Thursday, September 30, 2010


HERESY ALERT: The following dMail could get me branded as a heretic. It contains new takes on "tried and true" ideas. Read at your own risk.

Radio personality Paul Harvey popularized the saying “Now you know the rest of the story.” Often there is more to the story than originally thought. I have made "The Rest Of The Story" an acronym: TROTS. As CTK evolves we gain further insights into ideas we’ve held dear, such as:

1. People are the ministers. The pastors are to equip the people for the work of the ministry.

TROTS: Leaders have a role to play in architecting and even initiating ministry activities. Sometimes we have to engage in the ministry to model effectiveness.

2. Small groups are the basic building block. Groups provide friendship, growth, encouragement and outreach.

TROTS: The goal is meaningful, Christ-centered relationships. Small groups can deliver that, but so can coffee times and parties if they are intentional. While small groups are still our "plan A," it doesn't hurt to have a "plan B." Alternatives need to be explored, particularly to meet the needs of the time-challenged.

3. Keep the arrows pointed out. The goal is not to get people to come to us, but to get us to go to them.

TROTS: There is a certain percentage of the population that would just as soon come to us. Some actually appreciate having a larger service where they can "hide" while they explore the claims of Christ.

4. Learn to say "Yes, sure, you bet." Our goal is to cooperate with God in what He is doing.

TROTS: This assumes a number of things on the part of the person wanting to "do something": correct motives, general alignment with our mission, vision and values, and some reasonable expectations of effectiveness.

5. Think "more" instead of "bigger." By decentralizing the ministry we can reach an unlimited number of people.

TROTS: We are a hybrid of intimacy and impact. We are a blend of small and big. At times we need critical mass for impact so we centralize. At other times we break things down for intimacy so we decentralize.

6. Relationships are the basic currency. The church is a people, not a building.

TROTS: Physical structures do impact our ability to relate to people. We shape our building and our buildings shape us. The shape of the environment can’t be totally disregarded. The same group of people can meet in a cozy coffee house, or a sterile gymnasium and have a very different experience in how they relate to God and each other.

7. Our task is to Identify, Deploy, Train, and Support leaders. Deploy first, then train.

TROTS: There is an information exchange at every stage of IDTS. The more information we can exchange in the identification (I) stage, the better for them and us.

8. Keep it simple. Focus the ministry around the priorities of Worship, Small Groups and Outreach.

TROTS: Be aware of “focus fatigue.” Leaders will become weary of being a one-stringed banjo long before people will. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to stay focused, which is why most don’t do it.

9. There's hope for the future, forgiveness for the past. We have a redemptive God.

TROTS: Theologically and philosophically this is a fixed reality. Relationally and politically, not as much. To restore sinners to fellowship sometimes requires coaching and management on both sides.

10. Good enough is good enough. Do the simplest thing that could possibly work.

TROTS: Good enough really does need to be good enough. Good enough varies with each context, and the bar does get raised with growth.


Pride is a problem. I think we all know that. What we sometimes miss are all the forms in which it shows up. It shows up as overconfidence, obviously. It also shows up as underconfidence.

You've probably all met the Christian (maybe it's you) who, when asked to serve in a capacity for which they are clearly gifted, responds meekly with, "Awe, shucks. I don't think I could do that. Surely there's someone more qualified than little ol' me. But thanks for asking." Their face says, "humble." But what is going on inside? Sometimes, ironically, too much worry about self: how self will be perceived, whether self is too involved, whether self can pull it off, whether there is someone more qualified than self, etc. In other words, they are self-ish. There is way too much self involved. True humility is to be so God-focused that His kingdom's agenda matters more than self.

Ray Stedman once said, "We all tend to fear rejection if we are seen for what we are. The Satanic lie is that in order to be liked or accepted we must appear capable or successful. Therefore we either project capability (the extrovert) or we seek to hide our failure (the introvert)." Currently, for every believer who is over-confident in their area of giftedness and passion, there are ten who are underconfident. Sadly, some are thinking that sitting on the sidelines is actually spiritual. It's not. It's tragic. The body is made up of parts, and all the parts are vital and necessary. It's time for us to get over ourselves, and that means selflessness - thinking of our selves less.