Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Pivotal Design

Mission Catalyst turns five today. The candles are burning. We couldn't blow them out if we wanted to.

We promised a big announcement, and this is it. Please take a few minutes, relax, and read every word. We're incurably excited.

What have we learned?

After many conversations, meetings, hard work, and prayers, here is what five years have taught us:
  1. It can be done. What can be done? Prevailing churches with our theological niche can be created.
  2. It cannot happen in a parental system. (It's counterproductive to control funding and staffing.)
  3. It happens rarely. Why? Because few people understand how to do it. And it's tough. (But re-read #1.)
We are not uncomfortable talking about it. If what breaks God's heart breaks our hearts, we have to talk about it. We have to struggle, experiment, and pray. And once we nail down a breakthrough, it's unthinkable to keep it to ourselves.

What is changing?

We told you that our announcement "changes everything." What is changing?
  1. We no longer look for a superstar pastor. There is a better way to staff a prevailing church than to search for someone who is omni-competent.
  2. We are raising the bar on the funding. Now that it's clear how to create a prevailing church, we have to amp up our support. A breakthrough requires resources.
  3. Leaders who want their life to make a maximum difference have better, clearer choices than ever before.
What is it that changes everything?

We call it The Pivotal Design. It's imperative that you read it. Here are some options. Pick one or all.
  • Log onto Choose between the full edition and a somewhat abbreviated edition. Or listen to the audio online, download it to your iPod, or burn a CD.
  • Order professionally-printed copies of the bound booklet to share with everyone you know. Order online or give us a call.
Set aside an hour, and read it through. We're pretty sure you'll agree that it indeed changes everything.

How can you help?

I have never felt so good about asking for your help. We have set an ASAP goal of $180,000. Once you read The Pivotal Design, you will understand the potential and how vital it is that we raise up the next prevailing church.

Please choose your level of support (Friend, Supporter, Partner, or Visionary). Let's tackle this challenge with hair-on-fire enthusiasm and make sure we can support a wave of prevailing churches. You can give online, you can call us, or you can send a check. (You can even drive across the country and hand it to us!)

Friend: $30 a month
Supporter: $100 a month
Partner: $500 a month
Visionary: $1,000 a month
Legacy: Let's talk!

What is God dreaming?

Peter says it well: "God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

Every page of the Bible, every moment of Jesus' life, the entire plan of salvation, is about one thing: redeeming people far from God. There cannot be another cause as essential. This is what keeps us awake at night and fuels our passion.

In the midst of crazy times in our country and our world, I am asking God for teams of leaders to create prevailing churches, and for faithful kingdom maniacs to step forward and provide the necessary resources. Thank you for being a vital part of what God is up to.

Ron Gladden, Directional Leader

P.S. Can you imagine what Mission Catalyst will be like five years from now (if Jesus doesn't come first)? I'm sure we will be astonished!

P.P.S We want to hear your feedback. Post your comments below.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

This Changes Everything: The Pivotal Design

Our family likes to play Sudoku. We don't waste our time with the simple ones; we want the tough ones, the ones most people avoid.

We start out with high hopes but, all too often, arrive at the point where we're stuck. A person can stay stuck for a long time with Sudoku. It is tempting to give up. After a lot of scrutinizing and mental calisthenics, one of us finally sees something that had eluded everyone before, and he moves ahead to completion. When he calls out, "Done!" the others always ask, "Where did you get your break?"

You need a break to get through.

Many of the greatest inventions are attributed to the person who finally got a breakthrough. Consider the airplane and the Wright brothers. Orville and Wilbur were not the first to try, but they were the first to get a breakthrough. In fact, they could not have accomplished what they did if others had not experimented and learned before them. They stood on the shoulders of those who tried and discovered what not to do. After pouring over all the attempts and failures, they were the ones to get the break - and are remembered for being the first to fly.

There have been many improvements in flight since the boys from Dayton made that breakthrough, but every plane built since is based on what they learned. They discovered the pivotal design. To my knowledge, no one has reverted back to the attempts that went before. Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Inventors experiment relentlessly until they find the pivotal design. Everything after that is based on that breakthrough.

Church planters know that failure is more common than success. They have a vision of a healthy church where people can't wait to come. Seekers discover salvation. The things of eternity are put in their proper perspective - desirable and exciting. The atmosphere reeks with anticipation. People are friendly, and the music is familiar. Church planters begin with the vision and great hopes, but often turn away from the project a few years later feeling defeated. Their hearts were right. Their efforts were enthusiastic. But it never quite flew.

Pastors and lay leaders make the attempt because they look at what God is doing elsewhere and they see success. They attend conferences where it's happening. They return to their cities and say, "We can do this!" Then they dive in head first using whatever method or approach they are used to.

Until recently, most church planters missed something important: Successful churches are based on a pivotal design. Those who have discovered it look at the failed attempts and can easily understand why. Those who succeed have - deliberately or inadvertently - worked in harmony with the pivotal design. Once someone discovers it, how smart would it be to start a church without it? Since that windy December day at Kitty Hawk, nobody jumps off cliffs with wings and duct tape.

What is the pivotal design? Thanks for asking. On August 9, we will let you know. You will be amazed at the potential, and you will be invited to do something about it. One thing is for sure: This changes everything!

We want to hear your feedback. Post your comments below. And stay tuned for August 9.

"Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord
will do amazing things among you."

Joshua 3:5

- Dennis Pumford, Assistant Directional Leader