Archives For Spiritual Formation

I love hearing Ruth Haley Barton’s voice when I read her books.  I have been on nine retreats led by Ruth over approximately a two year period.  When I go to read her books, I can’t help but hear the inflections in her voice and her deep care for ministry leaders (for me!) as she teaches during retreat and as she types the words of the book.

It’s been too long since I finished my Transforming Community retreats and it’s been too long since I read one of Ruth’s books.  My stated goal (rule of life) at the end of my retreat cohort was to continue in certain rhythms that would allow me to live an unhurried life where I was able to enjoy God.  I have not kept my rhythms, my life continues to feel over-busy, over-stressed, and over-hurried, and as a result, I’m not enjoying God in those deep moments like I did on my TC retreats.  Those deep moments that I still long for, but feel impossible to attain in my regular life and ministry.

Then I picked up Ruth’s newest book, Invitation to RetreatWhat I love most about Ruth’s writing and teaching is it reminds me I’m not crazy to desire rest.  She of course uses more eloquent words than this, but you get my idea.  In the world of life and ministry, you are made to feel out-of-place, lazy, and slacking off if you aren’t cramming your life full of tasks, accomplishments, and striving.  Nor does it helped that I am hard-wired for this sort of achievement-based life. Continue Reading…

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…