Archives for November 2014
Leading Church Multiplication is a resource for those who are responsible for seeing new churches started. In it you’ll learn profound and practical concepts from veteran multiplication leaders who have resourced the starting of thousands of new American faith communities.
Leading Church Multiplication will focus on three key areas:
- Foundations for a church planting culture
- Essential planter support systems
- Leader strategies, landmines, and booby traps
To celebrate the eBook release I’m giving away an autographed copy of Leading Church Multiplication to you or the person of your choice. Enter to win by leaving a comment below. Share why you will benefit from the book or what you’ve learned if you’ve already read it.
One winner will be chosen at random and announced here Tuesday December 2.
I was in consulting meeting with a denominational group a couple of weeks ago, and a guy who I’m pretty sure is smarter than me made a provocatively helpful statement. We were in a group-think, and I was pushing participants to identify the resources that were already embedded in their movement. The guy I’m referring to said “Hydrofracking”, and that got everyone’s attention.
What the Frack?
For the record, hydrofracking is a term you’ve probably heard before, because it’s in the news these days because of its prevalence in the oil industry. Here’s Wikipedia:
Hydraulic fracturing (also hydrofracturing, hydrofracking, fracking, or fraccing) is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a hydraulically pressurized liquid. Some hydraulic fractures form naturally—certain veins or dikes are examples. A high-pressure fluid (usually chemicals and sand suspended in water) is injected into a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum, and brine will flow more freely. When the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants (either sand or aluminium oxide) hold the fractures open once the deep rock achieves geologic equilibrium.
See? Others are smarter than me! It’s a way that the oil industry gets more oil from a location which would never be released without pressure being applied. So, in the meeting, the guy says “Hydrofracking. We have more resources within us than we can see. We need to push down, down, down, and see what’s there.” With that accepted paradigm, the meeting shifted from mild desperation to genuine anticipation. I love this group of people. They know that God has given them what they need to take the next steps.
Why You Need a Coach
We all need coaching…hydrofracking. I’ve used this definition before: “Coaching is the art of helping people do what they don’t want to do so they can achieve what they do want to achieve.” The Bible says, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).
Some strategic outside pressure makes a huge difference. Let me know how I can help. Visit my coaching services page here.
Last week, I touched on the idea of institutional racism. The key point we learned was that, “If you don’t think there’s a problem, then you’re part of the problem.” Overcoming institutional bias in any manner is certainly not possible without the perspective of the affected minority groups, nor is it possible if members of the majority group are simply too comfortable to take a step out of their circle.
Midwest boy in Africa
I look to my younger days as an example. I grew up in a county in Northeast Wisconsin whose idea of a cross-cultural venture was to drive 35 miles to Green Bay. Our county consisted of about 20,000 year-round residents, three of whom were black. We had some migrant farm workers who would help during cherry-harvesting season, but that was about the extent of my multi-cultural exposure. I attended a private, Catholic college in the area, and that had its own insular qualities. And today I still chuckle at a post-college moment which revealed my own cultural ignorance.
I had just graduated college and decided to spend a year as a short-term missionary in Zaire (today’s Democratic Republic of the Congo). I worked as an electrician in a mission hospital which was home to dozens of Western missionaries, and the hospital compound was a thoroughfare for scores of other missionaries who came and went to other remote areas. Friday nights we always had a social gathering, and it was a good time to meet people from around the world.
“Normal” is subjective
On one of those evenings I was chatting it up with some folks from Great Britain, and in the course of the conversation I explained that “In America, on Friday night, everyone goes out for a fish fry.” My memory is that the room then reached “absolute zero”, with all conversational life ceasing to exist. The place became quiet, and American missionaries gave me more than a curious look. It was then that I learned that my northeast Wisconsin culture was not a full representation of all of America at large. We ate fish on Friday nights (and we still do), but not everyone did. I was 22 years old.
Sure, you could argue that this form of bias didn’t have much of an effect on the world, but it goes to illustrate the point that, what seems normal to us may not be normal for others. As church planters, we should always be looking for ways to expose ourselves to new cultural norms. That way, we won’t end up talking about fish fries with people who’ve never heard of them.
What practical tips do you have for overcoming personal bias? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.