What is the church? What are the critical parts that actually make an organization the church?


  1. What the church is – A local church is a gathering of baptized, born-again Christians who covenant together in love to meet regularly under the authority of the Scriptures and the leadership of the elders to worship God, be a visible manifestation of the kingdom of God, and, ultimately, to give God glory (John 3:1-8; 13:34-35; Acts 2:41; 14:23; Eph. 3:10; Col. 3:16; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 10:24-25)[1]


The church, properly defined, consists of all true believers in Jesus Christ throughout all time.


  1. What the church does – A church must do only a few things to be a church:

the people regularly gather in gospel love to hear the Word preached,




make disciples

and practice the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.


Members, those who have covenanted together, lovingly care for one another (1 Cor. 12:12-26), even through the practice of church discipline (Matt. 18:15-17).[2]


  1. What the church’s mission is – The church is God’s strategic plan for evangelism with one overarching mission: to go to all peoples to make disciples, teaching them to obey everything Christ has commanded – including forming new churches (Matt. 28:18-20).


Church Multiplying Hint: If Jesus is building his church, and the church is the bride of Christ, then making disciples must including forming them into new churches!!!


The Bible’s Teaching About the Church:


  1. The Church Has No Prescribed Form

Notice that the church’s manifestation is not prescribed in any passage of the New Testament. The church is intended to take the shape necessary to continue to be like yeast in dough until the whole lump of dough is leavened.


The Scriptures tell us what a church is and does not how it is to look on the outside.


We often hinder the work of the church by unnecessarily prescribing or assuming external necessities rather than majoring on inherent function.


  1. The Kingdom Is Manifested Through The Church

The kingdom manifests itself through the church.


Experientially, the church provides a foretaste of the future reign of Jesus Christ.


The church exists only because of Jesus and is mandated with extending his mission to all nations.


  1. Jesus Builds His Church

Matthew 16:18

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”


The church is what Jesus is building as the community of the kingdom.


TRCC Statement of belief (Kingdom):

Therefore, “we believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the city, for all the glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God.” (TRCC Statement of belief)


The good news of the kingdom makes disciples in domains of society and establishes a new community of human life together under Jesus Christ as King, the church.


  1. We are now new citizens of a new kingdom and a new community that determines our practice.


  1. The church is not a building, but the people of God who live by the values of his kingdom.
  2. The church gathered, equipped, and mobilized is the fruit of the gospel of the kingdom.


  1. The church Is God’s Agent of Transformation

Some examples of how God transforms in the church from Scripture:


  1. In the community of the kingdom we become great by being the least Mark 10:35-45


And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


These kingdom values are only rightly lived out inside the community of the kingdom with those who share that system of kingdom values.


  1. In the community of the kingdom we are being built into a spiritual house as a holy priesthood that offers spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Father through Jesus and we serve one another in the gifting he has given us 1 Peter 2:4-5; 4:10


“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”


“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…”


  1. The Church Is An Expression Of God’s Trinitarian Nature

“Professor Colin Gunton, in his seminal work, The One, The Three and the Many, points to the secular search for an ideology that can protect the individual while promoting community. Recent history, he suggests, had been ruled by two competing regimes. In the west, we are products of a world driven by the individual. An increasingly privatized worldview has promoted the rights of the individual above all else. In the east, communism exalted the many. What mattered most was the common good, the people and the nation. The result, Gunton declares, has been two equally oppressive and totalitarian regimes. The answer lies in the discovery of a worldview capable of honoring the one and the many, without either being at the expense of the other. The doctrine of the Trinity presents such an ideology. The God who is Father, Son and Spirit models this unity amidst diversity, and this community of equality. The church, through its relationship with the Triune God, is called to model this for the world.”[3]


The existence of the church is not arbitrary but reflects the nature of the God who is its source.


Scripture defines the church in relation to the Father (his family – Eph. 2:18; 3:15).


Scripture defines the church in relation to the Son (his body and bride – Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-28).


Scripture defines the church in relation to the Spirit (his temple – 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:22; Ezek. 40-48).


  1. This Trinitarian reality shows off the glory of the church.


  1. This Trinitarian glory makes the church a non-negotiable.


  1. The church must be married not dated, and the church must be discipled into Christ. The church must be honored not prostituted.


  1. The church Is God’s Dwelling Place

1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22


1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you (plural) are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?”


We often read this passage and read the “you” as singular and make application as if it’s singular, and that then makes our application be off.


Illustration: If I want to take off from RMG and fly to KCHA (Lovell field in Chattanooga) and I’m off by just 2 degrees in my heading, will I hit Lovell field? No. 2 degrees is not a lot off, but 2 degrees off over that distance will put me many miles off course and I’ll miss my target.


When applying Scripture we can’t make it say what we want it to say. And we can’t apply it rightly when we’ve missed it’s meaning.


However, this “you” is plural. This means that the whole church is God’s temple. Does that mean that the Holy Spirit does not reside in us individually? No. He does. But it does mean that his residence in us individually is not intended to keep us isolated. Rather his presence in us is to draw us together.


Therefore, if we harm the body of Christ or neglect the body of Christ we will fall under the condemnation of verse 17 that says, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”


  1. We, together, are Christ’s dwelling, so the gathered body matters.


  1. We dare not neglect or damage the church.


  1. Jesus will not stand for his church being hurt.


  1. The church is bigger than the Radical Life group, the Sunday gathering and our little denominations. She is the universal bride of Christ that must be cherished and fought for.


  1. The Church Displays God’s Manifold Wisdom

Ephesians 3:8-11

“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold (varied, diverse, multi-colored)_ wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,…”


  1. The church is the vehicle through which the manifold / multi-colored wisdom of God is made known.

There are other organizations that have purposes to do great and good deeds on our planet for people and for nations, but only the church contains the special presence of Jesus Christ (see Revelation 1).


This is not to say that we don’t experience the presence of the Lord daily when not gathered. We do.


***But being covenanted to the body of Christ is special and carries with it supernatural realities that church discipline removes, which is why Paul says to remove the unrepentant sinner from the fellowship.


The disciplined sinner, once removed, no longer has access to the supernatural protection and presence of the Lord.


Therefore, the “Christian” who does not covenant with a body but refuses to covenant with a body refuses, in a real way, to come under the influence of the Chief Shepherd and his supernatural shepherding.


  1. God’s manifold wisdom is made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places through the church.


Note that this is probably the whole host of heavenly beings; not merely angels or evil powers, but both (see 6:12). These heavenly beings, fallen and faithful alike, are assembled witnesses before whom God vindicates his wisdom (D.A. Carson, NBC).


God vindicates his wisdom through the church, which is the expression of his wisdom. And even deeper, verse 11 affirms that this is according to his eternal purpose that was realized in Christ. According to 1:9-10 and 2:11-22 the eternal purpose realized in Christ that vindicates God’s wisdom and shows it to be so glorious as to call it manifold / multi-colored is the unity of all things in Christ (1:9-11) and this unity is brought to expression in a local / global church where Jew and Gentile live and worship as one body in harmony with God and with each other in Christ. And this unity emphasized in chapters 4-6, to Paul, is the central witness to the powerful gospel. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 emphasized this unity under God purchased by Christ as the powerful witness to the work Jesus was about to accomplish on the cross. All this through the church!


How do we live the church out locally?


  1. As the family of God we grow in our love for and fellowship with each other

1 Timothy 5:1-2


  1. Attend regularly to encourage one another and grow together across demographic lines (Hebrews 10:25)


  1. Attend a RL group with members who share the DNA and multiply that DNA in others who can impact others.


How do you determine partnership? Vision / Relationships / Collaboration / Family


It’s hard to have deep fellowship with people who don’t share the vision. You just end up arguing over the vision or circling in the wilderness without ever multiplying until the darn thing dies.


A TRC Application: We value the kingdom, and the kingdom multiplies. If you are in a group of people from various churches who just want a bible study, what are they going to do when you start talking about multiplication? So, in order to stay part of that group you have to sacrifice a value you say you are covenanted to.


  1. As the bride of Christ we seek greater love for Jesus and submission to him

2 Corinthians 11:2-3

“For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”



  1. As God’s new temple we increase awareness of his presence among us

1 Peter 2:4-8

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”


  1. As the body of Christ we increase interdependence on each other’s gifts

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Try this:

  1. Gather as a RL group, in covenant with other TRC folks
  2. Pray together
  3. Discuss the sermon, texts from the sermon and applications the Spirit gives you
  4. Expect each person to contribute
  5. Anticipate Ephesians 4:11-16 gifts to be manifest (apostles – see the big picture and push for the vision; prophets – speak the word of the Lord as the bumpers for the vision; evangelists – bring in the lost, tell the lost; shepherds/teachers – guide, counsel, instruct)
  6. See the church body equipped to grow up into Christ


  1. As a priesthood we have an increasing sense of God’s joy in our praise and good works

1 Peter 2:5

“…you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”


The Church Worships

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”



[1] Mack Stiles, Evangelism (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), p. 71.

[2] Ibid. p. 71.

[3] Dick Tripp, Qualities of the Triune God,


Six Ways Ministry Spouses Get Hurt From Thom Rainer

Below I’ve copied and pasted an article from Thom Rainer about how spouses of church staff get hurt.

Some of this from experience in 19 years of ministry has been painful. Watching it happen to other families who I am friends with has been painful.

This post is NOT in response to anything happening at our church. However, with a little foresight and acting like Jesus we can guard each other and love each other and avoid nasty things like this in order to keep our glorious Spirit given unity on mission together.

So, to guard our pastors and their wives, our staff and their families, and those who may “throw shade” (don’t think the spiritual environment we set does not affect us) give this a read and vow to follow Jesus and not hurt others to satisfy our cravings.

“Hey, I’m not on the church payroll. Go complain to someone else!”

The moment the words left his mouth, he knew he blew it. His wife was the church’s children’s minister. Too often he received complaints about the ministry as if it were his responsibility. On that one occasion, he lost his temper after one complaint too many.

We often lose sight of those in churches whose spouses serve on staff. These are the spouses of executive pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors, lead pastors, and others. We have heard from these spouses through thousands of comments at

We want you to see the six issues we have heard most frequently. We want you to be aware of them so you can offer ministry, encouragement, and friendship to spouses of those who serve in the church. Sometimes those are among the loneliest people in the church.

Here, then, are six of the most common ways ministry spouses get hurt:

  1. Complaints about their spouses. A student ministry spouse heard complaints for months about her husband. The great tragedy was when the head of the personnel committee told her that her husband was about to be fired. The husband had not heard that news.
  2. High expectations about ministry involvement. A pastor’s wife shared with us about an elder calling her house looking for her husband. Upon informing him her husband was not in, the elder asked her questions about the upcoming elders’ meeting. When the wife was not able to answer, the elder complained about her lack of knowledge about what was going on in the church.
  3. Complaints about the children. One of the ways to inflict the greatest pain on someone is to attack his or her children. It is beyond belief how many church members expect a model of behavior for the minister’s family well beyond expectations of their own families. Cut a child and the parent bleeds.
  4. Isolation. Some church members don’t know how to interact with ministry spouses, so they ignore them altogether. Vocational ministry can be lonely. Being the spouse of a vocational minister can be lonely as well.
  5. Gossip and murmuring. Some churches have a modest level of gossip and murmuring. Other churches are pretty vocal with gossip and murmuring. At some point a spouse of a minister will hear something about his or her spouse. That hurts. That hurts a lot.
  6. Going to the spouse with problems about the minister. A worship minister shared with us this tragic story. He was caught up in some worship wars, an all too common reality. The worship leader, however, was pretty thick-skinned, and moved forward despite the criticisms. When the critics saw they were not making progress with the worship leader, they began to attack his wife with their issues. She went into deep depression, and the worship leader ultimately left the church for his wife and family.


Society (Domains of Society)


What is Society?

Society is composed of groups of people who work within their own areas of expertise or “domains”. Society is the structured system of organization for large-scale community living.


These core structures of society do not change.


The people working within these domains meet the basic needs of society and keep it functioning.


Why is the Society so important?

The domains of society become crucial in the transformation of a city.


Those who assume leadership in these spheres of influence have the potential to completely reshape their city, its values, priorities, and practices.


The Scriptures teach that domain leaders function with a delegated authority from God (Romans 13 / Government as a domain / Given authority to execute justice).


God is sovereign over domains, intends to transform all of creation into a new created order at the restoration of all things (Revelation 19-22) and is in that process now as his people preach and heal.


In directing his people to bless their cities and the nations of the world, God is calling us to engage domains as a way of seeing God’s kingdom come to people and entire cities.


How does this concept look in real life?

Kingdom mindset question: “What if the church were the missionary?”


The Great Commission was and is given to the church, not just individuals.


In the 18th century, missions focused on biography .


In the 20th century, missions became institutions and organizations.


HERE IT IS: In the 21st century, missions translates to Kingdom—it’s everyone, 
everywhere and every infrastructure.


There are multiple worldviews that are competing for the hearts and minds of people in all domains of society regarding society.


  1. Pagan / Pantheistic (everything is god and everything is spiritually good and we are trying to escape the bad cycle of life and get in touch with our inner self)
  2. Islamic (the whole world comes under sharia law)
  3. Institutional Church formed by Christendom (the church should have it’s own place for itself, be inward focused and the rest of the world is secular)
  4. Modernist / Humanist (everything is about man and the advancement of humanity’s betterment through the evolution of man and society)
  5. Biblical Christian (Creation/Fall/Redemption/Restoration)


God’s Plan from the Beginning: The Creation Mandate: Genesis 1:26-28

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”


  1. Man was made to have dominion over the whole earth (every sphere of society).


  1. The fall made man more of a casualty of creation’s brokenness rather than a “subduer” of creation and society as a whole.


  1. When Jesus came, he broke the curse of the fall and began bringing all things back under his reign (Ephesians 1:7-10).


  1. Jesus has given us the keys of the kingdom (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 18:15-20), so we have the powerful good news to bring salvation and restoration to all nations.



Thinking about Jesus’ followers engaging every domain of society creates 4 key shifts.


  1. From needs to assets

This shift is one of mindset. This is not an organizational change or shift in processes, rather this is a shift in how we see each other as members of the community of the kingdom.


We move from asking what we need to evaluating assets to be given away in serving our individual and collective domains.


We move from asking: “what did you get out of the service today?” to “how can I engage my domain of society with the gospel of the kingdom?” (Going to give some application to that in a few points)


  1. From programs to domain engagement

This shift has organizational implications. This changes how we organize for work and what work is undertaken.


This is more Spirit-led as members of the community of the kingdom take ownership and responsibility for action.


You begin to ask questions like:

“What is my domain?”


“How can I begin to mobilize people in my domain who are in the kingdom to take this domain for the kingdom?”


“How can I partner with others to make changes in this domain?”


  1. From working for the city to working with the city or from simply funding the cross-cultural worker to partnering with the cross-cultural worker to get glocal resources in the work


This shift is one of relationships and expectations.


This changes how we interact with the community.


Here the church becomes more of a partner to help create solutions rather than simply a provider of a check or other resources.


It becomes a flesh in the game mentality.


We begin to realize that Father has placed valuable people resources in the community of the kingdom and those people are valuable glocally.


We begin to interact with other religions in the engagement of our society’s domains and get to make disciples!


Evangelism and great commission work begins to become natural (as well as part of the culture of a church) as we engage like this.


This multiplies the great commission work force because now everyone is a great commission disciple that can have impact locally and globally.


  1. From managing ministries to leading members

This shift impacts decision-making.


The decision is not what ministries are the pastors going to run, but what will the pastors do in releasing the body to supply it’s part in the kingdom.


Ephesians 4:11-16

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry (teaching, praying, engaging domains as examples), for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”


The power of the kingdom is NOT contained in a few talented men, rather it is the apostolic genius contained in every follower of Jesus walking in step with the Spirit bringing the rule of Jesus to their domain.


4 keys to begin engaging domains


  1. We must believe Jesus came to bring redemption and deliverance to all dimensions of life and to restore the original intention of Genesis 1:26, “…and let them have dominion…”


  1. We must believe the role of serving and giving our lives for the sake of the kingdom in our domain is worth it. We must believe there is treasure in the kingdom of heaven for bypassing temporal gains here and now.


  1. We must have a passion to see Jesus as Lord over all domains of society. (Ephesians 1:10)


– Observe what is broken in your domain.

– Team up with other followers of Jesus to rethink / repair / reinvent process / revolutionize your domain.

– Make disciples in your domain.

– Bring those disciples to your church.

– Plant churches in your domain.


  1. We must actually begin to engage the domains of society to proclaim and heal because Jesus commands it


Matthew 25:31-46 (Matthew 10:5-10 – they were to proclaim the good news and heal)


Those who healed are also those who proclaimed. Jesus’ commands are not executed partially. There is not such thing is partial obedience. (Jesus focused on the “doing” in this parable because he has taught them “He who hears these words of mine and does them is a wise man…” – Matthew 7:24-27)


If you really seek to repair a domain and bring it under the rule of Christ, you’ve proclaimed the rule of Christ. Otherwise, you kingdom tactics make no sense.


Those who did not heal did not proclaim either.


Those who are gathered on the right inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (25:34).


Those who are gathered on the left are sent to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (25:41)


Jesus has given us a mission. That mission’s success and completion is guaranteed. Let’s worship Jesus for that.

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”


Parenting Helps

I had the bright idea to post a training article I wrote for my compadres in and our church planting curriculum that we use to train church planters. That article is called “Parenting While Planting”. Now, I know most of you are not church planters, but the advice is still sound for anyone. If you are not a church planter, then just remove the “pastor” “planter” thing and insert your job title.

Here it is:

Parenting While Planting


It should probably go without saying that you have read your bible, and you have a grasp on what the bible teaches about dads, moms, children, and family. It should probably go without saying that you believe the bible to be the “manual” on doing things in the way of God’s kingdom.


Having said that, what follows is not an exposition of what you know to be true. What follows are some practices that have helped in parenting while planting and pastoring a church.


  1. Make home a priority 1 Timothy 3:4

Greg Cater was my mentor in doing church work. Greg taught me more about parenting and being a husband than church work and those life on life lessons have been more valuable than gold.


Once, Greg was being criticized for not attending some “Promise Keepers” meetings, and when asked why he didn’t come to those gatherings his reply was solid gold: “I’m at home keeping my promise.”


This makes your children know you value them.


  1. Be present in your children’s lives

Show your children you value them by being at the things they care about. Don’t sacrifice your child for a dumb meeting. There will be things you miss. All parents do. But make that the exception not the rule. Make the rule be that you are present.


It’s hard work, so you bear the brunt of it. Don’t make your children bear that load.


  1. Expect your children to sin and don’t overreact when they do

Parenting is training your children for the future. Part of training is failing. Without failure one can’t adequately learn how to grow.


Our children, as we, will sin. When they do, act like you expected it. Show them the what, the why, the consequences and how to move forward into doing right. Overreacting can cause them to do things again just to get the reaction.


  1. Let your children be children

Don’t keep your children crushed under the expectation that they are to be perfectly neat, quiet and stand by your side like a servant.


Don’t let them run wild either. They need to learn to treat others the way others need to be treated. They need to operate with the right respect toward all as part of the community and the family.


But let them play and enjoy their buddies in the life of the church. Church should be fun. My boys and our worship leader’s daughters started the KPF (kids police force) in which the mysteries of the building are investigated, solved and people liberated. They have ID badges and secret drops all over the building. They have brought others into this secret unit. It needs some outside mediation now and again, but they have some good fun.


  1. Don’t be stereotypical as a pastor/ministry person/planter. Be who you are.

Don’t let the vibe roll off of you that you are holier, higher, impeccably dressed and unstained. This helps your kids relate to you as normal with their friend’s parents.


  1. Expect to mess up, admit it, ask for forgiveness and repent

I used to disciple one of my professor’s sons a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. As a mentor to this young man I attended many of his events. At his senior night football game, when they introduced his parents, this offensive lineman who was going to play football at the University of Tennessee bent over and kissed his dad right on the cheek as a genuine display of affection for his dad. That blew me away. This man’s daughter was the same way.


I later asked the dad, my former professor, how it was that they had such a good relationship with their high school children. His words have been a mantra for me: “We mess up a lot, but we are quick to admit it, as for forgiveness and repent.” I’ll take that.


  1. Involve your children in the global adventure of God’s kingdom

We began saving for our children’s first global engagement trip when they were born. That is a pattern we set for the parents of children in our church. The church invests $50 in the life of the child asking parents to add to it at key times so that when the child is ready they can go to the hard places with the good news of the kingdom and that trip is paid for.


Our boys have been saving to that end as well because they are captivated with the idea that they can go somewhere really hard and do kingdom work and make a difference. This causes them to live beyond themselves for something greater and causes them to want to join you in the work.


It really is the greatest adventure; so make sure you make it possible for them to join you.


  1. Help your children discover their passions/gifting and help them see how that gifting fits with glocal engagement

The wisdom of training up a child in the way they should go is more about training them for their vocational calling than about their moral decisions. Vocations are God’s design for engaging domains. Join them in the adventure of discovering their globally created purpose.


The Lord knit our children together and he made them domain engagers. We must help them discover their Psalm 37:4 desires and help them move in that direction with the end of engaging that domain glocally.


If they are a welder, don’t try to make them a literature major. If they are a musician don’t try to make them a mechanic. Get it? Don’t live vicariously through your child.


  1. Introduce your children to Narnia

C.S. Lewis wrote these stories for children to help lift their vision to help disciple children into knowing God. There is so much of Jack’s life as a child bound up in these stories and how he learned Christ.


Engage their imagination so they might live for real eternal ends and know their great creator, Jesus Christ, in the process.


Don’t le them get captivated with mud pies in a slum because they can’t imagine a vacation at the ocean.   – C.S. Lewis


Watch this amazing unpacking of the Chronicles then read them. I’m a Narnia addict. I have learned and am still learning how to follow Jesus through these little books and so are my boys.


Related Scripture Passages:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 127:3-5; Psalm 139:13-16

Proverbs 1:8-9; Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 19:18; Proverbs 22:6; Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 23:13-14

Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 6:1-3, 4

Colossians 3:21



Joiner, Reggie, and Carey Nieuwhof. Parenting beyond Your Capacity: Connect Your Family to a Wider Community. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010.


Stinson, Randy, and Timothy P. Jones. Trained in the Fear of God: Family Ministry in Theological, Historical, and Practical Perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2011.

New TRC Campus

Yesterday was a banner day at Three Rivers Church. We sent out some of our best to begin the process of launching a second Three Rivers Church campus. As we acknowledged that fact Sunday, noting the missing faces of people we love and care for and are covenanted with were not there, there was a bit of exuberance and joy from the church at the growth and multiplication of our fellowship.

This core group of people met in home, worshiped, learned, planned and prepared for launch day in the weeks ahead.

What is this new TRC campus for?

  1. Obedience – The Lord has multiplied our pastoral staff with Acts 13 type men and the Lord’s plan was to send them out.
  2. Faithful to gifting – The Lord has gifted this group of pastors with certain gifts that make sense of starting a new TRC campus rather than an independent church (son of TRC). We want to be faithful with how the Spirit has gifted each leader and not expect them to be what they are not. Rather, we celebrate Spirit’s gifting by operating in it with unity in a diversity of gifts.
  3. Need for room – We are simply out of space. We need room to continue to facilitate the growth Father is bringing. The most effective way was to start another TRC campus with it’s own set of TRC pastors overseeing that campus.
  4. One church two locations – We are one church with one pastoral staff that has a presence on both campuses. Pastors from our UCS campus will be attending services some morning and pastors from the new campus will be attending the UCS campus some mornings. I’ll be preaching at the new campus some and Josh will be preaching at the UCS campus some.
  5. One vision/one message – The pastors at each campus will be preaching from the Scriptures on the same texts on the same weeks. We share our vision “For the glory of God we will disciple the nations by being and producing radical followers of Jesus”. Everything is the same. It’s just in a different location.
  6. More men being raised up – Already, we have new young men who have expressed the 1 Timothy 3:1-7 noble desire to shepherd the people of God. So, we bring them in, mentor them, include them, test them and prepare them to shepherd the people of God. When they are ready we’ll either give them full duty or plant a church with them or start another TRC campus in Rome. The Spirit will determine that. We simply need to hear and obey. Follow me, Jesus said, and I’ll make you fishers of men. Jesus leads and we follow and he makes us what we are for his glory and our joy.

How exciting to be part of the Kingdom of Jesus in Rome, GA. TRC, give thanks to the Father for his great work in our start 13 years ago, his sustaining us and his growing us and his global impact through us!