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What the Greatest Minds In Church Communications Know

Very little… in a good way.

Last night, I sat in a big room at Saddleback where I was surrounded by geniuses in the field (speakers and panelists from Cultivate 2011 as we held three brief conversations about three different themes:

  • How do we keep things simple?
  • How do we keep things social?
  • How do we make things viral?

And here are the big themes I walked away with.

  • None of us know much. We know trends. We know tools. We have a handle on culture. We can articulate best practices, but things are moving so fast around us that none of us have it all nailed down.
  • We are thinking, listening, and learning – all of which are more valuable than knowing.

We live in times of unprecedented opportunities for world evangelism in which borders (literal and figurative) are collapsing between nations, languages, and cultures. Because of technology, more people are sharing their faith than ever before. There’s plenty of room for debate about that, but I’m convinced that evangelism is more accessible than ever before. And so my role, as a Pastor, is to equip believers for ministry, which for me includes talking about how to use new tools, how to spread great content and ideas, and how to build real relationships in a virtual world.

At the conclusion of the night, I loved what Sherry Surratt said in summary – “I always consider a learning experience like this a success when we raise more questions than answers.” Keep thinking.

photo source: hillaryandanna

How You Can Help Plant Grace Hills Church

Donate to Relocation to Plant Grace Hills Church


Or, if you’re a PayPal nut…

We are now just sixty days from relocating to northwest Arkansas to begin the work of planting Grace Hills Church. The feedback we’ve received thus far has been tremendously positive. We’ve been encouraged by friends and family, fellow church planters, and the staff at Saddleback.

I am confident in God’s calling. I know this is His will, and I’m already envisioning what our church family will look like a year and five years from now. Angie asked me tonight, “what’s your dream?” My response was something along the lines of:

I dream of digging in and planting a church through which people can discover and deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ, where people can give themselves to an eternal cause, and where people can invest their lives into fighting problems of global proportions in Jesus’ name.

We’ve reached the part where we must begin to plan out the details of how we’re going to accomplish that vision, which is why I’m writing this to you right now. I’m asking for your help. But more than that, I’m inviting you into the opportunity to share in this journey with us – to invest in this God-given dream for the sake of eternity.

How can you help? I’m so glad you asked.

Pray For Us

One of my mentors, Grady Higgs, often says that “nothing heavenly happens on earth without prayer.” God has chosen to release certain blessings here only upon our asking for them. So please, ask! Intercede for our protection and provision.

Help Us Make Connections

If you know people whom we should know, please introduce us. That might include people who would be interested in being part of Grace Hills, or people in northwest Arkansas who have spiritual needs. If you’d like to introduce us to someone, please contact me.

Partner With Us

If you’re a believer, or a church or organization of mission-minded believers, please pray about the possibility of making a recurring investment in the planting phase of Grace Hills. When you do, you can know that you’re giving to a new church that:

  • stands on firm doctrinal ground and will not compromise God’s truth,
  • has a huge vision for reaching lost people,
  • stands ready to handle the “messy” aspects of ministry to real people with real problems,
  • wants to tackle globe-sized problems,
  • will be paying your investment forward in the form of planting other churches and multiplying,
  • will handle finances with strong ethics, openness, and high accounability.

If you would consider partnering with us, I would love to speak with you. Beginning in June, I’ll be available to travel to speak to different groups or meet with various leaders. We want to share the adventure of planting Grace Hills with people who invest together. Recurring investments will be crucial to getting Grace Hills to a place of self-sustaining maturity.

Give a One-time Gift

I don’t know very many people who enjoy asking for money, but I’ll never forget the other statement I’ve heard Grady make before… “I’ve never apologized for asking God’s people to give to God’s causes.” So while my own meekness might prevent me from asking for help, my sense of calling to this task and my compelling vision for what we want to accomplish strengthens my voice.

If you can give, if you’ve thought and prayed it through, and God has led you to do so, please make a one-time gift to help us in the relocation and initial setup of Grace Hills. You can make a secure donation by check or credit/debit card using WePay and you’ll be notified of how we’re using your gift.

We thank you again, sincerely, for your prayers and support. We can’t wait to get started and want to represent Jesus well. If you’re interested in partnering with us, giving a gift, or have a question or comment, please get in touch!

Can a Small Group Use Facebook?

TwelveYes, in plenty of ways, but I’ve outlined eight of them in an article published on the Twelve blog, a site dedicated to an upcoming conference at which I’ll be speaking on a similar subject.

Check It Out!

The Fine Line Between Fear and Fun

Fear and FunMy wife headed for Vegas this past weekend, so I took a day off and headed with the kids over to our pool. I put my one-year-old son, Sam, in his frog suit and held him in the rather cold water. He had a blast, but whenever I would move around much or hold him away from me, he would get this great look on his face expressing two seemingly exclusive thoughts…

  1. I am so scared!
  2. This is so much fun!

Ever been there? That place where fear intermingles with fun is the reason we invented roller coasters, bungee jumping, and buffalo wings.

We’re just eight weeks from relocating to plant Grace Hills Church, and right now, I feel like we’re inching toward the border of fear and fun. How are we going to make it? What if people don’t come? What if this doesn’t work? Those are scary thoughts.

But we’re also having fun. We’re planning, praying, and dreaming about all the lives we hope to see changed by the gospel, which never gets old and never stops being fun.

The Scriptures are clear that we are to “fear not,” so I’m not saying being afraid of the unknown is a good thing. But I also want to say that at the border of fear and fun, God can often be found waiting on us to take the leap into the dark to test and prove His faithfulness.

Scared yet? Having fun yet? Good. Maybe this is just the place where God wants to rock your world in ways you never imagined!

photo source

Grace Hills Church Is Alive On the Web

And later this year, will be alive in the sense of a community of people gathering together to discover and deepen our relationship with Jesus. Someday, perhaps we’ll meet in some kind of building. But I’m far more concerned that we are actively and visibly present in the community to which God has called us to serve, being the church to northwest Arkansas. is now live, and will be tweaked, expanded, and redesigned many times over in the months and years to come. Take a peek…
Grace Hills Church, Bentonville, Northwest Arkansas

The site is built on WordPress. The design is a customized version of the Quantum theme, from ThemeTrust. We’re using MailChimp for email distribution, integrated with Gravity Forms for integration of email subscriptions with contact forms. Another must have is Yoast’s SEO plugin.

My goal is to produce a site that is easily integrated with social networks without being over-the-top, optimized for local keywords (which I’ll do more of later), and which serves as a simple, two-way communication device. Any feedback?