Archives For Chris Hodges

prayer The other day I wrote about what magazines I had read lately. I mentioned that I wanted to come back and talk about Outreach Magazine. This issue was their 100 Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches in America edition.

There is a great interview in the magazine with pastors Rick Bezet and Chris Hodges – pastors of the fastest growing church in America (’09 & ’08). It’s a great interview and knowing how humble and sincere both pastors are, I thought it gave glory where glory is due – to God.

An interesting thing though that many may not realize is that not only are Rick and Chris (and their churches) ARC churches, they both serve on the board of ARC (Association of Related Churches). Not only that, Rick and Chris’ churches were the first 2 churches that ARC planted 8 years ago when ARC was birthed.

So ARC launched 8 years ago with Church of the Highlands (Chris Hodges) and New Life Church (Rick Bezet) and then fast-forward: Church of the Highlands is the fastest growing church in the US in 2008 and New Life Church is the fastest growing church in 2009.

I point this out because I believe in ARC and think they do a good job planting churches. It’s worth noting that this year’s and last year’s fastest growing churches are both ARC churches. I wrote THIS blog post a while back and mentioned all the great churches that you may not realize are ARC churches. If you didn’t read it, it’s worth checking out. You’d be amazed at how many great churches and pastors you’ve heard of are ARC churches.

Why do I do a blog post on “ARC and Church Growth”? Because as an ARC coach of church planters, I can personally tell you how much I talk about the importance of prayer in leading and growing/strengthening your church. I’ve met with church planters and pastors and begged them to make prayer a priority. I’ve begged them to gather on Saturday to pray for Sunday (like Chris Hodges has always done). I’ve begged pastors to begin an intercessory prayer ministry that prays throughout their morning worship services.

Fortunately, I’ve had the privilege of hearing both Rick and Chris teach on the importance and power of prayer. The very first thing ARC teaches at their CPR’s (Church Planters Roundtable) is that you must “win the war in the spiritual”. As Billy Hornsby says, “Prayer is a non-negotiable”. I heard Chris Hodges once say, “You can’t delegate prayer.”

I write this blog post because every “fastest-growing” list that comes out has a story behind the names on the list. There are some amazing churches listed on this year’s list. I know most of the churches. My word to you is that knowing these leaders, I know they wouldn’t point to a cool technology or church growth fad, but to the power and presence of our Almighty God.

God is using ARC in a mighty way and I’m thrilled to be a small part of it and not only contribute and consult, but I grow and learn all the time by hanging out and talking with the ARC team. Billy Hornsby is a new mentor in my life and I appreciate the investment he’s making in my life.

My encouragement to you is for YOU to get to know the ARC as well. If you’re a future church planter, look into planting through ARC. Contact me and I’ll get you started down the path. If you’re an already existing church, you can join ARC (like Craig Groeschel and LifeChurch.tv and Mark Batterson and National Community Church) and begin to see your missions budget go straight to planting churches here in the United States. I’d be glad to talk with you about how your church can join the ARC and begin actively supporting church planting.

All Glory to God!

From time to time I’ve referred to the ARC (Association of Related Churches) – a church planting organization that I’ve been working with a lot lately. I just returned from speaking at their BUG Conference. What you may not realize about ARC is all the great churches that partner with them.

What do Craig Groeschel and LifeChurch.tv, Mark Batterson and National Community Church, Chris Hodges and Church of the Highlands (remember they are the fastest growing church in the country), Greg Surratt and Seacoast Church, Jonathan Falwell and Thomas Road Baptist Church, Dino Rizzo and Healing Place Church, Matt Fry and C3 Church, Stovall Weems and Celebration Church and Rick Bezet of New Life Church all have in common? They are all ARC partners and choose to plant churches through the ARC.

I don’t know about you, but that’s an organization worth getting to know. I got to attend the ARC’s annual conference (All Access) back in April – it was awesome and can be seen on Daystar. I spoke at and attended their Bug Conference. I’m attending their CPR (Church Planters’ Roundtable) in September in Colorado Springs. I’m getting to see them real up close and personal and I like what I’m seeing.

I’ll share more about them in the near future, but I just wanted you to get to know them and explore some of their events and opportunities for growth. By the way, if you’re a church planter or about to plant a church: I want to hear from you! Give me a shout. If you’d like to know how your church can get involved and plant churches through ARC: Give me a shout.

HighlandsAs you know I spoke at the BUG Conference on Monday. I arrived Sunday evening so I could attend Church of the Highland’s 6pm service. With 12 Sunday services across 5 campuses, Church of the Highlands is the fastest growing church in the US.

I visit a lot of churches and have been to all of the “big boys”. I must say, Church of the Highlands and pastor Chris Hodges lived up to the hype. The worship experience truly was a celebration. I (as a former worship pastor) truly appreciated Chris Hodges’ heart for worship and how he led by example and through exhortation to the attendees.

Their music was solid and well done. Their tech (sound, video and lights) was great and reminded me a lot of what we did at Bent Tree. And Chris Hodges is a terrific communicator. I appreciate his spirit, his humor, his liveliness and all around excitement that he brings to the stage.

All this and you’d never know that there was a thunderstorm that knocked all the power out twice! We literally sat in the dark and then when the lights came back on there was no video, no sound, nothing – and God still moved. I still think it was a wonderful experience and can’t wait to go back this coming Sunday night again. I’m going on a church planter assessment with the good folks of ARC on Monday and Tuesday and since I’m flying back to Birmingham Sunday night, I hope to catch their 6pm service again!

The BUG Conference was  a total success. For a first year, I think ARC and specifically, Guy Walker, did an amazing job putting it together. The main sessions were solid and informative. The workshops were all great and well taught. The community and relational side of the conference was great, too.

As you know, I’m at a lot of conferences, but again, there was something special about this one. Maybe it was the topic of social media/social networking and seeing how relevant and educational it was for the attendees. Maybe it was the smoothness of the conference experience and how it seemed they’d done this before. I don’t know exactly what it was, but I wholeheartedly endorse it and encourage you to go if there is another one in the future.