Collaborating (kind of): Carey Nieuwhof

20 Apr


Carey Nieuwhof: The Change You Need to Embrace

First Things First

Carey Nieuwhof seems to be a pretty great guy.

Next week at the Orange Conference, he’s going to be explaining to Senior Pastors from across the country why they need to take on the mission of reaching families in their communities.  I’d imagine that anyone attending his breakout would have a foot up on everyone else in the room if they read this chapter.

I’m just saying.

Quick Take-Away

So, I’ve loved some chapters of this book, and I’ve wanted to scream at others… this chapter did a little bit of both for me.  It would be easy for me to miss the chance to explain why this chapter is awesome… so I’ll first speak to what spoke to me and our church’s current context.

Our church is a church that cares more about those who are not attending our church than those who are.  So, reasons #1 for why Carey embraced family ministry is one that I think would resonate with our staff: Family Ministry Might Be The Greatest Outreach Opportunity The Church Has Today.  That is huge.  Parents in our community aren’t staying awake at night, wondering what our senior pastor is going to be preaching on Sunday morning… they’re worrying about their kids.  The crazy thing is – I’m staying up at night worrying about their kids too.  I think we can leverage that.

Okay… the thing that drove me crazy…

Carey talks about different kinds of changes a Senior Pastor has to face in leadership.  He talks about how it’s important for someone in leadership to be able to overhaul entire systems for the hope of a better tomorrow.  Then, Carey shares his own story… a story in which he realized that a massive restructuring would have to happen in order for his church’s ministries to align.  Then, after realizing his system needed a huge overhaul, he left his denomination and started a new church.

If I’m being totally honest, this made me scream a little bit in my head.

I understand that someone’s story is someone’s story.  Carey can’t change the way in which God led him to embracing family ministry.  But, the last thing I want to do is have my Senior Pastor read this chapter and get some crazy idea about leaving our church to plant one with a clean slate.  I want to know that a church which thrived in the 70’s and 80’s can reinvent itself as a church that exists to serve and equip families in the year 2010.  If I pass this chapter on to our pastor, I may actually white-out these two sentences:

Ironically, two years later, in late 2007, a few of us left the denomination we were serving to start Connexus Community Church.  When we had a chance to plant a church for the first time, we built it around a family ministry model.

Seriously, I am a big fan of Carey.  I’m stoked for the way that he’s reaching uncommitted families in his community with the Gospel of Jesus.  And, if I seriously cut out those two sentences, then I’m going to pass this chapter on to our senior leadership team.

This post is 1 of many in a series.  I’m assuming that the contributing authors of Collaborate want to have a conversation with me.  You can read my open letter to them here.


Posted by on April 20, 2010 in Book Review, Collaborate Book, Kidmin


Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “Collaborating (kind of): Carey Nieuwhof

  1. Carey Nieuwhof

    April 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Hey Anthony,

    Carey here. Thanks for blogging about the book and my article. I’m so glad your raised the point. It’s funny how you can know the story inside your head, but when it comes out on paper you realize you left out some salient details.

    I didn’t leave a denomination over a change issue within the church. The denomination I was a part of had a structure that in my view, would make it difficult to pursue a multisite model. I also had growing concerns about a few other issues.

    We were able to successfully transition a congregation, but I just didn’t feel we would be able to have the freedom to pursue our vision within the denominational system I was in. So many of us who built Trinity together started Connexus together. So it’s a bit of an unusual story that way.

    I have immense respect for people who try to transition things…having been there myself. Plus I always say every church plant becomes a transition within two years anyway – we have to change the system we started with.

    Thanks for reviewing the article. I’m glad parts of it encouraged you and thanks for raising the question.



    • Anthony Prince

      April 21, 2010 at 7:42 am

      And, as if he needed it, Carey Nieuwhof just got a ton of street cred in my book.
      Anyone who can change the ethos of a church without just bailing and starting something new is on my short list of people I want to chat with.

      Carey, thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.



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