From the Editor:

Developing a BHAG for Your Church or Ministry


Six Mistakes Churches Make


Friendship, Encouragment
Preachers, Crowds

Link of the Week

Preacher’s Bookshelf


And Finally…

"Jesus is God spelling Himself out in language that men can understand."
(S.D. Gordon)


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    Vol. 8, No. 38 October 20, 2009    

Michael Duduit

Do you have a BHAG for your church or ministry?

In the online Open Forum for Small Business, Matthew May writes: "In the 1940s, Stanford University’s goal was to become the ‘Harvard of the West.’ In 1950, Boeing wanted to become the ‘dominant player in commercial aircraft and bring the world into the jet age.’ Nike’s goal in the 1960s was to ‘Crush Adidas.’ In 1986, Giro Sport Design wanted to become the ‘Nike of the cycling industry.’ And Wal-Mart, in 1990, wanted to become a ‘$125 billion company by the year 2000.’

"These are all examples of what Jim Collins and Jerry Porras called a BHAG–Big Hairy Audacious Goal–in their 1994 book Built to Last. According to Collins and Porras: ‘A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort…It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal. It is tangible, energizing, highly focused. People get it right away; it takes little or no explanation.’" (Read the full article here.)

What BHAG might you and your ministry team envision for your church or organization? What would be a worthy Kingdom vision–something that will only be possible with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit?

Too many churches never reach great goals because they never imagine they are possible. For churches with no vision, they aren’t.

So what about your church? What’s your BHAG?

Michael Duduit, Editor

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MichaelDuduit

On this week’s Preaching Podcast: Ed Stetzer talks about a recent research project for Preaching magazine and the resulting article, "Sermons that Stick," which will appear in the Nov-Dec issue. Click here to listen.


In an article for Church Central, consultant Bill Easum writes about the most common tactical mistakes made by church leaders and notes they are usually "hallmarks of declining congregations." Here are four from his list:

1. Failure to combine evangelism and social justice into the fabric of the church. The entire debate between traditional and emergent churches stems from this failure. Any form of reductionism truncates the Gospel.

2. Putting a long section of announcements at the beginning of the worship service. It’s like tuning into the beginning of a sitcom only to find all of the commercials loaded up front before anything else happens. Instead, begin worship with a rousing piece of music that says, ‘Something great is going to happen here today.’ If you have to do announcements, don’t lead off with them. Please.

3. The lead pastor in a church under five hundred in worship does not personally contact first-time guests within 48 hours. I know much of the prevailing wisdom is people are more likely to return to your church if the laity visits them. It’s just not so. Pastor, if your church is under five hundred in worship, visit your first-time guests within 48 hours.

4. Hiring Associate Pastors who are generalists rather than specialists. The day of generalists is coming to an end." (Click here to read the full article.)


In his One Minute Uplift newsletter, Rick Ezell shares this: "A friend comes alongside the hurting individual to offer support and encouragement. They help the struggler by assisting and comforting. They lighten their load of burden and pain. They bring refreshment like an ice-cold glass of water on a scorching hot day. They remind the wounded of hope and of God. 

"In the movie The Color Purple, the character Sophie spends several years unjustly incarcerated for a minor offense. When she is released from prison, she is a broken woman who can barely function. Sophie’s mistress casually hands her a shopping list to fill. The lead character, Celie, a woman who has endured great pain, sees Sophie staring at the grocery shelves and understands her vulnerability. She protects Sophie by quietly filling the grocery order for her.

"Months later, when Sophie begins to awaken from her deep trouble, she says, ‘I want to thank you, Miss Celie, for everything you done for me. I remember that day in the store–I was feeling really down–I was feeling mighty bad; and when I sees you, I knows there is a God; I knows there is a God…and one day I was going to get to go home.’

"That is the kind of refreshing friend I want to be to the hurting people in my world."

From the November-December issue of Preaching …

In his article "Orality and Preaching," Darrell Johnson writes, "Walter Ong, in his now classic work Orality & Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, writes: ‘Sight isolates, sounds incorporates.’ He is not disparaging sight. He is simply observing how sight and sound work. ‘Whereas sight situates the observer outside what he views, at a distance, sounds pours into the hearer.’ He is certainly describing how it works for me. ‘Sounds pour into the hearer.’ From all around, even if the sound is coming from only one place. ‘Vision comes to a human being from one direction at a time: To look at a room or a landscape, I must move my eyes around from one part to another. When I hear however, I gather sounds simultaneously from every direction at once.’ The sound envelopes us, centering us. It is why we so enjoy high-fidelity surround sound. Ong writes, ‘You can immerse yourself in hearing, in sound. There is no way to immerse yourself similarly in sight.’

"The sermon becomes a sermon not when we see it on the pages but when we hear it in the room or on the street. The sermon comes to life when what we have been visualizing (i.e., writing) becomes audible (i.e., speaking). Again, I am not disparaging writing; it is just that the written work does not finally accomplish its purpose until it is heard. Am I the only one whose lips move when I read? Am I the only one who hears something in my head as I read? I do not think so. It is how we were created: We finally see by hearing."

Every issue of Preaching contains insightful articles
on preaching, plus great model sermons and practical resources. If you’re not a
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Also in the November-December issue of Preaching: Interviews with Perry Noble, Reggie McNeal, Ed Stetzer on "Sermons that Stick," great Christmas sermons and much more. Order your subscription today!

David Allen is author of Getting Things Done(Penguin), one of the most useful time management and personal productivity tools I’ve ever encountered. His GTD Web site includes a section with lots of free articles filled with helpful insights. If you’d like to learn to make your hours more productive, this might be a good place to start. (Give the book a look, as well.) You can find the page here.

"I have one passion. It is He, only He." (Count Zinzendorf)

The New Testament commands baptism, but what does that entail? In the book Baptism: Three Views (IVP Academic), Sinclair Ferguson, Bruce Ware and Anthony N.S. Lane make the case for three approaches: infant baptism, believer’s baptism, or a mixed approach.


In The Gospel-Driven Life (Baker), Michael Horton argues that Christianity doesn’t work as a moral philosophy or code of ethics alone; rather, the key to our faith is the truth that God in Christ has done everything needed to reconcile sinners to Himself. Horton encourages Christians to rest in that promise as the foundation of their faith.



Leith Anderson’s newest book is The Jesus Revolution (Abingdon), an exploration of the Book of Acts to discover how the first band of Christians transformed the world. This will be a useful resource for those teaching and preaching the Book of Acts.

(Click on the title to learn more or order from Amazon.)


The pastor served two smaller churches, preaching at the 9:30 service of one, then driving 10 miles to the 11:00 service at the second church. Unfortunately, the second church had limited parking; and by the time the pastor arrived, he often had to park several blocks away.

He ultimately found a solution. He posted a sign on a space next to the church building with the message: "You Park, You Preach."



Law of Gravity:
Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of Probability:
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

Law of Random Numbers:
If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

Law of the Alibi:
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

Variation Law:
If you change lines in a queue, the one you were in always will move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).

Law of the Bath/Shower:
As soon as the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Close Encounters:
The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don’t want to be seen with.

Law of Machination:
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will.

Law of Biomechanics:
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Law of the Theatre:
At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

The Starbucks Law:
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

Murphy’s Law of Lockers:
If there are only two people in a gym locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

Law of Physical Surfaces:
The chances of an open-faced sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.

Law of Logical Argument:
Anything is possible if you don’t know what you are talking about.

Brown’s Law of Physical Appearance:
If the shoe fits, it’s ugly.

Oliver’s Law of Public Speaking:
A closed mouth gathers no feet.

Wilson’s Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy:
As soon as you find a product you really like, they will stop making it.
(from TIPS newsletter. Copyright (c) 2009, all rights reserved. U.S. Library of Congress ISSN: 1529-059X. Contact Philip E. Humbert at: www.philiphumbert.com  or email to  Coach@philiphumbert.com

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

A would-be robber in Little Rock, Ark., lost his wallet during an attempted robbery. Later he phoned the victim and asked for it to be returned, according to an Oct. 14 AP story.

Apparently the 23-year-old man tried to rob another man at gunpoint at his home but fled. In the process, he dropped his wallet, then later called and asked the victim to return the wallet at a service station in North Little Rock.

Police were interviewing the victim when the call came. They notified other officers, who found the suspect outside the service station and arrested him after a short foot chase.

No word as to whether the man got his wallet back.

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