I have friends from around the world who represent different approaches to following Jesus. I find the folks on this list to be encouraging and significant voices in my current thinking.
Rick and his wife moved to the Orange County area from Texas. With no contacts, he started Saddleback Community Church. It has grown to be one of a handful of gigantic congregations in the U.S. and beyond. If you are in southern California and you have the opportunity, I recommend you take in one of their services. Amazing what God can do with someone who is open to what God is doing.
John and a couple of others joined forces in the early 1980s to start a new spiritual movement, the Vineyard. John passed away long ago, but his thinking on church life and theology on the Holy Spirit are life-giving. John’s theology of the Kingdom of God has affected the Church worldwide.
Rice is the head of Every Nation, a church planting organization that has several hundred congregations spread throughout the world. Every Nation is particularly keen on reaching out to campus ministry and outreach to students and athletes.
I first met Kevin at a promotional event put on by a movie studio in preparation for the release of the movie “Evan Almighty.” Kevin has a heart that is focused on seeing people understand and begin to follow Jesus. He runs the Palau Evangelistic Association in conjunction with his father, evangelist Luis Palau.
Phil has been the head of the Vineyard movement in the U.S. since 2013. Under his leadership, the Vineyard has become increasingly focused on vision, outwardness and getting back to having fun.
Len Sweet – thought leader, prolific author, a seminary professor at George Fox Seminary, head of Doctor of Ministry program. I recommend you look at some of Len Sweet’s books and messages. He has a way of seeing beneath the same thing as others but deducing unique lessons.
Steve has been one of the most prolific servant evangelism trainers. His materials are loaded with outreach wisdom he’s gained over decades of outreach.
In a rather short time, Brian Tome and the amazing leaders at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati have built an amazing church of several tens of thousands. They have amazing online presence including several hundred home churches that tune into Crossroads Live on the weekends to get their own live worship and message experience.
Erwin and company launched one of the first churches aimed at reaching the postmodern culture of today. Mosaic Church has prospered not just in the Los Angeles area, but now there are Mosaic churches spread across the U.S. and beyond.
Warren has his pulse on the heartbeat of the church in the U.S. as well as anyone. He is in constant interaction with a wide swath across the Body of Christ. He has both a DMin degree as well as an earned Ph.D. He has perspective. You’ll find each of his books helpful.
Dino is one of my heroes. He started an outreach in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that was focused on helping forgotten, discarded and rejected people. Amazing stories have come out of their experiences in seeing God provide in amazing ways what became a great church. Dino is a central leader in the Association of Related Churches (ARC) movement.
Greg leads Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C. Seacoast has been on the leading edge of establishing new congregations via multiple campuses that share the same live service regardless of where they are geographically located. Greg is one of the primary national leaders in the ARC church planting movement.
Larry leads. His book “Sticky Teams” is particularly helpful to anyone building a board or a team of any sort.
In the world of the Southern Baptist Church, the largest protestant church group in America, Jeff is in charge of church planting.
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Dr. Sweeten has been training people in listening skills and what he calls, “Rational Christian Thinking” – learning to speak the truth in love. I have gained tremendously from Gary’s material. He has several worthwhile books.
Dave leads a church located west of the Chicagoland area, Community Christian Church. He is at the center of some of Exponential, a tribe of church planters spread out across the world.
Ed is a one-person flurry of ministry activity. He is a prolific writer, blogger, lecturer, preacher – whew! Among other roles, he is the current teaching pastor at Moody Church in Chicago. Anything Ed has written is worth reading. Among other books, he wrote the second best church planting book ever written. Ed also leads the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, IL. Again, whew! He’s a man on the move.