Phoenix Follow-up …

We’re back from Phoenix. Our last day there (Sunday) was incredible — 82 degrees! We landed in Pittsburgh shortly after noon on Mondy as it began to snow. We drove home in light snow and 25-degree weather. Talk about a rude awakening!

One of our assignments upon returning from Phoenix has been to write and post a 300-word evaluation of the seminar (to the online classroom), lifting up ideas that we felt were helpful, things we disagreed with, ideas that inspired us and/or stretched our thinking. That’s tough to do in 300 words. I am posting my evaluation here (at 332 words it is by far the shortest evaluation posted so far). Preachers! 😉

Some of these statements are so brief that they may only make sense to those who were at the seminar. If you have questions about anything, feel free to post a comment below (by clicking on "comments" at the end of this post).


I enjoyed the Beeson module on “visionary leadership” in Phoenix. One of the most helpful presentations was Ed’s “the sway of the they” — a great reminder about staying the course, listening to the right people, and not getting sidetracked by the wrong ones.

I was also intrigued by the shakeup of Fellowship’s staff. Bold. Risky. Out-of-the-box. That’s the “confusion principle” (the weightlifting principle Ed mentioned in his second presentation) at work in one’s staff! They certainly won’t get in a rut!

I will remember the three common ingredients (in churches making disciples) that Walt discovered during his recovery from a massive heart attack and time of searching (after hearing God’s voice, “I’m calling you to build a community of disciples, not a community of consumers”) …

1) Serious work with the Word of God
2) Work of the Holy Spirit
3) Authenticity

I enjoyed Breen’s talk about the “operating system” of the kingdom. The church seems to be the operating system for many; Breen suggested that discipleship was Jesus’ operating system.

While I am wrestling with CCV’s narrow target of 25-45 year-old men (or the strategies involved), I enjoyed listening to CCV’s visionary leader, Don Wilson. He challenged churches to determine their core values, lamenting the fact that most churches are “personality-driven” while most successful corporations are “core values-driven.”

I was inspired by Wilson’s talk of sacrifice, particularly as he shared about his own sacrifice. And I loved the old proverb he quoted: “An army of sheep led by a lion will always defeat an army of lions led by a sheep!”

Kirbyjon, in a memorable way, emphasized getting the process right: vision, mission, objectives, and systems and structures — then people will follow.

I was inspired by Kirbyjon’s statement, “Just because we haven’t done it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.” And I loved what a staff member said about him in a newspaper interview: “‘Impossible’ to Kirbyjon simply means ‘it’s going to take a little longer.’

Lots to process and implement!


We very much enjoyed this event. We’ll be doing a lot more processing of the event next week during our next assignment — writing a 100-word response to each of the other 11 student evaluations that are posted in the online classroom.

Finally, we also enjoyed visiting Community Church of Joy on Saturday evening and Christ’s Church of the Valley on Sunday morning. While we enjoy leading worship 48 Sundays per year at home, it is always good to be able to attend worship 4 times per year in other settings. It is both a learning experience for us as well as a worshipful one.

See you all on Sunday as we begin our Lenten journey together. We will be focusing on the "7 Deadly Sins" and how to manage and overcome them!

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