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Leadership
Let’s cut to the chase… we all know that a big part of our jobs on a church staff is equipping… preparing people to do actual ministry; to grow stronger in their commitment to Christ, and in the leadership abilities in the church. But many churches; and many leaders to a poor job at this. Eric Geiger suggests three reasons as to why this happens. Before you read the reasons… ask yourself how you’re doing in the area of equipping.  If you would say it’s not one of your strong points… read on to see if one of the reasons for your inadequacy in this area is one of these three factors Eric provides… keep reading
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Leadership
Pastor Brian Jones tells of the response he got from one ‘nationally recognized’ pastor when Brian told him that he hadn’t figured out the whole small group thing yet.  Brian said the pastor’s response was something like this:
“Well, Brian, that’s because they don’t work. Small groups are things that trick us into believing we are serious about making disciples. The problem is 90 percent of small groups never produce one single disciple. Ever. They help Christians make shallow friendships, for sure. They’re great at helping Christians feel a tenuous connection to their local church, and they do a bang-up job of teaching Christians how to act like other Christians in the Evangelical Christian subculture. But when it comes to creating the kind of holistic disciples Jesus envisioned, the jury’s decision came back a long time ago that small groups just aren’t working.”
Wow.  My experience in the church is that, many times, small groups DO NOT work.  But sometimes they do. But, that said, even when they do, this person is right, they many times take an inward rather than outward track. What do YOU think?  How do you make your small group make a difference?  How do you make your small group be in the top 10% that actually create disciples (what we’re all hoping to do!) In full disclosure, we’re hosting a new small group. Todd You can read more of Brian Jones’ story here…
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The 2013 Exponential conference is underway. This year, Exponential expects more than 5,000 church planting leaders to come together in Orlando, April 22-25. The conference will focus on the theme DiscipleShift—five shifts we can make to become better at making and releasing disciples. To help inform the conversation, Exponential announced that it will be creating an expanding library of eBooks for church planters focusing on discipleship. And here’s the best part–these eBooks are FREE! From September to April, a different eBook from key national church leaders will release each week. Exponential hopes to extend the 2013 conference from three days to eight months, says Exponential Futurist Todd Wilson, who has led the creation of the new eBooks series, identifying and inviting national church leaders like Dave FergusonLarry OsborneRandy FrazeeAlan HirschMike BreenGreg NettleGeoff SurrattMatt Carter and more than 20 others to contribute. Each eBook will be one to three chapters in length (approximately 10,000 words), focusing on a single topic or idea and offering content to readers in a digestible format that affords greater potential for planters to quickly put into practice the concepts or principles they’ve just read. For Randy Frazee, senior minister at Oak Hills Christian Church in San Antonio, Texas, and a Main Stage speaker at Exponential 2013, the turnaround time and length appealed to him when Wilson contacted him about writing an eBook. Frazee’s title is scheduled to release Oct. 8. In it, he’ll explore four things the church did during the first 350 years that enabled it to reach 56.5 percent of the world—and what it might look like if today’s church rediscovered these action items. “When Todd approached me about this opportunity, I jumped on it,” Frazee says. “I knew I had something I wanted to say to add to the ongoing conversation about the church, leadership and the importance of discipleship and community. To do that through traditional publishing, the process would take a year. My eBook will be out in two months.” Frazee’s eBook will be 10,000 words he says, pointing out that the average book is around 60,000 words—a length not easy to write or read. “I have a hunch that many people today are just not finishing the average book. I write with the hope that many more people will have access to this little book because it’s free and actually read it because it isn’t so long and then hopefully get something out of it that they will apply to make their lives better or further the advancement of Christ’s church. This is the ultimate payday for a writer, isn’t it?” The eBooks in the Exponential Resources Series will be distributed via Exponential.org and will be offered in three formats: PDF for universal use; mobi for Kindle; and ePub for iPhone, iPad and other platforms. Under the innovative distribution paradigm, authors serve as sole publisher and owner of the content. “Our approach is ‘You can do it, how can we help?’” Wilson explains. “We strive to come alongside thought leaders and help accelerate the distribution and impact of their content, while at the same time accomplishing Exponential’s core mission.” In addition to content ownership, the innovative approach will also feature several other author benefits: · Innovative “sponsored” funding Authors in the Exponential Resources Series have the option to engage a new funding approach. Using this model, the author secures three to five sponsorships to fund the project, allowing it to be distributed at no cost. As soon as the 10,000-word eBook is complete, sponsors fund the author. From start to finish, an eBook can be completed in one to two months, including the sponsored funding. · Visibility/exposure Exponential plans to work with authors to increase visibility through its various communication channels, events and respected platform. · Resource portfolios Typically, digital resources are shorter and focus on a single topic or idea. Rather than single books, Exponential is encouraging authors to consider developing “portfolios” of resources (i.e., a 10,000-word eBook; an audio version of the eBook; a series of YouTube videos on the eBook’s topic; a podcast series on the topic; an ancillary primer or action guide, etc.). · Group resource portfolios Networks, denominations and service providers can create their own portfolios or libraries of resources that Exponential will dynamically display on demand, enabling any group to include a single link to a page of that organization’s recommended resources. · Exponential Resources Series imprint Resources in the Signature Book Series and Exponential Resource Series carry an Exponential imprint. In addition to the Exponential Resource Series imprint, authors can place one additional imprint (for their own brand or ministry) on their resource. To receive alerts when new releases are available, go to exponential.org. This year, Exponential is April 22-25. If you’re thinking about or planning to attend the conference, the deadline is coming up to get the best rate possible–$99 registrant/$49 spouse. After Sept. 7, the rate goes up. So you might want to register in the next week or so. To register, go here.
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Outreach
“Simply having a small group program in a church is no guarantee of success,” according to Kevin Dougherty, an assistant professor in Baylor’s department of sociology… what matters is that the groups meet regularly; that members trust one another enough to divulge matters they would not to a stranger; and that they tackle tough issues in one another’s lives.  That’s according to a new small group study out from Baylor. Here are some other findings: Members of small groups are more likely to attend worship, tithe and volunteer. Any type of small group will benefit a church, from a Sunday School class to a basketball league Frequency of attendance at small group is more important than length of attendance The best way to get people into small groups:  invite them Small groups foster belonging and commitment, but Bible Study and prayer groups are better at promoting discipleship and spiritual growth. via Small Groups Are Not a Cure-All for Megachurches. Any thoughts?  What church do you think does small groups really, really well?  Why?
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