Aiming too Low

Most of us, if not all of us, aim too low. Due to the gravitational pull of our fallen nature; our dreams are all too ego-centric, hence earth-bound, & limited to our natural finite abilities. The consequences are visions and dreams that are only as big as we are and no larger, thus we settle for far too little. Yet we should not aim at the high and lofty dream or ideal that we revere, but we must set our gaze on the Resurrected Christ seated above in the Heavenlies. When we look to Him - the One Who said “lift up your eyes for the harvest is plenteous” will gently lift our chin with His nail-scared Hand, raising our sight-line above the horizon of the fret & fray of this burdened world. It is then we discover we are not looking to anything other than into His Eyes of compassion. Consequentially natural dreams become as foolishness and a brand new vision takes over - a vision that is bigger than us, beyond our limitations impossible by nature. When our aim, our gaze is upon a victorious, gracious Savior - it is then we stop living the possible and we begin to live the supernatural. Only then will we be truly content and happy. 

May I challenge you?

This is in no way meant to be a guilt trip or sound heartless, nor is it something said because numbers are low or offerings are poor because neither are the problem here. But as pastors we often observe how people feel obligated or compelled to tell us why they miss church or meetings as if we are The Judge in the matter. It seems that some believe that by telling us reasons why they miss it in some way appeases their sense of regret and they've been excused as if they missed school. But we're not God. We do not judge but we as shepherds are heartbroken at times to see what people miss in God's Plan by making excuses to be MIA. We as pastors are not offended when people come 2 times a month because our joy and peace are in Christ alone. What do people miss? Answers. Peace. Wisdom for this weeks' problems and pain.They miss the encouragement by a group of people that are so excited to see them. They miss everything that they need. God waits to be gracious to you in the Body of Christ. There are things God will tell you in private without the Church but there are things He will only tell you in Church through His Body on earth. He has answers for you! Stop being a victim of your circumstances, stop living in what people have done to you in the past, stop complaining about your job, marriage, & personal situations. Stop being familiar with God, stop staying away because of people - draw near to Him, God is bigger than people - His Plan is bigger than your failures and unbelief. Expect great things from God for your life & come to be a part of the greatest and hottest thing happening on planet earth today - CHURCH!

Church Building & Growth from the Inside Out

Just returned from an awesome Pastor's Retreat with about 110 other GGWO pastors. We were challenged, encouraged, built up, and inspired by new ideas and vision. Here are some notes on a session I did on Church Building and Strategies:

Building from the Inside Out

Church Growth vs. “Making all men see” - Numbers are God’s part - we can’t make a tree grow faster. It’s the inherent life within the seed - in the tree. The Gospel Seed is the The Life in the Body = the Word. 1 Pt 1.23 & Jn 6.63. Our Passion is not growth but Paul’s passion: "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ" - Eph 3.9. It’s the Word of Grace that caused growth in the first church and that made disciples - Acts 4.4. Is the Father’s desire to have a full house - Lk 14.23

“The stat that 80% of church plants that fail is bogus - The truth is that after 4 years 68% of church plants are alive and well - only 32% fail" (see Ed Stetzer‘s research on this). There is a revival of missions and church planting across the country and the world today.

Divine Creativity is Good - Jesus has the Key to the city where we minister = Function by principles and not patterns. Concepts & religious idealism kill - principles breathe creative life into programs and events.


Critical Internal Ingredients:
  1. Inner heart picture of what the church will be like in 2 years, in 5 years and beyond. 
  2. “Self Talk” - what is the content of what we are speaking in our heart as a pastor/planter? Eccl 5.2
  3. The team has to be led in vision and passion - 
    1. Daily schedule
    2. Word of God intensity
    3. “Team Talk” - what are we talking about on the team consistently? Complaining? Vision? 
  4. Pastor and team members personal discipline in the Word, prayer, and private life - personal growth as a leader. 
  5. Develop Timothy and men. “If we have one man we have the country”
  6. Be patient - Let people grow. We are not here to conform people to Christ’s image or a pattern of religious behavior - the Holy Spirit through the Word transforms people by the renewing of their minds. 
  7. Attack laziness - Col 4.17

7 Reasons Why Church Plants Fail - Generally church planters and church planting ministries all agree on these 7 reasons.
  1. Unqualified and or novice leaders
  2. Lack of understanding or respect of the local context
  3. Underfunded
  4. Rigid model
  5. Planting alone
  6. Resiliency in defeat - “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face”  Mike Tyson
  7. Intangibles: Calling? Timing? Right Man? Sent? 

Church Growth Analysis: NG = VF x RR – BDL
Net Growth = Visitor Flow x Retention Rate minus Back-Door-Loss (Dr. Larry Sherman - Director of Church Planting - Great Lakes Conference ECC - 82 new churches this year)


Breaking Barriers: With two or three people, there is disciple-making. When you have 12, you have a unit of disciples. A group of 70 you have Body where you assess, train and at 70-100 like Jesus & the Moravians you send out.
  • Breaking the 100 barrier. Unless you are an extra-ordinary pastor / leader - the average pastor can only pastor 70-100 people affectively before he starts losing touch with some. Delegate. Trust. Listen. 
  • Breaking the 200 barrier. Disciple & raise up men. Many churches had to break down and hire a small staff to go beyond the 200 mark. 
  • Breaking the 500 & 1000 marks - The pastor takes on more of a preaching/teaching role only & with effective training and raising up men to lead teams, groups and departments. He focuses on his investment and discipleship of this handful of men that are leading. 

6 Team Positions That Must be Filled to Grow a Church plant startup: (this may be obvious but a common mistake is the planting pastor does it all himself with little to no delegation & trust)
1. Lead Pastor: You have to have a point leader - A builder of men. Jesus had disciples, Acts 20.4-5 Paul traveled with his men and you should mentor the team & others as well.
2. Worship Arts Director: Someone who can provide leadership and build teams at every level. Web, stage design, media and graphic design. 
3. Children’s Director: a MUST, a Youth Pastor can wait.
4. Connections/Assimilation Leader
Greeters, parking lots, cafe, etc. = connections, and follow-up from first-timer through them accepting Christ and becoming discipled is key in being baptized into the Body. Many times assimilation is shared with the Pastor and  the Assistant Pastor in this list or this is 2 separate roles.
5. Office Administration/Pastor Assistant
This is such a key role that again, your wife does NOT want to fill.
6. Prayer Warrior/Leader


#1 Problem all leaders struggle today is they are not encouraged. Not built up. Tell a man who he is and he’ll know what to do. Here are 12 reasons (among many) leaders lose their passion in their call and they stop growing - in return their ministry stops growing. Very often the people that a leader leads will not grow beyond the level the leader himself has grown - we need as leaders to be constantly challenged and constantly grow.
  1. Getting stuck in the mud of the details of the ministry & spinning wheels.
  2. Distraction of entertainment - movies, online entertainment, gaming, and excessive recreation
  3. Google searches replace turning of the pages of the Bible and books.
  4. Discouragement due to family pressures or marriage problems - find the right balance.
  5. Soulish relationships - relationships that cross the lines into the inappropriate
  6. Petty skirmishes - the tit-for-tat arguments because of insecurity
  7. Hidden idols - toleration for error that slips in and causes to stumble
  8. Personal sin. Sin steals joy, vision and concentration. Consecration produces concentration
  9. Pursuit of materialism - Succumbing to the temptation to possess and acquire.
  10. Knowledge replaces obedience - The stimulation of information replaces radical steps of faith
  11. Psychological thinking replaces Bible Conviction
  12. Departing from the basics of the vision & teaching to be more acceptable and less controversial.

Things that Have Brought new people for us in Philly/Hatboro. 

  1. Monthly events - Last month - Pig Roast - 200~ new visitors.
  2. Concerts and Raffle
  3. Bring a Friend Sunday - new visitors get a free gift bag
  4. Social Media - targeting groups of people with special interest / topics - Meetup.com & Craigslist
  5. Word of Mouth 
  6. “Walk-ins"
  7. Signs in front of the church
  8. Street evangelism & visitation 
  9. Sermon series & hitting hot topics people talk about on the street.
  10. “Surgical Outreaches” - Targeting community events and people hotspots with events such as coffee house outreach, etc.

The Paradox of His Strength made perfect in our Weakness

Thinking tonight of the great paradox and mystery of the Anointing.  David the shepherd not having the crown but was anointed king yet in great straits of weakness - 2 Sam 3:39a. Elijah, a mighty man of God - the "Prophet of Fire" was "subject (homoiopathḗs) to like passions as we are" - meaning he was liable to be affected by the same thing any human being is. Yet he prayed. Paul though weak with the thorn afflicting him served in the power of his spirit - Rom 1.9 because God's Grace sustained him. Jesus Himself was crucified in weakness yet lives by the power of God...Oh what a paradox! We do not grow stronger everyday with God, but rather as the years pass we grow weaker and weaker - more and more dependent on God, His Grace and His Word to bring us to the end of The Race with joy. "For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you" 2 Cor 13.4 - Thus the power of the Anointing may be of Him and not of ourselves. Otherwise we have no affective ministry to others.

Eurocon 2014 Mission March

What an incredible time we all had at a record breaking attended EuroCon 2014 in Budapest! It was a powerful time in the Word, fellowship and miracles. We were able to see 40+ Ukrainians attend by nothing short of a miracle with all that's happening in Ukraine now. Here is a video p. Maciek from Poland made of the Missions March. Enjoy!

Loss of Passion in Leaders & Pastors

"And the fire upon the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be allowed to go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning and lay the burnt offering in order upon it and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall be burning continually upon the altar; it shall not go out” - Lev 6.12-13

What a few years ago we called discipleship has morphed into mentoring and now called Life-Coaching. Pastors have left the pastorate & evangelism and have become “Life-Coaches” using a philosophy that includes; goals, challenges for personal growth and self-help. There is a trend in the church as a whole today of a church-planing/church-growth plan that is more of a marketing business plan than anything else. Coaching and marketing  works for business, it has value there, but as soon as you apply it to the church, there is the loss of the mystery of the Church and it becomes a driven organization that resembles more of a corporation than a loving, living church body. 

The philosophy of this trend insinuates that leader’s and pastor’s problems of the lack of church growth or dissipating inspiration lies with their mentality, lack of personal growth or waning ambition. This type of psychology replaces the Mind of God concluding in an indirect way that the Word of God is not sufficient. I see much of this comes out of the new trend toward marketing in the church. Church-planting and church-growth have become a new business and it’s based on marketing. 

Those of us that have been involved with church-planting over the years and seen the exciting momentum of a growing church really were not being coached or mentored as the marking plans go today - but experienced a burning passion in our hearts for God, people and the Mission with a team that was energized in the vision.

What we see happen with leaders today is that 80% of leaders that begin well do not finish well. They lose their edge. What goes wrong? Where does the passion go? Many pastors if they were free to share it - have lost their passion for the ministry and many don’t discern it. Passion and fire in the ministry is sapped and replaced with a substitute - compensated by knowledge, information, new programs, & emotional watered down events that do more to entertain than convert & dramatically transform people.

The truth is that what is needed today in the ministry, in leadership, & in church-ministries is men and women of God ON FIRE.

Here are 12 reasons (among many) why I think leaders lose their passion in their call and they stop growing thus in return their ministry stops growing.

  1. Getting stuck in the mud of the details spinning their wheels.
  2. Distraction of entertainment - movies, online entertainment, gaming, and excessive recreation
  3. Google searches replace turning of the pages of the Bible and books.
  4. Mindless wasted time on social media
  5. Soulish relationships - relationships that cross the lines into the inappropriate 
  6. Petty skirmishes - the tit-for-tat arguments of personal justification because of insecurity 
  7. Technology - excessive time spend on the computer or mobile device 
  8. Hidden idols - toleration for error that slip in and cause to stumble in sin.
  9. Pursuit of materialism - Succumbing to the temptation to possess and acquire. 
  10. Knowledge replaces obedience - The stimulation of information replaces radical steps of faith
  11. Psychological thinking replacing Bible Conviction
  12. Departing from the basics of the vision to be more acceptable and less controversial.
Passion has very simple focus, focus comes from concentration and concentration comes from consecration. We cannot fake consecration. Where there is no consecration there can be no focus or concentration. Passion is the result of consecration. Consecration comes from doing the hard thing, losing our self-life at the Altar thus thwarting those things that sap our passion. 

Guard yourself daily from those things that dilute your laser-vision and you’ll find they have no siphoning power on your passion.