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Discipling Broken People

February 24, 2010

I came across a quote today from Paul Tripp that I think is incredibly helpful for those who are discipling others and experiencing push back or attacks from them.

“In personal ministry, the sin of the person you are helping will eventually be revealed in your relationship.  If you are ministering to an angry person, at some point that anger will be directed at you.  If you are helping a person who struggles with trust, at some point she will distrust you.  A manipulative person will seek to manipulate you.  A depressed person will tell you he tried everything you’ve suggested and it didn’t work.  You can’t stand next to a puddle without eventually being splashed by its mud.” From Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand by Paul Tripp.

I would also add that if you are discipling arrogant, prideful young men or women, they will turn their arrogance against you in their unteachability and knowledge.  Like the depressed person they will think they have tried what you’ve suggested, but really only half-way at best, and because they only tried half way it didn’t work.  But they will think they’ve tried.  They just think they have arrived already or that they know better than you. Too often, they will leave and go somewhere else where someone will mistake earnestness for maturity.  I know this because I am a recovering arrogant, prideful young man myself.

Don’t be discouraged when it occurs.  Know that it is likely coming and extend grace.  There is most likely someone who did it for you in the past anyway.


Austin Church Plants in Giving City Magazine

October 27, 2009

Austin Church Plants Article in Giving City Magazine

Giving City is a blog and digital magazine that calls itself the ‘guide to doing good in Austin’.  Being that’s their goal, we were pleased to see their most recent issue highlighting church planting in Austin and the good they are doing in and for the city.  Specifically they highlighted interviews with myself and Matthew Hansen who oversees Restore Communities and local/international missions at Austin New Church.  Monica Maldonado at Giving City had heard about our work with Communities in Schools and was intrigued by these new, young churches that are working towards the renewal of our city.

So we are excited.  Not because we are highlighted or because a picture of me with an awkward look on my face is in the magazine, but we are excited to have the demonstration of the gospel on display for our city.  Excited to build towards a new reputation in the city of working for the common good.  We love this city and seek it’s renewal.  We are glad to have a seat at the table in redemptively shaping Austin.

You can find a link to the article on the Giving City website.  Or download it directly here.  It is a large PDF document with clickable links.  Scroll to page 16-18 for the article and then read the rest to learn about others in our city.

There is also a great graphic map of church plants in Austin from the Austin Church Planter Network.  You can find out more about the Plantr network on their website.

Follow some of those involved in this story on Twitter:

In the City, For the City Ministry Expo

October 23, 2009

ABBA-inthecityforthecityAs some of you know, I serve on the Let’s Get to Work Initiative to move homeless persons from transitional housing, to job training and permanent housing.  I also serve as the Sub-Committe Chair for Community Sponsorships.  This means I am responsible for getting other churches and ministry leaders to sponsor people financially and relationally through their churches.

In support of that effort, we will be hosting a table at the In the City, For the City Ministry Expo on Nov 15th at the Bob Bullock Museum.  It is a great way for us to get program information out and to begin having conversations with area churches about sponsoring someone and giving them hope.

Here is an announcement about us being at the expo.  You can also learn more about the initiative here.

FREE Audio Download of ‘Just Courage’ by Gary Haugen

October 3, 2009

Just_Courage_largeEach month gives away a FREE audiobook download.  This month it is ‘Just Courage’ by Gary Haugen, President of the International Justice Mission.

International Justice Mission president Haugen has found that “the pathway out of a nearly comatose state of boredom, ineffectiveness and triviality lies in the struggle for justice.”  This book describes how to break out of a ho-hum Christian life and see God’s powerful and mysterious ways at work.

You can download it here.

Add the download format of Just Courage to your cart and enter the coupon code OCT2009 when prompted during checkout.

New PlantR Website

September 28, 2009


PlantR (Austin Area Church Plant Network) has released a new and very much improved website to serve church planters and potential planters in Austin.  At the PlantR site you can find a church plant map, a members forum, upcoming events, demographic sources and my personal favorite new item which is the Voices page which is an aggregate of blog posts and Tweets by member churches and pastors.

Check it out here.

Louisville Boot Camp: Ambition

September 28, 2009


There is  a great boot camp coming up in Louisville that you should check out if your interested in church leadership or church planting.  The guys at Sojourn Church in Louisville are great hosts, there is a great speaker line-up and the topic is ‘ambition’, which we each need to get a hold of in our lives.  How much ambition is enough? And how much is too much?

Learn more or register for the conference.

Acts 29 Houston Boot Camp Recap

September 18, 2009


This past week was the Acts 29 Network Houston Boot Camp excellently hosted by Clear Creek Community Church, a new addition to the Acts 29 Network.  I have been to at least six boot camps in the past, but this was my first 1) as a full member of Acts 29, 2) as a breakout session speaker and 3) as an assessor of potential church planters.

The Boot Camp Overall

Overall the boot camp was one of the best for me.  It didn’t have a few of the networks big names of the past, but what was beautiful was the showcase of new influences in the network at this level, especially great was the Texas presence.  Highlights for me were:

  • Matt Chandler (The Village Church) reminding us that we are a blip in history and not as big as we think we are.  The quote of the session was, if you mess this up ‘some other guy is gonna be raising your children’.  Know who you are men.
  • Matt Carter (Austin Stone) sharing some history on John Wesley, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards, specifically concerning their reputation as husbands and fathers.
    • John Wesley was not a ‘one woman man’ and had a sad marraige.
    • George Whitefield was a man of great stature but who married to advance his goals, using his wife to raise the children and run his orphanage.
    • Jonathan Edwards had his wife and daughter write of God’s mercy and grace to give them such a wonderful husband and father.
  • Bruce Wesley (Pastor of Clear Creek Community Church) did a wonderful job sharing how we might endure as pastors and how our work might endure.
  • Barry Keldie (Pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, TX) is the guy whose message I most missed hearing.  I caught the last 10 minutes and it was great Barry Keldie as usual.  Barry grabs my attention every time I hear him preach.  I look forward to when they post the audio from this message.

Acts 29 Full Membership

This was my first boot camp as a full member of A29.  What was sweet was the camaraderie with other A29 brothers.  Such great conversations and wisdom was shared freely by so many.  I look forward to many more years of fellowship and brotherhood in this crew.

Breakout Session

I was honored to be asked to lead a session titled “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Planted a Church”.  When this was first assigned I racked my brain for some things, by the time I finished I had 3.5 pages of bullet point items.  The session actually went really well overall.  I was pleased with my preparation, content and delivery.  And I ended up talking with some of the breakout attendees for an hour about church planting and it’s challenges and rewards.  Unfortunately there were some audio recording difficulties and the audio was lost.  I am writing my notes into a manuscript and will post it here after I get it together.   This was a humbling experience.  I am pleased to know that the blood, sweat and tears shed in our church planting experience can be used to help others bleed less.


Over 3 years ago I was assessed by Acts 29 in Vancouver, Canada as a potential church planter.  It was a humbling experience.  This time I was joining other church planters in assessing potential church planters.  It was an even more humbling experience.  It was actually the most emotionally, spiritually impactful thing for me at the Boot Camp.  The weight of researching a potential planters life, interviewing them regarding their theology, spiritual vitality, family and marriage, etc and then discerning how they might spend the next 20 years of their lives is a weighty responsibility that needs to be taken with great care and intentionality.  While preparing and conducting the assessment, I couldn’t help but ask myself the same series of questions and feel the weight of conviction where I still need growth myself.  I have not arrived, none of us have arrived.  I pray we know that we have much room for growth ourselves.


This really was a great conference, possibly the best I have attended.  Here in the Texas Region we plan on upping the training, regionals and boot camps.  I anticipate them only getting better, more frequent, more participatory, in more cities in Texas and hopefully more churches planted that reach Texans with the gospel of Jesus Christ.