Some Highlights from the Apprentice Conference

This past weekend Susan and I had the chance to take in the Apprentice Conference in Wichita, KS.  The theme of this year’s conference was “The Story of God & US:  The Importance of Narratives for Christian Spiritual Formation.”  It was great to represent VP3 at the conference, and to be able to share some things we’ve learned over the years with the use of narratives in our own processes.

If you can zoom in on the above picture, you can catch a sense of the rich depth of perspectives shared about the topic of narratives.  The time for me was a mix of listening to key-note speakers, leading a workshop, visiting with some good folks by the VP3 display, and a handful of good “coffee line” conversations.  Here are 5 highlights from the time in Wichita… Continue reading

Good Words From A Good Pastor

Jason Koleba is the lead pastor at Cochrane Alliance Church in Cochrane, Alberta.  If you get a chance to hang out with Jason, before you reach the end of your grande coffee you get a sense that he is a person in love with Jesus and His way in the world.  In fact, a concern for unleashing the church to live more missionally is a significant part of Jason’s signature, and why he knows the importance of investing in the deepening and empowering of those who call Cochrane Alliance their home.

The following are some words of encouragement and challenge he offered to those whom he had been walking alongside over the past three years, helping them discover more deeply who God is, who they are, and what God desires to do through their lives for the Kingdom.  To be honest, I find myself prayerfully hoping for similar words and letters to be given by more pastors across North America.  The church would become an attractive community again if such “walkingalongsideness” were practiced. Continue reading

Things May Be Different Than They Appear

I have been re-reading the Bible.  It’s been a while since I’ve read it from ding to dong.  Usually my intake of the Word is guided by a bit of a gut check to be honest with what book of the Bible or passage I need to land on for a bit.  And I have never been disappointed in the Spirit’s way of timing what I read with the particulars of my life.  Maybe that’s part of the “living and active” thing.

I’ve been making my way through Genesis over the past several weeks.  There have been many foundational blocks laid in Genesis that our faith has been built upon, held together by the mortar of God’s Spirit.  Quite frankly, I have found myself saying to myself many times on this read through, “Holy moly. Talk about your crazy narratives and timelines!” Continue reading

A Few Good Practices

It is a good practice to glean what you can from those who know how to practice well.  Last week VP3 hosted a webinar called, “Best Practices in Local Church Leadership Development.”  Three panelists joined our time to share what they have learned over the years regarding an investment in the formation of those within their local communities.

Pam, Kent and Beth are seasoned at knowing how to notice the particulars of those whom they walk alongside.  All three know how to “call out” what they see dormant in peoples’ lives.  They are careful, yet direct in making appropriate and tailored prescriptions, helping people move toward a better place of maturity and a truer place of service.  Quite frankly, I was impressed with the practices they keep in this sometimes misunderstood deal of leadership development.  Their practice grows from a conviction that leadership development from a Christian perspective is first and always tethered to helping people tend to their followership to Jesus Christ.  You will benefit from listening in on what they said.  Here are some highlights… Continue reading

Wrong or Right?

VantagePiont3 has been around for about a dozen years.  In that time we have encountered remarkable changes in the lives of hundreds of people who have gone through one or more of our processes.  And, we have also been able to see some of the ripple effects from those changed lives upon their local church communities.  We have experienced in good measure James Houston’s wise words, “Shape the person and you shape everything else.”

This work I’m a part of at VP3 is such a good work…a deepening and empowering of peoples lives so that they might participate more fully in the ongoing Kingdom work of God.  But, it has also been a hard work and in my more honest moments I sometimes confess why something so good and consistently life changing has been a rather difficult sell.  ”What am I or we doing wrong?” is usually the question that immediately follows such honest moments. Continue reading

Discipleship: The Critical Need in Leadership Development Today

Today BrianSteenhoek and I facilitated a webinar called, “Discipleship:  The Critical Need in Leadership Development Today.”  It seemed to scratch an itch from the responses of those who attended.  We thought we would offer you a condensed version of some of our notes here.   Continue reading

Invitations To Die

To be honest, a theme I’ve noticed in my own walk lately has been dying.  Now, although it sounds silly, I must confess that even letting you in on this will make me wonder if I’ve just entered my final days…a peculiar sort of superstition.  But I have heard stories of people who said, “I’m ready to die!”  And then two days later actually die.  So, to set the record straight, although I love Jesus and look forward to meeting him I sure hope I don’t die two days from now.

What I have been wondering about is what it means for aspects of my life to die in order to bear more and better fruit.  Jesus did say, and even with a verily, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain;  but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).  Lately, three “deaths” have caused me to wonder what sort of fruit I am being invited to bear… Continue reading

A Gift

We recently had a VP3 staff team day, complete with Christmas party.  One of the things we did was share stories about the people we have encountered this past year through the ministry of VP3…people who have been gifts to us.  They have given to us the gift of knowing a little more of their story of change toward becoming the person God has intended them to be…a person with new hope to live more incarnationally…becoming a gift to others in Jesus’ name.

Sometimes we sit back in amazement at how the Lord has used what seems like our “two-fish-and-five-loaves” to help deepen and empower so many good people in various communities across North America. Continue reading

To Stay or To Leave?

This morning VantagePoint3 hosted a webinar called, “Crucibles:  Times of Disorientation in a Leader’s Life.”  Brian, Rob and I tried to unpack why such times can become heightened times of learning in our formation.  If we have eyes to see and a heart to walk alongside another, such times snap us to attention.  It is then that we have our work cut out for us, or perhaps to say it a better way, we may be best cut out for such work.

One of the questions that emerged for someone during the webinar is one we have all found ourselves in from time to time.  “How do I know if it is time to stay or time to leave?” Continue reading

Changing a Culture

There seems to be a good bit of talk these days about “changing the culture.”  What I bump into is the application of this concern toward a local church community.  It is a good concern from what I hear, and what I notice in my own collection of concerns.  In a recent conversation with a friend the same thing surfaced, “How can we change the discipleship culture in a local church?”  Do you ever catch a question from time to time when you realize you don’t even know how to begin to respond?  Not that you don’t know how to offer good wisdom or even a prescription or two.  But you know that in order to “answer” the question with a sense of justice it will be a complicated deal. Continue reading