Jul 302010

This week I received this email from Tom Steers about an event for Southern California ministry leaders (and those that’d travel in for it). The AALC mentioned in email below refers to an “Asian American Leadership Conference.”

You don’t have to be Asian American to attend. I’d go just to hear James Choung. When James gave a similar talk during a workshop at Urbana 09, it was standing room only and overflowing; must have had over 500 people there! I had to shoot this video sitting on the floor myself.]

THE GATHERING of Asian American church and parachurch leaders will meet again!

Save this date: Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010
We will meet at 10:00 am at Evergreen Baptist Church-L.A. (1255 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead, 91770)

We will hear from James Choung, the new director of Asian American Ministries of IVCF. He will speak about his new book, TRUE STORY: A Christianity Worth Believing In.

We will be treated to a free lunch @ noon!

Again, the purpose of The Gathering is to encourage you, to re-connect with Kingdom laborers, and to make new connections. Louis Lee will also be with us to share about a new AALC in April or May, 2012.

I need your confirmation that you are coming in order to have an accurate meal count. Please email me back! If you are interested in going to this event, please e-mail Tom Steers directly at [email protected]

Also, these events are always open to any key leader that you want to invite. There are 100′s of key leaders that we are not in email connection with. So, we rely heavily on you to invite others! Please do!

Just let me know attendees for our meal count!

With you for HIS eternal victories!


Jul 292010

Meeting with a pastor today who is entering a new season of ministry to plant a next gen multiethnic church in the Westminster aka Little Saigon area of Orange County. (Aside: there’s 3 other comparable ones in proximity of that: Converge Family Church, ReGeneration Church, Redemption Point [blog]; and there’s so many to reach there, so it’s encouraging to see these startups).

I’m recommending and gifting these books to him as valuable resources, even more so than our little meetup and conversation today:

What would you add?

Jul 172010

The ethnic diversity among American church leaders sometimes gets obscured by only looking at numbers and rankings. America is now more than one-third (non-white) minorities. There’s not yet a similar ratio on those “top” lists. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

This is a list of blogs by non-white ethnic leaders in the American church (cf. ChurchRelevance’s Top 100 Church Blogs):

Apologies for any oversight–this list is not comprehensive. I searched for active blog (at least 1 new post in the past month) or a domain name or using fuzzy logic. And someone oughta put a top blog list for women church leaders, right Sherry?

By the way, the Multi-Ethnic Church Conference 2010 will be a national gathering of historic significance. This November 2-3 in San Diego. I do urge all church leaders to be present and counted as our country diversifies as does the blogosphere.

Please add more via the comments below. Thanks for collaborating.

Jul 122010

When it comes to churches, there’s a sociology to the number of people and group dynamics. There’s much more going on than a generic spiritual gathering.

On numerous occasions, I’ve been asked for resources about how to manage the changes when a church changes sizes, or how to get a church to grow past a certain size. What I’ve found are a few books that address this topic, and some articles too. The books are:

There are certain church sizes that seem most common, as if a certain group settles into a certain size stability equilibrium. Here’s some estimates of those sizes:

And, the articles are:

This FAQ from HIRR gives perspective on the whole: “The median church in the U.S. has 75 regular participants in worship on Sunday mornings, according to the National Congregations Study. Notice that researchers measured the median church size — the point at which half the churches are smaller and half the churches are larger — rather than the average (186 attenders reported by the USCLS survey), which is larger due to the influence of very large churches.”

Closing thoughts: 2 areas where church size makes a difference is the leadership structure needed and a perceived “growth barrier.” While the term “barrier” may be misleading, it’s a term that’s commonly used in “church growth” circles. Church size is not a reliable indicator of healthy spirituality or lack thereof; it’s often more of a correlation with group dynamics and organizational structure. To say it more simply, church sizes are not good or bad. And, some people have a strong preference for one church size, and may need to migrate when a size transition happen.

[update] “Does a church’s size indicate anything about its spirituality or success?” (excerpt from “What People Ask About The Church” by Dale A. Robbins)

But there is a danger in using largeness as a standard to measure success. Size does not depend as much on spirituality as it may many other factors. … Most large churches claim that their size is a result of the ability to satisfactorily “minister” to the needs of a broad range of people. … While it is true that there are more large churches today than there were in the past, they still only make up a tiny percentage of the body of Christ… 90 percent of American churches have an attendance of somewhere below 200. The majority of churches, 55 percent, have an attendance of somewhere less than 100… only about 1 percent ever attain attendances of more than 700.

[photo credit]

Jul 102010

Print still has a place in this online digital world. Handout postcards. Flyers. Brochures. Commonly handed out to make an announcement. Spread the word. Give a discount.

Kingdom Come is a worship revival gathering in downtown Los Angeles tomorrow 6pm, Sunday night, July 11th, 2010, at Club Tatou. Free admission. Food will be provided. Contact = [email protected]

No website on the postcard. Jaeson Ma blogged about it and there’s a Facebook event. There’s 3 videos on YouTube about “Why KC3?” from Jaeson Ma, worship leader Caleb, and Stephen Brown.

Print hasn’t died (yet?).

Jul 052010

One topic is often unspoken, as if taboo, particularly in the world of leaders and influencers. Yet, I think it’s fair to say that it’s a part of our common human condition to have negative thoughts along with positive ones. It doesn’t seem quite right when someone is able to be optimistic and positive 100% of the time. Can you relate?
And it’s normal to have occasional thoughts and feelings in the realm of sadness, anger, frustration, doubt, anxiety, worry, struggle, loss, fear, shame, guilt, weakness, frailty, what have you. I’ll admit that it’s part of my life experience. While there are many self-help strategies and tactics, or positive-thinking motivational speeches and/or sermons, to battle the dark thoughts, those techniques may rely too much on our own efforts and strength. I’m not that strong to get through life on my own. It’s okay to ask for help and get help. As I reflect on this, I thought of 4 things you can do when dark thoughts come:

  • 1. Replace. One very common tactic is to replace the negative thought with a positive thought. Gratitude is particularly powerful. Hope and remembrance can be powerful replacers too.
  • 2. Release. Dark thoughts need a place to go. Some of them don’t just go away by self-effort or re-focusing. I’ve found it incredibly valuable to be with someone safe to process out loud the pain and confusion. It’s not quite safe to release dark thoughts into the open internet for all to see, which I liken to injecting poison or spreading a virus onto others. Not helpful. Sometimes talk therapy with a professional counselor provides that release so good for our soul.
  • 3. Rx. And for some, mental and emotional health can be facilitated through prescription medication, just as vitamins and/or drugs can bring health for other conditions that affect our imperfections.
  • 4. Renew. And not to preclude the supernatural, a miraculous healing can transform a person like nothing else. While not every single person who wants healing gets healing, some do.

if you really knew me

So as I reflected and simmered this topic on the back burner, something came across my radar.This new MTV show caught my attention as being particularly poignant and powerful — called “If you really knew me.” The premise of the documentary-style drama series is that each episode will follow 5 students during a one-day program, “Challenge Day.” These 5 students will get honest with each other– get past the labels and cliques, and share with each other the illuminating yet sometimes difficult truths about their lives. A press release describes “Challenge Day’s vision is that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated.”

Wow! Could you imagine a place like that? Where a person, young and old, can feel safe, loved, and celebrated? What would happen if a church could be a safe and honest place like that?

How do you get help when dark thoughts make an unwelcomed visit? What else would you add about this?

[photo credit: enpenumbra]