Archive for March, 2010

TCI Update: UMC Today in Northern Alabama

Had a great day today with Bishop Will Willimon of the Northern Alabama UMC and some of his District Superintendants. I was reminded of the importance of a Jim Collins observation in his book,Good to Great:

Great companies have a small set of core values and a radical commitment to expansion.

My experience in leadership suggests that churches, denominations, movements often end up doing the reverse. They have an ever increasing set of values (dress, style, culture, etc.) and a decreasing committment to expansion.

It was great to hear the Bishop today focusing on reaching lost people for Christ and growing disciples. Churches who reach lost people for Christ and make more and better disciples is what Thriving Churches International (TCI) is all about! We’re excited about partnering with churches, networks, and denominations to see churches Thrive…


March 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

Church Plant Celebration

We just finished up 12 years of ministry at LifePoint Church ( last weekend. God did so many exciting things over that time period. I’ve been reflecting on so much lately. But here are some cool factoids about 1 key area of ministry.

In 12 years of ministry in a semi-rural area (100,000 people within 35 miles), we were able to:

Plant 1 Church (

Adopt 1 Church (

Partner to help plant 3 Churches in the metro area nearest us:,,

We were also able to help a number of other churches during this time through our conferences and consulting.

What a great journey it has been! To God be the glory…

March 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm Leave a comment

Leaving Your Church or Ministry, Part 3

50 ways to leave your lover (so the song says), 6 ways to leave a Southwest aircraft. how do you leave a church or ministry leadership role? Previous posts have described some of what happened before…

After those 3 ways of leaving descried earlier, I think I finally did it about as right as I know how. We just left our local church we established over 12 years ago in a “parachute drop”. Here is what I think we did right:

-We prayed about it a lot and brought our leadership core to the process early. THAT was not a lot of fun…but I think it was the best thing for the church because it gave our leadership core the chance to be prepared. Our board and Executive Team handled the process with awesome grace and dignity

-We promised our church that we would stay engaged until my successor was in place. THAT was a hard promise to make. I come from a tradition that often has the pastor leave with no successor in sight. But having participated in that process before…I knew we just had to have my successor here before we disengaged. That made it hard because of the lengthy time period (about 7 months) and it meant I rode 3 bicycles for that time period. In the end though, I think it served the church well. We grew spiritually, numerically and financially during these 7 months

-We kept the focus of our people on the mission, vision, and values of our church. In other words…the DNA of the ministry got magnified during the transition rather than diminished. I think that part of our transition was a total win for the Kingdom!

So…I’m still pretty raw…it’s only been a week…but I feel like God’s protection was great and His provision was awesome during our transition process. Hope some of these things might help you if you ever find yourself in transition of a ministry leadership role.

March 7, 2010 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

Leaving Your Church or Ministry, Part 2

So…I’ve left a church or ministry 4 different times in 30+ years in vocational ministry. I’ve done it 4 different ways. So far, the way I just left the church where I was the founding pastor ( has felt the best. I think we did a lot of things right (more on that later). But for now, let me describe the other 3 ways:

1) Leave quickly with virtually no goodbye. The first church I left was a small Baptist church and I was the youth pastor. I left “by the book”. I gave 30 days notice, 3 weeks to the youth group, and had a minimal weekend good bye. No turning back and no contact after leaving (that was in “the book”…not really a book, but common practice). Lots of tears here, but no muss, no fuss. Quite frankly, I felt badly for the people and for myself

2) Leave a little more slowly, but don’t tell ANYONE what you are praying about. In this church, I gave them about 2 1/2 months notice…AFTER I had accepted a role as a denominational executive. My problem with this process is that I had people who had interceded for me, walked with me through “fire”, and I didn’t entrust myself to anyone. I followed “the book” and kept it all secret. To this day, I feel like I injured some people on the way out by my secrecy.

3) I left the denominational ministry with a 6 months time period between resignation and leaving. That was the choice of the Board; things went well and I worked hard until my last day on the job. But, even in that 6 month period, we did not end up with a clear succession plan and I felt like I could have better served them.

I just left the church we established 13 years ago. It’s only been 3 days. But so far, I feel like this one has been the best. What did we do well in leaving this time? More on that in the next post.

March 4, 2010 at 12:54 am Leave a comment

How Many Ways to Leave a Church?

The song says there are 50 ways to leave your lover
Southwest says there are 6 ways to leave their 737 aircraft
How many ways are there to leave your church when you are the Pastor or staff member?

The easy answer is badly or well. But there must be more to it than that…

As a former staff member, pastor, denominational executive, and now Founding Pastor of a church…I’ve left churches four different ways in my adult life. Most recently, I am having my last weekend at LifePoint Church ( in Carson Valley NV this weekend. As I have prepared to preach and lead (and leave!) this final weekend in this role, I have had a whirlwind of thoughts. I will no longer be the Senior Pastor of the church but will always be the Founding Pastor. My successor (Bill McCready, and I have a great relationship and I look forward to returning to LifePoint to teach and share. But not as the Senior Pastor.

In the next several posts, I’ll share what I have learned about leaving. I’m trying to leave well…and believing God for great things in the days ahead!

March 4, 2010 at 12:46 am Leave a comment

Dr. John Jackson

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March 2010
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