Oct 302007
 

From the Leadership Network Learnings blog::

Have you ever wondered what are the most contributing factors for the survivability of a new church start? Or, do you wonder why some new churches seem to have faster and more significant growth than others. What are some of the best practices that are occurring in the area of church planting?

Leadership Network has just released a comprehensive study of the state of church planting within the United States that answers the above questions and more. This study, headed by Ed Stetzer, the director of research at Lifeway Christian Resources, was based on personal interviews of denominational leaders, church planting churches, and church planting networks. This is not only a must-read for anyone involved in church planting, but also for anyone involved in growing a church. This information has the potential to help churches and organizations to start stronger churches and increase the momentum for a church planting movement with the USA.

The research can be downloaded free at www.leadnet.org/churchplanting. A 25-minute podcast interview of Dave Travis and Ed Stetzer is also available as a free download at www.leadnet.org/podcasts for the Researcher’s Commentary on State of Church Planting USA.

Oct 292007
 

It’s been said that movies are our modern-day parables. Multi-sensory multi-media presentations like movie clips and artistic videos can engage an audience so very compellingly. With the Internet being used more as a distribution channel for audios (a la iTunes) and videos (a la YouTube), and broadband access more popular, now there’s a handful of websites catering to churches and ministries with videos and movie clips available for download (with varying prices) to show during church services, Bible studies, leadership training, etc.

  • Grovefilms.com is newest on the block, with original films and videos by artists and producers, many with a notable creative flair. As an initiative of The Grove Center for the Arts & Media, Grovefilms.com will post films by young filmmakers for sale and share the proceeds. 10% of proceeds go to artistic grants. Very visionary to unleash more the arts in the church.
  • wingclips.com – here you can buy and download movie clips from first-run films from Hollywood. This is the proper and legal way to show movie clips in a public group setting (like a church) — you’re not supposed to just buy a movie DVD and cue up a chapter to show in public without special licensing (cf. CVLI – the Christian Video Licensing International)
  • bluefishtv.com – a whole mix of downloadable videos, motion backgrounds, and teaching segments from popular communicators like Erwin McManus, Doug Fields, Chris Seay, and Louie Giglio. They have a podcast feed for introducing new videos.
  • highwayvideo.com – I think they had been producing DVDs with videos for illustrating and teaching, and now they offer (some?) videos for download too. Fancy Flash-driven website.
  • sermonspice.com – large repository of videos, film clips, and background loops. 7,985 according to their count at the time of this writing. Even though they say it’s for sermon illustrations, you can use it for other events without violating the rules. SermonSpice.com also allows filmmakers to submit their film or video for sale.
  • [update] Also, I just heard of this one – www.worshiphousemedia.com

These are the ones I’ve found so far. Add a comment if you know of others, or post a rave of your favorite service above.

Oct 252007
 

2 requests I get most often from my (fledging) network of Asian American ministry leaders is (1) a speaker for their upcoming event, and (2) pastors and churches looking for a connection. It’s a little bit outside of my sweet spot in my role for L2 Foundation, but we try to do what we can.

My old friend David Hsu from seminary days has been pastoring in Houston for over a decade now and has the distinction of being dubbed a senior pastor of an multi-generational Chinese church while he was under age 40(!) (if I’m not mistaken). I’ve seen Pastor David in action on several occasions, he’s not only fluent in Mandarin and English, he’s also well-versed in both Chinese and American cultures.

So we got to talking on our occasional check-in, and here’s the wild idea. Rather than only using conventional means of posting a job listing for a ministry opportunity, he thought it’d be good to post the opening for his church’s English pastor position here at djchuang.com — after all, the kind of a pastor they’d want would be a regular reader here, right?

Here’s the quick summary of the position:

West Houston Chinese Church (WHCC) is a nondenominational church that is committed to sharing the journey of life transformation in Christ. WHCC is seeking a full-time pastor/minister for Meta, our English-speaking adult congregation. Meta is a vibrant, inclusive community of God-inspired change that consists of English-speaking adults of all ages. Meta currently has an average worship attendance of 150 adults, with 14 small groups meeting throughout the city of Houston.

This pastoral role involves Leadership, Teaching & Preaching, Small Group Ministry, Family Ministry & Pastoral Counseling, and Missions & Evangelism. This is an English Pastor position within a multi-generational Chinese church context, and you’d get the added bonus of working with a culturally-astute senior pastor. (I’m almost tempted to throw my name in the hat for this outside chance of working along side of David Hsu, but I just made a big relocation myself this summer. Almost.)

Oct 242007
 

I’m sitting here at a Starbucks in Laguna Hills, at the corner of Paseo De Valencia and El Toro Rd. The hotspot SSID was “tmobile” and I didn’t have to login. I think the rumored free Wifi internet at Starbucks is already happening and being rolled out! The ComputerWorld article that first predicted this 2 weeks ago said it would happen within a year. 2 weeks is much sooner than a year. Is it happening in your neighborhood Starbucks?

[correction] Here’s the official news release about the proactive effort on T-Mobile’s part to make their HotSpot service available in the areas impacted by the California wildfires [ht: Cara Walker for T-Mobile] –

T-Mobile USA Offers Complimentary Wi-Fi Internet Service at Designated T-Mobile HotSpot Locations in Southern California

People Displaced by Wildfires Can Stay Connected at Open T-Mobile HotSpot Locations in Affected Areas including Select Airports, Hotels and Starbucks Coffee Shops

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Oct. 24, 2007 – In response to the Southern California wildfires, T-Mobile USA is offering complimentary Wi-Fi Internet service through Oct. 31 at nearly 1,200 T-Mobile® HotSpot locations in Southern California.

People can access complimentary T-Mobile HotSpot service during this limited time in the following locations where T-Mobile has agreements to offer HotSpot service in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as Imperial, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties:

· Airports:

o Throughout Los Angeles (LAX), Ontario (ONT), Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena (BUR), Palmdale (PMV), and Van Nuys (VNY)

o Complimentary service is also available to patrons of airline clubs of Delta, United, US Airways, and American at airports within the affected counties

· Nearly 1,000 Starbucks coffee shops

· FedEx Kinko’s

· Borders Books & Music stores

· Hyatt Hotels

· Red Roof Inns

· Select T-Mobile retail stores

The service is intended for those who have been displaced from their homes or are seeking refuge from the wildfires. This complimentary service for fire-affected areas in Southern California is for Wi-Fi service only, not T-Mobile voice or other services.

For a complete listing of T-Mobile HotSpot locations, visit www.t-mobile.com/hotspot

or call 1-877-822-SPOT (7768).

All users should visit www.t-mobile.com/hotspot to view T-Mobile HotSpot terms and conditions and the security policy. T-Mobile HotSpot service requires a Wi-Fi enabled laptop computer or PDA.

[update] Free wifi only to month’s end in Southern Cal, according to Fast Food Maven::

Starbucks said it has teamed up with T-Mobile to offer free Internet access at 1,000 cafes in Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. … Starbucks is lifting fees temporarily so evacuees with laptops can use cafes to reach family members online.

Access will be complimentary through Oct. 31, the chain said.

[ht: Nancy Luna the Fast Food Maven]

And for safe computing, see Chris Pirillo’s comment on the above and tips on securing your Wifi connection. In case you don’t know, free wifi connections may not always be safe.

Oct 222007
 

The Southern California wild fires have been overwhelming for thousands upon thousands. I’m safe here in Aliso Viejo, sleeping in my own bed. The smokey stench and sooty dust is everywhere, even here. But for more than 265,000 350,000 by some count, they’ve been evacuated all over. 655+ homes 1,300 homes and buildings destroyed. I’m not following the news closely, but I am praying.

See Yahoo News Full Coverage on the California Wild Fires for latest.

[update] Nate Ritter is keeping a live twitter feed as a help center with news & info for those affected by San Diego area wild fires. Los Angeles Times also uses a twitter feed for its late breaking news. Up-to-date info for San Diego area residents at sosdfireblog.blogspot.com by the San Diego Union Tribune.

How you can help: donate to fire relief via churches providing evacuee housing + see list of San Diego churches serving as help centers and evacuation centers

Oct 202007
 

I’ll be the special guest host of NextGenerAsianChurch.com’s conversational talk-back about my 9/26 presentation “Revitalizing Asian American Churches for New Generations” this Sunday, October 21st, 6-7pm Pacific / 9-10pm Eastern. (Tomorrow!) Here’s the dial-in info:

Phone Number: 724-444-7444
Talkcast ID: 60596

You can dial-in using your free nights & weekend minutes on your cell phone, dial-in via Skype Out, or use the free ShoePhone software. If you don’t want to ask questions, you can listen in on the live streamed audio at the Talkcast page by clicking on the “Listen Only” link there.

More background info here and here. Talk to you soon!!

[update] MP3 audio of this conference call available now – courtesy of Talkshoe

Oct 192007
 

In Pastor Tim Keller‘s own words, “Yes, I Wrote a Book” (from his church‘s newsletter)::

How do you tell people something they probably want to know without playing into the great American hype machine? I’ve been getting so many questions about this I thought I would write a simple newsletter article to members and friends to let you know that, yes, I wrote a book.

I’ve been working for some time on a book for the ordinary (which means very sharp) spiritually skeptical New Yorker. Ever since I got to New York nearly two decades ago I’ve wished I had a volume to give people that not only answered objections to Christianity (what has been called ‘apologetics’) but also positively presented the basics of the gospel in an accessible yet substantial way. I had some books that did the one and some that did the other, but only one did both—Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. As you know, I think Lewis’ book is peerless, and foolish would be the author who tried to replace him!

However, the issues in the public discourse around Christianity have become much more complex…

Read the rest of his blog-like commentary about his non-hyped book.

The book’s title = The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. You can pre-order this book for convenient home delivery.

[update 10/21] someone named “Dave K” tipped me off to 3 recent messages delivered by Tim Keller at
The Evangelists Conference in the UK, 2007 theme = Smashing False Idols. Message titles = Gospel Realisation, Gospel Communication, and Gospel Incarnation (MP3).

Oct 182007
 

Ran into Spencer Burke today at lunch, while meeting up with my Leadership Network colleague at Togo’s Sandwich Shop in Laguna Hills. Amazing to hear of his latest ideas, and the energy he still exudes.

He’s got a free webcast on tonight, so tune in on your PC or Mac, and hear from the author of The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations – incredible insights about how organizations can reproduce organically!

Soularize webcast with “Starfish and the Spider” author – this Thursday Oct 18, 6:00pm Pacific Time — yes, that’s TONIGHT!

Join in for a free Soularize FeedLive webcast preview this Thursday at 9pm Eastern (6 Pacific) with Spencer Burke and Ori Brafman, courtesy of Soularize.net and Shapevine. Come experience firsthand the content and technology of this year’s learning party!

Ori Brafman is a peace and economic development consultant and activist. He is co-author of indie business cult favorite The Starfish and the Spider, about leaderless groups and what makes them so powerful.

Spencer Burke is a “pastor alumnus,” author, speaker and founder of TheOOZE.com. In Thursday’s interview Spencer will talk to Ori about the Church that primarily running as a Spider organization in a Starfish world; together, we’ll investigate Starfish front-runners and Hybrids—can organic and institutional models can live in harmony?

You can ask Ori and Spencer question, take live polls, and more. We’ll pull your questions from the chat window and answer them live via streaming video. There’s no software to download—Mac AND PC compatible; use any web browser with high-speed internet access.

WHEN: This Thursday, October 18—at 6pm pacific/9pm eastern

WHERE: http://Soularize.net/feedlive. Just click the “Preview” button and you’re in…

Oct 172007
 

Pastor Mark Driscoll is something else. CT titled their Sept.2007 article, Pastor Provocateur, about how polarizing he is. Nothing short of “genius”: controversy sells and generates buzz, he attracts and repels, often even the same group.

Now he’s going Web 2.0 to generate a sermon series. Not the kind of preach through a book of the Bible, chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse. Over at askanything.marshillchurch.org, they’re collecting questions Twitter-style until November 1st, and then inviting you to vote on the favorite questions until December 14th. The top 9 questions with the most votes will become a sermon series beginning January 2008. (yes, the full 9-yards Web 2.0 with RSS feeds, comment threads, recent questions, blog..)

The top 3 favorite questions at the moment are:

  1. Do you believe that the Scripture not only regulates our theology but also our methodology? In other words, do you believe in the regulative principle? If so, to what degree? If not, why not?
  2. Pastor Mark, you have stated that you do not believe in “the rapture”. What are your beliefs surrounding issues of eschatology and the current, christian infatuation with the apocalypse?
  3. Why is Mars Hill Church considering opening campuses in other states and countries instead of planting churches at those locations?

Too many pastor-types posting questions and/or voting. I’d like to see more normal people chime in with their questions!

What do you want to ask Mark Driscoll? Don’t just comment here, go over there and ask away!