Posted tagged ‘Ed Stetzer’

Top Issues Church Planters Face

February 14, 2011

Ed Stetzer has recently put together a great series of blogposts on the topic, “Top Issues Church Planters Face.”  I plan to interact with these articles through PLNTD in the future.  For now, here’s the list in the order Stetzer wrote them:

1.  Leadership Development and Reproducing Culture
2.  Financial Self-Sufficiency and Viability
3.  Launch Team Development and Mobilizing Volunteers
4.  Systems, Processes, and Cultures
5.  Casting Vision and Avoid Mission Drift
6.  Evangelism and Discipleship
7.  Spiritual, Physical, Mental Health Planter/Family
*.  Conclusions and Observations

Ed Stetzer Responds to David Allen’s Critique of Calvinism Research

December 4, 2008

Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research, has posted a response on his blog dealing extensively to David Allen’s criticism of NAMB and LifeWay Research.  I encourage you to read Stetzer’s detailed explanation as well as research ethics behind the study. Stetzer concludes with these words:

It is my hope that this response to Allen’s review will be received in the spirit it is offered. Dr. Allen’s concern about Calvinism is clearly known–one can just Google “David Allen and Calvinism” and it is quite clear. As stated in my introduction to this response, no study is perfect. However, this study is the best we have and the statistical analysis is sound.

[ . . .] To be honest, I am among those who are concerned about the lack of evangelistic passion, practical training, and leadership ability I see in some Calvinists graduating from seminary. Simply put, these are not the results I expected. However, in the world of reearch we report what the numbers are, not what we think they should be. We present the numbers and, yes, we can give our evaluation and opinion of the numbers. However, they are what they are. I can’t change them to prove my point or make someone else happy. Facts are our friends, even when they show a different conclusion than we expected.

In closing, let me make the same exhortation I made at the “Building Bridges” conference where our conclusions were presented. Our results demonstrate that neither the Calvinist camp nor the non-Calvinist camp can claim superiority in baptism rates. And worse yet, an average annual baptism rate of 8-9 persons per 100 members is nothing to be proud about, regardless if you are a Calvinist or not. I think we can all agree that the world is in desperate need of the redemption accomplished by Christ on the cross. It is in need of the Savior. So let us be about the business of preaching Christ crucified, calling men, women and children to repent and believe in the gospel.

I will leave it at that. And, my hope is that all will read this in the spirit I offer it. Let’s join hands and help all kinds of Southern Baptists to do their evangelism more faithfully.

Amen, Ed.  Although, I am not wearing a suit and tie.  😉

Word-Driven Movemental Christianity

August 10, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I had a friendly discussion (see comments) with Ed Stetzer shared a little of his presentation of “Movemental Christianity.” The title really resonated with me as I have been spending a lot of time in Acts and considering the movement of the early church as the gospel spread to the ends of the earth (and how that should look today). Stetzer provides ten elements of movemental Christianity in North America, following the lead of David Garrison’s book Church Planting Movements. I want to take a moment to explain the premise and presuppositions of Garrison’s movemental Christianity as Stetzer calls it “excellent work” and “paradigm-creating.” For the sake of filling in gaps, here are Garrison’s ten elements found in every church planting movement:

David Garrison on Church Planting Movements

1. Extraordinary Prayer

2. Abundant Evangelism

3. Intentional Planting of Reproducing Churches

4. The Authority of God’s Word

5. Local Leadership

6. Lay Leadership

7. House Churches

8. Churches Planting Churches

9. Rapid Reproduction

10. Healthy Churches[1]

Garrison later gives another ten elements found in most church planting movements. Well, you might be asking the question, “What is a Church Planting Movement (CPM)?” Garrison answers the question, stating,

“A Church Planting Movement is a rapid multiplication of indigenous churches planting churches that sweeps through a people group or population segment.”[2]

Garrison begins his description of a CPM with five characteristics: First, there is rapid reproduction. Garrison says that CPMs “always outstrip the population growth rate as they race toward reaching the entire people group.”[3] Second, there is multiplication. Garrison explains that CPMs “multiply churches and believers like Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.”[4] Third, CPMs are indigenous, that is, generated from within, contrasted with those influenced or started by outsiders. Fourth, CPMs have churches planting churches. At this point, Garrison hones in on the strategic point where things get out of control, like a cascade of falling dominoes. This reveals that “when the momentum of reproducing churches outstrips the ability of the planters to control it, a movement is underway.”[5] Fifthly, CPMs occur within people groups or interrelated population segments. Church movements most naturally occur within “shared language and ethnic boundaries.”


Stetzer and Baptist Press on Founders Conference

July 3, 2008

Ed Stetzer has made the notes to his first address available on his blog.  I am glad that Stetzer did this because of how a few words misunderstood and taken out of context can lead one to different conclusions than that of Stetzer himself.  Also, Baptist Press (Jeff Robinson) has a couple of write-ups on the conference: one on Don Whitney’s message on church discipline, and the other on Stetzer’s second message.

NFC VII: Ed Stetzer on “Lengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes, Part 2”

June 26, 2008

Text: Luke 10:1-16 (click)

Is this a church planting related text?  I do think we find very important principles we can use in the area of church planting.  There are not that many times where the Bible says, “Go and plant churches,” but it does say “Go and make disciples.”  But it was the normal practice of the NT church to be engaged in church planting; it was the assumed undercurrent of the early church to be planting churches.  Mission is wrapped in theology in the practice of the church.

The normative practice is no longer church planting today.  What was normal in the NT has become abnormal today that is to the fault and detriment of the church in America.

We are to be engaged in church planting.  We are not to be a cul-de-sac in the kingdom of God.  I want you to see six things in this text:

1.  They began in prayer (1-2)

God is a sending God, and they lived under the missional mandate as “those who are sent.”  God is at work in the world, drawing men and women to himself.  The harvest is there; therefore, we should pray to the Lord of the harvest.  That prayer is essential and fundamental because church planters have the tendency of not being prayerful people but workers, self-starters, etc.  When you begin to pray for the place you are going to plant a church, God is going to break your heart for the people there.  It frustrates me that people are deciding where to plant based on demographics reported six months earlier.

2.  It flows into a radical reliance (3-4)

When you fall in love with God’s mission and love for his calling, then a radical reliance is the natural outflow that began in prayer.  We have created a three-tiered level of Christian spirituality.  The bottom tier is lay people; the second tier is those called to ministry; the top tier is those called to missions.  This is one of the most unhelpful, unbiblical distinctions because people begin to say, “Well, I am not called to be on mission.  We pay you to do that.”  All Christians are called to ministry; all Christians are called to be on mission.  We are all sent on God’s mission–the only question is where and among whom you will go.

Jesus is unapologetic about the “go.”  Jesus is talking about us in prayer transitioned into a radical reliance.  The gospel is not a promise to comfort, but a promise to mission.  The call of God is not determined by any human agency.  People will try to talk you out of being involved in church planting.  Don’t be distracted by people along the road–focus on the mission.  You will never have enough money, never have enough people, never have enough resources to plant a church.  But when you let them go, God will bless and provide.

Let’s bring forth not only historic theology and historic missiology.  The only church planting movement that took place was called “The Western Frontier” (1795-1810).  It was the era of the Baptist farmer preacher.  It was a time when poor farmers went out and started churches.


You Supply the Caption

June 26, 2008

NFC V: Ed Stetzer on “Lengthening the Cords and Strengthening the Stakes, Part 1”

June 25, 2008

About Ed Stetzer:

Ed Stetzer has planted churches in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia and transitioned declining churches in Indiana and Georgia. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Ed served for three years as seminary professor at the Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and has taught at fifteen other seminaries. He is currently the Director of Lifeway Research and Lifeway’s Missiologist in Residence.

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10; and Luke 24:46-49

I am delighted to be here and challenged to be here at the same time.  I am anxious because of the journey that I have been in.  I also realize that this is not my typical setting, and I am not the typical speaker at the Founders Conference.  I want to be up front with you that I have a bias, namely, that many of my Reformed friends are not well-represented in church planting.  One of the reasons why we are having this meeting is so that we can be more active in church planting.

4 of the 5 top multiplying churches are Reformed (Redeemer, Mars Hill, Perimeter, Spanish River).  I am here to say that I believe that you want to be more engaged in church planting, and I want to provoke you in this area.  I want to encourage you in some ways we can do the work of church planting.

Quote: William Carey in Inquiry (using every lawful means to bring about the conversion of the heathen)

If a biblical theology is to birth a biblical church, how is that to work out to biblical church planting?  We don’t do a very good job of listening to and learning from others.  We desperately need each other with doctrinal preaching and missional engagement.  Let’s look at Luke 24:46-49 to see how it is done.

A recruitment to a cause is not a propagation of the gospel.  I want to look at four things in this passage.  Let’s begin where the Scriptures begin.


A Primer on Ed Stetzer

June 23, 2008

As you already know, Ed Stetzer is the keynote speaker at the 2008 National Founders Conference beginning tomorrow. I thought it might be helpful to provide some links and info regarding Stetzer for those of you who may not be familiar with him, his writings, or his influence in church planting and revitalization.

Stetzer’s website and resource pages are well worth checking out, especially New Churches and his newly designed blog. You can also read about his testimony by going here.

Perhaps the most significant recent offering by Stetzer on the internet over the past year is his series called “Meanings of Missional” and “Monday is for Missiology.” Here are the links to his blogposts:

1. Monday is for Missiology (July 30, 2007)
2. Monday is for Missiology (August 6, 2007)
3. Monday is for Missiology (August 13, 2007)
4. Meanings of Missional – Part 1 (August 14, 2007)
5. Meanings of Missional – Part 2 (August 20, 2007)
6. Meanings of Missional – Part 3 (August 29, 2007)
7. Monday is for Missiology (September 10, 2007)
8. Meanings of Missional – Part 4 (September 17, 2007)
9. Meanings of Missional – Part 5 (October 2, 2007)
10. Missiology and Contextualization (November 19, 2007)

You may also want to check out some interviews with Stetzer, such as the one with Mark Driscoll (MP3), or the with Leadership blog (text), or the discussion with Scott Hodge and others (Ustream), or the one by SBCToday (mp3), or the one with (MP3) or yet another one by Mark Driscoll (text).

But if interviews are not your thing and rather prefer a “candid conversation,” check out this three-part YouTube series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

But if you are not down with interviews or “candid conversations” and are the reading type, perhaps some of his books would be of some interest to you, including:

1. Planting Missional Churches
2. Breaking the Missional Code (with David Putman)
3. Breaking the Discipleship Code (with David Putman)
4. Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can, Too (with Mike Dodson)
5. Compelled by Love: The Most Excellent Way of Mission (with Phillip Nation)

Then again, if you are not the book reading kind of person but rather like to hear Stetzer at conferences, perhaps you would be interested in his previous messages at such conferences as the Dwell Conference, Acts 29 Boot Camp, Exponential Conference, Whiteboard Conference, Baptist Identity Conference, and Building Bridges Conference. Or, if you are hard-core Southern Baptist, you may remember this message:

Finally, if you have a short attention span and want bite-size Stetzer, you can follow him on Twitter.

I suppose that will suffice for a primer on Stetzer for those less familiar with him. Of course, I would be amiss if I left out the two videos of his interview with Mark Dever at the recent WiBo Conference, so here they are:

Adrian Warnock Interviews Ed Stetzer

June 22, 2008

Ed Stetzer, keynote speaker for this week’s upcoming National Founders Conference, was recently interviewed by Mac-evangelist Adrian Warnock.  Using iChat, Warnock provides an hour-long, eight-part video interview with Stetzer, and the videos are posting here below.

1.  Ed and Adrian talk about what ‘missional’ means.

2.  Stetzer speaks about church planting.

3.  Are Apostollic and missional synonymous?

4.  How Can We All Be Missional?

5.  Ed speaks about the atonement and the state of the church today.

6.  Ed on why some churches are more successful.

7.  Ed on preaching. Is there such a thing as missional preaching?

8.  Ed Stetzer on culture and the challenge of building a multicultural church.

Church Planting and Revitalization: 2008 National Founders Conference and You

June 9, 2008

In just about two weeks, Founders Ministries will be hosting their national conference focusing on church planting and church revitalization.  From all indications, the SBC is in decline.  We need fresh perspectives and a renewed passion to plant churches, revitalize dying ones, and bring in a younger generation committed to the local church.  Neither conferences or denominational politics can fix the problem; nevertheless, coming together with a shared burden and desire to work for these noble causes is a worthy place to start.

There is still room for those who have not registered for the conference to do so, should you be interested.  Conference speakers include Ed Stetzer, Voddie Baucham, Andy Davis, Donald Whitney, and more.  For a conference of this scale, it is worthy noting registration is only $80.  You can register and/or find out more information by visiting the Founders Conference website.  I hope to see you there!

Hurting for the Gospel

April 25, 2008

From a roundtable discussion with Ed Stetzer this past week (video by Chris Elrod):

HT :: Thorn

If They Won’t Listen to History, Then Take Them Before the . . .

November 28, 2007


That’s what Stetzer’s research showed in his recent presentation at the Building Bridges Conference. Every student of church history and Baptist history knows that the charge of Calvinists not being evangelistic or committed to the Great Commission is easily refutable, but alas, the caricature has remained among many who do not want to reckon with it. So it goes like this:

Explain the biblical doctrines of grace and how they fuel missions and evangelism, and if they do not listen, take two or three witnesses from church history with you, and if they refuse to listen, then bring them before the facts and empirical data of sociological research.

So here’s the facts of the recent study done by Stetzer and LifeWay Research:

1. Nearly 30 percent of recent SBC seminary graduates now serving as church pastors identify themselves as Calvinists.

2. In the last year of the study, 34 percent of those serving in SBC churches identified themselves as five-point Calvinists.

3. Calvinistic recent graduates report that they conduct personal evangelism at a slightly higher rate than their non-Calvinistic peers.

4. 27 percent of 1,234 recent seminary graduate respondents serving in SBC church leadership positions “somewhat agree” or “strongly agree” that they are five-point Calvinists, while 67 percent affirmed that God’s “grace is irresistible” and 58 percent said they believe “people do not choose to become Christians, God chooses and calls people who respond to him.”

5. Calvinistic churches, though they baptize fewer persons each year, have a “baptism rate” virtually identical to that of non-Calvinistic churches. Baptism rate is the number of annual baptisms relative to total membership, a statistic used to measure evangelistic vitality.

Now, before any of my Calvinist friends think we are off the hook and free from the inevitable attacks from anti-Reformed stalwarts in the SBC, we need to realize that our current commitment to evangelism and missions is simply unacceptable. I agree with Stetzer who says,

“Regardless of whether Calvinists are having a lower number of baptisms and a smaller attendance or baptizing the same in the baptism rate, the reality is none of these baptism rates or growth numbers should make any of us happy.”

To my Calvinist brothers, if we do not share the gospel to others as a dying man to dying men, imploring them to flee to Christ in repentance and faith on a regular basis, then it doesn’t matter how many points you hold to when you miss the main point of the gospel. It is not in the presence of Calvinists or Arminians that we live, preach, and share the gospel but rather Him who will judge the living and dead.

To my non-Calvinist brothers, there is much more to be done in our churches than to be telling people that Calvinists don’t believe in evangelism and missions. There are as many (if not more) anti-evangelism non-Calvinists as there are Calvinists. We need to get beyond these baseless and inaccurate attempts to demonize and marginalize Calvinists in the SBC.

The bottom line is that the gospel is not normative and central in our lives as it should be, and that goes for all of us. I will be the first to get in line and say that I am not as broken for the lost as I should nor am I as consistent in sharing the gospel as I should. From the looks of it, none of us have any ground to stand upon. Again, hear Stetzer reflecting on this reality:

“At the end of the day, Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike in our churches are failing to engage lostness in North America. This theological discussion has to lead to missional action and that missional action needs to cause Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike to love each other and to encourage each other and to provoke one another on to love and good deeds.”

Let us pray for one another, that we would take seriously the charge to deliver of first importance that which we also received – the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us display to the world know the surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord and Treasure. And let the love which we have received from the Father through the Son be the distinguishing mark of our lives, in how we treat one another as well as how we minister to a Christless world.

Stetzer and Dockery on Building Bridges

November 27, 2007

Ed Stetzer has been kind enough to provide for us his message as well as Dr. David Dockery’s (who I interviewed earlier this year), both which were delivered yesterday.

>> For Stetzer’s message, click here.
>> For Dockery’s message, click here.
>> For Nettles’ message, click here.  (NEW)

Having looked at these messages (and others yet to be delivered), I am really encouraged by the investment and interest among all who are a part of the speaking line-up. Be sure to check out Stetzer’s research about evangelism. While evangelism for both Calvinists and non-Calvinists is at a woeful state, the research reveals that all the hubbub about Calvinists being less evangelistic than non-Calvinists or that it is anti-Great Commission is empirically false (let alone historically untrue). Quite a different take than the research previously done (see esp. pages 12-17) by Southern Baptists.