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When Things Get Real in a Church Plant

A snapshot taken in our first official "second" service, 1/19/2014. I am humbled! Today marked the 2nd anniversary of our launch as Grace Hills Church. Today, we also launched a second morning worship service - something I'll write about later. And today, we began a new teaching series called Healing: Recovering from Life's Hurts, Habits, and Hang-ups. We had a record attendance. 240 people came, 47 of whom were kids, and 2 young adults received Jesus as their Savior. …

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Let’s Make Disciples of All the Nations… Today!

Jesus told us plainly, don't talk about a harvest happening someday. Look at the fields that are white for the harvest today. As long as we see the Great Commission as some far off, unreachable goal, we will remain far off from reaching our goal. Earlier today, 175 people gathered in a movie theater in northwest Arkansas as Grace Hills Church. We're less than two years old with a modest budget and a long way to go toward being a "grown up" church. But we're serious about …

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Creating Excellence With a Tiny Budget

When we began planting Grace Hills, we didn't have the quarter of a million dollars that some plants in America start out with. We had way less than that in fact, so we had to figure out how to hack some things together, and I'm convinced it's made us stronger. We learned to do the very best we could with what we had, and we're still doing that. A lack of resources is merely an opportunity to be extra creative. The Values of Excellence The first thing we had to do was …

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Planting Churches and Popping Bubbles

When we started planting Grace Hills Church, we moved fast. We had our first public information meeting in July of 2011 and launched in January of 2012. Some planting strategists would make the assumption that we were all about getting to the weekend show and not enough about making disciples. Nothing could be further from the truth. We moved fast because we wanted to pop bubbles as quickly as possible. Let me explain. One of the reasons so many churches are plateaued at …

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Andy Stanley: The Church Can Be Deep and Wide

A little over a year ago, Angie and I started planting Grace Hills Church in northwest Arkansas, and one of our biggest hopes is that it's a church that unchurched people love to attend. So Andy Stanley's newest book, Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend caught my attention. I pre-ordered it and devoured it once it arrived. I found the book to be both deep... and wide. Andy opens with the deeply personal side of how North Point Ministries …

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The Church Planting Journey Is Rather Personal

According to Brian and Amy Bloye, the two toughest jobs in the world are raising kids, and raising a church. And both tasks are deeply personal. I'm a better church planter for having read It's Personal. It's now one of the books I'll be pushing at every potential church planter. Why? Several reasons. Calling is key, and while many books talk about church planting models and methods, few focus on the foundation, which is what matters when the going gets tough. They …

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How Churches Can Partner to Plant New Churches

Denominations don't plant churches.  Churches plant churches. This is why churches should be proactive about church planting rather than waiting for denominational boards and agencies to get the job done. Having said that, most churches don't have the resources to plant another church on their own, so they need to partner together with other multiplication-minded churches to expand the kingdom. Denominations can and do serve a vital place in the grand scheme of church …

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Before You Plant a Church, Clarify Your Calling

The work of planting a new church will probably kill you. On my first day in Greek Grammar class in Bible college, Dr. Jesse Thomas walked in and stood at the podium to offer a brief welcome, "Welcome to boot camp." Serious students survived, some even thrived, but some fell by the wayside because of their unwillingness to do the hard work of memorization that studying an ancient language requires. I've often thought back to that day as a church planter. Planting a …

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How’s the Dream Going?

In the late spring of 2011, Angie and I spent a lot of time dreaming and talking about what Grace Hills Church would look like. I wrote our conversations out in a form that I later presented at our very first informational meeting about Grace Hills Church on July 17, 2011. Since then, I've looked back at what I wrote often. In fact, it's part of our Membership Matters course. Today, on a Sunday like most others, we will present Membership Matters as our morning worship …

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Our First Easter as Grace Hills Church

Was awesome. On Saturday, we hosted a community Easter egg hunt at Grace Hill Elementary School. About 75 volunteers, a third of which were teens, came and hid 5,000 eggs and served a hot grilled lunch to about 350 people. The school was gracious enough to allow us to invite all 500 of their students which allowed us to have some great conversations with people in the community. (Watch the highlight video.) On Sunday, we broke our previous attendance record (176, set on …

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