Monday, August 29, 2011

How I Read It: Church Planting Movements

A few thoughts after finishing Church Planting Movements by David Garrison:

This Book Was Great:  I'm going to cut right to the chase... This book was awesome.  The first half is stories of God working around the world bringing literally millions of people to faith in Christ.  The second half took those present-day examples and found the common factors.  It answered the question: If this is what God is doing, how can we join in?

An Acts Handbook:  As recently as this spring I had been reading Acts and asking myself: What would that look like around me?  How do I personally need to change to be more like this?  What ministry methods do I need to change?
While Scripture is irreplaceable and still holds pre-eminence, I hope it is not too bold to say that this book serves as a present-day 'study guide' to Acts.  It takes the stories and practices from Acts, shows how they are still being used by God in movements of Christianity today, and gives practical advice for how you can see those movements happen where you are.

I'm sold:  Need I say more?  Since reading it, I've put so much thought towards this question: "What's it going to take to see a Church Planting Movement around me? in Pekin Illinois?"  

Who's in?  Who's with me?  I'm looking for a few people who would also want to read this book, dialogue about it, study Scripture, and then put what we learn into practice.  I've already got one, maybe two people who are interested... but I'll throw the invitation out there:  Comment or reply if you want to join me in this 'church planting movement journey.'  (Note: This will involve you buying the book for yourself, so only raise your hand if you're truly in.)

2011 Personal Impact Ranking:
  1. Church Planting Movements by David Garrison
  2. One thing You Can't Do in Heaven by Mark Cahill*
  3. Fight Clubs by Jonathan Dodson*
  4. Humility by CJ Mahaney*
  5. Why We Love the Church by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck*
  6. The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis
  7. Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin*
  8. Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
  9. Crazy Love by Francis Chan*
  10. It's Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men by S. Truett Cathy*
  11. The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott*
*I own these books, let me know if you want to borrow them. I'd love to share.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Epistle to Summer Staff

Note: I wrote this last year and sent it to many of the COCUSA Summer Staff.  I think it's worth posting here as an exhortation to anyone going through a life or ministry transition.

From Pheaney. To my fellow workers and disciples at Camp of Champions USA. As our summer has come to a close, I felt I needed to both encourage and challenge you.

I am totally impressed and enthralled when I think of the ministry you had this summer. Words cannot begin to describe the impact that you had on the lives of children. And you were changed too! I could see you growing to be more like Jesus throughout the summer. The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is truly an amazing thing.

If we could put our summer's spiritual growth on a chart I truly think it would look something like the picture to the right. That is awesome! God often uses tough and stressful times to grow our relationship with Him. And I know that once the summer ends I hope that I will continue growing in the same way. (In fact, I expect to grow even more since I have more free time).

Please accept this warning!! Continued spiritual growth in the school year is NOT automatic. More often than not, once the summer ends I’ve seen our spiritual growth (yes me included!) look like this chart:

It’s sad but true, we usually do NOT use our spiritual growth from the summer to help us grow even further. We get complacent and lazy and our relationship with Christ worsens through the school year.

If you accept this warning in any way, you’ll want to avoid spiritual decline. Here’s my personal plan to do so, I hope it can encourage and challenge you.

Scripture (Psalms 119:11) You have been surrounded by God’s word all summer. Through morning devotions, Bible stories, and your own teaching to the campers in Good Morning and Cabin Times. To fight the decline, you’ll need to keep grounded in the word of God. Find a topic or portion of the Bible that excites you and DIG IN!

Service (James 2:14-17) One of the biggest triggers to growing more like Jesus is focusing on others. You have done that with excellence this summer! If you sit in your room playing video games, surfing Facebook, listening to music, etc; then your love for God and passion for serving will shrivel and die. If you want to fight the decline and continue growing more like Christ, you need to find specific areas to serve others. Get up and STAY IN THE GAME!

Friends (Proverbs 17:17) You will need others to fight this potential downward slope. Maybe it is another staff member, maybe a fellow disciple from somewhere else, but you must find someone. Have a conversation with them about where you are at spiritually and how you want to continue growing closer to Christ. If they are in the same place, start meeting regularly to sharpen each other. As one of my friends has said, “God has called you to a personal relationship with him, not a private one.” PARTNER UP!

As a group, you’ll be in my prayers this school year. And please let me know how I can pray for you specifically!

May God’s grace, peace, and power go before you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How do you choose disciples like Jesus?

I'm in the midst of choosing a couple guy staff to invest in through this school year.  So I'm currently asking myself this question: How do you choose disciples like Jesus did?

A couple obvious but very important answers:
  • Pray.  (Luke 6:12-13)  I could always do more of this.  I'm guessing you could as well.
  • Spend time with them.  Between when Jesus called his first disciples (in John 1) and then specifically chose 12 to be his apostles, (in Luke 6) there was at least a full year that went by.  Now I'm not choosing any personal apostles, but I am choosing to invest more strategically into a couple of guys.  I'm very glad that a summer of ministry at COCUSA lets me have a lot of time with them.
Simple.  Obvious.  But are we doing it?

Another question I'm asking myself is: Who has the most-potential but least-opportunity to be a disciple who makes more disciples?

I realize that is a long worded question, but to break it down:  I'm looking for someone who has the potential to continue disciple-making after I'm gone.  And I specifically want to target someone who might not have the opportunity to receive that sort of mentoring and training anywhere else.

File this post under: Random thoughts on Disciple-making.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Covering the Bible in 6 Stories

I'm hoping to meet with a neighbor this fall to do a Bible study.  I don't know a lot about him, but I'm fairly certain he is not a Christian.  What I would like to do is a quick, story-centered, overview of a Biblical worldview.  Here's what I have so far:
  1. Creation- How it all began: Genesis 1 and 2
  2. The Fall- How it all went wrong: Genesis 3
  3. Jesus is Born- The Savior arrives: Luke 2
  4. A Bunch of Miracles- Jesus proves he is God: Luke 8
  5. Jesus' Death and Resurrection: Luke 23 & 24
  6. The Church Starts: Acts 2
I'd love your feedback!  If we got together and studied these six Bible stories, would they communicate the basics of the Gospel to someone who has never heard it before?  If not, what should be added or taken away?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Birthday Wish


It's my birthday today.

If you could get me one thing it would be this:

Can you find your favorite piece of '' content and share it with a friend?

Here are the top posts since I launched this blog last year:

No obligation... but thanks in advance if you grant my birthday wish!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

BOOR August 2010: 7 Billion Here We Come

From Steve Addison:
It’s 11:55AM Melbourne time on Tuesday August 17, 2010 and the world population clock just keeps ticking over. 
With 267 people born every minute and 108 dying, the world’s population will top 7 billion next year. 
By 2050 the planet will be home to more than 9 billion people. The population of Africa is projected to at least double by mid-century to 2.1 billion. Asia will add an additional 1.3 billion. 
Tell me, does the way you make disciples right now have any chance of keeping up?
Here's a link to the original post.   By the way, the world population clock is still ticking.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What do you really do?

The title I have at Camp of Champions USA is 'Regional Director', but that says almost nothing about what I do each day.  When it really comes down to it, here are some of the specific roles I find myself filling.

Communicator:  I don't think I realized before this summer how much I am in the business of communicating.  I communicate to staff, to parents, to campers and to supporters and donors.  A huge part of what I do is communicate.  I need to do it well.

Set-Up Man:  It is my job to set-up camp to succeed.  This means prepping facilities and activities, planning games and programs, and preparing trainings and teachings.  What I do throughout a season of ministry might only be as helpful as the set-up I've done previous to it.

Leader:  I need to be someone worth following.  Decisions that I make and directions that I give will be more readily received if I've been leading people the whole time.

So what do you really do?  It's worth figuring out.

Because while I have no idea how to improve as a 'Regional Director', I can surely work on improving my communication and leading.  Likewise, if I don't understand or accept my role as a set-up man, I could get frustrated or bored with some of the mundane activities I find myself doing.

Look past your job title.  Seek to improve what you really do.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What does it look like to 'Equip the Saints'?

"It was he [Jesus] who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ" - Ephesians 4:11-12, NET

Here's the story.  I've been leading devos on Walking WITH God with the COCUSA staff all summer.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but compared to previous summers leading morning devotions, these didn't seem to be going quite as well.

So last week (mostly on a whim) I decided to scrap the devo I had planned.   Instead we brainstormed questions and conversation starters to point our conversations with campers toward spiritual things.  You can read the full story of how it went here, but to sum it up, God used that devo to welcome another child into heaven.

In all of my devos about Walking WITH God I was focused on mainly head knowledge.  Then I broke form and led a discussion about practical ways to point conversations to Jesus... and the results were awesome.

I know there's a balance to be found here, because action without correct head knowledge would get ugly fast.

But at the same time, if your speaking and teaching isn't helping other Christians do the "work of ministry" then you are not equipping the saints.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Paperback Swap is my Friend

Here is a quick plug for

Simply put, you list books that you no longer plan on reading.  After listing 10 books you receive 2 credits, which you can use to request books from other users.  If you request a book, you get it... for free.  If someone requests one of your books, you pay the shipping costs to send it to them, but also receive an additional book credit.

Brittany and I recently started using PBS to get books that we have on our Want To Read lists.  So far it has been pretty effective for us, as we've received three books.  The only cost was sending our books to other users Shipping ended up being about $2.75 a book, which is a price pretty hard to beat even with shopping used bookstores or  The only catch is that you're relying on someone out there having the book, which isn't always the case.

If you want to try it out, here's a link: Swap Books for Free -

Note:  I'm going to be linking all of my Book posts to until further notice.  I previously was using's affiliate links, but that service has been ended for Illinois residents.