Archive for July, 2009

Why Lead a Thriving Church?

I had the opportunity to speak at Bayside Church a couple of months ago to talk about why Bayside should be the “cradle and greenhouse” to birth and launch Thriving Churches International (TCI) and help thriving churches. I thought you might be interested, so here is the outline of the talk. We’ll be posting the video of this talk on the website in the weeks ahead. Hope you enjoy!

Why Build a Thriving Church and Why Launch Thriving Churches International?

People saying “yes” starts a movement.

When I was a little boy, I had an interest in how things grew. I remember often being called Farmer John. I was also a pastors kids, so we moved a lot. If my memory has not failed too much, I remember one time pleading with my parents to plant a garden. Somehow I lucked out and found out that a radish plant would grow the quickest…so in my earliest garden, I planted a veritable plethora of radishes…and a few cucumbers and carrots. EVERY day I went to the garden and checked to see if there was a radish there. About 8 days later, there was a radish plant…weeks later, we got cucumber and carrots and all the radish plants were dead in 4 weeks; it was just a couple months later that the entire garden was dead.

My early gardening (and by the way, I don’t garden anymore) was a great experience. Let me use that personal experience as a way to make a few observations:

1) If you want something to happen really quick, you can get that if you pick the right seed.
2) If you plant radishes, you should like them. I didn’t like radishes and we ended up with buckets of them.
3) I could have planted an acorn seed. But if I did, I would see no visible results for quite some time and given how often our family moved in my youth, I would most certainly have never seen the end results of my action in planting an acorn seed that would become a majestic oak tree.

So here is my question: What do you want to grow in your life? What do you want to grow in your church or in the Thriving Churches International movement that we are launching?

• You can grow a radish plant or an oak tree. Which do you want? A radish plant can poke above ground in 7-8 days. And it will be dead in 4 weeks.

• The oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of England, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United States, Basque Country, Wales and Serbia. Iowa has designated the oak as its official state tree in 1961, and the White Oak is the state tree of Connecticut, Illinois and Maryland. The Northern Red Oak is the provincial tree of Prince Edward Island, as well as the state tree of New Jersey. The Live Oak is the State Tree of Georgia.

I think the Scripture gives us a framework for this issue in Colossians 2:

“I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine–sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:1-7)

I love that the Apostle Paul struggled…God wants us to be encouraged and united, and that we would have full riches of complete understanding. That complete understanding is ultimately rooted and grounded in Christ, and that is where we place our faith.

PAUL ENDS HIS EXHORTATION WITH THESE THREE TRUTHS:

-WE HAVE RECEIVED CHRIST (OUTREACH)
-LIVE IN HIM, ROOTED AND BUILT UP IN HIM, STRENGTHENED (SPIRITUAL GROWTH)
-OVERFLOWING WITH THANKFULNESS (LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT)

GOD WANTS THINGS TO GROW…AND I WOULD SUBMIT TO YOU TODAY THAT GOD IS NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF GROWING CHURCHES THAT ARE LIKE RADISHES; RATHER GOD IS INTERESTED IN GROWING OAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3)

So in the next few moments (that’s preacher talk for 10 minutes), I want to talk about why we personally want to thrive, why we want our churches to Thrive, and why we want to launch Thriving Churches International. I learned several years ago from Ed Young Jr. at a conference the power of asking the right question to the right people at the right time..

A Thriving Church Answers Key Questions

Why are we concerned to develop Thriving Churches? Ray Johnston (Founding Pastor of Bayside Church): Volunteers are under nourished, Pastors are under coached, Churches lack vision, Small group shepherds lack spiritual foundations.

Thriving Churches answer these challenges by Thriving! We answer questions like these 3 powerful questions:

1. How will we reach our community?
• Personal Witness
• Local Compassion Ministries
• Global Missions

A Thriving Church reaches people for Jesus Christ.

2. How will we grow our people:
• Personal Spiritual Disciplines
• Discipleship Pathway
• Authentic Relationships
A Thriving Church develops reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ.

3. How will we develop leaders?
• Discovery & Use of Spiritual Gifts
• Cultivates Leadership Gifts
• Identifies & Supports Leaders of Leaders

A Thriving Church creates a leadership development culture.

So what can you do today to be part of continuing faith in Jesus Christ, “having received Him as Lord to continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”?

1) Be part of reaching lost people for Christ…passion for the lost
2) Be part of growing deeply in your faith..fall more in love with Jesus every day
3) Be clear about God’s gifts in your life…discover and use your spiritual gifts for His glory

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July 7, 2009 at 9:27 pm Leave a comment

Resources Available for Ministry Bulk Purchase Discount

One of the cool things that God has allowed me to do is to write. I write to leverage the influence and effectiveness of leaders in ministry and the marketplace. So…in honor of a birthday I have coming up shortly (I’m not 50, but I can see it from here), I thought I’d make you an offer you shouldn’t refuse!

If you want a single copy of any of my books, you can go to

July 7, 2009 at 9:10 pm Leave a comment


Dr. John Jackson

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Thriving Churches

Thriving Churches International (www.thrivingchurches.com) is a relational resource network to help equip you and your church to thrive! We are passionate about outreach, spiritual growth, and leadership development

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