Monday, December 13, 2010

The inner voice

Picture 001
Last Sunday Robin lost her keys at the church building.  This is very bad because we have our vehicle, house and building keys on the same keychain.  We did a search of the building before we left to try to find them… no good.
Then I went back a couple more times during the week to look… still nothing.  I even did a thorough search of the building and grounds (even places Robin wouldn’t have gone)… STILL nothing!  All the while, we were praying and asking God to show us where they were.
We concluded that someone must have either stolen them or taken them accidentally.  But when we asked our team, no one had them.  NOW WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
Last Sunday when I was first looking, I had this random thought to go through the trash and look for the keys.  But no one wants to do that… that’s just nasty!  If I felt this about looking under the refrigerator, or going through the kids room toys or something like that, no problem.  But going through the trash?  No thanks!
Robin often puts her keys on the coffee table in the church (while we’re cleaning up after the service), and there is a trash can at the end of the table with an open top.  At the end of the service we just wrap up the trash bag and toss it in the container.
It’s my son’s job to take the trash bags to the container and to put the container out on the curb for trash pickup on Monday morning.  Last Sunday he took the trash out to the container, but he forgot to take the container out to the curb.  I ended up having to buy two special garbage bags from the city to put the trash in so we would have room for this weeks’ trash.  I was pretty frustrated… such is life with a teenager in the house :-)
I still had this nagging thought to go through the trash (which wasn’t taken away last weekend) and look for the keys.  I was ready to give up looking last night when this thought came to me again… this time very strongly.
I went out and dug through the trash (YUCK!)… still nothing.  Then in the last trash bag I didn’t find anything.  But I felt I should just shake it up a bit more and feel around the bottom of the bag to see if I could feel anything even remotely resembling keys.  To my surprise (and joy), there they were!  They must have fallen off the table into the trash and no one noticed.
It was the Holy Spirit all the time trying to get my attention.  If I had just obeyed that voice the first time, it wouldn’t have been so time consuming or gross.  And by showing us where they were He saved us hundreds of Euros (car keys are expensive to replace because of the chip inside them).
We have to get better at hearing and obeying this “voice.”  God wants to lead and direct us, but we have to be open to the different ways He uses to accomplish this.
When you don’t know what to do, the best answer is to just get quiet and pray.  God is always speaking.  He wants to reveal Himself to us, and to answer our questions, whether it’s for lost keys or something much more important.  But we have to be in a position to hear.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Changed little lives

At Watermark we are highly focused on children’s ministry.  They will get high quality resources and leaders. When it comes to a choice between buying something for our kids and buying sound equipment, we always default to purchasing stuff for our kids.  This is paying off richly!!!  In the past six weeks, three kids have come to Christ!

One of them is a high-energy little guy… a happy go lucky, fun little dude named Alex.  But sometimes he is also an EGR child (Extra Grace Required).  He and his little sister live across the street from the church building, and their mom and dad take turns coming with them… sometimes the children even come by themselves.

One afternoon as Robin was praying for Alex, God showed her a glimpse of what his life could look like.  She pictured him as an adult and what he would tell someone about how he came to Christ.  

She pictured him as a young adult telling about this church that started across the street from where he lived.  He said, “I don’t even remember anyone’s name there, but that’s where people loved me and were happy to see me!  I gave my heart to Christ and I’ve never been the same since!”

Actually, last Sunday, Alex did give his heart to Christ!  And his sister did so the week before.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our first baptism!!!

We baptized one of our Launch Team members yesterday.  Here’s the video of Stefy’s baptism (see the Watermark Freiburg Church Planting Blog for the story)…

Stefy's baptism (on her 20th birthday!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Unfolding Story…

I remember moving to Germany almost 9 years ago…  We were so excited!  We knew that God had big plans for us and we ready to get going.

We left a great job with people we loved and trusted in order to follow God’s plan for our lives.  We KNEW this was the right thing to do, although it seemed crazy.  We felt as if we were jumping out of a perfectly good airplane without a parachute!

And we KNEW what God’s plan for us was (or so we thought).  He had made it clear to us that we were to come to Germany to train European youth leaders and to minister to European teens.  We also felt we were to help a church and Bible school in Bonn, which we did for 7 years.

Three years ago something in our hearts began to change.  It was as if God was broadening the “call” on us to train leaders.  All of a sudden we were doing as much training and mentoring for pastors and other church leaders as for youth leaders.  And this new “call” has served us well for the past two years.

In retrospect we can see that God has been preparing us for the leap of faith we’re taking right now (again jumping out of an airplane without a parachute).  In planting a church in Freiburg, we can see that THIS is the reason He called us to Germany.

The epiphany I’ve recently had is that, as we grow in our relationship with God and our spiritual maturity, God’s plan for us also grows.  Every step of obedience creates new opportunities.  That’s why the path to our destiny is never a straight line.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Feeling stuck…

I got an email from a person that is feeling stuck in a ministry position they don’t want to be in.  This person’s pastor asked them to take over the kids ministry in their church because another person had to step down… and because this person had helped out with the Children’s Ministry before.  This person doesn’t like working with kids but wants to serve their church and help out the pastor. 

Their pastor promised them some help and asked them to stay, even though they said they didn’t want to.  They asked for my advice on what to do. (I realize this paragraph isn’t grammatically correct, but it protects his/her identity) 

Here is part of my reply…

Has the situation gotten any better?  Did your pastor find you some help?

Let me give you some suggestions (in case you still don't want to serve in this area of ministry)...

1. Try to recruit as many helpers as you can.  It's always more difficult to serve alone.

2. Tell your pastor you’d like to commit to a certain period of time (6 months, 9 months, 1 year, etc) while he finds a replacement.  He shouldn’t have a problem with that.  And by that time you will have had the chance to see if this is what God wants you to do. 

As I told you before, the longer I was with each age group I never wanted to work with (10-12 year olds, children, etc) the more fun I had and the more I enjoyed it.  Sometimes the road of faithfulness takes you in a direction you don't want to go, but it always opens new doors of opportunity!

If at the end of this time you still don't feel that this is a good fit for you (not just you wanting to avoid responsibility), give your pastor at least two months notice that he will have to find a replacement.  When he does find a replacement, help the new person succeed.

3. Ask another church which curriculum they use... there are a lot of good resources out there for Children’s Ministry.

4.  See if your pastor will give you a weekend off so you can spend some time observing a larger Children’s Ministry in another church... it’s helpful to see how others are ministering to kids.  Helping out is one thing.  But it’s not until you've done it yourself a few times you really know what questions to ask!

Friday, August 6, 2010

What to do when you don’t know what to do

Here’s a suggestion: Make some alone time and get quiet before God.  This is why the monks and ascetics practiced the spiritual disciplines of fasting and solitude.  It doesn't cause God to speak.  It positions us to hear... or better yet, it helps us quiet ourselves.

Another thought... the path to our purpose is never a straight one.  Faithfulness is following God even when it seems to be leading in the wrong direction.  It always leads us to the place we need to be... where our life really counts!  Sometimes we have to die to our plans in order to be able to live for His plans.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

PODCAST - Duesseldorf Worship Workshop (pt 2)

Duesseldorf Worship Workshop (Jon Perrin) – This podcast is from a Worship Workshop I taught in Duesseldorf, Germany in 2004. Although it primarily applies to worship leaders, the principles taught will benefit anyone in church or ministry leadership.

Dieses “Podcast” kommt von ein Worship Workshop das ich in Duesseldorf, Deutschland gelehrt habe. Obwohl es sich hauptsächlich auf den Lobpreisleiter fokussiert, sind die Prinzipien die gelehrt werden für jeden der in der Leiterschaft ist, sei es im Dienst oder in der Gemeinde, von Vorteil.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Settling for less

One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram's wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran's child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there. Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran. - Gen. 11:32-33

I believe this is one of the saddest verses in the entire Bible.  Here we see a man (Abraham’s father, Terah) that set out on a journey.  He had a specific destination in mind.  But when he got halfway there, he stopped.  It says he settled in Haran (named for his son).  There may have been good reasons for it, but fact remains that he never reached his destination.

I believe this is a great metaphor for us today.  We all have hopes and dreams.  We want to accomplish certain things with our lives (like in “The Bucket List”).  The questions we must answer are, “How bad do I want it?” or “What price am I willing to pay to see the fulfillment of my dreams?”

There are always reasons to settle.  There are always plenty of opportunities to remain in our comfort zone, relax our intensity or just plain give up.  But you’re not remembered for your beginning... you’re remembered for your end.  It’s not how you start, but how you finish that counts!  We need to finish well!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Watermark Freiburg Online

WMFRLogo3b The website for our coming Freiburg, Germany church plant is finally online!  Check it out at  Although it’s not yet finished, you’ll be able to get an idea of what we’re trying to accomplish through our church in the Freiburg area.  I’d be interested in your feedback about the site.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fishing Lures

fishing lures

When I was younger, I loved to fish. And it just so happened that we lived only 300 yds from a creek. It was a perfect match! I played there every single day after school. With my faithful (and very stupid) dog, Shaggy, by my side, I was in heaven. Mom only asked that I finish my homework first. So I did it as quickly as possible.
I learned that for different types of fish you need different types of lures. For catfish you need worms and other things of that sort because they are bottom feeders. For bass you often use things that pop along the surface like an insect would or move through the water as a sort of injured fish.
Each lure has one thing in common… it has a hook. Once you get the fish’s attention, it thinks the lure is a source of food and it strikes. When it does, depending on the type of fish, you let it swim off with the lure for a little while (my dad called this “letting the fish play with it”) then yank hard to set the hook. Once the hook is set, you simply reel it in. Sometimes you have to just fight the fish until it just gives up.
The world system around us seemingly has everything to offer, just like a fishing lure. What it has to offer jiggles, wriggles, sparkles, shines and smells just right. The marketing and hype surrounding this system is that if we don’t buy in to it, we will be less of a person. We become just like Homer Simpson: “Ooh… shiny objects!”
According to 1 Jn. 2:15 there are three main lures in our everyday world
  1. Lust of the flesh – Physical gratification (Wanting your own way)
  2. Lust of the eyes – Greed, desire for possessions (Wanting everything for yourself)
  3. Pride of life – arrogance (Wanting to appear important)
The problem with this system is that, just like a lure, it has a hook. When we “strike”, everything seems so exciting. We seem to have finally caught something that promises to make our life better. And we’re given some time to “play” with the lure. But my experience (and that of many I’ve spoken to) is that once the hook is set, you’re left feeling even more lost, alone and disappointed than before. It’s a hollow promise. And you’re reeled in until you finally give up and quit fighting.cross
Christianity, on the other hand, has only a plain, rough wooden  Cross. It is earthy, dirty and barren. It doesn’t seem to have anything of value to offer us… nothing to capture our attention, nothing that is flashy or loud, and certainly nothing that would have the outward promise of changing our lives for the better.
But unlike the lure, which is nothing more than a shiny object, this Cross has the power to transform lives. It’s the real deal. Its power is not in the Cross itself, but in the One that hung on it.
The whole message of Christianity hangs on what we celebrate this weekend. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead sets Him above all the other systems. He beat the biggie: death! And the Bible says He offers the same resurrection power to us. God doesn’t renovate or remodel… He resurrects!
1 Cor. 2:1-5 It's important to know what we believe and why... we need to be able to answer the tough questions. But it's the central message of Jesus Christ dying on the Cross that has the power to transform lives. (Rom. 1:16)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

PODCAST – Duesseldorf Worship Workshop (pt 1)

Duesseldorf Worship Workshop (Jon Perrin) – This podcast is from a Worship Workshop I taught in Duesseldorf, Germany in 2004. Although it primarily applies to worship leaders, the principles taught will benefit anyone in church or ministry leadership. (The first part of the podcast is missing, but we started with John 4:23-24)

Dieses “Podcast” kommt von ein Worship Workshop das ich in Duesseldorf, Deutschland gelehrt habe. Obwohl es sich hauptsächlich auf den Lobpreisleiter fokussiert, sind die Prinzipien die gelehrt werden für jeden der in der Leiterschaft ist, sei es im Dienst oder in der Gemeinde, von Vorteil. (Die erste Teil dieses Podcast fehlt, aber haben wir mit Johannes 4, 23-24 angefangen)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It’s all about the journey!

I have been thinking about how people are treated in churches. This one thing can really make or break a church. One of the things I see in the life of Jesus is that He was willing to be interrupted. If anyone ever had an important mission, it was Him. And He was laser-focused on this mission. But He didn’t let that stop Him from noticing the people and the needs around Him.

So often we get so concerned with the goal that we lose sight of the people around us. It’s like the bookstore owner that never opened his shop because he didn’t want the floors to get dirty. He completely forgot the purpose of the bookstore.

I’ve heard it said that our “mantras” will determine our church culture. One of the mantras I want our coming church plant to have is, “It’s all about the journey!” We can’t get so bogged down in the details and so focused on our goals that we miss the core value of connecting with people.

Remember what Jesus said…

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? – Mk. 8:36

My paraphrase of this verse goes like this: “What does it profit us if we get everything on our ‘To Do List’ accomplished, but fail to connect with and minister to the precious people God sends us?” We must remember that in our push to reach our goals, we have to hold to our core values.  And if Jesus put people high up on His list of core values, so should we.

The journey (who we are becoming) is much more important than destination (what we do for God)!

Friday, March 26, 2010

InSight 2010 rocked!

The InSight 2010 Youth Leader’s Conference was amazing!  There were three days of incredibly practical training and encouragement.  We received some incredible testimonies.  And dozens of youth and leaders made fresh commitments to follow God’s plan for their lives.

Since our goal from the outset was to not just have a one-time event, we are putting both the mp3s and other free information on the website.  The updated website is not yet finished, but it should be shortly.  Be sure to check it out!

Friday, March 12, 2010

InSight Youth Leader’s Conference is NEXT WEEKEND!!!

We are now only one week away from the InSight Youth Leader Conference. I am so pumped about this! It will be a time to speak into the lives of European youth leaders. Many of these youth leaders feel alone and underprepared.

The European Spiritual Estimate states that less than 1% of European teens have a genuine relationship with Christ. This is our chance to impact this lost generation by empowering leaders. We would appreciate your prayers for this conference from Mar. 18-20.

After the conference, we will be making many of the sessions available for download on mp3 (along with other free materials), so be sure to check the website regularly:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two Silver Candlesticks

The year is 1815. A man by the name of Jean Valjean is released from prison after 19 yrs. He comes to a new town where he’s forced to show his prison release papers… but then is shunned by both the mayor and the townspeople.

The only person who will feed him is Bishop Myriel, who also invites him to spend the night. Not realizing that Myriel is a bishop, he steals the silverware and leaves in the middle of the night.

Valjean is caught by the police and brought back to face Myriel. When the bishop sees him, he claims to have given Valjean the silverware and adds, “You forgot to take these two silver candlesticks I gave you as well.”

After the police let him go, the bishop offers him forgiveness. He tells him to go live an honest life. The rest of the story is about his attempt to do so.

Of course many of you recognize this story… it is from the famous musical, Les Miserables. Robin and I were fortunate enough to see this in London 8 years ago when we first visited Europe. I absolutely love the redemptive ending. I think we all do…

I believe there is something in each of us that cries out for a redemptive ending to the story of our broken lives. Thankfully, this is exactly the Gospel message. God is willing and able to take our messed up lives and broken dreams and craft something beautiful out of them. It all starts with inviting Him into our lives as our forgiver, our friend and the leader of our lives.

If you want more information on how to find a redemptive ending for your story, email us.

PS. Here are just a few “redemptive stories” in the Bible…

  • Joseph – Genesis 50:20 (the entire story is found in chapters 37-50)
  • Woman caught in adultery – John 8:1-11
  • Prodigal son – Luke 15:11-32

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Men (and Women) Wanted for Hazardous Journey

Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey

Small Wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and Recognition in case of Success.

-Ernest Shackelton’s recruiting poster for his legendary Antarctic expedition

This is sort of what we feel like we’re asking people to sign up for in helping us plant a church in Freiburg, Germany in October. On the one hand, we want them to know the incredible opportunity that lies before us. To quote Jesus, “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35) Freiburg (and Europe in general) is spiritually ripe… all they need are people willing to cooperate with God to fulfill His desire here. There are a quarter of a million unreached people in Freiburg that are counting on us!

On the other hand, this group must be willing to get out of their comfort zone and be willing to (for at least a season) walk away from their safe lives. This is why Abraham was called the Father of Faith… it says of him,

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. – Hebrew 11:8

It’s a risky proposition, but the higher the risk, the higher the return. No price, no prize!

If you’re interested in helping us launch our church, please email us. You can follow our progress on Facebook and Twitter. If nothing else, please pray for us and our team:

  • That we would “gel” together as a team
  • That we would have God’s wisdom in the style and organization of the church, and in the timing…
  • That the financial needs would be met, both for the church ($125K the first year) and for the individuals on the team
  • And that we would have favor with the people of Freiburg, especially civic leaders and those we must work with to make this happen.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Leadership Podcast

FfO Youth Leader Seminar – Q & A (Jon Perrin) - This podcast is from a Youth Leader's Seminar I taught in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany recently. Although it primarily applies to youth leaders, the principles taught will benefit anyone in church or ministry leadership. The title of the series is "Questions we must answer". This is the question and answer session at the end of the seminar.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Leadership Podcast

FfO Youth Leader Seminar - Session 3 (Jon Perrin) - This podcast is from a Youth Leader's Seminar I taught in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany recently. Although it primarily applies to youth leaders, the principles taught will benefit anyone in church or ministry leadership. The title of the series is "Questions we must answer".

Monday, January 18, 2010

The NAME OUR CHURCH contest!

We’re having a contest! We are planting a church in Freiburg, Germany in the Fall of 2010. It will be “a church for those that don’t do church”. And we need a name and tagline for it!

You can help us name our new church. The name needs to be current, not too long and not “churchy”. If we choose your idea, you will receive an assortment of real Swiss Chocolates!

Some info about our church plant:

  1. It will be highly relational.
  2. It will be a high-intensity church service, with cool, experiential music and relevant teaching.
  3. It will be active in the community.
  4. It will be a church-planting church… our focus will be on planting more churches with the same DNA all over the Freiburg area.

Some info about Freiburg, Germany:

  1. Renowned university city
  2. Many of the young adults are highly educated and artistic
  3. The greenest city in Germany

To submit a name, click here. You can also follow the discussion on Twitter: #nameourchurch

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Insight 2010 Youth Leader Conference

The Insight 2010 Youth Leader Conference will be held in Loerrach, Germany from Mar 18-20.  It will be a time of equipping and encouragement by seasoned youth leaders.  We’d love to see you there!

You can get more info by clicking on the picture below.