Thursday, February 14, 2013

From Michael Hyatt comes some excellent advice for those leading outward-focused churches:

The One Thing You Must Do to Achieve Break-Through Results

I often meet people who are stuck in one area of their life or another. They want a break-through, but they can’t seem to get traction.
The One Thing You Must Do to Achieve Break-Through Results
Photo courtesy of ©
Contrary to what they think, it’s not about having:
  • More money;
  • More time;
  • The right contacts; or
  • Better luck.
Instead, it almost always is about overcoming an invisible barrier that exists in their own head.

The barrier isn’t something external. It’s something internal—something they have created in their own mind.

Years ago, I heard a speaker talk about a research project conducted by a marine biologist. It seems he put a barracuda in a large tank. He then released smaller, bait fish into the same tank. As expected, the barracuda attacked and ate the smaller fish.

Then the researcher inserted a piece of glass into the tank, creating two separate chambers. He put the barracuda into one and new bait fish into the second. The barracuda immediately attacked.

This time, however, he hit the glass and bounced off. Undaunted, the barracuda kept repeating this behavior every few minutes. Meanwhile, the bait fish swam unharmed in the second chamber. Eventually, the barracuda gave up.

The biologist repeated this experiment several times over the next few days. Each time, the barracuda got less aggressive, until eventually he got tired of hitting the glass and stopped striking altogether.
Then the researcher removed the glass. The barracuda, now trained to believe a barrier existed between him and the bait fish, didn’t attack. The bait fish swam unassailed, wherever they wished.
Too often, we are like the barracuda. The barrier isn’t “out there.” It only exists inside our heads.
Think how many other barriers have turned out to be only mental obstacles:
  • The sound barrier. Pilots didn’t think it was possible to fly faster than 768 miles an hour (the speed of sound at sea level). Then Chuck Yeager officially broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947.
  • The four-minute mile. Runners didn’t think it was possible to run a mile in less than four minutes. Then, in 1954, Roger Bannister ran it in 3:59.4.
  • The two-hour marathon. Endurance athletes didn’t think it was possible to run a marathon in less than two hours. Now several athletes are on the verge of breaking Geoffrey Mutai’s world-record of 2:03.02.
The reason why most of us don’t accomplish more is because we set our goals inside our mental barriers, where it’s safe. (That’s why it’s called “the comfort zone.”)

But if you want to get unstuck and start getting traction again, you have to set your goals on the other side of the barrier. You don’t have to get crazy, but you do have to stretch yourself and push past the invisible barrier in your head.

This is the secret to achieving break-through results.

Monday, February 11, 2013



"The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." - Jesus
"The experience that a transformation of all human life is given in the fact that "Jesus is there only for others." His "being there for others" is the experience of transcendence. It is only this "being there for others," maintained till death, that is the ground of his omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Faith is participation in this being of Jesus (incarnation, cross, resurrection)." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel ..." Jesus
"The church is the church only when it exists for others...The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling, what it means to live in Christ, to exist for others." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One of the tragedies of the Church in our present age goes directly to its faithfulness and fruitfulness.  That is the tragedy of the Church's inward-focus.  Too many churches organize their life around taking care of one another--but the result is that they give only lip service to the needs of "others."

Too many churches possess a fortress mentality, intentionally creating barriers that keep the world from getting to close for their comfort.  That desire for comfort blunts the call to sacrificial servanthood that is at the heart of Christ's Great Commission.

As a result these churches lose their transcendence as there is no attempt to embody the love of Christ in the midst of a world where God is too often out of sight an out of mind.  There is no costly discipleship by which the church matures and validates the supernatural power of God.  There is no resurrection life because there has never been a death to the old "religious" ways that made them feel like good people, instead of being God's people.

The Church's true impact, authentic identity, and God-honoring purpose can only be found when it becomes a "church for others.":

(C) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


A very good friend of mine, Chuck Frank, emailed me this segment of Bill Easum’s recent blog. It speaks exactly what Bridgebuilders is seeking to implant in churches. – STEVE


Everyone of who follows my stuff knows I am a great fan of the local church. It is fundamental to the growth of the Kingdom, along with other forms of being the Church. I have no trek with those who say the day of the local church is over.

 I can’t stand what the vast majority of mainline churches and many sideline churches have become. They set back a wait for people to show up like a spider that spins its web waits for an unsuspecting victim. I call this the Jerusalem effect and the build it and they will come effect. Oddly enough, this approach to evangelism worked when I started ministry over 50 years ago. Today, however very few unchurched people come to worship on their own.

 Interestingly enough a friend gave me a url to Mike Breen’s blog . It was right up my alley. I thought I would share a couple of his quotes with you…. “So let us be clear: missionaries are always better than mission projects. Leaders are more necessary then volunteers. And disciples are surely what we’re going for rather than mere converts.”

 I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always told churches that volunteers, missions committees, and programs are not the way to go. In our new book , Effective Staffing for the Vital Church, I talk about “backyard missionaries.” Everyone needs to be trained to be a missionary in their everyday life. Also disciples are needed not volunteers.

Here is another goodie.

 “There is a paradigm shift that needs to happen. We need to move from being a worshipping body that sometimes does mission to a missional body that gathers to celebrate and worship.”

 I have started telling leaders that it is not enough to have small groups that make disciples; now small groups need to the missionary arm of the church. Each small group needs a mission in the community.

 That leads to Breen’s last comment I want to highlight.

 “Missional communities are the training wheels that teach us how to ride the bike of oikos.” 

 Now this is brilliant. He’s talking about 20-30 people acting as an extended family taking the message to their communities. We need to focus on training Mom and Dad, Aunts and Uncles, etc. to help their extended families be those backyard missionaries we talk about.

What is your church doing to make backyard missionaries?