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Who Are You Hanging Out With These Days?

When I was a college student living on a Christian college campus, I fell into the trap of often staying in the safety of the bubble. On campus, there was a bit of a micro-economy that remained pretty safe. You could eat, sleep, and study on campus and 'do life' only with those kids who were also Christian college students. While I wouldn't trade those days, I wish I'd chosen to venture out a bit. If anyone could have lived in a religious bubble, it would have been Jesus. …

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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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Getting Explicit About the Gospel

Rick Warren said, "If you read only one book this year, make it this one. It's that important." The gospel is a message that never loses its relevancy and always needs retelling. I found Matt Chandler's The Explicit Gospel to be an awesome retelling of it. Chandler's explanation of the gospel is ultra-clear, and while I detect that hint of his Reformed leanings (to which he alludes a time or two), his book avoids extremes, stays between the theological rails, and at least …

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Why Grace Hills Church Is In Jeopardy

Grace Hills Church is eleven Sundays old, officially, and about eight months old, unofficially. And we're in trouble. If we don't do something, all of our effort will be in vain and all hope of planting the kind of church Jesus had in mind will be lost. No, we're not out of money. God has provided every step of the way. No, we're not losing people. In fact, we're seeing new attenders every week. And no, we're not losing our leaders. We're seeing new leaders emerge as each …

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Seth Godin on Church Planting

I don't know if Seth knows what church planting is or not, but his post yesterday should be memorized (it's short - that's Seth) by every church planter in the world. I'll quote it in its entirety because of its brevity... There's nothing wrong with having a plan. Plans are great. But missions are better. Missions survive when plans fail, and plans almost always fail. Gotta love Seth. …

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What Good Is Your Church Anyway?

I recently read the quote of a skeptical unbeliever that stopped me in my tracks... The church is a parasite. It owns the best property, doesn't pay any taxes, and doesn't help anybody. As a Pastor who loves the local church rather deeply, everything in me wants to argue. Who does this anonymous skeptic think he is? He's just never been to the right church! But sometimes arguing with someone's perspective is rather pointless. In the end, it's better to be introspective …

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Planting a Church? Plant a Teaching Hospital

That phrase - "teaching hospital" - jumped out at me during a recent conversation with Geoff Surratt, Pastor of Church Planting at Saddleback Church. As we discussed the vision of Grace Hills Church over lunch, Geoff helped me put words to the burden I kept feeling to plant more than a church - to plant a multiplying movement of reproducing churches. I believe in church planting. I believe that the local church is supposed to multiply itself, birthing daughter churches, …

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Rick Warren On the Most Important Thing Your Church Will Ever Do

I was thrilled when I receive Pastor Rick Warren's article for this past week's issue of the new Pastor's Toolbox. I'm not sure if it's because we feel the threat of extinction is too close or that we're just too individualistic, but the American church is obsessed with self-preservation and has failed to multiply and replenish the land with vibrant new fellowships. Listen to what Pastor Rick says is the most important thing your church will ever do... Church planting is …

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Building a Core Group vs. Gathering a Launch Team

Missional leaders understand that there is no faster way to expand the Kingdom of God than planting new indigenous churches, even in communities where established churches already exist. This is partly because new churches tap into new and overlapping circles of relationships. But it's also because of a simple law of nature - new produces momentum. Things grow faster when they're new, then tend to settle into a pattern and level off. With established churches, we can …

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The Meaning of Life? Let Me Check in the Back.

Can't see the video? The Meaning of Life? Uh, Let Me Check in the Back via Vimeo. The day Toy Story 3 was released on DVD, I was at CVS pharmacy where they offered a sweet deal for it, but they weren't even aware of this monumental event. They had to get the DVD's out of the back. Sometimes, our faith is like that. The world might be asking, "do you guys have the meaning of life?" And we're replying with, "well, not out here on display, but let me check in the …

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