Archive for August, 2011

So what is an Assessment Center for Church Planters?

Posted in Church Planting on August 17, 2011 by djhva

This week the VEF is participating in an assessment center in Seattle, Washington in a partnership with two other “sister” church planting organizations:  the CEA ( located there in Seattle, and Nexus ( based in Dallas. Dave & Cindy Hileman are both serving as assessors with the four prospective church planting couples, two of which are potentials for upcoming VEF projects.

The assessment takes place over 3-4 days as the couple is evaluated for their skills and experience based on the 13 essential categories identified by Dr. Charles Ridley that church planters need to effectively plant a church. Categories include: effectively relates to the unchurched; ability to cast vision; resilience; effectively builds group cohesiveness, etc. The planting couples spend an hour or two on each of the 13 categories with different assessment teams. By the end of  the week each couple is given a rating by the assessment team, from one to five, for each of the categories and a final average score.

As they leave, the couple sits through an exit interview with the entire team. The assessment process can be very encouraging for the couple as the gifts, passions and experiences they’ve been given by God are highlighted and affirmed by the team. Areas where further skill development or experience is needed are identified. Future coaching points are earmarked for their church planting coach. One of the beset outcomes from the week is the special bond each of the planting couples make with the others as they all prepare to embark on such a great adventure of faith.

Probably all of us would benefit from an experience like this that helps point us in the right direction for how God has wired us to serve within his Kingdom. It’s too bad we only do it for church planters.

Tim Cole, VEF Director of Church Planting

“Erasing Hell” by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle

Posted in Book Review on August 9, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners
author: Harry “The Book Man” Gill, Director of Church Relations
“Erasing Hell” by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle
This brief book is a wonderful refutation of the ideas expressed by Rob Bell and others about the misconception about the reality of hell.  Through the seven chapters of the book, Chan and Sprinkle pose and then answer universal questions that have troubled Christians through the centuries.  From Origen to present theologians the idea of hell, a literal place of eternal punishment where a loving God would send the disobedient, has been problematic. “How could a loving God send His creation to eternal punishment?”
The authors investigate the Scriptures from text to context to point out why the orthodox view of hell is a place of eternal punishment.  The arguments of letting the “potter be the potter” and the fact that God is not “licking His chops” to send us to hell are evidence that the writers understand that God’s ways are beyond our comprehension but He is a loving God in the ultimate of ways.
Chan’s fierce love for his fellow man is evident as he writes not in a vindictive manner but in a grace-filled evangelistic hope of convincing the reader to avoid hell at all cost.  The appendix is a series of FAQ’s that are most helpful in providing the leader of discussions a quick resource of Biblical answers.
The book in answer to Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” is worthy of a rating of 4 out of 5 Hazelnut Lattes and certainly worth having in your library.

Click here to purchase this book on Amazon, and a portion will go back to support the VEF!

Riding on Flat Tires

Posted in General Advice on August 8, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Dave Hileman, Executive Director

I have the somewhat crazy goal of riding my bike from Pittsburgh to Washington DC next spring on the Great Allegheny Trail and the C & O Canal Trail or at least the GAT.

To do that I needed to get my 28 year-old bike tuned up and start riding… now. I have been doing this three or four days a week for about three months. On two rides last week I was struggling to finish the mere 8 mile course I have been riding with lower average speed, longer time and just worn out before I finished.

I first blamed George Bush, of course, but realized he had not borrowed my bike for nearly three years. So I decided it was too hot, the road extra bumpy, the wind too strong (and always a head wind) or some other force out of my control.

This morning when I was getting ready to ride, I thought about the tires. They were half inflated! So with tires back up to the correct pressure, the ride went really well.

How many of us in the church are blaming our lack of growth or other issues we are facing on the economy, the culture, the lack of commitment or the lack of funds? Maybe we are not doing all we know how to do or not doing it well? Maybe we are running on partially inflated tires, worn out, worried and moving too slow.

Let’s look first at what we can do and what we can change.