3 Values To Help Entrepreneurs Start – and End – Well (cont.)

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Last post we talked about values.  Values shape culture.  When starting a new endeavor, one must lay the values as you start because values are both attractive and protective.  They define what’s important and appropriate.  But they also appeal to the heart.  They speak to the soul.  They are the intangible that causes individuals to buy the coffee or protect elephants.  Or revoke an NBA ownership.  They provide motivation.  They bring the stickiness that isn’t easily discarded.

Values function as both foundation and fences.  While people write tomes about teams and companies uniting around mission, people united around values cause movements to happen because common divine threads define their view of the world.

I’m sharing these 3 values not only because they speak to who I am, but because I have seen the power of these values at work, especially in starting endeavors that connect people to Jesus’ Church.  I share them also because they are the heart of FiveTwo. 

Our 3 core values are Sacramental Faith; Respect for All; Action-oriented.  Respect for all flows from Sacramental Faith.  Core to being Jesus’ sacraments to the community entails we live out a Respect for All.  That’s value #2.

One of Jesus’ most disturbing behaviors (to the religious leaders) was his lack of disdain for those “outside” of the established church.  His entire being radiated a deep love for people, regardless of the path they were on or the lifestyles they chose.  As Jesus’ real presence, “respect for all” is how we honor the Imago Dei in others even though the Imago Dei may be warped and but a shadow of the Creator’s original intention.  All creation awaits Jesus’ return.  By demonstrating respect for the pinnacle of His creation, I help His kingdom come today.

“Respect for all” leads me to:

·      Love people simply because they are people.

·      Love the culture I am planted in, seeking cultural bridges for the Gospel.

·      Celebrate diversity and embrace the varied ethnicities and demographics Jesus has placed around me – I can’t reach people I hate.

·      Be generous and humble to all.

·      Rid my voice of condescension.

·      Welcome people into my home and gladly enter into theirs.

·      Adjust my worship style to accommodate them, not the other way around.

·      Listen for Jesus’ unique desire and passion in a person.

·      Trust people before they prove trustworthy.

·      Invite them into my cause, providing them community and camaraderie.

·      Help them belong before they believe because respect is experienced ultimately in belonging.

·      Have minimal hoops for them before they “belong.”

·      Seek to understand and respect why people feel the way they feel, believe what they believe, and react like they react, especially when different than me, especially if they choose to never belong.

“Respect for All” means I listen to people’s stories, bearing witness to their value.  I give respect by acknowledging them, first and foremost as a human being and not a human doing.  Their worth is based on their place in creation, not on their performance.

Our third value flows from the reality that time is short, the harvest is coming, and today is the day of salvation.  That means we FiveTwo folks are Action-oriented.

Apostles, catalyzers, and sacramental entrepreneurs are action-oriented.  We talk as we go. We discuss as we do.  While our identity is found in Whose we are, our joy grows in what we do to extend Jesus’ Kingdom.  We like to decide and do.  Ours is an impatient lot.

Action-oriented means I:

·      Help people to do ministry before they have all the answers because we learn best by doing.  (Think the docent model of training.)

·      Embrace due dates because they provide fulfillment and end-products.

·      Don’t do task forces or study groups.  T-o-o  s-l-o-w and usually a dead-end.

·      Appreciate progress, especially the kind demonstrated by changed lives.

·      Study a problem while trying out solutions to the problem.

·      Value change as a resource.  If something’s not working, change it.

·      Know there is no such thing as lack of resources; only lack of knowledge of where the resources are.

·      Consider most rules negotiable, unless strictly spelled out by Jesus.

·      Understand that action helps build momentum.

·      Intervene when a need arises, taking the action to the next level.

·      Gather leaders who will own the cause.

·      Treasure any action better than no action, and the right action is awesomeness.

·      Don’t accept “I can’t get an answer.”  That isn’t an answer.  Make your own answer.

·      Dig holes or tear down walls rather than let them keep me from a goal.

·      Go, gather, build, explore, accomplish, and move the ball down the field every day in some little or big way.

·      Daily pray, plan and push toward the end-goal of making disciples from the harvest, for the harvest.

·      I start stuff rather than simply talking about starting stuff.

Action-oriented means people can trust I will do what I said I would do.  And I appreciate when others do the same.

Sacramental Faith, lived out in Respect for All, with an Action-oriented mindset.  Adopt these values and allow them to flow from your life into the ministries, businesses and community development endeavors you start.  They’re a beautiful way to live out our calling as Sacramental Entrepreneurs.

What do you think?  We’d love to hear your thoughts below.

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3 Values To Help Entrepreneurs Start – and End – Well

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

When I ask you for the common values that tie the likes of Estée Lauder, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, Oprah WinfreyRichard Branson, Madam C.J. Walker, Jeff Bezos, Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck, you might rightly guess: they all loved to start things.  These are/were all people who got ‘er done, made something out of nothing, and persevered when most thought them a loon.  From cosmetics to computers, from delivering household goods by wagons or by drones, these individuals saw a need and answered the need by starting something new.

New was not to be feared.  New was an answer to a problem.

That’s the attitude the sacramental Church needs today: “New” is an answer to a problem.  “Change” is a resource.

Often missed in entrepreneurial success, however, is the “why?”  “Why?” is a values question.  Vision is where you’re going.  Mission is how you’ll get there.  But values pre-date both of those.  They are the why for your mission and the heart behind your journey.  Values flow from who you are, tugging you out of bed when you don’t feel like being tugged.  They energize you when the mission changes or target gets missed…again.   

Values reside deeply inside of you – are frankly part of that “knitting together” David refers to in Psalm 139.  They are the Christ that is being formed in us.  In FiveTwo lingo, they are the presence of Christ in me, for you. 

Apostolic leaders innately know that when you’re starting something, you need to start with values because values are integral to shaping culture.  They function as both foundation and fences.  While people write tomes about teams and companies uniting around mission, people united around values cause movements to happen because they are speaking the same heart-language.  Similar soul songs.  Common divine threads that define their view of the world.

Three values that drive my life and undergird the ministries I’ve started are:  Sacramental Faith, Respect for All, and Action-Oriented.   These are my governing values.  I test everything I do against them, and the programs or congregations (CrossPoint Community Church) or networks (FiveTwo) I’ve started have all launched with these values coursing through their veins.

Over the next three posts I want to unpack them for you.  I have seen the power of these values in adding longevity and unity to startups.  I hope you embrace them for your own life and for the ministries, businesses and community development starts you undertake.  

Value #1: Sacramental Faith.   I’m from Lutheran lineage, of Germanic descent that landed in Central Texas in the 1800s.  When we hit Galveston, we brought not only a love for sausage but also a love for the sacraments.  They are core to who we are.  Everything we do revolves around what Jesus does in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and what, in turn, He does in us.

Sacramental faith means that while we emphasize what we’ve historically held dear, we also add a nuance that ups the ante.  We not only believe that Christ is present in the Word, that Christ is present in the sacraments, and that Christ is present in me; we also believe – with passion – that Christ is present in me, for you.  For my family, my community, my world.  You and I are the sacraments of Christ for our worlds.

Truth #1: Sacramental Faith flows from the Word of God.  This Word…

·      Teaches us about Jesus. No WOG, no Jesus.

·      Reveals God’s heart for man, and man’s need for God.  Both microscope and telescope.

·      Occupies a one-of-a-kind status.  No other book like it exists.

·      Self-authenticates.  The more you read it the more you realize how incredibly unified and true it is.

·      Provides the life-giving power of the sacraments.  It transcends calendar and GPS to bring the living Jesus to us who are defined and confined to longitudes and latitudes and chronographs.

Truth #2: Sacramental Faith trusts Jesus is really present in the sacraments.   Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are more than simply motions we go through.  They are real-time journeys of Jesus to us, in us, for us.  Baptism gives everything Jesus ever did (Romans 6).  His history becomes my history, daily anchoring me to His presence and power as I am daily drowned and raised. The Lord’s Supper offers me the really-present Body and Blood of Jesus, transporting me to the cross.  The new covenant Jesus fulfilled is poured into me once more in a tangible way I cannot deny, filling me with grace, reminding me of my place in His family.

Truth #3: Sacramental Faith means Jesus is really present in me. This means I am forgiven, called, and uniquely gifted for a unique time and place. I am a son/daughter in the Kingdom with a God-given destiny to fulfill in the family business of reconciliation.  I bring the cross to people so they see how suffering reveals God’s glory and pain brings about true healing.  I live daily in that forgiveness, enjoying it, celebrating it.  Daily Jesus’ kingdom comes about in my life.

Truth #4:  Sacramental Faith means that I am Jesus’ sacrament to the community.  Jesus is present in us for our salvation but also for your salvation.  We are the real presence of Christ given for our communities, lived out especially with lost people, in the moment, in their lives, for the sake of their souls.

Being the sacrament of Jesus for the community means that what I took part in on Sunday, I give out during the week.

This is the most important nuance of sacramental faith for the sake of reaching the world, because if the world cannot see Jesus living in you, the world doubts the value of Jesus to you.

If Jesus is really present in me, then I’m really His presence for you.  I’m here to bring you blessing, not a curse.  I’m here to give, not take.  I want to astound you with Jesus’ forgiveness, not break you some more.  I want to get to know the leaders in the community so they can get to know how to use their leadership for Jesus’ sake.  I want to get to know the poor in the community, so they can receive some of His riches here and now, in material, sacramental ways.

This sacramental faith means my orientation to people is full of G words, like generosity — I give of what I have even when it leaves me with nothing.  Like goodness.  When people think of me, they should think of me bringing good to their world — good food, good words, good feelings.  I throw confetti instead of dung.  And G words like Grace.  No matter where you live, throw a stone and you’ll hit someone who needs grace.  If I’m the sacrament of Jesus for you, I never apply God’s law to a broken and contrite spirit.  That’s not what it needs.  So I listen for your brokeness.  I’m constantly seeing where you need grace.

This is sacramental faith, the first of 3 values that will help you start well.  Next time, values 2 & 3: Respect for All and Action-oriented.

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The Best Mother’s Day Gift…Ever

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Mother's Day is this Sunday.  In our ministry, Mother's Day is the 3rd highest attended holiday in the year, beat out only by Christmas and Easter.  Mom's like their families worshiping together.

While Mother's Day is designed to be a day of celebration, our media-rich world too often celebrates the bad about moms.  Killing your babies or selling them into sexual slavery sells.  Sadly.

Here is a 3 minute vid on how to approach Mother's Day well…and make Mother's Day a day that lasts year round.


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Dream Big or Go Home

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Dreams are the playground of fantasy and fiction.  Whether we’re watching Leonardo Dicapprio try to escape one…


or simply daydreaming about emerald water lapping on white sands, dreams speak to what we hope could be (or if of a nightmare genre, what we hope could be not).

When our group of church planters sat in that 24-hour divine think tank back in 2009, our crazy 2017 dream was to grow FiveTwo from the nine of us to a local presence in 29 metro areas in the US and an international presence in five countries.

Today, FiveTwo has 40 local groups in 37 cities; over 800 sacramental leaders attending our annual gathering every September in west Houston; and an international footprint on the way.  God is taking us on a humbling but exciting ride.

As the journey has unfolded, we have fine-tuned the mission we’re on.  We realize God is calling us to ignite a movement of sacramental entrepreneurs.  These are men and women who follow Jesus and want to start ministries and businesses and community endeavors that help others follow Jesus well.  To ignite the movement, we need a network full of people with practical, personal know-how.  Which is why this year we’re investing heavily in a website overhaul, including the back engine that gathers the resources you need.

We’ve also realized, however, that our dream was a little small.  With 2017 only 3 years off, we sat back and thought, “What about a blue sky dream?  What would we love to see happen through our efforts by, say, 2044?”

It sounds like a long ways out.  And it is.  But we dreamed about it anyway, asking God for some Psalm 37:4 favor.  I’m not sure I’ll still be here to see how God answers, but why not dream?

So here you go.  Here’s our big, crazy 30 year, humanly-impossible but divinely-probable dream, boiled down into one cup of joe.  Are you ready?  Drum roll, please:  Over the next 30 years we want to enlist an unstoppable force of 10,000 sacramental entrepreneurs who start 1,000,000 spiritual communities.  Is that crazy or what?  30 years | 10,000 sacramental entrepreneurs | 1,000,000 spiritual communities.  

Those spiritual communities will include little churches, big churches, house churches.  They’ll include businesses dedicated to using their profits and influence to bring Jesus to the community.  They’ll include community development endeavors that move into the community and let the Gospel transform the community from the ground up, holistically.  They’ll include sacramental entrepreneurs who take baby steps and start a book club in order to get to know their neighbors so they can ultimately introduce Jesus to their neighbors.  

The sky’s the limit as long as these 1,000,000 spiritual communities’ ultimate goal is more people in Jesus’ kingdom.

If you'd like more than just a cup of the dream, here's the whole pot.  Drink away.  Embrace the caffeine.  Hopefully it will lead you to dream big as well.

30 Years from now, FiveTwo will be known as:

·      A Sacramental multiplication movement that abides in Jesus Christ while listening for and obeying the Holy Spirit.  Centered in Jesus.

·      A multi-faceted network built on a unified heart for helping lost people follow Jesus.  We all agree the harvest is ripe NOW…and we need to do something about it.

·      An unstoppable force of 10,000+ sacramental entrepreneurs who catalyze the Great Commission.  We're turning the world upside down.

·      A multiplication movement that catalyzes 1,000,000 sacramental spiritual communities, including churches, businesses and community development groups.  1,000,000 is a huge number–but not to God.

·      A truly global, multilingual movement with expressions in at least Chinese, Spanish & English. The three most spoken languages in the world.

·      A learning community spanning cultures and generations while growing in depth and numbers at all times.  Deuteronomy 6 stuff.

·      A movement equipped with multi-media and community building platforms. If the WWW is still around, we'll be there.

·      A movement that has experienced great conflict and because of this conflict, FiveTwo will grow in faith, wisdom and missional focus; develop nimble systems that deepen connectivity; and greatly multiply the Kingdom of God.  Conflict precedes change. We don't like it but we'll move through it.

There it is.  Holy-Spirit dependent and needing people like you.  We have a long ways to go, but the train has left the station and over 300 congregations are on board.

What do you think?  Want to sign on?  Drop your comments below.

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Leave It To Beaver, The Walking Dead, and FiveTwo

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

The world has shifted from Leave It To Beaver to The Walking Dead.  Your grandmother could not have predicted 15.7 million people watching zombies after church on Sunday evening.  My kids loved Lucy and laughed at Gilligan on TVLand, but they’ll be the first to tell you zombies rule the world. 

This fundamental cultural shift leaves many of the congregations we attend reeling and retreating.  They lack a language – they lack a love – that embraces the unique opportunity before us.  They have forgotten the power of the Sacraments and what it means to live those out in real time and space.

While it’s been said that the Church in the West is hemorrhaging, the Church of the Scripture is anything but.  It realizes the personal, sacramental role it plays.  Thriving and vibrant, it seeks to join the Father in expanding His Kingdom in today’s world.

Jesus followers don’t ignore the radical shifts in culture nor do they deny the mainline Church’s seeming inability to speak into them.  Their hearts break over both the condition of our country and the condition of local congregations who adopt a Sargent Schultz attitude.   How they address this new world, however, is at the core of their effectiveness. 

Do they simply dispense spiritual goods and services like your office vending machine?  Do they hole up in a Christian cave, shopping only at Christian bookstores and consuming only organic Christian food produced by organic Christian people while listening solely to indie Christian radio?  Or do they go on the attack, picketing their neighbor’s lifestyle, demeaning their neighbor’s children, and avoiding their neighbor’s need?

Dr. Robert Webber writes: “Christians in the postmodern world will succeed, not by watering down the faith, but by being a counter-cultural community that invites people to be shaped by the story of Israel and Jesus.”

My discontent in years past centered on the Church’s lack of counter-cultural community coupled with a lack of desire to truly invite ‘outsiders’ inside.  Often we became vending machines, dispensing what we wanted or what the culture wanted rather than wrapping what the culture needed in a language it could understand, in a food it loved, in a meal that truly satisfied. 

We counted inputs – people needing discipling – rather than outputs – regenerated, transformed followers of Jesus.   Or when no inputs desired to be put in to, we counted faithfulness, wrapping fondant around our unwillingness to change, hoping it looked like love.

Nothing wrong, mind you, with inputs.  You need them and you should count them.  Nor with trying to meet people where they are.  Read 1 Corinthians 9.  Frankly, too many congregations who love the sacraments on Sunday refuse to be sacramental – the real presence of Christ, offering grace and mercy in real-time, tangible history – the rest of the week.  They do church on Sundays rather than be Church on all days.

It was this reality, coupled with a passion to act rather than task-force our way into a thoughtful stupor, that in March 2009—after a few years of talking about it—nine church planters gathered in a makeshift conference room in a Lutheran community church in Katy, Texas. Three other guys couldn’t make it or there would have been twelve of us.

We brought in a high-powered vision guru, Will Mancini, and asked him to help us stop talking and start doing. He did.

After 24 hours of praying and dreaming and cigar smoking (not the entire time), we arrived at FiveTwo. Actually, the name careened out from the doctored brain of Scott Rische who deftly explained the community impact of the feeding of the five thousand, that everything the planter needs to feed his community is already in the community. It just needs to be brought to Jesus for blessing.

We all sat in silent awe.

Silence led to light bulbs and the birth of a church planting network specializing in the “personal how.” When it came to planting churches—immigrant, suburban, high cost, low cost, more traditional, and crazily progressive—this crew knew how.

And we were sticklers for personal. To a man, we had all been encouraged, inspired and coached by someone. We each had a guy we could pick up the phone and call when we were disappointed or confused. Which happened often.

Great consensus broke out, and we white boarded the steps to launch a network that brought “personal” and “how” together for those front-line harvesters in the US and around the world.

Since then, we’ve expanded FiveTwo to help existing churches as well.  We’re no longer just for church planters.  We now help existing congregations sharpen their community focus so they can start new ministries for Jesus’ lost people.  We want to help ALL apostolic leaders start more effectively.

So FiveTwo is here because The Walking Dead is here.  The Church never retreats.  It reforms, reshapes and redeems.  It starts new to reach new.  That’s the FiveTwo journey.  I hope you’ll join us in birthing spiritual communities of passionate disciples of Jesus that transform their worlds.

What thoughts or questions do you have?  Give us your comments below!

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