Thursday, January 17, 2008


I just finished reading a new release by Dale Galloway and Warren Bird. The book presents a snapshot of fifteen churches that have experienced signficant growth and had to work through a wide variety of transitions for that growth to occur. It was a fresh read in that most of the churches described were not of the "mega" variety. I enjoy reading about and learning from Saddleback, Willow, Mosaic, etc. But it was nice for a change to read about churches more like ours that have seen great things happen for the kingdom.

The pastors of the churches in this book were part of Dale Galloway's mentoring program through the Beeson Institute. I was reading the book while in Charleston for Kenny's back surgery and, lo and behold, there was a chapter about my best buddy Jody Flowers at Chapin United Methodist Church. Jody's done an excellent job transitioning that church. They are reaching many people for the kingdom. I had to give him a call from Charleston to rag him a little because he didn't tell me, his accountability partner, that his church was going to be featured.

Here are a few takeaways from the book:

  • I always enjoy hearing how pastors of growing congregations prioritize their time. One pastor said 90% of his time is: serving as God's prophetic voice, casting vision for how God's people can find their role in God's vision, and pouring himself into the lives of leaders who will develop other leaders.
  • When one pastor asked John Maxwell what was the key to growing a church, he responded, "You are the key." So my prayer must always be, "God, what do you want to grow in me."
  • Churches are born to grow.
  • Every church is in constant transition. Without constant change it will slowly die.
  • Some churches get members to sign a pledge card each year indicating how they plan to serve.
  • One church included on the pledge card: "I plan to pray ____ minutes per week for the ministries of our church."
  • If you want to know whether your church is declining or moving toward the future, graph the attendance of your children's ministry over the last five years, and you will know.
  • People will leave your church when you don't make changes. Other people will leave when you do make changes.
  • Some people will always want to go back to Egypt to the way things used to be--no matter how bad Egypt was. Sometimes you have to let people go to another church in order to keep leading others into the promised land.
  • If you are the leader of a church, you will spend one-fourth of your time managing conflict.
  • People oppose what they don't understand. Vision must be explained over and over again.
  • We must be willing to fail. But we cannot sit on our hands while the world goes to hell.
  • Do not expect all ministries to pay for themselves.
  • Just because the Holy Spirit leads you doesn't mean things won't be messy.
  • One church's membership covenant is that each member will invite five or more people a year to the worship service or to be part of a small group.
  • One pastor noted if it were not for the traditional services, they wouldn't have enough money; if it weren't for the contemporary services, they wouldn't have a future.
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Here is part 2 of my recent quiet times through 1 Samuel:

  • 16. Verse 7 is one of the great verses of the Bible. We tend to look at a person's outward appearance. God looks at the heart. This chapter also includes a verse indicating how the Holy Spirit empowered David for the rest of his life.
  • 17. The story of David and Goliath reminds me how one person with courage for God can make a difference.
  • 18. Here is a good case of jealousy when it is apparent that God's anointing is on someone else and not on you.
  • 19. One thing I don't understand. At this point, did Saul know that David had been anointed as his successor? Every word of the Bible is God-breathed. But sometimes I wonder about the purpose of including stuff that happens in this chapter--weird prophesying, a naked Saul, etc.
  • 20. David and Jonathan--the beauty of a genuine friendship, one sincerely willing to die for the other.
  • 21. It seems David compromises his faith and integrity through lying and deceiving. No mention of God in this section.
  • 22. Saul--a picture of one who has completely lost his ability to discern right from wrong.
  • 23. David can teach us a lot about waiting on God and not trying to take matters into our own hands.
  • 24. David's integrity shines. He would not kill Saul even when it would have been easy to. He trusted God to handle his situation in His own way and in His own timing.
  • 25. Abigail--a proactive woman who stepped in and pleaded with David to spare her family in spite of her foolish husband. Double reward--family was spared; she becomes David's wife.
  • 26. David's faith in God's providence. Also verses 19-20 express belief in life after death.
  • 27. David instigated many raids, killing everyone in the city. Nothing is said of God. Just wondering if David led this or if God led David to take this strategy.
  • 28. Saul--portrait of a desperate man and what happens when we live a life of disobedience.
  • 29. David's plans to fight with the Philistines against Saul don't come to fruition (probably divine intervention). I wonder what would have happened if he had fought against his own people.
  • 30. In the deepest of trials David found strength in his trust in God.
  • 31. The book fittingly ends with the death of Saul and his sons (including Jonathan). David's spiritual journey was up and down; but he passed the "waiting on God" test.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."