Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Joy of Apprenticing Others

Replacing yourself is about taking a responsibility that you own and handing it off to someone else so that they not only do what you do but also own what you owned.

All of us will be replaced. We will either replace ourselves intentionally, or we will be replaced unintentionally. In order to intentionally apprentice others we must resist the tendency to feel as though we are losing control or status.

The church is comprised of volunteers who carry on the ministry. Whenever you implement an intentional replacement strategy you increase the pool of volunteers and increase the quality of volunteers. Without a replacement strategy you will always suffer in both quantity and quality of volunteers.

The joy of apprenticing is that in developing a replacement we are present to watch someone do what we used to do and we can enjoy the process. We all will be replaced someday, but to participate in the process is a big win. To embrace a value of replacement will erase the question of how we get more volunteers. Replacing yourself as a leader is personal whereas just getting more volunteers is impersonal.

Why don’t we have more leaders and volunteers?”
• A leader’s insecurity
• A leader’s need for control

Ephesians 4:11-12 states that our primary activity is to equip others for the work of effective ministry.

Feeling threatened:
What if someone takes my ministry away from me and we are no longer needed? We need to realize that gifting and anointing cannot be taken away by others, only positions can.

Demands of working in the church rather than on the church will keep others out of ministry and not allow leaders to develop.

Moses had to address this issue. In Exodus 18 Jethro told Moses he was going to wear himself out if he didn’t start to replace himself with others. He told Moses to get men who would oversee groups of 10, 50, 100, and 1,000’s. Within this new infrastructure he appointed men who had different levels of leadership capacity. Each would have a different capacity, however all have within themselves an ability to grow and increase their leadership.

Because Moses listened to Jethro’s counsel Moses went from a force of one to a force of 131,000 leaders.

We have a lot of people in the wings coming along behind us that demand we break out of a self-limiting structure in order to allow them to develop.

We get caught in the maintenance matrix. When this happens, the demands of the current structure often take all of the leader’s time.

A primary reason churches do not grow is because they often have wrong concepts of what a leader is supposed to do.

Replacing ourselves requires deliberate effort or it will never happen.

We must not cast a leadership shadow in which nothing grows. To embrace this enables you to do less and accomplish more.

Raise the bar:
By doing it him/herself, a leader sets the standard. However, responsibility must be handed off so others can take on more responsibility and ownership. The apprentice knows what the standard is as it has already been set by the previous leader. However, the leader must make room for the apprentice to make mistakes and to grow in their responsibility and ownership.

Take the lid off:
If the same people are always assuming responsibility for things, there is a cork in the bottle when it comes to leadership development. It is expedient to broaden the base of leadership and allow others to grow. If you are a leader who feels you must go to every meeting and participate in every decision, if you have a high need for control, then you never broaden the base of leadership.

We do not have competition in our leadership. When one person does well, we all do well. Mature leadership delights in giving away responsibility and seeing others do well and garner praise. Success in ministry is not doing the task but finding others who can do the task better than you can.

Leadership must facilitate multiplication at every level in the church.

Make it a value that when anyone is leading anything, part of their responsibilities is to recruit, train and release others into the same ministry (i.e. children’s, youth, worship). Write down the names of one or more people you know who can help do this and go get them.

Volunteers in the church must see themselves as recruiters. Part of every volunteer’s job description is to replace themselves. When a volunteer in the church says to a friend, “You must come and watch me as I do this because I am so excited about it.” They are far more likely to participate and engage in ministry. Not only are they more likely to engage in ministry, but also to stay in ministry. This approach to recruiting is much more relational rather than task oriented. When you recruit by announcement on Sundays, you may get some sign ups but when the pressure is on they often quit. But if your friend asked you to come and help them, you are more likely to stick with it. It is the relational connection that solidifies their commitment.

Increasing the leadership and volunteer base of the church summary:

1. Replace yourself and see it as a win.

2. When you replace yourself with others, you become a multiplier.

3. Have multipliers at every level of the church.

4. Write down one to two names of people that you may train.

5. Every leader is to be a recruiter.

6. Every volunteer has another responsibility to recruit someone for their job. Every volunteer must see themselves as a recruiter, not just doing ministry but recruiting others for ministry and thereby multiplying your volunteers.

7. We will rarely get great leaders by giving a general plea for help. In fact people view it as somewhat of a failure, “Please come join our uninteresting, unchallenging, failing endeavors.”

8. Leaders are recruited one by one, through an enthusiastic, compelling vision. They do not respond to a general plea for help.

9. Relational connection solidifies commitment.

10. Leaders must recruit their own leaders.

11. Find the 20% that influence the 80%

12. Intentional apprenticing;
• Watch what I do
• I will watch you do what I did
• You do what I just did with you, with someone else watching you.

13. Coach others to a certain level. Set the bar high to ensure quality. Watching you do things at a high level automatically sets the level high for the apprentice to shoot for. An apprentice leader comes along with an excellent leader which sets the standard.

14. Apprenticing allows you to watch them before you hand over ministry.

15. If an apprentice has some issues (personality issue, methodology issue or doctrinal issue) it will surface during the apprenticing period. It’s better to discover this at that time rather than after they are in the position of ministry.

16. Because we are always learning many do not feel qualified to apprentice others. The goal is not to get leaders who feel they are such an expert and are therefore qualified to apprentice others, but to simply bring others on the journey with you so they can discover what you know and do.

How do we replace ourselves?

Step one: Break it down.
You need to have a clear understanding of what you do and why. Each responsibility should be broken down into steps that can easily be communicated and explained. Some people who lead various ministries in the church are very good at it, but couldn’t communicate what they do.

Step two: Be intentional about giving it away.
We are not in competition with people around as we are not running a race against each other but with each other. This is different than having people fill in for you. I am present when others are doing what I do. My apprentice is not filling in for me, he is replacing me. A seasoned teacher is in the classroom when others are teaching, it is not to fill in for you, but to replace you. They are there to coach you and applaud you when you finish.

People whom you hand-off to will make mistakes and these are a great training ground. Mistakes have no value unless someone is there to coach them afterward and debrief with them about it. Everyone involved at every level of ministry must understand that their goal is not a lesson well taught, but somebody to do it when you are not there.

Step Three: Allow them to run, own it, and walk away.
I have had to back away from meetings I once participated in order to let others grow into areas of responsibility. If you don’t let go, they will never thrive and grow. Control destroys apprenticeship.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I want to continue sharing with you in part 3 of the series “Reproducing Churches” from Tim Keller’s article “Advancing The Gospel Into The 21st Century.”

Keller points out two features in the book of Acts that are particularly applicable to the day in which we live. Keller notes that the strategy prominent in Acts is “Church-multiplying” (Acts 14) and “Gospel-centered” (Acts 15).

First, it is to be noted that the Church multiplied naturally. Church planting in Acts was not an aberration. It did not happen occasionally. In fact, Church planting seemed to be a consistent strategy for the advancement of the gospel. In healthy mission focused church life the reproduction of churches is to be desired, practiced and happen with regularity. The reproduction of churches in Acts was woven into the natural fabric of their commitment to the Great Commission.

Keller notes that scholars have looked to Acts to discover the elements of ministry. They list Bible teaching, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and worship. What seems to be strangely absent is church planting. They really miss a key element of the Acts church.

When examining Acts 14:21-28, Keller recognizes two phases to the Pauline strategy.

First: Christian formation. Paul in a very focused way produced believers. He did this by preaching the gospel. However, the word “preach” in not actually used, but the word they ‘evangelizdomenol; or ‘gospeled’ the city. This indicates much more than preaching. Paul preached in synagogues, communicated in small groups, debated and persuaded out in market-places, and led in participatory discussions in rented halls. And, of course, he engaged in one-on-one conversations. He was skilled at producing new converts.

Paul also went back to these converts and brought in depth instruction (vs 21b-22). He built up and strengthened new believers by teaching and re-teaching them. He laid a foundation that rooted them in beliefs and doctrine and practice. It is evident that part of the city being ‘gospeled’ was the way these believers lived out their life in Christ. The way we live before the city is itself a most significant witness of the gospel. In fact, the way we live our life in Christ becomes an apologetic for authentic faith. It is important not to miss the implications of preaching the gospel, which is certainly more comprehensive than just verbal proclamation.

Second: Church formation. David Hesselgrave, “Planting Churches Cross-culturally” notes that Paul congregated the believers. In chapters 14-16 they are led to gather regularly and are established into a community of believers. The next event was to congregate leaders, that is elders were appointed in each new community of believers. Paul always chose elders (plural) out of the converts who then became responsible to care for and to continue instruction to the community. Paul’s apostolic ministry handed authority over to these elders rather than have them develop a dependence on him. His relationship would be with the church but through the elders. His continuing connection with them was relational and gift-based, not autocratic. When Paul began meeting with them, they were disciples, (v22) and when he left them they were “churches” (v23). It is clearly evident that in the book of Acts church multiplication is as natural as convert multiplication.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I have been stimulated by an article written by Tim Keller entitled “Advancing the Gospel into the 21st Century” and have drawn some summary items from his article for this posting.

History has come full circle in that we are reflecting the 1st century worldview and practice. This, of course, makes the book of Acts, with the advance of the gospel of the kingdom of God, particularly helpful as we structure our strategy for gospel advancement.

Keller points to three characteristics taking place in the 1st century:

Firstly, it is a globalized world again. The Romans created a mobility of people, capital and ideas. Cities were multi-ethnic and international, which is also true today. With international trade, business, and the internet, cities are linking more to the rest of the world than they are the nations in which they are located. People in major cities are more like “residents in the major cities of the world” than they are like residents of their own country.

Secondly, it is now an urbanized world much like the world of the Roman Empire. During the period of the Greco-Roman world, large cities were powerful while the nation-states surrounding these cities were weak. Cities were the major influence of culture and power. Technology and the ease of travel and communication have weakened the control governments' exercise over their own citizens. Nations cannot control the flow of information or money in and out of countries. Multi-national corporations operate out of major cities and no longer are serving the interest of any country. Executives may live in several cities at once. The recent global financial meltdown is further evidence as to the power these corporations exercise in our world.

Thirdly, like the Greco-Roman world, our world is fragmented and pluralistic. The day of a national consensus' about truth, morality, and the nature of God are no longer in place. Cities are filled with multiple religions and people groups living within those cities. This is the result of the globalization of our world. Globalization has contributed to the rejection of western culture and the belief that humanism along with science will solve our world’s problems. As a result we are witnessing an increasing spiritual hunger among the peoples of the world. Further evidence of this trend is that more room is given for Christians to occupy philosophy departments at universities in the USA. Keller notes that departments of philosophy have gone from 0% to nearly 25% in our country during the last 30 years. More Christians are finding a place to be involved in the arts and scholarship. Christians have an opportunity today to more effectively influence culture, philosophy, and academics than at any other time since the 1st century.

Because our world so closely mirrors the 1st century, Keller notes the urgency of carefully examining the book of Acts which is so applicable to our present time in order to more effectively expand the gospel today.

In Part Three of this series “Reproducing Churches”, I want to continue to draw from Keller’s examination of the features of ministry strategy in the book of Acts.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Reproducing Churches, Pt. 1

At Jubilee Church in St. Louis we have a reproducing church vision to start twenty locations in the greater metro region. It was a special joy last Sunday to send out a team to begin a new location in the far western region of St. Louis, in the growing town of Wentzville. This next Sunday will be the grand opening. A team has been working all during spring and summer with preview meetings and many community service projects.

C. H. Spurgeon wrote years ago these timely words. “The Christian Church was designed from the first to be aggressive. It was not intended to remain stationary at any period, but to advance onward until its boundaries became commensurate with those of the world. It was to spread from Jerusalem to all Judea, from Judea to Samaria, and from Samaria unto the uttermost parts of the earth. It is not intended to radiate from one central point only; but to form numerous centers from which its influence might spread to the surrounding parts. In this way it was extended in its first and purest times. The plan upon which the apostles proceeded, and the great apostle in particular in his mission to the Gentiles, was to plant churches in all the great cities and centers of influence in the known world. (Sword & Trowel, Vol 1, April 1865, p. 63)

More than 300 years before the time of Christ, Alexander the Great was marching across Asia Minor as the commander of the greatest army ever assembled up to that time. This war machine had conquered every army it faced. When they reached the Himalaya Mountains, the leaders of the front-line came back to Alexander, filled with concern. “We have marched off the map, we should go back to where we know.” They had literally marched off the known map of that time. Alexander the Great listened to them and then said this, “Mediocre armies always stay within the known areas. The great armies always march off the map.”

Jesus, our great conqueror, gave a mandate in Acts 1:8 to this beginning and very small first church that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit came upon them to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. Jesus told this first church to literally “march off the map! to the uttermost parts of the earth!”

The book of Acts chronicles the forward progress of the gospel. The gospel was preached and a vibrant community of God was established in Jerusalem that led to the gospel going to Samaria and onward into Antioch, which became the first Gentile church plant. From the Antioch church Missional and reproducing churches were established in Turkey, Greece, Asia and Europe.

The Ephesus church reproduced churches in Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatria, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These cities surround Ephesus connected by a circular Roman road.

The Thessalonian church is commended by Paul because they reproduced into the surrounding areas to such an extent that Paul did not need to come into those areas that had already been gospelized.

The Church is central in the purposes of God. These apostolic churches were reproducing churches which was simply normal church life in the New Testament. Starting new churches was vital and central to mission of the church in Acts. Paul never evangelized and made disciples apart from church planting. When looking at the church in Acts people often mention Bible teaching, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and worship, everything but a church multiplying by starting new churches.

However, if our passion to be a reproducing churches it is important that we not lose sight of the main issue, with that sentiment I offer the following quote.

“In I Corinthians 3 Paul reflects on what makes for good church planting. And the key thing is that the gospel is at the heart of church planting. The Corinthian church plants had lost sight of the gospel. They were concerned with human power and wisdom. They were dividing over secondary issues. Paul puts the gospel of Christ crucified back at the heart of church and church planting.

"Those whose primary commitment is to evangelism can too easily get locked into pragmatism. The literature on church planting abounds with prescriptive techniques and procedures. Detailed plans are offered from forming a team through to holding public launch and beyond. Paul reminds us of the sufficiency of the gospel of Christ crucified. People are saved and the church is built through the sovereign grace of God and the power of the gospel (I Cor. 2: 1 – 5). We should be careful that what we build rests on the true foundation of the gospel of Christ (I Cor. 3:10 – 11). It is God who ‘makes things grow’ (I Cor. 3: 7)

"Those whose primary concern is church can easily get absorbed with the internal dynamics or structures of the church. Paul reminds us of the centrality of the gospel. Our great desire should be for gospel growth.”

(“Multiplying Churches” p.44)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Following "Together On A Mission" at Brighton, England I traveled up to Bedford, England for a weekend of ministry with Kings Arms Church. Monday found us flying back to the US for a a few days at home and then an early morning flight on Friday to Boston. It was great to be met by Ian Ashby and to discuss the schedule for "Celebration Northeast" while traveling to Gordon College. Gordon College is a beautiful campus which has hosted "Celebration Northeast" for the past few years. Upon arrival we met up with David and Scila Devenish who, along with Ian Ashby, would be sharing the speaking for this years "Celebration." Over the years David and Scila have stayed in our home and we in theirs, even enjoying a brief holiday together at Lake of the Ozarks one year. David has spoken at several of our events in the past and has always brought powerful and timely words. Later in the week Sam Poe flew in to join with David for our first "New England Cross-Cultural Training Weekend".

Ian Ashby kicked off the Friday night meeting with an excellent preach from Nehemiah with special emphasis on being about a great work and resisting the attempts of the enemy which would distract us. Both David and I dealt with the themes of building the house of God. It is always wonderful to see the continuity of themes building upon each other throughout a conference like this. There were times of powerful worship led by Tommy Stanley, as well as excellent times of ministry and testimonies of healing.

Sunday morning is always the time we receive an offering for the work we are involved in together. We were all amazed when Ian concluded the morning with the announcement that this years offering was the largest ever for "Celebration Northeast." The offering was just over $100,000.00 which far exceeded previous offerings. Praise God for this evidence of commitment to our mission to see churches planted, leaders trained, and the kingdom extended.

Having arrived back where "ONEBLAZE in St. Louis" is in full swing I look forward to speaking to these wonderful teens on Saturday evening. It seems like a long time with all the summer travel since I've spoken at Jubilee. So it is a joy to speak at Jubilee Church on Sunday morning continuing our current summer preaching series through the book of Acts.

I look forward to traveling in August to Oregon for "Celebration Northwest" hosted by Silver Creek Fellowship. I will join with Terry and Wendy Virgo sharing the speaking duties at this greatly anticipated conference for our Newfrontiers churches in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Following Mark Driscoll's remarkable message I approached him and told him, "You have spoken boldly and obediently with much grace and we are all grateful." He seemed to greatly appreciate how we had embraced him. It was evident that he had been drained of all energy as a result of his obedience in giving such an earth shaking prophetic word to us.

As is our custom following the conclusion of the Brighton conference, the apostolic forum, which is comprised of the apostolic leaders representing the nations in which we serve, gathered for fellowship and prayer. We had dinner on Friday together, and around the various tables we were eagerly attempting to determine in our conversations the meaning of what Mark had shared. On Saturday morning we meet for a few hours to pray and to embrace prophetic gifts. Terry opened our time by stating that he knew that what had transpired was from God. We began to pray for some of the cities we are moving into across Europe. During this time of prayer I shared a prophetic picture that had come to me at the last session of the Brighton conference. Time had not allowed me to share it with the conference. However, Terry encouraged me to share this prophetic word with the apostolic forum on the Saturday. Prophecies are not often impacting when put in print. However, at the forum a powerful presence of God was in the room as I shared the following.

I had seen a picture of a relay race with the stands filled with eager spectators. I saw the crucial point of transition when the baton was being passed to another runner. The hand-off of the baton is the most crucial point in a relay race, the race is won or lost at the time of the handoff. There is a moment when both runners have a hold of the baton and are running together. The runner receiving the baton must begin running and get up to speed so that at the crucial point of transfer both runners are running together. Their is that moment when both runners are running full out at the same speed and the transfer is made as the now new lead runner receives the baton.

As I watched this picture a most unusual thing occurred, the spectators in the stands stood up and begin to move down the aisles of the stadium toward the track. Soon the track was filled with the entire stadium emptied of spectators as all were running.

I felt that we were at a must crucial season as a movement when a transfer was going to take place. If there was ever a time we need to be praying for all of us who are leaders of Newfrontiers it is at this time.

When the spectators emptied the stadium and started to run on the track I felt God told me this is what was happening at the Brighton conference when all the attendees spontaneously stood to their feet and began to applaud. It was a prophetic moment that induced a spontaneous response.

We were not applauding Mark Driscoll, but responding to something much deeper. This Brighton conference was a time of commissioning an army to run together, this was a time of a future of amazing expansion of leaders and workers in the mission. This was a time when people were no longer observing the few run the race but that all could embrace a future that included all of them.

Following this prophetic picture an amazing weight of God's glory seemed to be present. Others in the forum began to pray out an acknowledgment that God was speaking. The many conversations and confusion as to Driscoll's remarkable prophetic word to us was made clear. Faith and energy seemed to punctuate our prayer with continual reference to this picture.

I would encourage those of you in the Newfrontiers family to respond to the above. While we are at a very crucial time in our movement, God is leading us and God is commissioning us. Let's respond and move to the track, their are churches to be planted, disciples to be made, money to be given, and leaders to be trained. It is a time for those younger men in our ranks to consider seriously the call of God and the opportunity to participate. It is a time to refuse to be spectators. While we rejoice in God's gracious love expressed to us I implore you to pray much for Terry and those of us who are involved in apostolic leadership.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Mark Driscoll had been most gracious and helpful in his previous sessions and would on his final main session drop a bombshell. It would seem the phrase that really caught our attention was "And now I will hurt you..." This talk would end in a very personal way to the family of Newfrontiers churches.


Mark addressed the issue of the progression of movements and it would soon be evident that his observations would be most direct as it relates to Newfrontiers as a movement. He began by challenging the UK Newfrontiers churches to think beyond the goal of 1000 churches and that we should be growing much more quickly than we presently are. He addressed his view of apostles today with a statement that he did not believe in apostles today with a capital "A" as the original Apostles wrote scripture. However, I would point out that it is important to note than not all the Apostles wrote scripture and the apostle Paul who was not one of the original twelve wrote much of the New Testament. Of course, we in Newfrontiers would agree with Driscoll and also see that the original Apostles stand in a different category from present day apostolic ministry. Driscoll stated his belief in present day apostles who lead movements and plant churches. He was clear that Terry Virgo was apostolic and noted the five thousand leaders present was good evidence of that fact.


Mark then made a strong case for reaching the major cities by seeing Paul as an example of this strategy. Mark challenged us that a strategy for the city was crucial as their are more people there and culture is made and flows from the city. He used the illustration of a river in that cities are upstream and therefore everything flows downstream into the rural areas from the city. If we want to transform culture we must start at the headwaters of the river which is the city. He determined that it is the type of people found in the city, those who have influence, the arts, the music, publications, the universities, the politicians, the academics, the students, and therefore reaching cities is vital to the transformation of culture in rural areas. Newfrontiers in the USA has a goal of planting one hundred reproducing churches in the top one hundred cities in the United States, with this view that these churches would multiply and be an instrument in affecting our nation and beyond.


Movements begin simply with a few "friends who club together." Then God raises up a leader who becomes the visible face that God has called to lead them. This then becomes the beginning of a movement. In this primitive state growth takes place, their is much zeal, a clear sense of purpose and mission which leads to even more growth. Soon their is a clarification of doctrine, practice and values that express a mutual vision.


A movement then experiences pressure to institutionalize. The Founder and his friends will occupy all the senior leadership positions. Ultimately those who are emerging young leaders may feel their is very little room for them and therefore the danger that those who feel marginalized may begin to leave the movement. It is at this stage that those in senior leadership positions must address whether they will make room for emerging young leaders.

Another danger is that the movement may close ranks and refuse to listen to others outside of the movement. A movement will have it's own style, publications, familiar and tested leaders and then attempt to guard what they have become secure in. Making room for other less mature, less tested and younger leaders will assist in avoiding the almost irresistible pull toward institutionalism. Actually, while those original founders and tested leaders of the movement are in place provides the best opportunity to father, coach and make room for those who now want a seat at the table. Driscoll commended Newfrontiers for their willingness to take risk and receive those outside Newfrontiers to speak into and receive seriously the input of those form the outside which is a key to avoiding institutionalism.


Following from institutionalism will result in becoming a museum. Now the emphasis is on history and conveying the story. Driscoll pointed out that this transition from institution to museum can happen in one generation.


1. Theologically

A drift that leads to compromising ecclesiology. Their is a ditch that derails on both sides of the road and therefore a movement can move to the left and become to loose or liberal. They can also move to the right and become far to tight and conservative. It is vital to never debate the primary sound doctrines of scripture but be very open to debate issues of a lesser importance. The difficulty comes when secondary issues become primary issues and therefore there is no room for debate and adjustment. However, the primary doctrines of the historic Christian faith are not to be tampered with.

2. Relationships

While Driscoll commended Newfrontiers on the above issues as being very healthy he noted that the issue of relationships was a concern. Relationships can become an end rather than a means to an end. We get derailed in the area of mission and maintaining our friendships becomes the mission. Mission as our primary function must not be sacrificed on the altar of friendship. I have had to face this issue with the tremendous friendships I have enjoyed on my own leadership team. Would I be willing to break up our team in order to send my friends to other places for the sake of the Great Commission? Of course, the Newfrontiers churches in the US are fully aware that we have been willing to do this for the sake of our mission. It is a very real joy to see these same friends flourish in the distant places of our nation and beyond into other nations as well as to note the progress of the gospel. Therefore it is paramount that local churches and our movement avoid the danger of relational resistance to the primary mission of planting churches and going into all the world to make disciples.

3. Organizational structure and systems.

While movements begin through relationships and personal verbal communication there comes a time when we must embrace systems and structures as a vehicle for communication. This would include publications, papers and written forms of defining values, practices, and policies as a way to define us. It is not the abandonment of relationships but the addition of infrastructure that more greatly facilitates our mission.

4. Pride and elitism

Only reading our own publications, singing songs that have only come from us, and a refusal to listen and embrace those outside the movement is an issue of pride. Their will be times when it is necessary to receive the wisdom of those outside Newfrontiers. Their are limits to the wisdom and giftedness of the movements leaders therefore in order to be healthy we need to embrace the deposit God has placed in others outside our family of churches. It is crucial that we not see our uniqueness as superior to what is happening outside of Newfrontiers. Nor should we so honor our founders that we are unable to receive gifted leaders outside our stream. Mark commended us for our willingness to receive outside leaders such as himself.

5. The need to focus on our primary calling.

Movements lose their way when they when they begin to run toward areas that are not their primary calling. He then illustrated one movement that began as a church planting movement but shifted to more of a renewal movement and have now lost their way. They then ceased to plant churches being dissipated by to many other emphasis. Newfrontiers is a church planting movement. However, Driscoll felt that we ought to be planting more churches than we presently are and therefore he questioned if their were other non-essential areas in which we are spending our energy.

6. Movements flatten for lack of publications

He challenged us in this area of needing to publish more. Publish our doctrines, values, practices, I.e. doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Church planting, etc. Next comes the Mark Driscoll bombshell.


7. Movements lose their way because they fail to simultaneously Honor the Founder and the Future.

One danger is that a movement has so much love and honor of their founder (and who doesn't love Terry Virgo) that they will risk their future. However, the opposite is also true in that a movement can be so eager to move into the future that they fail to honor their founder. Mark believes that this is the most crucial issue facing Newfrontiers. He then had us vote as to which danger we were most prone to and a vast majority raised their hands stating that we would be most prone to so honor our founder that we failed to move into the future. At this point the entire conference were absolutely fixed in rapt attention. Mark was in perfect agreement that this was an issue for us. However, he was quick to state that we should honor our founder but challenged us as to the best way we could honor Terry by remaining a movement that honors Terry's passion by building upon the foundation Terry has laid.

At this stage Driscoll announced that God had spoken to him and he had a prophetic word for our movement and Terry. He really had our attention. Mark looked directly at Terry and began his prophecy. He told Terry that "Newfrontiers was like a daughter to you. You have birthed it, held it, guarded it, cared for it, tended to it, prayed for it, loved it. You have been an amazing father to them." Mark said that while at Terry's home he had noticed all the family pictures. In particular he had noticed a picture of the wedding of Terry's daughter and a picture of Terry walking Anna down the aisle to give her away. He felt that God said, while not in the immediate future, "there will come a day when you will need to walk Newfrontiers down the aisle and marry her to a great man so she will have children."

Mark then urged the Newfrontiers leaders to begin to pray for Terry as he prepares to make this transition. He stated that God would tell him and we should be ready for it when it comes. He admonished us to begin now to pray daily for Terry that he would have absolute certainty when it is time to walk Newfrontiers down the aisle, that Terry would have a certainty when it is time to walk down the aisle, an absolute certainty about which man or men he should entrust her to.

Mark then addressed the delegates at the conference "You think of it a lot, but speak of it very little, because you love Terry. And you don't want to dishonor him."

He then urged us not to move to aggressively towards being all about the future. However, this is central to whether we will continue to be healthy or die. Again Driscoll urged us to pray for Terry, to pray daily that God would reveal to him when and how and who so that Newfrontiers will remain a movement. He mentioned that London is full of museums and we don't need another one. We don't need to be just telling the stories in thirty years. We want praises to Jesus to still be sung.

Driscoll then reviewed Rick Warren speaking about movements.

Following Driscoll's message it was evident he was deeply moved. The entire conference was in tears but spontaneously stood on its feet and began to applaud. At which time Terry came to address the conference. Terry was visibly moved as he stood at the microphone. He stated that there had been a few times in our movement that were historic. He mentioned Kreingsak and Simon Petit who gave us an apostolic mandate to care for the poor. Terry said that he knew God had spoken to him to invite Mark Driscoll, but that he had no idea he would feel so taken apart by him. Terry prayed and thanked God for His care of newfrontiers. He thanked God for Mark Driscoll and stated that Mark was one of God's most remarkable servants. He prayed thanks for the high privilege of having Mark Driscoll on the Brighton platform and of how we are really a family on a journey with a God who is continually expressing his love for us.

Of course, the question will be on everyones mind as to the speed and pace for such a transition. Mark and Terry have spoken about this and we believe this issue will be evident during the course of the next five years.

In my next blog to follow I want to address you in a personal way.


One of the major issues facing us today is the issue of being clear on our Ecclesiology. I am greatly encouraged by the emphasis we are seeing on being missional however the great danger is a missiology without a clear ecclesiology. Mark Driscoll helpfully began his second main session with the Newfrontiers leaders by giving us eight defining marks of what constitutes a church. It is evident that Driscoll has a very clear understanding of ecclesiology along with being very missional. He presented eight points that he believes clearly defines church as follows:

1. A regenerated church membership
2. Called and gifted church leadership
3.. A regular gathering of believers for the preaching of the Word and Worship
4. A church is a place where the Sacraments are rightly administered.
5. A unity and love which is the evidenced work of the Holy Spirit among His people
6. A place where people experience church discipline in order to walk uprightly
7. A place where people practice the Great Commandment to love one another and our neighbors
8. A place where people actively obey the Great Commission to make disciples

Driscoll then proceeded to outline various views and practices of the way people see the church.

1. Some would see the church as a bomb-shelter and rather than engaging culture preach against it.
2. Some would see the church like a mirror and mirror the values and practices of the culture. Rather than affecting and converting culture the church is in fact converted by culture.
3. Some would see the church as a parasite. They take from culture rather than giving to it. I.e. not serving the poor, not doing good to benefit the city.
4. Some see the church with the biblical view of a city on a hill and thus become a city within a city. This church loves the Bible, is grace filled, and expresses the power and presence of God to the city.

Driscoll after carefully presenting his ecclesiology then moved on to the church as a missional community by identifying twelve aspects of a missional church.

1. A missional church sees itself as an outpost with a view to expand and add disciples of Jesus. A missional church should not be defined by the number of people in a room on a Sunday but rather as the number of people on mission together.
2. A missional church sees every believer in that church as a missionary. A people eager to reach the unbelieving. A church that shares the gospel at each gathering making it easy for people to bring unbelieving friends to the gathered church meetings. Equipping people to live in such a way as to be able to find opportunity to share the life of Jesus.
3. A missional church is aware of and engaging its local culture. Aware of media program's, music, movies, local issues, print media, all in order to be educated and prepared to engage culture.
4. A missional church contends and contexualizes the gospel, giving itself by all means to save as many people as possible.

Mark spent a great deal of time on point three and four and therefore did not complete all twelve aspects of a missional church. I recommend again that you go to the Newfrontiers international website for the free download of this message.

I was very pleased that Mark had set out a strong case for what constitutes the church before engaging the issue of being missional. There is much to appreciate about this man and I must say very exciting to hear someone who has such significant influence tracking the way he is. We have so very much in concert with Driscoll in Newfrontiers. I found him very provocative, bold and yet gracious. He said things to the five thousand leaders gathered from more than fifty nations representing Newfrontiers that we need to hear and digest. In particular in this talk he addressed the issue of multiple meetings and multiple campuses which has not been the norm for many of our churches. After this talk many leaders made their way to the various restaurants in Brighton to discuss this preach. It was my impression that the entire place was really buzzing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I want to share with you a brief summary of the three main sessions Mark Driscoll brought to Newfrontiers leaders at Brighton and then conclude with a personal summary. Today I bring you bullet points of Mark's first main session preach. It is our practice particularly at the Brighton "Together On A Mission" Leaders Conference to bring someone from outside the movement to speak to us. In past years, we have enjoyed John Wimber, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, and Rob Rufus, just to name a few.

However, it seems this year their was more buzz regarding the appearance of Mark Driscoll to our international conference than any other speaker. Most are aware of Mark's provocative style and we were all waiting to hear what he might say to us. Mark had been asked to speak at three main sessions as well as three seminars, more than any other speaker in the history of this conference. Labeled as a modern day Spurgeon, five thousand attendees could hardly wait to hear him live. Let me encourage you to download for free Driscoll's talks on the Newfrontiers international website. Following is a brief summary of the Tuesday main session.


Driscoll commended us as Reformed and Charismatic who have avoided many of the Charismatic issues he sees plaguing American charismatics. He then noted some of these issues as follows:

1. Charismatics focus on the wrong person.
The focus is Jesus, the Holy Spirit leads us to the centrality of Jesus. Driscoll feels that Newfrontiers has avoided this pitfall of making more of the Holy Spirit than Jesus.

2. Charismatics focus on the wrong event.
Many charismatics focus on Pentecost, however Pentecost points to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Again, Driscoll feels we in Newfrontiers have avoided this error and that Jesus is central to us.

3.Charismatics focus on the wrong person as the definition of what it is to be Spirit-filled and spirit-led.
Too much emphasis on the person being lifted up. Driscoll commented that Terry Virgo lifts up Jesus. It is in the life of Jesus we find the example of how to be filled with the Spirit, not some gifted leader.

4. Charismatics are insufficiently missional.
If a charismatic is also reformed in theology their can be a tendency to be passive in mission. We can wait for revival instead of being pro-active in mission. Driscoll believes that we may have some issues here; committed to mission but not as energetic as we could be. We should be planting more churches and giving more money.

Driscoll then took us through Luke and Acts in order to outline the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus and the believer.
1. The Spirit fills people
2. The Spirit-filled life includes miracles
3. The Spirit-filled life includes prayer
4. The Spirit-filled life includes prophecy
5. The Holy Spirit fills us with a fire for mission
6. The Spirit leads us into hardship and testing
7. Spirit-filled ministry includes preaching the word
8. Spirit-filled ministry includes justice for the poor
9. Spirit-filled ministry includes joy in the Lord
10. The Spirit is given to us by the Father
11. The Spirit teaches us what to say
12. The Spirit-filled life results in repentance
13. The Spirit-filled ministry results in repentance
14. The Spirit-filled ministry results in devotion to one another and awe towards God.

Driscoll then begin to present the marks of the New Testament Church. He admonished us that the goal of 1000 churches were too small. Driscoll seemed to be confused as to this being the total goal of Newfrontiers in church planting when in fact this is only a goal representing the Newfrontiers churches in England. He seemed to be impressed with the biblical balance of Newfrontiers in avoiding many pitfalls commonly associated with charismatics and reformed movements while warning us of the areas we may have some danger.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

England Trip #1 - Alder Road Baptist Church, Poole, England

Upon arrival back in the US from Mexico, Linda got busy with laundry and I got busy with issues pertaining to Jubilee Church in St. Louis as well as preparation for our trip to England. We had just a few days to recover and soon found our way on a plane to England for four days in the city of Poole.

Matt Hosier, formerly the leader at New Community Church in London, is now leading Alder Road Baptist Church in Poole. He arranged our early morning transport from Heathrow airport and upon arrival in Poole we enjoyed a short time of meeting our host's home. Alan and Kate made us feel so welcomed and quickly became our new friends. I then hurried off to a meeting with the elders of Alder Road Baptist Church for a time of discussion and questions about many topics of interest. I enjoyed the openness, warmth and quality of questions coming from these wonderful men.

Alan, our host and also an elder, expressed his need for healing at the conclusion of our time together. He had severe pain in the abdomen and had been unable to sleep and eat. In prayer, the pain left and throughout our stay Alan enjoyed his meals and much needed sleep. To say we were off to a good start with evident grace is an understatement.

It is evident that Alder Road Baptist Church has great affection for Matt Hosier and have received his excellent leadership. This is a church with a long history, having begun nearly 75 years ago. They are up for major change and greater connection to all that we are doing in Newfrontiers. I feel that God enabled me to be of assistance in preparation for significant steps forward in what will no doubt be a significant church in the nation.

I had several meetings during the weekend with various leaders from the church, as well as the entire church. Linda and I met in separate gatherings with young men and ladies the first evening of our arrival. We also shared together an evening with couples on the topic of marriage. It was an excellent time, much fun and laughter, and the feedback from the couples present was most gratifying. I felt that God really knit our hearts with this church and we look forward to returning, as Matt has already extended an invitation. The Sunday morning preach went well and at the conclusion their was an evident presence of God as people were deeply moved in preparation for a special offering to extend the building to better handle the growth that is taking place in the church. I look forward to hearing from Matt regarding the offering received.

Linda and I have enjoyed our years of relationship with Matt and Grace as well as New Community Church in London. It is very gratifying to now have a similar relationship with Alder Road Baptist Church in Poole.


While I am still in the midst of a very demanding travel schedule this summer, I wanted to bring you an update. Upon arrival in Mexico we were met by my good friend Oscar Suarez, who leads Fuente de Vida, a growing church in one of Mexico's largest cities, Guadalajara.

Oscar and his wife, Bibi, took us to one of those wonderful Mexican restaurants for a refreshing drink and snack in route to our hotel. These are people who are so warm and hospitable, making us instantly feel at home. Although one has to deal with issues of language, the warmth and eagerness to receive seems to transcend the language barriers. At the hotel we met up with Lee and Stacy Yarabourgh. Lee leads the Mexican apostolic team and we enjoyed a brief time of conversation with them.

That first evening included a wonderful dinner with the Newfrontiers Mexican leadership team and their wives. The following morning I had breakfast with the team and discussed the sessions I would be doing at the Mexican Leadership Conference on "developing leadership" and "leaders and wives together on a mission", as well as one session which would be a topic of my own selection. It was great to make connection with these wonderful men and to catch their heart for strengthening leaders and planting churches.

That evening was a time with the twenties age group of Fuente de Vida, for a teaching and question and answer concluding at the end with "Carne Asada," a Mexican meal. It is impossible to maintain one's weight in Mexico with the delicious food and meals that tend to follow late night meetings. However, it was wonderful and fulfilled my passion for Mexican food.

Thursday was the beginning of the Newfrontiers Mexican Leaders Conference in Chapala. It was a delight to see so many leaders and wives booking in and to note the warmth and receptive hearts to my teaching. My sessions on "Leaders Replacing Themselves" and "Increasing Leadership Capacity" were well received. Linda and I also enjoyed sharing together on the theme of "Leaders and Wives Together on a Mission." My final session included a time of ministry in which leaders throughout the building were receiving powerfully and being refreshed. I was pleased that I received prophetic insight into specific situations for various leaders, and was able to lead a time of ministry following sharing those insights.

It was a privilege to conclude our time in Mexico with Sunday at Fuente de Vida where, following the time of preaching, the front was filled with eager people wanting to respond to the message. A great deal of significant ministry followed and evident blessing could be seen on the faces of those responding.

I am thrilled with the healthy connection we have with the leaders in Mexico and am personally provoked by their obvious desire to see churches planted throughout this country and beyond into the America's. It is wonderful to note their connection in Brazil, Cuba, and Bolivia.

Many expressed appreciation for the USA churches that have continued to sponsor their trips to our USA "Equipped for Mission" leaders conference. I commend our churches for your commitment to the Mexican churches and received many statements of appreciation for the friendship we enjoy together. I do believe that in the future our relationship will translate into us planting churches together in the USA particularly among hispanic people, as well as beyond our borders. The relationship we enjoy together is most rewarding in their wonderful contribution to our churches.

Our friendship with Lee Yarabourgh continues to deepen. I look forward to Lee again joining our USA team meetings and the contribution he is making to us. Lee is now temporarily based in the USA while serving Clark Fork City Church in Missoula, MT. He is in the process of leading that church into Newfrontiers. It is also exciting to note that Lee's relationships with churches in the Northwest is having an effect, as several are now looking to Newfrontiers. I anticipate some exciting developments there as this growing region benefits from Lee's involvement with us in the USA.

Friday, June 13, 2008


In just a couple of days Linda and I are off to Mexico where I will be speaking to the Newfrontiers-Mexico Leadership Conference. I shall speak several times regarding the development of leaders. Linda and I will also teach a session on the leader and his marriage. In addition, I have been given the freedom to preach on a topic of my own choosing for the final session. After the conference it will be an honor to speak at the Newfrontiers church Fuente de Vida, where Oscar Suarez is the primary leader. Please pray for us that we will be a help during these important days. It is always a challenge to speak through an interpreter, which demands cultural sensitivity and not being overly ambitious with the amount of material I bring.

We will return just a few days before traveling to England. Over the 4th of July weekend, I will be in Poole with the church led by Matt Hosier, both preaching at their main meeting and sharing with emerging leaders in a smaller context. Linda and I will address the issues of marriage to the wider church body. Then it is off to Brighton, England for the "Together on a Mission" leadership conference. We will be among the 5,000 already booked in. Following the Brighton conference we will be involved in the International Forum of apostolic leaders around the world. We will conclude our days in England by traveling to Bedford for a weekend with King’s Church.

Upon our return to the USA I will only have a couple of days to get over jet-lag before traveling to New England for "Celebration Northeast." I would greatly appreciate your prayers for these important meetings as well as for physical stamina in the face of a demanding schedule.


When I meet people they will sometimes ask me what denomination I am a part of. It is often difficult to explain to people outside of our family of churches exactly who I am and what I am a part of. I may tell those who have some understanding that I am a "reformed charismatic," which also has implications I am not too happy with. I like the statement that Mark Driscoll uses describing himself as "reformed in boxer shorts and charismatic with a seat-belt".

I have a value of the historic Christian faith which can be described as reformed but also am not a cessationist, meaning I believe that the rich life in the Holy Spirit described in scripture continues to be available today. However, I find some of the more extreme reformed views not to my liking. The excessive, and often embarrassing, expressions of those who call themselves “charismatic” are not something I wish to identify with either.

I have great appreciation for the values of our Newfrontiers family of churches. We have a radical commitment to the integrity of scripture, as well as a lively experience in the Holy Spirit. Also, our value of the church as God's vehicle for kingdom expansion provides us with a great deal of safety. We can embrace the full expression of life in the Holy Spirit within the context of church. We have accountability of elders and the church community, as well as a solid foundation in biblical expression of the Spirit-filled life.

Many charismatics live independently, and a kind of hyper-individualistic, ministry-oriented world without the accountability of the local church or its elders. Often charismatics seem to lack solid biblical foundations. This leads to much extra-biblical craziness. It is impossible to address issues that are off the mark extra-biblical revelations in people who avoid the accountability of the church. Many times these people pull rank with the statement "God showed me, God spoke to me” which becomes a way of avoiding accountability.

So what do I hold as an accurate description of my position? I guess I will stick with the statement that I am a "reformed charismatic." While the Mark Driscoll’s statement is helpful, I don't want my seat-belt so tight that I become hesitant in living a life that is rich in Spirit-filled expression, embracing the absolute integrity of the Bible as the foundation upon which my Spirit-filled life is demonstrated.

Sometimes our family members do or say things that are not in concert with who we are personally. However, we are still a part of our family and would not deny our connectedness with them. Unfortunately, many of our more extreme family members operate in front of television cameras, because they own much of what is called Christian TV. I don't like the fact that often I am identified with their weird and non-biblical views. Yet I am a charismatic and theologically I would be described as reformed. I guess I will just get on with it and hope that I am judged for who I really am, rather than guilt by association.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Looking Forward to Celebrating

I am looking forward to "Celebration Midwest" with great anticipation. I am pleased that the numbers booking in demonstrate a significant increase from preceding years. Of course, this year marks a new date for us with the opening night being a Friday. Let me encourage all of you to make every effort to be present for that first evening session. For some this possibly means you will need to take a half day off of work. I look forward to seeing you there. Much goes into "Celebration Midwest" as all participate in preparation for children's sessions, ONEBLAZE, worship, musicians, etc. Also of great importance is the Newfrontiers-USA 2008 video, which is still in the process of being assembled. I greatly appreciate Karl Scott and Mike Lawson who are working diligently to get the video finished.

These are days of increased preparation for me, as we gear-up for both "Celebration Midwest" and traveling to Mexico shortly afterward, where I will be teaching at the Newfrontiers-Mexico leadership conference. Your prayers for these days of preparation are greatly appreciated.

It has been excellent to be around Jubilee Church this month and to participate a bit more in Sunday preaching. On Mother's Day, with some help from Linda, I brought a message on marriage which was well received. We are now involved in a series of three messages called "Heaven, Hell and the Second Soming of Christ." Last Sunday, I brought a message on heaven and I must say it was a joy to touch this subject. It has been years since I have brought a full Sunday teaching on heaven. You may want to download this message from our Jubilee website. I anticipate an excellent teaching from Bryan Mowrey on "hell" this Sunday. I will conclude next week with "the second coming of Christ".

Finally, in just a few days I will see many of you in Warrensburg and experience again the joy of seeing our churches together in mission which is demonstrated so recognizably during these days. While these times are filled with economic uncertainty, I know your heart for mission and I anticipate a huge offering on the Saturday evening meeting. As some of you are receiving your economic stimulus checks this month, I anticipate many of you will see this unexpected bonus as an opportunity for giving into our mission together. I take your trust seriously due to your phenomenal generosity in previous offerings. It is such a joy to see the advancement of God's kingdom as a result of your commitment which is so tangibly demonstrated.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Going west with the young men . . .

This Saturday, John will head to St. Joseph with Curt McCutchan, as well as CPI interns Euan Crane and Matt Sweetman. The guys will be spending time with the leadership team of Living Hope Church as well as looking into their increasing activity on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University, in Maryville, MO.

John will speak on Sunday morning to Living Hope, and then head north to speak to the college students on campus that night.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leadership Books (as promised)

As promised in John's seminar at Equipped for Mission, entitled "Increasing Leadership Capacity", here are several of his recommended books on leadership:

"A Work of Heart: Understanding How God Shapes Spiritual Leaders"
by Reggie McNeal

"Being Leaders: The Nature of Authentic Christian Leadership"
by Aubrey Malphurs

"Breaking the Missional Code"
by Ed Stetzer and David Putman

"Building Leaders: Blueprints for Developing Leadership at Every Level of Your Church"
by Aubrey Malphurs and Will Mancini

"Courageous Leadership"
by Bill Hybels

"Spiritual Leadership"
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

"The Leadership Baton"
by Rowland Forman, Jeff Jones, and Bruce Miller

"The Multiplying Church: The New Math for Starting New Churches "
by Bob Roberts Jr.

by Bob Roberts Jr.

Summary of Recent Travels - from John

"Our leadership conference 'Equipping For Mission' hosted in St. Louis was absolutely outstanding. Over three hundred leaders from across the US were present. The worship was marvelous with the amazing presence of God evident. The main sessions were well received as Terry Virgo, Sam Poe and I shared. The seminars were so timely and helpful. I encourage you to go to the Newfrontiers-USA website and download the relevant teaching at this year's conference. Many healings were testified to, as well as some wonderful encounters with God. It was a joy to introduce the new Newfrontiers website as well as our entry into the publishing business at this conference. We have recently published four books, which can be found on Amazon as you type in the word 'Newfrontiers' in the Amazon search window. I encourage you, if you have read and enjoyed some of the books we have published, to write a review on Amazon’s site.

"Following the US leadership conference, I again journeyed to the UK for the 'International Apostolic Forum' in Bournemouth, UK. It was a great joy to be present, where I again had the privilege of being with leaders representing several continents as we enjoyed times of wonderful prayer, prophecy and even a few casual moments of catching up. In addition it is a time of sharing the events that are taking place around the nations.

"We gave ourselves to much prayer for the events taking place in Kenya with our dear friend Edward Buria and the 100+ churches he leads in that nation. We were thrilled to learn that Edward is now a part of a significant group of leaders whom the government has appointed to bring reconciliation to Kenya. Edward’s stature in the nation is of great consequence. He wrote to me yesterday with this news: 'The Kenyan Crisis - quite a lot of good political ground has been achieved since the signing of the all-important deal on the 28th February 2008 that has resulted in some sustained peace. All the same, the challenges arising from the almost two months of the violence remain enormous and very complex. Our budget is geared towards assisting those we are targeting, but it has become almost impossible due to escalating inflation that continues to very badly hurt our economy. Prices of all essentials go up almost every-other day. On this, we covet much prayer. Give our love to the brothers and sisters in the US.'

"Upon returning from the UK I found it a great joy to participate in the launching of another Jubilee Church location in the greater St. Louis metro area. We had our first preview meeting in west St. Charles county, in the town of Wentzville. Although it was spring break and many people were enjoying the holiday, as well as there being a snow-storm, we still were pleased to see 109 people at this first preview meeting. Rick Hein, my dear friend and fellow laborer, did an excellent job in the morning preaching. I was overjoyed at the great teams from Jubilee Church that made this opening Sunday a day to remember. I encourage you to take a look at the Jubilee Church Wentzville website for additional photos of this great day. Between the two locations, Jubilee welcomed nearly 100 guests on Sunday, with several people committing to Christ.

"I travel this coming weekend to Kansas City for a meeting with leaders at Grace Church as well as preaching the Sunday, as they will prepare for a great day of financial giving for additions they need to make to the building. It will be a joy to be with Tommy and Stephanie Stanley and to enjoy time together in their home. We are pleased that Seth and Shannon Hein will join us on this trip. Shannon is a great help to me, as she functions as my personal assistant, and Seth is a great joy as his desire to learn and grow in his leadership is very evident. Please be in prayer for this important weekend."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Back to Bournemouth

After speaking at Equipped for Mission in St. Louis, John has again taken off for the UK. He will be taking part in meetings with the others on the international apostolic team in Bournemouth, England, from Tuesday through Friday, March 11-14.

Please do keep praying for him and the other men as they pray, plan and discuss. Ask God to give them wisdom, discernment and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as they seek to lead us further into what He has for us in the future.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A note from John . . .

Last weekend Linda and I were speaking at a “leaders and wives” event hosted by King's Church in Norwich, for the Newfrontiers churches in this region of the UK. I appreciate those who have been praying for us and have definitely felt sustained. There was a very real ease in sharing and the comeback from several couples was encouraging and proved our topic "Leaders & Wives Together on a Mission" was timely. A time of prayer ministry proved to be powerful, and several found God releasing them from past issues and a renewing in their marriage relationship.

The Sunday morning meeting was excellent with wonderful worship and prophetic words as about 600 gathered for the day. It was a pleasure to speak to such an embracing congregation.

We are staying in the home of Goff and Angie Hope during our time in Norwich and have been blessed by their wonderful hospitality. Goff and Angie are a very real delight - Linda and I are enjoying a time of deepening friendship. I am anticipating meeting with the Kings Church leadership team mid-week to discuss issues relating to the future.

I am looking forward to a conference Friday through Sunday called "Living an Extraordinary Life" with the 18-30 year olds from our Newfrontiers family of Churches on this side of the country. This age is one of my favorite groups to be with and we anticipate a wonderful time of experiencing God and receiving His direction from the Word. Also, Linda will share one meeting with the girls while I will have a session with the blokes (guys). Do pray for us that we will be a very real blessing to this generation in the four sessions I have with them.

While away my mind often returns to the happenings at Jubilee Church. It was a thrill to get emails regarding Sunday with several first-time guests present on a snowy day, as well as baptisms as we continue to see people coming to know Jesus. I am very excited about the launching of a new era for Jubilee as we get ready for a new Jubilee location with Rick Hein taking the campus leadership in Wentzville. It is often a struggle for me, as my heart is divided in different places, but a privilege as well to see so many capable people who carry a passion for God's mission as we establish this new location.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Going and going . . .

As many have requested more information about the situation in Kenya, we would like to refer you to the international Newfrontiers site, where they are updating information as they receive it at Kenya Crisis Report.

John is continuing to prepare for his two trips to the UK, as well as the Equipped for Mission conference. He and Linda leave on February 20th for Norwich, England, where they will spend the weekend speaking at a conference for leaders from the western region of the UK. That Sunday John will speak to King's Church. The following weekend they both will be sharing with 18-30 year-olds at a weekend event entitled Living An Extraordinary Life. Please pray for the Lanfermans' health, practical preparation and spiritual preparation as they gear up for this trip.

Upon their return on March 3rd, they'll go right into Equipped for Mission: Newfrontiers-USA Leadership Conference from March 6th-8th in St. Louis.

The Monday after Equipped for Mission John will fly to the UK again to take part in meetings with the others on the international apostolic team from March 11th-14th. With such a fast-paced few weeks it can be very challenging to find adequate time to prepare and pray. John welcomes all prayer support on his behalf!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Off to Tennessee!

This weekend, January 25-27, John and Linda will be visiting Lifehouse Church in Franklin, Tennessee. While there John will teach a seminar on healing Saturday morning and speak to the whole church on Sunday. As always, his heart is to be a blessing and an encouragement to them, so please pray that God will give him the right words to build them up.

In the next two months John has two international trips as well as the Equipped for Mission Leadership Conference in St. Louis, all of which require much preparation. Please continue to pray for him, that his times of planning and study will be productive and full of anointing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Not really going anywhere, but . . .

This weekend, January 18-20, is ClearVision, one of only two national Newfrontiers-USA conferences. While John isn't traveling, since the conference is here in St. Louis, prayers during this preparation time would be much welcomed. The purpose of ClearVision is to encourage and equip 18-29 year olds to press into the purposes of God for their generation.

John will be teaching one of the elective seminars on Saturday morning entitled "The Gift of Leadership." In the afternoon he will be addressing the whole conference, now over 300 attendees.

As you pray for John’s preparation, please continue to intercede for our friends in Kenya as the crisis there continues.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Family in Kenya

We are interrupting the usual format of this blog (up until now only used for travel information) to post a personal write-up from John:

"I'm sure you are aware by now of the violence in Kenya which is having a great effect on Edward Buria and our Newfrontiers churches there. The violence started as a result of questions regarding the election of the president. However the issue is more tribal than political. The inter-ethnic tension that has been under the service was ignited by irregularities in the election of president Kibaki. Kenya had been a beacon of African security and prosperity however at this time it is in danger of the same issues found in Sudan and Rwanda. There is a shortage of essential items, nowhere to buy food, market's are deserted and shops are closed. Various militias have set up roadblocks. On Tuesday thirty Kenyans including many children were burned to death after seeking refuge in a church building. Also, about 400 people were taking refuge in the Kenya Assemblies of God church when it was attacked. Many of the people were beaten and the building set on fire. After torching the church, about 25 children died and several elderly died. At least 70,000 people have been displaced in the Rift Valley. Of course Edward Buria is very much caught up in these difficulties.

"I would ask you to pray for Kenya and the resolution of this crisis. Pray for the protection of Edward. Pray for our churches.

"For more details, this is what I just received from Edward:

Dear John, Linda and the USA Churches.

Its been four very distressful days that has seen hundreds of people loosing their lives, destruction of property in massive scales, and tens of thousands of our people displaced. This includes our own brothers and sisters in Mararal, Naivasha and Nairobi. The most affected areas are in Nyanza (Kisumu), Eldoret, few places in the Western Kenya, Nairobi (i.e. the slums areas of Mathare and Kibera).

Preliminary reasons for the un-rest

1. Claims of Presidential votes rigged
2. Claims of massive doctored results from some constituencies
3. That the Electoral Commission was compromised

What I make up of these claims

(1 ) I do admit there were irregularities especially with how the electoral commission was receiving results from their returning officers - This was mainly a logistic problem that wasn't expected by the commission, who I think underestimated the turn out from previous elections,the turn out this time round was huge!

(2) Its not completely true when ODM claims that there was massive rigging, a position that is confirmed by the fact that over 20 cabinet ministers that include the Vice President lost in the just concluded election

ODM also managed to gather close to 100 parliamentary seats giving them a very strong voice in the 10th parliament. A number of other parties have claims that in Nyanza Province ODM did not allow any voting for other parties except ODM. These parties are saying that since they have evidence to these allegations, they will be going to court to challenge.

Its also now becoming very clear that the crowds protesting are not genuinely protesting for justice to be done on the allegations but its like militia groups out there to kill, destroy property and instil fears.There are also clear expressions of tribal sentiments by the marauding and unruly youths.

Our Course of Action

(1) Much prayer countrywide with our churches all over having chain prayers round the clock

(2) Messages of hope and comfort using the media,telephone conversations,sms, and one to one

(3) Sending of airtime to those affected so as to get in touch with their loved ones

(4) We have dispatched 2 lorries full of foodstuffs, blankets and other required essential to be distributed in Nairobi

(5) Have picked a team of 5 from here to help with the co-ordination and response

Prayer Items

1. Breaking the demonic force that is so evident when you see the passion of those killing and destroying
2. That the elected leaders would come to their senses and put the interest of the Nation first as compared to their interests
3. That all parties quickly accept to reason out as they dialogue
4. That God will console all who have lost their loved ones, property and those that have been displaced
5. That the country i.e. those not affected will unite in sharing with those displaced
6. That the healing, restoration and reconciliation will be quick
7. That God will give us much wisdom in our small way of responding to the current crisis
8. That those coming from outside as mediators do not be partisan in their outreach
9. That those admitted in various hospitals with multiple injuries recover soon
10. That the INTERNATIONAL community will come to our aid by giving us resources to assist
11. That we will have resources to assist us in our small way of assisting our own n others

In conclusion, its very clear that ahead of us we have a big problem of settling all those of us that have been displaced by the violence as they have lost everything including their homes and livelihood.

We thank all those who have gotten in touch with us to let us know of their love and prayers.

God bless,

Edward Buria