Archives For December 2015

A new year is upon us. Most people make resolutions for weight loss, getting out of debt or making you a better you. Here is an idea? How about we make a resolution to combat one of the most pervasive yet ignored human disasters happening right now in a city near you? Human trafficking affects hundreds thousands of victims every year. And we can do something about it!

Here is what you can do.

  1. Understand it is happening in YOUR town.

Just because you don’t know anyone affected by it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Take 10 minutes and Google it. It’s happening everywhere! Here are a couple of websites to check out:

http://www.humantrafficking.org/countries/united_states_of_america/ngos

http://traffickingresourcecenter.org/

  1. Understand root causes.

Most (if not all) of the victims have suffered sexual abuse. Imagine what kind of home life they must have had that prostitution/sex trade is preferable to what they left behind. Instead of continuing to have interminable board meetings about the use of drums or whether cheese is allowed at potluck, let’s work together to combat the root causes in our community.

  1. Do something.

Just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you can’t do something. Here are 5 practical things you can do THIS year:

  1. Visit. In your town there are organizations working with Human Trafficking victims. Set up a meeting. A quick perusal of the internet will tell you where to go.
  2. Fund it. Last November we had an evangelism conference. We sold the CD’s and raised $3,500 for Selah Freedom. It was quick, easy and significant to them. They are looking to buy a van for victims, our gift would be used to enhance their operations.
  3. March. Organize a march, or join one.
  4. Invite. Ask them to make a presentation in your church. It’s amazing what happens when people see the level of destruction that is going on under their noses.
  5. Fix. Volunteer at a local shelter to fix, paint, and mentor. They welcome volunteers.

Let me know what you are doing, would love to share with others.

 

I’ve planted a church. Or six. I don’t say that to show off, just so you know I didn’t read this in a book or heard it in a conference, I lived it. I certainly did not start ministry thinking I was going to plant churches, but since I prayed the “anything you want” prayer that’s what God sent me to do. I have seen patterns emerge that can make the church planting process easier or harder. Here are some things the new baby needs and doesn’t.

1. It needs your best people.

I remember when my senior pastor on my first year of ministry took me aside and said: “I’m giving you 100 people from the mother church. Go plant a new congregation.” He did not send the disgruntled, the ones who opposed him or the dysfunctional element. He sent the young, the bright, and the committed. Interesting pattern that emerged:

Bad: People complained that the best people were leaving.

Good: The church survived and thrived.

  1. It needs financial support.

Another church plant I participated in was sent with $15,000 that helped buy sound systems and many of the things needed to launch. We often ask: How can I give if I am struggling?” Just a reminder, sometimes you have to do a faith check instead of a bank statement perusal. I have never seen a mother church run out of money because they supported a church plant that was God inspired. The question should not be what’s in it for me? Instead ask what’s in it for the kingdom?

Bad: people from the mother church that contributed to the mother church for years were told: “Nope, you can’t take anything when you leave”.

Good: You know that guy Jesus that said: It is more blessed…?” Yep. It happens.

  1. It doesn’t need your criticism and jealousy.

Mothers are not supposed to be jealous of their kids are they? This fact is overlooked. Church planters are people who are under constant and direct attack from the enemy. Your prayers that it works instead of your list of reasons why it won’t would be a great start. Don’t criticize their worship, their methods, their leadership structure, their existence. Fear more the loss of unchurched people to sin than the exodus of some of your members. Fear is not the best reason to speak out.

Here is a sample of what happened in the west coast. (Approximate figures)

20 years ago, 1 church attendance of 350 members.

Church planting started.

Today 4 churches, close to 2,000 members, including a multicultural.

Attendance in mother church around 350.

The kingdom grows better by multiplication. Next year we want to plant 200 new churches in NAD, around 30 new ones right here in the Southern Union. Will you join us? I’ll end with an old saying: Lead. Follow.

Or get out of the way of the spirit.

 

There are funds available, $10,000 per church plant for 3-4 church plants per conference. Please consult with your leaders and stay tuned: http://www.nadministerial.org/

 

I have four children. As I raised them, we followed (and still do) some basic principles that have been beneficial to our family. We aren’t perfect. We share as a way of spurring discussion and helping in even a small way.

Here are three. Next week, we will look at some more.

  1. Admit it.

On a regular basis (around once a quarter) we get the family together and ask the kids one simple question:

What can we do to improve as parents?

This has given them freedom to be honest. One time my son told me: “Dad, I think sometimes you lie. You promise to take us to eat ice cream and something always comes up.” I wanted to defend my job, my calling, and my reasons. I didn’t. I admitted I was wrong. Sought to improve.

One benefit of doing this regularly is that it helps when the tables are turned. Open dialogue and freedom to express your perspective are central to our house.

 

  1. Show up.

I loved to play sports, but my dad never attended my games. I promised myself I wasn’t going to do the same thing, but I did. Isn’t it amazing how we revert to the wrong way of doing it, because it was normal growing up. Healthiness requires intentionality and accountability. After God worked on me, it changed. I left meetings to be at their games. I want their memories to include me. I want to be in the pictures. Every choice you made disappoints someone. Don’t let it be your family.

 

  1. Healthy church.

I kept my children at the healthiest church of my district. Took a lot of flak for it, but looking back it was worth it. If they end up leaving one day, they won’t be able to point to the dysfunction in the local church as a reason. Healthy churches matter.

I want to pray for your children. Send me their names and I will pray for them this week.