright’s anecdote about the cabdriver who told him, “What I always say is this: if God rose Jesus Christ from the dead, everything else is basically rock ‘n roll, innit?” While Wright generally agrees with the cabdriver, he elaborates on his own convictions: “That doesn’t mean that nothing else matters. All sorts of things matter very much indeed, but we have to keep things in proportion.”

Ethnic Blends for $5

no, this is no april fools joke.  and yes, this is much better than a $5 footlong.  ethnic blends, the newest addition in the leadership network innovation series is five bucks – today only.  mark deymaz and harry li serve at mosaic church of central arkansas and have written about mixing diversity into your local church.  the book is extremely practical, not only telling the story of mosaic church, but also offering transferable truths that can be applied to any church situation.

a multi-ethnic church is not a nice thought or a helpful suggestion, but a biblical mandate.

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here’s what some people are saying about ethnic blends:

For those doing the hard and important work of helping to build the ethnically diverse church, Ethnic Blends offers much-needed encouragement and a road map forward. — Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Author, and Professor, North Park Theological Seminary

DeYmaz and Li share their vision. But more important, they also spell out for all who want to join them the real-world challenges and the spiritual rewards, as well as the practical steps that can turn the dream into reality. — Larry Osborne, Pastor and Author, North Coast Church

Mark DeYmaz, perhaps more than any pastor in America, has his pulse on what it will take for the Church to find real reconciliation in our generation. - Matt Carter, lead pastor, Austin Stone Community Church

on april 1 only, ethnic blends is available for $5 (plus tax and shipping).  simply go to zondervan.com, add as many copies of ethnic blends to your cart as you would like and put the code 980679 in the source code box.  hit “apply changes” and the discount will take effect.

blog roadtrip for a multi-site church roadtrip

this week over 50 bloggers signed up to read and review a multi-site church roadtrip on their blogs.  i’ll be keeping a running tab of these blogs and link their reviews once they are posted.  here are the blogs and if they are linked, they have posted up their reviews.  also, be sure to read and/or download a sample chapter of a multi-site church roadtrip from scribd, here.  you can also pick up a copy of the book from zondervan, here, or at your favorite retailer.

keep checking back as i will post links once bloggers post up their reviews.  also, be sure to read and or download a sample chapter of multi-site church roadtrip here.

A Multi-Site Church Roadtrip: The Godfather of Video Venues

larry-osborneGeoff Surratt first met Larry Osborne, pastor of North Coast Church in Vista California, at a Leadership Network multi-site church event in 2002. Seacoast was just beginning to dive into the world of video teaching and he immediately realized that Larry was the smartest guy on the planet when it came to leveraging technology to expand the Kingdom. And Larry wears really cool shirts. Over the years Larry has become a friend and a mentor both personally and through his books Sticky Church, Ten Dumb Things Christians Believe and A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God. Geoff recently had a chance to get Larry’s wisdom on the role of video, technology and more in the future of the multi-site revolution.

You pioneered the concept of the video venue at North Coast. What do you feel are two or three reproducible keys to your success in utilizing video that other churches could reproduce?

I believe a huge part of our success was our decision early on to only use video for teaching. Many things don’t translate well on a screen (for instance music, drama, and the like). But teaching plays well in almost every geographic and demographic setting.

In fact, the biggest shock when we launched our first Video Venue was that it was so readily accepted by virtually every demographic. We thought our older folks would reject it outright. We thought younger generations might find it inauthentic. We assumed churches in the more traditional parts of the country would be highly resistant.

But we were wrong. It played well just about everywhere.

Looking back we should have realized that teaching is uniquely suited for a big screen. It allows people to clearly see facial expressions and non-verbals – which is why most people in a large facility with a video screen end up watching the screen rather than the little person up on the stage.

The other thing that I believe is easily reproducible is our use of differing music styles and ambiances to broaden our demographic outreach. Both Chris Brown (our other teaching pastor) and I are able to reach a far broader demographic (traditionalists, country music fans, and folks with lots of body art) than we could if we had a one-size-fits-all sanctuary.

How important is it for a church using video teaching to have the very best technology available?

I think the need for the quality technology is vastly overrated. You don’t need the latest and greatest in order to succeed. You can’t be so cheap that your venues are cheesy. The video can’t look like a 1980′s VCR.

At North Coast we’ve always made due with less than the best technology simply because we often can’t afford the best. We’re not a rich suburban church. We’re a blue collar church that meets in an old warehouse. If we felt we couldn’t succeed without the best and latest technology, we’d still be saving up to launch our first venue.

We’ve learned that good enough is good enough when it comes to technology. I always tell the churches we consult to buy the best they can afford. There’s no need to hawk the future for cool technology you can’t afford and there’s no reason to hold off launching a new ministry just because everyone else has better equipment.

North Coast has multiple venues with live worship bands at multiple locations and multiple service times. How do you find enough musicians to have that many worship teams?

The secret to our plethora of musicians goes back to a decision we made long before we started our Video Venues. Because we believe the job of a pastor is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12) our worship pastors have always been judged, rewarded, and paid for rising up other worship leaders rather than creating an all-star band.

I find you always get what you measure and reward. So guess what? Since we measure and reward rising up worship leaders, we get worship leaders. And better yet, once we turned the corner, we discovered that musicians draw musicians. So right now I think we have something like 24 adult worship bands to pull from.

In your book Sticky Church you describe the role of sermon based small groups in the life of North Coast. How integral do you think sermon based small groups have been to the growth of North Coast?

Our attendance was about 120 when we started our sermon-based small groups. They haven’t particularly drawn people in, but they have helped to slam our back door shut – and when the back door stays shut, a church tends to grow.

We’re pretty much a word-of-mouth church (we don’t do any marketing or advertising) so closing the back door has been an essential ingredient of our growth. But the biggest advantage has been the way these sermon-based groups have enabled us to get everyone on the same page – and keep them there. That’s made us a much healthier church not just a bigger church.

What did I not ask that I should have?

You didn’t ask why my books are so much better than yours – at least that’s what my mom thinks. Though my wife, Nancy, isn’t so sure.

Other than the comments about Larry’s books being better than mine (they are, but he didn’t have to bring it up) Larry once again stretched my thinking on what is effective and what is good enough in ministry. You can read more of Larry’s insight at his blog or in Multi-site Church Roadtrip.

A Multi-Site Church Roadtrip: The Birds and Bees of Reproduction

Geoff Surratt continues the roadtrip by visiting with Dave Ferguson of CCC:

dave fergusonI have stolen more multi-site concepts from Dave Ferguson and Community Christian Church than all other multi-site churches combined. Dave is one of the best thinkers (and practioners) in the world when it comes to church reproduction (the corporate kind, not the diaper kind), so I wanted to get his take on the world of multi-site as we continued our Roadtrip across America.

Q:  In the book we describe the leadership structure at Community Christian. How important is structure to the success of a church using a multi-site strategy?

A:  Our experience at Community and through our NewThing churches is that there are structural shifts when going to two sites; when going to a fourth site and when going to a tenth site.  Because of this we are finding that a lot of churches are going to two sites; not very many churches with three sites and there are a whole lot that are going to four sites and more.  Why?  I think it has to do with structure.  Some churches that go to two sites do not think about structure and find it overwhelming and complicated and stop reproducing sites.  While there are other churches that think through the structural changes that need to be made and continue to reproduce to three sites, four sites and beyond.

Q:  Community Christian does a great job of both planting churches and launching campuses. How do you distinguish between a church planter and a campus pastor?

A:  We really believe the same qualities need to be in place for a campus pastor or church planter.  We want them to be entrepreneurial, have a leadership gift and comfortable relating to all people (churched and un-churched) in their context.  All our NewThing churches are looking to train one leadership resident per site to apprentice and become a campus pastor or church planter.

Q:  You and Jon seem to do an amazing job of leading together. What advice would you give to church leaders who are considering employing family members in their ministry?

A:  They key to family working together is much like any staff working together: good character, great chemistry and genuine competency.  However, (and I’m sure Geoff Surratt will agree with me) it takes a very special and humble leader to allow their brother to be the lead pastor.  Jon (like Geoff at Seacoast) could easily be the lead pastor at this Community or any other church; but instead he uses his extraordinary leadership gifts without getting all the kudos that come with being the lead pastor.  I have more respect for Jon, than any other church leader I know.

Q:  You have been a leader from the very beginning of the multi-site revolution in America. What do you see next on the horizon for multi-site in American churches?

A:  I love this question!  In fact, Jon and I just finished our next book,Exponential:  How You and Your Friends can Start a Missional Church Movementand we talk about this.  So here is what I see on the horizon:

  1. More new sites will be launched by sites other than the original site.  In other words we will see new sites reproducing new sites.
  2. Sites will be launched not based on the competency of the mother church, but on the strengths and needs of the community where the new site is started.
  3. There will be less of the “We use video” vs. “We develop teachers” battle and more multi-site churches will use both video and in-person teaching.
  4. A lot more campus pastors will be female and there will be evidence that they are more effective than men in this role which will bring some controversy.
  5. Multi-site churches will think in terms of launching a region with multiple sites and not one new site at a time.
  6. Online churches ill not just have one site, but they will also have multiple sites!
  7. The churches that are effective in reproducing new sites will be the churches that are most effective in reproducing missional communities.

How’s that?
Q:  In your book The Big Idea you describe how every ministry at Community is on the same page. How does the Big Idea work in a multi-site environment?

A:  It was going to multiple sites that caused us to be intentional about implementing the Big Idea.  It was our conclusion that having every campus on the same Big Idea would bring alignment to our vision and mission.   Practically speaking here is how it works: we plan our Big Idea series a year in advance.  Thirteen weeks in advance of the celebration service the teaching team develops and writes a Big Idea “graph” which is a one page summary that gives clear direction and scriptural content.  Ten weeks in advance the teaching team plans the whole message in that series and gives writing assignments.  The following week, nine weeks in advance our creative arts team plans the creative elements such as video, sketches, music, interactive moments, etc… to better accomplish the Big Idea.  This same process is done for all our large group and small groups for adults, students and kids.  It is awesome!

Geoff Surratt

web: www.seacoast.org

blog: www.geoffsurratt.com

twitter: http://twitter.com/geoffsurratt

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