Archives For growing healthy churches

One Small Step…

December 2, 2013 — 1 Comment

The life of a church plant goes through many phases or steps.
Here are just a few, off the top of my head.

A person or collection of people feel a call, pray about it, seek counsel and explore the options.
A person or collection of people make the final decision and begin to talk about it with a selective group of people.
A team of people begin to form around the call to build that church. I’m not talking about a physical building, I’m talking about a body of people. That’s what the church is… a body of people.
That team begins to hold small gatherings of interested people to share the vision.
That team begins holding semi-regular “glimpses” into what the church services will be like. (This is where we are at) Those glimpses increase in frequency over time, as cash-flow increases.
That team and the people who have come around the vision of the church start “every-week” services.
Continued Growth:
The years and decades to follow impacting the community, country and world.

This probably isn’t every church plant’s story. But it’s ours.
I’m getting comments left and right from people who have come to our services saying these three things.

I love Two Cities, it feels like home.

I just wish it was every Sunday.

We’ll be there when the elementary environment (UpStreet) is open!

So here’s where we’re at:

In order to increase our service frequency and open up UpStreet, we need to increase The 4 Things:

  • Percentage Giving:
    The amount of people giving a consistent amount every month needs to increase by at least $4,000 a month. In addition to the increase in monthly giving we have a goal of raising an extra 10K at the end of 2013. That money will be used to pay the last couple grand owed for our portable church system (credit card), various insurance plans we’ve recently started, events we’re holding in December and give us a little margin with which to begin 2014.
  • Strategic Service:
    The amount of people serving needs to increase.
  • Authentic Community:
    As we grow, we need to continue to create small environments, groups, that meet in living rooms.
  • Invest & Invite:
    Investing in the people around us and invite them to come to a service or event.

So, how can you help? Take one small step today.
Give regularly online, let me know you’d like to serve on a team, join a group in January and invite everyone you know to come and see what Two Cities Church is all about.

What happened yesterday?

November 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

It’s time to celebrate what God’s been doing in and through Two Cities Church.

  • Paul Haugen’s brother told a coworker about TCC. That guy came and said to Paul’s brother after, “It was great. Micah was a really good speaker and the music was awesome. I will definitely go back in December.”
  • Thilani Grubel had a mom come back to her after their video testimony played and give her a huge hug. The Grubels’ story seemed to really touch people’s hearts.
  • Micah had several people come up to him after commenting about what a great service it was.
  • Waumba Land doubled in attendance from Glimpse service #1!
  • One man said, “Just want to say how grateful my family and I are for two cities. It is a church for unchurched for sure, but it also is a church we enjoy even though we are “churched.” We wouldn’t have a place to hear from God if you guys didn’t exist.”
  • Several Waumba Land kids were able to retell the story they heard in Large Group!
  • Someone came up to Chris Loach at the connections table after and said, “I think this is where we will be coming now and I can’t wait to bring my niece who’s 22 here.”
  • Someone told Darren Grubel she has been struggling for awhile, but felt home in the first 5 minutes.
  • Tyler (Lisa’s son) came to help us set up yesterday morning. He has been going through a difficult time, and this was a big step!
  • We had over 100 people again, even on a night where there were a lot of other options including the Winter Jam at Save Mart Center.
  • One couple dropped their son Ghavin off in WL for the first time they have left him anywhere, and he did great!
  • One of the young guys in the Loach’s Launch Group brought 3 guys with him from his fraternity and they were really excited after and took home CDs of an Andy Stanley sermon which communicates our vision.
  • Paul and Jenn’s sister in law came with her two girls. Her daughter said to Grace (her cousin) after Waumba Land, “This church is fun! I want to come again.”
  • The guy who drove our trailer said he wants to come back and check it out.
  • We have tapped into a really good group of young musicians who seem to really enjoy playing and want to come back.
  • A mom who had two kids in WL wrote on our Facebook wall, “had the BEST time tonight and can’t wait for more events!” Josiah (my son) was so excited all day for WL. At bedtime he said “When I am bigger I will work at TCC and talk to all the people in the other room like Daddy.” A selfish win, but in all honesty planting this church has been the best thing we could have done for our family. Our kids are seeing God work in real tangible ways and are excited about church and learning about God!

[see more stories at]

Were you there?
What did you think?


April 1, 2013 — Leave a comment


At Two Cities Church our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and our vision is to create a church that unchurched people love to attend.

About a month ago we sent out letters to the people involved with Two Cities Church and asked everyone to chip in for a matching fund campaign. What does that mean? Well it means that if we raise at least $5,000 in this small campaign, Growing Healthy Churches will match that $5,000. So our collective gift will help us knock out 10% of our start up costs.
So here’s where we are at:

  • There have been 11 backers in this campaign
  • The total gifts are $3,250 so far
  • We are over half way to our goal for this campaign
  • The average gift is $295.45
  • What can you do to help us reach our goal?

Ways to become a TOGETHER partner:

Let’s do this TOGETHER!

TOGETHER we can introduce thousands to Jesus in our lifetime. Who’s in?


March 21, 2013 — Leave a comment


A few months ago we sent out a letter to friends and family to raise part of our $100,000 start up costs. This amount is specific and will enable us to purchase everything we need to have regular services. TOGETHER we raised $5,000, above and beyond our regular giving, for our Big Vision campaign. We are very grateful for every penny and it will be well spent. That was a great start! Now we only have $95,000 to go.

As we prepare to celebrate Easter and finish out this school year, I’m inviting you to help build this church.TOGETHER we are building a blessing to our community and world. We are building a church that we can invite our unchurched, dechurched, and overchurched friends to attend. They will love it so much, they’ll turn around and invite someone else.

Ways to become a TOGETHER partner:

To give us a little more incentive, we have reached a partnership with Growing Healthy Churches and they willmatch up to $5,000 in this campaign. So if we raise at least $5,000 TOGETHER, they will give us $5,000 more. Let me show you how this works:

$1,000 = $1,000
$2,500 = $2,500
$5,000 = $10,000
$7,500 = $12,500

Let’s do this TOGETHER! Let’s give, let’s ask our friends and families to give. Let’s give until it’s difficult, until it hurts. Currently we have $4,710 a month that is consistently coming in. There has been an additional $2,000 pledged per month, but we haven’t seen that yet. With 16 consistent giving partners, that means the average monthly gift is almost $295. TOGETHER we can give up something in order to build something greater.

TOGETHER we can introduce thousands to Jesus in our lifetime. Who’s in?

From the very beginning Two Cities Church sought to partner with two organizations that have unique ways to help us have a successful launch. Both organizations have helped us wade through a lot of legal and leadership details. These organizations are North Point Ministries and Growing Healthy Churches.

We started our formal relationship with GHC in mid January. Here’s a little video about who they are and where they’ve come from.

After our BIG ANNOUNCEMNT Erica and I have both had some great conversations. From these conversations there have been several reoccurring questions that I can answer:

  • Q: What Church are you going to?
    A: We’re not going to a church, we’re starting a church. When you plant a church, you start from scratch. There is nothing there previously for you to build upon. It’s from the ground up.
  • Q: Do you have a building?
    A: For us to have a building as a church plant would make us “mortgage broke.” We won’t have regular Sunday services until we build up our core group and launch team. That means we need to get people involved in “The 4 Things” before we create Sunday meetings. Those things are Percentage Giving, Strategic Service, Invest & Invite Other People, and Community Groups.
  • Q: When do you move?
    A: Erica is due with our second child, a girl, on May 22nd. She could pop at any moment. We’re waiting to get through the delivery process and get a couple of weeks under our belt before moving our home.
  • Q: How will you be funded?
    A: We  have to raise the funds by finding people who will support the vision of Two Cities Church through one-time and regular giving. No amount is too small and no amount is too huge. There are no government grants (separation of Church and State). There is no parent organization that will give us large sums of cash.
  • Q: What denomination will you be?
    A: We’re not. Instead of being a denomination, we’ll opt into a couple of partnerships. There are two organizations we are currently in conversation with, North Point Ministries and Growing Healthy Churches.
  • Q: How will you make money to live?
    A:  You don’t go into ministry to be rich, but you still need to provide for your family. My job will consist of building Two Cities Church and social media consulting for other churches [check out my free eBook here]. Erica plans to work with MAG as a Virtual Executive Assistant, part-time, and she has another incredible opportunity that we aren’t prepared to release information about just yet.
  • Q: Do you have a place to life?
    A: Yes, someone has graciously offered us a home to live in very cheaply.
  • Q: Why Fresno/Clovis?
    A: Because we love specific people there and God keeps putting it in our hearts to be near and reach them.

You may have questions too. I’d love to talk. Once we move back I’ll be going to coffee with lots of people and sharing the vision for what we’re doing. But for now, let me leave you with this…

Want to stay informed about Two Cities Church?


Notes from Larry Osborne at North Coast Church.

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4

Final Session with Larry:

5 Things I wish I had Learned Early

  1. Build the Church You’d Want to Attend
  2. Fulfill Your Calling Not Your Potential
  3. Focus on the flock you have, not to shepherd the sheep You may Someday have
  4. Don’t live like a Pastor, Live like a Mature Christian
  5. Do Your best and Take a NAP
  6. Money Follows Ministry
  • “It’s not about what’s cool or what works… it’s about being who God designed you to be”
  • “You have nothing to prove and no one to impress”
  • “If you’re down on yourself for your failures, you’ll be too up on yourself for your successes”
  • “The problems are always the same, there are just more zeros attached to it”

Notes from Chris Brown at North Coast Church.

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3

Chris Brown, one of the teaching pastors at North Coast Church shared these nuggets:

Teaching Teams:

  1. When You invite someone to your teaching team they must be at least 80 percent as good as you.
  2. They’ve got to speak, not just when you’re gone
  3. They don’t fill in the gaps between series, but they share them with you
  4. Multiple Voices = Multiple Filters (“1 voice is 1 Lure in the water… drop multiple types of lures)
  5. Break the “Holy Man Myth”
  6. Breeds Healthy Competition
  7. Avoids Creative Burnout
  8. Keeps Young Eagles Longer

When Thinking about Reaching Outsiders:

  • Don’t use acronyms to communicate things to the church
  • Nobody wants to sit in a crowd and look like an idiot because they don’t understand something


Notes from Larry Obsorne at North Coast Church.

Session 1
Session 2

Here are some notes from Session 3 with Larry Osborne.

Learning From Barnabas:

1. Model Financial Generosity
2. Be Quick to Forgive
3. Focus on Anointing rather than a Pedigree
4.  Defend the Right to be Different
5. He Was Willing to Step Aside & Take Second

  • “Whenever tenure, education or jumping through my hoops trumps God’s anointing… we’ve missed it.” (speaking of hiring)

3 Questions to Ask Yourself:

1. What does it take to have power around here?
2. What does it take to get permission around here?
3. Are the freshman getting smaller every year?

Yesterday I posted about a small conference put on by Growing Healthy Churches and Larry Obsorne at North Coast Church.

Here are some notes from Session 2 with Larry Osborne.

  • Develop a love for the struggler.
  • “Generals always prepare for the last (previous) war.”
  • “As soon as you figure out the rules, they change on you.”
  • Things that frequently change the rules: Calendar, Events and Growth
  • There’s a Cultural Shift happening: “The Loss of Excellence”
  • 2 Keys to the Culture: Authenticity & the Bono Factor (What are you doing for someone else?)
  • “Growth Changes Everything”

Derailment Factors:

1. Poor Relationship Skills: Doesn’t play well with others in the sandbox
2. Inability to Adapt: Poor at mid-course corrections

Success Factors:

1. Ability to Adapt.
2. Plays wells with others.

  • “Your tribe is where you’ll be comfortable:
  • Breakthroughs happen when we listen to outsiders
  • PROBLEM: We idolize the past
  • PROBLEM: We start to abandon our mission to chase our successes
  • “We need to stop doing what’s succeeding in order to do what’s important”
  • Always ask, “Why do we do this?”
  • PROBLEM: Clinging to comfortable patterns of relationship

Church Growth Through Relational Stages:

Stage 1: Track Star
A church plant is like a Track Star, the Pastor does everything. It’s a solo role.

Stage 2: Golfing Buddies
Very relational, fun, everyone is equal

Stage 3: Basketball Team
300-500 people; role players, there’s a bench, there are stars, still highly relational

Stage 4: Football Team
Coach doesn’t know what’s happened until he watches the film; Not everyone could fit into a van, you’re taking buses to games, not everyone knows what’s going on or knows everybody else

  • Relational Patters (specifically how people relate to the senior pastor)
  • Don’t get sucked to the middle; in the middle you only know the problems and the stars
  • You have to fight to get to the fringe
  • “Learn the difference between disappointing people and crushing them.”
  • “Give away symbols of prestige to create partners to expand your influence”