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Tag Archives: Missional

I had the privilege of meeting and hanging with JR. Woodward last month here in Austin. My good friend and unfortunate Denver Broncos fan is planting a new church here in Austin, I serve on the board (i feel powerful) and JR is the church planting coach for the Austin Mustard Seed. So we got to chat about church, culture, non-profits etc. 

JR has done the global church a true service as he compiled a massive resource of all things missional. This list is quite impressive and will be very helpful on many different levels. So swing by JR’s blog and and enjoy!


It’s late Sunday/early Monday. I got a second-wind and I can’t sleep. So of course I read. Recently somebody told me I seemed very focused and passionate about HELP. They asked why, my response was quite simple. 

1. I saw a need. When I was in Zimbabwe I met a Pastor. His name was John, he had an amazing wife. He leads a church and two orphanages in a country that has collapsed. He treated us like we were royalty. He kept telling me how blessed he was to have us visit his home and share his vision. That night I slept under a mosquito net for the first time in my life. Over 1 million kids will die this year in Africa because they don’t have a $10 net to sleep. That is just not right. 

The next day P. John gave us a tour of the orphanages. The hugs, smiles and conversations were contagious. Then P. John told me a story; he pointed to a field and reminded me that hundreds of kids sleep in that field. They have no parents, eighth-year-olds care for their younger siblings, no shelter, no food and no hope. 

Needless to say my heart was crushed. How could I ignore such a tragedy? What was I thinking?

2. Here is what I learned in Zimbabwe. The heart of God is angry at the injustice of the world. Something is simply not right. The church can do something amazing, we can bring life, hope, clothing, shelter, food and drink. We can laugh, hug, smile and encourage. We can feed an orphan, love a family and bring joy to God. 

When Christians love, serve, give and go…In the name of Jesus, it brings joy to the heart of God. 

My prayer this past year…”God make me angry and in my anger cause me to act.” 

This is not about me…it’s about an orphan in Zimbabwe and a God in heaven.


As most people know I’m really passionate about HELP. I can work all day and all night. I love it. But I wanted to make something very clear. My passion is not for a non-profit, it’s not about aid, its not about traveling to exotic locations in order to live some “Indiana Jones” kind of life. My passion is the local church. Sometimes I wish I did not care so much about the local church but the burden is deep and the call is evident

This is why HELP’s desire is to partner with churches both locally and globally. We want to do everything through the local church. We want Jesus to get the fame and the church to get credibilty. We desire to do “good works” so we can share the gospel story, so the light of Jesus will shine deeply in the darkest places and provide hope and resources. When we build an orphanage or dig a water-well, when we give micro-loans and train future indigenous business leaders and pastors, when we pass out nets to protect against malaria or support local kids so they can be fed, clothed, housed and educated. We do this for and in-the-name of Jesus.

The church will be the pathway to long-term health and healing. We just want to partner with key leaders who need support and encouragement. Therefore Help End Local Poverty is just an extension of the local church.

I emailed my friend Steven to get his opinion on the current economy and how it will effect non-profits. His reply:

I’m sure there is some good research on this, but I haven’t seen it. My feeling is that the church/world needs a prophetic voice that encourages more and more giving to the poor, even in times of economic “difficulty” for the rich. “Difficulty” because we tend to measure our situation quite locally, and the prophet encourages a more global view.

Just my $.02 –

Whoa…very convicting thoughts. Its so easy to live by the standards of this world and allow fear to cripple a God-given-dream.

Really convicting and thought-provoking post by Todd Hiestand: » A Holy (Suburban) discontent » Missional Living in Suburban America.

Here is what I love about this post. Todd does not just present a problem. Instead he tries to focus on some solutions. We truly have become enslaved to culture. It’s like an addiction and the majority refuse to admit how this addiction is killing us. Because of this addiction we:

  • Struggle to seek God on a consistent basis.
  • Fail to live a missional lives via our actions. 
  • Our marriages are in disarray. We sometimes feel like we don’t even know our spouse. 
  • Our sex lives are unfulfilling therefore it leads us to frustration, online addictions etc. 
  • Instead of loving our kids, we become managers. Do what we can do to get them/us through day-to-day life. 
  • We rarely slow-down long enough to embrace the present and relax. 
  • We constantly feel like we’re not doing the right thing. We feel like we let down God and each-other.
  • We fail to exercise and eat right. 
  • Our spending becomes compulsive (which is sinful) and we create debt. 

I’m sure I could go on and on. It’s not needed. What is needed is conviction to change.  Conviction to live different, slow-down, love more, give more, serve more and see life through a gospel-centric lens. 

BTW-I think this issue supersedes just suburbia. Urban folks tend to be just as busy and complicated. As Christ-followers me must show the world a new way to live life so they can see how relevant and life-transforming the gospel is.

Jonathan Dodson has created a great resource that I think is invaluable to current and future church planters. 


Tools For Missional Churches

This morning I headed downtown to our monthly church planters meeting. Dan Davis spoke on the history of Austin and the future of the church. Dan is somewhat legendary in these parts. He’s served the city for 30 + years and loves church planting. This guy bleeds the city of Austin and The Kingdom of God. 

After the meeting I hung-out with Brandon Hatmaker, Jonathon Dodson, John Chandler and Mr. Mangum @ Galaxy Cafe. Great time reflecting on Austin, church planting, missional living and of course good food. 

These guys are sharp, love Jesus and think Austin first. We all know we’re apart of a bigger story. We need each other to truly see the gospel reign in our city. I think when churches work together its a sign of renewal…God is doing something special and I get to do my little part. 

There have been multiple times where I’ve emailed them (more then just the names mentioned above) or they’ve emailed me seeking counsel and prayer. We can lean on each other. There is a joy and comfort in knowing that I’m apart of their story, I share their struggles and dreams and they share mine. 

I truly think this is a key sign of renewal in our city. We need a unified church that loves and serves Jesus together as one body under one head.

I spent the entire morning on the phone or iChat in various meetings. I love connecting with people and hearing what God is doing in their life. I get so energized.

This morning I was on a conference call with John and Todd. John is planting a church here in Austin called Austin Mustard Seed. Church Planting is extremely painful work that takes a ton of faith and perseverance. Please pray for Austin Mustard Seed and John as he tries to get this vision off the ground.

Yes we are geeks:

My passion for HELP is to help other non-profits who are already working in key strategic areas. So today I connected with Barak Bruerd of Blood: Water Mission. I enjoyed hearing their story and learning how they work on the ground in Africa. Hopefully Blood: Water Mission and HELP can partner together in the future to bring clean water to villages in Africa. I was able to learn a lot which is so helpful. Thanks Barak!!!

I’ve had a virtual friendship with Bill Cummings for awhile. Bill is leading a faith community in Raleigh and he’s also pioneering a non-profit called Lemonade International. Love his passion for the city of Raleigh and also for the global church. Go to his website and sponsor a kid and get involved. We need THOUSANDS of these types of organization who want to help those in extreme poverty.

Last but definitely not least I was able to chat with my Egypt contact who must remain nameless. (I hate that) I was able to catch up on our friends in Egypt and what God is doing over-there. He’s so passionate for His country and church. I was also invited to a global round-table discussion in Las Vegas. How can the church in the West partner with the church in the Middle East?  Big question that needs to be answered.

Again I love vision. But I also love seeing the vision become alive and tangible. So much fun!!!

The word missional has really lost it’s ability to communicate its essence. Missional is robust by nature, it can and should mean a lot of things. The emerging church brought that word back to life earlier this decade. (imho) Since then it’s spread throughout the evangelical landscape-which is good…but it’s also bad–very bad. 

The heart of being a missional church is not a gathering but a sending. It’s a challenge for God’s people to live out their faith together as “sent-people” into our specific domains of society. Missional is not a “come to us on Sunday” but a “go to them everyday” philosophy.

Therefore you can’t define missional if it’s derived from a gathering or even an event. However you can define being missionl if the people who make up your church are becoming missionaries to their domains.  

This is where it gets hairy. For instance, if a church has a “great” gathering on Sunday many leaders think they are missional. Or maybe you have a “great” event with lots of people; again that does not mean your missional. (It’s also not necessarily bad)

So a lot of people “go” on a mission trip (good) but come home and forget about the people (bad).They also don’t live out the gospel in their own cities and neighborhoods and places of work (bad). See how easy it is to assume you’re missional when the reality is you’re not. Not trying to be harsh, but we have to recalibrate the heart of mission.

Mission does not flow through the confines of any formal church events or gatherings (hopefully they propel mission) but through the lives of the people. 

So please let’s gospel each-other by helping one-another determine if we are truly missional. Let’s not hide behind the occasional good-works or or annual mission trip. Let’s look deeper into our hearts and daily rhythms and challenge each on to be on-mission always.

So I continue this series on “If I church planted again.” It’s not as robust as I would like, but I hope it adds some sort of value. 

Vision Is Overrated…

I think vision gets way to much credit in the church world. Lot’s of dreamers with big idea’s. (people like me) Dreams mean nothing if they don’t get some feet and start walking. Vision can become your friend or your enemy. Vision can bear fruit or cause apathy. 

The difference is leadership. It takes a leader to see the vision from scratch to wholeness while a dreamer will continue to “put stuff on paper” but that “stuff” never comes alive in the people of God. A true leader will take the words on the paper document and bring life and fruit from the vision.

The greatest leaders are not the visionary but the implementer. The visionary has to learn how to implement or have people around them who can implement the vision. 

I stink at imlementation. An implementor walks the vision step-by-step. They are the heroes in the Kingdom of God. They usually don’t speak at conferences or write books…But they are the glue to any organization. 

My biggest failure in leadership is not developing the implementer. I’m begging God for that person in my life. They will make me better…They will make the Kingdom better. This person is not my “right hand man.” That statement should be wiped from the face of the earth…It’s belittling in my opinion. 

They are co-partners in the life of the church. They are vital. The visionary can see the fruit but the implementer can grow the fruit-they cultivate. 

One without the other equals lost time, a possible waste of resources and dreams that go to the graveyard. 

The past few months I’ve been a dreamer…But I’ve lacked the grit to see these dreams become tangible. 

If I planted a church again…I would do WHATEVER it took to find the right person who is good at implementing the day-to-day strategy that God has for the church. Every visionary needs the “glue” person.