14 Principles for Missional Living – John Burke

Nov 21

At a training event sponsored by In the City For the City, viagra 40mg a group of Austin area pastors and ministry leaders, John Burke, our lead pastor at Gateway Church shared on the topic of “Missional Living: Grow Your Church Out of the Culture.” Here are some of his insights he shared:

The church in the Western world is in decline. The U.S. is becoming more and more post-Christian. We need to see ourselves as missionaries in our culture.

2 overarching questions to consider:

  1. How do we remove barriers between the message of Jesus and those who want and need to hear it?
    “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” – Acts 15:19
    If only 10% of our city shifted to follow Jesus out of those who don’t already, an entire city would be transformed! Just 10% is the tipping point for social transformation.
  2. How do we build bridges? (Acts 14, 17)
    In Acts 2, those hearing the message of Jesus already knew the stories of the Old Testament. When Paul was in Athens, he acknowledged the new context and built a bridge from where they were (quoting one of their poets) to the full message of God expressed in Jesus.

5 Barriers to Faith Created by the Postmodern Experiment:

  1. Trust – more abuse and more divorce than ever before plus a distrust of those in authority. Build a bridge to help others see that God’s ways are for their protection and the result of His love. Recognize where people are at and still welcome them.
  2. Tolerance – the two most common questions from the culture include: what do you think about those who live a different lifestyle & what do you think about other religions? The way we answer will either shut the door completely or keep the door open for more conversation and opportunity. Tolerance is a cheap substitute for grace, an undeserved love. People long to experience grace, but because they haven’t experienced it, they settle for tolerance.
  3. Truth– This isn’t as big of a barrier as you’d think. More than truth, people are repelled by arrogance. Too often Christians give off a vibe that we don’t have anything to learn from others. Being willing to listen changes this misperception.
  4. Aloneness –People long for community even as they struggle to trust others. Community is an incredible apologetic. We should be experts at creating community! People should be allowed to belong before they believe. Jesus did this – He allowed Judas to be in his small group, and He made him the treasurer.
  5. Brokenness – The cost of the postmodern experiment has been brokenness. Here is what our culture looks like:
  • 1/3 of women have had an abortion
  • 1/4 of women have been sexually molested
  • 1/2 of people will have lived together before marriage
  • 1/5 of people will struggle with substance abuse
  • 1/5 of people smoke
  • 1/2 of marriages end in divorce
    If our churches don’t look like this then either people are hiding their brokenness or we aren’t connecting with our culture.

    We all have areas of brokenness. Even “the rigtheous” weren’t actually healthy (they were the ones responsible for crucifying Jesus) when Jesus said: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:11-13).

4 Ways to Create a Culture of Growth:

Church culture can be your greatest ally or your greatest enemy for the mission of Jesus. God causes the growth (1 Cor. 3:6-9). We have a part to play – creating the environment where people can grow up best.

  1. Leadership mindset – A mature Christ-follower is on mission “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). A person cannot claim to be spiritually mature and not be about what Jesus was about.
    So how do we respond to the Christ-follower who says: “feed me more!” Jesus reminded us that the food for the mature is doing “the will of God” (John 4:32-36). Maturity equals obeying the Scriptures not knowing about the Scriptures.
  2. Training and values – help people understand why you do what you do and what you are called to do. Do our people have friendships with others in the culture?
  3. Visionary storytelling – help people see hope in who they can become and remind those in faith where they came from and why you’re doing what you are doing.
  4. Organization – The church is to be an organism not an institution. Are you organized in such a way that you can follow what God wants you to do?

3 Ways to Create a Culture of Grace-Giving Acceptance:

The world totally gets this: “I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.” – Rom.  7:15
The world does not naturally understand this: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” – Rom. 8:1

  1. Accept the person first. (Romans 15:7)
  2. Have a process view. Look at the masterpiece which is covered by the mud. How long is too long to invest in someone?
  3. Create a culture of dialogue. Allow people to ask their questions and share their doubts.

For more resources from John Burke, check out:

7 Ways to Catalyze Community by Eric Bryant

Nov 17

Eric Bryant shared some of the principles from Not Like Me at the Organic Outreach Conference.

Here are seven principles for Catalyzing Community whether you are trying to start a small group, pilule ministry, pilule 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 eric.bryant@gatewaychurch.com with “Catalyzing Community” in the subject or you can listen to the conference call on Catalyzing Community – 2nd audio from the bottom. You will also find interviews with Dan Kimball, Kevin Harney, Erwin McManus, and many others.

What have you seen bring people together?

5 Lessons Learned From A Church Trying to Exist on Mission – Dan Kimball

Nov 16

Dan Kimball is on staff at Vintage Faith Church, medications a church in Santa Cruz, treatment CA planted in 2004. He is the author of books including They Like Jesus, But Not The Church and the forthcoming Adventures in Churchland. He has joined George Fox University in a part-time capacity as professor of missional leadership and as leader of a new center focused on the future faith of young Americans.

Here are some excerpts from the message he shared at the Organic Outreach Conference:

When Dan first walked into a Christian gathering he noticed lots of pastel colors and the music sounded like commercial jingles.  His 2nd experience was very formal with a pastor wearing robes like Hugh Hefner speaking in hushed tones.  Not sure why they were supposed to be kneeling at the front and not sure what they were supposed to say when passing the communion cup.  Dan’s friend passed the cup saying: “the cup of wonder.”  So much of what we do doesn’t make sense to someone who is new!

Principles to apply to be on mission:

1. If we love Jesus , we must love the church despite our messiness.  Too often we have unrealistic expectations.  Leaders are people too.  We need to create space for people to ask questions.

2. We need to listen more than we talk. So much damage has been done in the name of Christianity that we need to regain credibility by listening and serving before we do anything else. Are we asking the young people in our churches if we are communicating in which they can connect? If the church would biblically judge the judgmental Christians then the church wouldn’t be known as judgmental.

3. We can hold the church’s historical view of the Scriptures and not be a fundamentalist or hateful.  Do the people we serve understand how to interpret and apply the Scriptures (rather than quoting verses out of context)?  We should be teaching about difficult issues proactively.

4. We need to rethink our roles and move from leading a church to leading a community of missionaries. We need to make decisions based on the people not yet connected to our community rather than for what we want.

5. Church leaders need to avoid getting sucked into the Christian sub-culture. When is the last time you spent time with someone who did not believe the same things that you do?


Organic Outreach by Kevin Harney

Nov 15

At the Organic Outreach Conference in Monterey, abortion CA, information pills Kevin Harney shared the following thoughts:

“Organic outreach isn’t a program or method or something you memorize. Organic outreach is a natural way of connecting with others spiritually and helping others connect with God.

There are specific attitudes we need to become organic in our outreach to others:

1. Reckless Generosity – We get so excited about the new band or the new restaurant that we find so we tell everyone we know about it. Why is it that we are so quiet about talking about things that really matter?

We need to be reckless with our generosity, grace, care, and love for others!

Luke 8:5 The farmer generously threw seeds all around him. Rather than being stingy or even “strategic” with where he planted the seeds, he threw the seeds in all types of different soils. This was not the norm! We aren’t smart enough or discerning enough to know if someone is spiritually open or closed, so we should share the love of God with anyone.

People are eager for a spiritual connection. Too often we are too self-absorbed to see that and help others.

2. Passionate Love Reflecting the Very Heart of God – When we aren’t sure what to do, we should pray to God asking Him to help us love God, love the church, and love people. Connecting deeply with God propels us outwards to love and serve others. Do you realize God loves you?

1 John 4:11 ‘Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. ‘

When we are overwhelmed with the love of God and a love for people, we cannot help but serve others.

3. A Humble Awareness of Our Partnership with God – God cares more for the people around us than we do. He is pursuing the people around us with His love.

‘I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.’ – 1 Cor. 3:6

We should never try to make people change. Instead, we should love and serve people knowing that when they want to change, God can and will transform them.”

The Likeability Factor by Tim Sanders

Sep 14

Tim Sanders’ book The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams

This book reminded me of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People which highly incluenced me as I was writing Not Like Me as a guidebook to help people who follow Jesus overcome the negative Christian stereotype.

At Mosaic in Los Angeles, rx Erwin McManus always taught us that the two main ingredients needed to reach someone included likeability and accessibility. This book helps with the one of those key ingredients.

Here are some insights:

Likeable People:

  • Bring out the best in others.
  • Get recognized.
  • Outperform.
  • Overcome life’s challenges.
  • Enjoy better health.

Studies have found that “organizations with positive employee relationships produce 15 to 25 percent more productivity.”

“The choices you make don’t shape your life as much as the choices other people make about you.”

Before making a choice, stomach people listen, cialis 40mg believe, and assess value.People listen, believe, and value likeable people.

The Four Elements of Likeablility:

  • Friendliness – “expressing a liking for another person” or “communicating welcome”
  • Relevance – the extent to which a person connects with another person’s interests, wants, or needs.
  • Empathy – “an identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives”
  • Realness – someone who is genuine, true, and authentic

If you would like the full book overview, send me an email to eric.bryant@gatewaychurch.com with the subject “Likeability Factor.”

“Catalytic Community”

Apr 14

Gateway Church in Austin hosted a Lunch and Learn Seminar today.

Here are the details:

Topic: Catalytic Community: Moving from Meetings to Meaningful and from Superficial to Significant

Description: We can create small groups and networks which bring life to those who come and through those who come. We can move people from attending towards growing and serving by initiating authentic community.