Archives For Mark Batterson

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Last week my 13 year old son tried out for his middle school’s baseball team. He didn’t make the cut. As a father, this saddens me, but I know it’s a part of growing up and a valid life lesson for him.

I gave him the “Michael Jordan got cut from his basketball team” speech. I also shared how when I was in elementary school, I auditioned for chorus and didn’t make it. They told me I couldn’t sing. I went on to get a vocal scholarship to college and graduate with a degree in music.

“God never calls us to do something we’re capable of. God calls us to do things that are beyond our ability so He gets all the credit.” – Mark Batterson

Everyone faces challenges – it’s how we respond to those challenges that is the true testimony of our faith and where the rubber meets the road in our lives. I don’t know who I’m talking to today, but maybe you’re one day away from throwing in the towel. Maybe you’ve written your resignation letter.

“We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in two years, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years!” – Mark Batterson

I would encourage you to pray and seek God for His leading. Don’t run away from a tough circumstance (or Board of Deacons or Elders) to greener pastures. Water the grass where you are.  Plant your stake in the ground and resolve to not move until God makes it clear that it is His will.

“Sometimes the power of prayer is the power to carry on. It doesn’t always change your circumstances, but it gives you the strength to walk through them.” – Mark Batterson

Too often we give up and quit right before a major breakthrough in our ministry. 

“If we had a larger vision of what God wanted to accomplish in us and through us, our petty problems would cease to exist because they would cease to be important.” – Mark Batterson

Read this last quote from Mark Batterson and just see if God speaks to your heart:

“You are only one prayer away from a dream fulfilled, a promise kept, or a miracle performed.” – Mark Batterson

I’m praying for you. I’m praying that God would pull you up out of the pit of despair, anger, frustration, brokenness, burnout, and hurt. I’m praying that you would be encouraged, inspired and hell-bent on chasing hard after God and His mission in your community.

I’m here for you. Many are counting on you. So – Don’t quit! We need you. 

Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established. – Proverbs 16:3

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.

Today I leave for Washington DC. I’ll be leading a Church 2.0 Local Forum there and can’t wait to connect with old friends and meet new ones. I moved from that area to Dallas, so it will be fun to return to my former home.  If you are in the DC area or know someone that is, you/they can register HERE

Some have asked what goes on at these gatherings (this will be the 12th one I’ve led). The Church 2.0 Local Forum is a true unconference and is very informal/casual, but I’ll give you a little overview of what the day will look like. We’ll go from 10am to 2:30pm. 

  • First hour: We’ll discuss new media/technology – specifically Twitter and Facebook and how they can be used for ministry purposes. I’ll share 3 key realities of these new technologies.
  • Second hour: We’ll dive into a huge discussion on the topic of innovation. I’ll share 4 ways that innovation is born and what God is teaching me about innovation. 
  • We’ll then break for lunch and encourage people to go eat somewhere close by with someone they don’t know and get to know them over lunch.
  • The post-lunch part we’ll discuss social justice/what breaks my heart and the heart of God – as well as have time for Q & A.

Sponsors for Church 2.0 Washington DC are:

If you’re not at ECHO, you’re going to wish you were and you need to plan for it next year. It’s always a good thing to come to Dallas! I had a great time for my first day of the ECHO Conference.

I got to catch the pre-lab class on “Design” – which rocked. It was so refreshing to watch a talented artist, Barton Damer, peel back the layers (literally in PhotoShop) and show how he created the conference logo (seen above).

I then hung out with Cynthia Ware and talked with several friends that were in town from around the country. Then Cynthia and I attended a special lunch and got to hear what’s coming down the road for WorshipHouse Media.

The rest of the day was a blur of conversations, meetings, classes, talking with my friends that are exhibitors, BBQ for dinner, more deep discussions and meeting people in person that knew me from online (Facebook, Twitter or my blog).

I was most impressed with how the ECHO team and the host church, Watermark, handled the night main session with my friend, Mark Batterson. Hats off to my local tech buddies Ryan Howell (Watermark) and Jason Cole (Lake Pointe) who were making it happen, along with Les and the rest of their team. My intern, Jonathan, even jumped in on camera. So Bent Tree, Watermark, Lake Pointe and the ECHO team came together as one – it was beautiful. We have a great local group of tech directors. I saw most of them today, including my friend, Brian Davis, from Fellowship Dallas.

The worship last night was great (led by my friend, Will Pavone, from McLean Bible in Washington DC. I moved from serving in the Washington DC area to Dallas). The visuals and lighting were notable. They truly led artistically and tastefully. I was very impressed and want to get the backgrounds that they used for the songs – they were awesome.

They had created a nice countdown, made great use of a left, center and right video screen and had a cool brief conference starter video. Good stuff. Batterson brought it and was encouraging and appreciative to technical artists. It was good to see him and his digital/tech team (Dave Clark, David Russell and Jeremy Sexton).

I ended the night chatting briefly with some local friends, including new Dallas resident: Rhett Smith, and got some brief time with my college friend, Shawn Wood, who will be speaking today. I also talked with Tim Stevens and his associate from Granger. I’ll spend some more time later today with Tim.

I picked up Tony Steward last night from the airport and am looking forward to spending some time with him these next few days. I teach today and tomorrow and am looking forward to meeting more of you.

More later, including my new resource of the month: Unifyer – which is one of the sponsors for the Church 2.0 Local Forum in Atlanta next week and is a new partner with my ministry. I can’t wait to tell you more about what they’re up to!

DAY ONE: Great. Well done ECHO team. Looking forward to the rest of the conference.