Making it easier!

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I'm no longer blogging here... so

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Couldn't be simpler.

Thanks. See you there.

iPhone Intercession

First of all, no, I didn't pray for an iPhone. (Tempted? Yes.) I may be an Apple addict, but I've still got some self restraint.

The functionality of phones continue to merge with other gadgets for surfing the web, listening to music, watching videos and even making phone calls.

Here's another one. SMS (or short message service) for sending text messages from phone to phone has been around for a while. But one church I know actually has harnessed the little feature in a simple but highly effective way.

Have a prayer coordinator from your group send out one text message or SMS per day as a prayer reminder to other group members sometime in the morning. Receiving the message does several things.

  • It reminds you that you're part of a community, even if you're not physically together.
  • It helps you keep in touch with each other's needs and concerns.
  • It brings everyone together around at the feet of our Father.
  • It helps you depend on God for the needs of others.

And all for the price of a text message.

Small groups, accountability partners, youth groups and even entire congregations (small ones anyway) often feel the disruption of summer. This little idea could not only help your community during the summer months, but during the hustle and bustle of your lives all year long.

Thanks to the folks at the Journey in Blackrock, County Dublin, Ireland for demonstrating this to me.



Grace: the key to missional church

I’ve got admit, I’ve been struggling to balance all that I’m reading these days relating to the church. I’ve watched a lot of adjectives get attached to “Church” through the years. “Seeker”. “High Impact”. “Purpose-driven”. “Simple”. “Emerging”. I could do this for hours…

But the one that’s caught my attention lately is “missional”. I’m a missionary, for crying out loud. Of course I’d notice. But it’s taken me longer to catch the sense.

You see, in most of the what I’ve read and heard, people dive straight into discussing the mission of the church for today and what it ought to be doing. But I listened to a short interview with Craig Van Gelder from Luther Seminary that helped me understand how becoming a missional church begins with God’s mission, not the mission of the church.

The church is really about God’s mission, God’s purpose, God’s activity. It’s about understanding what God’s purposes are from the wisdom of Scripture and then understanding what God is doing and wants to do through discernment of the times by means his Spirit. Then you can brace yourself to dive into ministry, and probably in directions you may not have anticipated.

I confess. I’m an over 50 year-old male born and raised in North America. Cut me and I tend to bleed pragmatism. It would be easy for me to jump to the “action points” and “preferred outcomes”. I can live for months on the adrenaline of one decent “accomplishment.” But what we do as a church comes out of who we are as a church.

Grace defines who we are. Believers are both recipients and instruments of grace. Churches must reflect an utter sense of submission to God’s authority, dependence on God’s power, and commitment to God’s purposes and mission.

Christians are intended to engage the world for the spread of the Gospel and for good of the world, but by first consecrating themselves to God and what he in his grace is doing. He’s created the church as a community of those who know and wish to extend God’s offer of grace.

To whom much is given, much is required.




S.O.S. Moms! (Surviving our summer)

Lots of churches host a weekly morning for moms with preschool kids during the school year. But it’s tough to keep something together during the summer.

And now it’s the end of school. Moms are bracing for the invasion of time and space… their time and space. There’s got to be some kind of plan of counter-attack! And hopefully moms want to enjoy their kids during the summer; not just survive them.

One idea is to be proactive by offering a 4-week series of mornings called S.O.S. Moms (Surviving Our Summer!) Invite a balance of mothers from the community and a couple from your church. Small is good (like 5-6 moms.) Set it up with a couple of minders (babysitters) who can care for the children in the back garden with an hour of games followed by an hour of moms and kids together with some snacks.

During the four weeks, focus each time on a different subject. Week one could be “Summer Outings” where someone creative talks about dozens of things in the area you might never have thought of doing together with your children. Then encourage the attendees to make a date with at least one other mom in the room to do an activity together.

The second week, focus on “Summer Rainy Day activities” with a similar approach. The third week, focus on “books for kids” and plan a library outing or a book swap. The last week’s focus is on “really loving your children” where you can look at what the Bible says about the “tough love” of discipline or other biblical principles for helping raise children. Include your personal testimony of the difference knowing Christ has made in your being able to really love your children.

The goal of the activity is to get people acquainted around a common need and encourage friendships to develop between individuals during the week as the summer marches on.

MOPS or Mothers of Preschoolers is a great resource for mothers all year round. It’s a good way to get to know other women in the neighborhood.



Idea: Make a ministry team blog

Going on a trip with a group from your church this summer? Consider keeping a team blog, complete with photos. It’s a great way to get everyone behind you in prayer. You don’t even need a computer along with you. All you need is a free blog account and a cell phone that does email with a camera built in.

Almost all the free blog services (like Blogger and WordPress) offer you the option to upload text and photos through the email feature on your cellphone. That means you don’t even have to bring your computer to the beach (or the worksite.)

Make it a team effort. Have a team reporter to collect stories, a team photographer to snap the shots, and everyone contributing ideas. You can even start the blog during the prep stage to use as a prayer guide and support development tool if people need to raise funds for the project.

If you’ve promoted the blog you’ll have some devoted readers (and prayers) from your first posting. Who knows? You might even peak someone’s interest who’d never considered a ministry trip before who’ll sign up for the next one.



Beyond blogging

I've really enjoyed the last several years of keeping a blog (probably more than you've enjoyed me keeping one). It's been a good place to keep a record of what's going on in life and ministry. It's also motivated others to pray and get involved in ministry.

But I realized over the past couple of years that when working with one group in a specific area to help meet a ministry need creatively that others might have benefited from the process we took to find a solution.

And so I'm adding two new dimensions to the blog. One is a regular dose of ideas that could be of use to others in helping their church experience greater intimacy with God, community with believers and influence in the world around them.

And starting in the fall, I'll be adding a regular podcast (kind of an internet radio show for you newbies to this kind of stuff) where we'll be talking with other creative ministry folks looking for ways to help small churches with big ideas.

One thing I've been exploring is which form the blog should take. I've been on Blogger for over 3 years now. ( I've also used iWeb which is great for good looking sites, but kind of clunky on the blog side of things. That's what I've done our current CreativeWorks website with. (

I've explored just becoming handier with Dreamweaver, but I don't think I'll live that long. And I've also got a WordPress version in beta form ( which is not quite as pretty or flexible, but way easier to post with. Best of all it's opensource. That means I can help churches set up a pretty powerful web presence for free regardless of whether or not they've been blessed to own a Mac.

If you're into this kind of stuff, I'd like to hear about what your thoughts on blog hosting are, especially as it might relate to having volunteers be responsible in a church for keeping up web content, calendars, posting sermons, etc.

In His good time

Many of you know we're in Germany, but we're working toward moving back to Ireland. The big obstacle at this point is the sale of our home here in Germany.

It doesn't keep us from working. We've got plenty of projects going that we can do from either place, but we'd love to get the move behind us. And we'd like to start digging into relationships there in Ireland.

One of the main things slowing down the sale is that there are houses for sale in the next village over (Kandern). Usually there aren't places available there, but this summer there happen to be several houses for sale. And because people like to walk to do their shopping, our village (a little over 2000 yards away) becomes less desirable. Doesn't seem far to us, but then again, we're Americans.

So we wait.

We know God will see it sold when it's time. In Belgium, no one was looking at our place in a dead market, but at the right time He sent one person to look at the house. It only takes one.

Pray with us, will you? Thanks.



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