A Breath of Fresh Air

I love to talk about new expressions of the church for our changing world, and I realize I am joining a chorus that has been sung for a long time.  In 2004, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York along with the Methodist council founded the Fresh Expressions Organisation. I found some inspiring material and quality thinking over at their website: Fresh Expressions. To me it was incredibly encouraging.

Many existing churches operate with a ‘you come to us’ mindset. ‘Would you like to join us?’ is an invitation to come to ‘our’ church, set out as we like, at a time that fits us, in a style that we have pre-arranged. The flow is from outside-in: from the world into the congregation.

Fresh expressions have a ‘we’ll come to you’ mindset instead. They start not with an invitation (‘Come to us on our terms’), but with an offer (‘We’re willing to come to you, serve you and stay with you. If you want, we’ll also help you to be church in a way that suits you – in your style, not ours’). The aim is not to provide a stepping stone into existing church, but to form new churches in their own right. The flow is from the congregation to people outside – not inward, but outward.

Fresh expressions is a new mindset, not a new model of church to be copied. It is a mindset that starts not with church, but with people who don’t belong to church.

Fresh expressions are:

  • missional – serving people outside church;
  • contextual – listening to people and entering their culture;
  • educational – making discipleship a priority;
  • ecclesial – forming church.

from the article: What is a Fresh Expression Church?

What a great summary in those four small bullets! All I can add is wow and yes please.

Keep thinking! Continue reading…

Why am I so Angry: The Coffee Shop Conversation


After some direct message conversations on Facebook and Twitter and some texts messages and emails, I wanted to have a chance to respond to some push back about my last rant. First of all, thanks to all those who jumped into the fray with an angry man. You are brave and appreciated.

My rant had three parts:

  • The first section was about me being angry when my friends are abused by the ministry.
  • The second was about me being mad about people who are leaving their churches to go somewhere else.
  • The third was about me being angry about being angry about the other two things.

I received the majority of response about the second one, so I wanted to go into greater depth. Let’s pretend we have a chance to discuss this over coffee. What’s really going on here?

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

Why am I so Angry?


This may be a weird place to start a conversation about anger, but go with me for a second.
All of us have gifts. My wife has this great way of tuning into other people’s needs that is actually quite amazing. She is a fantastic care giver and will take care of others if she notices anything amiss. But that can be an incredible burden sometimes. Especially when it is seldom reciprocated. What is obvious to her is not obvious to others.

I have a different gift. It is called analytical, critical thinking. I can quickly assess systems for problems and weakness and sometimes analyze appropriate solutions. This is the strength that I lead with. I have applied my gift to all of the areas in my life I care about: my marriage, my family, my job, and my friends.

And the church.

It is my desire to see the church live up to Christ’s commission. It is what compelled me to attend Bible College and dedicate 25 years of service in the ministry. I have an innate passion for correctness in the church – my analysis of all we could be, yet are failing to be – that consumes most of my thinking life.

I have never found the perfect place or expression of all I think the church should be. Being a person with a natural gift for analytical, critical thinking has its advantages, but also comes with a burden. You see, my default view is to always see the systemic problem and want change. That is what makes me good at my job. What is obvious to me is not obvious to others and I get tired of waiting.

This is why I am angry. And anger may not be the right word for it. Maybe it’s a mixture of anger, frustration, and disappointment. Let me try to break it down into bite sized chunks.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Thinking on the beach

Love these posts I’m reading over at the Church Technical Leaders website by Jacob Barbour @hdctechdirect, “Should I Even Be Here?” Pt. 1, Pt. 2, and Pt.3.

Jacob’s writing has been really good. I get energized when I see people wrestle with their calling, wrestle with their circumstances, and speak wisdom out of their disillusionment. It is a given to get disillusioned in church work. Those who say otherwise are living an unexamined life or lying. Both of which are destroyers of authentic ministry.

Let’s dig in. Jacob asks: “Should I even be here?” My answer:

Where’s here?

One of the greatest challenges I have faced in life is deciphering the riddle of the will of God. In the church tradition I grew up in, discovering God’s will for your life was the most important thing a young person could do. And although I do believe that God can call specific people to specific tasks, I question that God calls all people to specific vocations.

Keep thinking! Continue reading.

Why I Kissed Excellence Goodbye

I recall arriving at my new Technical Director position in late 2007. I scanned all the material that the church had communicated on my new team from the website, in brochures, and training materials. One word kept appearing: excellence. This is true for many churches. I’m pushing back.

Words have meaning. Let’s put excellence under the microscope.

ex•cel•lence |’eksələns| noun
the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. from the Latin verb excellere ‘surpass’ (see EXCEL)

ex•cel |ik’sel| verb
be exceptionally good or proficient in an activity or subject

Keep thinking. Continue reading!