Church Planting: An Interview With Ed Stetzer

Church Planting: An Interview With Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer has a long and very impressive resume full of planting, revitalizing and pastoring churches across the USA. He has also taught and mentored tons of pastors over the years as well as spend many a hour researching and surveying in state of the local church. Currently he is the President of LifeWay Research and a member of the International Mission Board’s Church Services Team. Accordingly, his comments on church planting in North America have some weight… as in, they are worth listening too and thinking about. Which is why I recommend reading this article detailing a recent interview with Vineyard USA. To help spur you on in reading the interview, I have posted some quotes from Ed along with some of my thoughts below. Reflections on the Church Planting Scene in North America “I think church planting is exploding. But I think it’s also important to note that the focus of many of these movements, and even the methods that they have used, have been influenced by the gifts that the Vineyard gave us all: a heart for church planting, new network approaches and strategies, and a passion for reaching the lost.” Yeah…I couldn’t pass up quoting this piece as it is nice to see such favorable press for one’s tribe. Granted, Ed is talking to the Vineyard USA so it could be a simple ‘don’t bite the hand that is feeding you’ statement…but I seriously doubt that as Ed, who is not part of the Vineyard, doesn’t have a motivation to suck up to the Vineyard. If he didn’t like us, he could simply say so...
I Have Been Accepted To St. Stephen’s University!!!

I Have Been Accepted To St. Stephen’s University!!!

Ever since the summer of 2001, when God told me that I needed ‘get’ before I can ‘give’, I have been pursuing higher theological training. Sadly enough I almost gave up on this dream a few years later, only to be rescued by my wife and God’s poking and prodding which lead to starting Vineyard Leadership Institute (VLI) in 2005. Upon graduating from VLI in 2007, I immediately applied to and was accepted at Fuller Theological Seminary for a Masters of Intercultural Studies. Over the next three years, I took three distant learning classes, the last being in the Spring of 2010. When I had first applied to Fuller, I had originally planned to continue taking distant classes through Fuller for about eight years before moving to California to complete the program (you have to do half the courses on their campus). Things, however, radically changed in February 2011 when I became the senior pastor of the PRV church – i.e. moving was no longer an option. The dream then sat dominate for a few years while I tried to figure out what God wanted to do with my life…then St. Stephen’s University in New Brunswick, Canada, popped up on my radar. Their Master of Ministry program is a module system designed for working pastors – as in, the bulk of the studying is done at home with the students coming together at the end of each module for a two week in-classes teaching period. As far as the degree itself, the Master of Ministry degree is uniquely designed to prepare spiritual leaders instead of researchers. What I mean...
Church Discipline and Restoration

Church Discipline and Restoration

Over the years church discipline have gotten a bad rap , so much so that most churches no longer hold their leaders or their members to any level of accountable. While some of this comes from abuses (which sadly continue to happen), I think the main reason why church discipline has gone the way of the dinosaurs is because of our hyper-individual culture that says that my life is my life and no one better tell me differently. Life in the Kingdom under the rule and reign of God is different though… in this new life, which comes about when one bows their knees to the King and follows Him, there is accountability and community as all of our lives are interconnected. C.S. Lewis once used the analogy on ships on the sea. While each of our lives are individual ships, we are all sailing on the same sea and if your boat is in malfunctioning and cannot steer, then everyone around you is in danger as an accident in bound to happen. As community, therefore, we all need to listen to the Holy Spirit and throw ourselves at the foot of the cross, asking Jesus to repair our ship and help us to sail in unity with those around us. Sometimes this does not happen and the community as a whole has to correct the path of one of its members – especially if that member is a highly visible leader. About eighteen (or so) months ago I was shocked along with many others at the news that our VLI teacher, mentor, and friend Steve Robbins crashed his...
Signs, Wonders and the Kingdom of God by Don Williams

Signs, Wonders and the Kingdom of God by Don Williams

I was first introduced to Don Williams through a Vineyard Leadership Institute (VLI) course in 2005/2006. As I listened to him teach that day, I knew that he was one of those (unfortunately) rare individuals with a theologian scholar mind and a practitioner heart of compassion. Since that day, I have had the pleasure to meet Don in person as well as to discover that he was the primary architect of the Vineyard Statement of Faith. I also fell in love with his book “Start Here” as it is one of the best (if not THE best) overview of this Christian walk that I have read. Unfortunately throughout all this time there was one book of his that continued to evade me all the while tempting me through references and quotes. This long sought after book was one of Don’s first books published after he joined the Vineyard Movement in the mid-1980s. Then one day this Summer the unthinkable happened…. Vineyard Resources decided to reprint the Moby Dick of Don Williams’ books – namely the classic book “Signs, Wonders and the Kingdom of God: A Biblical Guide for the Reluctant Skeptic.” And, after reading said book (thanks by the way to CJ who blessed me with a copy!!), I have to say that I fully understand why this book is considered a classic in the Vineyard. Using his life as a background, Don pulls the reader into the journey he took as God broken into his life and expanded his worldview. As such in some ways, this book is more of an autobiography then an ‘true’ theology book. Granted,...
What Is Not assumed….

What Is Not assumed….

““What is not assumed, is not redeemed”“ I came across this great quote by Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390 AD) today while re-listening to some old VLI lectures. Gregory made the statement during the great fourth century debate on the nature of Jesus Christ in an effort to stop the budding Apollinarism heresy. Apollinarism came about as a way of explaining the Council of Nicene’s (325 AD) decision that Jesus was of “one essence with the Father” In effect, this heresy stated that Jesus had a human body and soul, but a divine mind. As a response, Gregory coined the phrase “what is not assumed is not redeemed” as a way of saying that Jesus had to have been fully human in order for Him to redeem humanity. If Jesus was somehow less then fully human, then the parts that were not “assumed” were not “redeemed” – whether those parts be the mind, soul, body or spirit. The result of this debate was the Nicene–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381: We believe in one God, the Father  Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was...