Wishing For Not Normal: Erasing the Deep Darkness Within

Normal.  What is normal?  After all, what seems normal to some is abnormal for others.  When my work takes me out of town, I try to stay with friends, family, or colleagues as often as possible.  Not only is it more cost-effective, but doing this allows me to catch a glimpse into someone else’s “normal,” solidifying the fact that “normals” …

Discernment 101: 5 Practices

“Our God is a God who cares, heals, guides, directs, challenges, confronts, corrects. To discern means first of all to listen to God, to pay attention to God’s active presence, and to obey God’s prompting, direction, leadings, and guidance.” [Henri Nouwen][1] Discerning God’s direction does not happen by accident. The Spirit helps us to discern but we have a part to …

Creating Practice-Based Worship Gatherings

Consumerism states that whatever dazzles us with words, with personality, with brilliant production, is worth our time. Churches have surrendered to this powerful inertia when they seek to find the relevant hot-spots for what people want, and then use them to design their worship gatherings. Many are questioning the use of these marketplace sensibilities. Is there another way forward? Is …

Peaks and Valleys – A Core Leadership Team Exercise

Every Leadership Team experiences highs and lows, peaks and valleys. Peak: The day you host your first gathering! Valley: the first time someone leaves your community. Any time you gather a committed group of people you experience the pendulum of life, the best and hardest parts, together. This is the beauty of community and presents its own gifts and challenges …

To What Will Your Lenten Season Give Birth?

Lent is here. It begins with Ash Wednesday on March 1st and ends with Maundy Thursday on April 13th. Last week I updated all our Lent, Holy Week and Easter resource lists, reread posts from previous Lenten seasons and started to think about what I want to do this year. Lent is often seen as a time of giving up; we focus …

For Your Grandma’s Church, Too

By Josh Hayden, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Ashland, Virginia Sometimes a resource is so helpful it transcends the category it was created for and ends up changing the entire conversation. Church as Movement is a resource that does just that—it broadens the scope of church planting to a growing movement that focuses on discipleship, the mission of God, …

A Place-Based Missional Learning Experience

Our friends at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary have created a place-based missional learning experience any serious church planter can benefit from: The Graduate Certificate in Church Planting and Revitalization. The Graduate Certificate in Church Planting and Revitalization forms pioneer leaders attentive to God and God’s world. Participants will learn to listen to the Holy Spirit and their communities, they will practice leading teams in …

Subverting Church Planting Stereotypes

If I am being honest, I’m not generally a big fan of books on church planting. My lack of enthusiasm stems from two primary observations. First, many books on church planting are authored by people who actually have surprisingly limited experience in church planting or whose credibility rests on a single (relatively meaningless) criterion—their ability to draw a large crowd. …