Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Reflections

~ I love our church
~ I love our people
~ I love what the Lord is doing in us
~ I love that we had some awesome guests today
~ I love dreaming about the possibilities of what He wants to do in us and through us
~ I love new friends
~ I love speaking about the vision of the church
~ I love that we have been placed here for such a time as this
~ I love our community
~ I love thinking about next Sunday
~ I love taking risks and stepping out

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Church Mergers

I have been researching and talking about church mergers with a host of people over the past few months. This is a concept that I see taking place in many churches around the globe. The idea of two becoming one in order to increase the potential of reaching out and fulfilling the Great Commission together. Here is an article and a blog post about this idea of church mergers:

Should Your Church Merge?

Craig Groeschel has started a really interesting conversation over at the Swerve blog about merging two churches. As senior pastor at, Craig has been involved over the years in mergers with five different churches.

I believe as Craig does that we will see more and more church mergers in the future. Let's face it -- many churches are dying, seeing lower and lower numbers of attendees every week. These same churches are also "facility blessed." They have facilities that are kingdom owned (bought and paid for) that should be put back into circulation. I think many of these dying churches will, in one way or another, partner with healthy churches in their areas to bring viability and life to their dying facilities.

In other cases, like-minded churches will merge, not out of desperation or certain death, but because of common goals and mission. These churches will find that they can multiply their impact by working together. Working together, they will reach many more people than they are currently able to reach individually.

Craig gives some great insight into church mergers. With apologies to Craig, here are some of his thoughts:

1) Two struggling churches that combine don't make a strong church. If both churches are unhealthy, trying to combine them will just make two unhealthy churches into one really unhealthy church.

2) "Merging" is a polite term, but probably not accurate. Craig prefers the term "adoption" because that's really what it is. One church needs to willingly submit to the leadership of the other.

3) A drawn-out investigation process rarely works. Craig's thought: If both leaders feel that God is in this, do it sooner rather than later. He suggests 30 days. Longer processes cause both churches to struggle with distractions, and the chance of disagreements increases.

Craig shares a few more merger tips here.

Has your church ever considered a merger? I'd love to hear your story. Email me at

Here is the blog, which was written by a friend of mine, Aaron Ott

Church mergers
from Aaron Ott by Monk321

Church mergers are a delicate business. It holds similarities with the blended families we find dotting the American landscape. Two "families" comprised of families must come together and live in harmony, becoming one "family." Eventually the "step" must be dropped so that the teen girl speaks of her "Dad" or "Mom" without the prefix. Brothers and sisters learn to share toys, rooms and TV watching. The two become one.

However, the analogy breaks down in that the blended family often followed the divorce of one or both spouses. For churches, no such negative catalyst is necessary. On the contrary, merging two like "families" can be quite strategically positive. If the cultures are similar enough, and the missions of both sufficiently agree, partnering for the success of the Great Commission can bring surprising glory to God.

One of the key sticking points can come down to a question of identity. Seldom can two "families" combine to create a third identity. In truth, it is far less problematic for one entity to take on the identity of the other, enhancing its culture and effectiveness. We also see this in marriage. Two adults do not both change their name following the wedding ceremony. Instead a name is taken by both that was previous owned by only one of them. I will use the analogy of my own marriage.

Prior to August 7th, 1993 Aaron Ott and Naomi Helm had dated off and on before finally becoming engaged to be married in October of 1992 (please don't think that speaking of myself in the thrid person is creepy). Between October and August they spent that time making preparations to "merge" their lives. Aaron was preparing to not only commemorate this "merger" with a ceremony, but was also preparing to integrate Naomi into every aspect of his life. Naomi was making similar preparations, but the difference was that she was losing something. Her previous identity as a "Helm" would be left behind by means of her adopting the new identity of an "Ott." Was she completely abandoning her character as a "Helm" when becoming an "Ott?" Not at all. On the contrary, she brought along her "Helm-ness" to enhance what it means to be an "Ott." While Naomi would indeed become an "Ott," Aaron would never again be an "Ott" as he once was due to how his "Ott-ness" would be enhanced by Naomi's integration into his life.

While Naomi took on Aaron's name, and followed his leadership, she nonetheless changed Aaron's life experience as well. It truly was a "merger" in that two became one, and it has worked well. This is my preferred analogy for churches that have a right view of merging. One may dissolve and be assimilated into the experience of the other, but the incoming one will doubtless affect the recieving one in many significant ways. Anymore than Naomi could expect to be a passive addition to my world, so also should a merging church expect to enhance the one receiving it. They both choose the name of one, but each is affected by the other.

This would seem the right mindset regarding church mergers. Marriage and churches have difrerence motives though. The couple is motivated by covenental love, while the church is motivated by the Great Commission. Neverthless, both are sufficiently motivated to make it work no matter what. For the couple, the covenant is THAT important. For the church, the mission is THAT important. But both are beautiful to watch succeed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Reflections

- We had an awesome day at church today
- We had an amazing time of worship
- We had a great all church Thanksgiving meal today
- Once again, we had a host of new people join us for worship today
- Praying for some really cool things that are happening in the life of our church
- Held the 3rd annual Turkey Bowl. Yes, the staff was victorious again
- Praying for a dear family that we visited in the hospital today. The family is dealing with a tragedy that hit their lives this morning. The was a major car accident that left the Grandmother dead, the Grandfather in critical condition, two twins, the age of 14, still being cared for and going through surgeries and another Senior boy who is still in critical condition

- I love our Church
- I love our people
- I love the fact that God is moving in and through us
- I love that He is not done with us

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Reflections

~We had a great service today
~It really felt like the Lord was all over it
~We had a few new families come today
~I love our church
~I love our staff
~I love the fact that we are seeing the Lord change lives
~I love the community of faith that is growing here at Gateway

~I have a meeting in the morning that I ask you to pray about. Pray that the Lord will give clear direction as to what is to take place and the possible opportunities it may present

~Our staff had some great time together this past week at the Conference. Things like this always seem to give a spark to the flame that is already inside of us

~I love running into fellow pastors and leaders that encourage me. I had some really great moments this past week. Thank you Lord for using those moments to hold me up!

~Looking forward to what the Lord has in store for us

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Francis Chan @ Fusion

Francis Chan @ Fusion

Why do we get fearful of times when we can take a spiritual risk

Acts 7 Stephen full of the Holy Spirit gazed into Heaven and saw the glory of God...

~ courage comes from intimacy from God

~ no matter what you are going through, you must see Jesus

~ what have you done for the cause of the kingdom that you were fearful of?

~ Jeremiah 1:4
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you
~ a prophet of the nations

He has created us all for a purpose
We are His workmanship~Eph 2


Friday, November 14, 2008

Donald Miller @ Fusion Conf

Donald Miller @ Fusion Conf

2 types of people:
~ Those who ask how
~ Those who ask why

Question: which one are you?

The Bible is a why book

Question: has your life become nothing but noise?

~for noise to become music, it must pass through certain filters. Without the filter it is just noise.

Question: what is the filter in your life?

Basic principles of a story~ A character who wants something and goes through conflict in order to get it

What story is your life telling?

If your life is not telling a story, your life is NOISE

If the character of the story dies, what would be lost?

Erwin McManus @ Fusion Conf

Erwin McManus @ Fusion Conf

~ people need us not to solve their immediate problem but rather invest in their future

~ people are often living lives of obligation rather than passion

~ Acts 2
~ 2 themes: Servants and Prophets
~ Question: If the greatest dream you have became reality, would it profit and benefit the world around you?
~ Question: What dreams do you have that are trapped under the rubble of your past?
~ Questions: What dreams are waiting on the other side of your fears?

We must give ourselves to the dream that God gave us to live.

There are so many places He wants to take us

Erwin McManus @ LeadNow

Erwin McManus @ LeadNow

3 distinct spaces in which we tend to journey together

1. FIRST SPACE~ This is our space. We invite you to come into it. We are the majority.

~ We have the right to be heard(it is our space)

2. SECOND SPACE ~ This is the everyday space. The place we are supposed to live daily. It is our natural world

~ You have to earn the right to be heard

in the marketplace

3. THIRD SPACE ~ This is the space that you can only go when they invite you in and now you are the outsider.

~ We have to find a way to get invited to the table

Paul went to these places

~ Acts 17:16-

Are we willing to risk leaving the first space to live daily in the second space, hoping to get invited into the third space.

Matt Chandler @ LeadNow

Matt Chandler @ Lead Now

How can we be obediant today in our churches

1. The old story must die and a new one embraced (freedom and authenticity)
~ It is okay not to be okay
~ The church must fight the indifference to the needs of the world as if we are figthing for our lives

2. We need to work on Christian Unity

3. Training and Discipleship
~ Teach people what cultural practices are ok to be embraced
~ Teach people what cultural practices are needed to be avoided

4. Community
~ We have to create a culture that is Biblical
~ It has to be organic

5. Preaching and Teaching
~ It must be Christ centered
~ God can't be what you want Him to be because you think it might be offensive to some. He is who He says He is. You do not decide what is wrong or right

Francis Chan @ LeadNow

Francis Chan @ LeadNow

~ Are you tired of playing church?
~ How is your alone time with God?
~ What have we been called to do?

~ You can't make people fall in love with Jesus
~ We can not FIX people
~ At the end of the day, it is the Holy Spirit

~ The Lord is God
~ We sound more like the prophets of Baal as opposed to Elijiah
~ When you encounter the truth, you will not leave it
~ Be done with the GAME

~ Do we have the courage it takes to get alone with God

weaping in worship

weaping in worship

I am not sure the last time that I wept during worship. this morning my heart is heavy while at the same time rejoicing.

from the inside out, lord my soul cries out

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Todd Phillips @ LeadNow Conf.

Todd Phillips @ LeadNow Conf.

What amount of time should you as a leader give to the following:
~ leading inwardly
~ leading laterally
~ leading up
~ leading down

God gives and takes away

God is not concerned with success as we define it

All of our pursuits in ministry pale in comparison to the strength of the inner man

Implossion is enevitable if our inner man is not strong

Perhaps the greatest contemporary pressure is condensed time.

Areas we need to focus on in building our inner man
~ Aloneness
~ Prayer
~ Communal and Mutual Ministry

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Reflections

* I love our Church
* I love our people
* I love our worship
* I love our heart for the community
* I pray in accordance with Eph. 3: 14-21
1. That the church be strengthened by the Spirit of God
2. So that we can comprehend the love of Christ
3. And thus be filled with all the fullness of God
* I love that lives are being transformed
* I love that our people are longing for authentic community
* I love that we see newcomers nearly every week
1. I pray we can become the church to them
* I love the people the Lord is allowing me to "do life together" with

Saturday, November 8, 2008

pics from the game

here is our logo being displayed to thousands of people at the Friday night Royse City Football game. This was awesome and a great way to advertise

Friday, November 7, 2008

instant replay cam

Our church is sponsoring the instant replay cam tonight@ Royse City FB Game. Every time it is shown on the screen our church will be announced and our logo shown. We had a grant made available through the SBTC that made this possible! God is good! Praying for the fact that thousands of people will see and hear it.

next level

I loved this post from BCoop:

Perry listed 4 keys to evolving to the next level of ministry leaders:

1) Understand ministry is WORK. Isaiah 57:14

a) Am I a team player?

b) Is there anything in my life that would disqualify me from ministry… or that i need to change?

c) How Thankful am I?

d) How is my relationship with others on staff?

e) Am i REALLY honest with others about what is going on in my spiritual journey?

2) Understand that Status Quo is unacceptable-

-Lack of attention to detail & Apathy are the quickest keys to recognizing Status Quo exist.

a) How’s my personal Passion Level? Isaiah 59:17

b) Is God pleased with my performance? (loved this one! Cut through the BS of smoke-blowing and be honest! What if God was giving us our performance evaulation! B/c in the end HE DOES!)

3) Understand that it’s OUR JOB to BEG GOD for Him to move!

a) How active is the Holy Spirit in my life and in my work?

b) When is the last time i clearly heard from God? (if we cannot remember then it might be time for us to find another job and stop faking it.)

c) How much are we praying as a team and a staff? Isaiah 62:6

4) Understand we’ve got to believe greater days are yet to come! Isaiah 54:2-3

a) God has made His Church UNSTOPPABLE!

b) God has made His Church UNEXPLAINABLE!

c) God has made His Church UNDENIABLE!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Reflections

* Love Our Church
* Love Our People
* Love Our Community
* I am praying for our church in accordance with Ephesians 3:1-13. I am praying that we would understand verse 10: that the church is put here to help make the manifold wisdom of God known. We do this by what the church "is" and by what "it teaches" and its very "existence" proclaims the wisdom of God. The church is plays an important role in God's scheme of redemption for mankind.

"10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence."