Friday, December 24, 2010


This is the third blog of a five part series on the Rising New Breed of Church Planters in North America.  We are looking at some of the characteristics that seem to be common among this elite group.  The third characteristic is BOLDNESS.  As the Apostle Peter and John stood before the Jewish Counsel and were threatened to never again speak, teach, heal or preach in the name of Jesus, the members of the council were amazed by the boldness of these ordinary men despite their lack of special training in the scripture.

"Now when they (council) saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled ...."  Acts 4:13 (NKJ)

These religious leaders were amazed! Why? Because most ordinary and unschooled people, when ordered by the council to not do something would be intimidated. But here, Peter and John stood before them with such confidence and without fear that it was simply inconceivable.  They couldn't understand where such strength and boldness could come from. They did not tremble; their strength was uncompromised. They were at a point in their faith with God where compromise would be unthinkable and no amount of intimidation would change their resolve.

So why were Peter and John so bold?  Why would they not succumb to the intimidation of the Jewish leaders?  This story gives us a couple of clues into this mystery.

"And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said to them, 'Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."  Acts 4:18-19

Two things contributed to the boldness of these two ordinary and unschooled men!  The first was obedience.  To obey God no matter what the personal cost was more important to them than any earthly punishment.  The fear of disobeying God was more powerful than the fear of disobeying men.  Both Peter and John were very much aware of the reason for their existence.  Jesus, before he ascended into heaven, had given them what we have come to know as the Great Commission.  It was God's will for their lives to be a living and verbal testimony of his death, burial, and resurrection.  They had been commanded by Jesus to preach the Good News and it was foretold that many of them would die a martyrs death.  THEIR BOLDNESS CAME FROM A CONVICTION TO BE FOUND OBEDIENT TO THE ONE AND TRUE LIVING GOD!

The second cause for such boldness came not only from their conviction to be obedient but also from what they had seen and heard.  They had a vision that gripped their soul and consumed their imagination and no amount of intimidation would deter them.  They had seen Jesus heal the sick, make the blind to see, the lame to walk and the deaf to hear.  They had seen him raise a man from the dead who had been dead and buried for four days with only the shout of his voice.  They had witnessed Jesus walk on water, feed 5,000 men plus women and children, and make a fig tree wither instantly.  They had watched Jesus be tried, convicted, crucified, buried, raised from the dead and ascend to heaven in a cloud.  As if that was not enough, they had been taught by Jesus that he would return back to earth with his angels to judge both the living and the dead!  Peter and John did not simply think it was going to happen; they were wholly convinced and believed it would happen.  This vision of all that Christ had done and the vision of his return to judge the world is what gave them the strength to overcome the intimidation of Godless men. 

This kind of boldness did not die with Peter and John!  No, God is raising up a new breed of church planters throughout North America with that same kind of raw boldness.  Like Peter and John, these church planters cannot be intimidated to divert from their God given mission.  Their desire to be found faithful to Christ upon his return is as much a powerful motivator to them as it was to Peter and John.

While many denominational leaders would affirm the necessity of this Biblical boldness in accomplishing the mission that Christ has given us, many of them have never truly seen it in action.  They have glamorized it to the point where it is unrecognizable when being exhibited right in front of them, or it is often times confused with someone merely being obstinate or uncooperative.  The truth of the matter is that many of our dignified church leaders don't know how to control this new breed of church planters, and that scares them!  These church planters are not motivated by money, position, or power.  No, instead they are motivated by being found faithful to the one who has saved them, to the one who has called them and to the one who has given them a clear vision of what He wants them to do.  They are soley motivated by Jesus Christ and Him alone.

I know of a recent church planter who, one week after he had publicly launched a new church, was told by some denominational leaders that he needed to go to a commissioning service 6 hours away.  As a result he would not be able to be at the churches second public service and he would have to get a substitute preacher for that week.  This church planter apologized to the leaders as he told them that he would be unable to attend the commissioning service because he knew it would not be a good thing for the pastor to not be at the second public service.  These denominational leaders informed him that not attending was not an option and that he would have to attend.  After going around and around with these denominational leaders about this matter the church planter finally and respectfully shared with them that they could keep their money for monthly support, HE WOULD NOT LEAVE HIS NEW CHURCH AND WOULD NOT ATTEND!  If it wasn't for the pastor of one of his sponsoring churches and a couple of other people calling the denominational leaders, this church planter would have lost his support.  BUT THE POINT IS THAT THIS CHURCH PLANTER AND OTHERS FROM THE NEW BREED WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED.  They would rather do without the support than to be found unfaithful to the vision God has entrusted to them.  They will be obedient to God even at the expense of losing support from men.

Many people wrongly characterized these church planter as being arrogant and  stubborn.  The reality is that they are not at all arrogant, they are actually extremely humbled by the God given vision they have received.  The vision they are pursuing is not man made but has come to them by God.  They are not pursuing their own desires but that which God has given them.  They don't have self-pride but God-pride.  Many of these church planters are very sick over their past life and choices, because of God's saving power demonstrated in their lives they are now extremely grateful for the forgiveness and new life they have received.  They are truly some of the most humbled people alive.

They may be stubborn, but only because they are totally unwilling to compromise this God given vision.  Being stubborn is not a bad thing when a person is stubborn for the right things.  These new church planters value faithfulness to the vision and to God above cooperation when it threatens the integrity of what God has called them to do.

Sometimes denominational leaders use worldly manipulations to get church planters to play by their rules.  They threaten them with removing their support, with spreading unflattering evaluations of them or with making sure they will never move up the denominational ladder.  But denominational leaders are discovering a very disturbing reality about this new breed of church planters, THEY DON'T CARE! and are not intimidated by their threats.  THEIR ONLY PRIORITY IS TO BE FOUND FAITHFUL TO GOD!

As the 21st Century continues to unfold more and more of this new breed of church planters will be raised up and I for one thank God for them.  They are a breath of fresh air and have the fire of obedience that the Church of North America desperately needs.  THANK YOU GOD!

This boldness is not tame or even dignified.  It is raw, powerful and uncompromising.  For those who have spent their lives working up the religious ladder it may even be disturbing!  OH THAT MORE OF US GET DISTURBED!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Great Tool For Church Planters & Those Serious About Spreading The Gospel


Here is a new tool that can help you fulfill the mission of making disciples and reaching those in your community.  IT IS THE MAPPING OF AMERICA EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD EVERY BLOCK.

Find out the number of different ethnic groups living in America neighborhood by neighbordhood and block by block.  You can find it at:

Let's us this tool and go make Disciples of Christ.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting The Power To Pursue Christ's Mission: 2nd Update

This is the second update about how God's power came upon us at Valley Baptist Church after a week of intense and intentional prayer.  This is a continuation of the salvation story of Chris and Sylvia Moore.  There's an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.  So with that in mind let me introduce to you our new sister in Christ: Sylvia. These are the pictures of her baptism this last Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our participation in Sylvia's salvation along with her husband, father-in-law and sister-in-law is a direct result from our church daring to pray for God's power and for God to show us where he was working.  When the prayers go up the power comes down to be effective witnesses of Christ.  Actually it is God through us being the effective witness.

Come on church and come on Christians let's get serious about being devoted to prayer so we can be the effective witnesses God wants us to be.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


In the first blog of this series, The Rising New Breed of Church Planter, I wanted to make the point that God absolutely delights in using the things this world considers common, foolish or just ordinary to do his greatest work like starting new churches.  God doesn't need superstars, God doesn't need anybody, but He has chosen to work through the foolish things of this world and those this world considers to be ordinary to do amazing things and He does it this way to bring glory and honor to Himself.

In this second blog I want to demolish another major misconception about church planters that the church has allowed to creep into its way of thinking.  From one perspective this misconception can actually sound very reasonable and as such go unchallenged until a bottleneck forms and constricts the flow of the rapid and spontaneous expansion of the church.  This major misconception implies that:

Church planters need to have a formal theological education from a college or seminary before they are unleashed to spread the Kingdom of God through planting new churches.  

You might be wondering why this is a misconception.  Isn't it important to have people who are starting churches know and understand the Bible?  Shouldn't a pastor understand what the Bible says so he can explain it to his flock?  And the answer would be a resounding, "yes"!  But I would submit to you that a follower of Christ does not need a degree from a Bible college or theological seminary as a prerequisite to being a church planter. I come to this conclusion by looking, once again, at Peter and John as they were standing before the Jewish Council being sternly threatened and warned to no longer preach or teach in the name of Jesus.  As they stood there with confidence before this council of religiously trained professionals they declared that they would stay faithful to Christ and continue to preach the gospel.  This council noticed not only that they were ORDINARY MEN, but also noticed another important trait about them.  They noticed that they had no formal instruction in the Bible.  It says,

"The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the scriptures.  They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus."  Acts 4:13

Peter and John were men with no special training in the scriptures.  At least they had no special training from a worldly perspective in scripture.  What did the council mean that they had no special training in scripture?  It meant that Peter and John along with the rest of the other apostles had never attended or graduated from one of their certified rabbinical schools.   The members of the council had spent many years in theological study and training to earn their position of honor in both the synagogue and temple.  They had dedicated their lives working up the religious ladder and gaining the respect from the religious leaders and they felt that these uneducated men should learn from them and not try to instruct them in the purposes of God. Now some of you might be screaming at this point saying,

"But Peter and John along with the rest of the other apostles did have special training in the scripture!  They had spent 3 1/2 years learning from the Son of God, Jesus Himself." 
And you are absolutely right and I want to thank you for making my point.  A person who has spent time learning  from Jesus and being instructed by the Holy Spirit to understand spiritual truth is qualified to teach others the things of God.  There is no need for a person to first graduate from a Bible school or seminary before they are qualified to plant a new church. However,  it is essential that they know the Word of God and have a vibrant, growing and personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.  An ordinary Christian is more than capable of learning the Bible and learning to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit instructing them in the scripture without the help of a college or seminary.  Please don't misunderstand me!  I am not saying that theological education is not important!  That's not my point at all. I personally have a theological education on both a bachelor's and master's level.  What I am saying is that it should never be a prerequisite for church planting.

There are lots of examples of people whom God used powerfully that did not have a theological education before starting the ministry. Of course the same description given to Peter and John by the council could also be said of all 12 of the apostles.  None of them had the special training in scripture that the council thought was so important.  Philip was another First Century Christian who went to Samaria  and through the power of the Holy Spirit initiated a spiritual awakening that resulted in a church forming.  Both the churches in Damascus and Rome were started by some unknown ordinary and unprofessionally trained person or persons.  Of course there were the professional church planters like the apostles but there were also the ordinary and uneducated church believers who started churches as they moved into new areas as the church was scattered.

Even in our contemporary era we see God using men to start churches who never attended a seminary or Bible college.  One such man was my wife's grandfather, Ernest Barnes.  Ernest came to know Christ later in life.  It was on the night he witnessed the baptism of his eldest son and daughter.  Almost three years later and after spending many hours of discipleship with his pastor Ernest started his first church, The First Baptist Church in Marina, California.  This year of 2010 that church celebrated its 60th anniversary.  A 60 year old church with a fruitful ministry, started by a man who never attended Bible college or seminary is what I call A GOD THING!  Ernest went on to start several other churches throughout California's Central Coast.  Even though Ernest never attended a seminary Ernest did know the Bible.  He studied it, he devoured it and he soaked it into every fiber of his life.  He was qualified to start churches.

The same thing is happening in this rising new breed of church planters all over North America.  These men are getting saved and through the teaching of their churches, pastors and their own personal Bible study time God is calling them out and setting them apart to start some of the most dynamic churches that we have ever seen.  Some of these church planters begin to take Bible classes after their churches have been started  as a way to continue to sharpen their sword while others never take a single class from a college or seminary.  But one thing is for certain all of these new church planters are devouring the Word of God daily.  They love the Bible.  They read it, meditate on it, memorize it, apply it and listen to it daily.  Understand this:  THESE CHURCH PLANTERS ARE NOT BIBLE ILLITERATE.  They know the Word of God and their lives show it. 

If the North American Church is going to be serious about seeing a church planting movement get started, we have to leave this notion that a person must first be a seminary or Bible school graduate and begin to view our existing churches as the new Bible institutes which are preparing God's people to do the work of ministry, including church planting. 

"And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry ..." Eph. 4:11,12a

Every pastor should begin view that one of their major responsibility as a pastor is to raise up, train up and then unleash people from within thier congregations new church planters.  Can you imagine what would happen if only half of the churches and pastors of North America would simply mentor and unleash one new church planter every year and taught them to do the same?  I'll tell you!  We would see a church planting movement of epic porportions and unlike the history of Christianity has ever seen.