Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes

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How To Effectively Recruit Volunteers

Team Training for 17 June

It was the autumn of 2007, Christa and I were just newly settling into our new city and ministry after a summer of very intense and fun summer camp. We’d served with a great team who all loved the churches that they’d come from and since we were new to the city we wanted to find a church where we’d have some friends and find a place to get involved.

  • Week one we went to Gospel Church. The service was fine but as we waited in the very crowded foyer afterwards not a single person tried to figure out who we were.
  • Week two we went to a bigger Missionary church. This one was much more polished, had some good conversations and we even got a visitor package. But we left feeling neither excited nor disappointed.
  • Week three we tried Eastview. A growing church with a mission to yuppies living in the suburbs (we lived in the ‘hood’ (a poor neighbourhood) and served teenagers). The service was okay – same as everywhere really – but as we finished, Phil & Julie were sitting behind us and introduced themselves. Then they invited us to their home group that Thursday. We were blown away. When we showed up at home group and met some other folks who have been life long friends (and not just because of Facebook).

Fire hose

This relationship led to further invitations – to lunch after church, to serve on teams, to lead the youth worship band, to attend conferences. Each opportunity helping us to grow and helping us to serve our church effectively and well. Continue reading


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How to know if you’re growing in love…

To the favourite children of the King,When we first arrived here in Belgium I asked God what he wanted me to accomplish in the next 2 years.  Seems reasonable, He’s the One who brought us here.  I don’t want to be busy doing anything that is not the King’s business.  What was shown to me (through songs, scripture, the Holy Spirit and other people) is that he wants my heart more alive and me more in love.  If it’s possible to measure love and life, Jesus wants these to be the true measures of my success.

What do you think, looks like a path in Belgium.

I love to see how you are growing in your love of God and your skills in the Kingdom!  It makes me proud of you to see what fine men & women you are becoming.  As you grow in your love and faith, you will go through many seasons – probably over and over – and I want you to be aware of what they are so that you can not be surprised but rather be confident that God is the Greatest Lover.  And because he’s the Greatest Lover, He has set everything up so that you’ll fall more in love with Him and grow in your confidence that His love is secure.

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How can you make space for more joy in your life?

   This is your invitation to enjoy Jesus.  Now I suspect that some people might react to this statement with questions or even shock – how could I enjoy Jesus.  Serving sounds easy, worshiping is understandable but enjoying?  This is the journey that we will take together through the season of Lent.  A journey of discovering God as lovesick over us and of enjoying Jesus, the great bridegroom.

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What is Lent?

     Imagine that your mom is making your favourite meal for you.  She’s spent time this week shopping and planning and she’s spent all day in the kitchen baking and cooking and thinking of you with every dish she’s preparing.  Now imagine that on your way to this feast, you stop off at McDonalds and have a Super-sized Big Mac Combo and a milkshake.  As amazing as that might sound, it’s garbage compared to what your mom prepared and when you show up to eat, you aren’t even going to be hungry.  Who of us would do this (at least intentionally)?  No, if someone is making us a special meal, we want to come to the feast hungry.

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Getting better at Evangelism – Exponential Webcast

I’m inviting you to join me and Steve Swan at King’s Fellowship (190 Osborne St N, Winnipeg,) for the live webcast of the Exponential Church Planting Conference. The theme is: To Seek and To Save. You could sit in your office and watch it for free, online, on your iPad – or you could drive, bus or pedal over to King’s and join us for good teaching, lunch together and lively discussion. With the speakers and hosts, you’re unlikely to feel under-stimulated.FREE – bring a bag lunch or some money to order in pizza (or hit up a food truck)Here’s the topics:


Learning from great leaders to do the work we’ve been called to!

Rethinking Evangelism

Evangelism and discipleship are inseparable. As leaders, we have a key role to help people see that evangelism is an integral part of discipleship. Scripture shows us that as we apprentice people in the ways of Jesus, we will make disciples who will make disciples who will make disciples. A strong discipleship culture in our church naturally produces evangelism. Continue reading


A story of life change to encourage you

This story came through the Alpha office in the past year. Let it encourage you to make friends with your neighbours, pray for open doors to share your faith, run an Alpha and generally to be available to God.

The Dave and Charis Burton Story

Before they met


“As a child, my grandparents were the spiritual leaders in the family, while my parents were ‘passive and reluctant followers’.

“When I was seven, my family relocated to Red Deer, Alberta. We moved 11 hours away from everything I knew and loved. When we moved away from my mother’s parents, it was as though we moved away from God as well.
“In time, the importance of God and belonging to a church family faded. I made a decision when I was 13 that God and I should part ways. I rationalized it by telling God that by associating myself with Him, I’d make Him look really bad. I told Him it’d be in His best interest if we pretended not to know each other.

“My teen years were difficult on everybody I loved. I broke my parents’ hearts over and over, to the point where I was sure they couldn’t possibly love me anymore.

Continue reading


Jesus became poor: Hospitality #3

Tonight I’m putting the final touches on my presentation on Radical Hospitality.  Funny thing is, I never offered to do this seminar – I was going to talk about Hospitality as Salvation in the context of inner city church work, but this thing has taken on a life of its own.

Last week, my boss Shaila talked about Radical Hospitality being one of our key values at Alpha Canada and that we were going to put this front and center in our training this spring.  So, I’ve got my juices running.
One of the most interesting point on hospitality for me came from Micheal Frost in a little video he did on The Work of

becoming the poor

Micheal Frost on becoming the poor

the People (a website of video resources I highly recommend).  In this clip he talks about the story from Luke 7 where Jesus is invited to a party at Simon’s house.  He’s a bit of celebrity but as the story moves along, we find out that the host is actually trying to impress everyone else.  Jesus isn’t welcomed properly and is actually insulted.  Then a beautiful thing happens when a working girl (prostitute) drops behind him, at his feet, pours expensive perfume on his feet and then washes his feet with her tears and hair.

Frost points out a beautiful Palestinian tradition of the hombre or shadow people.  These hombres were the people who were able to sneak into a party (uninvited).  Once in, they were entitled to be fed, but not given a place at the table.  I imagine that if a man wanted to show off his wealth and care for the poor, he’d let in many hombres.  It would be a good business or political move to be seen as compassionate and wealthy.
At this point I just want to consider, how often had Jesus been an hombre?  How many times had he and his brothers snuck into a party just to be fed.  The children of a carpenter would not have been wealthy or privileged.  And after the death of their dad, it may have become necessary to sneak out food to other family members.
In this story we’re reminded that Jesus was never a man of earthly means.  Though he generously fed 5000 with just a few loaves and fish, he seemed to require the hospitality of people more than he could offer it.  Christian hospitality therefore is not primarily following the example of Christ but rather an opportunity to show hospitality to Jesus.  Matthew 25 confirms with the teaching on caring for the poor being the same as caring for Jesus himself.
So, how have I shown mercy to Jesus today?  Will I see him tomorrow when he comes across my path as hungry, thirsty, in bondage, beat down or neglected?

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Resisting the urge to jump into Alpha

I meet many pastors, youth pastors are especially guilty of this, who try to run Alpha without taking time to do good training. Whether its urgency or lack of preparation, not training usually has the effect of making things more difficult than they need to be.

I asked Cher Paulson, interim pastor of Alpha at Calvary Temple in Winnipeg, why training is critical to having Alpha run well. Here’s her response.

“The most valued part of our training sessions is the learning from each other and hearing from others and what they do to manage their table. It helps for the table hosts to share their ideas, triumphs and challenges and we can all learn together. I think training is also crucial because there is always more to learn. We can also be sharpening our skills. There may be something that we need in that moment because every time we lead it’s a different experience with different people. I think it’s important to keep the training relevant and interesting and give lots of room for input and venting. It’s important for each table host to know they are not alone and they are not the only one to have faced this challenge and what they have learned along the way may help another leader who is struggling.

“I try and get my leaders to look at training as not what they can get out of it but rather what they can put into it for others to get out of it.”

What do you think? Can you think of a time when you failed to train or prepare well enough? In a program or sports or a family vacation?