Friday, April 20, 2007

First Church of Lake Wobegon

There's a little bit of Lake Wobegon in every church.

According to Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon is a place where:

  • all the women are strong,
  • all the men are good-looking, and
  • all the children are above average.
And church people will tell you:
  • Their pastor preaches better than average.
  • Their teachers teach better than average.
  • Their people love more than most.
What if we strove to become what we already imagine we are?

What if we strove to preach better, teach better, and love better?

Perhaps then we wouldn't have to say we're above average - it'd be obvious from our results!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Work on Strengths or Weaknesses?

I am a half-way decent musician, having played piano and bass for nearly twenty years. I also know a little about carpentry, from helping my grandpa roof houses for a few summers.

I am a better musician than I am a carpenter.

Now say I have a choice of two books to read. One is on music theory. The other is on carpentry. I have to read one or the other. Which do I choose?

Do I choose carpentry, because my carpentry skills are weaker?

Not if I want to become remarkable.

If all I do is work on my weaknesses, then eventually I will become average at everything.

But if I take time to hone my strengths, then my strengths will move from "half-way decent" to "pretty good" and then, perhaps, to "downright awesome".

If you're wondering what this has to do with disciplemaking, let me explain.

You, as a preacher or teacher, will choose which books you want to read this year, which conferences you want to attend, or which video curriculum to watch. If you're given a choice between communications skills and, say, end-time prophecy, which do you choose?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Put a TIGER in Your Classroom

Josh Hunt has an excellent method for doubling classes, which he teaches using the TIGER acronym:

Teach a halfway decent lesson each and every week; nothing less will do.

Invite every prospect to every fellowship every month.

Give Friday nights to Jesus.

Encourage members to ministry.

Reproduce new groups.

You can learn more by watching his videos or reading his book.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lesson from a Ketchup Bottle

I'm a reader. If I don't have a book, I'll read whatever is handy.

I read a ketchup bottle once. It said:

To do a common thing uncommonly well brings success.
- Henry John Heinz
Teaching is one of those "common things".

Churches across the world meet every Sunday, and most of those churches have multiple teachers. There's a lot of teaching going on in this world, and most of it is common.

Note that "common" does not mean "bad". It just means "common," akin to "typical" or "average". Fortunately, we also get average results.

I am eager, however, for the next step -- better than common teaching that brings better than common results.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Teaching Ability Predicts Class Growth

Josh Hunt says, "The #1 predictor of the growth of any church is the preaching ability of the pastor. The #1 predictor of the growth of any class is the teaching ability of the teacher."

The better we teach, the more we reach.

I don't know about you, but I'm striving to preach better, to teach better.

Some say I'm already a good teacher, and I may be. Or, I may be just as good as most, which is another way of saying "average".

I know I can be better, which is why I'm reading Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.

My goal: To be an awesome teacher with awesome reach.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Jesus was Famous!

2000 years ago, Jesus was an A-list celebrity. Time and again, the gospels mention his fame.

And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
- Luke 4:14
His fame started in a region.
And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.
- Luke 4:37
Then it went through the whole country.
But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
- Luke 5:15
And it kept building as time went on.

What happened?

Has the church grown so accustomed to his blessings, his grace, his power, and his wonder that we've forgotten just how wonderful Jesus is?

Lord Jesus, let our hearts burn within us. May we never forget just how famous you are!

Monday, April 09, 2007

What is Remarkable?

Seth Godin defines remarkable better than anyone, including Webster... remarkable means people are going to make a remark.

Here's a snippet from his post How to be remarkable:

Remarkable doesn't mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? If not, then you're average, and average is for losers.
This applies to churches, classes, preachers, teachers, and even members. Folks don't "go into the highways and byways and compel them" when their church, class, preacher, or teacher is average.

If people remark, then the church is remarkable. If not, it's average.

Somebody, somewhere may be thinking, "I need to tell my people to start remarking."


Understand that people naturally remark about the truly remarkable.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

If Their House is on Fire

If we see our neighbor's house on fire, we:

  • Call 911
  • Knock on the door to alert them
  • Knock on windows to alert them
And if we know they're home but not hearing us, we become more desperate in our actions:
  • Call 911 again, with more urgency in our voice
  • Break down a door
  • Break through a window
  • Use a bullhorn if we had one
If they answer the door, but don't believe us, we would:
  • Plead
  • Cry
  • Drag them outside and show them the fire
We know this. We understand it. And we would do it.

Yet, most of our neighbors live in danger of hell fire every day.

And most Christians do nothing about it.


Extra credit: Read what God told Ezekiel about warning your neighbors. Ezekiel 33:7-9