Insights from Exponential and Laughter from our team

This past week we attended the largest gathering of church planters at Exponential Conference in Orlando. We heard from main session speakers and sat in small groups to discuss topics that relate to serving the community, starting a church, and much more. Here are some of my most favorite insights:

Tolerance is defined as ‘to put up with.’ Empathy is defined as ‘seek to understand.’ Corporate world and government have to tolerate much. Christians must have empathy towards others. We are not called up put up with something and turn our back because there’s nothing we can do. Instead, we must engage in other’s lives and hear their stories and learn their needs, whether we agree with their lifestyle or not.

    We were asked in a small group session, “in what ways do i disqualify myself from being a church planter’s wife?” I answer honestly with: a lack of education beyond a college degree, white girl, southern background and accent. We were then asked to draw a circle of concern. What in my new neighborhood concerns me? Then we were asked to draw a circle of influence. What in my circle of concern can I have influence in? “You usually can’t do something about everything you’re concerned about.” B. Salter-McNeil

      “There comes a time in every person’s life when they are given a unique opportunity to discover the purpose for which they are born. It is their moment of destiny and if they seize it, it is their finest hour.” Sir Winston Churchill (obviously not present at conference, but quoted!)

      It matters WHO you love like not WHO you look like. S. Claiborne

      “Some need rescuing from the ghetto and some need rescuing from the cul-de-sac.” S. Claiborne

        “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Behold, I received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.” Numbers 23.19-20

        In the story of Amos, the Israelites were receiving the blessing from God, but were not being a blessing to God. M. Carter at Austin Stone Community Church, where the middle-class congregation has moved their church location permanently to the poor part of town.

        As Francis Chan shared with us his and Lisa's call to leave their church, he challenged us that as we truly follow Christ, we will fellowship in His sufferings. He continue to challenge us from the story of Amos: “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountains of Samaria...” Amos 6.1

        The Acts 2 church didn’t have resources, conferences, or books to know what church planting looked like. What did they have? The teachings of Jesus, eyewitnesses of the resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit. L. Giglio

        Church is used to counting internal numbers: Sunday School attendance, baptisms, first time guests. That matters, but add this approach: Know the numbers in the neighborhood. Number of new people moving in. Number of people who have lost jobs. Number of people internationals. Number of those living below poverty line.

        You miss opportunities in the community if you see a need and start a church program or ministry. Rather, look at a need in the community and get involved THERE.

        Called to San Francisco? Well, then, we of all people should get to know that city better than anyone else.

        I can’t lead my boys to serve, unless I serve first. They must see my example of a servant before they will ever want to follow me as their leader.

        Proclaim Jesus. He’ll do the marketing. K. Blanchard

        If we’re not careful, what’s divine becomes routine. M. Chandler

        I see this played out in my own life as I work for Jesus without the love and fear for Him. I must constantly preach the Gospel to myself. I’m no more righteous than anyone because of the cross and resurrection of Christ.

        With all the knowledge we gained during the day, it was so great for our brains to laugh the evening away! And it's the kind of laughing that causes your stomach to hurt and tears to stream down your face uncontrollably! Ben and I are blessed to be a part of this team. To know more about our staff, go to We were sad that Ben Lee could not be with us, but we can't wait to all be together in the city.

        And though our times were great at the conference, our sweetest moment was joining our hearts the last night and calling on God to have His way in Epic Church, in our homes, in our marriages, in the city of San Francisco, in our jobs, in our children, in our service, and in our decisions.