7 Principles for Creating Community

Dec 06

Recently I shared some of the principles from Not Like Me at the Thrive Conference.

Here are seven principles for Catalyzing Community whether you are trying to start a small group, malady ministry, a non-profit organization, or a church:

Principle #1: Cause creates community.
Our cause = moving people to become the person God created them to be.

Principle #2: Meet the needs of those around us.
We need to seek to meet the physical, emotional, economic, and spiritual needs of those around us. We should be pursue helping change the environment and change the individual who is looking for change.

Principle #3: Reach out to Xenos
Hospitality means loving strangers. A similar word, “hospice,” means “a safe place.” Our homes, our businesses, and our churches should become safe places for strangers to experience kindness and love.

Principle #4: Develop authentic friendships with those you know.
Are we loving, serving, and influencing our family, neighbors, co-workers and friends?

Jesus was willing to ruin His reputation to reach out to others who were far from God.

Principle #5: Allow people to belong before they believe.
We should never allow our convictions to become a litmus test for friendship. In fact, we should actively pursue friendships with people – even people with whom we may disagree. Go to www.mosaic.org/faq for more on the staff process at Mosaic.

Come as you are, and you don’t have to stay that way! (see www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast)

Principle #6: Raise up a team of leaders to replace you
MPAC = Ministry through a pastor, assimilator, and catalyst
We need to make decisions based on who is not yet here rather than who has been here the longest.

Principle #7: Start Over

**For the rest of the notes, email me at eric.bryant@gatewaychurch.com with “Catalyzing Community” in the subject or you can listen to the conference call at my site’s audio messages at Catalyzing Community – 2nd audio from the bottom. You will also find interviews with Dan Kimball, Erwin McManus, Margaret Feinberg, and many others.

What have you seen bring people together?

A Conversation with Mike Breen

Mar 27

Some of the leaders from Gateway Church in Austin met up with Mike Breen and of his leaders from their days in the U.K.. From his bio: Mike was the Senior Rector at St. Thomas Sheffield, look where they pioneered some very different ways of being the church and when they left they were the largest church in England. Today, he leads 3DM, the global home for an organic movement of biblical discipleship and missional church that is centered in the United States.” Mike is the author of the following books:

Here are some of the insights he shared with us:

Two Questions for Disciples:

  1. What is God saying to you?
  2. What are you going to do about it?

A great Western fallacy is that someone can pass from information to innovation without first passing through imitation. Most Westerners have been more influenced by the Enlightenment than the Reformation.

As the message of Jesus moved beyond the Jewish context into the Gentile world, the relationships went from being described as “rabbi and disciple” to “parent and child.” (For example, see 1 Corinthians 4:14-17).

  • Information – The guardian would teach the children reading, writing, and arithmetic (the pedagogical essentials).
  • Imitation – The son spent time with his father to learn the family business. The daughter spent time with her mother to learn how to care for the oikos (family, neighbors, friends).
  • Innovation -Once someone has the basics, they can go to a new town and contextualize their craft.

The Four Human Spaces:

  • Intimate – 2 to 3 people
  • Personal – 6 to 12 people
  • Social -20-70 people
  • Public – 70+

The social space is crucial because it is within the social space that the intimate and personal spaces take place. In the Western world we have lost our extended family and put all of our hopes into the nuclear family which has failed.

Small groups are small enough to care but aren’t big enough to dare.

There is no word for “nuclear family” in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. The word “family” always means extended family.

Jesus spend time with the Father on His own (up), spent time with His disciples (in), and spent time with the crowds (out). At the beginning, Mike encouraged his small groups to get out of the room where they were meeting and walk around the community where they meet and pray for the community (like caroling for mimes). A few people asked them what they were doing and they said: “praying for our community.” Some were impressed by that. The next time they went into the shops and to the homes and asked what they could be praying for. This follows what Jesus did with His disciples in Matthew 10. Once needs were discovered, the small group began to meet those needs in addition to praying for the community.

When asked to describe what he sensed God was calling the worship team to do, the worship pastor at St. Thomas in Sheffield said: “We want to be the welcomers of the unwelcome.”

The network leader needs to be the vision carrier for the mission.


“…But Don’t Stay That Way” (video message)

Mar 22

…But Don’t Stay That Way | February 5, more about 201 from Gateway Church on Vimeo.

I spoke at Gateway’s McNeil campus and our new Central series on Feb. 5th. Here are some of the thoughts I shared:

“At Gateway, we use this phrase a lot: ‘Come as you are, but don’t stay that way.

In the Scriptures there is a story in the life of Israel where the world they knew was falling apart. Chaos and destruction had become the norm, but the prophet Ezekiel promised that there was a way out – a path of hope. Ezekiel challenged his people to align their behavior with God’s ways in order to experience restoration and healing.

Here are four insights from the story of Ezekiel that will help us live new lives.

First, we need to listen to the watchmen in your life.

If we are tired of where we are now, are we willing to make different choices? What sacrifices do you need to make to become who were meant to be?

Second, we need to care enough to be a watchman in the lives of others.

A loving community allows people to come as they are and cares enough to help people not stay that way.

Third, the way out of their current situation began with taking personal responsibility.

There comes a time in our lives (and it is sooner than we think), that we need to learn to feed ourselves.

Fourth, trust God. The great news is we are not alone in this. God is here for us.

God promises you a better future with Him than you’ve experienced without Him. The war over your future is not over. You may have lost some battles, but there is hope! You and I can take personal responsibility for our future, and we are not alone. God is here to help us.

Next Steps:

For more notes from this message, go here.

From Information to Incarnation by Tim Hawks

Mar 20

As part of a training with several churches in Austin, website Tim Hawks, the lead pastor at Hill Country Bible Church shared about moving from an informational model to an incarnational model.

Informational Model

The spiritual leader teaches the Bible to the church so the church tries to teach the Bible to the world. As a result, the church comes across as hypocritical and judgmental.

In this model, the Bible can become a barrier to connecting with people.

Incarnational Model

The spiritual leader studies the Scriptures and lives it out so that he or she can pass it along relationally. The message comes across as “if it wasn’t for Jesus, I would still be stuck.” The world sees the church as imperfect people trying to live a new life following the Scriptures.

The Scriptures are supposed to be living within us. This was God’s approach through Jesus.

If we needed to see Jesus in order to know and follow God, it makes sense that others would need to see Jesus in us.



Mike Howerton Interview

Mar 15

Mike Howerton is lead pastor of Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, page Washington, medical and served for six years as the college pastor at Saddleback Church. Mike is the author of Miles to Cross and Glorious Mess: Encountering God’s Relentless Grace for Imperfect People.

Listen to previous interviews here.

Congratulations to the winners of Glorious Mess!
Chip A. from CO, check Jason M. from MA, Todd W. from CO, Jon O. from CA, Dan M. from IL, Mark P. from CA, Chris T. from MT, Jeff P. from OR, Mike C. from OR, Jeff S. from FL, Rich K. from CA, Joe L. from TX, Jaylynne F. from Canada, Janai B. from TX, Heidi R. from AZ, Scott N. from MI, Trey C. from CA, John H. from KS, Dave A. from CA, Steve T. from NV

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Mark Batterson Interview

Mar 13

Mark Batterson is the author of several books including, case In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, capsule Wild Goose Chase, Primal, and his latest The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. Mark serves as the Lead Pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. and is on the creative team of the Origins Project.

Check out the interview here!

Congratulations to those who won The Circle Maker book giveaway!
Ryan G. from CA, Christopher B. from TX, Ryan B. from PA, Todd H. from NE, Tyler B. from OR, Candi W. from AZ, Stephen N. from MI, Richard M. from PA, Daniel L. from Southeast Asia, Ross B. from WA, Alberto M. from CA, Matthew S. from CA, David C. from CA, Cory H. from OH, Mike L. from MN, Josh D. from TX, Lisa R. from TX, Ken M. from CA, Howard S. from AZ, and Gretchin A. from IN

Listen to previous interviews here.

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