Thursday, May 8, 2014

Planter Classes in Video from Pepperdine Bible Lectureships 2014

Kairos planters and staff presented six classes, a public dinner, and a network dinner at this year's Pepperdine Bible Lectureships. These planters are innovative, practitioners and they share from their best practices in the field.

This year we've created video summaries for you so you can catch the best of what these men and women shared. Click on the links provided to view these videos.

Answering the Call of God's Lost People
Shaun and Marci Dutile, Laconia, NH

Growing a Mobile Church
Tim Blair

Learning from the Inside Out: Ethos Apprentices
Jared and Laura King

The Challenges and Future of Campus Ministry
Chris Buxton and Neil Reynolds

What Churches Can Learn from New Churches
Kevin Woods
Brenda Woods

Lean and Mean or Running on Empty
Vancouver Church of Christ with Gena Granberg, Craig Brown, Stan Granberg, and DeAnne Perrigo

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kairos at Pepperdine Bible Lectures 2014

Are you planning to attend the Pepperdine Bible Lectures next week? If you are, we'll see you there!

Here is where you can meet Kairos church planters, dreamers, and doers:

Answering the Call of God's Lost People
Shaun and Marci Dutile, Laconia, NH
Wednesday, 8:30 AM
AC 280

Growing a Mobile Church
Tim and Lisa Blair
Wednesday, 9:30 AM
AC 280

Kairos Church Planting Dinner
Speaker: Jason Locke
Wednesday, 4:30 PM
Hahn Fireside Room

Learning from the Inside Out: Ethos Apprentices
Jared and Laura King
Thursday, 8:30 AM
AC 280

The Challenges and Future of Campus Ministry
Chris Buxton and Neil Reynolds
Thursday, 9:30 a.m.
AC 280

What Churches Can Learn from New Churches
Kevin and Brenda Woods
Friday, 8:30 AM
AC 280

Lean and Mean or Running on Empty
Vancouver Church of Christ with Gena and Stan Granberg
Friday, 9:30 AM
AC 280

You are also invited to join us in prayer on behalf of God's lost people Thursday at 7:45 a.m. on the South Balcony off the dining hall.

Or you can always drop by our table in the Firestone Fieldhouse.

See you in Malibu!

The Kairos Staff
Stan, Gena, Scott, Kim, Bruce, Laura, and Patty

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Monday After Easter by James Emory White

Amongst church planters Easter is what is called a "BIG Day." That means it's a day when we expect to see more people at our worship experiences. We expect our people to actively invite their friends, neighbors, and co-workers to join them. We expect to end the day tired yet fulfilled. Sometimes these things happen. Sometimes they don't.

What BIG days do show us is what I call "reach." Big days show us not the new people visiting for the first time but the people who are sometimes with us and sometimes not. We see the reach of our influence in the lives of people with whom we're connected.

The following blog post is from James Emory White and well worth the read.

[Editor’s Note: This blog was first published in 2012. It has received so much positive feedback that we have decided to offer it again.] 
This is a blog with a very specific audience. I know it may exclude some of you, but it may be healthy for you to eavesdrop.
This is for all the church planters and their volunteers on post-Easter Monday, struggling to make it from week-to-week, as well as the leaders and members of established churches which are anything but “mega” – well below the 200 threshold in terms of average attendance.
I don’t know how Easter Sunday went for you, but I have a hunch. 
It was bigger than normal, but less than breakthrough. It was good, but not great. Your attendance was large, but not staggering; worth being happy about, but not writing home about. You are grateful to God, but now that Easter is over, there’s a bit of a letdown. You wanted so much more.
It was, in the end, a typical Easter Sunday.
And you are normal.
When you lead a church, you can't help but dream, and dream big. I think that’s one of the marks of a leader. But for most, it’s not long before the dream comes face to face with reality.
When I planted Meck, I just knew the mailer I sent out (we started churches with mailers in those days) would break every record of response, and that we would be a church in the hundreds, if not already approaching a thousand, in a matter of weeks or months.
Willow Creek?  Eat our dust. Saddleback? Come to our conference.
The reality was starting in a Hilton hotel in the midst of a tropical storm with 112 dripping wet people, and by the third weekend – through the strength of my preaching – cutting that sucker in half to a mere 56.
Actually, not even 56, because our total attendance was 56. This means there were fifteen or twenty kids, so maybe thirty or so people actually sitting in the auditorium. 
(As a good church planter, I think we also counted people who walked slowly past the hotel ballroom doors in the hallway.)
Yes, we’ve grown over the years. 
But that’s the point. 
It’s taken years.
It usually does.
I know the soup of the day is rapid growth, but please don’t benchmark yourself against that. It’s not typical. It’s not even (usually) healthy. So stop playing that dark, awful game called comparison. It’s sick and terribly toxic. 
Really, stop it.
I don’t care who you are, there will always be someone bigger or faster-growing, so why torment yourself? Or worse, fall prey to the sins of envy and competition, as if you are benchmarked against other churches?
(Rumor has it the true “competition” is a deeply fallen secular culture that is held in the grip of the evil one. Just rumor, mind you.)
The truth is that on the front end, every church is a field of dreams. After a few months, or a year or two, it's morphed from a field of dreams to a field to be worked, and your field may not turn out as much fruit – much less as fast – as you had hoped.
That’s okay.
You can rest assured that it probably has little to do with your commitment, your faith, your spirituality, your call, or God’s love for you. 
I know it’s frustrating. We’ve got a lot of the world in us, and thus look to worldly marks of success and affirmation.
But what matters is whether you are being faithful, not whether you are being successful. You’re not in this for human affirmation, but a “well done” from God at the end.
Did you preach the gospel yesterday?
Then “well done.”
Did you and your team do the best you could with what you had?
Then “well done.”
Did you and your church invite your unchurched friends to attend?
Then “well done.”
Did you pray on the front-end, have faith, and trust?
Then “well done.”
Ignore the megachurches that tweet, blog and boast about their thousands in attendance.
Yep, even mine.
It’s not that we don’t matter. We do, and we’re very proud of the hard work of our volunteers and the lives we have the privilege of changing. There’s a place for us.
It’s just that you matter, too.
And you may need to remember that.
And perhaps most of all on the Monday after Easter.
James Emery White

Monday, March 31, 2014

Multiplying Church Cohorts

How do we minister as relevant, effective, life-giving churches in this drastically changing world of ours? This is the challenge of our times as a fellowship and congregations.

This year Kairos is organizing groups of churches into what we're calling multiplying church cohorts. For a year these churches will work together on some aspect of multiplication: increasing attendance, adding worship experiences, or starting multi-sites or new churches. By working on these multiplying projects as a group we get to learn from each other and share the resources, as well as becoming good friends together.

We'll be starting other cohorts as this year moves along. Your church may be ready to get into one of these. Let me know.

Discovery Lab this month at Camp Manatawny, PA

This week four couples and two single men will be engaging in the Kairos Discovery Lab, our premier church planter assessment process. This is often a life changing event. Please pray for both those people coming to investigate their possible future in church planting and the interview team as we seek to listen to God and give valuable insight to these people for their future and God's use in the his kingdom.

A New Christian Responds
Recently I received a letter from a man who is supporting a church planter because of the impact this planter has had on his life. Here's a short excerpt from that letter:

I was raised a Roman Catholic and attended French Catholic Schools. The French Catholic God was an Old Testament God with a long laundry list of "don'ts" enough to choke a mule. There was no love, compassion or tolerance. When I eventually made my own way into the world, I gave up Catholicism, and God entirely.

I met (the planter) at the gym we were frequenting at the time, and one thing led to another, I studied and was baptized. I experienced the most fantastic feeling as I emerged from the water. It was as though the weight of the entire world had been lifted from my shoulders, after a long life of sin. WOW.

Father of heaven and earth. You pursue your people for your name's sake. Thank you for letting us be involved in your mission of grace. Amen.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How Do We Share Faith in Post-Christian America?

Last week I was in Memphis working with a church leadership team on Natural Church Development and teaching an intensive course--21st Century Missional Strategies--at Harding School of Theology. It was a powerful week as both groups were discovering a change in paradigms for what they are about.

21st Century Missional Strategies is answering the question that titles this blog: How do we share faith in 21st century America? Here's the big revelation that came from my students:

We know we ought to share faith but we keep suppressing that impulse so it won't bother us.

Do you feel like that too? You know sharing faith should be part of your life but you just keep suppressing it and putting the thought out of your mind so you don't have to feel guilty?

Here are a couple of thoughts about this. First, this way of thinking is still guilt based. OK, Matthew 28:18-20 sits like a pretty big stone mountain out there that we can't ignore. Jesus does say get out in the world and make disciples of all nations, which, as I read the text, pretty well means EVERYBODY. But why the guilt? Why do we work from the assumption that sharing faith is so gruesome, so intimidating, that to do it is an onerous task and not a grace-filled joy? We've got some reorienting to do as God's people so that we actually experience and believe that Jesus is the good news he claims to be.

Second, why isn't sharing faith the grace-filled experience of joy it seems like it should be if Jesus is in fact good news? Two parts to this answer. First, if Jesus is the resurrected Lord he presented himself to be (Mark 16; 1 Cor. 15:3-11) that's a game changer! It changes everything we do. Paul puts it very succinctly, if Jesus was raised from the dead then we win and death loses. There's a new book, a small one of just a hundred pages, that's a great read on the implication of the resurrection: Raised? by Jonathan Dodson and Brad Watson. We need to wrestle with our doubts until we too become convicted believers.

And what makes sharing faith so difficult as well is that we do live in a post-Christian context where it's not acceptable nor politically correct to be a "proselytizer." That means it takes more than a bit of courage to open our mouths and make sort of confession of faith. In fact, experience demonstrates that when we meet someone new and don't let our faith out of the closet the next time it will be twice as hard and after our third meeting the only way that person will discover we're Jesus followers is by accident.

If you really want to explore sharing faith you need to order the workbook Sharing Faith. It's not a read, it's planned activity that course that could just possibly release in you the joy of sharing faith that you long to experience. God bless you in that direction.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Culture of Leadership Development

The U.S. military is one of the most prolific leader developing institutions in the world in part because each promotion provides a new set of skill competencies and increases the number of people being led. Early officer promotions are almost certain but the higher the rank the more stringent the promotion requirements.

Most of the time I've heard leader development in churches made as an announcement: Hey, we need some people to volunteer to teach, or lead a small group, or  be an usher, etc., etc.

What if we began to think of developing leaders in a more consistent, intentional manner? Could it be possible to provide, through increasing levels of responsibility and numbers of people, a pathway for leaders to follow that provided them personal development, experience, and a sense of confident growth?

Kairos is working with a number of churches to create leader development pathways. Here's the general model:

Across the bottom are personal leader development stages. Any person can move through all five of these stages at whatever level of leadership of which they are capable.
Emerging: these are people who are developing a self-identity as leaders. They move in and out of leadership roles as they explore the fit of being a leader.
Developing: these people view themselves as leaders and they are developing their leadership skills in small groups, Bible classes, and performing entry level leadership tasks. They are learning what is required of leaders and developing basic leadership skills.
Recognized: these people have gained enough skill and experience so that others, those they lead and those who lead them, recognize their leadership abilities and give them ongoing leader responsibilities.
Experienced: these people have become effective leaders in their roles and have a well developed set of leadership behaviors, skills, and experience.
Mature: these people lead confidently and capably at their level of leadership.
Up the side are four levels of leadership. Levels are based on both the capacity and capability of leadership with which any given person is gifted.
Doing: technically this is not a leadership level because a person may be doing a task yet not leading other people. This level sets below the heavy line which distinguishes between personal leadership and leading others.
Directing: this is where the leader begins leading others, providing them the direction they need to accomplish the doing tasks.
Planning: leadership becomes more complex at this level as the leader now leads not just people who are doing, but other leaders. At this stage a leader is involved in higher function planning and organizing that requires more complex leader ability.
Generating: leaders at this stage now work in abstract areas of creative thought. They are able to bring solutions to organizational problems. They create new ministries, activities, and events that do not yet exist but that will propel the organization forward. Leaders at this level may also create entirely new organizations.

This simple pathway provides a way to visualize how leaders can be developed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

3 Growth Challenges to become a Multi-Site Church

Multi-site churches, that is one church meeting in multiple locations, are a growing trend across America. Ed Stetzer’s
research has identified over 5,000 multi-site churches in America. In our fellowship of Churches of Christ there are not many multisite churches. Oak Hills in San Antonio, The Hills in Fort Worth, The Branch and Highland Oaks in Dallas are examples of churches with heritage in Churches of Christ that have become multisite.

Over the past year Kairos has worked with a small number of larger churches in our fellowship whose leaders are exploring the option of becoming multisite. In 2013 we invited Geoff Surratt to conduct a multisite workshop and this year we are working with several churches in a multiplying church network where we can plan and pursue multiplying activities together.

This month some of these churches met together to envision what multiplying projects would look like and engage in some vision development. As we worked together 3 critical growth challenges emerged that churches in our fellowship of Churches of Christ will face when moving to a multisite expression:

Multisite Challenge #1: Family Identity
Our heritage works from a nuclear family identity, that is, we all expect to see everyone when we gather together for worship. If your church has ever tried to go to multiple services you’ve experienced the lament, “But we won’t ever see everybody.” It’s this expectation that in our family we all gather around the dinner table together that makes multiple services so difficult. It’s also the first critical challenge for multisite. We find it hard to envision “one church in multiple locations.”

To address this challenge we need to change our identity from nuclear family to extended family. An extended family still loves one another and cherishes those times when we can get together, but we don’t expect to see everyone at every meal. Pushing this analogy a bit further, we need to see ourselves as uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces rather than brothers and sisters. We understand the emotional challenge of this change when, as in the congregation in which I grew up, one of their identifying songs says, “You’ll notice we say brother and sister ‘round here.”

Multisite Challenge #2: Expanding Geography
Distance and number of sites has a multiplying impact, not an additive one. A surprising insight gained by early adopting multisite churches is they thought having one administrative system across multiple sites would give them an economy of scale. Paid staff could manage volunteers at multiple sites, multiplying both themselves and their impact. What they found was the distance and number of sites actually multiplied the complexity needed to manage and maintain the site ministries. Multisite churches are matrix organizations. It takes well-defined connections, communication patterns, and reporting to manage a multisite. Planning and decisions must be communicated up and down the reporting line. There is no central water cooler in a multisite church around which news, emotions, and relationships are naturally shared and developed. Intentionality becomes critical.

Multisite Challenge #3: Intentional Leader Development
How do you deliberately identify, train, and deploy leaders from within your church? Even with my association with many congregations across our country I could not come up with one good example of a church that had a systematic process to develop their leaders for the multiple leadership roles that exist in a church. Most churches tend to look for who has developed leadership skills in their vocations that are usable in the church context and hope that they can translate the use those skills well in the church setting. Successful multisite churches have well defined pathways for leader development for volunteers and paid staff.

Changing from a congregation with one worship service to one church with multiple congregations in multiple locations requires meeting these three challenges as major steps in their evolution as a church body. The process won’t be for every church. For those whom God has prepared and is calling for this journey their promises to be a lot of work with the potential for rich, kingdom rewards.