What image comes to mind when you hear the word “church”?
In a world where the Christian apologetic is under scrutiny, Andy Stanley suggests intriguing insights in his book entitled “Irresistable” on the:
New vs. Old Covenant
deeply held theological assumptions.
In the discussion about the church he identifies the first time the term is used in scripture. In Matthew 16:17-18 Jesus says to Peter: “… and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
The author goes on to say this is a future part of the New Covenant.
In 1522, William Tyndale began translating the Greek New Testament into English. The Greek word “ekklesia” is accurately translated as “assembly” or “gathering”. The word “church” is not a translation, but a substitution – and a misleading one at that.
Stanley says, that the term “church” should not have appeared in the text at all. Tyndale lost his battle over the term, and others; along with his life. For this reason, “ekklesia” is substituted with our word “church” and used in the scriptures more that 100 times after this.
This makes a tremendous difference in the way we coach, teach and disciple. The connotation of church is very different than the term assembly – as in a gathering of people (whether it be a civic gathering, an assembly of soldiers or an assembly of idol manufacturers as in Acts 19:28-29). What Tyndale was attempting to do was set the record straight.
Today, I imagine, if you surveyed 100 Christians and asked them how they would describe the term “church”, that description would include a building or campus, where people gather for worship. They might describe an organization vs. and organism. Or they might think of the cultural interpretation of the church; whatever that might be in their context.
Which leads me to suggest the following 5 exercise of a local church. These are intended to be broad is scope. The question is intended to help you reflect on your gathering of Jesus Followers.
5 Exercise of a Church
Exercise #1: A community of Jesus Followers loving God Together
How are you and your community of Jesus Followers expressing your love of God?
Exercise #2: A community of Jesus Followers loving their neighbor together
How are you and your community of Jesus Followers loving your neighbor?
Exercise #3: A community of Jesus Followers making Apprentices of Jesus together
How are you and your community of Jesus Followers making disciples together?
Exercise #4: A community of Jesus Followers collaborating with other communities to reach their city
How are you and your community of Jesus Followers collaborating with other gatherings of Jesus Followers to accomplish the mission of Jesus in your city?
Exercise #5: A community of Jesus Followers stewarding all their resources in God-honoring ways
How are you and your community of Jesus Followers stewarding all their resources in God-honoring ways?
Every leader and network of leaders will have their definition of “church”. Reflect on the core exercises Jesus had in mind when he spoke to Peter and his intention for us today. Here are three questions to help you identify how to move forward in your thinking about His community of followers that he has entrusted to your care:
What exercises are you doing well?
What exercises are a challenge?
Which exercises do you need to address now?
Here are a few coaching resources to help you guide leaders.
Following are three observations “from the trenches” that are worth paying attention to if you have any interest, or concern over disciple-making movements. This is real data extracted from reliable resources. My goal is to clearly state the problem.
I hope you find the information helpful as we continue the mission of Jesus to make disciples…
Globally, the percentage of the world’s population that have become Christian is about the same today as it was 100 years ago
Approximately 32% of the global population was Christian in 1910 vs. 35% in 2010. The research also shows there has been a shift regionally, which is interesting to note; lower percentage of Christians in Europe and the Americas vs. an increase in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific, while the Middle East-North Africa has remained about the same – see Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian by The Pew Research Center.
Most churches stall-out after the first generation
80% of the churches in the US have plateaued or are in decline.
Most disconcerting is that of the new churches planted in 2012; only 22% had started at least one daughter church within 5 years of existence – see Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow by Ed Stetzer & Daniel Im (p.14).
Mac Lake suggest that only 4% of churches ever reproduce
Hirsch and Catchim tell us that the church in the US spends over $70 billion every decade on church plants and resources; but even so “we are experiencing decline in adherence and membership at an unprecedented rate” – see Beyond the Local Church by Sam Metcalf (p. 159).
This raises an important question: “With the heightened awareness of church planting as the most fruitful, God-given strategy to reach people far from Him, in combination with the resources (conferences, books and service) available; why aren’t churches able to make the shift missionally?” See Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow by Ed Stetzer & Daniel Im.
Here is my attempt to state the problem of the church in the US today:
The current way we make disciples, do church & plant churches has attracted the low-lying fruit therefore,
we must introduce new ways to make disciples, do church & plant churches.
In the upcoming blogs I will reflect a bit more on these three statistics and identify the signs that lead to Movement Drift.. If it were easy, I believe we would have already figured it out with out human ingenuity. I believe the solution lies not in our capacity to think through the solution but in our reliance on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit first and foremost.
Please join me on the journey and participate in the conversation.
As my kids return home later this week from their summer internships and get ready for the fall quarter at university, I’m super excited to see them and de-brief their experiences. We’ll have three weeks together to enjoy some camping, hiking, swimming, beach days, and maybe a fire-pit or two. Both of our kids had amazing summers and I love to hear how God used them in their respective areas of focus before they go back to the grind of their studies.
I trust you are finishing your summer on a “high” note and preparing for the fall.
As you’re making your plans for the fall, I wanted to remind you about our two Collectives. Registration ends September 3rd, so if you’ve been waiting to apply, now is the time.
Here are the three easy steps that make-up the Collective:
ACTIVATE your vision through individualized coaching.
ASSESS your process to cultivate leaders using a coach approach.
APPLY principles in your context.
Click here to read more and apply for the Developing Coaching Excellence Collective
Click here to read more and apply for the Church Planting Coach Collective
Group discounts of two or more people are available upon request.
If you have any questions, we’re here for you. You can reply to this email or give us a call at (951) 473-4481.
Chances are, if you are reading this blog – you have been coaching leaders for a while. You probably have a designated space for coaching appointments either in your office, or a quiet place in your home or your favorite “third” space e.g. Starbucks. You might be a pastor, church planter or denominational leader. Where-ever you meet with people or conference by phone; eliminating distractions is paramount.
Here are some common distractions that people endure during a typical workday:
5. Be present: there are many ways to do this. One way I’ve found helpful is a standing desk with a wooden, adjustable stool – see image above. Standing gives me the flexibility to walk around or shift my weight. A wooden stool is not built for comfort and forces me to stay alert! And is good for my back.
These are just a couple of tips to stay engaged during a coaching conversation. What suggestions do you have? Please share your wisdom below – I would love to hear your thoughts.
InFocus is launching it’s first Developing Coaching Excellence Collective to give you an opportunity to sharpen your coaching skills. This is uniquely designed to assist leaders who coach disciplemakers and church planter/multiplication leaders. In addition, since certification is a priority for some, the 10 hours are applicable to the International Coach Federation credentials including the
Associate Certified Coach (ACC),
Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
Master Certified Coach (MCC).
If this is a need you have and would like more information, please click here.
What is one action you will take today to minimize distractions to focus?
Here are a couple of related resources to develop your coaching excellence!
The World Cup is in full swing now. 6 teams have already qualified, but 10 spots are still up for grabs. It will be an exciting week as each of the groups finish their final round of games to determine who will advance to the Round of 16. My favorite group is Group F with Mexico (6 points), Germany & Sweden (tied with 3 points) and S. Korea (0 points). The final two games will be played on Wednesday this week with the top two spots, still to be decided.
Ironically, Germany who lost to Mexico in the opening match could come out on top of their group with a win over S. Korea and a Mexico loss, versus Sweden. Germany’s coach, Joachim Low, has led the Germans to the final in the last two World Cups – with one championship in 2014. Repeating as World Champions is a massive challenge that only countries have ever managed e.g. Italy (1934–1938) and Brazil (1958–1962).
The pressure is immense. As the game evolves every four years, coaches and players must adapt. This is the challenge Germany face under Low; but if it can be done, Germany will figure out a way.
The same can be said for your ability to support leaders who are planting churches. New methods come and go, cultural attitdues towards church and issues of faith are always at stake in a world that is in a state of change – remember my previous blogs explaining VUCA: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous. But principles last the test of time. In training church planting coaches I’ve found that a principle-based approach, for the coach to follow, can help coaches support planters as they navigate the life-cycle of a church plant regardless of the model they are implementing, the context they are planting or the challenges they face.
How long have you been coaching church planters?
Has it been a while since you attended coach training?
Do you want to work on your coaching skills to support church planters?
You might be interested in theCOACHING Church Planter Collective to revisit or be introduced to a principle-based approach. I would appreciate your feedback on a good time to hold the informational webinar based on the three options available, please click here so that we can schedule the best time to meet as a group, or individually. Look forward to connecting with you!
International Coach Federation (ICF) Coach Mentor Requirement available!
An added value is to apply the 10 hours in the COACHING Church Planter Collective to your ICF Coach Competencies, Mentor Requirement. More information will be available in the overview.
Here are a couple of related resources to apprentice church planters:
One of the more fruitful experiences of my development as a coach was was to work with a coach mentor. In fact, this last year I worked with two different coach mentors. “How was this helpful?” you ask.
Reason #1: fresh insights
Reason #2: new perspectives
They caused me to rethink my process. Plain and simple.
If you desire to grow and expand in your coaching – find a coach mentor. Someone who is a step ahead. Or has a different approach. Or new perspective. But most of all, find someone that can challenge you in areas that will help you empower leaders from the grass-root church planter to the leader of a multiplication movement.
InFocus is excited to give you an opportunity to sharpen your coaching effectiveness as you coach church planters and mentor other coaches in your network to do the same.
Are you interested in learning more about the Church Planting COACH Collective? I would appreciate your feedback on a good time to hold the informational webinar based on the three time slots available, please click here so that we can schedule the best time to meet as a group, or individually. I look forward to connecting with you!
Learn about the two coach mentor options:
Option #1 – Missional Coach Development
Customized coach mentoring to develop your coaching effectiveness as you coach church planters and mentor leaders in your network, using a coach approach.