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June 27, 2007


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johnny roberts

I think most seminarians use the phrase, "it's not either/or but both/and". I think we live in an incredible time of opportunity for the church. The video tool will enable churches, in places that you or other great teachers are unwilling to settle, have great teaching. I think Paul would have used satellite had it been available but I don't think he would have abandoned Timothy either.

Scott Pollard

The problem is I don't see NP going to locations others are unwilling to plant in. I know we are planting in Chattanooga and NP has a strategic partnership here. Take a look at the map of partners:


I don't see too many locations that a church planter would be unwilling to consider.

I know local pastors have roundly critized NP coming to Chattanooga because they see them purely as competion for the churched portion of the community. One complaint I hear is that their 6pm Sunday evening meeting time is prime for "sheep stealing". If they want to reach the unchurched why not a 10am or 11am Sunday meeting?

I don't think that NP intends to steal sheep from anyone but I also don't think they have done a very good job in telling the communities that they are partnering in what their vision is. A lot of communities are viewing them as unwelcome competion coming to town much like you would a Walmart who comes in and due to it's size and strength puts everything else out of business.


The "cult of personality" phenomenon has been a problem since the early church days when believers identitied with Paul vs. Appollos, etc. It's a problem even in stodgy traditional churches, which inevitably suffer a dropoff in attendance when a long time beloved pastor retires or moves on. To some extent it may be inevitable. Someone who is led to a saving knowledge of Christ will understandably feel a gratitude which can easily become a misplaced 'loyalty' to a particular person. One would hope, though, that as new believers grow in Christ that they will become less dependent on any particular pastor, and more confident in their own relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, many people don't grow in that way and they anchor their faith to a fallible man, rather than an infallible God. If that person 'fails' them, their faith is shaken because their anchor was not firmly rooted.

This is why it is so important for churches to help believers grow in their own faith, and not rely on others. Pastors should take active steps to avoid perpetuating the 'cult of personality.' Unfotunately, the more effective a pastor is as a teacher, visionary and leader, the more likely many in his congregation will place to much reliance on him.

jay hardwick

michael -

this may be a bit of a risky response on my part since i am the lead pastor of one of those north point strategic partner churches. :-) i think your question is a valid question and i think i have somewhat of answer for it.

i have heard andy publicly and privately say that the area of north point's organization that is the weakest is communication/preaching. the reason: if he gets hit by a bus, they're/we're in a little bit of trouble. :-) so, in the past three years or so, he has taken it upon himself to lean hard into raising up new communicators at north point.

"communicating for a change" came as a result of andy asking the question, "what is the system we use for preparing messages?" with the help of lane jones and reggie joiner, he put together the step by step process he uses to develop a message and then what the creative teams do to make it meaningful. they did this more for their internal raising up of communicators than for external use. but, it just so happens that there are tons of great communication principles in his system, so it was worthy of book form as well.

i also know that andy has been very intentional about reducing the number of sundays per year that he preaches. each year the past three years or so, his number has gone down. next year, if he sticks to the idea he had earlier in the year, it will go way down.

another interesting development with the addition of browns bridge as a third campus and with buckhead's recent move into their permanent facility, all three campuses will use live and video content. in other words, the live messages will not always originate out of alpharetta.

as far as strategic partners go...the idea behind them is more replicating the model, not raising up new communicators. as andy/np raise up new communicators in alpharetta, buckhead, and browns bridge, by default, strategic partners will have new communicators. the role of lead pastor in strategic partner world, at least the way np does it, is geared towards guys who are great leaders, great vision casters, passionate about the np model, but don't want to preach every week. right now, we have 14 partners. as we expand, maybe focusing on raising up live communicators at each partner becomes more of a priority. right now, the focus is exporting and contextualizing the model.

so, that's a really stinkin' long response, but i hope it helps. i know it's not exaustive, by any means. let's keep the convo going...:-)

Jason Curlee

Thanks for this post...it inspired me to write a couple of posts on my blog about how I would do multi-site and build teachers.

Love your stuff Michael.

Rich Barrett

I'm going to chime in with Jay. No one at North Point would say we've got everything figured out. But asking what happens if Andy gets hit by a bus is no different than asking what would happen to any other church in the world should their lead communicator get hit by a bus. Every church led by a strong communicator is "personality-driven." That's part of being an effective leader and communicator.

Size shouldn't factor into the discussion, really. One campus or 17, 100 attenders or 20,000—the issue is the same: are you intentionally apprenticing others? Are you actively replacing yourself?

If you look back of the last 18 months of Andys' preaching schedule you'll see that he's being very intentional about sharing the pulpit.


As lead pastor for the Jacksonville partnership, I have the freedom to preach a lot more than I do (2-4x per year). Some guys, like Jay and Sean in Athens preach more. Using Andy as our communicator is really only one part of being an NPM partner. The real reason we're doing it is that we believe in the model, and the cities we're in don't have any other churches following the model.

The big question for any church should not be "Who will preach?" but rather "Who will lead?"

As pastors, we have to stretch to share not only our pulpit, but church and staff leadership.

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    • My name is Michael Lukaszewski. I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and went to school at Florida State University. I'm the lead pastor of Oak Leaf Church in Cartersville, Georgia. This is a blog of my personal thoughts and ideas, and does not necessarily reflect the official position of Oak Leaf Church or any other organization mentioned here.

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