Sunday, November 28, 2010


In 2000 Bill Easum articulated these key questions for churches seeking to be missional, outward-focused, evangelistic at the commencement of the 21st century. Here are OUTWARD FOCUSED CHURCH we would be interested in your answers. We'll be sure they get forwarded to Bill.

In 2000 I prepared a presentation for the Society for Church Growth in which I asked what I considered at the time to be some of the key questions of our time.  In looking back over these questions I find they are still the key questions with which Western Christianity is wrestling. You be the Judge if they are.
  • What is it about my relationship with Jesus my neighbor and the world can’t live without experiencing?
  • How do I share my faith without coming off like a bigot?
  • What will Christianity look like when it truly understands that North America is a mission field?
  • What is the difference in being missional and doing evangelism?
  • What is the difference in a being pastor and being a cross-cultural missionary?
  • What does it mean to live in a world where one’s spirituality is more important than one’s credentials?
  • Can we imagine doing evangelism that is not carried out within the context of conquest?
  • How do leaders lead without control?
  • What will authority look like in an out-of-control, anti-institutional, non-religious world?
  • What will Christianity look like when it’s no longer defined by books?
  •  How do we transition from handing out data that informs to offering an experience that transforms?
  • How will we help people grow their spirituality instead of just learning more about the Bible?  
  • What will Christianity look like when the church is missional and not institutional?
  • How will we “be” the church instead of “go” to church?
 So how are you dealing with these questions? Or are you?
Bill Easum

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Brian Mosely of Irving Bible Church and his leadership team have created a "Vision Frame" to guide their church. Will Mancini recently shared this as a part of the Right Now Conference in Dallas.  The values contained within this frame are a helpful reminder to any church doing serious, outward-focused ministry.

Mission: What are we doing?
To help people trade in the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ
Values: Why are we doing it?
  • We love … THE church. In our neighborhoods, at the office and around the world the mission of the church matters.

  • We love … authentic stories.
Real-life stories have the power to inspire and validate what God is doing.

  • We love … immediate action.
Christianity is a verb.  To wait is a sin.

  • We love … hard work.
God is glorified when we use our God-given passions and skills with excellence.

  • We love … our families.
There will always be more work to do, but not at the expense of family and friends. 
Strategy: How are we doing it?
  1. Inspiring Leaders
  2. Transforming Small Groups
  3. Coaching Individuals
Mission Measure: When are we successful?
The mission is accomplished when a trader is activated. A Trader is a new kind of missionary, not defined by geography but by the resolve to:
  • Choose Daily
  • Hate Injustice
  • Work as Worship
  • Act Swiftly

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


From Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research comes these perspectives on the Millenials and what influences them.

Through that study we gain some insight into how this generation perceives influences in their lives. For example, when looking for information or advice about two-thirds of American "Millennials" prefer to talk with a variety of people who have personal experience rather than one individual considered to be an "expert."

According to the study it turns out that the greatest influences in the lives of Millennials are parents, friends and extended family. "The vast majority (88 percent) say their parent or parents remain a positive influence on their lives, including 51 percent who call them a strongly positive influence."

65 percent of Millennials identify themselves as Christian, 14 percent as atheist or agnostic, 14 percent list no religious preference, and 8 percent claim other religions. Professing Christians, consistent church attenders, and those committed to some form of religion are more likely than others to say their parents are still a strong and positive influence.
  • Thirty-eight percent of Millennials say their religious beliefs have no influence on their lives.
  • Thirty-two percent indicate their beliefs have a strongly positive influence.
  • Fifty percent say a church or house of worship has no influence on their lives. Twenty-two percent indicate a church has a strongly positive influence.
  • 18 percent of all Millennials indicate they get a lot of guidance or advice from sacred texts such as the Bible, Torah or Koran, while another 24 percent get some. The most common answer (37 percent) is none at all.
Read more ....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


These were posted today by the website The Missional Challenge
 check out the link for the other 20
The Missional Challenge 
Top 20 
Church Planting Books
  1. Six-Word Lessons to Discover Missional Living  (2010)
          by David DeVries
    Although I wrote this book for every believer to understand how to align with Jesus' mission, it's particularly helpful for church planters and church planting teams. Each lesson is bite-sized and leads to necessary actions for starting new churches.
    (And I'm not ashamed to list it first for many reasons)

  2. The Externally Focused Church  (2004)
          by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson
    This is an excellent book for shifting focus from the internal needs of members to the external needs of those in the harvest. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
    Read my amazon review here

  3. Cultivating a Life for God (1999)
          by Neil Cole
    Neil's simple idea of Life Transformation Groups provide a great way to start the process of making disciples who make disciples.
    Read my amazon review here

  4. The Shaping of Things to Come (2003)
          by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
    This is a great introduction to a missional incarnational approach to spirituality.

  5. The Tangible Kingdom (2008)
          by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay
    A very practical understanding from first-hand experience of living in authentic missional community

Sunday, November 7, 2010


This is an excellent blog for pastors of kingdom focused churches.  Here is a sample. It is especially good on self-care and leadership assessments.  Check it out. - Steve

 How Church Leaders can Mobilize their Churches for Community Ministry

Some of the kids in Operation Helping Hands
It’s exciting to see many churches embracing community and missional ministry more than ever. When I grew up, I can’t remember being challenged to go out into my community to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the poor and under-resourced. Perhaps that’s why it took me so long to personally ‘get it.’
The church where I now serve really ‘gets it.’ We are a church with a weekly attendance around 1,200 and after an intentional effort the last four years to become more missional, we’ve seen this fruit.
  • last year we gave more money to missional causes than we ever gave in a year’s time
  • 1500 participated in some way in local missional efforts, many multiple times
  • 100 went on a short-term missions project overseas
  • we just completed our annual Helping Hands project in the community and nearly 500 people from four different churches served
We even coined a term that has helped capture the spirit of our church: serving the Least, the Last, and the Lost.
So, what have we learned and what are some principles to keep in mind if you want your church to become more missional?
  1. Find a champion. One of our pastors had a vision 10 years ago for us to become more missional. He has persisted for those 10 years.
  2. Build missional ministry into your annual church objectives.
  3. Keep the vision before the church often. Repeat it in messages. Encourage small groups to do missional projects together. Celebrate victories and tell lots of stories.
  4. Offer multiple, small steps for your church. Stay persistent and don’t look for just one big thing to comprise the extent of your community ministry, although a big event can catalyze your church.
  5. Develop partners. Find local city our community agencies that need help and offer to help them. We’ve worked with over a dozen city agencies, the local United Way,  the city of Aurora, IL and several other churches.
"Volunteer of the Year" Award
Persistence will pay off. This year our church actually won the community “Volunteer of the Year” award from the local United Way.  We didn’t apply for it in any way. Rather, the committee that makes those choices had seen our extensive work in the community and made the decision.
So, as you lead your church, consider how to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the community.
Some great resources:
For more Ministry Help and Resources for Pastors, visit Pastor Stone’s main site.

This is an excellent blog for pastors of kingdom focused churches.  Here is a sample. It is especially good on self-care and leadership assessments.  Check it out. - Steve