Brian's Blog

Recently I received an invitation to give the invocation at a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' meeting.  This is a huge blessing.  The Supervisors are some of the most powerful people in Los Angeles. Some call them the Five Little Kings, refering to their power and influence.  This would allow me to meet them and probably receive a certificate of appreciation.

Of course, I jumped on the opportunity and said, "Yes, I'll pray."  

But then it happened.

I received an email outlining the "Invocation Guidelines," which prohibits me to pray "In Jesus' Name." My heart began to ache.

I posted on Facebook if I should still go to pray or not.  This hot button issue received mixed responses. Some said, "Don't do it.  You can't deny Jesus!"  Others said, "Go.  You're a missionary and Jesus will be with you.  There's no hard rules to ending prayer."

So what did I do?............................................I respectfully declined.

I declined NOT out of religous zealotry or legalism.  I know God hears me when I speak to Him even though at times I don't use Jesus' Name.  And I don't think other ministers who go to pray are denying Jesus.

But I declined out of deep personal conviction. I'm a Christian minister - I pray "In Jesus' Name."  To invite me to pray is to invite me to be who I am and to do what I do.  Besides, the Name of Jesus is what delivered me from deep darkness.  And I came out of deep, deep darkness (You can obtain my autobiography here).

I don't have it in me to pray a public prayer intentionally not using the Name of Jesus.

This is just me.  

P.s. I just got a good idea. I'll pray for that Board meeting right here: "Lord God, I thank you for the privilege to pray to You.  I thank you for the LA County Board of Supervisors and their staff. They have a great work to do. I ask your Hand of blessing upon the LA County Board of Supervisors and their meeting.  I pray You fill them with wisdom to make the right decisions that LA County may prosper in every way.  In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Book Release Party

Yesterday at church was an awesome day across both our campuses.  It was the release of my autobiography, "Young Man Arise!" and 500+ people came out to celebrate with us, breaking an attendance record for a non-holiday Sunday.

I am so thrilled about what God is doing at Chapel of Change.  The Lord is redeeming people from their past lives of hurt and pain.  And then turning around and using their story to bring Him glory.

I encourage you to come check us out on a Sunday.  I'm confident that you will be blessed by the Lord.

If you want to purchase my book, the information is on the HOME PAGE of our website.

What I Teach Our Leaders

Last night we had our Leadership Summit.  This is a quarterly meeting with the main influencers in our church.  The ones putting in major work for the Lord week after week. 

I thought it would be good to allow you to be like a fly on the wall to check out some things I teach our leaders.

1.Effective leaders recruit and form teams.
    This is a key skill to an effective leader.  Jesus recruited a team. Apostle Paul recruited a team.  And so should you if you're going to be an effective leader. 
     Leaders don't do everything by themselves.  They enlist people to help them accomplish the mission.  I watch for people who are able to form teams.

2. Effective leaders are tour guides not travel agents.
     Like most good leadership nuggets, that nugget didn't orginate with me.  I learned it from John Maxwell.  Tour guides walk with people through their journey.  Travel agents send others to places they themselves have never been.  Effective leaders model what they want accomplished.

3. Effective leaders learn how to manage ministry anxiety.
     In a rapid growing church, you will have many opportunities to grapple with ministry anxiety.  People will tell you about all their "concerns" about the church and how things should be.  You will be tempted to rush into action, but don't.  Step back.  Breathe and pray.  Don't allow the anxiety to overcome you.

4. Who is following you?
    Someone once said, "He who calls himself a leader but has no one following him, is just taking a walk."  I challenge our leaders to have at least 5-10 disciples in the church.  I regularly ask them, "Who are you taking out for coffee?" "Who are you texting personal encouragement to?"  I empower them to form their own mini-church within the congreation.

BONUS - I challenge our leaders to use the 15 minutes after church to connect with new people or people who need to take next steps into the life of the church.  Those 15 minutes are an important time slot in the life of the church.  For a lot of people, it's the only time you will get to connect with them in a week. It's not the time for leaders to fellowship with each other or talk about the Lakers. 

Please forgive me for bragging, but our church has some amazing leaders.  Leaders who are sacrificng time, money and tears to build up God's kingdom.  Their faith excites me to keep giving my all to God's purposes in our generation.

P.s.- I learned most of these leadership principles during my time on staff at Light & Life Christian Fellowship North Long Beach.  Submiting to a healthy church before we launched was one of our best decisions in our church planting journey. 

P.s.s- If you know someone who wants to launch a church in the next couple years, send them our way.  We will train them, empower them and support them.
 

4 Points to a Church Planter

In the last 2 years of taking this journey as a church planter, I have learned several key points of what a church planter does.  I don't take credit for these points.  I have learned them along the way.  Most, if not all the points, I have learned from Pastor Larry Walkemeyer of Light & Life North Long Beach.

But I have worked them out in my church planting experience.  And I have experienced the importance of them in sustaining a fruitful work for the Lord.  

Chapel of Change has grown from a small home Bible study to a mid-size, multi-campus, thriving church.  I know ulitmately we have experienced this fruitfulness because of God's grace.  But I also believe God's grace taught me how to implement these points for the expansion of His Kingdom.

1. A church planter is a team builder.
This is huge.  If you cannot recruit and develop a team, you may not be a church planter.  You can be a pastor, but that doesn't mean you are a church planter.  When is the last time you built a team? Jesus built a team.  Apostle Paul built a team.  And you will need to know how to build  a team if you are going to successfully plant a church.

2. A church planter empowers leaders
I think one reason why the average church in America is like 80 people is because the pastor tries to do it all.  Effective church planters catch and release.  They build up leaders and then release them into the ministry to lead.  Imagine if you had 5 leaders who themselves had 10 people following them. Your church would already have 50 disciples.  I often ask our leaders, "Who do you have following you?"

3. A church planter casts vision
No one wants to follow someone who doesn't know where he or she is going.  What is your vision and mission?  Why does God want you to plant your church.  You will need to be able to effectively communicate what God is placing in your heart.  And not just one time either.  You will need to communicate vision all throughout the year.  Our church holds Leadership Summits quarterly.

4. A church planter raises funds
Yes, don't be afraid to ask for money.  It takes money to plant a church.  I know God will provide, but you need to ask.  What is your plan for raising funds?  How much will your church plant cost to get off the ground?  You will need to think through all this.  

BONUS POINT- A church planter knows how to take a licking and keep on ticking.
You're going to get hit - spiritually, emotionally, financially and relationally.  Your hits are going to come from all sides and from all people.  Don't take them personal.  Protect your heart.  Do like football players do when they get hit: spin and break the tackle.

Lord bless you on your journey.

P.s. - If you know someone who wants to plant a church in the next couple years, send them my way.  CoC wants to plant a church soon.
 

Special Gideon Offering

In Judges 7 God used a small army of 300 soldiers to defeat a large opposing army.   It was a great victory.  An underdog type of story.

Our church today has a giant obstacle in front of it.  It's a $100,000+ down payment for our church.  I believe, together, we can conquer it.  I believe, together, we can overcome it.  But it's going to take a special army.  It's going to take bravery and faith in a giant God.

I'm believing for 300 people to step forward and become our Special Gideon Army by contributing $100.00 each to help conquer the down payment for the church. You can be in the church or out of the church.  You can team up with someone or go solo.

Your investment will help impact millions of souls as we impact the world with the Gospel from that church property.  Every soul that's saved, every life that is touched will go towards your heavenly account.

You can give online through our website: http://www.chapelofchange.org/online-giving/index.html  

Thank you in advance for your kingdom advancement.

Why I Love My Denomination...

Ok, more like "realy, realy like."

Last week the The Free Methodist Church (FMC) voted in favor of moving Chapel of Change from Church Planting Project status to Church status.  I know the first thing you thought was, "What is Free Methodist?"  Don't worry. I thought the same thing too a couple years ago.

You can learn more about FMC in this link- https://fmcsc.org/

In short, the FMC is a 150 year Christian movement that has been dedicated to preaching the Gospel and fighting for the disenfranchised.  I like that.  Legacy.

Here's my top reasons why I really, really like The Free Methodist Church.

1. We are Kingdom-minded.
     This means we put the big "C" over the little "C."  We value partnerships and relationships with other ministries, pastors and movements.  Picture John Wesley and John Calvin sipping Starbucks together.   On the streets, they would say we don't "set trip."  We understand that one church cannot do it all.

2. We value education AND the calling of God.
     A lot of denominations value education more than the calling of God.  If you're going to be a pastor, you need to have a master's degree or better.  But FMC doesn't sacrifice pastors on the altar of education.  

3. We value the multi-ethnic church movement.
     Now as a whole, we still have steps to take on this issue, but we are taking them and not just talking about them.  This year we were a major sponsor of the Mosiax National Multi-ethnic Church Conference, which is the face of the multi-ethnic movement.  And we have two of the most multi-ethnic churches in Long Beach (One of them Chapel of Change, yeah God!).

4. We prioritize church planting.
     This is huge for me for obivious reasons (I'm a church planter..lol..).  People look at the fruitfulness of CoC and wonder how?  Submitting to godly leadership under the FMC was the best church planting decision our leaders made.  It put us around fruitful leaders.  It help to give us accountability and wisdom.  And they financially invested in us in a huge way.

5. They are cool people.
     Yes, that's true.  

Denominations as a whole have a bad rep in a lot of young peoples' minds,  mostly for reasons that happened a 100 years ago.  

But Chapel of Change is proud to stand on the shoulders of a 150 year legacy of believers who have been preaching the Gospel and fighting for the poor.  That excites me!  It's good to belong.
 

One Church - Two Locations

The Lord has done it again!

I'm excited to announce that God is expanding CoC into Long Beach.
We now are one church with two locations.

Our new RIVER/LONG BEACH campus is on the corner of Atlantic Ave./Del Amo Blvd and is only ten minutes away from our PARAMOUNT CAMPUS.

Wow, the Lord is giving us the opportunity to give fresh hope to more families and a larger part of the city.  This is huge.  And just think.  We are only one year old as a church.

The river is rising!
 

30 Day Church Challenge

In our first year of life, CoC did a lot of gathering.  But now it's time to focus on discipling.  Therefore we kicked off 2014 strong with a 30 Day Church Challenge aimed to teach the church the five main purposes of the church and get believers engaged in small groups.  This is in line with this year's theme of "DiscipleSHIFT."

We are serious about teaching people how to be fully, devoted disciples of Christ.

I'm pleased to announce that our 30 Day Church Challenge was a huge success.  Here are some of the highlights:

1. 100+ people engaged in small groups.
2. Sunday worship attendance in record highs.
3. Gave 67 service hours to help beautify the city.
4. Collected $500.00 to help needy families in our church.
5. The church is growing smaller (through authentic community) as it's growing larger.
6. New leaders are emerging.

Celebrate!  Chapel of Change is on the move.

P.s. On Sunday, February 16, I will be giving a historical, GINORMOUS announcement about the future of CoC.
 

Christmas Eve

In the spirit of "risking all" for Jesus, we decided to hold two Christmas Eve Candlelight services this year.  We also wanted to go big by giving away free toys, a bag of groceries and tamale dinner. This has been out motto since we launched in 2012.
 
Well, the Lord sure did bless our efforts.  Lots of people came out from the community, like 450.  This was about double from last year.  It was such a blessings to see young men from a boys home in Compton walk into the church to receive the Word.  And several people raised their hands to indicate surrendering to the Lord when I gave the altar call.

We had a blast in the Lord and we are so excited for what God will do in 2014.

First Year Report

Chapel of Change launched in October 7, 2012 with 700 people coming out to celebrate our grand opening, including the Mayor of the City of Paramount.  It has been a river rapid ride ever since.

     Within one year, hundreds would surrender their lives to Christ at our altar and 1000s more would be filled with the fresh hope of the Gospel.  Below is a short summary of what the Lord has done.

241 average Sunday attendance
340 decisions for Christ
38 baptisms
500 volunteer hours given to help beautify the city
2500lbs of food given away
40 Gospel-centered videos produced

We are excited about 2014.

2014's theme will be "DiscipleShift: Making Disciples, Not Just Decisions."  We are going to do our best to teach people what it means to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.  

Pray for us as we seek to do God's will.
 
     The Lord gave a word to our church on Sunday that really blessed and strengthened us.  I want to share this same word with you.

     Starting now until about January, God is enrolling many of you into the School of Contentment.  You are going to see people buy things for themselves that you want, but can't purchase at this time in your life.  You are going to see parents purchase gifts for their kids that you can't purchase for your kids at this time.  You are going to see people go to places that you like, but can't go at this time.

   The enemy is going to try to attack your heart with discontent and dissatisfaction.  This discontent is going to try to rob you of the joy that belongs to you in Christ Jesus.  Be aware and alert.  God is weaning you off of dependency of people, places and things.

     God wants Christ to be your all in all.  He wants Christ to be your everything.  He wants you to be satisfied in Christ alone.

     Apostle Paul said he "learned" to be content in all situations (Philip. 4:12).  And we need to continually learn and re-learn the secret of contentment too. 

     I'm praying you graduate with honors.  Happy Thanksgiving.

     In His grip,
     Pastor Brian

     P.s. - You can listen to my video blog HERE.