What’s Next For ARC?

As a child in Sunday School I remember singing a song that went something like this:

ARC 500th Church PlantJesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white (not sure what happened to brown).
They are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

What a week it was – ARC #ALLACCESS14

ALLACCESS is probably the most inspiring and exhausting week of the year for me.

Here’s a few thoughts while nursing some sore feet:

  • AllAccess14 sold out again this year, with over 3000 in attendance
  • There were 83 internationals, with 29 from Australia (you can never have enough Aussies).

ARC plants down under

The Association of Related Churches (ARC) began partnering with the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) about a year ago to plant churches down under. We sent our team to help them apply the life giving principles that we use to their training process. Now they are off to the races!

Recently Joel and Ellen Cave planted Glow Church on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia with 350 people their first weekend. I got to spend some time with them at the ALLACCESS Conference. Great couple! We look forward to “glowing” reports in the future. (Yes it’s corny, but that’s how I roll.)

This weekend Greg and Stacy Allen will be launching LIFT Church in Newcastle, Australia. I met Greg and Stacy last year when I spoke at Celebration Church in the Austin, Texas area. They will do great!

If you think about it – pray for them this weekend.

Say it with me: “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!!!”

How Jesus spotted a leader in a short little crook

Recently I was reading the story of Jesus confrontation with Zaccheaus and I noticed at least 10 principles that apply to all of us when choosing leaders to help us in our work.

First the story:

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:1-10 NLT)

Now the principles:

  • Success in ministry has a lot to do with choosing the right leaders. Good ones will minimize your weaknesses or maximize your strengths. Jesus spent hours in conversation with his father before choosing the men who he would pour his life into. I’m not sure this encounter was as random as it looks. I think possibly Zaccheaus became a part of Jesus extended leadership circle. I also think he was carefully chosen.
  • The next great leader may not be the obvious choice. Most people wrote Zaccheaus off as a short little crook. Jesus saw thru the obvious to his hidden potential. Many people believe that Zaccheaus was actually the Apostle Mathias who was chosen to be one of the Twelve when Judas betrayed Jesus. Some believe he went on to become the Bishop of Ceaserea. At any rate, he became more than he was before his encounter with Jesus. If you are going to build a great team you’re going to have to get good at looking thru people to their God given destiny.
  • Choose people who go out of their way to get involved in what you’re doing. Zaccheaus didn’t let the fact that he too short and the crowd too big keep him from seeing Jesus. There are probably some people who are making a major effort to be close to you. Don’t overlook them. If you don’t have to talk them into following, you probably won’t have to talk them into staying.
  • Don’t be so focused on what you are doing that you don’t look up every once in a while. Jesus could have missed Zaccheaus because of the crowd. He paused and looked up. Do you do that? “Who is new? Why are they here? Could this be the person we’ve been praying for to fill a gap in our team?” You’ll never see them unless you look up.
  • Do your homework. Jesus had him at “Zaccheaus”. We love it when somebody who shouldn’t knows our name. Be that person. If possible, study the list. Read the roster. Surprise them. The simple act of knowing their name may be the opening that sets them on a path to their destiny.
  • Don’t be afraid to issue an invitation and challenge right away. Jesus didn’t wait till he’d been to the Newcomers/Membership Class and proven his faithfulness. He invited Zaccheaus to spend the afternoon with him. “And by the way, let’s throw a party at your house.”
  • Don’t be surprised when the old guard gets their undies in a bunch. They are upset that Zaccheaus doesn’t pass the background check. When you take a risk with a promising but raw new leader, there may be some on your team that won’t understand. Be respectful, but sometimes you’ve got to follow your gut.
  • Don’t under estimate the transforming power of food :-) Jesus invited him to a meal, not a Bible study. Food is disarming, socially inviting, and encourages meaningful conversation. Build food into your team building budget. (Better yet, recruit short rich crooks. They can pay their own way.)
  • People are more likely to respond to grace than rules. Zaccheaus knew the rules. He was more than willing to follow them when extended grace. When you build a culture of grace you’ll have less to fight about.
  • When salvation comes to the whole household, the potential for multiplication is staggering. I look at my own family as an example. Because someone didn’t overlook the leadership potential in my “short little crook” grandfather, there is a “household” of Surratt’s reproducing kingdom life all over the planet.

Can you see other leadership principles in the story of Zaccheaus?

Ten takeaways from ARC AllAccess12

We just got home from a week in Dallas attending the ARC AllAccess12 conference at Gateway Church. What an incredible event. Nearly 3,000 people from 18 countries came to experience the power and presence of Jesus. We came away energized, encouraged, and empowered (sounds like a Baptist sermon). Here are ten observations:

  • I love the spirit of the Gateway house
  • I want to be a history maker (via Craig Groeschel)
  • There’s a life giving way to ask someone to move their car (via John Gray)
  • If church planting doesn’t work out, some of those guys could make a living in rodeo (only if they use mechanical bulls)
  • Dallas takes traffic to a HNL
  • There are 161 new ARC members & partners
  • It’s all about the one (via Dino Rizzo)
  • After hearing Priscilla Shirer preach, I’m thinking about giving up preaching & going back to giving talks (sorry Robert Morris :-)
  • I don’t even want to think about Ed Young’s spanks
  • It’s an honor to get the privilege of serving this great movement – let’s change the world together!
  • Here’s some of the Twitter love from the conference

    @craiggroeschel: Great day at ARC conference at Gateway Church! Planting 80 churches this year!

    @keithjohn: Best Conference ever!

    @Willie_George: The ARCchurches have developed the most effective church-planting program I’ve ever seen. I’m all in!

    @danielchampine: #allaccess12 was awesome, can’t wait for next year

    @rachel_frazier: Heading home after another inspiring ARC conference! Watch out cause I’m fired up!

    @lesliesiebeling: Heading home with a full heart and spirit – loved every minute of #AllAccess12

    @CindyFerrell: Few conferences are packed as full at the closing as it is at the opening. Awesome beginning to end.

    @screech1: Best I’ve ever been to! Finally found my tribe. Pumped about the future.

    @drdavemartin: This is a must conference for those who love the local church.

    @monte_young: #AllAccess12 Was amazing!!! The most ministry-impacting week of my life

    @ksvanbuskirk: Hands down one of the best conference experiences I’ve ever had! Thank you #AllAccess12 for going above & beyond in every detail! Love ARC!!

    @chrisvanb: This conference was more relational & transformational than any I’ve ever attended!

    Watch a short video recap of the conference

    Were you there? What was your takeaway?