Category Archives: Northshore Baptist Associations

“Don’t just invite people to a meeting, invite them into your life” – Small Group Training Notes from @RickHowerton

Great day of learning yesterday with Rick Howerton. Rick was gracious to give a day to leaders in the Greater New Orleans area. On the Northshore, we foundRickHowerton that only about 4% of the population attends an evangelical Bible Study of any kind. Small Group leaders are needed to shepherd people to maturity in Christ.

Here’s a few big takeaways from his talks.

  • A small group is four to twelve people doing the Christian life deeply together, REALLY. It’s more than just a class. They are more than just friends. They are fellow disciples.
  • Churches can choose to run programs or grow people. Small groups is the best way to grow people.
  • The goal of church is not to get people to stick, but to make disciples that make disciples.
  • The goal of small groups is to make disciples that makes disciples. Not just to help people become good friends, but to move them to maturity in Christ.
  • Don’t just invite people to a meeting, invite them into your life.
  • On expectations and commitment: If you continually lower the bar, it will accomplish nothing in someones life.
  • On Multiplying Groups: Start each group with the vision and expectation that it will multiply. Have an apprentice leader from the beginning that is there to multiply the group. The group that doesn’t multiply in 24 months, never will.
  • When groups don’t want to multiply: Teach them that the mission of God is more important than the desires of individuals. Ask, “What if the first group of 12 would have chosen to just stay together?”
  • On reproducing leaders: People don’t do what they’ve been told to do, they do what they see someone they trust doing.
  • On keys to small group leadership: Stay connected with God, Confess all known sin, Be filled with the Holy Spirit on a Daily Basis, Prioritize your daily devotional life, Depend on God more than techniques.
  • The best person to cast vision for small groups is the Sr. Pastor. The Sr. Pastor should be leading or attending a group.

Looking forward to learning more from Rick in the future. He blogs daily HERE. Great daily dose of solid Small Group thinking. Also, his latest book is A Different Kind of Tribe, published through NavPress.

Free Training, Free Book from Small Group Guru @RickHowerton

Looking forward to having Rick Howerton from NavPress with us on the Northshore this coming Monday, April 15th. Two opportunities for free training from Rick on Monday:

  • 9am-12noon @ New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Leavell Center.
  • 6:30-8:30pm @ FBC Mandeville. Register Here. Childcare available for kids under four.

Invite your small group leaders.

AND his book New Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic is FREE today and tomorrow at the Kindle Store.

Get more info about Rick’s ministry at his blog.

Small Groups on Mission Together

Love what one Northshore church is doing to get their small groups On Mission For Others. FBC Mandeville is having each of their Life Groups choose a “NEAR Mission Project” to engage in together. They’ve started a blog to communicate local opportunities for mission. Check it out:

New Testament Discipleship included Relationships built around the Word of God AND the Mission of God (See my related post on Relationships + Mission and the New Old Way of Movement Making).

Imagine the possibilities for your Small Groups or Sunday School classes…

Home for the Holidays: Maddie & Grady Jenkins

Maddie & Grady Jenkins lived in their Madisonville home for 50 of their 58 married years. Isaac’s surge sent over two feet of water into the house MADDIE&GRADIEJENKINSJenkin's Project.Still002 and they’ve been displaced since that time. Several of our churches have been working on this project with the goal of getting them back in by Christmas. Here’s a list of things still to be done in case you, your church, or your personal network could help with this project over the next few weeks:

  • Painting! Next week we’ll be ready for paint. The house will be open all week if anyone would like to volunteer some time.
  • Floors! We are in need of someone to sand & refinish the floors. Anyone know how, enjoy, know someone, etc.? 
  • Trim & Doors! The trim will need to be painted white then installed. It will be ready to paint next week.
  • Furniture still needed: Refrigerator. 36×68 inch.

We have at least three more elderly homeowners in Madisonville still to be done. Let me know if you’re up for a spring mission trip to SE Louisiana to help with one of these projects.



Are You A Spiritual Leader? [Quiz]

Challenging test given by our Director of Missions Lonnie Wascom this morning at our Leadership Team Meeting.

1. Do you have a desire to pray?         Flesh………………………….. Spirit

2. Do you have the humility to serve?          Arrogant……………………….. Servant

3. Do you have the courage to change?          Rigid……………………….Flexible

4. Do you have a willingness to build a team?          Lone Ranger………………………. Team Player  

5. Do you have the discernment to prioritize?          Minors……………………….. Majors

6. Do you have the perseverance to earn respect?          Questionable……………………….. Credible

7. Do you have the capacity to dream?           Complacency………………………. Vision-Driven

Helping Churches Look Outward: A Recap of our Faith-in-Action Roundtable

A 2006 survey of churches found that “nearly 95% of the churches’ ministries were for the members alone. Indeed, many churches had no ministries for those outside the congregation” (found in Tom Rainer article 7 Deadly Sins of Dying Churches).  Well today it seems a growing number of churches are looking outside the walls as they strategize for ministry & missions opportunities. And immediately outside the walls to the local community, not just overseas. Seeing this trend in our area, the Northshore Baptist Association recently sponsored a Faith in Action Roundtable to collaborate with churches who are doing hands on ministry projects off campus. Here is the Handouts from that meeting which includes thoughts on why we should, how to get started, and a lot of tips & tricks & helpful forms that a church can use in planning ministry opps.

Lots of reason to look outward:

  • Increasing needs & decreasing government funds for the needy.
  • More lanes needed for people to serve through the church.
  • Increasing number of people who are out of the pool of current church outreach methods. Higher % of churches fishing for the same 40% of the people.

Looking forward to future Roundtable’s & Collaboration with Outward Focused churches.

And here’s a few other individual forms that are useful for planning projects:

Special thanks to Seth Green, a World Changers Construction Coordinator, for his help with our Roundtable.

World Changers Covington is a Wrap

Saying Thanks, Media Compilation, Next Years Dates:

The first World Changers Session in St. Tammany Parish is done. Looking forward to seeing the Before & After Shots of the 20 or so projects completed this week in the Covington West 30’s. Including 10 roofs, 9 paint jobs, 10 porch/ramp projects, & 10 other home repairs. Saying thanks to everyone who made it possible is hard, but you only live once, so why not try:

  • FBC Covington for initiating the relationships with World Changers, housing the 300+ vols, & feeding them breakfast & dinner each day this week. Associate Pastor Bill Boren was our Project Coordinator for the week & was in charge of the day to day movements of people which went extra smooth. Dozens of volunteers from FBC helped make the week a success, serving as Crew Chiefs, cooks, etc.
  • Seth Green served as our Construction Coordinator for the week. And special thanks to Kent Construction’s Faith Division & Adam Martin for helping with material list, working with the Parish on projects, & donating laborers & supplies to help get projects completed by Friday.
  • St. Tammany Parish Government for funding the building materials & working with home owners through application & permitting processes. John Tobin’s Social Services office worked very hard to make this week happen legally & financially.
  • The City of Covington & Mayor Mike Cooper for working with the Parish through the zoning issues as well as making city workers available to assure everything ran smoothly all week.
  • Lunches were provided each day by Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, Bethel Reformed AME Church, Faith Bible Church, First Missionary Baptist Church, First Baptist Covington, Bridge Church, First Baptist Ponchatoula, Christwood Retirement Center, Habitat for Humanity, Aquistapaces Supermarket, & Chick Fil A – Hwy. 190.
  • Special thanks to City Councilman John Calahan & former City Councilwoman Frances Dunn for their help raising support & funding for lunches, etc.
  • Participant Churches: Burning Bush Baptist Church, Ringold, TX; Chinese Baptist Church, Houston; Dutchtown Baptist Church, Prairieville, LA; Eastpointe Fellowship, Orlando, FL; FBC Cleveland, MS; First Chinese Baptist Church, Duluth, GA; Lakeside Baptist Church, Dallas, TX; New Life Gospel Church, Lewisville, TX; Oak Crest Baptist Church, Midlothian, TX; Oak Ridge Baptist Church, Portland, TX; Pineview Baptist Church, Hattiesburg, MS; Sugar Land Baptist Church, Sugar Land, TX; Trinity Church, Edwards; Wylda Baptist Church, Boyce, LA.
  • Florida Blvd. Baptist Church, Baton Rouge; Grace Memorial Baptist Church, Slidell; Baptist Association of SELA; & Northshore Baptist Association lent their Shower Trailers for the week. Flint Miller made sure all of those were on site.
  • And the SE LA Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Feeding Crew prepared Jambalaya for over 500 at our Finale Block Party last night at Peter Atkins Park.
Here’s a wrap of Press pieces published so far:

Next years dates for World Changers St. Tammany is already set. June 22-29. Watch for info at

The site I worked with most of the week was the Covington Council On Aging Senior Center. Yesterday one of the seniors told me, “This has restored my faith in today’s young people.” That’s what World Changers is all about. Young people learning skills, restoring homes, restoring faith, connecting with God’s mission. I was blessed to play a small part.

And here’s my gallery of pics from the week:

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World Changers 2012

We’ve had an incredible Summer so far. A dozen block parties, several home repair projects (A few before & after pics – #1, #2, #3, #4) and lots of needs met in our community thanks to over 250 volunteers from Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, & Louisiana. And this week our community gets to help with hosting World Changers. Since 1990, World Changers has mobilized over 300,000 teenagers and college students to do home repair and community development projects in over 100 cities in North America. This week, FBC Covington will host 300+ students and leaders from across the U.S. to conduct 20-25 home repair projects in the West 30’s neighborhood in the City of Covington. Our Northshore Baptist Association page for the week is here. Like our Facebook page to get realtime pics this week. Or if you’d like to get involved, send me a message about opps to help with lunches for the work crews, serve as a runner, or to be engaged in ongoing efforts to bring Good News to our community after this week.

Check out some other info on World Changers:

Big thanks to FBC Covington for hosting & for St. Tammany Parish Government for funding our projects for this week. Looking forward to some great Before & After shots on Friday!

Why Block Parties?

Our church & association of churches conducts a lot of Block Parties. Bridge Church does so many we decided to get our own Block Party Trailer. Our Associations Block Party Trailer is used at least 40 times each year for a wide variety of events. Recently I was asked if Block Parties are effective or just something else to add to a long list of things that keep Christians busy, but not bearing fruit. Here’s a few reasons why I think Block Parties are a great tool in the outreach strategy of a missional church:

1. GATHERING. Someone said there is three keys to church planting or church growth: 1) Gathering people, 2) Gathering people, 3) Gathering people. The Evangelistic Block Party is a great way to gather people or gather where people are & build relationships, share the gospel, cultivate community, & have fun doing it.

2. INCARNATION. “The word became flesh & blood & moved into the neighborhood” John 1:14 (MSG). A Block Party is a great way to get the church building relationships where people are. We do Block Parties in neighborhoods & subdivisions, at local parks. I also love to incarnate at the communities Block Party type of events. Why try to gather people when they’re already going to be gathered somewhere else. Just build the right relationships, show you care, & add Incarnational Christians to the party! Some good places to incarnate through Block Partying:

  • Multi-Housing complexes. Many times the manager already has a budget for community events. He/she just doesn’t have the time or know how to pull them off.
  • Subdivisions & neighborhoods. Use your yard or the communities common space.
  • Area Events. Every community has a festival of some kind. Get involved, pay for space, or whatever you have to do to add your life to the party.

In the incarnation, Jesus got close to our needs. Be prepared when you get close to the needs of people to be changed & challenged. Incarnation can hurt if you have thin skin. That’s probably why we don’t do it that much. I can send a postcard mailer & 40-50% of the people will throw it away. No harm to me b/c I don’t see their reaction. When you’re there, you do see their reaction. You’ve got to know the season, which leads us to #3…

3. SPIRITUAL FARMING. There are really three reasons for any outreach event a congregation or small group conducts: 1) CULTIVATION, 2) PLANTING SEEDS; 3) HARVESTING. Block Party can be an environment for all three to take place. And it’s important to know ahead of time which one of these you are doing so that you can measure effectiveness.

Using Block Parties to CULTIVATE. Cultivation is an important part of evangelistic ministry & it’s something that we are leaving off our strategy as churches in the West (see Dr. Chuck Kelly’s great message about Spiritual Farming here) Why? Probably because it doesn’t net immediate results. But it is necessary for healthy multiplication of disciples over the long haul. If I plant seeds without knowing & improving the conditions of the soil, my garden may have a short life.

We’ve used Block Parties to Cultivate or initiate relationships in new communities over the past three years & it’s helped us in several ways:

  • To show apartment managers & community leaders that we care.
  • To test the spiritual soil or readiness of an area or population segment for the Gospel.
  • To find the persons of peace in a neighborhood.
  • To train a team & work out the kinks in the “how to’s” of Block Partying

What does a cultivative Block Party look like? No real agenda. Loud music. Food. Opportunities to interact & engage in conversation. A lot of “this is what we’re about” talk. And a hardy “WE’LL BE BACK’  when it’s over. Focus is on finding those few people that show interest & readiness to hear the gospel.

Here’s a list of goals that one of our Block Party teams recently wrote up for a cultivative event we do each month in our city:

  • learn/memorize the name of one child you speak to (so you can call them by name next month when you see them)
  • tell at least 10 people (total): who Bridge Church is, what we are about, and what we believe
  • see at least one person/family we meet at the BP at another Bridge Church event – (“If you like what we do here at the Block Party, you would love coming to ______ (Our neighborhood block parties, Guy’s/Girl’s Night, Outdoor Movie night, FIA, Sunday morning service).”
  • each time we speak with someone, have the conversation go beyond, “what type of balloon would you like”, “would you like a fan”, “what color face paint do you want”….actually engage others in conversation, “what is your name”, “where do you work”, “how long have you lived in this area”.

Using Block Parties to PLANT SEEDS. Cultivating & planting seeds are closely related. In gardening you’re often doing both at the same time. In Evangelistic ministry like Block Partying it denotes another step of intentionality. For us in some of our new communities where the soil has been hard, this has looked like…

  • introducing New Testaments & giving them away to everyone who attends
  • having a Mic & having someone give a quick testimony as to why we’re there
  • inviting people to a follow up event like a Bible Study in the area
  • or inviting them to church

Using Block Parties as a HARVEST tool. It takes a season to grow a harvest. It also takes mature plants, the right conditions, the right tools for a harvest, & a somewhat knowledgeable harvester. For an evangelistic Block Party to be a Harvest event you should have the trust of the people that have given you permission, people who are ready to harvest – i.e. that can share the gospel & lead someone to put their faith in Christ, & the right harvest tools. Some ways to use Block Parties to harvest:

  • Have 12 or more people trained to actively share the gospel with the crowd.
  • Have a Prayer or Spiritual Interest tent designated with trained counselors stationed there.
  • Share the gospel & give an opportunity to respond from a stage. Utilizing an evangelists, an entertainer of some kind, or a personal testimony of someone in the group.

Block parties can be an easy & fun tool to have in your outreach strategy. For best results apply gardening principles:

  • Know what season you’re in – cultivating, planting, or harvesting.
  • Plant generously. the more seeds you plant the more you’ll harvest.
  • Prepare for a harvest.
  • Have fun! Christian should bring life to every party!

If you’re interested in doing a block party yourself, start at our Northshore Baptist Associations Block Party Trailer page, or join Bridge Church this week at several Block Parties we’re doing:

  • Columbia Street Block Party in downtown Covington, tonight, Friday, June 29, 6-8pm. Cultivative event. We’ll be painting faces & passing out balloon animals & making new friends.
  • Oak Villa Mobile Home Park, Sunday, July 1, 5-7pm. We’ve been cultivating & planting seeds for two years in this community. Getting ready to start harvesting!
  • The Groves Apartments, Monday, July 2 5:30-7pm. Cultivating relationships in a brand new apartment complex.
  • Madisonville 4th of July Celebration, July 4, 2pm-until. Incarnating at a local 4th of July party. This one’s going to be a blast!

#OnMission Summer 2012 #Crossover

Not much time for blogging lately. Getting ready for a furious few weeks On Mission 4 Others in our region. Here’s our church’s & my personal lineup for Crossover/SBC 2012 in Greater New Orleans:

  • Mon, June 11Wheelchair ramp going up in Madisonville for an elderly widow & 2K homes get bags on their door inviting them to participate in our annual summer can food drive. Info meeting for a Bridge Church Fall Mission Trip to Haiti to work with
  • Tues, June 12 – Serving a local Mobile Home Park in various ways, concluding with a Big Ole Block Party, 5-7pm.
  • Wed, June 13 – More ramp, porch, hand rail building. And another Block Party at a local Multi-housing complex, 5-7pm.
  • Thurs, June 14 – Final Meeting for our Spring Recovery & Re-entry Class at our local jail. 88 registered, 38 men will be Graduating. Honored to have done life with these friends for the last 26 weeks. Pumped to send many of them out as new men.
  • Sat, June 16 – Block Party at Ames Blvd Baptist Church on the Westbank, 10-2pm. Painting @ the Covington Boys & Girls Club to get their new building completed, 9am-4pm. Backyard Bible Club in a Madisonville subdivision, 5-7pm. Family Movie Night at Lakeside Baptist Church in Metairie, 7-9pm.
  • Sun, June 17Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast at Bridge Church, 10:30am @ the West St. Tammany YMCA. Father’s Day Block Party for Inmate families at our local jail, 1-4pm. Entertainment provided by Jim Chester. Graduating 38 men from our Recovery & Re-entry programs, Baptizing 20+ men who have found Christ through our church & ministry at the jail.
  • Mon, June 18 – More porch, ramp, handrail building. Block Party & VBS Kickoff at a Ponchatoula Apartment complex.
  • June 19-20Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting 2012 in New Orleans. I’ll be working the Unlimited Partnerships booth, voting for Fred Luter to be the next Pres of the SBC, & making connections & re-connections w/kingdom partners from around the United States in the SBC tribe.

Our partners for the next few weeks:

  • FBC Chesnee, SC – First trip to NOLA for these guys. Bruce Jennings on point.
  • Ford Park Baptist Church, Shreveport, LA. Fellow Northwestern St. Alums, Tate Miller & Heather Tolbert annually bring a group to work with us through Mission Lab.
  • FBC Winnsboro, TX – Pastor David Rose is a fellow Northwestern St. & Southwestern Seminary Alum.

Here’s a bit of a photo dump of flyers for next week or so. Prayers appreciated.

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