The #Sacramental Wok | Oct 9

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

A weekly Szechuan mix of spicy cultural happenings, sprinkled with 1st Article insights and a dash of theological musings, all geared to help the Sacramental Entrepreneur bring Jesus to his hood.

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Great Entrepreneurial Insights From John Legend

Posted by on Jul 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

John Legend might be a legend in the music industry, but what can a sacramental entrepreneur learn from him?  Read the article and I suspect you'll see the possibilities in John Legend's story.

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7 Marks That Say You’re A Sacramental Entrepreneur

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

FiveTwo is looking to launch 10,000 Sacramental Entrepreneurs over the next 30 years.  Which is a big number.  Which means we need to get busy.

But what, pray tell, is a Sacramental Entrepreneur?  Glad you asked.  Let me start back a few pages.

Every now and then, like almost every week, someone asks me, "What’s FiveTwo about?  Why does it exist?"  Well, we exist b/c the mainline, sacramental church in the US is dying.  The stats are atrocious.  And we want to do something about it.  That something is to start new.  We believe that in order to reach new, the Church needs to start new. 

Now I’m not talking just new church plants.  Although that’s part of it.  I’m talking the whole spectrum: new groups, new businesses, new relationships, new community developments, new ways of thinking, new ways of acting, and yes, new churches.

You have to get out and do some new. 

Biblically speaking, the Church needs to regain its apostolic focus. 

So we’re looking for the apostolic folk who want to start sacramental communities of all sizes and shapes, generations and geographies. 

We call that guy a sacramental entrepreneur.  These are men and women who love sacramental theology AND they love Jesus’ lost people AND they like to start new. 

We're looking for 30,000 of them.  Which would be 30,000 of you.

The 7 Marks

To help you know if you're in the Sacramental Entrepreneur club, here are 7 characteristics of SE's.  If you have 3 or more, we've waived the entrance fee.  You can thank me later.

1.  I'm burdened for Jesus’ lost people.  Very simply, I love them; I want to reach them; I think the Church should reach them; and frankly, I enjoy being with them, oftentimes more so than being with followers of Jesus.  They’re refreshing.  I want them in heaven.

2.  I’m tired of the status quo.  I am frustrated by problems that go unresolved and practices that need reforming.  Today is the day to start moving the ball down the field.

3.  I see “beyond” today.  I can see what the future would be like if we move beyond today’s changeable reality.  And while that future might move through pain, it is full of hope.

4.  I multiply growth.  More people, more groups, more impact, more cities, more whatever.  Somehow when God has me touch things, they increase.  Especially disciples.

5.  I see obstacles as opportunities.  Change is a resource.  Rules are made to be rewritten.  Not God’s rules, but man’s rules, of which there are an abundance.

6.  I attract like-minded, new-start people.  People tend to say “yes” to my invitations to follow, and we tend to have a good amount of unanimity in the journey.

7.  I start things without anyone telling me I should.  I'm talking clubs, ministries, groups, businesses….  Everywhere I go, I’m the guy or gal that launches new initiatives.  It just seems natural.  This characteristic is probably the most telling of your SE-ness.  And if this is really strong in you, years later those initiatives are still happening.

You might have noted that none of these 7 marks deal with what we mean by sacramental.  If that’s still a question for you, be sure and check out other blog posts on this site.

Are you an SE?

How many of the marks do you have? 3 or more?  You’re the kind of sacramental entrepreneur we want to pour into.  I'd love to know who you are.  Share some info in the comments below.

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My Favorite 3 Metrics. Are They Yours?

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Blog | 5 comments

Metrics: Your board loves them.  If you hit them, so do you.  But deep inside – especially if you’re leading a church or non-profit – you always wonder if your metrics are the right metrics.  “Is it Sunday worship?  Weekly offerings?  Small group participation?  Number of ‘divine appointment’ stories?” 

Then you have soft versus hard metrics.  Hard are the objective, they-are-what-they-are, and easily measureable.  Soft are the intangible, story-oriented.  The number of people who said “Thank you!”  The number of generosity stories we received.  More difficult but definitely speaking to the heart.

Mix soft metrics into the hard ones and it’s a real struggle determining not only the what but also the how

Some pastors I talk to possess metrics phobia.  “Just preach the Gospel and let Jesus do the work.”  Amen to preaching the Gospel and letting Jesus do the work.  But to negate numbers of any kind flies somewhat in the face of Acts, Numbers, the parables of the talents, and just a basic appreciation of stewarding God’s gifts well.  Metrics help us understand if our efforts are the right efforts.

Metrics can also be broken into two kinds: Leading indicators and trailing indicators.  Often we confuse the two.  Leading indicators are the metrics we measure to see if the trailing indicators are materializing.  An example:  a leading indicator could be “guests in worship or house church, or unchurched neighbors in our small groups,” while a trailing indicator could be “# of adult baptisms;”  the understanding being that before I can baptize an adult convert, I have to engage them and form a relationship with them in some other setting.  I need to have the leading events happening before the trailing ones materialize.

Thus the metrics we’ve landed on for FiveTwo.  Our desire is a movement of God’s Spirit that enlarges God’s kingdom.  We believe for that to happen we who are Church need to think in new ways, try new ways and act in new ways to reach God’s lost people in our communities.  Frankly, we need some new metrics.

So here are our Big 3, moving from leading to trailing:

·       1 from 10 (1 new apprentice from every 10 leaders in a local)

·       1 in 10 (1 new start in the next 10 months)

·       1 to 10 (1 baptism to every 10 people in worship)

These three are my favorite.  I hope they become yours as well.  Let’s take a look at each one individually.

1 from 10: Go back to that list of metrics that identify a movement from the previous post. One of the distinguishing characteristics is a grassroots ability to develop leaders. This breaks into two parts:  Identifying people with leadership ability, and shaping and developing according to their gifts and calling.

Leadership development has challenged the Western Church since forever.  We’ve lost the concept of “learning while doing.”  The rabbinical model employed by Jesus has become foreign to us.  What if we reinstituted it???

A commitment to doing things differently is what it takes. And that’s where FiveTwo's first goal fits. Conscious opportunities to walk beside someone, pouring into them; residencies and apprentice programs for leaders; those are some of the bests way to provide a new leader with useful real-time experience that can really equip them to make a difference.

What if we could develop a new kind of leader in a new kind of ancient way?

What if we could balance the experience that leaders in the movement already have with a practical on-the-ground-laboratory to try things out?

If your future leaders had that kind of apprenticing, residency experience, they'd be able to risk appropriately, measure their mettle, and fail without crashing to the ground.  Safety nets in the form of people are powerful.

Developing a mindset that seeks apprentices is key to FiveTwo welcoming more people into God’s kingdom.  When our metrics include future leaders – that’s what apprentices are – we’re saying that leadership is critical.  And when we create environments where future leaders can risk and fly, that’s when movements get moving.  Practical experience that not only confirms an individual’s calling to leadership but also helps them understand how this calling is expressed in their unique mix of spiritual gifts, talents and temperament in God’s kingdom, that kind of culture makes all the difference in the world.

The first goal for every FiveTwo local is to identify and enlist one apprentice for every 10 leaders in a Local.  Apprentices are key leading metrics.  No apprentices, no sacramental entrepreneurs who start new ministries that lead to baptizing 1 person for every 10 in worship.  Get it?  (If you’d like to learn more about how we do our residency program at CrossPoint so that the residents are self-funded, send me an email.  Let’s talk.)

The first goal for every FiveTwo Local is to enlist one apprentice for every 10 leaders in a Local.  Who’s your apprentice???  Is this one of your metrics?

1 in 10: It’s been demonstrated time and time again that to reach new people the church is most effective when we start new things. Familiar and comfortable isn’t appealing to people who aren’t already familiar and comfortable with what’s going on. That holds not only in the church environment but anywhere in human experience.

So what if we took seriously our commitment to reach new people by starting new opportunities? What if we could identify people who aren’t connected to our churches, to our ministries, to our small groups, and our missional communities, and begin brand-new stuff and take brand new steps with the sole intent of connecting them into the baptized Body of Believers?  What if new starts were one of your key metrics?

If we’re really serious about reaching people who don’t know Jesus, our best strategy is to start new to reach new.

The second goal for every FiveTwo local is to start one new ministry to reach people who don’t know Jesus every 10 months.  One new opportunity every 10 months.  Are you in?

1 to 10: If we're developing leaders (the point of the first goal), and we’re focusing our efforts on opportunities for sharing Jesus with people outside of Jesus’ kingdom, (the point of the second goal), and we’re intentionally replicating what we’re about, new people will be added to God’s kingdom. The real question is how many?

That’s where the third goal comes in: One baptism for every 10 people in worship in your congregation.  That’s a high standard.  But it’s the best of all the metrics because not only does it welcome someone into Jesus' kingdom, it also starts them on the path of discipleship.  Plus, it works no matter your worship setting: large church, house church, rural, urban.  If we worship when we gather, we should share Jesus when we scatter.  If we’re serious about expanding Jesus’ Kingdom, then let’s expand Jesus’ kingdom!

Full disclosure: This baptism goal used to be first in FiveTwo’s list. But one baptism for every 10 people in worship is really the outcome of developing leaders who intentionally start new things to reach new people.  It’s the trailing indicator, the metric that happens when the others are happening. If we get the heart of FiveTwo right and balance our strategies, imagine what’s possible.

What do you think?  Are these the metrics you’ll measure?  Will you and your FiveTwo Local commit to own these three goals? Better yet, will you and your congregation commit to these three goals this year and every year?   FiveTwo is dreaming about this. And we will help. But it starts with YOU making the commitment.  

We’d love to hear your comments below!

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Need Startup Capital? Get Handsome, Mr.

Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Apparently the prettier you are — if you're a guy — the more likely I'll give you millions for your startup endeavor.  This study out of Harvard lends credence to some of our nagging suspicion that he really did win the deal because he's just better looking.  Darn genetics.

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