Celebrating a Great 2017

Wow! What a year 2017 has been at NewThing.

For reasons we can’t explain, God continues to do immeasurably more than we can imagine. He has continued to give us more opportunities to partner with leaders all over the world to plant churches. It’s been incredible.

My year began in Dahmo, India with our NewThing Global Team. NewThing leaders from Europe, the Philippines, Africa and North America joined us for several days to discuss how together we could plant even more churches.

More catalytic leaders joining our team. We commissioned the NewThing North American Team led by Dave Dummitt. Dave has been busy meeting with leaders all over North America (including Canada). He’s built a top-notch team that has significantly increased our bandwidth. Dave also organized our North American Advisory Team to help lead our efforts.

Rob Wegner joined our Global Team. Rob is overseeing our efforts to reproduce new churches and connect with potential partners. Rob brings great leadership and experience to our team.

You’re probably hearing more about NewThing these days. That’s because we have a great communication team, led by Haley Bodine, working hard to tell the stories and track the stats of all that God is doing throughout our movement.

Joe Wilson has been traveling the world conducting catalyst communities. This year alone our Global Catalyst Community Teams have traveled to Uganda, Albania, the Philippines and El Salvador. We are growing this team and scaling the content so we can start more catalyst communities in every country of the world. We are in active conversations with leaders in places like Poland, Germany and Brazil to conduct catalyst communities next year.

Speaking of Catalyst Communities: We conducted 3 more Catalyst Communities in North America: Atlanta, Indy and Chicago. We have plans to conduct them in more cities in 2018 including Columbus, Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

We finished another cohort of Leading a Reproducing Network (LARN) training. We’ve had close to 30 churches participate in these learning communities and they have goals to plant nearly 1000 churches.

At the end of 2017, I traveled to Europe for the Launch Conference in Manchester and then meetings with our friends from Norway. Finally, I attended the final Catalyst Community of the year in San Pablo City, Philippines. Over 250 leaders gathered to work together to plant more churches.

The list goes on and on.

NewThing catalyzes new churches for the Kingdom. We are a global partnership dedicated to remaining movement in structure and Kingdom focused. Everything we do is about helping leaders dream God sized dreams and helping them achieve their goals.

Indeed, God did it again in 2017. And what is even more exciting for me is that I know he’s got even more planned for 2018. In fact, I am convinced that we’re just getting started!

I am praying bigger and more desperate prayers as a result.
To the churches and leaders and residents all over the world who have partnered with NewThing I want to say THANK YOU! We truly help each other go faster and farther for the Jesus Mission.

And to all of our supporters: your prayers and financial generosity is mission critical. Your support directly helps us change the spiritual landscapes of neighborhoods, cities, and even countries. Thank you for partnering with us in the Jesus Mission and helping make 2017 great!

I can’t wait to see what God does through our movement in 2018!

Congrats 2|42: Growing Fast with an Eye on the Kingdom!

Here’s my HUGE shout out to Dave Dummitt and the team at 2|42 Community Church in Michigan! They have once again made the list of Outreach’s Fastest Growing Churches.

While this is a notable, there is more. Dave is also the North American Director for NewThing. He and his team have a BIG vision to help start 1,000 reproducing churches. This all originates from Dave’s fierce vision to help people know Jesus.

I have learned much working with Dave and  I love the opportunity I have to work with him and his team. Congrats 2|42! 

Great Leaders Celebrate Others

Want to be a great leader? Then learn to celebrate others.

A recent trip gave me the opportunity to hangout with a great leader. Among other things, I notice this leader consistently celebrated those he led. He did this in several ways:

  • He celebrated every one on the team for something.
  • He celebrated the smallest wins and magnified them.
  • He celebrated the humility he noticed in other leaders.
  • He celebrated the family of all the leaders on the team for being part of the mission.
  • He celebrated everything God was doing by telling stories of people.

Lesson: Great leaders are humble and celebrate frequently.

Celebrate What You Value

celebrateThere is a reciprocal relationship between celebrating and values. What you value you celebrate. So the key is to be intentional and celebrate what you value.

Church planters need to pay attention to this. Too often planters start with a list of values but don’t celebrate them. When this happens, your values become words on a page (or website) rather than an ethos that drives your community to Kingdom living. They are devoid of power.

Celebrating your values helps clarify them for people. Celebrating your values inspires and encourages people to wrestle with them in their lives.

Remember, values are beliefs or ideals shared by a culture bout what is desirable or undesirable. Values influence people’s behavior and attitudes and serve as broad guidelines for the community. (Paraphrased from an online dictionary.)

Values are important. Values take time to build. One way to reinforce your values is to build a rhythm of celebrating them into your culture.

For example…

  • If you value reproducing, celebrate people who find and invest in an apprentice.
  • If you value mission, celebrate people who are on mission in their neighborhoods
  • If you value prayer, celebrate people who are growing in this area.

You cannot establish strong values in your culture without celebrating them.

The opposite is also true. If you aren’t aware of what you’re celebrating you will inadvertently celebrate the wrong values.

When you celebrate something other than your values, you have in fact created alternative values. For example, if you state one of your values to be community but never celebrate the life change that occurs in small group, you have NOT created a value of community.

The best way to find what you truly value is to be honest about where you spend your time and resources. Follow this trail and you will uncover your what you really value.

So what does celebrating look like for church planters and missional communities? It might include…

  • Telling stories—lots of them. Tell stories of people who are living out the values of your community. Keep telling them. Always make time for telling them.
  • Honoring people who are living out your values. Let a leader explain how they started a new group. Let a contributor explain why they serve in your kids ministry. Let a single-mom who starts a play group tell everyone about her experience.
  • Throwing a party to celebrate a new milestone or event that clarifies a value of your community. Perhaps you need to celebrate baptisms in a new way. Perhaps you need to throw a party for all the people who are living missionaly in the community?
  • Use art to celebrate people your values being lived out. Feature someone explaining their life with Jesus on video. Ask musicians to express your values through song.

Whatever you do, be sure to celebrate what you value.

So what value have you celebrated recently? Where do you struggle to celebrate?

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Blessings!