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My friend Geoff Surratt wrote (what I think) is a great piece yesterday on sin.  Geoff writes: I recently heard a pastor open his sermon with a lighthearted comment about his sin of overeating at Thanksgiving. The crowd chuckled and nodded approvingly. Most had committed the same sin, but knew that their sin was ok because they are under grace and not under law. Later in the same sermon the pastor commented that when we buy coffee at Starbucks we are “supporting homosexual laws”. The crowd shook their heads in disgust. This was not a sin they had committed, and they knew the Bible is very clear about homosexuality. It is an abomination and must be stopped in its tracks. It doesn’t matter that gluttony makes the deadly sins Top Seven, nor that according to the CDC, 36% of Americans are obese, nor that “Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.” Gluttony is funny and understandable, homosexuality is evil and should be illegal. I am not arguing for either gluttony or homosexuality. There are multiple scriptures about each, you can look it up for yourself. My question is how do we decide? How do we decide that “their” sin is evil while “our” sin is no big deal? As Scot McKnight says in The Blue Parakeet, we all pick and choose, the question is which sinner we choose to laugh off and which sinner we choose to condemn… We often quote the truism, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner”, but we seldom apply it evenly. Some sins, my sins, I hate just a little bit. Your sin I hate a little more. Other sins, the sins I will never commit, I hate enough that my hate spills out on the sinner, the sinner’s friends and anyone who associates with the sinner. We say we love the sinner but we continually do and say things that scream out to the one who commits the unacceptable sins, “You do not belong. You are vile and filthy and not worthy.” If we do not think that is the message we are sending maybe we should ask the sinner what they think. // Read more of Geoff’s thoughts here… I think Geoff is spot on.  What do YOU think? Todd
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EXCELLENT words from Geoff Surratt this morning on hitting your target: Who are you trying to reach? If you are trying to reach people far from God they probably don’t care about your worship style or song selection, they are not all that concerned with your commitment to biblical teaching and they aren’t looking for a great Sunday morning experience. The people most likely swayed by your slick mailer extolling your great children’s ministry and awesome band are probably already attending another church. The only way to know your target is to build relationships in the community and learn what their real needs are. (Hint: They’re probably not looking for an entertaining lecture and a catchy tune to solve their life’s problems. They’re more likely looking for a community where they can connect.) Jesus spent 30 years getting to know his community before he launched his church, it might take you more than six weeks. Once you know your target make sure everything you do hits that target. So many churches don’t have a target.  It’s obvious. I guess that’s a good thing.  That way you’re not disappointed when you don’t hit it. Do you know what your church’s target is?  When was the last time you hit the bulls-eye? Todd
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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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Trends
My friend Geoff Surratt is continuing his 5 Scary Trends series… Scary trend #3 is “Worship Worship”.  Geoff writes: I love corporate worship. One of my favorite aspects of working in multisite churches has been visiting multiple worship experiences every weekend. I have participated in as many as six different services in a single weekend, and I love seeing people connect with God through the leadership of a gifted team of singers, musicians and technicians. The scary trend, however, is the growing worship of the art of worship. The worship leader/pastor/director/producer has become a rock star. The need for ever-improving technology (“2K Projectors? Yes!!!”) dominates the church budget. The demand for professional musicianship squeezes out the possibility of homegrown talent. On Monday mornings we talk more about the sound quality, the experience, the arrangement than about the jaw dropping recognition of the awesome power of an omniscient God. We are in danger of worshipping the creation more than the creator. What are we trying to accomplish through musical worship at our weekend services? Is the goal to compete with secular concerts or the mega-church down the street? (Do we really think we can compete with U2? Seriously?) Is excellence the goal regardless the price? Is holding the attention of the occasional attender the aim? Or are we truly focused on worshipping in spirit and in truth? You can read more here. And be sure to check out #5 “Multisite Mania” and #4 “Reformed Revolution“.  
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Leadership
My friend and fellow church world agitator Geoff Surratt has a really great series he’s doing at his blog this week called “Five Scary Trends that could Shipwreck the Church”. He started the series yesterday with his first scary trend:  Multisite.  Today’s scary trend:  The Reformed Revolution!  Geoff says: I never thought that theology could be trendy, but now if you are young and cool you are Reformed. Since I am neither young nor cool I may miss this wave. My problem with the Reformeds, however, is not theology (I’m too much of a light-weight to argue there), but with attitude. I’ll call it PLA (Pharisee-ic Legalistic Arrogance) Those is fightin’ words, Geoff! Two main problems with some of the new reformed: 1.  Arrogance 2.  Legalism You HAVE to read his comments here, then post a comment of your own! So… what do YOU think of the new reformed revolution?
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Trends
My friend and fellow church world agitator Geoff Surratt has a really great series he’s doing at his blog this week called “Five Scary Trends that could Shipwreck the Church”. He started the series yesterday with his first scary trend:  Multisite.  Funny… from one of the guys that wrote The Multisite Church Revolution. Geoff writes:  “Multisite is a great tool for some churches to fulfill their God-given mission. It is not, however, the right direction for many or even most churches. Multisite can be a drain on leadership and budgets, it can feed an already overfed pastor ego (more about that on Friday) and it can be very difficult to undo.” For example… what do you do when you have three video campuses within blocks of each other… each from a different church… each singing the same songs? Check out Geoff’s thoughts here… then leave a comment. Later today, I’ll share Geoff’s scary trend #4:  The Reformed Revolution
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Leadership
Geoff Surratt has been busy since his move last month to California… check out what he’s been working on at Saddleback: The Saddleback Church Leadership Academy seeks to equip, empower, and encourage individuals to pursue their calling to church planting or ministry leadership — to live out their purpose and passion for Gods kingdom. Our mission is to develop the next generation of leaders to plant and lead new churches, multi-site campuses, and the ministries that will serve them. You can get more info here…

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Leadership
My friends Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, and Warren Bird have just released a new book called “A Multi-Site Church Road Trip”.  It is chock full of interesting information about multi-site church ministry.  Today, I’m part of the book’s blog tour, and I thought I’d do something a little different.  I have a free copy of the book that I’d like to give away to the person who can get the most answers right to the questions below. To enter the contest, just send me an email with your answers to trhoades@mondaymorninginsight.com.  I’ll pick a winner from the entries with the most correct answers. OK… here we go: 1.  What multi-site Hawaiian church currently has 18 services on 7 different campuses? 2.  Multi-site really isn’t a ‘new thing’ to this Naperville, IL church.  They currently have 9 campuses and 24 services in and around the Chicago area.  Name the church. 3.  While this Oklahoma church has 13 campuses, they also have a network of churches that partner with them, showing their weekly messages.  They also have a vibrant online campus presence.  Name this church and their senior pastor. 4.  On a typical Sunday, how many people attend a multi-site church in America?  200,000?  500,000?  1 million?  5 million? 5.  How many states currently have multi-site churches?  15?  27?  35?  47?  52? OK… send in your answers! And if you haven’t already picked up a copy of Multi-Site Church Road Trip… do so.  It’s a great read on what is happening in what the authors call the “New Normal” for churches in America. Todd
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