Thursday, December 28, 2017

Kindness Scales

Today I read this post by Seth Godin named Kindness Scales

My guess guess is that kind is not an adjective that would be used to describe me. Passionate, is often used but it’s usually code for Billy opens his mouth to wide and too often. So maybe that’s why this short post took my attention and kept calling me back to muse on it some more. So over to Seth:

It scales better than competitiveness, frustration, pettiness, regret, revenge, merit (whatever that means) or apathy.
Kindness ratchets up. It leads to more kindness. It can create trust and openness and truth and enthusiasm and patience and possibility.
Kindness, in one word, is a business model, an approach to strangers and a platform for growth.
It might take more effort than you were hoping it would, but it's worth it.

And it seems to be one of the items of clothing valued by God:

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,....kindness....,” - ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Work to do....

Saturday, September 23, 2017

In the light of His Glory & Grace

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2
This weekend I am on a visit home for a funeral and I joined with a others in a packed out church to pay our respects. The crowd were in amazing voice as we sang "The Old Rugged Cross". (I'm clearly getting old as I'm strangely drawn to the old hymns especially when sang so enthusiastically as today)

But we were also treated by the singing of some amazing young gentlemen. One of the songs was,"Turn your eyes upon Jesus" & they sang it beautifully.

Some of the words have stayed with me all day:

"and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace".

Jesus glory and grace are so magnificent, so majestic, so sublime, so opulent, so stunningly beautiful, that one glance towards him, and its like the sun has gone out.

Looking at Jesus not only changes our perspective towards everything in this world, it consumes our whole vision to the extent it is the only thing we can see and want to see.

When we see divine Glory & Grace our eyes can never be satisfied again on this earth no matter how radiant the sunrise of how the superlative the sunset. But God's Word is clear we have an eternity of satisfaction ahead.
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. - Revelation 22:5

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Slow Down

Written in 1975 but so apt for us to day in our frantic paced world.

In the midst of my confusion
In the time of desperate need
When I am thinking not too clearly
A gentle voice does intercede

Slow down, slow down, be still
Be still and wait, on the Spirit of the Lord
Slow down and hear His voice
And know that He is God

In the time of tribulation
When I'm feeling so unsure
When things are pressing in about me
Comes a gentle voice so still, so pure

Slow down, slow down, be still, my child
Be still and wait, on the Spirit of the Lord
Slow down and hear His voice
And know that He is God
And know that He is God

Slow Down

Friday, August 18, 2017

God at work...

"For it is God which worketh in you" (Phil. ii.13).  Sanctification is the gift of the Holy Ghost, the fruit of the Spirit, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the prepared inheritance of all who enter in, the greatest obtainment of faith, not the attainment of works. It is divine holiness, not human self-improvement, nor perfection. It is the inflow into mans being of the life and purity of the infinite, eternal and Holy One, bringing His own perfection and working out His own will. How easy, how spontaneous, how delightful this heavenly way of holiness! Surely it is a "highway" and not the low way of mans vain and fruitless mortification.  It is Gods great elevated railway, sweeping over the heads of the struggling throngs who toil along the lower pavement when they might be borne along on His ascension pathway, by His own almighty impulse. It is God's great elevator carrying us up to the higher chambers of His palace, without over-laborious efforts, while others struggle up the winding stairs and faint by the way.  Let us to-day so fully take Him that He can "cause us to walk in His statutes." Rev A B Simpson

Monday, June 05, 2017

The miracle of the Incarnation

All which is not itself the Great Divide was made in order that He might come down into it. In the Fallen World He prepared for Himself a body and was united with the dust and made it glorious forever. This is the end and final cause of all creating, and the sin whereby it came is called Fortunate and the world where this was enacted is the centre of worlds. Blessed is He.

- C S Lewis (Perelandra)

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Getting passionate

let us desire nothing else,
let us want nothing else,
let nothing else please us and cause us delight except our Creator, Redeemer and Saviour,
the only true God,
Who is the fullness of good,
All good, every good, the true and supreme good,
Who alone is good,
Merciful, gentle, delightful and sweet,
Who alone is Holy,
Just, true, Holy and upright,
Who alone is kind, innocent, clean,
From whom, through whom, and in whom
Is all pardon, all grace, all glory
Of all penitents and just ones,
Of all the blessed rejoicing together in heaven.

- Francis of Assisi

Friday, June 02, 2017

Giving alms

Giving to the poor is an essential part of Christian morality. I do not believe one can settle how much we can give. I'm afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, and amusement, is up to the standard common of those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little... For many of us the great obstacle to charity (christian love) lies not in our own luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear - fear of insecurity. This must often be recognised as a temptation.

C S Lewis (Mere Christianity)

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Unstuck Church - Tony Morgan

My friend Tony Morgan has a brand new book releasing on the 16th May -The Unstuck Church.

Here is what a few well-known Pastors had to say about it:
“Your church is perfectly designed to get the results you are currently getting. If you’re satisfied with the results, write a book. If not, read this one… with your entire leadership team." - Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor, North Point Ministries
"Every once in awhile you find a book that makes you ask "Where has this been all my (ministry) life?" This is one of those books." - Carey Nieuwhof, Founding and Teaching Pastor, Connexus Church
"Whether you are a part of a church plant or a 100-year-old established church, there is a wealth of wisdom in this book for you. If you care about your church, take your team through this book.”- Craig Groeschel, Pastor of Life.Church and author of Divine Direction—7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life
So that should be good enough voices to encourage you to read the book. So what can I add?

Tony is the real deal

I read many books and apart from a few book signing hellos I've never spent any time with the 99% of the authors. But through our connection with Tony at MKCC I have been able to spend day's in meetings and learn through discussions over meals. We have even shared an awkward hug. (Those of you who happen to know us both will understand)

His life is marked by humility and a simple love for Jesus which enriches his family life and empowers his ministry.

Tony loves the local church

I first heard of Tony when I attended a breakout session at a Purpose Driven Conference at Saddleback Church. He and his friend Tim Stevens talked about Simply Strategic Volunteers (still one of the most practical books with ideas on valuing volunteers I've read) while they were serving at Granger Comunity Church. He then served at NewSpring Church SC before setting up The Unstuck Group. I may not get this right but I believe he has now served over 200 churches of all sizes both large and small and many different denominations.

He has a real passion for seeing every local church be all that God wants them to be. To help them to reach more people that are far from Jesus and empower the church to effectively assist people in taking their next step in discipleship.

Tony is serving God in his sweet spot

Having experienced Tony partnering with Milton Keynes Christian Centre over the last few years I know he has been uniquely shaped by God to help churches get unstuck, find health and grow. He has the ability to help you get to where you want and need to be quickly, even though you have been stuck in the long grass for a long time unsure of your next step.

If you are involved in leading a church, do yourself a favour, buy his book here.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Leadership - Mentor the next generation

Dr Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Here are a few quotes from her talk at Rethink Leadership 2017
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast. – Peter Drucker
  • Leadership culture eats strategy for breakfast.
  • What kind of leadership culture was needed to grow churches with young people in the church?
  • With the next-generation, it's more about grass roots activism and not top down great leadership
  • It’s not about hip leadership culture. Pastors, we can put away our skinny jeans.
  • Keychain leadership culture - hand the keys over - responsibility, power & authority. As you hand them over, your church will flourish.
  • It is about Reciprocal Learning – Saying, if you see me doing something wrong, please tell me. 
  • Think of me as a fellow patient who having been admitted a little earlier could give you some advice - C S Lewis
  • We are all here today because someone handed the keys over to us.
  • Take Baby Steps - To give someone their first lesson in the car you don't go to the motorway, you go to a deserted car park.
  • The two biggest problems in the church are that we think too small and we live scared. Young people come with new ideas and courage to take risks.
  • Young people give our church more vitality, innovation, passion, and money. They may not have money but their parents do.
  • The enthusiasm of young people is not your church’s problem. It is your church’s solution.
  • What revolution is waiting in the church as you hand over keys to young people who are ready for them and become a mentor to them?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Predictable Success

Les McKeown business consultant and author of Predictable Success: Getting Your Organisation On The Growth Track…And Keeping It, took a session at Rethink Leadership. It was also good to hear an accent from nearer home as Les originates from Northern Ireland.

Les described the seven stages of every organisation and church and the parts the various types of leaders plays.

Stage 1 - Struggle
  • You get to start something and you have struggle.
  • If you don’t have people, you don’t have a church.
  • The early struggle is dominated by a singular leadership style - one with vision, the Visionary. 
  • They’re not afraid to take risks. They get the big picture. They’re charismatic, steely, passionate. They’re often great communicators, have the gift of the gab.
  • Visionaries get uptight when they have to grind out the details.
  • To get out of early struggle, the Visionary hires an Operator, a ruthless finisher, and together they bring us to the next stage.
Stage 2 - Fun
  • The first growth stage is called Fun.
  • It is in the Fun stage when we build the myths and legends of the church. In the future looking back we will say "Remember when....?"
  • It's where the church is at its most organically evangelical.
  • When we have Fun we grow.
  • We make it up as we go along, do whatever we need to do. We snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • So we grow and get more complex. Then the complexity of running our church then overwhelms our ability to move forward.
  • The Visionary and Operator are then joined by a Processor. They create processes so you don’t have to reinvent them every week.
Stage 3 - Whitewater's
  • The complexity restricts us from doing things on the fly.
  • We have to rehearse music, pay royalties get a building now we need a caretaker.
  • A Processor creates much-needed systems to make stuff replicable. 
  • But Processors are risk averse and say ‘No” a lot.
  • For the good of the church, you need the Visionary, Operator and Processor to work together really well.
  • This is the stage where you first encounter difficulties as for the first time the visionary, operator & processor get conflict for the first time
Stage 4 - Predictable Success
  • This is the stage where we can scale but it is also the time where the three leadership styles clash.
  • They think it's a personality conflict that is causing the difficulty but what's required is getting the three types of leaders working together.
Stage 5 - Treadmill
  •  The treadmill is instead of Predictable Success, we are just predictable.
  • The main difficulty is a visionary - operator conflict. 
  • We start over emphasising process & become predictable & bureaucratic.
  • That's when the visionary says "I didn't start this for this".
  • If the visionary doesn't get heard the visionary will depart.
  • This is the long, slow ride into irrelevancy. With the visionary gone, we are left with operators and processors. They get things done but there’s no vision.
  • The operators then leave to start all over again.
  • Processors are then left making sure the empty services are starting on time.
  • You can only invoke change up to Treadmill.
Stage 6 - The Big Rut
  • With visionary gone, all we can do is make things happen
  • Then the operators leave because they need the visionary
  • Then we are left with processors making sure that the increasing empty services are starting on time
  • There’s no coming back from The Big Rut. You’ve lost the power to self-diagnose. You actually like it like this.
Stage 7 - Death
  • Then you then hit Death Rattle. This can take generations because you have built a lot of assets.
  • If you are in the Big Rut or Death Rattle, there’s no point staying.
Closing Thoughts
  • You want to choose to be in Fun (organic and deep in intensity but not looking to grow) or you can be looking to grow.
  • You often don’t have a choice which stage you find yourself in. You can fall into Whitewater BECAUSE you have grown.
  • In Fun the visionary leader can get to do whatever he wants. If you want Predictable Success, authority flattens out because you make team-based decisions to scale.
  • A bean counter is a Processor who has no ability to relate to the Visionary or Operator. 
  • A visionary leader in Predictable Success has to institutionalise your vision.
  • An extreme visionary becomes an arsonist, an extreme operator becomes a maverick and an extreme processor is left p*****g in the wind
  • You must not empower power without overall alignment. to your vision.
  • If your overarching vision isn't institutionalised, then you have competing heroes/leaders working against each other.
  • Processors want to hold you accountable to current success. When your people say, ‘Back in the day…’, you’re in Whitewater.
  • Visionaries know the need systems and processes but they think they need them for everyone else, except them.
  • In a group discussion, the visionary, operator & processor must put the interest of the enterprise ahead of their own.
  • Getting quality team-based decisions means invoking the enterprise commitment.
  • Many early churches fail because they run out of resources before they run out of vision. You’ve got to keep a focus on viability.
  • I’m all for trial and error, but when you get traction, you have to go through it.
  • Learn to build a muscle of being ruthlessly constructive creating high-quality team-based decisions.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Rethink Leadership - Executive Pastor breakout

At Rethink Leadership I had a great time listening to a breakout session by Darius Wise, Executive Pastor of Denver United Church.

Darius provides leadership for their business operations, executive staff, and serves as one of their primary communicators. Previously he spent eleven years on staff at New Birth Church in Lithonia, Georgia.

  • Ministry is about people, relationships and valuing each other's story
  • The Executive Pastor role complements the senior pastor role
  • It is a rather unique position as it includes both operations and pastoring people
  • But they must have the ability to do "business" well
  • And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.- Dan 1:20-21 - It would seem that Daniel and his colleagues did their work 10 times better than others.
  • Through this they earned credibility & influence
  • You can't pay enough for credible and trustworthy leaders
  • The people who attend church each week are not looking for a perfect leader but they are looking for a leader who is credible & trustworthy
  • In church doing "business" well is a means to an end, to empower the church to care for & disciple people well
  • Remember to think people before process
  • Take time to walk through the lobby - but walk slowly! 
  • In the church, everyone's a janitor and everyone's a pastor
  • As an Executive Pastor, your role is to bring clarity &  build trust.
  • By definition, we can get positional authority but relational authority is what moves the needle and creates change
  • Seek to lead from relational access
  • An Executive Pastor has a unique position in the church, they are the middle man, with access and responsibility up and down the org chart.
  • You must learn to manage the tension.Manage the tension
  • Lead alongside not in front.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Rethink Leadership - Jeff Henderson

Next up at Rethink Leadership was Jeff Henderson, Lead Pastor at Gwinnett Church. Here are some of his thoughts on Strategy: Keeping The Main Thing The Main Thing.

  • The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.
  • Insideritis – a malady afflicting the vision of an organisation resulting in focusing on insiders over outsiders.
  • Our role, as leaders, is to grow a team who can take care of the business while you go and get new customers. (he gave an example of what was expected of a Chick fil a manager)
  • Too often the way we have set up our churches is actually keeping people from reaching people
  • Vision leaks. And so does inspiration.
  • The natural drift of a church or organisation is towards complexion and confusion.
  • You have to start with "why" and you have to stay with why.
  • Our challenge as leaders is that we have a lot going on. So remember to stay within the circles you can influence. You, your core team, staff and board, volunteers and finally the larger Community. But it all starts with you.
  • Continually ask "What are we here for?". This is a vision inventory question.
  • To check you are focused on the main thing ask these three questions:
    What do you meet about?
    What do you talk about?
    What do you see?
    What do you celebrate?
  • The words we use are important but if we can put visual images to it, it helps keep the main thing the main thing. Use t-shirts, bumper stickers, pens....
  • Celebration is something leaders often overlook.
  • The best thing you can do as a leader today is write three Thank You notes, and tomorrow, and the next day, and every day.
  • For Gwinnett Church #forgwinnett is the main thing. They are for their County, for everyone in Gwinnett not everyone in the church.
  • In first 5 min of any staff meeting, everyone seaches for the #forgwinett then likes and comment on posts. We reward vision. 
  • Everybody likes getting their Instagram photo liked. It reinforces a behaviour.
  • 99% of Instagram photos from churches are about what’s happening in the church. We need to be about what’s happening in the community.
  • A neighbour minded church allows people to belong before they believe

Monday, May 01, 2017

Rethink Leadership - Reggie Joiner

Reggie Joiner is the founder and CEO of Orange, whose purpose is to influence those who influence the next generation. Here are some of his thoughts from his session at Rethink Leadership:

  • Ask yourself what do I want a kid to become?
  • Where do I want a kid or teenager to be so they can learn what I want them to learn?
  • Strategy is a plan of action with an end in mind. Think of motorcycle training through cones. Look at the cones, and you will hit it. Look at an object at the end of the cones, and you will pass every time.
  • What is the one thing that you would want your people to attend to create life change?
  • A strategy is a plan of action with an end in mind. Orange is not a curriculum. It's a strategy
  • Recruit the most qualified and educated staff to work with children & young people and pay them accordingly.
  • Kids and students matter so give them your best.
  • Two things that have to be right in your church – what you’re doing with your kids and what you’re doing with your presentation.
  • You need to put your best talent in front of your greatest potential
  • Kids are the engine of growth for reaching your community. The more budget you put into children and student ministry the bigger the whole pie will be.
  • You can say student ministry is important but I want to see your budget. – Craig Groeschel
  • You have to have a volunteer process that sets people up to win.
  • We have amazing leaders who show up to invest in kids and teenagers. But senior pastors set the tone for that.
  • Get the leaders for family and children’s ministry before we get leaders for anywhere else.
  • Champion family ministry in a way that inspires high capacity leaders to volunteer.
  • If you have been attending here for two years and you are not serving maybe you should go to another church as we can't help you grow
  • What you need to do with parents is not a workshop you do once a year where 20% will turn up. You need an ongoing strategy to reach 100%.
  • 20% of parents will come to an event. You have to figure out how to connect with and empower the rest.
  • Turn up all the dials of communications to engage parents but one of your best tools to reach parents in your church and community is a small group leader.
  • If you have the right curriculum, it will work with the parents in your church and the parents in your community.
  • Suicides peak at 10th grade in our country (USA).
  • Middle school is when kids start seeing things and experiencing things for the first time.
  • Middle school is the Affirm Phase. I’ve never met a middle schooler who was affirmed enough.
  • One-third of the cerebral cortex goes away in middle school. They are not being irresponsible. They are losing their mind. 
  • Value the ministry to middle school, it sends a message to your community when middle schoolers matter.
  • If we understand what's going on with a child in each phase of their life we will stop making assumptions and start responding differently. Resource:

Rethink Leadership - Carey Nieuwhof

Last week I had the privilege to attend Rethink Leadership a conference organised by Carey Nieuwhof. Carey is the Lead Pastor of Connexus Church– which is a multi-campus church near Toronto. You can read his thoughts on Christian leadership at his blog. The following are a few quotes from his opening session on strategy.

  • Solitude is a gift from God. Isolation is from the enemy.
  • Most of our problems in church are not vision problems but strategy problems
  • The vision of the church was handed to us by Jesus. We can’t come up with our own vision.
  • Strategy, more than your mission and vision, determines your destination
  • You don’t have a ministry problem. You have a strategy problem.
  • Vision often falls flat if there is no Strategy. 
  • Clear strategy provokes deep fear. A strategy is often divisive. For example, blended worship rarely makes anyone happy
  • Ambiguity never provokes fear. Clarity does.
  • Strategy is the execution of your mission and vision.
  • Strategy becomes divisive because it is clear.
  • Clear strategy initially divides before it unites. What initially pushes people away eventually creates unity.
  • The clearer you are on your strategy, the simpler it is, the more it is written down, the easier it is.
  • The more a church grows the more complicated it gets.
  • If you’re going to stay current, you’re going to have to reinvent your strategy.
  • It’s easy to change something someone else has built. It’s much more difficult to change something you have built.
  • Strategic is the key to attracting young leaders.
  • Yesterday’s ideas never attract tomorrow’s leaders.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Trust in the chaos

On Good Friday at MKCC I continued our teaching series When Love Speaks. Watch the video below:

When Love Speaks - Trust from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

The preach is based on the words Jesus quoted from Psalm 31:5. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!

As he breathed his last breath on earth Jesus words were words of trust in the Father. Here are 3 things Jesus wants us to remember in our most difficult times.

  1. Remember we have a Father in heaven who loves us
  2. Remember we have a Father in heaven who we can trust implicitly
  3. Remember we have a Father in heaven who has promised us eternal life

Saturday, April 08, 2017

10 secret inside tips to make you a incredible local church leader

  1. Be a servant
  2. Be a servant
  3. Be a servant
  4. Be a servant
  5. Be a servant
  6. Be a servant
  7. Be a servant
  8. Be a servant
  9. Be a servant
  10. You've got it, be a servant
It's even a tad biblical It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant - Matt 20:26 Enough said

Monday, April 03, 2017

Jesus our Substitute

Leading up to Easter at MKCC we are taking a deeper look at the 7 last statements that Jesus made from the cross. This week was my opportunity to talk about the word, Substitute. Check out the message below.

When Love Speaks - Substitution from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 18, 2017


This past Sunday I hooked up with my old time mentor, pastor and friend Roger Blackmore. Over the weekend I had the honour of preaching at his church in Long Island NY.

I kicked off their new series: Stories. Looking at the stories that Jesus used as he taught his followers. My story, God is not a reluctant friend at midnight but a how much more father.

It was great to see how God is blessing Genesis Church and to connect with a great bunch of people. There are exciting times ahead for them! Oh and one of the great things about it is that everyone turns up early to have bagels and coffee!

We also had a surprise proposal by Ryan to his future wife Amy. Great day all round!

You can watch my preach below

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

To The One

Check out this new song by MKCC worship - To the one.

To The One - Worship Video from MKCCVIDS on Vimeo.

If you would like to sing it in your church chord charts are available here.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Waiting Room

Waiting can often be a frustrating and even scary place to be. But through the life of Abraham we discover that whilst waiting for the promise of God he got to know intimately the God of the promise.

Here is my recent preach at MKCC

Monday, February 20, 2017

The solid logic of heaven

He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him freely give us all things? - Romans 8:32 
How is it imaginable that God should withhold, after this, spirituals or temporals, from his people? How shall he not call them effectually, justify them freely, sanctify them thoroughly, and glorify them eternally? How shall he not clothe them, feed them, protect and deliver them? Surely if he would not spare this own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery, it can never be imagined that ever he should, after this, deny or withhold from his people, for whose sakes all this was suffered, any mercies, any comforts, any privilege, spiritual or temporal, which is good for them.

John Flavel (The works of John Flavel - Banner of Truth)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


We kicked off a brand new series at MKCC this past Sunday, The N Commandments. Jesus told his followers NOT to do certain things which on the face of it for us seem almost impossible:

  • Don't fear
  • Don't worry
  • Don't Sin
  • Don't Doubt
  • Don't Judge
I had the opportunity to launch the series and lay a foundation of how this may even be possible. Our obsession in the church for our list of rules is never going to help us but a loving & treasuring Jesus above everything else may well open the door.
Watch the rest of the message here:

N Commandments - Unhitched from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.