Intentional Churches with Doug Parks
Are we leading Intentional Churches? Churches often miss the mark with silver-bullet strategies that promise to multiply Kingdom impact. More than 2,000 years later, it’s time to get back to the basics it’s time to get back to the basics of reaching His people, His way!
If you want to reignite your passion for the local church and see your congregation live out the Great Commission by growing and making disciples you have to be intentional.
About Doug Parks
CEO & Co-Founder @Intentional Churches
Doug Parks is the CEO and Co-founder of Intentional Churches. Over the past decade, Doug, along with Co-founder Bart Rendel, have developed a biblically-based leadership system called ChurchOS. The system is now in use by hundreds of churches around the world. They are the authors of Intentional Churches: How Implementing an Operating System Clarifies Vision, Improves Decision Making, and Stimulates Growth (Harper Collins / Thomas Nelson / Leadership Network). Doug’s love and commitment to help churches comes from his own experience of being eternally impacted as a teenager by a committed church leader. He served for seventeen years as the executive pastor at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Doug and his wife, Jennifer, reside in Las Vegas with their two children, but he still finds time to follow sports, including his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes.
Andrew Estes 0:07
Cool, welcome everybody to our next wet Nexus webinar. My name is Andrew Estes, the Director of Training and communications for Nexus. And I’m super excited to be able to welcome Doug parks from intentional churches. Doug is the CEO, and co founder of intentional churches and author of the book by the same title. And so Doug, thank you so much for taking some time to meet with us this morning.
Doug Parks 0:32
Now, Andrew, honored to be with you, man. I love the post that’s in the book. hold that up again, man.
Andrew Estes 0:37
Yeah, that’s me. earmarks are on there for our conversation today. So that’s awesome. Yep. So um, we got a chance, the Nexus leadership got a chance to hang out with Doug up in Estes Park for a retreat that we were doing for network leaders. And so we’re grateful to be able to kind of bring some of this content back to our planters and everybody in our context. So Doug, if you would just let’s before we get into the content, why don’t you give us just a brief intro of who you are, kind of your background in ministry, where you came out of and maybe the genesis of launching into this new venture, or I guess it’s not really new. You’ve been doing it for a little while of intentional churches?
Doug Parks 1:23
Yeah. Well, thank you. And first off, man, I just wanted to say to all the pastors and planners listening, I’ve been trying to say this everywhere I go, you guys are heroes. Like right now in our society. pastors and planters are the ones who are bringing hope. And we’re just not getting you’re not getting a lot of press for it. But thanks for all you guys are doing out there. So I grew up as a full on redneck man in the hills of southeastern Ohio. About 20 minutes, we made jokes about how uneducated the West Virginians were 20 miles away, compared to how we work, which we’re all kind of cousins anyway, in related but yeah, I grew up in a pretty rough blue collar family and my dad, heavy drinker and, you know, engaged in a lot of unhealthy behaviors. And so I was won to Christ in high school relationally by a youth pastor in this tiny town, it was a church of 100 at town of 1800 that I lived in the suburbs of Dudley, Ohio was a little suburb of 30 and it changed my life you know, Dale Harlow, that youth pastor changed my life Jesus changed my life and so I whenever I get a chance to work with a church I just never forget that so I should be a lot of things that Jesus has helped me with in my life. So just a little fast track went to ended up because that influenced first of my family go to college, went to college in Cincinnati small Bible College there and didn’t preach and didn’t do music. So no one sure what its gonna do when I graduated, ended up going to work work for a great man and mentor at chick fil a and owner operator there and he paved the way for me to become the youngest chick fil a owner operator they’d ever hired I was 21 when I got my store in Cincinnati, Ohio and we did well there but I was not very healthy burned out. And so I escaped to Las Vegas to come plant a Gen X church inside of another church plant in the late 90s. And yeah, we could talk about that for days but I fell in love with doing ministry in Vegas my story just gave itself to lent itself to be able to do that and was executive pastor had a couple of roles but executive pastor for very long run I think 17 years or something like that still help with strategy especially during COVID in run our process with our church, but I’m primarily now full time with icy intentional churches doing what we’re doing
Andrew Estes 4:11
that’s awesome man get some get some Christian chicken. That’s good, man.
Doug Parks 4:16
That’s right man. Christian chicken.
Andrew Estes 4:19
No, that’s very cool. So um, yeah, man, I’m sure you have so many different learning experiences through all those different things that you’ve been going through but um, why don’t you what what actually started the need and just the conversation behind launching something like intentional churches?
Doug Parks 4:38
Yeah, it. I had cobbled together for us at canyon ridge stuff I had learned from chick fil a from the business world and stuff I’d read. And at that time, I think even Tony Morgan and Wilmington senior were kind of new to this idea of planning and visioning. In the church world. It was all kind of new And so for me, I’d always had this attraction to strategic planning and group facilitation and process. And God brought together an old friend from college who was on staff at Central here in Vegas, Bart Rendell, he’s on the executive team over there, we had a dinner. And he told me about this thing he was doing, and asked me to go on the road with him. And that really was the beginnings of our thinking of could we bring strategic planning to the church leadership in a way that was palatable for a pastor really was the beginning journey, which it’s morphed well beyond that now. But yeah, that’s how it started in the first four years, we’re just r&d. Like, we didn’t write a book, we didn’t get a stage, we just went to any church that would let us come in and facilitate. And we just learned a ton at the ground about the state of the American church. And that was kind of different than what you heard from the thought leaders. So and I think it was 12 years ago, something like that, Andrew, 1213 years ago that started that started the ball rolling.
Andrew Estes 6:11
Yeah, that’s awesome, man. So over the last decade, and just with so many just shifts and change within church ministry, and church leadership, and all the different emphasis from, you know, just the different models of doing ministry. You guys have grown and developed basically what you call church OS, which is kind of getting into the intentional churches content. So why don’t you just share maybe just a little bit of kind of your heart behind why why this is needed so much. Why do what you guys do and obviously making the church planning and strategy very palatable for for church leaders as important, but what’s, what’s the need there? Why do you guys do what you do?
Doug Parks 6:56
Yeah, I’m gonna show a little pyramid here, if I can. So we really at the end of the day, we moved our biggest learning was that the the real shift in the American church was the shift from the gospel being in a relational individualized proposition that the Great Commission is first a personal mission statement of a Jesus follower, not an institutional one. And that’s what we learned at the ground, there was just a misalignment thinking that the brand of the church or the style of the worship is what one people in grew them in Christ. And so what we’re doing inside of church us is fundamentally Yes, why we do what we do, it’s we use this phrase, intentionally mobilize your 99, from Luke 15, we use that scripture quite a bit to repeatedly reach and grow their ones, and that those ones would do the same. It’s that multiplication thing. And I know this may sound simplistic, but this is what we will use this phrase, often we’re calling church leaders first to get back to basics. And then the next thing we do is we relationally align your church leadership’s thinking and methodology to these biblical basics. So your staff, your board, your leaders, and eventually the entire congregation back to this fundamental thing of mobilizing the 99 to go reach their ones and grow them in Christ. And the way we do that is implementing this thing called the church operating system. We call it church lis that multiplies Kingdom impact. So it’s nothing new. It’s just packaging together. As a church organizes, and I’ve been in several plants of late as you organize, you slip into such institutional thinking so quickly. Sometimes even pre launch the plant is thinking institutionally versus it’s the army of God who, when and grow people, and that is where true multiplication happens from the root level of reaching ones who reach their ones and reach their ones. Not an organizational column. Does that make sense?
Andrew Estes 9:09
Yeah, absolutely, man. No, and I think that, um, you know, personally, I’ve experienced some of that stuff, but, man, I mean, yeah, once once church kind of gets established and stuffed are people just start coming and then you just start thinking internally, almost naturally, where it’s just like, well, we have to care for all of these people that are here and you just kind of get blinded, maybe intentionally or unintentionally of looking outside of that and that was one of the things that I loved in in your book was you guys talk about the the one focus or the one aware filter or one awareness and, and just putting that filter on literally everything you see from, from how you do church to how you do outreach to how you how you look and feel it almost everything in your organization. So before we maybe maybe get into that a little bit, why don’t you just step back for a second and just share with us too. a broad overview of how you guys go in and just what your church Oh S is maybe even just defining what that is like talking about an operating system with within the
Doug Parks 10:10
church. Yeah, so every church is even the smallest of churches and those are your planters learning is pretty long launch, you start organizing some of the stuff that we bucketed. Again, there’s nothing new under the sun here. But here’s all the things that domains of church that as a church leader, you have to lead and build out, we use. The first fundamental one we have one of our Cornerstone tools, the Great Commission engine is really getting back to the basics. You have to manage vision, we use a clear, inspiring wheeze, this double impact vision tension, so that we can get clear on what the right next action is. Then it’s the the activation phase, which for planners, probably the most mundane on here, if not the operations is the it’s the day to day it’s the meetings you’re having. Even scorecards and scoreboards if you if you go down that route, the operational support of it, and then the leader. So this picture is nothing more than the entirety of the organized church, all the things you’re having to lead. And it’s very easy, in accidental in here to drift from the fundamentals because we get so consumed with having to build out a budget, for instance, or a website or something else that’s helping us but could take us away from the fundamentals. And then you asked about our approach. And we we use, we’re very influenced by Tom Patterson, the strategic operating system he had, and he always vision cast, that a church, a nonprofit, could have an operating system that every employee knew how to run live by. And so this is our kind of engine of it. We call it the core processor of church us. In this approach four, we start every plan in discovery, asking two questions. Where are we at today? And how did we get here? Then we move into design, asking the question, Where are we heading? organization is third bucket. And that is a what is the most important thing to move us from where we’re at today to where we want to be. And then the Activate bucket is what are we learning? And how are we being accountable to execute and this four box discover design, organize, activate, becomes a for those churches running church us, this becomes a framework by which every meeting conversation is designed by with this thinking behind it. We’re big believers in group based, we call it guided self discovery. And it’s different than traditional consulting, which would be more focus groups assessments and here’s 25 things you need to change. This is the our approach is we’re going to go on a journey together and guided and that your team is going to identify the truth of their situation where they feel like God is leading you within your context. And and then our belief is just like the kids, you own it more when it’s your own idea. You know, and so my last thing I would just say here, when you see these boxes, I know sometimes we get in as much content it can be all these are is the getting the right strategic conversations in the right sequence. And that’s what we try to do inside a church is for your team. And for you and so and I would say during COVID the churches, our churches running church, so we’re able to collaborate at a level and at a speed because they had this operating system that I didn’t see out there many churches because they’re using the same language tools in approach across all ministries, campuses, plants, etc. So
Andrew Estes 14:10
yeah, I love the it’s funny when you when you mentioned that I remember working with a church not too long ago that when when we got together as a team to walk through some certain things and and do some of that self discovery, that type of work. The pastor was just like almost flabbergasted just because he’s like, I’ve been telling these guys this thing all the time. But now that it’s their idea, it’s just a different level.
Doug Parks 14:36
Isn’t it funny? Funny? Well, I know Andrew and you know, all your guys know this about you listening like you. You enjoy facilitation. Right, right. Yeah. So like, what have you found, but the difference between a consultant expert versus being asking the right questions to lead somebody like what’s your favorite Part of it.
Andrew Estes 15:02
It really is when the lights come on, man. Just being able to and I mean that in as, as a team, it’s the it’s the shared buy in. It’s the it’s the it’s the difference from, you know, the senior pastor going to the top of the mountain and coming down and kicking down the door and saying, here’s the vision of the church, like God spoke to me, like, yes, that can happen. But at the same time, the the the level of buying that you get from the team, developing the vision, from the team actually just interacting with one another and pushing back and challenging one another and questioning one another, and not an offensive way. But just being able to do that in a way that is based on the heart that they have for their church. Right. You’re leading people forward. And yeah, I love the that phrase, you know, vision is a team sport. Yeah, I firmly believe that. And I have seen that kind of lived out and just love that aspect of it, man,
Doug Parks 15:57
and ownership just goes through the roof alignment, it was through the roof. And so if you’re a planter, maybe your post launch out there, learn this art form of asking great questions. Jesus did it man, he just let people through a question so many times.
Andrew Estes 16:14
Right, right. One of the one of the things that you mentioned briefly as in your book, kind of early on, as you’re talking about common language, right? I mean, around specifically the church system. But when when you’re talking about just developing vision, or living out in vision, and what is the purpose? And why is it important to have a shared language around those type of things.
Doug Parks 16:38
Um, again, this was just learning at the ground. And now I look back at my own leadership as an executive pastor, and I’m like, man, I missed this so many times. We assume when we use a word, we mean the same thing. It’s very American to be speed oriented. And just like, let’s get on with it. And and we found, I would say, one of the biggest headwinds in church leadership is actually misalignment. Because language, the word discipleship in a room of Christians. Oh, good, golly, that literally might mean 50 different things. The word Great Commission, oh, yeah, we got that. That’s our mission, Great Commission, but you get under the hood. And it’s like, so anyway, the power of common language allows you actually, if you slow down long enough to all mean the same thing. When you say for instance, the word vision, then you can actually go faster, but it takes a little patience on the front end to get common language in place. I always joke if you read 10 different books on mission and vision, how many different definitions would you get? Right? Like 11 or 12? probably right. It’s sometimes contradictory in the same book. Along the way, common language man, it’s, it’s it is, especially in a plant, getting your team and your launch team and beyond aligned to that planners, language and vision and what they mean. critical, critical.
Andrew Estes 18:15
Yeah, absolutely. Now I’m one of the next things I wanted to kind of move into and you shared this a little bit on your, the one of the slides that you brought up, but you talked about the the spiritual battlefield and being able to especially in that discover phase, of being able to step back or or in this picture that you’ll show here in a second of just being able to elevate above what’s happening right now to be able to look ahead and move towards something. Can you kind of walk us through that little framework that you have? I love that picture. Yeah.
Doug Parks 18:46
So yeah, it’s off to the right here. And like you said, Andrew, it’s in the book. And it’s basically because the American church is so dominated by the weekend service. It is a nonstop 52 week. My friend Bart Rendell calls it and hopefully this is not offensive to your, your audience, the spanking machine, like you just line up for 52 straight weeks. And in there, you can get clouded because you’re you’re working on that machine so much and so are our visual here is we’re in a spiritual battle World War. And part of what if you read anything on leadership in military, one of the most important things you have to do as a general or lead is to get above today’s battle, to get some elevation, so that you can see what is the thing you’re trying to accomplish again, and remember, so that we know the next hill to take in the challenges we have to attack next. That’s what this visual is doing. It’s helping us sequence and prioritize how we attack what’s next. To get to where we want to go. So I’ll use an example like if your future vision is to run a 5k, it’s a very different Hill to take and challenge you have in front of you in even action than if your future vision is to run a full marathon, is if I run a full marathon, I’ve got a lot more planning and energy to put into it, than it is. So COVID was the great equalizer of this concept. Because in March of 20, we literally every vision we might have had that was one month out, six months out, three years out, 10 years out, kind of went out the window. And the vision we really had, most of our teams were having to get above today’s battle, and look out a week, maybe two. And then eventually, they could get back out a month. And then it was six months. And now you know, we’re kind of returning. So this is you as a church leader, you know this? Well, it’s just we would argue you in some rhythm in routine, you really have to get you and your team above today’s battle. Church wide. It’s, it’s at least annual if not more often, that you need to do that. And in a plant, it’s going to be much faster. I think it’s probably in when you’re in launch mode and all that you probably need to do it every couple of months. What’s your opinion on how often you need to in a plant, you need to get above the fray and redefined. In the words of Tom, Tokyo, we’re going to Tokyo? What do we need to do on the way to Tokyo? Right, right, right. How often do you do
Andrew Estes 21:36
it? So one of the frameworks Obviously, we’ve been using some of the vision frame stuff, and a lot of that material and really encourage you guys to at a minimum three times a year. Yeah. If not once a quarter to be able to have an intentional day, or half a day of intentional visionary planning. Obviously, there are the different seasons in ministry, where some of those days I think can unintentionally kind of get hijacked by while Christmas is coming. So that’s got to be the first primary thing. Well, next, that’s well, then summer is coming. Yeah. I think a different mindset of like that 52 weeks banking type of thing. That’s a seasonal spanking, that’s always coming, right? And so being able to step even away from that rhythm and say, like, okay, where do we feel like God is leading us as a whole? And, and what are the other things that we need to be focused on other than just the calendar events that are happening from time to time? And so that’s, that’s another one of those tensions I think that leaders have to live in.
Doug Parks 22:40
Yeah, I 100% agree with you, man. I just can’t, you know, it’s hard as church leaders, to not allow your meeting to get hijacked by the urgent. And you get this is where that, you know, I said the Activate bucket that we show in our process, it’s critical, you have to be really clear on what this meetings purposes. And if you the thing that will always get neglected is this visioning thing, right? the urgency of, Hey, your end offerings coming and so is Christmas. What are we doing? It’s COVID. Yeah, yeah. Well, you,
Andrew Estes 23:15
you briefly alluded to just kind of a quick overview in that framework of the one focus the the Great Commission engine, and then also kind of some things after that, whether it’s engagement pathways or things of that nature, once you just briefly kind of run us through. What do you mean, when you say the Great Commission engine?
Doug Parks 23:36
Well, again, I’m going to show pictures, hopefully, this is helpful to your crew.
Andrew Estes 23:42
Yeah, if we can do a color by number, I’m sure a lot of our guys wouldn’t would appreciate that, oh,
Doug Parks 23:46
Looky there, you asked. And we, I’ll do a little more simple tide. So you can find this, we do. Mark does a teaching on our YouTube channel. If you want to use this with your team, it’s there. It’s in the book. But in essence, it is part of the slip in the institutional thinking, for all of us over the last 3040 years of church leadership has been the disconnecting of how these activities and programs of the church actually fit in to the accomplishment of the Great Commission, in my personal life. And so what we’re doing here, you know, we talked about the center, the crank shaft of the engine, we believe this is a last thing in the American church right now. Like it’s all about. Part of how I grow in Christ is by having an intentional relationship and plan to reach my neighbors. It challenges me to read scripture differently and pray differently and be engaged in a different way. When I have a mindset of, hey, my neighbor needs Jesus in their life. And so we talked About crankshaft is this isn’t some gimmicky you know, everybody kind of in the the seeker driven days, if you’re old enough to remember those, we kind of poo pooed and got rid of this idea. But if you talk to some of the old timers, the intent was never this big marketing branding thing of design your church for those not in it yet. It was really about firing up the army of God, those of us following Jesus to intentionally have a plan to reach our one, our once plural because ones are everywhere. In this model, then, you know, we talked about in our engine, the piston, there’s three pistons in the engine number one’s the worship experience, however you express or do that gathering where God’s word is taught. And we corporately worship plays apart, life changing relationships, whether your model is missional communities or small groups or ABF SIRs Sunday school or whatever it is. That that is a piece of my personal Great Commission mandate from Jesus and then surrendered living is the the giving a sacrificing of time, talent, treasure, and attention we’ve added to the list even because of the fight for attention these days. So what we’re saying here, and if you if I take us back generationally, boomers come along and reinvent piston number one and say, Hey, the music and the teaching isn’t going to reach my friends, and therefore they created the attraction or model or the secret model. I was a Gen X, or we read the great deconstructionist generation in church leadership. So we were all interns in those Boomer churches, and had scars and so we were just gonna live in cul de sacs and have access to community we were the communal model the house church model in America as part of that kind of plant here in Vegas for a while. And then, you know, the millennials come along, and they look at us as Gen Xers and they you’re like, you’ve just become a holy huddle. And boomers, if we took all the money you spent on blights, and buildings and sound systems and just invested in wells in Africa, you know, what we could do in the world. So the millennials have called us back to be active in our faith and serving our argument is part of these activities, if they’re done, right, and we know the intent, that they are helping accomplish the Great Commission in each of us. And so being clear on what is happening, really at a root level of Great Commission accomplishment in your weekend, in whatever your community model is. And however you’re asking people to give but the slide the institutional here, clouds us from realizing that there is a point to hearing God’s were taught contextually by somebody who lives in my community is different than consuming God’s Word from a teacher in North Carolina, what Sorry, I shouldn’t say North Carolina, Florida, let’s say Florida. You know what I’m saying. So anyway, and then our last component part, we use this thing, concept called the engagement pathway, which is nothing more than how you how we intentionally connect our ones to us to each other and other ones. And that’s taken all kinds of forms. And in this time with churches, whether it’s growth track, you know, but at the end of the day, I always tell guys, hey, the best engagement pathway for my neighbor, Brandon, is me. It’s not a class, although classes can help facilitate that. It’s actually me.
Yeah, so hopefully, that helps some of you guys. And like I said, this is a very usable to this, I was joking about the color coded. But this is how we would use this to have a great conversation. We would as a team, you then draw a little circle, and then let’s write it red, yellow, green, how are we doing in terms of Great Commission, and that’s going to stimulate a great conversation in your team, if you want to utilize this tool. In an hour long assessment, meeting with your team along the way, those churches running church lists, this is such a foundational tool. It becomes things like a series in the year that’s taught in the weekend, to reconnect the dots for the 99 to why we’re asking you to get in these activities, the church anyway and how it’s improving your walk with Jesus and accomplishing the mission. So anyway, that was a lot of teaching them.
Andrew Estes 29:47
Yeah, no, I appreciate that. But it’s I mean, it’s good to be able to see things in that light but um, one of the one of the questions and maybe just some of that tension I want to ask you about is because I haven’t thought this in some of the vision frame training where it’s just like, Man, these processes that we put in place are just so Western, right? I mean, just just having that mindset and so I, I was struggling with the tension with a lot of the resources that Phil is and has been, you know, recommending to our guys in our network things like spent matches or lessons from the east or a starfish movement or some of those just disciple making movement and type philosophies in, in ministry and disciple making and so I’m living with that tension of overseas it seems to just be super simplistic. Or let me say simple, not simplistic in how they train and multiply disciples and even how they define church. How do you struggle with the tension or or maybe just live in that have? Because you even mentioned it the weekend experience in whatever expression that you have of that, I think is the phrase that you said. But even even like that piston one and piston to have the the weekend experience in the life changing relationships in that group type stuff, is something that we’re struggling through with Nexus rather than going in and starting a church service going in and developing disciples and then having a church service emerge from that. Just just kind of talk to that tension. A little bit, maybe in reference to your system?
Doug Parks 31:26
Oh, yeah, well, first, I would say in the Great Commission engine, we don’t dictate to a church a priority of those pistons. And so we’ve worked with plenty of missional churches, some communal churches where, you know, like you’re saying in a plant where the piston is firing first is actually two, piston two, or we’ve even done some work piston three, like we’re doing more serving our neighbors and outreach. We’re doing it in community, but it’s, you know, it’s different than, than the other. So I would say in the tension, and this is, I’m having a blast right now in my home church in Vegas canyon ridge, because our leadership, the senior guy who took over for the guy I served drew more, is Dan Spader disciple. So he’s had, if you’re familiar with Spader, the birthday cake. And analogy, he just sent me this week, a couple of pages out of the starfish book. So I got him leading at church, oh, S is very much a part. And he’s a deep believer in group based process, outside voice, all the things we bring to the table. And then the third component part of our strategy team is a missionary who got trapped, he was a friend of mine that we sent out from our church and went to India and did like undercover special ops missions and Muslim territories, nutty what he did. And he is become a coach for other missionaries building disciple making movements. And so the three of us getting our brains around this tension you’re talking about. And I’m saying it’s a blast, because within our framework, we’re building out, in essence, a one on one through 401, growth track kind of simple church thing, with dmn baked into it. And even the way we’re starting, the strategies we’re doing to start groups are using the DBS model more and more during so for me, I don’t know, when you ask about the tension. I think this is what I’m saying. I think there is a big, we all know this cultural generational shift that’s happened. I think the boomer generation, UNAMA Gen X or an older we were very, in all of our thinking institution organizational across our lives. I think this tension is going to be less and less of attention, the more the millennial generation is leading our churches, because I think the millennials know how to sniff out the corporate thing. Probably too well sometimes. And they’re relationally based. And this is part of why I have great hope. I think I think the tension you’re talking about is at least I’m hopeful that it will be going to become less and less as the millennial leaders take over because I do think they have a little more that Eastern mindset. And they already live it on a lot of their life without Jesus they live it you know, at a craft beer place or craft coffee place or whatever. You know a couple of my neighbors who are millennials, I can guarantee you three days a week I’m going to walk into this coffee roasters and they’re having a little small group meeting without Jesus anywhere in the equation.
Andrew Estes 35:03
No, that’s funny. Um, one of the No, I appreciate your your saying with that just because it’s such a, it’s a much needed and very prominent shift that is kind of taking place over the last probably 10 years moving moving from that, and I love just kind of looking through some of the recent church history of just some of that denominationalism and the attractional model and the missional, reorientation and all of those conversations. Now it’s all about just basic grassroots disciple making disciples making disciple, and it’s just getting back to those conversations. Yeah, kind of leading into that, but and then you even mentioned that the tension of when you get back together, or even once you start meeting together, just the inward focus and the struggle that every every pastor, every church leadership team kind of has, after they’ve been doing that. I was working with a team this past weekend where, you know, they’ve been established church for a really long time, older congregation and a retirement type of a community where, you know, I asked them just a challenging question where just like, if your church was the only body of believers in your city, like, how would you do church differently, and just getting them out towards that great commission thinking and even the one type thinking that you guys kind of talk about I love the quote in your book, when you’re talking about the one that says, if we could trace the decline of impact in many churches to one thing, it would be the erosion of this conviction, talking about the one and what it means to our church strategies and plans. Can you just walk us through the way in which you coach or walk people through the focus and and just orienting everything are geared towards that one aware filter, as you call it?
Doug Parks 36:56
Yeah, I think that what you read is pretty bold statement. But I do think this is, this is why we’re at where we’re at, as a church like, that we thought about and we taught evangelism and discipleship as a linear either or from either being discipled. Or I’m evangelizing. I’m either a disciple or an evangelist. And I think Jesus God’s word, it he’s incredibly dynamic. Jesus, at the same time, he’s saying the same words, is doing four different things with groups of people in front of them, is dynamic. And we would argue that, a disciple making movement a true disciple, it’s at the core of the mission. Like to, to, to that that is part of how I grew up in Christ. And somewhere in here, we get that disconnected, like, all the evangelists will do that. That’s not my job. It’s my faith. Not, you know. So anyway, um, you asked me all the one word filter, at the end of the day, we’re trying, we believe in an x one eight model, that every church at the center of if you’re going to be a hub of Great Commission accomplishment, and really change your city and become a disciple making movement. It has to begin with every person who is a Christ follower, having a one water filter on everywhere they go. And I would say it starts there. We talk a lot in the book about more of an institution or a corporate want to wear filter, you know, and that’s important. But the first domino is, you know, my family, we moved into a neighborhood four years ago, missionary on purpose, and we do things all the time that are not sanctioned by our church. Nobody told us to do them that are that are lighting up our one aware filter here. And then as best I can, I try to tell the stories, any any believer who will listen because it’s some there’s a vibrancy in it and there’s an attraction to other believers want that kind of thing. So I, I would say the if you’re a church leader, or planter, just ask somebody this question. Tell me one of your ones in your life right now. And describe what their life’s like. Because these are real people. It’s not, you know, unchurched, herring, Marion, sad, whatever the Saddleback one was, these are real people. I mean, Brandon and Jeff and my neighbors, they’re real people with real issues who need a real Jesus. So yeah, we can get into talking about more of the institutional organizational use of that filter, but it really At a root level is getting your 90 nines, when they’re at this travel sports fields to have their one water filter on when they go to a restaurant, and the server comes up there you have a one word filter on going to the same coffee shop the same, just bringing intent, the stuff you’re already doing, is the biggest thing we try to do.
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