Archives For June 2009

Making Church Sticky

June 29, 2009
Sticky Church

Sticky Church

I just finished reading my first full ebook on the Kindle that Pam gave me for my birthday. I was amazed at how fast I was able to fly through this one and I’m not sure if it was due to the format or the content, but suffice it to say that Larry Osborne’s Sticky Church was paradigm shifting for me on many levels.

Larry Osborne pastors North Coast Church in Vista, California and has grown the church from 128 people in the early 80s to now over 7000 people.

He writes that while there are some churches that are very good at getting people to come through the front door, many of them are ineffective at helping people stick around long enough to develop fully devoted followers of Christ. Sticky Church focuses on the importance of closing the back door through an effective small group ministry. I think he’s onto something.

A lot of what we’re already doing was affirmed in this book, but there were so many ideas that I received from this book that I’m excited about putting them into practice this Fall. At The Connection Church, our purpose for Connection Groups has always been to help people connect with each other in authentic relationships. That will not change. But Osborne’s ideas have given me some tools to facilitate this happening on a larger scale.

Sticky Church offers time-tested principles for recruiting and training leaders as well as practical programming ideas for churches to take their groups to the next level. If you’re a small group leader in your church, let me encourage you to get your hands on this book. Good stuff!

I watched the video of Mark Sanford’s resignation with sadness as he apologized for the pain that he caused his wife, his sons, his close friends, his staff, his state, people who share his faith, and even the woman that he had an affair with. He seemed to be sincerely sorry for his actions. He reaffirmed the fact that sinful choices and actions have consequences including the devastation of his relationships and his public embarrassment. The good he tried to stand for will be mostly forgotten and this moment will become his legacy.

He said he didn’t start out looking for a way to damage the trust that people had placed in him. It just happened over time after a few small compromises had been made.

I’m sure at the time, it must have seemed like fun. Some kind of need was being met in his life. I’m sure in the moment, it must have felt good.

Of course, he can’t recall that now. After the dust settles, there is no moment’s pleasure that will compare to the incredible pain that he is feeling and has caused those around him.

You and I may not be as well known as a Governor, but we have the same potential for blowing it as he did.

In those times when I’m tempted to make those small compromises, I pray that I’l remember that the pain far outweighs the pleasure. I pray that I’ll never bring embarrassment on my wife, my daughters, those close to me, or my God.

The Principle of the Path

The Principle of the Path

Have you ever found yourself at a place you didn’t want to be and wonder how you got there?

Do you have hopes and dreams for your future, but you’re not sure what steps to take to get there?

Using real life examples and powerful truths from God’s Word, Andy Stanley’s The Principle of the Path is jam-packed with practical advice to help you get from where you are to where you want to be. If you read his similar offering, Best Question Ever, you’ll find this time, he takes it to a Whole ‘Notha Level! At the risk of offering TMI (spoiler warning), here’s the universal principle:

Direction – not intention – determines our destination.

Yes, it’s almost too simple to be true. But at its core, this single, overlooked reality has major implications for every area of our lives, including our career, relationships, finances, health, mental and spiritual life as well.

Using his unique style, Stanley transparently reveals the ways this principle has impacted his life and, in doing so, cuts through the excuses that we offer for the undesirable places we sometimes find ourselves in.

I loved the way Stanley tells the stories of David and Solomon to illustrate this principle. This made the heroes of our faith very identifiable and I found their ancient struggles not that different from my own.

In the end, I was very convicted for some of the priorities that I have been focused on and am motivated to make personal changes so that my path leads me to the destination that God has prepared for me.

The book also includes a helpful study guide that I’m looking forward to working through with my Connection Group.

I highly recommend you read The Principle of the Path and start applying it to your life now, the sooner the better.

Write White

June 18, 2009

HeBuddiesThis Sunday is going to be Zak’s last official Sunday with us at TCC before he moves to start a brand new revolutionary church in Shertz, just north of San Antone. We’re going to spend some time praying for him and his family at the close of the Celebration on Sunday. We’ll also have a table set up in the lobby for you to bring them a note of thanks and encouragement. I want to personally challenge you to try and put into words your thoughts and feelings. Maybe include a story of a time they personally impacted you or served you. I can’t tell how much that has meant to me in the past when I have seen that people have noticed those little unexpected moments or when their life was touched through my ministry.

Zak will continue to serve with TCC through the end of June. And after that, I’m sure you’ll see him around. We plan to continue to partner together to make sure that it’s hard to get to Hell between Austin and San Antonio!

120 In One Day!

June 8, 2009

God is working in a BIG way through our Connectors in Belize. We just got the word back from Kristi that they had 120 salvation decisions TODAY! They presented 4 puppet shows and Demi Floria & Alyssa West shared their personal stories about trusting Christ. I’m so proud of our students and the adults that are with them making a huge eternal impact in another country!

Today, they are in need of our prayers for the exhaustion and dehydration that 2 of them are facing. Please pray for their quick recovery and that each of them will stay healthy through the trip. Also, they’re asking that we pray that they get some coolness and cloud cover. And pray that they will see many more people trust in Jesus over the next few days!

You can keep up with the daily prayer requests by following our prayer blog at: http://connectionprayers.blogspot.com/