Jul 102012

Next week in Kansas City (Leawood, to be exact) is the National Worship Leader Conference, where 1000s of worship leaders will be coming in from almost every state in the US of A and probably a dozen countries or more around the world! Follow the conversation via the twitter hashtag #nwlc12 .. I’ll be there!

For those who’ll be there, who are you happy to see? And for those who aren’t able to make it, you can get a Virtual Pass to livestream all 3 general sessions with some of these worship leaders below, 3 select workshops, and more! Who would you be happy to see – click on the thumbs-ups (powered by Ranker) [if you see an error message, go directly to poll>> ]

NWLC KS 2012 Worship Leaders

[disclosure: I work with Worship Leader Magazine, host of the NWLC]

Aug 182011

This article “New Voices, New Directions” (by Tim Willard and Lindy Lowry @LindyLowry) in the Sept/Oct 2011 issue of Outreach Magazine opens with:

“From pastors to social justice advocates to musicians and artists, the evangelical landscape brims with young leaders striving not for the limelight, but to cast a light…”

New Voices, New Directions” introduces 30 emerging influencers who are reshaping leadership itself. Outreach Magazine partnered with Catalyst Director Brad Lomenick to assemble this list ::

Tyler Merrick Project7.com
Eugene Cho OneDaysWages.org
Chris & Phileena Heuertz WordMadeFlesh.org
Sedgwick Davis TheElders.org
Katie Davis amazima.org
Jonathan Merritt JonathanMerritt.com
Charles Jenkins CharlesJenkins.com ^
Isaac Hunter SummitConnect.org
Tommy Kyllonen CrossoverChurch.org
Ryan Meeks EastlakeCC.com
Bryan Loritts FellowshipMemphis.org
Herbert Cooper PeoplesChurch.tv
Esther Fleece @EstherFleece
Jenni Catron JenniCatron.tv
Jo Saxton 3DMinistries.com
Bethany Hoang IJMInstitute.org
Hannah Song LiNKGlobal.org
Ralph Castillo Ralphye.blogspot.com ^
Charles Lee CharlesTLee.com
Jeff Shinabarger PlywoodPeople.com
Jonathan Olinger DiscovertheJourney.org
Esther Havens EstherHavens.com
Jon Tyson TrinityGraceChurch.com; CityCollective.org
Darren Whitehead WillowCreek.org
Zach Williams ZachWilliams.com
Amena Brown AmenaBrown.com
Jeremy Cowart Help-Portrait.com
Jenny White ArtHouseAmerica.com/dallas
Jaeson Ma JaesonMa.com
Tim Willard EndVeneer.com @endveneer

(The article is not available online; you can order a copy of the printed magazine for $6.95.)

Aug 072010

Finding voices and faces that can better connect and/or represent both genders in actual diversity of the Christian church can seem elusive, especially in a financially-driven world. Asian American women
One of the currently under-represented grouping is Asian American women who are Christian ministry leaders, be it church or parachurch. Kathy Khang has started a great list of Christian Asian American female leaders. Here’s a copy of that list with a snapshot of what they’ve done and/or how they’re notable [in no particular order]:

This is an incomplete list, for starters — please add a comment with other women leaders who should be listed. While typing out the title for this blog post, I fumbled around with the word order, i.e. “women Asian American church leaders,” “Christian Asian American women leaders,” “Asian American women ministry leaders,” or “Asian American women church leaders” … I wanted to name this grouping of women leaders who were involved in vocational Christian ministry related to an Asian American context.

How can we better address the current situation of the American church leadership tier being disproportionately represented by one demographic, when the actual demographic make-up of church attendance (or locality) is far more diverse — ethnically, gender, socio-economic, etc ? How much of the Lausanne Global Conversation will percolate and change the American church?

Yes, it’s all quite complicated, with dynamics involving organizational viability, market forces & economics, regional and local distinctives, racialized history, philosophy of ministry, church growth theories, theological convictions, denominational heritage. To sweep it under the rug of the spiritual being transcendent and the inequalities of our social reality being insignificant seems quite a gnostic notion.

To remain silent about this in the public arena of the blogosphere doesn’t seem to help anything. This may well be one of those things where annual reports of measurable results may be a bit short-sighted for much-needed longer-term endeavors. The issue is not going away. When will the church engage?

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!


Mar 152010

There’s a place for events being exclusive and invite-only. There’s a place to celebrate excellence. Yet when done in the public eye like a conference that’s priced beyond the pay grade of normal people, what kind of an impact does that have, especially for the next generation? This Business Week article describes an aspect of a possible dynamic between generations:

TED’s Not Dead, But It Is Aging: The annual conference tries to reach out to a new generation, awkwardly

TED was born in 1984 as an underground dinner party for information designer Richard Saul Wurman and friends from the worlds of technology, entertainment, and design. This year, 1,500 people paid $6,000 each to attend the modern version of TED, held in the Long Beach (Calif.) Performing Arts Center from Feb. 9-13. Five hundred more paid $3,750 to watch a simulcast… Twenty-six years in, TED is showing signs of age. One of the most conspicuous is the makeup of attendees, diverse only in that TED appears to attract a white man from every street in Silicon Valley. … conferences… have struggled with similar issues, like: how to get more inclusive without sacrificing intimacy. How to keep loyalists happy while attracting a younger crowd closer to the headwaters of innovation. And how to get that younger crowd to pay six grand.

For a conference junkie like me, I do wonder out loud… (just a tad ironic that I’m returning from a conference, and #sxsw, the conference of conferences is happening right now in Austin) how can people get access? Are these events a good use of money? Words like “stewardship” are seeping into our venacular. Will people travel to gather for a different kind of event when there isn’t that formulaic production of keynotes and workshops? [update] cf. a set of Purpose-Driven regional events for small group leaders that describes itself as “a radical new approach to conferences”; a whole book about this concept= Conferences and Conventions: A Global Industry (Events Management), by Tony Rogers, has a chapter titled “The economics of conferences and conventions

Mar 042010

The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization is taking place in South Africa this October. While most of us won’t be able to travel to Cape Town, South Africa, to attend this Congress (which seems to be a much weightier word than “conference”), there are 2 ways for people to participate: (1) the Conversation Gatherings, (2) the GlobalLink. Looks like an impressive list of church leaders are meeting up.

The Conversation Gatherings are local FREE 2-hour events and anyone is welcomed to participate. Please do register online so they can know you’re coming. These are 5 dates scheduled in Southern California (see the list for all 12 locations):

18 March 2010: Azusa Pacific University (Azusa)
Topics: Future of the Global Church; Race, Power, and Evangelism
Panelists: Brenda Salter McNeil, Brad Lomenick, Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Wes Stafford, Joni Eareckson Tada

30 March 2010: Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena)
Topics: Culture Making — The Role of Christians in the World
Panelists: Jim Belcher, Doug Birdsall, Margaret Feinberg, Michael S. Horton, Richard Mouw, Kara Eckmann Powell, Rich Van Pelt

14 April 2010: Generate at Crossroads Church (Corona)
Topics: Christians and Their Impact on Culture, The Future of the Global Church
Panelists: Charles Lee (moderator), Tony Wood, Jeff Shinabarger, Margaret Feinberg, Rich Van Pelt

14 April 2010: NewSong Community Church (Irvine)
10 June 2010: Saddleback Community Church (Lake Forest)

The second way to get engaged in these global issues is thru GlobalLink. Each GlobaLink site will have some live-streaming video of Cape Town events and additional conference materials. No locations have been announced yet, far as I can tell.

[update] Also see Charles Lee’s 12 Cities 12 Conversations (A New World Church Conversation) which points to a whole website & blog www.12cities12conversations.com

Feb 152010

As we enter conference season, live off-line in-person gatherings are still very valuable, not as much for the content, and more so for the connections, conversations, and coaching. 2 conferences in particular are making room for more conversations between presenters and attendees.

This April 5-6, the Ideation Conference launches in Long Beach, California. Charles Lee is pulling together an amazing roster of people, who’ll serve up great content and valuable coaching for non-profit organizations. Rather than pay upwards of $10,000 a day for coaching, you can bring your non-profit staff for 2 days at $249 per person! (NGO/NPO rate) Watch my interview with Charles about the Ideation Conference experience. Your team will get valuable feedback and coaching plus team-building for your non-profit efforts for social good! I think the afternoon white board sessions will help non-profits tackle their biggest challenges and find solutions through coaching and collaboration. // [update 2/18 I’ll be one of the white board session facilitators! cf. my experience //

And, for people who are in the world of church planting, the Association of Related Churches (ARC) is hosting their annual All Access conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on April 27-29. Yes there’s the standard fare of plenary sessions with the likes of Hillsong United, Dino Rizzo, Craig Groeschel, John Maxwell, Chris Hodges, Stovall Weems, Tommy Barnett. What’ll be even better is the variety of App Sessions provide in-depth discussion of leadership, church life, and social justice — with the likes of Matthew Barnett, Greg Surratt, Bobby Gruenewald, Billy Hornsby. Since ARC is all about relationships–creating them and nurturing them–their All Access conference is going to be all about relationships too.

Remember, conferences can be life changing — choose the one that’ll get you access to the people who’ll help you along the journey of life.

Jan 312010

Question >> “do u know a place to get stats on how many churches close a day, month, year etc and the same on pastors and leaders leaving ministry?”

djchuang >> Good question. (And, in case you can’t tell, this question came in via a text message.)

The latest research on church attendance can be found in The American Church in CrisisThe American Church in Crisis by David T. Olson, with research based on data from 200,000+ churches. And, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, has analysis based on interviews with 35,000+ American adults.

Here’s some other statistics I found (so far):

Excerpted from this Christian Century 2008 article, Church-closing rate only one percent:

A new study finds that only 1 percent of U.S. religious congregations go out of existence each year, “which is among the lowest mortality rates ever observed for any type of organization,” according to an article to be published in the June issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Dave Olson’s research shows that in the 1990s about 3,200 churches closed each year–or 1.1 percent of U.S. Christian congregations. And, Olson added, “In the 2000s, it has been 3,700 a year.” [cf. graph]

American church statistics have reported [via Goodmanson]:

  • In America, 3500 – 4000 churches close their doors each year
  • Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth
  • Churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to nominalism and secularism

The 3,500-4,000 U.S. churches annual closure count is also cited by Ed Stetzer in “Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age.”

Excerpted from The Condition of the Church in America, complied by Andy McAdams [via #mmi, 2005]:

  • 1,400 pastors in America leave the ministry monthly.
  • Only 15% of churches in the United States are growing and just 2.2% of those are growing by conversion growth.
  • 10,000 churches in America disappeared in a five-year period.

Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.” [Source: “Death by Ministry" (slides + audio) by Darrin Patrick @ The Journey. It was re-published on Mark Driscoll's blog -- no longer available.]

One blog post attributed these findings to Shiloh Place Ministries (shilohplace.org), which drew its information from Focus on the Family, Ministries Today, Charisma Magazine, TNT Ministries, and other respected groups:

  • 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month in America.
  • 7,000 churches close each year in America.

[update] additional statistics & commentary about the challenges of pastoring noted by Ken Sande via desperatepastor