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Hermeneutics & Homiletics (CCBC Class Pt. 4)

Each Monday, we go back to school at Calvary Chapel Bible College as I take you through my church planting class. So far in this series, we’ve covered What Church Planting Is and Is Not, The Calling and Equipping for church planting, as well as Where Do I Start? Here’s Part 4…

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We began with a brief intro to the topics of hermeneutics and homiletics (studying and teaching God’s Word). Nehemiah 8 reminded us of the joy of these topics. Ezra the scribe got up and began reading from the Law, then “they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8) The result was amazing: “all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law…and all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.” (Nehemiah 8:9, 12)

There is great joy in communicating the relevance of God’s Word because there’s great joy in people’s hearts when they get it. Hermeneutics and homiletics are not designed to help us bring relevance to God’s Word – it’s already relevant! Our job is simply to lead others into a greater understanding of its relevance for their daily lives…and there is so much joy in our hearts when we get it!

Hermeneutics and homiletics are not designed to help us bring relevance to God’s Word – it’s already relevant! Our job is simply to lead others into a greater understanding of its relevance for their daily lives…and there is so much joy in our hearts when we get it!

As we dove into hermeneutics (studying God’s Word), we covered the 3 basic hermeneutical principles: observation, interpretation, application. We talked about each phase and what it looks like to observe what is being said in the text at first glance. The observation stage is easy to skip over because you want to go straight to application, but it’s key. In fact, as I illustrated with the video below, you can go into a text thinking it means one thing but missing something huge…

The interpretation is done with reputable Biblical sources and teachers, with the goal of arriving at solid Biblical, Godly application. The application is the whole point, but you can’t skip straight to it!

Some great resources for learning more about hermeneutics are Rightly Divided and Basic Bible Interpretation, both by Roy Zuck. Some of the content of my hermeneutics teaching came from those books (among others).

During the second half of class, we tackled homiletics (teaching the Bible). Man I love that topic. Since the class is diverse, and not full of just pastors, I used the outline in Howard Hendricks’ book, Teaching to Change Lives, to teach from. It was so much fun. We talked about being real and raw as you teach, but also stirring up and developing the teaching gift that God has given you.

Most of what we talked about was relevant to everyone in there from personal Bible study to teaching in front of a church, small group, or discipleship.

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Where Do I Start? (CCBC Class Pt. 3)

Each Monday, we go back to school at Calvary Chapel Bible College as I take you through my church planting class. So far in this series, we’ve covered What Church Planting Is and Is Not, as well as The Calling and Equipping.

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Where do I start? That was the main question we answered today during Day 3 of Church Planting Class. We began with the unglamorous and often unmentioned side of Church Planting – the business side.

Some authors have paralleled Jesus to a CEO and try to pull business principles from His ministry. Although He was the greatest leader the world has ever known and we have endless things to learn from Him, I don’t like viewing Him as a CEO and I definitely don’t think His Church should be viewed as a start-up business. We’re His bride, not His project.

However, for any church to have longevity, there are certain legal and structural guidelines that must be followed. Everything from the incorporation process (including bylaws and a board of directors) to 501(c)(3) applications and payroll. Jesus said to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and like it or not, “Caesar” may be more involved than many people realize!

Jesus said to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and like it or not, “Caesar” may be more involved than many people realize!

Like anything though, there must be a balance. If you overlook the business side of the church, it won’t last. But if you run the church entirely as a business, it will prevent you from taking steps of faith. After all, there have been quite a few times in just my 3 years of planting Awaken that I’ve undertaken a project or outreach that didn’t exactly measure up on paper (The Uprising)!

If you overlook the business side of the church, it won’t last. But if you run the church entirely as a business, it will prevent you from taking steps of faith.

In addition to the un-glamorous business side of the church, we also talked about the practical side of how to figure out where to go, and some things to keep in mind when you first get to your city.

We watched a quick video from a friend of mine, Chuck Musselwhite, a Calvary Pastor in California. I also passed on some helpful links:

CCPN: http://calvarychurchplanting.org

Here you can get resources to either be mentored as a church planter or mentor other church planters. You can also listen to and watch sessions from their ReEngage Conference that they had last year. You can hear great, practical stuff from Brian Broderson, David Guzik, Ed Stetzer, and more! (I hear the blog is great, too!)

Calvary’s main website: http://calvarychapel.com

On Calvary’s main site, you can check out the church locator to get an idea of an area of the US or the world where they could benefit from a Calvary. You can search within a 1,000-mile radius by zip code, state, or city!

Calvary Chapel Association: http://calvarychapelassociation.com

Once you have a place in mind and/or you’ve already moved there or begun the process, you can go to the CCA site to begin the affiliation process. By selecting the region of the US or world that you’re in, you can find out which pastor(s) to contact to get the ball rolling on affiliation with Calvary Chapel.

We also covered some practical things to think about before and during the launch of the church. We discussed the importance of a vision statement that’s concise and catchy, that communicates why your church exists. We talked about the pros and cons of different types of church planting timelines: denominational, interest meetings, preview services, and the route I took, “Hit the ground running!”

One of the most practical parts of the day was a 15-minute personal project where each person scoured the Bible for practical examples of people who used what was in their hands to benefit others and glorify God. There were tons of great examples which led to great discussion: things like David’s slingshot and harp-playing skills, Esther’s position as queen, Tabitha’s clothes-making skills, the boy who gave Jesus his lunch, Moses’ staff, Paul’s prison sentence, and so much more. Some of the examples seemed positive, others seemed negative, but the point was simple: God uses ordinary things for extraordinary purposes.

The goal of the exercise was to help us all understand that we are probably much more equipped then we realize. We refuse to allow a perceived need to prevent us from preaching the Gospel. We’ll embrace our limitations, get creative, and use what’s in our hands to benefit others and glorify God.

We refuse to allow a perceived need to prevent us from preaching the Gospel. We’ll embrace our limitations, get creative, and use what’s in our hands to benefit others and glorify God.

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The Calling & Equipping of Church Planting (CCBC Class Pt. 2)

Each Monday here on the blog, we take a look back at a recap of a Church Planting block class that I taught at Calvary Chapel Bible College early in 2013. Today is Part 2, but you may want to catch up on Part 1 (What Church Planting Is and Is Not) first.

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Today, we talked about the calling and equipping for ministry, as we took a look at some personal and Biblical examples. I shared about how God began to train me up for teaching, pastoring, and planting a church when I was 16 at a summer camp. For me, that was the start of my journey into ministry from starting a youth group, to leading a high school Bible Club, to eventually serving on staff at a summer camp and becoming a youth pastor.

Yesterday, I handed out a questionnaire to the class, asking about what they’re hoping to learn from the class and what some of their fears and obstacles are in church planting. A recurring theme in the responses I got is that people are stressed about their own inadequacies in ministry. Nobody is going to show up, there’s no money, feelings of inadequacy and inability, and so much more. I referred back to one time when I got to teach to the staff guys at the summer camp I served at, and I taught on God’s grace being sufficient in our weakness. We also discussed guys like Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah – all great men whom God used in powerful ways, but all who felt inadequate for the task at hand.

We discussed how resources, teams, funds, and buildings are great tools, and God may bless us with them at different points along our journey, but ultimately, God has given us all that we need right now to take the next step. Gideon, for instance, ended up using less than 1% of his original army (from 32,000 soldiers to 300) to defeat an army that was innumerable. The driving point was this:

The resources and team you think you need may be the very things that prevent you from giving God the glory!

Sometimes God strips things away from us so that He can receive the glory and our ministries and churches can continue on a miracle basis.

God has given us all that we need right now to take the next step.

We had a great time discussing the qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3. We learned that although the context is specifically for elders/pastors, most of the qualifications are basic things that all Christians are held to: not drunkards, not lovers of money, gentle, hospitable, self-controlled, etc.

We ended the class with a video interview of my wife sharing her viewpoint on church planting. She talked about ways she supports me as her husband and pastor, as well as ways she’s seen God provide and teach her along the way. It was great to have her (virtually) in class for part of it!

We also talked about the importance and logistics of balancing church with family and marriage. Just like you have to put your oxygen mask on first in an airplane, the same thing needs to take place for your family in ministry. If your marriage and family fall apart, you lose your ministry too. To be effective long-term in ministry, you have to start with your first ministry: your family.

If your marriage and family fall apart, you lose your ministry too. To be effective long-term in ministry, you have to start with your first ministry: your family.

Unity within the church and between other churches is another vital step to reaching a city. We discussed practical ways to fight for unity and build bridges.

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What Church Planting Is and Is Not (CCBC class Pt 1)

Early in 2013, I had the privilege of teaching a 10-day block class about church planting at the Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, CA. I basically, ate, drank, and slept church planting for 8 days as I prepared and taught. It was exhausting, but I learned a lot…and so did my class. Over the next couple months, each Monday, I’ll give you a chance to come to class with me as I sum up what I taught each day. Enjoy, and make sure to pass this on to someone who can use it!

You can read the original post on my blog here.

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Here’s a quick recap of what we covered on Day 1…

Day 1 was an intro to myself and the story of Awaken Church. It’s always fun to relive the story and recount God’s faithfulness, confirmation, and provision even in the years leading up to the launch. It’s easy to get so caught up in the action that I temporarily lose sight of all that God has done to get us to this point.

After sharing pictures and stories from the first couple years of Awaken, I began by dashing their hopes and dreams of what church planting is really like. We discussed what church planting is not and what church planting is.

Church Planting is NOT…

COOL. Unfortunately, church planting has become “trendy” lately. It’s what a lot of young guys are doing and have done, and some have unfortunately fallen into the trap of stepping into something that seemed “cool” without counting the cost.

FUN. If you think church planting will be a fun way to get some neat experiences, you’re wrong. It’s a fierce battle that will tear your family to shreds if you’re not prepared. You will have fun planting a church if it’s what God has called you to do. But even that will only come after lots of hard work and dedication.

ABOUT YOU. Whether it’s planting a church or just ministry in general, some people step into ministry to prove something to others or to themselves. We addressed the tendency and dangers of using ministry to compete against others or boost your ego.

A HOBBY. If you’re just looking for something to pass some time, fly a kite, read a book, or plant a garden, but please don’t plant a church. The stakes are too high. Souls are at stake and the reputation of Jesus and His Church are on the line!

Church Planting IS…

HARD. It’s hard mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s hard on you, your team, your family, and your marriage. But generally speaking, nothing that’s easy to do is worth giving your life for!

EFFECTIVE. Planting a church is one of the most effective ways to preach the Gospel and reach a city. God uses it in HUGE ways in those who are leading and those who get involved.

REWARDING. There’s a big difference between “fun” and “rewarding.” “Fun” can be as simple as throwing something off a balcony and watching it explode when it hits the ground. “Rewarding” implies investment and perseverance. As you pour your life into the church, there will be exciting temporal milestones, but there are also eternal rewards that are accruing (1 Corinthians 15:58, Hebrews 6:10)!

A BOOST TO YOUR PRAYER LIFE. I thought I had a decent handle on praying…until I planted a church. I learned more about the power of prayer through the avenue of church planting than through any other event in my life. Simple reliance on the Lord through prayer is huge.

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