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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…

b33c14a2-d822-4703-872e-1a2dffb300b0@2xNoah Filipiak interviews 2016 Christianity Today Book of the Year (in the Category of The Church/Pastoral Leadership) award winner Dr. Zack Eswine.  In addition to the award-winning The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus, Zack is also the author of Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression, Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons that Connect with our Culture, Recovering Eden: The Gospel According to Ecclesiastes and Kindled Fire: How the methods of CH Spurgeon can help your preachingZack pastors at Riverside Church in Webster Groves, MO and is the Director of Homiletics at Covenant Seminary.

Like the themes in Zack’s writing, this interview is essential listening for pastors who struggle with burnout, significance and self-striving.  So much of what has become normative in church culture for pastors is the opposite of what Jesus taught and modeled for his followers.  Zack exposes these things with such grace, experience, and wisdom, offering the rest of us the hope from the hamster wheel of ministry he has found in Jesus.

You can follow Zack on Twitter and Facebook.  His website and blog can be found at www.ZackEswine.com

You can listen to Noah’s interview with Zack Eswine below via the Podbean Player or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes (if you like what you hear, leave some feedback!)

 

I am a product of my culture.  We all are.  A microwaved, instant, lightning fast, on demand, hurried, frantic, now culture.

I hate waiting.

waiting on Godwaiting on GodNot only do I hate waiting, it exposes me.  When I’m going really fast, I’m such a blur that you can’t get a good look at me.  I can’t get a good look at myself.  But when I’m stuck in the traffic jam, everything is revealed.  My rust, my bald tires, my broken windshield, my engine that needs its oil changed.

When you’re a person like me who accomplishes tasks in order to prove their worth, waiting can be a lonely, depressing and scary place.

Over the past year and a half, ever since I read Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton, God has been trying to rid me of my false self and let me live in the freedom of my true self: the freedom found in his unconditional love and grace for me as his son.  As it turns out, I’m about as moldable as hardened concrete.  As a result, God decided he needed to pull out a jackhammer as his sanctification tool of choice.

I am specifically waiting on the purchase of a new church building (our 5th, and final, in 10 years), on a publisher to get back to me, and on hiring a new youth pastor.  3 weights, weighing on my chest, where all I can do is wait.

Insert all of the Bible verses there are about waiting on the Lord, contentment, peace, gratitude, God’s sovereignty and faithfulness. Continue Reading…

Shawn Lovejoy is the author of The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors and Be Mean About the Vision: Preserving and Protecting What Matters.  He is a church planting veteran, having planted Mountain Lake Church in Cumming, GA, which he recently stepped away from after 16 years to focus on coaching leaders and pastoring pastors at www.CourageToLead.com.  Noah Filipiak interviews Shawn about his transition away from his church plant, about the epidemic of church planters with non-Christlike goals, the denominations that push these goals, and the walls pastors hit when their disillusionment catches up with them.  Noah and Shawn both share their own struggles in these areas, with Shawn giving great wisdom from the hundreds of church planters and pastors he has coached over the years in these areas.

Connect with Shawn on Twitter and on Facebook

You can listen to the interview with Shawn below via the Podbean Player or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes

 

shawn lovejoy be mean about vision

at a crossroads behind the curtain ministry podcast noah filipiakNoah Filipiak interviews Pastor Tyler St. Clair about his upcoming church plant on the NW side of Detroit, the neighborhood Tyler and his wife both grew up in.  Tyler’s target location is one of the “bad parts” of Detroit, with all of the symptoms of urban poverty ever-present.  After being guided to plant in other more financially viable areas, Tyler discusses why he is staying committed to this needy area.  Noah and Tyler discuss white privilege and the challenge of ministry fundraising as a black man.  They also discuss the lost emphasis Scripture puts on loving and ministering to the poor and the need for the Church to be the body and not hoard all of the resources in suburban areas.  They also discuss how a lot of church planting movements want to make it look like they are ministering in the poor parts of Detroit, when they really aren’t.  Tyler also shares about a season of his life where he rejected black preaching and theologians, and how God brought him back to his roots and ethnic identity by introducing him to many spiritual giants of the Christian faith who come from the African-American Church.

Subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes

Listen to the Tyler St. Clair podcast episode here:

 

Connect with Tyler:

Tyler on Twitter

Tyler on Facebook

Tyler on Instagram

Tyler’s Blog

Email Tyler (tylerstclair@resdetroit.org) about joining his fundraising team (tax-deductible)

Click for Tyler’s Prayer Newsletter, with link at the bottom to subscribe to future Prayer Newsletters (click “Forward” at the very bottom of the Newsletter and enter your email in both email lines)

Resources mentioned in the interview:

Tyler’s Blog Post “Forgetting Giants” about great black theologians of the past

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith

African American theologians and preachers of the past:

Phillis Wheatley.

Lemuel Haynes

Richard Allen

Gardner C. Taylor

E.K. Bailey

A. Louis Patterson

African American theologians and preachers of the present:

John Perkins

Eric Mason

Tony Evans

Crawford Lorrits

Bryan Lorrits

H.B. Charles Jr. – On Preaching book – H.B. Charles Jr.’s Podcast

Charlie Dates

Robert Smith Jr. – Doctrine that Dances book

James Earl Massey