Category Archives: General

“Do I want to be like you?”

Out of Ur posted this clip from David Kinnaman earlier this week.

He describes a growing “indifference” to Christian faith. One of the leaders in ELI’s Cultivate training has described it this way, “When I talked to people about Jesus, they always ask me the same question. So what?”

What kind of apologetic can you offer for this apathy?

With the new cultural reality, it won’t be your carefully crafted arguments for belief that persuade, but instead, your authentic life of faith. It’s not that your arguments aren’t still true – it is just that people far from God won’t care. They aren’t asking, “What is true?” They are asking, “Do I want to be like you?”

That doesn’t mean you need to perfect – there is only one who is perfect. It does mean your faith needs to be real. Your faith is not something you believe in your head or even with your heart, but something you live with your life. Something that makes you observably different.

As a church planter, this has to inform your priorities:

  • Are you living a life that models authentic faith for the believers in your church and the not yet believers in your community?
  • Are you discipling people in your church so they live an authentic faith?
  • Are you equipping people to tell their stories of faith in ways that create interest, not just win arguments?
  • Are you involved and active in your community in such a way that people notice and say, “They’re doing something that matters?”

There are still essential Biblical truths people need to know. But in order to have those meaningful spiritual conversations people first have to have a reason to care.

We’re Hiring


We are looking for someone who can help us change the world. You’re emails will say “Executive Assistant.” We’ll call you “the one who makes us all look brilliant.”



  1. You love Jesus and live your life loving the people Jesus loved.
    ELI is all about mobilizing people into Jesus mission. If you’re not already one of those people, you’re just not going to get who we are or what we do.
  2. You get stuff done at the speed of now.
    Superman was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. You get stuff done so fast people think you have superpowers too.
  3. You are a person people want to talk to.
    This is a fast paced, get things done, all about people kind of gig. That means when you answer the phone, people are glad to hear your voice and when you call people, they want to call you back.
  4. You are a digital native.
    We’re not talking you live in your parents basement and spend 18 hours a day on Facebook (see number 1). You simply live in a world where there is no physical and virtual because it’s all one and the same.
  5. You are sock drawer sick organized.
    You will know how to keep us organized because the books on your shelf are categorized and alphabetized, your bills are stacked in the order their due and your sock drawer, well… its sorted and stacked too.
  6. You know how to use our tools.
    There are lots of ways to work. We use Google, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Webex, WordPress and whole bunch of other web powered tools. The more of these you already know how to use the better.
  7. You can work virtually.
    We don’t have an office and we won’t be providing you with one. You will be part of a virtual team that works anywhere anytime, which means you can live anywhere in the continental US as long as you have a fast and reliable connection.
  8. You have 5- hours of your day to focus on this.
    The rest of your day might be devoted to your family, your ministry, school or even another job. That’s ok. We need 5-6 hours of your day when you think about nothing but helping us change the world.

Interested? Send an email introducing yourself to Please attach a pdf of your resume.

Sifted 2012

Exponential recently announced its focus for their 2012 conference and early registration.

Sifted – the theme of Exponential 2012 – emphasizes the planter’s spiritual, physical and emotional health as the very foundation for reproducing. Jesus referred to sifting as a form of refining and distilling the good from the bad and removing impurities.

Exponential is doing pre-registration for it’s 2012 conference with a special for planter and spouse together for $99! That is $49.50 per person. After June 15th, the price increases so register now to take advantage of this one time offer.

//pre-register now

Habits Create Culture

By Craig Whitney

(Note this is the second in a series. See Insight #1 for background on the research project.)
I have a personal axiom that I often communicate with potential church planters, “the habits of the founders will become the culture of the congregation.”

Do you know a church planter who is emotionally passionate and physically expressive in worship – I’ll bet the worship style of the church they started is the same. Do you know a church planter who is constantly telling a joke or laughing at one – I’ll bet the church they started does a lot of laughing. Do you know a church planter who spends most of his time with people far away from God and is regularly leading others to faith – I’ll bet the church they started is regularly reaching people far away from God and leading them to faith. Our research demonstrated this axiom to be true – at least in the case of evangelism.

One of the four characteristics the ELI measures is relational evangelism. One of the things we asked in our research was what percentage of those attending a new church were previously un-churched. We discovered that the higher the ISA score in relational evangelism the higher the percentage of un-churched people in a new church – and this relationship was statistically significant.

The data from the Initial Screening Assessment scores tell us a couple of other things as well:

  • The relational evangelism score is the lowest of the four characteristics measured by the ISA. The median score is just 50%.
  • 1 in 8 people who complete the ISA have never lead anyone to faith.
  • 1 in 4 people who complete the ISA have never led anyone to faith that they didn’t first meet at church.

The implication is clear. In order to start more churches that reach more people far from God we need more planters who have the habit of effective relational evangelism. If you’re a potential planter who wants to start a church that reaches people far away from God, make a habit of doing life with people far away from God and learning how to lead them to faith. Your habits of relational evangelism will become the culture of an evangelistically effective church.

Things I have Learned So Far…

Guest Bloggers Jason & Norah Skipper

My wife & I have been missionaries in Bolivia for 15 years, and have planted various churches there. After several unsuccessful tries, in 2003 we planted a church in Sucre that grew to over 700 people in just three years. We also had moderate success in a church that we planted in Santa Cruz in 2009.

This year we are moving back to the USA to plant in a small to mid-sized city, and I am taking the Cultivate course to prepare ourselves better generally as church planters and to understand how to reach this culture that is so much different than what we have worked with in Bolivia.

We’ve touched; understanding and reaching the “emerging generations”, creating a unique vision for your unique situation, and how to raise up the core team who will carry out that vision with you.

The “vision” part of the course has been especially helpful, because it helped us understand why some things did and didn’t work in Bolivia. Ex. After several years of intense growth in our Sucre church, we realized that we still had weak areas. We tried cutting and pasting ideas from other ministries, but instead of helping us, they actually caused the church to stagnate. This part of the course helped me understand why. Even cutting and pasting from our Sucre church to our Santa Cruz plant didn’t work.

We have much more to go, but I feel that God is truly doing a transformation in our hearts and understanding through this course, and we feel confident that He is setting us up for success in a great way.

Jason & Norah Skipper