Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 Direction: The DNA of a Leader

We're really excited about where we're going this year for Ignite. We've got some great sessions and breakouts planned this year. And we're confident that they'll challenge and stretch your heart and the way that you think as a leader.

The DNA of a Leader: during our sessions we'll be exporing the key areas that make up a leader. The heart, head, hands, heel, and home of the leader. We believe these core areas will either spring board a leader to Kingdom impact or ground a leader and those who follow from experiencing the impact that God desires.

The Leader's Heart: led by Chris Spradlin, Lead Pastor @ Euzoa Bible Church in Steamboat Springs, CO

The Leader's Head: led by Jay Risner, Teaching Pastor @ Faith Bible Church in Edmond, OK

The Leader's (achilles) Heel: led by Lee Coate, Creative Arts Pastor @ The Crossing Church in Las Vegas, NV

The Leader's Hands: led by Mike Hickerson, High School Pastor @ Heartland Community Church in Rockford, IL

The Leader's Home: led by Casey Cariker, Teaching Pastor @ Rejoice Church in Owasso, OK

We're also very excited about one of the new pieces of our format. In the past we've randomly placed people in groups for conversation and community, but this year each participant will get to choose a breakout that they are interested in and would like to dialogue about. These breakouts for the weekend are called Ignition Points.

Ignition Points

Missional Communities: transforming broken areas thru grace, renewal, and an active presence--led by Jake Phelps

The Arts and the Local Church: empowering and releasing the poets, philosophers, and prophets to transform culture--led by T.D. Oakes, Worship Pastor @ Heartland Community Church in Rockford, IL
New and Improved: creating, leading, and launching innovative ideas, new ministries, and Kingdom projects--led by Scott Cornelius, Campus Pastor @ in Yukon, OK

Shared Leadership: learning to lead leveraging conversation, collaboration, and a Christ-centered cause--led by Jeff Henson, Family Ministries Pastor @ The Crossing Church in Las Vegas, NV

Tipping Points: navigating thru strategic decisions that affect the health, direction, and impact of ministries and churches--led by Kent Sparks, Lead Pastor for Ministries @ CrossTimbers Community Church in Argyle, TX

Also, we're super stoked about having a weekend pastor available for all who attend Ignite. Kent Sparks, Lead Pastor for Ministries at CrossTimbers Community Church in Argyle, TX, will be leading this out. Our goal is to be able to provide someone with wisdom and ministry experience for the entire weekend that you can share with, ask questions too, and download situations and potential next steps with. We'll be unpacking this opportunity more fully as the time draws near.

Jeff Henson

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ignite Got Plastic Surgery

It’s that time of the year again when Ignite begins to send you emails concerning its yearly leadership gathering.

We’re very excited this year because it’s going to be a weekend of “new”. Although we’ve loved who we’ve been in the past and what we’ve brought forth to conversation, we’ve felt it was time for an Ignite face lift and with any cosmetic surgery—a new look will come forth.

Here is what’s new this year at Ignite:

New Location: we’ll be hosting our gathering this year at the Sullivant Retreat Center in Norman, OK—you can check out the retreat center at Lodging, gatherings, and food are all centralized in one building—housing will be 4-5 per room with bathrooms, showers, bedding, and linens in each room.

New Format: our new format will consist of breakout groups that are separated by individual interest i.e. creative arts, church planting, youth ministry, etc… You will meet with these breakouts three times over the weekend. Also, the new format will have two focused times of worship and individual reflection. And an additional piece to the new format is having some organized activities planned for Friday after lunch for those who want to participate (golf, paintball, fishing, etc…).

New Opportunity: We are very excited about this opportunity that will be available to everyone that wants it and that time allows. We’ve felt over the past few years that each individual comes to Ignite carrying with him or her stresses, situations, or ministry restlessness that would greatly benefit from an impartial listening ear and a voice of wisdom. This year we will have an experienced ministry leader who will be with us the whole weekend solely there to listen, counsel, and pray for those who would love someone to talk to. I think we all could benefit from this opportunity.

New Cost: I saved this one for last. :) One of our financial objectives is to keep the price as low as possible so that all that want to attend can afford it and for the last 4 years we haven’t raised our price. But what we’ve created is an unrealistic revenue flow to match our expenses. In lieu of that tension, we’ve raised the price to $135.00 for the weekend. This price includes: lodging for 2 nights, 5 meals, free resources (new to this year), scholarships for attendees, and basic registration costs to cover weekend expenses. If money is an obstacle for you to attend we will do our best to remove it, so please let us know.

The dates for Ignite 2010 are May 6th-8th (Thursday night thru Saturday @ 12:00 pm)and you can register at

In our next email, we’ll be letting you know what the weekend will look like and who will be leading out each conversation. We expect a special and impactful weekend this year. Please be in prayer now for the direction, speakers, and those who might attend. We definitely want God’s movement and inspiration in everything that we do.
Ignite's Leadership Team

Friday, October 9, 2009

White Man's Overbite

So I was on vacation driving on Highway 101 north of San Francisco when in front of me I saw a car with its left blinker blinking continuously. Now when wondering what demographic the driver of that car might be I have to admit my thoughts drifted to one adorable demographic—old. And as I drive by I realize that my horrible stereotyping has been proven once again. And I’m like, “come on bro…do your sector a favor and stand against the stereotypes of the blinking blinker, but no, you’ve given further validation for stereotypes that fit.”

Why don’t I bite my bottom lip when rocking the baby on the dance floor? Why don’t I try to get rim in gym full of athletes? Why don’t I wear white tennis shoes with white washed Levi’s jeans? Why won’t I put polarizing Christian bumper stickers on the back of my vehicle? Because I don’t want to affirm certain misguided and categorizing stigmas that affect whatever demographic I might find myself in. I don’t want to give anyone any more ammunition to hold onto negative thoughts and presumptuous attitudes towards me and the group that I represent.

So here’s my question: Should the Church care about breaking down and avoiding certain stereotypes that are often attached to Christians or the Church? Should we be aware of what others think of us, expect from us, and the thoughts that they’re connecting with us? And if so, should we do things differently in order to combat those generalized stereotypes?

Let’s discuss.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Assaulting Christoplatonism

Generally speaking, Western Xians are Christoplatonists, meaning they tend toward dualism. They bifurcate life between things physical and spiritual...material and immaterial, and like Plato exalt the immaterial while demonizing the physical. Xians shouldn't be dualists. It's a non-biblical worldview that fragments life and denies Christ's Lordship over all creation. This dualism impacts so many areas, but one important area of Xian teaching it has wreaked havoc on is the doctrine of the bodily resurrection.
One way to think about the Platonic influence is many Christians would say our souls are just occupying these bodies for a short time. And so most Xians look forward to being disembodied. They want to be done with the physical and move on to some wholly spiritual plane where there body isn’t measured in pounds and inches. These people will even say at the death of a loved one…”that’s not really him lying there.” Which is slightly true, but it also very un-true.
What am I saying? If you looked back to the Creation account in Genesis 2. Adam was not a human being until Adam became what the Hebrew calls nephesh…until God joined his body (dust) and spirit (breath) together. Which is to say Adam was not alive until he had both materiel and immaterial components. Your body is more than just a shell. Your body is a very real part of the real you…and it will join you, more alive than it’s ever been at the final resurrection. So what I am saying is when we die, it isn’t that our real self goes to the intermediate Heaven and our fake self goes to the grave; it’s that a real part of us goes to the intermediate Heaven and real part goes to the grave to await our bodily resurrection at the consummation of all things. I say this because a study showed that two-thirds of the people that believe in heaven don’t believe it’s a physical place.
So what's your view of eternal life? Some whispy, ethereal, spirit world existence where you get to be a wraith and float through eternity? Or is it physical? Eternal, physical life on a new redeemed planet earth?
Isn't the physical so much more exciting to think about? That's because it's true.
And why do I bring all this up? Well, if our vision of things to come doesn’t involve a new physical heaven and new physical earth that we’ll inhabit as whole, physical creatures then Satan wins. But if the physical world is made new and is redeemed then Jesus wins. So if we conceive a future where all things are indeed new—as Christ promised and Paul preached—then we are on our way toward holism. Which means we are moving away from Christoplatonism.
Jay Risner
Faith Bible Church--Edmond, OK

Friday, August 14, 2009

Good Summer Reads...

One thing I love about the summer is that it seems to always bring to the surface a good book or two. I've been struck and moved this summer by a book that I would have never picked at a conference or at Border's. The name of the book is "Why Revival Tarries" by Leonard Ravenhill. It's an old school book with a relevant punch. It really challenged me in regards to my prayer life as a leader and as a teacher. What book has moved and challenged you this summer?

I'm interested in knowing what's the most impactful book that you've read this summer.

List the book name and author and let us know why you were such a fan of it.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Band-Aids, Lids, or Rubber Bands

Regardless of the place of leadership that we find ourselves at—we have a myriad of opportunities to influence and shape those that we’re leading. But how are we influencing and shaping them?

In my short 10 years of ministry and leadership I’ve observed and identified three possible objects that we can find ourselves becoming as leaders. I know some of you might wonder where the “tool” object is, but will keep it to three.

BAND-AIDS: this place of leadership protects and covers those they’re leading to a fault. When you lead from this place you’re the great protector and defender of those you’re leading; covering up their weaknesses, fighting their fights, and deflecting any honest and healthy critique.

LIDS: this place of leadership suppresses potential and growth moments of those that they’re leading. When you lead from this place you rarely allow others to have “real” opportunities to grow, succeed, fail, and learn. Typically, excellence and quality control are the reasons given to justify few opportunities for those on their team to excel and grow.

RUBBER BANDS: this place of leadership releases potential, empowers others, and brings the best out of those that they’re leading. When you lead from this place you’re always looking for opportunities to share or give away to those you’re leading. This place of leadership cares more about the individual becoming what they’re supposed to become than the potential cost/loss of not so excellent endeavors. Intentionality is subtle, yet very present. Opportunities and exposure to failure become the norm in this place of leadership.

What’s humbling is the fact that I think any of us at any given season of our leadership can become band-aids or lids without fully realizing it. And in the process we’re hurting those we’re leading whether we’re guarding them or keeping them chained in their leadership. It's always a good reminder to evaluate where we're at and why we're there.

What are common situations/scenarios that you’ve seen played out in any of three styles of leadership?

And what do you believe are the underlying motives/emotional places that each of these styles of leadership is overflowing from?

What is the best “rubber band” like leader that you’ve been around? Why?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Can You Pass The Margin?

Create space. Find margin. Manage discretionary time. Make room for life.

All of these phrases and statements are stellar in theory and desirable, but they seem to be very allusive when it comes to the reality in our lives as leaders.

The last few weeks I’ve had quite a few conversations about finding and keeping margin in the midst of tasks, responsibilities, expectations, and ministry pressure. We’ve talked about creating margin to make space for discipleship to occur. We’ve talked about creating margin so that we can lead others from a better place. We’ve talked about finding margin so that you don’t burnout and suffer ministry fatigue. All of these are valid and worth discussing and being mindful of. But what if the lack of margin in our lives is creating something within us that goes far deeper than what happens in our local contexts of ministry? What if our life minus margin creates something so catastrophic yet so subtle that it slowly and destructively affects our personal lives and the future potential of our own legacy and Kingdom impact?

You see, I’m fairly confident that Kingdom work will get done with individuals who have zero margin in their lives. I’m fairly sure that services will be orchestrated with few hiccups in Sunday morning services throughout the country. I’m certain that policies will be enforced, structures upheld, and meetings will continue to occur without leaders who have healthy margin in their lives. And that’s part of the problem. Ministry will continue to happen, applause can still rain on our leadership, and Kingdom moments will continue to be seen, as the margin in our lives vanishes like a shooting star. And the norm of our leadership is a norm that is without margin and space. So what’s the big deal? Our tasks are getting done and our people aren’t complaining. So what are we losing? I believe quite a bit actually. And what we lose within us is transferrable to what the faith communities we lead are not experiencing thru us.

When we lead and live with little to no margin for the spontaneous, the trivial, and the things that give us enjoyment and energy—I believe two major losses occur:

We’ll lose our joy in leadership. When we learn to lead without margin in our lives something slowly, but surely happens—our joy begins to diminish. The ministry moments that used to bring us to enthusiasm, courageous prayers, and that kept us up all night have led us to angst, frustration, and dutiful serving. The rich joy that should be in all of our lives has moved to a state of happiness, swinging to extremes as our settings and situations move for the better or worse. The ultimate destination for those of us called to vocational ministry is that we begin to see our work as a job and not a ministry.

What happens when we lead without joy? How do we know when our joy is beginning to falter? How do we regain our joy when it’s disappeared?

We’ll lose our dreams for the Kingdom. What is interesting about this major loss is that many of us have gotten so used to colorless dreams, small visions, and Sunday to Sunday task management that we forgot what it felt like to carry dreams that God has given us. We’ve forgotten about the “what if” conversations. We’ve forgot what it feels like to talk about dreams that leave us vulnerable and surface more questions than we have answers. I strongly believe that when our margin is limited that are Kingdom dreams will mirror that margin. Dreams are birthed in prayer and fellowship with Christ. And when that fellowship is forced and thrown on your calendar as a thirty minute appointment we’ll probably be hard pressed to hear His dream’s for our lives. Do you think the dreams God gave us at 20 where given because of our age? I don’t think so; we haven’t created enough space to hear all the hopes and dreams He continues to have for our lives. His dreams should stay within us and out in front us until we breathe our last breath. God, help us to dream again.

When was the last time you dreamt something God-sized? What would happen in our local context of ministry if we began to dream again?

How do we maintain margin? Can healthy margin be attained with the common pressures, expectations, and responsibilities that modern day Christian leaders carry? And do you have any other major inner losses that we suffer when margin is neglected?
Chime in...let's discuss this ongoing wrestling match...Jeff