October 28, 2010

Less Is More

I finally jumped into reading "Rework" by Fried & Hansson. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone in any role of leadership. I love Seth Godin's exhortation on the front cover of the book: "Ignore this book at your own peril." And there you have it. I'm not sure what's exciting me more: the content or the ADD-friendly, short-segmented way the book is written. I guess I'll go with the content. And at this point in my life, I've read so many books that cause this lightbulb to go off in my head - the "Why didn't I think of that?" bulb - that it's a shot in the arm to read someone else validate and affirm decisions you've already made. I wanted to share one of those specific things with you.

When I arrived a year and a half ago at The Brook, I tried to spend my first 4-6 weeks really just absorbing the culture, the state of things, and the underlying realities. I wanted to know WHAT we were doing, HOW it was being done, and most importantly, WHY. I quickly figured out that we were a LOT of different people doing a LOT of different things. People who originally may have been moving in the same direction, but were now rowing our own lifeboats and trying to convince ourselves that we're all paddling up the same stream. This was not the case. So I spent much time on my face praying about this. What do we do, Lord? And I kept coming back to the same thing: less is more

Trying to be honest - and fair at the same time - we easily had 14-18 different ministries trying to stay afloat, defend their territory, and forge ahead. In our very first Leader Huddle I presented a new approach: less is more. We want to be Starbucks, not Walmart. (And oh, how I meant that in multiple ways!) We laid out our biblical core values - worship. grow. serve. together! - and we said that if something isn't directly birthed from or pouring into one or more of these values, we're not going to do it. And there are even a few things that we might argue ARE birthed from or pouring into these values, but for now...we're not going to do them either. WHY? Because LESS is MORE!

In "Rework", Fried and Hansson talk about the first step that Gordon Ramsay almost always takes when trying to breathe new life into a "failing restaurant": he "trims the menu". They go on to say that "Improving the current menu doesn't come first. Trimming it down comes first. Then he polishes what's left. When things aren't working, the natural inclination is to throw more at the problem. All that ends up doing is making the problem bigger. The right way to go is the opposite direction: Cut back." It was a very difficult decision to tell many of these people I had only known for 6 weeks, "We're not going to do that anymore". Some people aren't fans or believers in "Less is more". That's OK. Some people are! And I believe those leaders, organizations, and yes, churches who choose to do a FEW things - those who choose to take the risk to even cut those things that aren't essential and "polish what's left" - will wind up with something that (over the long haul) makes a difference. A BIG difference!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

October 26, 2010

"Attitude Reflects Leadership!"

Last night you could hear the collective gasp of Cowboys fans everywhere as their team was just beginning to show the first signs of life this season when - nailed by a safety blitz - their Quarterback, Tony Romo, was driven into the turf. Anyone who's watched football for any length of time knew pretty quickly that his collarbone had probably lost that duel with the ground. [Ground-1, Collarbone-0] You know for most any football team, losing your starting QB is a hard blow to take. At the same time - especially for a "professional" team - shouldn't this be sort of like getting the wind knocked out of you? Stay down for a minute, let your gut and your lungs recover, get back up and hit someone! Right? 

Apparently not.

As I watched (most of) the rest of this game, I saw some serious leadership truths exposed. And most of what I saw, I pray I'm never guilty of. For instance, the defense for the Cowboys started this game with 2 interceptions - straight out of the gate! The first 10 points on the board might have been scored by the Cowboys offense, but the defense was responsible for them. But the instant those same 11 defenders stepped back onto the field AFTER their Quarterback had been injured, it was like they had forgotten how to play football. Eli Manning picked them apart like they were only 6 of them out there. And if you know the Cowboys, you know that they've purchased several All-Pro players on their defense. At least, I thought.

I watched one offensive series where the play calling from the Offensive Coordinator and the expression on the faces of the players on the sideline and the effort and attitude of the players on the field basically communicated to the back-up QB, "We know that you're the back-up, and that you have no ability to actually make something happen or win this game, but we're going to try and pretend that it's all going to work out and that we believe in you." Yaaaayyyy. Jon Kitna had to have felt like more like a pile of cow DUNG than a Cowboy. Always good for your self-confidence.

But the thing that really struck me the most was the lack of leadership from Tony Romo. Last night proved in crystal clear fashion that your title or position means NOTHING compared to your actions and attitude. In the words of Julius from Remember the Titans, "Attitude reflect leadership!" I've seen Quarterbacks in the NCAA and NFL get injured before. Many times. And I've watched them light a fire underneath the seat of their team by simply standing up, staying present, and saying with the expression on their face, "You can do this!" Not Tony Romo. He stood their on the sideline looking like a 3rd grader who'd just been benched for bad grades. I know, it's painful and it sucks to have your collarbone broken, but take some Advil and GET OVER IT! You're a PROFESSIONAL! Any "leader" who lives in a world where their team's ability to rise or fall - win or lose - totally depends on them, is not really leading their team. The look on Tony Romo's face - the attitude that was oozing out of him and spilling over onto every other player on that sideline and field - was painfully obvious: "Well guys, we're done." And how do you think that running back who missed his blocking assignment feels this morning? Probably like he is singlehandedly responsible for screwing up the rest of the team's season. Sucks to be him!

Tony Romo, I know you don't get this or see this right now, but this is actually your BEST opportunity to lead that you might ever have in front of you. What are you going to do with it? Are their 22 guys on that field....or 1?

This Sunday I'm preaching about the biblical principle of "Shared Leadership" - how God's design for His church(es) is NOT for one man to run the show. That point was visibly proven last night on Monday Night Football.

October 22, 2010

Sorry Shortcuts & Substitutes

I just received my brand new copy of Leadership Journal. I love this magazine! It's always packed with great insight, encouragement, and things to think about for anyone in Christian leadership. But I opened it today and on the very first page I read something that stopped me dead in my tracks. On the side column, titled "Preaching Booster", the first line inquires, "Looking for a source of inspiration and ideas for your sermons?" This is a column for the website & organization "Preaching Today". Good stuff! And while I know the intent and ultimate aim of this company & their column is to provide a creative outlet for illustrations, insights, and ideas to enhance your sermon, this is NOT what I read. The one major fatal mistake they made? The use of the word "inspiration"! 

There are times lately when I have felt like I'm on somewhat of a tirade about this - that I keep harping on it over and over. But in this day of plug-and-play, cut-and-paste, and collaboration...I think we've begun to rely and depend on some things that ultimately don't hold water. Whether I'm studying and planning and mapping out a new sermon series or fervently laying out the vision for our church, the easy way now seems to be the path most are taking. I know I can go online and within 10 minutes find 50 new incredibly creative ideas for a new sermon series that will reel people in and capture their attention. If I'm not totally sure of the direction that the Lord is leading me to courageously lead and pastor my church, well heck, I can just copy what you do. It's right there, in full color, waiting on me to surgically transplant it right into the body of believers that God has placed under my care. This so-called "inspiration" is right under your nose, in front of your face, waiting at your fingertips. But if I'm being honest, I don't find it to be all that inspiring. In fact, I think it's quite lame!

Let me stop circling the parking lot and just pull into the spot. The reason why this is a sorry substitute - a cheap, inauthentic, plastic version of the living, breathing, original creation that God intends for you and your church - is because every single shortcut we take in our preaching and in our ministry is born from a lack of prayer. Every single time I decide to get up off my knees, pull out of the pages of God's Word, and choose to go anywhere else for "inspiration", there can be no greater result other than something that's been seen and heard and experienced before. Do you get this? Do you understand - or more importantly BELIEVE - that God's Word is "full of life-giving power"? Do you grasp that to those whom He has placed the irresistible calling to "Preach the Word", He also provides a new heart and new eyes to see those words literally come to LIFE? When we stand to preach the Word of God is it evident that we've been moved and shaken by His Spirit to boldly proclaim His truth......or that we've done a really good job of taking that message and putting our own twist on it? Do we seriously think our people need a new twist?

Want to use a video to help drive home a point? Great. Looking for an illustration to set up where you're heading in scripture? Awesome! Happy hunting. And thank God for all the resources available to make that happen today. But if you're looking for "inspiration" - REAL, MIND-BLOWING, EYE-OPENING, LIFE-GIVING INSPIRATION - close the door, open God's Word, get on your face, and - much like the persistent neighbor in Luke 11 - don't stop begging, pleading, and asking until the Lord reveals that Word that He is longing to whisper. He's not going to shout it. If He spoke to Elijah in a whisper, what makes us think He's going to take out an internet ad to get our attention?

If you're a pastor, a leader, a youth minister - if God has called you in any way to lead His people - don't settle! He called you to use YOU! He called you to speak to YOU! To create something new in YOU! Don't miss it.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

October 20, 2010

The Church & The City

Last week during our Leader Huddle we had a time of sharing our "Dreams For the Kingdom". Some of our leaders really challenged and encouraged me with the courage and faith to believe the Lord will do these things in us and through us. But the thing that was most encouraging to me was that, out of all the things shared that night, almost every single issue, goal, and dream was for someone or something outside of the walls of our campus - for our city! I believe this is incredibly important for several reasons.

When you begin to see people - individual human beings whose lives have been transformed - beginning to show evidence that they truly believe the church - THEIR church - exists to take and advance the Kingdom of God to the world around them, this is something to shout praise about! When the hearts of God's people begin to beat for the lost, broken, marginalized, and overlooked - not just in remote, far-away places, but in their own city - this means that we're no longer living in a world of pictures and platitudes, but that we're gaining an understanding that we are actually, physically, tangibly called to love others. As a pastor, this electrifies me!

But one of the other topics of discussion that night was the potential of what God could do if these "dreams" began to take root in the hearts of other believers and other churches in our city. What if our church family and other church families began to experience a holy discontent over the same things? What if we came together (God forbid!), joined forces, pooled resources, and decided we were going to make more than a dent in a problem like homelessness or hunger...? Instead, we were going to eradicate it? How mind-blowing and life-changing would this be? What kind of impact could this have on the lives of people who are watching the Kingdom of God pass them by, yet still living like peasants who are begging for scraps? 

[Pause to allow Holy Spirit opportunity to sock you in the face with that idea.]

Let me first off acknowledge that I am quite aware that what I'm sharing and proposing isn't some "new" idea, like "OMG Brian! We never thought of that!" And I also know that there are places and cities where this is actually happening - where the answers to my questions, like "What if..." and "How awesome would this be..." are actually being answered. And it's because of those facts that it leads me to the most important question of all: WHY NOT? Why isn't this happening in more places? Why aren't churches joining forces to advance the Kingdom of God and grab hold of their cities as the hands and feet of God in this world? Why don't we come together rather than standing on separate corners of the street trying to accomplish the same thing? Sadly, I believe I have the answer. Many of us - whether we like it or not, want to admit it or not - are more concerned and consumed with the fame of our church than the fame of our King and Savior. We are more concerned and focus on the survival of our church than the salvation of our city. And it's really getting old.

I am growing more and more convinced every single day that when a church decides they want their CITY to be famous for Jesus and not their CHURCH, that is when the Kingdom of God will unleash! When our dreams become so big that there's no way our church can even hold them...that there's no way we could ever accomplish them without the intervention of the Creator of the universe...that they make a church building campaign seem like a child saving his money for a new set of Lincoln Logs.....THEN we might start to dream the kind of dreams that actually arouse heaven and awaken the soul of the One we claim to be following! We sing with great gusto, "Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city...." Seriously? Like what? Because if the Christians in a city can't come together to reach that city, why in the world would anyone else want to join us? Jesus' prayer in John 17 wasn't just for my little church. It was for HIS Church! Paul's exhortation in Philippians 1:27-30 wasn't just for that little group of people, but for ALL those who claim to follow Jesus Christ. "We are in this fight together!"

Are your "Dreams for the Kingdom" worth dreaming?
Are they actually things a King would dream about? Things that would prompt and motivate and demand the attention of a King? 
Are they for HIS Kingdom...or ours?

What are your dreams?
What do you want to see God do in your city?

October 18, 2010

Strange Bedfellows

In a series of posts and sermons recently I have talked about the contrasting views of the nature of the church - the Conventional and the Biblical - the Institutional and the Mobile. One of the things I believe wholeheartedly is that the call of the Church begins with the call of the Christ-follower. As a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ I am called to "GO and make disciples" and I follow a Savior who came to "seek and to save those who are lost". But the church (especially these days) seems to be on a mission to figure out the most subversive, relevant, and creative ways to ATTRACT people. Let me just get straight to the point: How is this biblical? Can the Attractional Model and the Missional Model coexist? Or are they the epitome of strange bedfellows?

One example of this mindset is clearly stated in an article written by Thom Rainer for Outreach. You can read it HERE
Make no mistake, I have read much from Thom Rainer and and highly value his leadership and thoughts. But in this case, I think we've got to seriously and fundamentally examine what this idea of "attracting" people is teaching us and what type of culture it's creating in our churches.

Nowhere did Jesus say, "No one comes to me unless the church first attracts him." And please, re-read that statement. I know that no one will conscientiously agree with it, yet...so many churches and pastors and denominational leaders keep preaching, teaching, and fostering this very idea. 

The church IS the Body of Christ. The church is NOT a place or event where you are responsible for coming up with the flashiest and most "attractive" way of luring people out of bed on a Sunday morning. The CHURCH does not draw people to itself, the SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD is responsible for this. Which begs the question: Are we spending more time trying to think of new ways to attract people (OR) are we on our faces and down on our knees praying for the people that we're equipping and encouraging and leading our "church" to reach out to with the Good News of the Gospel? Do we even understand the difference anymore? If your church has a Creative Team (like mine does), does it also have a Prayer Team? Are things out of balance? Seriously out of balance?

More to come.
Would love to hear your thoughts.

October 16, 2010

A Math Problem

Morgan is helping Libby with her homework. There's a "story problem" in her math lesson. I'd like to share it with you:

Rita and Lauren run 2 miles. It takes Rita 1 hour to run 2 miles. It takes Lauren 1.5 hours. Who has greater speed?

This "problem" creates other problems for me. (I guess you could say I have a "Math Problem" with this!) While it only requires you to be awake to answer the question - Who has greater speed? - I think the more appropriate question would have been, "Who's slower?" Seriously? She's running...and it took an hour? And maybe it would have been a better question to ask, "Who's been eating too much junk food?", which of course would have possibly required more available options like: a)Rita b)Lauren c)BOTH

I think the question should have been about 2 turtles. Or possibly a different question about Rita and Lauren, like "Rita and Lauren have math homework. It takes Rita 3 minutes to finish her homework. It takes Lauren 5 minutes. Who was eating Sour Patch Kids while doing their homework?" You see what I mean? That's a good question!

QUESTION: Are we teaching our kids to think creatively? To use their imaginations and watch the mental sparks fly? Or are we teaching them to take tests? 

October 13, 2010

Dreams for the Kingdom!

Last night at our Leader Huddle I asked the question: "What would we do to advance the Kingdom of God if there was nothing to stop us?" Some of our initial answers were pretty sedated. Lame really. But then I believe the Holy Spirit began to stir our hearts for bigger things. God-sized things! We started thinking beyond ourselves - our own lives - and doing something I think we often fail to do as followers of Christ - children of the God who hung the stars in place: DREAM. Where are our dreams for the Kingdom? Are they waking us up at night with that holy discontent that forces us to take action? If the God of the universe says, "Watch and be astounded at what I will do!" and that we will "see visions...and dream dreams"...then what are we waiting for? It's time to DREAM! 

Here are some of the things that we would love for God to unleash us to do for His Kingdom:
- Start an after-school program for kids in need; tutor at-risk kids
- See our mission trips explode! More trips, more global ministry!
- Develop a 1st Response Team to meet needs of families in our community that lose their homes or belongings through fire, flood, or devastation.
- Set up a FREE Medical Clinic once a month; offer FREE flu shots
- Grow a HUGE community garden on the back of our property
- Be actively encouraging & aiding the schools, teachers, firemen, police officers, and city leaders in our community
- Not just feed the homeless every now & then, but meet their needs!
- Know that every single person in Madison has heard the Gospel
- See more people come to faith in Christ AWAY from our campus than on it

As we wrapped up our "Dream Session", there are 2 important words that we talked about that factor into all of this: WHY and HOW. What's vital here is the understanding that these 2 words can lead us down very different paths. Let me explain. WHY is what guides us. Asking WHY is what generated all these dreams. WHY? Because (put simply) it's what Jesus would do. It's the call of the Gospel. It's loving your neighbor as yourself. The Holy Spirit is stirring up gratitude and love and hope in our hearts. WHY is not important to ask; it's essential! But HOW? HOW is what kills us. HOW is the plateau where God-sized dreams get awakened by the alarm clock of perceived reality. HOW is that nagging friend who always says, "We can't do that!" HOW, quite frankly, can become a sacred cow. It's rational and logical. It makes sense. Right? RIGHT?

There is only ONE answer I want to be able to give at the end of the day to respond to the question, "How?". GOD! Because "God did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won't God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?" YES! Because God STILL declares to us, "I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it!" HOW? To be honest, we really have no idea. We just know that God showed up. All we know is that God provided. Period.

I believe that we will begin to truly make an impact for the Kingdom when we start caring more about our CITY making Jesus famous instead of our CHURCH. When our dreams and visions begin to be so much greater than our church could ever accomplish without the Lord, they will be dreams that God will move heaven and earth to bring to fruition. God is not concerned with glorifying the church; He is focused on glorifying HIMSELF. WHO or WHAT are we focused on? Whose glory are we living for? Are our hearts broken over the things that break the heart of God? Are we broken for the lost? The hungry? Are we broken for our CITY?

So, back to that question: "What would we do to advance the Kingdom of God if there was nothing to stop us?" Well, before we ever even begin to answer or dream, we have to remember...there is NOTHING to stop us!

What would you do? What are your dreams for your city?

Habakkuk 1:5, Acts 2:17, Romans 8:31-32

October 12, 2010

Community Based Disciples

Over the last 2 weeks it has been incredibly exciting for me to begin laying out the mission - this biblical mandate - that God has placed on my heart for our church to "Equip God's People to Bring His Kingdom Everywhere We Go!" If you missed either of those messages I would encourage you to begin there. You can check out the podcasts on our website: www.thebrookchurch.com/pages/podcasts.html. To follow up with these messages I'm going to write a series of articles here to continue bringing this into focus and building onto the biblical foundation for this mission God has given us as a church. 

As we've talked a LOT about "Bringing the Kingdom" I know many have wondered, "What will this look like in my day-to-day life?" or "How will this change things in any way?" I believe a great starting point for those questions is in Matthew 18. In the NIV Application Commentary on Matthew, Michael J. Wilkins proposes that throughout His ministry and messages - particularly when He talks about the "Kingdom" - Jesus lays out 5 distinct aspects and characteristics of those who choose to come after Jesus and call themselves "Christ-followers". He presents is this way:

Matthew 5-7: Radical Everyday Disciples
Matthew 10: Mission-Driven Disciples
Matthew 13: Clandestine-Kingdom Disciples
Matthew 18: Community-Based Disciples
Matthew 25: Expectant-Sojourner Disciples

I want to look specifically at the Community-Based Disciples that Jesus describes in Matthew 18. There are 5 different situations or people that He speaks about in these 35 verses. In each case, Jesus describes 2 alternatives: the way of the world and the way of the Kingdom. Wilkins explains the alternatives in Matthew 18 like this:

1-6 - Pride is replaced by Humility
7-9 - I'm responsible for ME replaced by I'm leading other disciples
10-14 - Condemnation is replaced by Restoration
15-18 - Separation is replaced by Reconciliation
21-35 - Conditional Forgiveness is replaced by Relentless Mercy!

When these transformations take place through the power of the Holy Spirit and our obedience to God's Word, our witness as His church ("citizens of Heaven") comes both through our declaration of the Gospel and living out the Gospel as a family of faith. Our church - and ANY church, for that matter - must be characterized by humility, purity, accountability, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. And the only way these transformations take place in the life of the CHURCH is if they first occur in the life of the CHRIST-FOLLOWER. Another filter or lens to view this from in our own lives is to ask if the former "old way of living" (competition, independence, retribution) is being replaced by a "new life" (humility, accountability, mercy). Those characteristics don't come to a person "naturally" - they are SUPER-natural! They are the work of the King transforming the hearts of His followers into "new and different people". 

I encourage to you take some time, quiet your heart before God, and ask Him if this heart of a Community-Based Disciple is breaking through in your life today. If you ask Him, He will change you!

October 11, 2010

Vision Comes Into View

Conventional Model vs. Biblical Model
CHURCH - What does that word mean? To most, it implies or refers to a place or an event. In reality though, it's neither. The church is the Body of Christ. From the very beginning the church was called to be mobile, not institutional. The Gospel has always been spread through dangerous movement, not comfortable complacency. Jesus NEVER said, "No one comes to me unless the church first attracts them". He told his disciples to "Go" and "tell people about me everywhere", not to think of new and creative ways to attract and lure them in. I know, our methods of sharing the Gospel and carrying out our mission as His church are always going to be changing as the culture changes and people change. But if we're being honest - brutally honest! - aren't many churches today acting more like "safe havens", creating places where 'Christians' can gather away from the very people we are called to reach? Aren't countless amounts of time, energy, and money being spent on trying to figure out the latest, greatest way of attracting people to our "church"? The answer sadly is "Yes".  In my message yesterday (Click HERE to listen to the podcast) I talked about 2 very distinct models of the church (that I borrowed from Jeff Vanderstelt): the Conventional Model and the Biblical Model. You can see this in the picture above. Let me explain.

The Conventional Model says, "The Pastor's at the church. We go TO the church, give our money, and the Pastor gets paid to do the work of the church. We go home. Maybe we come back on Wednesday night. But the Pastor's always there, doing the "work" of the church." I know this sounds old school to many of you - and this of course is the extreme - but some variation of this is going on in churches all over the place still today. 

The Biblical Model teaches us that "The church is led by Pastor(s) (plural). We are part of the church. We give our treasure, our time, energy, talents, and LIVES to the church for the sake of the Kingdom. As the Holy Spirit works in and through us this divine inertia is created that launches and propels us OUT into the world. The Pastors are there to equip us to do the work of the church. Why? Because we ARE the church!" Are we equipping people to "come and gather" or to "go and make disciples"?

A great blueprint for the Biblical Model looks something like this:
Matthew 28:19 (Acts 1:8) - Acts 2:41-47 - Ephesians 4:11-13 - Philippians 1:27
Every church is UNIQUE! Every Christ-follower is a missionary!

Here at The Brook, our Vision::Mission is clear. We are called to:
"Equip God's People to Bring His Kingdom Everywhere We Go!"

More to come...

October 4, 2010

The Church or the Christ-Follower?

Yesterday morning I began sharing the beginnings of my vision for our church. After praying and working through this for months, it became very clear to me that this vision can't start with the "church" - it has to begin with the "Christ-follower". What I mean is, I don't think you can begin determining who you are uniquely called to be and what you are passionately called to do as a church until you deeply search the Word of God over who & what you're called to be as individual followers of Jesus Christ. And this is where I believe many churches get it backwards.

In our conference-crazy-culture (I'm going to one of them this week) it is an overwhelming temptation for pastors and leaders to look at the latest and greatest model of success - whether from another church or organization - and think that their method, philosophy, or culture can just be cut-and-pasted into our locale and "BOOM"...instant success! No chance. And denominationally (and I definitely know this one from experience) we've created a formula that says, "Here's what "CHURCH" is supposed to look like, so train your people, put them in these positions, staff your church this way, and make it work for heaven's sake! Again, no chance. And furthermore, NOT biblical! Some might say this is a "Chicken & the Egg" argument. Which came first? The Church...or the Christ-follower? Does it even matter? 

2 things to consider in the quest for answering this question and understanding WHO & WHAT the Lord is calling YOUR church to BE & DO:
  • Jesus talked more about the Kingdom of God than He did about any other subject: sin, hell, evangelism, church, relationships, money...anything!
  • The New Testament speaks much more about the issue of church leadership than it does about what the church itself is specifically supposed to look like.
Given these 2 facts, I am convinced that New Testament churches have one quest, goal, and aim above all others: seek the Lord's wisdom and guidance for how He is uniquely calling you to announce, spread, and bring His Kingdom everywhere you go! This calling is going to look different everywhere. There's no way to cut-and-paste this calling. You can't borrow vision. Many attempt to and wind up looking like a 5-year old trying to run in his dad's cowboy boots. [Picture that one for a second.] And the scriptures talked more about church leadership than about church models and formulas because God (in all His wisdom) knew that every single microcosmic church on the face of this planet was going to look different. But they were ALL going to need humble, courageous, Godly leaders who would patiently and prayerfully seek out His wisdom and direction for their unique body of believers.

I think many people walked out yesterday morning thinking, "Well, that was good, but I didn't really hear Brian's vision for our church." I apologize for those who always need resolve & resolution - yesterday morning was groundwork that could not be neglected. If we don't understand WHO the Lord has called us to be  and WHAT He has called us to do as His followers, then we will never be ready, willing, or able to catch the vision for WHO He is calling us to be as His church.

Want more groundwork? Ready to dig deeper? 
Search and study Matthew 18. See what characteristics you find of a Christ-follower and His church.