Author: Dennis Muse

At Mars Hill Church in Seattle, they use a lot of war expressions and metaphor to describe the mission of the church and the way they organize community. The Bible uses all kinds of war metaphor and imagery to describe the spiritual battle that we find ourselves in as believers on a mission (i.e. Ephesians 6), we must understand that we are in a battle against our sin and against the enemy, for the hearts of people that God is calling to himself.

trial study guideTheir latest sermon series, Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1&2 Peter, is a great example of that effort to connect the War we find ourselves in individual and as the church. Mars Hill is handing out a 200+page study guide in book form free-of-charge to every attendee of the church. I have obtained a copy and it is impressive. Here is the link to download:

Trial: Study Guide – This study guide outlines all details for this series of sermons, including Group Resources, Group Discussion Questions, Family Resources, Pastoral Parenting, Family Dinner Bible Study and more.

In the wake of this new series, many pastoral teams from other churches have been asking how to plan and strategize such an endeavor. Thankfully, Mars Hill is continuing to give away helpful information on how it structures its leadership, manages its programs, and generally leads the people God has called to participate in the church. To see how Mars Hill works from Bible book selection to fully themed sermon series, check out the 1&2 Peter Battle Plan.

Drafting a Battle Plan Downlaod.

Information obtianed and provieded by Deo Gloria

A random thought.

We are not called to invite people to go to an event crated to entertain people we call church. We are called to proclaim the Gospel, tell everyone about Jesus, preach the kingdom of God, to heal the sick and we are called to make disciples. So why is everyone obsessed with simply inviting people to an event they call church when we are not told to ever do that, Jesus did not come suffer and die for people to join a event called we call church. So then why is it the people are not proclaiming the gospel and making disciples?

Why are pastors so obsessed with proclaiming their church, lifting up the church when Jesus said “Lift Me up and I will draw men unto myself .” Why is their marketing all about the church and what has to offer in the way of an entertaining experience and not about Jesus and the Gospel. Why do they train their people to promote the church and not teach them how to proclaim the gospel to the lost, go to the lost with the gospel and teach them how to make disciples of the nations and not be salesmen for church attendance?

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I heard a presentation today that broke my heart, the speaker compared the Church to products like Crest and toilet paper. And that it needs to be marketed just like them, a commodity that needs to be packaged and marketed just like Crest.

Jesus and church are not commodity to be marketed like toothpaste. Church is an event of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the followers of Christ. Something that happens when those whom Jesus indwells, whom are filled with the Holy Spirit come together in community.

Is this what we come to, that church conference are put on just like an infomercial for some get rich business scheme. Like a Madison Ave. company meeting discussing their marketing tactics to improve and move their product. Like so fly-by-night pyramid scheme, with the CEO telling his managers they must get their sales teams fired up, get them motivated and produce sales or they are fired.

This is a said time in church history. I know the men speaking and they are good men, love God, they just have lost sight of Jesus and what the church is, how it is done. Lord may they get back on track.

Read my related posting here.

cats and dogsThere is a book titled: Cat and Dog Theology: Rethinking Our Relationship With Our Master.

In the book the author states. A dog says, ‘You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, you must be God.’ A cat says, ‘You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, I must be God.’

“This book challenges the readers’ understanding of their relationship with God. The God-given traits of cats (‘you exist to serve me’) and dogs(‘I exist to serve you’) can be similar to certain theological attitudes held by many Christians. In our personal theologies, some attitudes may draw us closer to God, and others can also pull us away from Him.”

I love his comparison, Today we have to many cat’s in the church, people who believe God is here to serve them. And we have to many churches that function on cat theology, one only has to look at the worship services to see that, they are designed to please the attendee not worship God, they treating the people as if they are God. As if worship is all about them, something to please them, be about them and their likes and dislikes. Worship has become about the band and songs that entertain, please the attendee not worship God. They even get marketing surveys to tell them how to do worship as to please the attendee. The bands, songs, the light and sound shows, and drama are all attendee focused, there only real purpose is for the people in attendance not God. Worship today is set up not to be an observed performance. Some of the people may sing along with the band, but that not the same thing.

Real Worship happens when we have a dog’s theology, we come to celibate, worship, love on, thank God for who He is and has done for us. Go not to be entertained (be the center, target of worship, be god), but to fall on our faces and worship, love on God with our own personal words of praise. Come with a new song in our heart to sing out to God. Seek after His face and presents and not stop tell He shows up in all His power and might that we might love Him face to face.

Which one are you, which theology are you? We need to get a dogs theology, get back to God is God and worship Him and Him alone. I long for the day with church is filled with the glorious presents of God, and the people are found prostrate on the floor before Him crying out Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty.

Church-PlantingThe question was asked of me, “What do you see as the difference between Church Planting and Starting a Church?” Which one are people really doing?

I see the difference as this. Starting a church , which to me is mostly about creating an alternative to a church people already go to. In other words all you have is church transplants, people who are already Christians and are just leaving one church to go to your new one. And getting Christians who stop going to church for one reason or another (most unhappy with last church), to come to your new improved version.

To where “Church Planting” I see as like what happened in Acts chapter 2, where the disciples where gospel planting and that was resulting in salvations, which resulting in a church, a new community of followers of Christ, i.e. church planting. In Church Planting the church is birthed out of new salvations just like in Acts with the 3000 (Acts 2:38-48).

Almost all of church growth in the US is church transfer, that is Christian going to a new church or leaving a church to go to the latest version of church, mixed with unchurched Christians trying church out once agan. Take mega churches, they are like Wal-Marts, where ever they spring up, a dozen small churches close.

In China and the rest of the World we have “Church Planting”, people going out and planting the gospel, resulting in people coming to Christ, resulting in new churches – community of faiths.

A “church planter” I know went door to door to over 3000 homes introducing himself saying he was starting a bible study, shared the gospel and invited people to come. The result, many came to Christ, he planted a church. (read more on this planter here.)

The key is “Gospel Planting” results in “Church Planting “, gospel planting must preced, happen first to have church planting. Jesus did not tell us to go plant churches, He said go and plant the gospel and make disciples and He would build the church, and that’s what happen in Acts.

There is nothing wrong with starting a church, we can use that too, I would like to see church planting come back to America, i.e. Gospel planting become the focus, churches coming from new salvation not transplants. See Acts chapter 2 happening in every neighborhood. Just my vision anyway.

You can read more about church planting in my Blog How to plant a church for Free.

Ninaber'sThe most blessed man of God I know is my friend Lloyd, he is currently on his way to India to help rebuild a hospital, he just got back not to long ago from spending several weeks in Africa. I meet Lloyd in 2001 here in Kansas City, we joined a church planting movement on the same day and served on staff together for two years planting a church before he when back to Canada.

Lloyd is the father of four, two boys and two girls, lives in Canada (most of the time), so why do I conceder him so blessed of God, his life. Lloyd chose long a go to live for and serve God at what ever the cost. Lloyd has been all over the world doing God’s work, North and South America, Europe, Africa and India, India alone 3 times in the last three years.

Lloyd has his own business, so that he can work when he wants, and take off when ever he needs to go where ever and when every the Lord leads him to, he spends 4 to 5 months a year doing ministry. He has planted churches, pastored churches, preached the gospel across the globe, fed the hungry, built homes, church and hospitals. He can even lead worship, plays the guitar and sings.

Lloyd could work 50 weeks a year like everyone else and make really big money, but instead he doesn’t. He owns a modest home just barely big enough for a family of six, drives older cars, he could have a bigger more expensive house and drive new cars. But he rather live like he does so he can go into the world with the gospel.

His kids never had all the frills most kids enjoy today, all the expensive gadgets and toys, or designer clothes. But what they did have is a life that a lot of people only dream of, they had a father who showed them how to love, worship, live for and serve God with all your heart and take the gospel into the world. While other kids where playing Xbos 360 and Wii his where seeing the world, feeding the hungry in a third world county, learning how to plant a church, how to do evangelism. His kids where writing worship songs and singing worship, and even leading bible studies before they where old enough to drive. That is brining up a child in the way it should go. His daughter Melissa is now in college and the most in demand worship leader in Canada, now recording her second CD and she just turned 21. But she has had 21 years of first hand experience of serving the Lord around the world.

A life time of serving God by taking the gospel to the whole world, planting and pastoring churches. A beautiful and godly wife,two beautiful daughters and two sons all following and serving God, what more could a man ask for in life.

He is the most blessed man I know, has the life I would love to have.

I was thinking this weekend about leadership/planting conferences and just how much things have changed. The agenda of so many conferences that happen these days really concerns me. There are still some good ones out there, but some not so much, so one really need to be careful in picking one to go to. Here are some comparisons to church conferences 25 years ago was like compared to todays.

25 years ago: Prayer was the centerpiece of the meeting, a lot of time was devoted to seeking Gods will, plan for the church. The presents and guidance of the Holy Spirit was sought wholeheartedly at every point. Everything was taken to God in prayer to seek His approval.

Today: Prayer is just short opening and closing statements.

The Agenda

25 years ago: It was how to get the gospel out, how to present the gospel to this generation, to reach the lost and see the world saved. How do we equip the people to go and witness to the world.

Today: The speakers come armed with marketing and business plans, most conceived by professional marketing company’s, the majority are even secular marketing companies. Business models taken from wall Street adapted to doing church.

25 years ago: How do we transform the body into the image of God,

Today: How do we transform God and the church into the image of the world. Change the church to please and attract the unsaved to feel at home in the church.

25 years ago: The focus was, the person of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, worship, holiness, sanctification and prayer. Emphases of going into the world and reaching the lost, salvations. The vehicle, missions, outreach, the daily lives of the body and church planting.

Today: The focus, marketing plans, business models, entertainment, how to attract and keep people coming. Multi-site church franchising.

How things have changed.

burger w fries church

I think my name and Blog where second only to Obama’s over the last few days on the web. My Blog was linked to and my name mentioned on more Blogs and sites that I could list. I set a 3 day record on number of hits on my website. All traffic generated by my Blog on Sunday on my views on the new multi-site church concept, unfortunately most where attacks.

Yes I know there are some who are doing a good job with this platform, but it is few that are. Even with the few doing a good job with it, I still believe it is taking us the wrong way to do church, not how church should be done.

I would like to say this in response to it; most all of the ones I have had the time read so far only offer in defense, evidence that try to prove it is good, and I can only say I find them not valid. The only two arguments presented that I read everywhere, it is right, good because it is producing big numbers, large crowds of people and big income.

So big news, the church has caught up with the modern business world, learned about franchising and mass marketing and that it works. Leaned what Ray Kroc (McDonalds) implemented 60 years ago and perfected. Create a pre-packaged product, mass produce it, franchise it out and deliver it in a palatable from, with constancy, that is the same menu, recipe and packaging with fast service, and get max profit. The church has discovered what business has been doing for years, consumerism. Learned that great marketing tricks and plans draw in mass numbers of customers. Do it by creating prepackaged goods that meets consumers perceived wants and needs with quick drive through service speed.

Yes! multi-site churches will draw in big crowds but since when is the number of people coming to something the judge, the measuring stick to what is of God, blessed by God, good and right. Large attendance does not mean it is of God, blessed by God or even a good thing. Does the end numbers justify the means? Of course not.

The goal and purpose of church has never been to simply get people to attend some form of experience called a church.

The real question is what are you selling them, drawing them to, what is this pre-packaged product, mass produced goods you are offering? Is it the real church we see in Acts, the one Jesus died to start?

How did we get to this point of thinking that success is large numbers, large attendance by any means? That just as long as people are attending we have succeeded. Thinking that church is “anything” that creates large crowds and keeps them coming back, entertains them.

Real Church, the biblical church. Is something of the Spirit, too powerful to be replicated by human effort in a pre-packaged program. Because it is a God thing, a Holy Spirit induced, created thing that only He can make happen. Real Church can not be pre-packaged and mass produced, but a imitation of it can be.

Maybe it would be better to ask ourselves this about a church service!

Is this is what Jesus came and died for us to be part of?

This is what the gates of Hell shall not prevail against? …….Really?

Did Jesus really have to die to make happen what happened, how you did church?

Did it require the presents of Jesus, the Holy Spirit to make the service happen? Or is it something man alone make it happen?

Could everyone see that what happened at your church proved the necessity and result of Christ death and resurrection?

Did it enable the people to grow in the knowledge of and in the image and likeness of Christ?

Where visitors struck with awe and say only the power of God could have made that happen and not man?

I think these would be a better measuring stick for if it was church and church done right than how many showed up.

Read ordinal Multi-site blog here.

In Gallup’s research of thousands of executive teams, has determined four spheres of leadership strength of great teams:

a. Executing: Being able to take something from idea to reality.
b. Influencing: Selling the team’s idea both internally and externally.
c. Relationship Building: Acting like glue and being able to keep the team as a cohesive whole.
d. Strategic Thinking: Being able to think about the macro-picture,–what things could be.

How to plant a church for Free. Zero dollars down to start a church. And No building required, yes that is right, no building even.

Despite popular belief it takes lots of money, it actual does not cost money to plant/start a church, well let me qualify that, it depends on the motives of the planter. If he has visions of grander, wants a 5000 seat sanctuary with a Starbucks in the lobby and a support staff of 50 to serve him, well then it does take lots of money. But to plant a church God’s way and for His purposes it takes not even take one dime.

I read blogs and listen to would be planters talk all the time about how do I raise $500,000 or a million dollars and some even more to plant a church? And how do I find a massive building big enough, and all this before they even have one person they are discipling. Let me give you three stories to explain how to plant without a dime, for free, money wise that is.

Greg Laurie, at age 19 he had a vision to reach people for Christ and start a bible study in his apartment to disciple them. He began sharing Christ with everyone around him; his bible study grew at a steady rate. Thirty three years later he has a church of 15,000. That was not his vision or plan when he began that first study, but it was God’s. His passion was to reach the lost. Cost in dollars to plant his church. Zero

Skip Heitzig, moved to Albuquerque with his new job as a salesmen, he decided to begin a home Bible study to reach his neighbors. Today a church of 15,000, his vision was simply reach his new neighborhood with Christ and disciple them. Cost to plant, Zero dollars.

Fred Herron, (I was part of this story). Fred felt the call of God to plant a church. Fred moved to the neighborhood he wanted to be in then he went door to door introducing himself saying he was starting a bible study and invited people to come as he shared the gospel with them. His bible study soon out grew his apartment, so he moved it to the clubhouse of his apartment complex, all the time still going door to door sharing the gospel and inviting people. Years after that first bible study in his one bedroom apt and Fred knocking on over 3000 doors, and many coming to Christ, the church today has 3000+ members. Fred’s vision when he started, reach the lost and have a body of believer to pastor. Cost to plant the church, Zero dollars.

You see God never told us to build the church, Jesus said He would build His church. We are told to proclaim the gospel, make disciples and Be the church. So if you go and plant the gospel, disciple the ones God ushers into the kingdom and pastor them well no matter how small your flock. God will add to the numbers according to His will. It cost no money, but it will cost your life to do it. Hours of prayer, door knocking, gospel planting, discipling, foot washing and teaching. Cost you your nights and weekends as you still work a day job to make a paycheck. But not one dime of money to plant one. You see the guys above will tell you anyone who really is about the kingdom, reaching the lost, expanding the kingdom, all of that with the power of the Holy Spirit is all you need, not money.

There are thousands of stories like the three above that prove my point (including the scriptures). You start with planting the gospel, be a “gospel planter” first and God will do the rest, no money required.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10

New Post about church:  Church God’s Way