Tag Archives: Exponential Series
We just finished the promotional video for one of my favorite books releasing this spring. I wanted to be sure you all saw it right away. The book is entitled: DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. Two veterans of discipleship ministry, Jim Putman and Bobby Harrington, have teamed up to write a concise, practical volume for church leaders. This book suggests five “shifts” that ministries should make in order to ensure that their programs are truly making disciples and not just more church attendees. Putman and Harrington have also sought the help of another leader to write this book, Robert E. Coleman. Coleman has been writing on evangelism and discipleship for years, most notably in The Master Plan of Evangelism.
Your ministry might not need to make all five of these shifts. Perhaps you are excelling at making disciples in a couple areas of your church. Or perhaps your church is striking out when you could be hitting home runs. You’ll have to check out this book to find out.
DiscipleShift releases this April. It will be the key discussion at the Exponential Conference as well. I hope you’ll give it a shot and let us know what you think. Sample pages will be online soon. When they’re ready I’ll post them to this site.
Blessings on your ministry!
Today’s giveaway is of the new book, Missional Moves: 15 Tectonic Shifts that Transform Churches, Communities, and the World by Rob Wegner and Jack Magruder. This is the newest book in the Exponential Series. Rob and Jack are on staff at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN. They’ve navigated the rough waters of taking a successful ministry and guiding it – move by move – to become more missionally focused.
This book is a great book for ministry teams to read together. It’s practical, filled with stories, and also filled with concrete research and explanations on ministry transformation. Don’t miss this book especially if you are in the process of planning out the long-term direction for your church. The “moves” Jack and Rob direct you to take are not necessarily quick. “Tectonic Shifts” aren’t always immediately felt, but they have huge results.
We’re going to giveaway two copies to random winners. To enter the giveaway please tell us of a “tectonic shift” that took place in the ministry you’re a part of. Even if it wasn’t immediately felt, can you think back to a certain decision, or a certain “move” that was made in your ministry that made a lasting difference?
Winners will be chosen at random tomorrow. Learn more about the book and download additional resources at www.MissionalMoves.com
Leadership Network recently posted some new video interviews with Brian and Amy Bloye, the authors of It’s Personal: Surviving and Thriving on the Journey of Church Planting. I’ve posted some of Brian’s advice before, and also an excerpt from the book, but if you’re still unfamiliar with what It’s Personal is all about these videos will give you a clear idea.
More videos from this interview with Brian and Amy can be found on the “It’s Personal” video playlist.
How long has your ministry been established? Is it only five years old, or less?
Best! – AR
Following is a collection of links from various folks who attended the Exponential Conference last week. I gathered these links for a couple of reasons:
- The conference is still on my mind.
- I thought that church planters who weren’t able to attend might glean something that will bless their ministry from those who did.
- I was looking for an excuse to use the word “smorgasbord” in a blog post title.
Here’s the list. Happy reading!
- Tony Morgan shares the notes from his workshops. I wasn’t able to attend them while I was there (I was too busy in our booth) but I would’ve like to have heard him speak on “Keys to Building Healthy Leadership Teams.”
- Nick from “Everything Pastor” did a great job of taking notes from various workshops and speakers. If you read only one post on this list, read this one. He has notes from Brian and Amy Bloye’s session on moral failure. This was a powerful talk in the main auditorium. I got to hear most of it and was so thankful that their are people like Brian and Amy who were up on stage talking to thousands of ministry leaders about keeping their lives pure and their marriages first.
- Real Life Project – this blogger shares some notes from a workshop with Jim Putman, who will be speaking at the conference next year on the topic of discipleship. Could there also be a Zondervan book in the works with Jim on the same topic? We’ll have to wait and see….
- Jack Magruder has posted some of the notes from his workshops with Rob Wegner called “Mega –> Missional: Centralized Shift.” Rob and Jack are authors of the forthcoming book Missional Moves, and two of the nicest, humblest authors I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
- Daniel Floyd appears to have posted the notes from his workshop at Exponential, “How To Launch a Healthy Church.” Here he lays out four critical components.
- Ryan from The Adventures in Church Planting blog has posted his thoughts on Hugh Halter and Matt Smay’s session. Hugh and Matt are the authors of And: The Gathered and Scattered Church in the Exponential Series.
- Greg Nettle posted some quick, encouraging thoughts about the conference.
- The blogger at College Church Planter posted some nuggets of wisdom gleaned from the conference.
- David Gurr from Ocean’s Edge School of Worship reflects on what it was like to have his team volunteer at the Exponential Conference. I had a good time chatting with a few volunteers from this school about music and worship. Seems like they’ve got a great program going on there, and having the volunteers at the conference was essential to its success. Kudos, volunteers!
- Jeff from Church Planting Today has more nuggets of wisdom from the conference.
- Dave at the Faith & Church blog has a nice summary posted of Wayne Cordeiro’s talk on his book, Sifted.
- The Christian Post wrote an article on Bill Hybels session about what it was like to plant Willow Creek Community Church. His whole family joined him on stage and shared their experiences.
As I mentioned yesterday we were selling books in two different spots at this year’s Exponential Conference. All of our books in the Exponential Series were being sold at both locations, so our inventory was split up on the conference grounds. Some of our books were in one building, some books were in another.
During the second day of the conference Hugh Halter was giving a talk on missional ministry in the same room as one of our book tables. That particular spot was low on copies of his book, AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church. So as he began his talk I snuck over to the other building to grab extra copies of AND. In the other building we had two open boxes of his book under a table, and plenty of copies up on top. I grabbed the two open boxes, dump the contents of one into the other, and ran over to building. I tried to “stealthly” sneak over to our table while he spoke (though I don’t think I was terribly successful) and re-stocked our inventory of AND on that table.
When I opened the box and started pulling out copies this is what I found:
A beetle must have crawled into the box while it was under our book table. I didn’t see it when I dumped in the extra books. The beetle, may he rest in peace, was still kicking a bit when I discovered him. His legs were sticking out from under one of the books, still twitching and shaking. An energetic co-worker reached in the box and leaned on the pile of books, effectively smashing the little guy.
Now I had another problem. I had two books with beetle guts on them (the book he was under, and the book he was on top of) and I didn’t have anything to wipe them off with. I also can’t sell books with bug guts on them. I’ll sell books to almost anyone at any time. But bug guts? No. Can’t go there.
So, although it was probably a little strange, I took the picture you see above, dropped the bug in a trash can, wiped the books off on the floor (my apologies to the janitorial crew at First Baptist Church Orlando), and walked up to a random guy who was sitting in the back row of Hugh’s talk. Here’s our conversation:
“Hey, man.” I whispered. “Wants some free books?”
The guy looks at me suspiciously. “Uh, sure.”
I attempt to set his mind at ease. “I’m selling books over there for Zondervan. These two books got bug guts on them and I can’t sell them. There still good, though. You can have them if you want.”
The guy looks from me to the books and notices the bug smears around the edges. I realize I didn’t really set his mind at ease at all. He sort of gives me a nod and pulls the books toward him.
Compelling story, I know. But you never know what’s going to happen at the Exponential Conference.
The 2012 Exponential Conference ended last week Thursday. After catching a flight home that evening I was glad to spend Friday through Sunday hanging out with my family, doing things around the house, and relaxing.
For those of you who weren’t able to attend I thought I’d share a few pics and some thoughts about this year’s conference.
This picture of our booth was taken on Sunday night after we set it up. While we were unpacking the books I realized that I love the smell of new books – fresh out of the box. With each bit of packaging tape that I split, and each cardboard flap I folded back, I was continually met with the aroma of a freshly printed book. Untouched by human hands, and waiting for just the right customer to come by and pick it up.
That may sound like a weirdly romantic way of looking at setting up a conference booth, but think about it this way: Most people that work for publishers are book nerds. If we weren’t, why would we have gotten into this business anyway? We care so much about books we go way beyond nerd-dom. We love the books. (Well, most of them.) They’re what we do. All the emails, meetings, edits, re-edits, deadlines, and contracts are endured so that we can produce great books!
I’ve set up numerous conference table booths in the past, but this time it struck me that the crack-and-sniff joy of opening a new case of books as I set them up in big piles on a table is not something very many book nerds get to experience. Unless you’re a retailer or a publisher you are unlikely to have an opportunity like that. So, I relished every minute.
Wherever I get asked to speak, I always enjoy walking the hallways of the churches I vist to view the historical photos. Many churches have really cool, old retro black-and-white pictures of all the pastors who faithfully served with a little gold label underneath that gives the length and years of their tenure. Right beside are classic photos of the church’s history. There’s usually a picture of the building just after it was built as well as a picture of the first congregation standing straight-jawed in front of the main step.
One thing is sure, back in the day when churches began, they planned on staying awhile. Their buildings all had chiseled stone engravings with the date the church was “established.” And as new congregations were born, everyone knew which had been around the longest (First Baptist, Second Baptist, and Third Baptist). But we aren’t in Kansas anymore. We now live in an era of such rapid change and social shifting that it’s just not wise, prudent, accurate, or practical to think that our churches will be around all that long. In days gone by, people stayed in the same city most of their lives, maybe moving once or twice. Our communities were stable and our churches could maintain a vibrant life for at least forty years – if not longer. Today, however, most people move eight to ten times in their life, maintaining residence in a single location for an average of three to seven years. In metro Denver, one-third of the entire resident population moves every year!
Just like college-based ministries, which have had to accept the painful fact that their congreagation completely turns over every four years, most of our churches now feel this massive flux. Establishing a self-sustaining faith community is almost a miracle; maintaining and growing disciples is even harder. Congregational death is not just a reality we will have to deal with eighty years and sixteen pastors down the road. It may be something you’ll need to face much sooner than you expect…and that’s okay.
“Avoid the Rock Star Trap” is an excerpt from It’s Personal: Surviving and Thriving on the Journey of Church Planting by Brian and Amy Bloye. Brian and Amy planted West Ridge Church in Dallas, GA, where Brian serves as pastor. Here they write specifically to church planters and those thinking of starting a new ministry.
A special danger for the church planter is the tempattion of pride. We live in an age of branding, where people are encouraged to think of themselves as products to be marketed. There are some excellent advantages in intelligently promoting a church or a ministry, but we can’t get personally caught up in it on an ego level.
I see planters becoming engrossed in social media, for example. This is fine, up to a point. I use Twitter; our church uses Facebook. These services are neither good nor evil, just modern media for specialized communication. But what happens when those of us in ministry begin to find our significance in how many people are following us through Twitter or retweeting attention-getting compliments? I’m seeing this happen. Planters are engrossed in the ideas of creating Internet identities. After a while, they’re so engaged in vast Twitter conversations over this or that, that they don’t realize they’re doing a lot less flesh-and-blood ministry.
Having followers on Twitter or getting your like button clicked on Facebook becomes one more path of validation. It’s the rock star syndrome, the seduction of image polishing. At the same time, denominations and planting networks are spotlighting people who have experienced some success, and this just makes the ego trap that much more dangerous. It’s just another hook that can be used to separate us from the real purpose of what we’re called to do: make disciples.
It’s Personal is part of the Exponential Series. Now through April 30 every eBook in the Exponential Series is only $2.99 wherever eBooks are sold!