Off the Record

I’ve started a new section on my blog called “Off the Record.” This is a chance for me to interview different leaders who are impacting the Church in America today. This will be a great resource for other leaders to get insight from those who God is using in amazing ways. This will also help us to have a Kingdom mindset and to be aware of what God is doing in other communities. And it gives you a behind-the-scenes look into very interesting people!

The first interview is with Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of To Write Love On Her Arms. You can get to it anytime by clicking the “Off the Record” link at the top of the page. This is where you’ll find the interview with Jamie and where I’ll be posting future interviews as well. Check it out and be sure to leave your comments on what you think!

UPDATE – The Matthew Party

Well, our experiment paid off and we all had a great time. While not everyone that we invited came, we did have a lot of people there (and a lot of my neighbors!). It was a great time to meet new people and to have a chance to sit down and talk further with people that we’ve never had the chance to talk with.

There were a lot of questions about our small group and about Third Format and we were able to make some great connections. I’m stoked to see what God will do with the seeds that were planted tonight. I would strongly recommend that other small groups try to do their own variation of a Matthew party.

And if you are wondering…I even carved a few pumpkins myself. Go figure.

The Matthew (Pumpkin) Party

Tonight my small group is trying something totally new. In fact, I have no idea how it will actually turn out. About a year ago, we read through Bill Hybels’ book, Just Walk Across the Room. It is a book on relational evangelism and one of the ideas that he presents is what he terms a “Matthew Party,” based off of Luke 5:27-32.

The idea is to take a group from the church (in this case our small group) and host a party focused on people who may not necessarily go to church or believe in God. The idea is to create meaningful friendships outside of the church walls and to focus on other people. My wife had the idea to twist it a bit and make it into a pumpkin carving party.

So tonight, in my driveway, we are hosting our first “Matthew (Pumpkin-Carving) Party.” We’ve invited a whole bunch of people, including all of my immediate neighbors. We’ll have a screen set up on the side and a projector playing the cheesiest old-school horror movie we can find. And we are going to have some fun. Michelle even found some Homestarrunner pumpkin designs! We aren’t going to preach to anybody and there is no pressure to do anything but have fun and get to know some new people, or get to know them better.

My prayer is that God would cause us to go into the “Zone of the Unknown,” (a term from the book referring to the area opposite of our comfort zone) and challenge us to talk with new people and to establish new friendships. My prayer is that we’ll be the Church tonight and that we’ll see God show up in cool and surprising ways. I’ll post an update tomorrow with how it went and hopefully some pictures. Here is a quote from the book that explains why things like tonight can be so valuable:

“The longer a person attends church, the fewer evangelistic discussions they engage in with family members and friends. Fewer presentations of the life-changing plan of salvation are given, and fewer invitations to events that attractively present the message of Christ are offered, mostly because Christ-followers have fewer friends outside the faith to whom to offer them.” – Bill Hybels


Apparently one of my “friends” (I use that word loosely here) thought it would be funny to park in such a way that I couldn’t get into my driver’s side door. I had to crawl through from the passenger side. I’ve never been more tempted to key a car in my life.

Attila the Hun

I just finished the book, The Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, by Wess Roberts, Ph.D. Depending on who you ask or what source you read, Attila the Hun is portrayed as a ruthless tyrant or as a noble king. In his book, Roberts assumes the best of him and makes up leadership advice that Attila might have said to develop his chieftains. Mixed within a brief, and somewhat sketchy, timeline of Attila’s life, is the relevant leadership info Attila would have learned and taught to his men. There are some great leadership ideas here and ultimately it makes for an entertaining way to read them. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from “Attila”:



Thanks to Romi, I found a great website called Wordle. It takes text and represents it as a word cloud. It sizes each word according to how many times it appears in your text. You can customize it any number of ways. Here is what the Gospel of John looks like in one example: