January 5, 2014

Communication and learning styles

Posted in culture, servant-leader, tech at 9:53 AM by alexlozada

This IBM report is a long, sometimes dense report, but potentially useful for church small group and ministry team leaders. Page 16’s table on Generations (Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials) and preferred communications styles can help small group leaders know how to make better (more likely to be read and responded) contact between meeting times. Our church staff is often frustrated by the lack of read-and-respond to our emails, and recognizing that Traditionalists and Millennials are less likely to use email might help us use multiple means to contact them.  Communication, especially when not in-person, has long been a struggle in the church, as the Apostle Paul can attest 🙂


March 4, 2011

Praying Why? How? Now!

Posted in better disciples, MCC resources, servant-leader at 11:06 PM by alexlozada

MCC sg leader + Fellowship Christian Athletes (Maryland) servant-leader Rick Conniff serves with MCC’s Sunday 7:30a prayer small group. His passion for MCC to become a more + better praying church led him to assemble these resources for small groups (or individuals):

MCC small groups + ministry teams are “going to their knees” in prayer – including some folks from  MCC Bel Air coming together Sat 5 Mar 1p to pray for one of their own – I’m glad they invited me along 🙂

February 28, 2011

How Are Your Knees?

Posted in better disciples, MCC resources, servant-leader at 2:15 PM by alexlozada

Tom Moen, MCC glocal pastor, repeatedly asked, “How Are Your Knees?” in yesterday’s message on praying. MCC executive pastor sent a follow-through email with this Tim Keller quote (useful “how-to” to guide prayer thoughts throughout the day):

Tim Keller responding during a Q&A at Covenant Seminary. Here is his response talking about his prayer life in response to a question: how do you preach the gospel to yourself every day?

“I try to do petition in the morning. I try to do repentance in the evening. So I try to pray in the morning and in the evening. In the evening I look back on what I did wrong and repent.

But in the middle of the day I try to catch myself and I look for four kinds of emotions.

I always pray in the morning, “Lord make me happy enough in the grace of Jesus to avoid being proud, cold, scared, and hooked.”

  • Now, by proud I mean what you think, too self-congratulatory. And maybe disdainful of people who I don’t think have it together.
  • Cold means I’m just too absorbed in my concerns to really be compassionate and gracious and warm and joyful to the people around me.
  • Scared means I’m just obviously too anxious and worried.
  • Hooked means…when you’re overworked, it means for me…eating. Eating things I shouldn’t eat just because it’s a way of keeping my energy up, and also because it’s a way of rewarding myself. Or looking at women more than once.

So: proud, cold, scared, hooked.

Now, in the middle of the day I get it out and say, “Have I been proud, scared, cold, or hooked in the last 3-4 hours. And the answer usually is “Yeah.” And then I say, “How do I bring the Gospel to bear on that? How does the grace of God deal with it?” And you try to catch yourself in those feelings. So basically finding problem feelings and inordinate desires, catch them when they’re happening, try to deal with them with the Gospel right there.

I call that “Quick Strike” on my idols around noon, if I can remember it. And repentance at night and petition in the morning. So I try to get into God’s presence three times a day.”


October 25, 2010

Making a Splash – then & now

Posted in Cannonball, servant-leader at 11:40 PM by alexlozada

Monday’s Cannonball daily reading from Mark 9:33-35 (parallel in Luke 22:24-27) asked,” What is your strategy for making an impact in the world? For ten years at East Northport Chr Ch my primary answer was primarily “communicating God’s word through preaching and teaching.” At the time, I probably considered my individual discipleship time with a few different men, members and interns, important but secondary. The previous four years working at Cincinnati Chr University, my strategy order was reversed: individual or small group discipleship (“servant of all”), with occasional opportunities to preach & teach. I ministered by shepherding the Resident Assistants in the men’s dorm, who in turn shepherded a generation of young men, many of whom are being used by the Spirit to spread God’s word.

These days, my answer to the Cannonball question on strategy for making an impact in the world has cycled  back to “servant of all,” especially MCC small group leaders & coaches who are shepherding others. My Sunday PM short-term Cannonball group read from 2 Timothy 2:2 (NLT) “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”

October 14, 2010

Catalyst 2010 takeaways: Seth Godin, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley

Posted in culture, servant-leader, tech at 11:46 PM by alexlozada

Schedule too hectic during the Catalyst leadership event last week for me to blog live, but I know if I don’t post at least a rough draft of my reactions from Catalyst (pun intended), I might never post anything 🙂

First time I heard Seth Godin live, and is sometimes the case, I get more from his written words than his spoken words. Fortunately, Catalyst provided a booklet version of his presentation, with highlights from his recent bestseller Linchpin. The personal takeaway for me was envisioning myself as an “artist” in his definition, but not w/ paint or music, instead as an innovator-champion in my workplace in using tech for Christian discipleship.

Also my first time hearing Francis Chan live, and is sometimes the case, his speaking passion reinforced the power of his written words. Strongest takeaway was his repeated use of the phrase “That’s so weird” as a tool to measure myself, and my ministry, by the Bible – what my intellectual reflex calls “weird” might truly be closer to God’s call.

Having heard Andy Stanley before, as has always been the case, he gave some great themes which I’ll continue to use. His memorable phrase was “bowl of stew” from the story of Esau selling his birthright to his scheming younger brother Jacob for a bowl of stew. Most encouraging takeaway was “reframe your appetites in the context what God has
called you to do . . . .  2 yrs from now . . .  10 yrs from now . . . . the clearer, more defined your future, the less grip
appetites have on you.”

April 15, 2010

Invite from Ben Cachiaras for Sun 25 Apr lunch

Posted in servant-leader at 2:19 PM by alexlozada

This is especially for MCC small group leaders, but I’m guessing we’ll welcome anyone in the Central Maryland area interested in hearing Emmanuel School of Religion new president Mike Sweeney.  Emmanuel is the seminary where my teammates Tom and Amy Moen, Ethan and Betsy Magness, Luke Erickson, and Ben Cachiaras graduated.  Mountain also helped name one of their learning Institutes the Dr. Charles Cook Institute for Christian Ministry, for our own Charles Cook, Minister Emeritus here at Mountain.

“Dr. Sweeney will be involved in the morning worship services, and lead the Perspectives class that evening.  Mike is not only a good friend, but an amazing individual, with over 20 years of missionary field work, specializing in translation of the New Testament among the people of Papua New Guinea. After the last service on Sunday, April 25, about 1 or 1:15, we will get together for an hour in the Overlook of the New Life Center (Mountain Rd campus) for a time to talk about Emmanuel and its ministry. You are invited!  Bring anyone with you who may be interested.  Come to get an update on the latest innovations in training people for ministry and preparing students at Emmanuel. Come if you have some questions about how Emmanuel and your life might possibly intersect at some point. Come if you have questions about online learning opportunities, or want some help figuring out where God may be leading you.  Come if you want to talk to a veteran missionary who now is devoting his life to leading an institution that prepares others for ministry.  Come to listen and learn what God is up to in the lives of people all over the world who have prepared at ESR.

You are free to eat ahead of time, or bring your own lunch, or order a sandwich ahead of time which we will then have prepared and ready for you.

Hope to see you there.


To order your lunch, please indicate what type of sandwich you would like from the list below and email it back to Gail Oliver at Gail@mountainchristian.org no later than April 21, 2010.  You can just pay for your sandwich and drink by dropping some money in a basket when we meet.

I would like to order: (please specify number of subs)

Turkey & Cheese

Ham & Cheese

Italian Cold cut

American cold cut

Note:  Sandwiches will be served on 8” sub rolls with bottled water and a bag of chips with all condiments on the side for $5.00 per person.

March 17, 2009

Bible background resources on-line & personal

Posted in better disciples, servant-leader, tech at 10:38 PM by alexlozada

During last Sunday’s small group leader orientation, a new leader had a question about resources for finding out more about the cultural background that helps us better understand Bible details that may seem foreign to 21st century Americans. I mentioned there are some on-line resources that could supplement the resources he already had. He diligently followed up by emailing me today, and I cut-pasted this from my reply to him:

“The IVP commentary here is good, possibly be similar to the Bible Teacher’s commentary you have already.

Blueletterbible.org has several online commentaries. Some of these are not print published books, but collections of teaching-preaching notes, for example David Guzik’s and Chuck Smith’s.

This website has so much material that it can be overwhelming, but if you browse around and want my opinion on particular resources you find here, you can email me about particular authors – some I like, some not so much.

AND Ethan Magness & I are always available by email for questions.”

That last sentence about Ethan and I connects to an important point I try to communicate to small group leaders, coaches, and everyday members @ MCC.  Even w/ the advent of the Internet, and before that ready availability of Christian books through local Christians bookstores and mail-order – the most important resources for becoming a better disciple (not simply a book expert) is not any website, commentary, handbook, radio program, etc. BUT instead experienced Christians w/ whom you can interact.   The best way to know the Bible is to find someone you can ask hard questions AND IN TURN will ask you hard questions about the ways you are putting into practice what you learn.

October 1, 2008

“regular people working in the trenches”

Posted in better disciples, servant-leader at 8:58 PM by alexlozada

This post, Trench -v- stage, is an encouraging reminder that whether you are leading a small group through One Month to Live, connecting with teens as a student ministry volunteer, or reaching a needy community through Second Saturday Serve – through you God is doing “his transforming work in the lives around us.”

July 10, 2008

NACC: better disciples and Bible tools

Posted in better disciples, NACC, servant-leader at 11:10 PM by alexlozada

More NACC take-aways from disciples a step or ten ahead of me in walking w/ the Word:

Chatted w/ Jon Weatherly (friend and NT professor @ Cincinnati Christian University) about his blog – check this recent post about free resources available from Institute for Christian Research, one of which is his lectures on Introduction to the Gospels.

As an example of the “making connections” that happens at gatherings like the NACC, MCC teammate and co-blogger Ethan Magness mentioned ICR director & Ozark Christian College NT professor Mark Moore’s How to Read and Study the Bible (soon to be available to MCC small group leaders via our Adult Small Groups resource library).

I also had the privilege of sitting next to Bruce Shields at the European Evangelistic Society Walker Lectures breakfast (thanks to my host MCC lead pastor Ben Cachiaras).  Bruce’s influence led Ben to prompt me to explore storying as teaching method for MCC small groups.

These connections were just a fraction of the many at the NACC – no wonder it’s titled The Connecting Place.

July 2, 2008

NACC-08 Dangerous Group resources p2 links

Posted in NACC, servant-leader, tech at 11:06 AM by alexlozada

a few equipping sites

NACC 08 presenter Michael Mack’s smallgroups.com and Christianity Today’s small groups ministry section are good places to start.

languageofbelonging.com by Joseph Myers, author of 2 of the workshop recommended books.

Willow Creek Association’s group life site including the REVEAL finding Jon mentioned

Aptly titled whydidntyouwarnme.com by Pat Sikora, author of a book from Standard’s series on small group ministry, which includes Dan Lentz’s Let’s Get Started: How to Begin Your Small Groups Ministry. Dan is also director @ smallgroups.com

a few curriculum sites

Groupcurriculum.org Northpoint’s curriculum recommendations, but more than just their own material

Standard Publishing’s Life on Loan is a good church-wide campaign, and Faith Cafe captures some of the flavor of the popular Nooma series. Standard also offers the On Demand Bible Studies series by NACC 08 presenter Bob Russell, who also coauthors College Press’ 3:16 study on Titus with Rusty Russell.

UPDATE: pursuit.org, which generously sponsored our workshop, has some quality church-wide campaign material like the Why? Pursuing Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions series (used by Parkview & Mountain) and the hot off the press Deadly Viper: Character Assassins series, especially useful for men’s groups.

a few church databases

People Driven Software PDS (used by MCC) (web-based)

Others: Nspire (formerly used by MCC)


fellowshiptech (web-based)

CCB (web-based)

a few web communication resources

Facebook web 2.0 social networking for two-way communication w/ many people simultaneously

Google documents free resource to share Excel-compatible spreadsheets for record keeping

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