Sabtu, 22 Oktober 2016

Transform Your Small Group to Live as Good News

It’s happening.
Churches are starting to shift their Small Groups to more mission-focused, incarnational communities. And many people I know are forming new “missional communities” among their family and friends.
That is super encouraging!
But here’s the thing: Christians have spent years listening to sermons, studying theology and doing Bible studies, yet still feel intimidated or unable to naturally express the good news of the Gospel into normal life, conversations, and circumstances.
I want to share one of my secret weapons that’s made a big difference in all of this. Check out my latest post and video...
Transform Your Small Group to Live as Good News 
A Proven Way to Grow in Gospel Fluency
Whether transitioning your groups, or starting from scratch, you’ll discover that your people need a greater grasp of the transforming gospel that touches all of life.
And when you get this right, everything else changes. Life together in community becomes possible-not out of obligation-but out of a gratefulness and confidence that the gospel alone can give. [click to continue and go step-by-step]
In this together...

Help me write a book

Help me write a book
October 20, 2016

I've been working on a book that I think the Lord wants me to write for a couple of months now.  But, I don't think this is suppose to be just “my” book.  I think it is supposed to be “our” book.  I want your help – your suggestions, comments, affirmations, questions, etc.  And, most important, your prayers (I’ve never written a book before!)
What would it mean to write a book as a Community?  I’m not sure I know but let’s experiment with it. So, once you’ve read the Introduction (below), go to our website where you can write your comments. I’m planning on sending out a chapter a week.  I'll send it out in this Newsletter and then direct you to the website for your comments.

Go here to write your comments (scroll to the bottom): 

Thanks for your help!

Transforming America
One household at a time
If I were you, I would be skeptical about the title of this book.  Transforming America.  Really?  Another book that makes an impossible claim.  Sort of like the infomercials on TV that hype a product that will cure baldness, help you lose 50 pounds and enable you to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Some people will be so skeptical that they will never even read the book.  I totally understand that.

On the other hand, some people (perhaps you?) will be at least a little intrigued.  At least enough to keep reading and consider a proposal I’ll make in Chapter One.

If you are with me so far, let me tell you what you can expect in this book.

First, I’ll begin with a proposed target or objective. My contention is that, if we could reach this target, we would see massive transformation in every area of life in America.  I’ll explain in some detail what this target would look like and why I think it could be transformational on a large scale.  You won’t have to wait long to find out what my proposal is.  It’s in the first paragraph of the first chapter.

Second, you will find that this book is really two books.  Book One is The “Why” Book.  This is where I’ll unpack why you should consider engaging with my proposal.  Book Two is The “How” Book.  In this section, I’ll share with you simple, practical steps that will explain how you can engage if you decide to.  You will also find that each Book is made up of short chapters of just one or two pages.  This means there are several ways you can read.
  • Some people will want to start with Chapter One, Book One and read straight through to the end of Book Two.
  • Others will start reading The “Why” Book and almost immediately become curious about how this might be implemented (this is in The “How” Book).  So, they will end up reading in two places at once.  (This is probably what I would do.)
  • Some will want to read through the larger book quickly.  Others will read just a chapter at a time and then think about what they read for a day.  Maybe talk with friends about the ideas.  And, then go to the next chapter the next day.

The point is – engage with this book in the way that works best for you

As I mentioned, in The “How” Book, I’ll lay out some practical next steps. These next steps are not just theory.  They have already been field tested by over 3000 people in ten countries.  They are powerful and yet simple.  Almost everyone who hears about them says, “I could do that!”  And, they have shown to be self-propagating.  Sort of like a benevolent virus that spreads from person to person.  Something that multiplies and spreads spontaneously.  Again, take a look and see what you think.

It will be clear that I’m writing as an American. I believe the proposal and principles in this book could transform America.  However, if you are a citizen of another country, I believe they could transform your country also.  To date, these principles have proven to be transcultural.  We have stories of them being implemented in several different countries.  Now, I recognize that there are huge cultural and spiritual difference between countries.  However, I think that similar books could be written like “Transforming Germany” or “Transforming Uruguay” or “Transforming Kenya”, etc.  Perhaps you will be someone who writes one of those books.  Take a look and see what you think.

Finally, my writing grows out of relationship.  First, my relationship with God.  I believe He led me to write this book and He gave me two simple (you will see that word, simple, show up frequently in this book) “how tos”.  “First, spend time listening to Me each morning.  Pay attention to the “spontaneous thoughts” that come to you about what to write.  Second, Write for 30 minutes (more if you want).  Don’t worry about whether it is any good or not.  Just write.  We’ll clean it up along the way.”  Those instructions have been immensely freeing for me!

The other relationships are the community I’m a part of.   Called the “LK10 Community”, this is a growing group of people around the world who are a starfish-type organization.  (I’ll unpack this term in greater detail later in the book.)  This means that they are connected by common DNA (values and practices) as opposed to a connection through some sort of organization hierarchy.

Some of these people I know “in the flesh”.  Many more I am connected with virtually (Google hangouts, emails, LK10 Newsletter, etc.)  And, more still I am connect with generationally.  That is, we share the same DNA but we’ve never met.  Someone in the LK10 Community has trained someone who has trained someone else and so on.

(Paul to Timothy)  Those things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men and women who will then teach others.[1]

Some of these people have helped write this book and I am deeply grateful to them.  In a larger sense, this book is by and for the whole LK10 Community because they are field-testing on a daily basis the proposal that you will read about.  I consider these friends to be a great treasure in my life.  (Name names)

[1] 2 Timothy 2:2

John Fenn, You Might be a Legalistic Believer if... #3

Hi all,
Today I'm concluding the 3 part series, You might be a legalistic believer if... The first 2 points were...
1) Your spiritual discipline defines your spirituality and how you feel about your spiritual condition.
2) You really don't know the Lord (on your own) but know Him through the system.
Let me get to the core of what makes a legalistic Christian. 
Legalism is the combination of performance, fear, and condemnation in an effort to please God or please church leadership. (A child can also exhibit these traits in order to please a legalistic parent)
A legalistic believer is focused on actions and how they present themselves, tying these things to the belief God is more pleased with them or more inclined to answer their prayers. If you've had an urgent prayer request and attended a service you would not normally attend in the hope God will see your extra effort or to remind Him a deadline looms, you are in legalism.
Another example would be if you believe financial blessing is a sign of God's personal stamp of approval of your life, you are in legalism. If you've ever tried to buy answered prayer by tying x amount of giving to a healing, the saving of a loved one, and so are in legalism. The Father relates to us through the blood of Jesus and the fact we were both born into and adopted into His family by the blood of Jesus - not by how many spiritual hoops we form of our own doing to jump through. 
Legalism causes a person to produce a false identity. They live a facade in public but are often different at home, often trying to make up for the difference between what they believe in their legalism, and the reality of their life. They compensate for the difference by becoming judgmental, condescending, and measuring others by their own standards of what they feel is right or wrong.
Point #3 is therefore: You feel spiritually safe if you focus on just 1 spiritual teaching or discipline at a time.
A person who is unable to simply walk with the Father in conversational ease based on Christ in them, and cannot read or listen to a variety of teachings and beliefs from different sources because they feel threatened by anyone outside of their current focus, might be legalistic. Legalism is intolerant of those who believe differently than they do, and if they can't be won over to their side - they drop the relationship. (Legalism causes anger and these people are generally angry and/or unhappy down deep inside, but well protected in their heart)
They can't see the whole counsel of God in part out of fear they are missing the latest thing heaven is saying, or they feel they alone have a revelation- they fear 'missing it'. Covered in a facade of spiritual knowledge and growth, they are actually motivated by fear of the unknown - and being legalistic helps them pin down all those unknowns. They can't just walk with the Father and trust His peace in their spirit - they are driven by fear wrapped in spirituality. 
Point #4: You might be a legalistic believer if...You separate your natural life from your spiritual life
This is a person who only lets their spirituality be seen to those who believe as they do, or to those they think should believe as they- who they try to correct not meekly as scripture says, but as a know-it-all, as one in authority. Often they have been rejected by others and so keep quiet because they know if they tell what they believe it will be rejected, so like a hawk looking for prey, they hold to themselves until they find a weaker person. 
They often feel it is them and God against the world,  constantly threatened and they must protect what they believe from others - they have light, they know the higher way and how others may approach God and a holy life.
This leads to point #5: You are all alone because you've shut out everyone due to their imperfections, sins, and doctrinal error. Often they have no best friend, and can't share their beliefs with their spouse. 
Surrounded by people, they are alone. Think about the Pharisee's and Jesus - their demand for perfection in others' lives while living a double standard and not holding themselves to the same standard (though they argued to Jesus they were in fact holding themselves to those same standards, but they couldn't see their own hypocrisy) - meant they were all alone in their little group. 
It is this isolationism that is worst part of legalism I think. People cover their loneliness by being active in their cause, or in social media (or combine the 2 efforts), but in their heart of hearts, they are lonely and they know it. Cut off social media, church if they attend, and take away their Bible and stacks of notes, and they would have no walk with the Lord. They know Him through the framework of the temple they've built to Him, but don't know He doesn't inhabit their temple - He lives in them yet they are focused on all things 'out there'. 
How to walk with Him is next week. Also, I'm doing live teachings on Facebook now, which you can see (the first one 2 weeks ago) by looking me up and/or following what I post. 
John Fenn and email me at

New CD/MP3 Series

When the Grace has Lifted From What You are Doing

When Israel traveled in the wilderness the Lord covered them by a cloud in daytime and fire for heat and light at night. When the cloud moved they knew it was time to move on. Today we liken 'the cloud' to grace to do a job, to hang in there with a tough relationship, to stay at a church, and so on. When there is no more grace to be where we are, or no more grace to continue pouring ourselves out for another person, but we wonder if it is us or is God saying move on – what to do! How do we know when the grace has moved? This series is based on principles seen in Israel’s walk in the wilderness following the cloud combined with real life stories to impart wisdom for knowing where God’s grace is leading next.

Just a word about our On-line Video Bible School - these classes, so far; Old Testament I & II, Righteousness and Our Authority in Christ - are a go-at-your-own-pace, no test, investment in your own faith and understanding of the Word and Lord. Once registered, your password is good for a whole year so you can take your time, but as I'm hearing from students, once they start they have a hard time stopping! Each class is about 45-55 minutes long, so they are in easy to receive segments...consider investing in a deeper study of the things of God!

Free Small Group Series: "I Don’t Know What I Believe" from Elevation Church

Free Small Group Series: "I Don’t Know What I Believe" from Elevation Church

"Transform any misconceptions you have about who Jesus is and propel you forward into the life He makes available to you today."

Free Small Group Series

Download and share this six-week series to share with your new believers’ class, small group or outreach ministries.
This small group series package includes:
  • Leader guide
  • Participants guide
  • Sermon notes and questions
  • Promo videos
  • Weekly video curriculum

Get Download Now

Resource provided by Elevation Church
Download Instructions: To download these resources, log into your free Elevation Church account. Once you’ve logged in, you can download these resources.

6 Reflections on Community Inspired by Bonhoeffer

6 Reflections on Community Inspired by Bonhoeffer

6 Reflections on Community Inspired by Bonhoeffer
“I don’t know about you, but I am constantly tempted to get so caught up in my vision, planning and execution of community.”
My church has recently launched a series on community called Better Together. In conjunction with the sermon series, I, in collaboration with my senior pastor, wrote a small group curriculum to complement the series. I love community, which is why I love small groups. Like many of you, I work hard on our small group system at my church to equip leaders and to help many in my church experience the fullness of community—the good, the bad and the ugly.
However, as I continue to reflect on community and work toward helping others experience community, I constantly find myself drawn back to and challenged by the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his classic work, Life Together. In it, he writes:
God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly…. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.
Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. We thank God for what He has done for us. We thank God for giving us brethren who live by His call, by His forgiveness and His promise. (pp. 27-28).
I don’t know about you, but I am constantly tempted to get so caught up in my vision, planning and execution of community, that I rarely stop to seek God’s heart for the community which He has called me to shepherd.
Please do not misunderstand me: I do not believe God wants you or me to be laissez faire when it comes to community either. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” Structure and guidelines are good as it relates to community; they can help foster an environment where people feel safe to be vulnerable.
So how do we draw the balance. Here are some preliminary thoughts:
1. Pray for your specific community. Thank God for placing you in that specific community. Don’t repress your frustrations about your community, but in the midst of frustrations, be thankful as much as you are able.
2. Listen to God. Don’t spend so much time in prayer for your community that you miss God’s voice to you regarding your community. Remember that God has already laid the foundation.
3. Spend time listening to your people—not just your leaders, but others as well. Know where they are at and what they need to continue to grow spiritually.
4. Get to know your place. What are the specific challenges your community faces? What is good about your place that helps foster community?
5.Learn from others, but not simply to copy. Just because it worked for me does not mean it will work for you.
Do what you feel God is leading you to do. If you feel God prompting you to do something, no matter how crazy it may seem, try it out and see.
What else might you add in light of Bonhoeffer’s challenge to us?
Andrew Camp

Andrew Camp

After working as a professional chef for 7 years, Andrew Camp is the spiritual growth pastor at Mountain Life Church in Park City, UT, with a large focus on Life Groups. He has a Masters in Spiritual Formation & Soul Care from Talbot Seminary. He and his wife, Claire, have lived in the Park City area for three years.

Business Books Every Ministry Leader Should Read

Business Books Every Ministry Leader Should Read

Business Books Every Ministry Leader Should Read
“I asked Christian leaders across the U.S. to recommend a book written primarily for business leaders that they’ve found helpful in their ministry leadership.”
I asked Christian leaders across the U.S. to recommend a book written primarily for business leaders that they’ve found helpful in their ministry leadership. The first 10 of these were originally published in the September 2016 issue of the Christian Standard in my monthly “Best Practices” column. (See the original article HERE.) I’ve added five more and included all 15 here:
The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, by Steven B. Sample. “It helped me think past the clich├ęs of leadership to practices that reflect what I think is a leader’s honest self-evaluation before God.” –Jon Weatherly, Professor of New Testament, Dean of the School of Bible and Theology at Johnson University
The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, by Patrick Lencioni. “So much good stuff about why effective teams matter.” –Monica Roberts, Executive Director of the Healing Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny. “Great book on how to navigate conflict without burning bridges.” –Chuck Faber, Academic Dean and Professor of Theology and New Testament at Boise Bible College
Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson and others. –Josh Hunt, Author, Sunday School Trainer, and Pastor at Salem (New Mexico) Baptist Church
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. “Excellent overview of the management mindset needed to develop and maintain a culture of ongoing evaluation and improvement.” –Bruce Stoker, Senior Minister at Athens (Ohio) Church of Christ
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcom Gladwell. –Gary David Holt, Minister at Arlington (Indiana) Christian Church
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. “Two Navy Seals write about leadership, change and responsibility.” –Mark LaGrone, Minister of Discipleship and Small Groups at Collierville (Tennessee) First Baptist Church
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek. “His presentation on the topic is one of the top 10 Ted Talks, but I still recommend reading the book.” –Brad Himes, Adjunct Instructor at Eastern Illinois University and Involvement Director at Broadway Christian Church, Mattoon, Illinois
Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds, by Carmine Gallo. “It reinvigorated my passion for preaching and the power of the spoken word.” –Dave Stone, senior pastor at Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky
The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations, by Barry Posner and James M. Kouzes. “This book is backed by research and has more than 25 years of proven success.” –Mark A. Watkins, Coach and Mentor
Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration, by Warren Bennis. “Opened my eyes to how great teams of people accomplish extraordinary things when they have clarity and commitment.” –Brian Jones, Christ’s Church of the Valley, Royersford, Pennsylvania
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins. “I’ve applied many principles from this book about how to make small groups and ministry great rather than settling for good enough.” –Michael C. Mack, writer, trainer, and coach at Small Group Leadership
The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea, by Bob Burg and John David Mann. “It stresses generosity and teaches the value of one another.” –Dave Stone, senior pastor at Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Kentucky
Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute. “It opened my eyes to ways we justify our own failings and blame others.” (Michael’s Note: I add my recommendation of this book. It’s helped me not only in my ministry but in all of my relationships.) –Ken Harrah, Founder, Memory Ministries
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, by Seth Godin. –James E. Snapp, Minister at Curtisville Christian Church, Elwood, Indiana
QUESTIONS: Which of these books would you recommend? What business books would you add to this list? Please click the comment box, below, to jump into the discussion.
Mike Mack

Mike Mack

Michael C. Mack founded in 1995 and has served as a small-groups minister in several churches. He is a writer, editor, trainer, and consultant in the areas of small groups, leadership, and discipleship. He is the author of more than a dozen books and small group studies, including his latest, Small Group Vital Signs. He also regularly blogs at His family is a small group that includes his wife Heidi, their four children, and their dog, Lainey. Mike is also an avid mountain biker.

A Story that Could Have Been from the Book of Acts

A Story that Could Have Been from the Book of Acts

“For example…
“One day we went very far. The Holy Spirit was leading us. We went to a place where the lady welcomed us very well. She was a woman of God but she was only pretending because she had a very confused gospel, which is very common here in Africa. I know this because people would come from far to see her and she would require money from them. When we were there and talking, the spirits that were coming from her began to scream and do many things, especially when we prayed. I told you before, people in our place have learned a different kind of gospel. They require from people to bring a cow or bring some chickens, but for the true gospel, you don’t need to bring anything. It is God who is doing the giving. This gospel we preach is simple. It is the message that God loves you. Up til now, I can tell you that lady has received the true gospel, she is making disciples by using Discovery Bible Study. She is doing some work and no longer asking people for money. She started inside her own home and she is doing very well.” - Irenie, Uganda