Discovering The Power Of Praying With People Not Like You

By Bob Roberts, Jr.

I’ve always believed in the power of prayer.  Prayer is a part of my life.  It’s a rare day, and there are rare days, when I don’t begin my day with prayer.  I teach new Northwood Church members and new Christians that it is critical to begin your day with prayer.  Prayer is breath.  Prayer is talking and listening.  Prayer is worship.  For more than 25 years I’ve begun my days journaling what’s going on, good and bad, decisions needing to be made, etc. then I write them in my journal and I read slowly 3 chapters from the Old Testament, 1 from the wisdom literature, and 1 from the New Testament.  Then as I read I write, what I sense God saying to me.  I sing. I reflect.  I worship.  I believe it’s critical to do that first thing because it prepares me for the rest of the day.  I pray throughout the day, I pray before meetings, during meetings, after meetings.  I pray while driving, I pray while talking sometimes – “God guide my words carefully.”  “God be present in this decision give clarity.”  I’m praying non-stop no matter who is there or what is going on and I believe God hears all those prayers.  There are so many dimensions to prayer – it’s bigger than a form, a set time, a moment – it’s a life.

Many years ago when I was in Afghanistan in the desert, I was with my Muslim friends and they would stop and pray.  They would lay out their rugs on the sand, and I waited in the SUV.  But I thought, I’m a Christian, I believe in God, I’m praying.  So I asked them at their next stop would it offend them if I knelt down beside them and prayed as they prayed.   They loved it – and I did to.  It lead us to a whole conversation about what prayer was about and how God guides us in our life.

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The Power of Working with College Students in the World

by Mitch Jolly, Pastor of Three Rivers Community Church, Rome, Georgia

Guest Blogger

College students are a powerful asset in our world. However, it’s possible to overlook the impact they can have while in their college years because of the transient nature of college life and sometimes seeming lack of focus.

Some see college students as older kids who just need to be fed and entertained until they graduate and get a real job. I don’t quite see them that way. I believe they are valuable now, and they need to be engaged in the world now.

The truth is that many college students are ambitiously looking to invest their time and energy all over the world and they are focused when engaged about what makes them passionate. The students I work with don’t want to be entertained. They want to give their lives to something that matters.

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What I’ve Learned by Working in Nigeria

by Kevin Cox,  Pastor, Vista Church

Guest Blogger

December 2008 marked a pivotal moment in the life of our church. A month prior we had held the grand opening of Vista Church and now I was boarding a plane for Abuja, Nigeria on a vision trip to evaluate whether or not we as a church would work in this burgeoning country. Nigeria’s population was exploding. Though rich with natural resources such as oil, there was a significant divide between the ultra-rich and the abject poor. Corruption was pervasive. The countless people groups, languages, religions and cultures fostered a simmering distrust between people. Boko Haram, the al Qaeda affiliate, was in the initial stages of solidifying a foothold in the far northeastern states of Nigeria. It was into this “powder keg” of an environment that Jesus said to us “go.”

Over the next seven years we took eight trips to Nigeria. We worked with and alongside of the Yoruba Christians, the Hausa Muslims and the Fulani Muslims. We took teams of teachers, nurses, doctors, pastors, small business owners and “handymen” with us to work in their respective domains of society. Reflecting back now I believe that we learned and received more from Nigeria than Nigeria learned or received from us. We are a better church because of our engagement in Nigeria. Here are some of the valuable and lasting lessons that I’ve learned by working in Nigeria:

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“I Can’t Believe I’m Talking to You”

by Kevin Brown, Pastor, The Perfecting Church

Guest Blogger

In a world overwhelmed by hatred and conflict, it was refreshing to gather in Elkins Park, PA this week with Rabbi Howard A. Addison and the congregation of Melrose B’Nai Israel Emanu-El.  The synagogue was filled with a cast of unlikely characters including Blacks, Whites, Jews, Christians, at least one Muslim and several different faith traditions.  The occasion was, “A Conversation for Peace” led by Ali Abu Awad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger, two men from the West Bank that I call friends.

These two men live in the epicenter of a conflict that the whole world is watching.  Serving alongside, exchanging stories, and learning from men like these in the West Bank has radically changed the way I see myself as pastor, the world and the Church. Read more

Way To Love Muslims! Jesus Followers of Phoenix & Churches Like Redemption Church

By Bob Roberts, Jr.

It’s sad to me, that people, many of whom would call themselves Christians, will be picketing outside a mosque, and performing behaviors that are offensive to Islam and the worshippers in the mosque.  For them to picket and draw cartoons is their right whether I agree with it or not, but to do it in front of a mosque, a place of worship to dishonor and disrespect them is not right.

Do we really want a country that heckles worshippers?  Is that the “free exercise” thereof?

I love freedom of religion.  It is in our first amendment.  It applies to everyone, not just Christians.  I’m a passionate evangelical.  I believe the Bible is God’s inspired word like no other book.  I believe Jesus is God.  I believe what Jesus did on the cross is how all men get to know God.  So, I don’t agree with Muslims that Jesus was only a prophet.  I don’t agree with Jews that he wasn’t God, I believe that he was.  I don’t agree with polytheist, I believe God is one.  BUT, I strongly believe they have the right to choose their belief.

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Loving Our City

by Kevin Brown  of  The Perfecting Church, Sewell NJ

Guest Blogger

Three things have been undeniably clear since our earliest days as a worshipping community just over three and a half years ago.  This video captures how the community responds when the church becomes a verb and goes as disciples that serve their neighbors with their jobs and passions.

Church is not a noun. Church is a verb.

In far too many cases church is a noun to those who attend, those who once attended and those who have never attended.  The building and the traditions that take place in the building are what define the church.  We invite people to come and see, believing that the key to transformation in our community is getting people to come to our noun — to see our person, place or thing. But the truth of the matter is church is not a noun. It has to be a verb.  We can’t be known solely for trying to get people to come.  We have to be known primarily for going.  We concluded if we were going to plant a church it had to be one filled with people known for going.  Not simply going to a building but going to our neighbors, meeting needs and becoming part of the solution.  We must be a verb, individually and collectively.

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My Journey Into A Multi-Ethnic Church Community

By Sam Chacko, Pastor, LOFT City Church

My parents migrated to the United States when I was just three years old.  When they first arrived in Philadelphia, they were part of a church plant that was just a few years old and primarily focused on the immigrant Indian community.  I grew up in that church and saw her grow from a handful of blue-collar immigrant workers to a fairly large congregation.  I have been incredibly blessed by the passion of the Indian Christian community in which I was raised, and their faith and risk-taking challenged me as I grew up and began to pursue ministry.  When I entered seminary, my dream was to go back to the Indian community and work with the second and third generation community – a community raised and educated in the United States. They spoke English fluently (often instead of our native language) and obtained degrees from the finest of universities as well as great jobs. They love baseball, basketball and football.  Their kids are actively involved in sports leagues and school activities.  One could argue they were more American than Indian.  Read more


by Bob Roberts, Jr.

There are three options:  a shrub, a tree, or a forest.  A church planting church is a forest.

1.     Get the BIG PICTURE of the KINGDOM OF GOD.  We get the Gospel of salvation, but do we get the Gospel of the Kingdom?

Transformation / Reconciliation / Restoration / Comprehensive / Multiplying

2.    Learn from the GLOBAL CHURCH.  We don’t have movements – they do.  Our only hope is a global church planting movement – and if that happens, we have to join as pupils and students, not as leaders.  It requires humility, the Holy Spirit, and love of the entire body of Christ. Read more


by Bob Roberts, Jr.

Many of the things we do at Northwood Church in training our planters involve working with others including coaching, assessing, funding, preparing a prospectus, working on a vision, missional development, value reviews, strategizing, and leadership development. But, there are some things that we do very uniquely in our training that sets us apart and enables us to work in many different contexts in training young pastors as they start churches  . . . . . and beyond.  Read more

The Power Of KDSC To Grow A Church


by Nic Burleson of Timber Ridge Church in Stepehnville, TX

Guest Blogger

Back in the spring of 2011, my wife and I, along with our 2 year old son had just packed up our lives to move to the rural community of Stephenville, TX, outside of Fort Worth to plant a church. We had a full Uhaul and a calling from God…and that was about it. It was that Spring that I attended Northwood’s Cohort for Church Planters. And I can remember the first thing that Bob Roberts said to this room full of planters I was sitting in. He said, “If you want to change a city, if you want to impact the world, you’re going to have to get over your call to preach.” Over the next few days, my idea of what it looked like to plant a church would be forever changed.

Bob and his team at Northwood began to teach me that church planting is far more than hosting a weekly worship service and getting as many people as you can to attend. They taught me the principles of KDSC: Kingdom, Society, Disciple, and Church. And as I would learn, if a church wanted to make an impact, it started with the question of “How is my city?” rather than “How is my church?” It was a complete paradigm shift in thinking about church planting. And it’s this shift that has allowed our church to thrive and grow in the last three years. In fact, in three years, we’ve seen over 300 people make the decision to commit their lives to Jesus Christ and our church has grown from 3 people to between 600-700 in weekly attendance, in a community of just over 15,000 people. And it all began when we decided not to measure our church by it’s seating capacity, but rather by our sending capacity.


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