Blog

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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What do you talk about when the end is near?

By Bill Mowry January 17, 2017

What do you talk about when the end is near? The space station had just exploded. The surviving astronauts were jettisoned into space, hurtling towards a certain death. They have only minutes left to talk with one another. A variety of conversations happen in their headsets. Some men argue. Some lash out at life. But one man remembers and regrets. This is the scenario from Ray Bradbury’s short story, Kaleidoscope. What’s the point of the story? Facing certain death, one of the men describes a…

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The WOW of Christmas

By Bill Mowry December 19, 2016

I’m a huge fan of Christmas. I love how neighborhoods and shopping malls explode in color. I walk through the shops savoring the decorations and soaking in the holiday music. For me, there’s a silent “wow” about the whole season. I know some downplay the pomp of Christmas. They’re concerned that we’ve bought into the values of our consumer culture. I say, “Bah! Humbug!” Let’s enjoy the wild frenzy of lights and decorations. Let’s be generous about giving gifts. Let’s allow the dazzling sights and…

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The Way of Wisdom

By Bill Mowry December 11, 2016

“Can’t you just tell us what to do next, Bill!” It’s tempting to tell people what to do next. I like the feeling of being an expert. My sinful side likes it because there’s an element of control in telling people what to do. Experience, though, has taught me to reign in my advice-giving. I’ve learned that a well-timed question is better than a piece of advice. What people discover is what they own. Besides, if people reach their own conclusions about what to do…

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Beware the perils of programmatic thinking!

By Bill Mowry November 29, 2016

“This time it’s different. We’re not implementing a disciplemaking program!” This leader’s statement thrilled me. Too often, churches shop the Christian market for the ideal program to “plug and play” in their church. Author and pastor Greg Ogden writes, “The committee scours the landscape for a discipleship program that has had proven success. This usually means that they are looking for a system and a curriculum that can be easily implemented in order to provide an accelerated solution. . . .” There are too many…

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Disciplemaking and politics #3: Living in a political world with respect and civility.

By Bill Mowry November 6, 2016

“You’re a nasty woman!” “You’re a liar!” “Lock her up!” “Your followers are a bucket of deplorables!” What has happened to civility in political discourse? By the dictionary definition, civility means politeness or courtesy, being respectful or considerate. Words once found in PG-13 or R-rated movies are now featured in political speech. Why should Christ-followers be concerned about civility? When does respectful speech enter into a disciplemaking curriculum? Our theology of the creation accounts should dictate our respect. Civility began at the Creation. Men and…

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