Archives For Spiritual Formation

You can listen to Noah Filipiak’s “Behind the Curtain” Podcast interview with Kent Carlson on the Podbean Player below or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes. (Podcast listening tip: use the podcasts app on your smartphone and listen while driving, doing chores, or working out)

Noah Filipiak interviews Kent Carlson on what led him and his team to shift the seeker-driven megachurch he founded into a church of spiritual formation. A shift that led to around 1500 people leaving the church. Kent is the co-author of Renovation of the Church, a book that chronicles the journey of Oak Hills Church and its leadership. He was mentored by Dallas Willard and currently serves as Vice President of Leadership Formation for the North American Baptist denomination.

Connect with Kent on Twitter

I started my church 11 years ago with big dreams for God.

Church planting networks want people with big dreams for God.

We create huge conferences to encourage people to dream big dreams for God.

At this point your “cynic radar” is already starting to go off as you read this.  Bear with me a little longer before you cast me off.

Try to name one person in the New Testament who had “big dreams for God” in the way pastors and church planters are taught to.  The first people who come to my mind were the Jewish crowd in Matthew 21:1-11 who laid their coats on the ground while waiving palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  This was “big thing” energy at its height as people shouted praises to Jesus and proclaimed him as their Messiah.

This frenetic crowd was made up of the same mob who shouted “Crucify him!” later in the week. Continue Reading…

For those who have been following my publishing journey, you may have been wondering when, if ever, my book was actually going to get published.  I got an agent back in Fall 2015 and I thought it’d be a pretty quick process from there.  Little did I know what the future held…

After interviewing a lot of authors on my podcast who have struggled with the ups and downs of the publishing industry, I now have firsthand knowledge.  The #1 reason I am indie-publishing (besides the fact that it has taken forever to try to get a big publisher) is because of the damage the process has done to my soul.  The way Christian publishing works nowadays is you need a “platform” in order to get published.  For some authors, their platform exists in the books they published before the “platform” / social media era took over.  For others, being the head of a large organization or pastoring a megachurch is the platform.  For someone trying to get his first book published and who does not pastor a megachurch, my platform lies in how many people read my blog, my podcast listens, follow me on Twitter, etc.  In essence, my statistics prove if I am worthwhile to a publisher or not.  Continue Reading…

As I was growing up in my public school and my Baptist church in suburban Ohio, “Lent” was always a curious time of year for me.  Never talked about at my church, I always wondered why on Fridays many of my friends had to eat fish and weren’t allowed to have meat.  I wondered even more about this when I discovered this had some connection to Jesus! Continue Reading…

An abbreviated version of this article was published on the Transforming Center’s website: What does transforming leadership look like for Pastor Noah Filipiak?  Here is the full version:

 

I love seminary.

 

I have one seminary degree and look forward to going back for more.

 

With that said, my experience in a Transforming Community has been the most important ministry leadership training I have ever received.  It’s not that it’s a competition between the type of things you learn in seminary and the type of things learned through the Transforming Community, it’s just very noticeable which ones are more emphasized in the Church today (and in my own ministry leadership life up to this point).  Noticeable due to the amount of pain and personal struggle I and so many other ministry leaders have endured in our untransformed selves.

 

I’ve seen the same concept true at the gym.  You often see people at the gym, usually fellow men, who are incredibly muscular.  Muscles on top of muscles and they are straining to build even more muscles.  I often wonder if these are NFL players or ditch diggers or some other occupation where this sort of strength would be beneficial.  Obviously the strength isn’t there for pragmatic reasons.  Meanwhile, as a former college track and cross country runner myself, I rarely see these muscle-bound titans hop on the treadmill or exercise bike.  Lots of muscle is great, but if it’s the only thing that’s ever focused on, a person can spend all that time in the gym and still be a very ineffective athlete.  After all, it’s pretty hard to be athletic if you can’t breathe!  There’s nothing wrong with being a bodybuilder or doing a lot of strength training, it’s just caused me to notice an interesting parallel to ministry training.

Continue Reading…