001-Listening to Patrick

One of my heroes of the faith is Patrick of Ireland. One of the great movement founders.

Here part of an address on Patrick at a Forge intensive last year.

Related: Can anything good come out of Ireland?

Beer mat ads to recruit priests

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor Of Westminster
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor Of Westminster

According to the BBC, the number of priests is in serious decline in the UK. The Cardinal of Westminster has seen numbers of priest in his diocese slump from 850 in 1990 to 600 this year. The number is expected to decline to 470 over the next decade.

But we have a solution.

The Church is launching a recruitment campaign that will use beermats in pubs and posters on the London Underground to promote the priesthood.

If a few posters and beermats don’t fix the trend let me suggest some other ideas.

1. Look back. Find a parallel time in history when the numbers and quality of those in the priesthood and religious orders was in serious decline. 2. Learn. Look for the underlying causes of decline and the case studies that reversed the trend. Distill the enduring principles. 3. Make an innovative return to tradition. Apply the lessons in a contemporary way.

Start with the story of The Ignatius Loyola and the birth of the Jesuits. Rather than posters and beer mats he used intense prayer and reflection on the life and ministry of Jesus to call thousands into service all over the globe.

Check out Disappearing Nuns and Reappearing Nuns.

Good looking models

When I can't sleep I like to mark papers. Marked one the other night. The student was wrestling with his call to church planting. The whole paper was about analyzing various church planting models and case studies in order to select the right one. The equation? Right model = success.

A well written paper. Unfortunately it was the wrong question. Anyone can construct a good model. On paper.

THE critical issue is the planter. No exceptions. It's leadership. Character and skills. Heart and hands.

After that make sure you've chosen the right community and/or ministry focus group. Then find some great team members and come up with the best model you can as a starting point.

How can you find out if you're an effective church planter? There's some helpful resources out there. newchurches.com has some listed. Our most effective tool has been the behavioral interview process developed by Bob Logan and Charles Ridley at CoachNet.

Don't make the decision to plant a church without a strong sense of call that has been validated by godly wisdom. No matter what mark you get for your essay.