Blog

Culture Building Memo #9: Farm the farm that’s given to you

By Bill Mowry January 15, 2018

“We just can’t compete!”was the lament of Steve and Jack. They pastor a mid-size church that sits in the shadow of two prominent mega-churches with nationally known pastors. “How can we compete with a circus at Halloween or a Madrigal Dinner at Christmas? We can’t sponsor those kinds of activities!” This complaint fueled some quality discussions on how to be content in the identify that God has for their church. I learned something new about the secret of contentment in an unlikely source. One of…

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Culture Building Memo #8: It’s all about relationships

By Bill Mowry November 20, 2017

When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, he posted a simple sign over the doorway to his political “war room” (his campaign headquarters). He knew he couldn’t defeat the incumbent President, George Bush, on his foreign policy plans but he believed that Bush was vulnerable on the economy. What did the sign say? Every time Clinton and his campaign workers walked into the room, they were met by this challenge, “It’s the economy stupid!” They had a simple vision for victory, focus on the…

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Culture Building Memo #7: Don’t lose the principles for the particulars

By Bill Mowry November 7, 2017

Pastors James and Chad eagerly started building a Great Commission culture in their church last summer. We moved forward with real progress but soon a “bump” interrupted our plan. James was becoming a dad in December and would take a leave of absence for six weeks. Chad would lead the church in his absence . . . but then God intervened. During James’ absence, Chad felt led by God to pursue pastoring a church in the inner city. Come February, James was back at the…

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Culture Building Memo #6: It starts with mission

By Bill Mowry October 9, 2017

I love the book The Master Plan of Evangelism. It’s the classic work on disciplemaking. Imagine my surprise when one day I seriously looked at the title. It’s not “The Master Plan of Disciplemaking” (though Coleman did eventually publish a book with this title). The book is about Jesus’ plan for evangelism. What was His plan? I noticed that disciples are a “means” and not the “end.” The end is advancing the gospel. Disciplemaking is all about mission. When it comes to disciplemaking, it’s easy…

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Culture Building Memo #5: Model before you plan

By Bill Mowry October 9, 2017

My wife Peggy spent twenty years in corporate America working with two Fortune 500 companies. Large corporations love strategic plans and strategies for change. About every four years you could count on a new strategic plan led by another highly paid consultant or CEO. After experiencing several of these corporate strategic plans, Peggy could predict the outcomes. Culture change meant two things: downsizing employees and re-shuffling the administration chart. At no time in her experience did an immediate supervisor say to her, “Shadow me for…

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Culture Building #4: It starts at the top

By Bill Mowry September 28, 2017

Chris’ observation summed up months of frustration for me. “We need to think about how to move you from the periphery to the mainstream. We need to get the senior pastor on board.” Chris and I were training disciplemakers but this ministry wasn’t embraced by the senior pastor. In fact, I had only met him once. Chris, the administrative pastor, was my point person. Our disciplemaking emphasis wasn’t on the senior pastor’s radar screen. Starting a movement from the “bottom up” wasn’t working. This is…

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Culture Building Memo #3: It’s all about the culture

By Bill Mowry September 28, 2017

“What’s the future of disciplemaking in my church?” Tom asked. “I want to be a disciplemaking pastor. However, if disciplemaking depends upon me than it will dissolve in our church when I leave or retire. We must build a culture of disciplemaking.” Ron and Mary experienced this insight’s reality in a dramatic way. For two years, Ron and Mary had invested in a pastor and some key people in his church. Imagine their surprise when the pastor announced that he would be leaving. Would their…

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Culture Building Memo #2: The basics are always basic

By Bill Mowry September 28, 2017

There was an embarrassing silence in the room. The question by a church leader put the pastors ”on the hot seat.” What was so embarrassing? Here’s the question. “How many of you are practicing a daily time of Bible meditation and prayer that is designed to only feed your souls — not a time for message preparation or for a class?” No one’s hand went up. No one was practicing what we would call a daily “quiet time.” This conversation reveals a troubling reality among…

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Culture Building Memo #1: What kind of leader are you?

By Bill Mowry August 16, 2017

Our first job can set the course for our lives. Pastor and author Eugene Peterson faced the question of leadership in his first assignment as an assistant pastor. It was soon apparent that I didn’t fit. I had supposed that I was there to be a pastor: to proclaim and interpret Scriptures, to guide people into a life of prayer, to encourage faith, to represent the mercy and forgiveness of Christ at special times of need, to train people to live as disciples in their…

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But Don’t I Need To Do More?

By Bill Mowry February 15, 2017

My email is stuffed with invitations to an assortment of events. This one caught my attention recently: Understanding Honor and Shame in Outreach. Today’s emphasis in evangelism and discipleship often focuses on the inner life of the person, the place of deep hurts, shame, or broken pasts. While I appreciate the need to understand the hurts of people, I sometimes wonder if we’ve complicated the discipling ministry. The believer who wants to come alongside and help another grow in Christ can feel woefully inadequate. He…

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