Monthly Archives: January 2016

God’s Plan for City Church Del Rio


The plans of God are the only plans the really matter in life, right? If you decide to make your own plans, you might be able to execute them and even succeed. They may even appear to be God ordained. God is a big God and He has the ability to allow you to plan out things and He is not going to stop blessing you because you didn’t include Him in those plans. That’s not how God operates. He is madly in love with you and wants the best for your life.

When you want purpose for your life, God is the One who knows best. He loves to be included in the process because He will do things that only He could have dreamed of. He really does have a great sense of humor and love all wrapped in one. When God is in the planning, you can step back and let Him work.

Since Nov 22, 2015, God has had His hand on a movement called City Church Del Rio. I say movement, even though we are a church, because nothing that has happened could have been planned by my or any other person in this movement. Only God could have orchestrated the “chess” moves that have taken place over the last 2 months.

Here is a rundown of all that God has done:

  1. 6 weeks of worship in a house church plant
  2. 5 weeks of worship in a church building of another church of another denomination
  3. Feb 7, 2016 begins a new direction at a church that will eventually became the first campus of City Church Del Rio.
  4. A full staff willing to sacrifice financial gain in order to fulfill a call
  5. A minister moves on, and God replaces Him the same Sunday with a new called minister
  6. The list can go on and on but you get the point

I am awed at all that He has done in so short a time. God I am yours, take me and fulfill your purpose in me and through City Church

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7

Pastor Larry

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Modes of Mission: Applying Biblical Mission Practices in Our Ministry

We have examined three modes of mission in Scripture. Let’s apply them to today’s churches. |

Modes of Mission: Applying Biblical Mission Practices in Our Ministry

Rachel Titiriga / Flickr

By outlining the Petrine, Johannine, and Pauline modes, I have aimed to hypothesize an approach describing how churches can be missionally effective by describing and considering all three modes. Once again, although these are distinct aspects of how God’s mission shaped the New Testament churches, they are nevertheless connected.

How do these modes of mission apply to churches today? Like most things, wisdom comes from knowing the current situation and what it takes to get to a future, more balanced, state. In other words, all such modes are important, but there is also a recognition that different phases of church life reflect different modes and different times. Let me share just two examples: newer churches and established churches.

How do these modes of mission apply to churches today?

Newer Churches

Church plants and newer churches tend to be strong in Pauline evangelism and multiplication. They may need some Johannine sentness, but often are in need of a Petrine community. Thus, new churches often exude a passion and vision to reach out to those who are unbelievers and unchurched.

Many seek to live on mission in their community by becoming part of the local rhythms of life and looking for ways to serve those around them. However, this tends to be an area where they need to develop a stronger Johannine missional focus.

Primarily, however, new churches often lack a Petrine mode of mission. Many new churches struggle with developing the community of mission—the teams, leaders, systems, and processes that help facilitate ministry and mission. They struggle with foundation and the established community, and therefore are in need of creating centered-set primary theological boundaries as well as a solid structure that includes governance, systems, and processes.

Established Churches

Older churches tend to be more Petrine, using my hypothesized distinctions. Such churches have a stronger inward pull to the foundation they have laid—usually through their programs, systems, processes, and structures. Many have created a theological and practical culture and have become financially stable. Many have given years of faithful service to their community. Their longevity, in some cases, leads to trustworthiness in the community.

Yet, established churches tend to lack a Johannine and Pauline mode of mission. They are often inwardly focused and lack a passion for sentness, hence the growing movement to help established churches be more missional. The need is evident.

New churches often lack a Petrine mode of mission

However, they also often lack a Pauline approach to multiplication. Stagnation has become more common for they have difficulty multiplying in both micro (disciples) and macro (churches) ways. Thus, they need more elements of the Johannine and Pauline modes.

Although not all established churches are unhealthy, most of the healthy ones would still benefit by building on Petrine modes with a greater Johannine sentness and Pauline multiplication. Statistically, most established churches are plateaued or declining, becoming the inward version of the Petrine mode (which didn’t end well for the Ebionites). Such churches tend to be inwardly focused—having lost sight of the mission.

Rather than being motivated by mission, many times established churches are motivated to maintain their traditions, preferences, culture, and systems. They fall into the same trap as the church in Jerusalem; they go overboard on their foundation and end up protecting and preserving their culture and homogeneity at the expense of mission. Unfortunately, many churches often choose maintenance over mission.

A Fully-orbed Mission

The goal is well-grounded and developed people (Petrine), living sent by their very nature (Johannine), and multiplying believers and churches (Pauline)—a missional people, embodying sentness, on a mission of multiplication.

These are not three different paths of doing mission, as if you could do one and not the other. Rather, they are all aspects of our mission pulled out here for consideration, with the recognition that our tendency can be to emphasize one over the other. Thus, there are three modes, but they need to work together for fully-orbed mission.

Certainly, my synthesis, though limited, can be a helpful reminder that the New Testament patterns of mission can teach God’s people today. As such, churches seeking to be missionally effective will need to embrace their nature as a missional people in “community” (a Petrine mode of mission), embody a missional posture of apostolic “sentness” (a Johannine mode of mission), and enact a missional practice of “multiplication” (a Pauline mode of mission).

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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Six Warning Signs of Church Dropouts

Six Warning Signs of Church Dropouts –

  • Simply put, church growth equals more people coming into the church than leaving the church.
  • Taking roll in small groups helps keep members accountable and to recognize when members may be having problems.
  • Each small group or class needs someone to monitor absences and follow up with those who miss.
  • Many times, family problems embarrass church members and they end up attending less frequently or drop out altogether.
  • The single most common family issue that leads to people dropping out of church is divorce.
  • Because of what it takes to keep people in the church who have had a moral failure, many pastors choose to do nothing.

The six leading indicators that someone is about to drop out of church are:

  1. Decreased frequency in attendance
  2. No longer attending a group
  3. Decreased giving patterns
  4. Major participant in a church conflict
  5. Family problems
  6. Moral failure

Thom Rainer on Leadership.

Stay in the light, 1 John 1:7

Pastor Larry

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Leadership from the book of Titus

monkimage.php.pngFor the past 2 weeks at City Church Del Rio, we have been looking into the first chapter of Titus in order to establish a Biblical view of true leadership. Leadership appointments in the church are the most important road to revival for our culture to truly turn from their current status and into God’s status. Weak leadership results in weak churches.

I came across Art Rainer’s blog post on leadership this morning and wanted to share it with you. Place yourself in this 4 areas and see where total change needs to happen or tweaking change could catapult your ministry into a new dimension.

Just be yourself.

You be you.

These pieces of advice are given in a variety of scenarios. And, in many cases, you should be yourself. But what about your leadership style? What if you are not getting the results you and everyone else desires? And what if it is not they? What if it is you? What if it is you leadership?

For anyone in a leadership position, this can be a haunting thought.

But it may be a reality. There is a time to accept the possibility that your leadership style is not working. There is a time relearn leadership. There is a time to look to others and their leadership style. And there is a time to release your style and adapt others’ style for your own use.

Here are four reasons why you should stop being you:

  1. Your leadership is not working. You find yourself without followers. Sure, you hold a position of authority. You have people under you. But there is a difference between having people under you on an organizational chart and having people who are behind you. You want to lead, and they want a leader. Yet, neither they nor you seem to be getting what you all want out of the relationship.
  1. Their leadership is working. There are many great leaders out there. They come in all shapes and sizes. And they are leading people well and getting positive results. Acknowledge their success. What are they doing right? What can you learn from them? Now may be the time to listen and learn from the many great leaders around you. Now may be the time to incorporate something from their leadership repertoire into your own leadership repertoire.
  1. You don’t have time to waste. You can spend your career trying to stumble upon what works for you. Unfortunately, most will not wait for you to find your groove. They do not want to spend their years under poor leadership. Fortunately, you can take a short cut by learning from others and immediately using that knowledge for your leadership.
  1. Great leaders follow great leaders. And sometimes many great leaders. This is leadership’s not-so-secret secret. Rarely does a great leader not learn about and study other great leaders. They mimic styles. They immerse themselves in books. They ask questions of other leaders. They are consistently inquisitive, knowing that there is always something else to learn. Great leaders follow great leaders.

It is difficult to admit that your leadership is not working. It takes humility. However, it is at this point of humility that you may find yourself being the very type of leader you always needed to be—a leader who is willing to listen, learn, and lay down preferences for the sake of those they lead.

Titus 1:6-9:6 – An elder must be blameless,faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good,who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Stay in the light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

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