It’s Time to Start Planting Some Churches

On Tuesday, I got to be a part of something incredibly significant. We publicly launched our movement with other churches in our city to plant 50 new churches in the Long Beach area over the next 5 years in order to see our city transformed.

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It was great to have Rick Warren there for us, kicking off the event and talking about how you don’t need a building, money or many people to plant churches. He was a huge encouragement, and worked the room better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

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Miles McPherson shared about what it looks like to be a church that cares for the needs of your city and does something about it.

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It was a huge gift to have these two very gifted leaders, who lead some of the largest churches in the country (and who actually planted those churches) help us kick off this movement, but what I was more impressed by was who was in the room. There were church planters and potential church planters. Urban leaders and business leaders. Incredibly wealthy men and women, some of whom lead large companies, as well as leaders who lead nationally recognized ministries. There was socio-economic diversity, denominational diversity, and ethnic diversity. The more than 260 people who filled up the room, looked like Long Beach, and the buzz was palatable.

As I talked with one person after the event they told me about how emotional they were during worship to see the spirit of unity in the room amongst such a diverse crowd. When the church unites, not just for unity’s sake, but for the sake of mission, something powerful happens…and we saw that Tuesday. I’m so grateful for the leaders who have stepped up and who I get to lead in this alongside. It is no small act of humility and sacrifice for each of these pastors to contribute their time, finances and even at times their reputation in some circles in order to see the mission of Jesus moved forward in our city.

Now’s the time when we get going, put our money where our mouth is and get some churches that reflect our city planted. But that was an incredible way to get started.

The Benefits of Doing a Big Idea Retreat

Yesterday I got home from the 4th Big Idea Retreat that I’ve led with several of our staff. Every year I take 5-8 of our staff away for a couple of days and as a group, we outline the next year’s message series. Every year, I’m blown away that we’re able to do this and that we come out of it with some great material. Now that I’ve done this for 4 years, here’s a few of the benefits and why I keep doing it:

1. There are great ideas that I would never have on my own

The way that I was trained to come up with message series is to go away on my own and to dream up what we’re going to be talking about. I could really easily do that – there’s plenty of things that I’d love to talk about, but if we did, the kinds of messages that we would do would be heavily slanted towards what I more naturally want to communicate. Different people have different passions and vantage points when it comes to what we need to communicate. Some of our best series in the past few years were ones that someone else came up with and would have never happened if I was the sole idea person for our message series. Our messages at church are richer because we do this every year.

2. Planning 1 year ahead gives me more room for ideas to build

Because I now know what we’re speaking on through 2012, I can collect ideas along the way, begin reading books that would be helpful and start processing ideas that are months away from being delivered as a sermon. I have a system where I catalogue ideas, insights, etc that can be used in messages. This helps me to have some direction on what to be collecting. This takes a huge burden off of my shoulders…and I’m not constantly having to figure out what we’re going to be talking about next month.

3. We can plan natural ebbs and flows in the life of the church

By planning 1 year in advance, we can be thinking about what we talk about based on attendance patterns, what’s happening at that time of year, and having a healthy balance of the kinds of sermons that we deliver.

4. There is greater buy-in with what we’re doing as a church

The messages that we give help to shape our church and really in a lot of ways are a means to cast vision, simply by what we chose to talk about. I believe that vision is worked out in a team environment, which then also means that the message topics need to be worked out in a team environment

5. I can give voice to and push back on theological ideas and biblical interpretations

I don’t do a huge amount of teaching through specific texts with our staff or theologies, but as we talk about messages and how we want to frame things, I get an opportunity to speak into the way that we’re reading texts and some of our theological framework in a more pointed way than I do when we do take opportunities to talk about that stuff as a staff. It was funny to me what people remembered I had said about specific passages of Scripture based on what we had talked about in years past. And at the same time, I get challenged by

6. I enjoy hanging with our staff

There are things that we can’t plan for, conversations we can’t create and experiences that we don’t have together outside of getting away and spending a few days with one another. I think those encounters make us a better team and help us towards pushing the ball down the field a little bit better. Plus, it gives me some great blackmail material on our staff.

Our Big Idea retreat has become, I believe, one of the more important things that we do each year for our church. I love it and am already starting to think about next year’s.

Church Planting Kick Off Event

At Parkcrest United, we announced our involvement in partnership with churches in the Long Beach area to plant 50 new churches over the next 5 years in order to see our city transformed. On Tuesday, we’re holding an official kick-off event for this effort to invite even more churches, potential church planters, business and city leaders to be a part of this.

We have just a few spots left for this lunch event with Rick Warren and Miles McPherson. The details and the link to register are below. If you want to come and hear more about what we’re doing, I’d love to see you there.


WHEN:Tuesday, October 25th, from 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM

COST:$25 – Includes lunch

WHERE:The Reef, 880 Harbor Scenic Drive, Long Beach

GUEST SPEAKERS:Rick Warren, Pastor, Author

Miles McPherson, Pastor, Author


We are local pastors and business leaders who love Long Beach and the surrounding area. Like others who live and work in Long Beach, we want our city to flourish. We believe that a key part of a flourishing city is healthy churches. Our collaboration will help strengthen local congregations and start new churches that will bless the neighborhoods and people of Long Beach.
Click here to learn more about Vision360.


  • Mike Goldsworthy, Parkcrest Christian Church 
  • Larry Walkemeyer, Light and Life Christian Fellowship
  • Wayne Chaney, Antioch Church
  • John Teter, Fountain of Life Covenant Church
  • Darren Rouanzoin, The Garden
  • Josh Chavez, Parkcrest Christian Church, 7th Street
  • Eric Marsh, Grace Long Beach Church, Vision360 Long Beach City Catalyst
  • Blake Christian, Vision360 Business Catalyst, Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt LLP
  • Chris Lagerlof, Regional Catalyst, Vision360


Vision 360 of Long Beach from Ryan Prouty on Vimeo.

Huffington Post on Living Together

After our message on marriage this weekend and our offer of the Free Wedding Weekend, this was passed along to me today. I was shocked to find that it seems that even the Huffington Post is willing to admit that at least for some, cohabitation is a bad idea (although with all the arguments that she cites, I’m not totally sure how she ends up with some).

Here’s a few quotes pulled out of the article:

So what’s so wrong with living with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Let’s forget the studies pointing out the booze (cohabitors drink more), weight (they’re heavier) and happiness (they’re not quite as happy as married couples but they aren’t more miserable, either), because those aren’t the issues. Nor are the results of the latest NMP study, “Why Marriage Matters,” which predicts doom and gloom for the children of cohabiting couples. The NMP has an agenda; it wants to promote marriage. Still, even a recent and presumably agenda-less Pew Study finds similar results, at least when it comes to cohabiting couples’ economic well-being; they’re poorer, and that puts stress on a relationship. A lot of stress…

The real problem with cohabiting is that many couples who enter into it don’t give it a lot of thought; it’s one of those “just kind of happened” things. You like him, he likes you and a few months later you’re jamming your stuff into his closets…

Commitment is a decision. And if cohabitation is being offered as a replacement to marriage — as theAlternatives to Marriage Project and many sociologists and family psychologists see it — then a little more thought about it needs to happen, especially if you know you want to have kids one day.

(read the whole thing here)