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Pastor, What’s Your Timeline for the Next Year?

When we started the work of planting Grace Hills, we developed a timeline to established what we hoped to be doing for the first six months - our "pre-launch" process. It looked like this (except it included July and August - couldn't find that version): Lately, we've grown and I've been quite excited about what God is up to. But when someone asks me what our vision is, I struggle to answer. This isn't because I don't have a vision. I can very quickly and in a …

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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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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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Why Church Planting?

Obviously, I'm passionate about church planting. On the blog of the Acts 29 Network is a great article that echoes my heart about the matter. It's an adaptation of a writing by Tim Keller, and it really reflects the reason why we're planning on planting out of Grace Hills as soon as possible. The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate …

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My Church Planting Model Is Better Than Yours

Not really. Or at least I'm not sure. Church planting is a hot topic right now in western Christianity, and it needs to be with the spiritual condition of North America and western Europe. And when anything is a hot topic, it creates tension. Tension can be good. Out of tension flows a creative discussion and differences of opinion that force us to re-evaluate our viewpoints and emphases to ensure that we're thinking biblically and effectively. Right now, the tension …

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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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