Send Your Best

One of my biggest regrets as a pastor was sending out the first missionary from our church plant. No, I didn't regret the act of sending, nor am I retrospectively anti-missions. What I regretted was that we sent a young man who was not ready for missionary work, and worse, a young man who was far too spiritually immature for the spiritually intense work that lay ahead of him. Predictably this young man's one-year missionary term was cut short and our relationship with the career missionary who hosted him was irrevocably damaged. 

In the midst of the implosion of this young man's missionary journey I heard a sermon by Mack Stiles in which he said something like this (I am paraphrasing): When you send missionaries from your church you should be sending people that you have a hard time letting go of, people who will be sorely missed. In other words, you need to send your best people! I realized at that moment that we had not sent out our best, nor had we tried to. Quite frankly this young man had shown glaring signs of spiritual immaturity, and for some in our church who were exhausted by some of his behavior, it was a relief that he wanted to go away to the mission field. But as a pastor I was foolish to send him, and worse, I was selfish for not praying for my best and most spiritually gifted members to be sent out. 

Yesterday I had lunch with some guys who were helping nail downs some more specifics regarding our Church Planting Center (CPC) that we, Lord willing, are going to launch in August. You'll be getting more information in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, I am praying for men to be raised up from our churches who are called to plant new churches, or who feel the burden to replant churches that are dying. What I am asking you to do as pastors and lay-leaders in your churches, is to pray with me that God that will pluck some of the best men from our churches and put this call on their hearts. In other words, I am asking you to send your best. 

I know that there are some great leaders being raised up in our CBBA churches and quite naturally you want those leaders to remain at your church to help grow it and strengthen it. But I hope that, by God's grace, you will hold on to those men lightly with the sincere hope that God will indeed call some of them to plant or replant churches. I am asking for CBBA churches to have the disposition of the church in Antioch. We read the following in Acts 13:2-3: 

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

I can only imagine that there were some in Antioch who thought sending Barnabas and Saul was certifiably insane. Had God really asked them to send out their most encouraging member and their most astute theologian? Couldn't the Holy Spirit have chosen a couple of people who were less important? But God chose those two men, and therefore the burden was laid upon the Antioch church to send their best. And they obeyed!

So, brothers and sisters, pray with me that God will send out the best from our CBBA churches and in doing so that we will see an explosion of healthy church planting and bold church re-planting in our association. 

Yours in Christ,


Same Message, Same Bible, Same Savior

Well, it's March Madness time and to get me in the mood for some basketball I may just watch one of my all-time favorite movies this week. If you like sports movies at all you can probably guess which one I'd watch during March Madness. That's right. Hoosiers. If you don't already know, the story of Hoosiers is about a small-town high-school basketball team that overcomes some big odds to win the state basketball championship (sorry for the spoiler). They are coached by Norman Dale, a character played by Gene Hackman, who himself has to overcome some past demons to lead the boys to high-school basketball's promised land.

There are many wonderful and inspiring scenes in Hoosiers and one of my favorites is the one where Gene Hackman's character takes the team to the big indoor arena where the championship game is to be played. The team had never played in anything bigger than small high-school gymnasiums before, so as the boys enter the cavernous facility they are understandably in awe. Seeing the impact that such a new experience is having on the boys, coach Dale takes them on to the court and has them take a couple of measurements—the distance from the free-throw line and the height of the basket—and predictably the measurements are exactly the same as those from their relatively tiny, home-town gym. If you have time watch the scene below:

The point that Hackman's character was making is crystal clear. The team shouldn't let the size of the facility, or the bigness of the moment, cause them to forget that they were going to be playing the same game they had always played, on the same sized court they had always played on, with the same fundamental rules they had always had to follow. 

I was thinking about that scene last night when I considered what makes all of our churches in the CBBA the same: the gospel. No matter if your church looks like this...


or this...


...the gospel message is the same. And each church should be loudly and clearly proclaiming that same message, for the gospel is not only our message that saves us, but it is also the message that sustains us. 

I'm currently teaching a nine-week series on the marks of a healthy church in one of our churches on Sunday nights, and the first three weeks we've focused on 1) the importance of text-based preaching, 2) the importance of preaching the whole counsel of God, and 3) the importance of being gospel-centered. They are all tied together, for the only way to be gospel-centered is to preach from the text of the Scriptures, and indeed all the Scripture (the whole counsel of God) points to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don't buy into some who tell you to unhitch from the Old Testament for doing so would be like trying to win a basketball championship while only staying in one half of the court. 

So no matter what circumstances and changes our churches face, we must preach the same message we've always preached, from the same Book we've always preached from, about the same Savior we've always proclaimed because He is the only hope for mankind. 

As always let me know if there is any way that I can serve you and your churches as you carry out the Great Commission. 

New CBBA Blog

With this post I am introducing a new CBBA blog. I will be inviting the pastors and staff of our CBBA churches to contribute to this blog. The goal is to encourage, equip and energize one another to carry out the mission of extending the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are interested in contributing to our blog them leave comment below or email me at