Leading Thoughts2017-04-02T22:33:13-07:00

Leading Thoughts

Pastor Stu occasionally finds the time to write some thoughts about leadership, spiritual development, or our pursuits to nudge closer to Jesus and community. You can read these articles below!

Mission Trip Aftermath: Spiritual Formation after Spiritual Awakening

By |June 14th, 2024|

Yesterday I returned from what I think was my nineteenth or twentieth mission trip. I’ve been on mission trips in several North American inner cities, Mormon headquarters in Utah, Cameroon, Paraguay, Mexico, and Guatemala.    Read on, it’s not as spiritual or impressive as you might think.    So you’d think by now I’d have the “re-entry” game figured out [...]

Must God Be Good to Be God?

By |December 2nd, 2021|

On December 9th a group of us will gather for the second installment of Sacred Conversations. It is sacred space we who are involved have carved out to explore doubt, disbelief, and the mystery of God with humility and curiosity. At our first gathering there were doubters, never-doubters, atheists, and a pastor. Sheesh, what a crew, right!?   Most of [...]

Four Pursuits of Next Ten

By |August 9th, 2020|

NEXT TEN PURSUITS Disciples entered her tenth year in fall 2019 and we sensed a clear and clarion call from God to continue to press into our little part of God’s big plans in this critical time in the history of our city and world. We continue to nudge toward Christlikeness in Kingdom family. This is a prophetic, aspirational statement [...]

A Movement of Fasting & Prayer

By |August 6th, 2020|

When the Bluemel family dropped Tanner off at Grand Canyon University just a few years ago I remember their expectation was to miss him terribly, but that was overwhelmed by their excitement for his first adult adventure. Their first born, full of optimism and promise for the years ahead and the experiences college life would bring must have flooded their [...]

We Can Do Hard Things

By |August 2nd, 2020|

Written by Guest Columnist, and all-around delightful human being, Britney Stone [EDITORIAL NOTE: This article was originally shared in conjunction with a sermon given to our online community on August 2, 2020. You can view that sermon by using the link to our LiveStream. The sermon begins at the 42 minute mark] As a therapist, I’ve spent some time reflecting [...]

Proclamation of Unity Regarding the Opening of Churches in Folsom

By |May 28th, 2020|

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced unprecedented challenges to our nation, state, and city. We, the leaders of the Christian churches in Folsom, are grateful for the tireless work of our government leaders who are striving to lead well during these perilous times. We realize there are no prefabricated templates with simple steps to follow. Decisions are inspected, scrutinized, and often [...]

The Kingdom Role Reversal: How the Smallest Churches in Town Can Change the World this Month

By |March 15th, 2020|

“Free backpacks for every child in attendance, just come to our church this weekend!” — the headline read on a local church’s website some years ago.   And come to church that weekend they did. In the thousands. In fact weekend after weekend for decades they piled through the doors of thousands of churches like this all across North America. When I [...]

Life Groups as THE Disciple Making Engine in Disciples Church

By |August 26th, 2019|

This past Saturday twenty-some people gathered at my home for a meal and some envisioning what it might look like to join God on his mission to make disciples in a changing church that finds herself in the midst of a radically changing city. For those unable to make it, or for those simply interested in the vision of Disciples [...]

Trinity – Iconography, Devotion, and Invitation

By |January 26th, 2019|

Andrei Rublov's Icon depicting the Trinity through the mysterious visit by three angels to Abraham and Sarah provides an insight into a very confounding passage of Scripture found in Genesis 18. Read Henri Nouwen's thoughts on the icon below. Doc - Jan 26 2019 - 12-28 PM For more on Trinity take a look at a selected reading in our [...]

Guatemala Summer Project, Postponed

By |May 3rd, 2018|

As a church, we have experienced some transformative encounters in Guatemala. five trips, thirty one team members, and thousands given in aid and water relief. The stories we have told of God's movement and the ways in which those experiences have nudged us toward Christlikeness are impossible to measure. For a church our size, we should be so honored at [...]

Church Planter Unravelled

By |March 16th, 2018|

When my family set out with Teri, Sean, Adam, and a few others to start a church from scratch I knew there would be landmines  to avoid. I read the books and listened to those who had gone before me talk about the importance of gathering a big enough crowd, raising plenty of money, and marketing my church as the [...]

Season of Unity – DC Kids Edition

By |February 25th, 2018|

Come on in, DC kids spaces are meant to be shared with our Disciples Family. Commonly found – music playing loudly, energy filled rounds of musical chairs, snacks generously shared with the floor, kiddos speaking in OUTSIDE VOICES, and Christ’s Love radiating louder and grander than anything else in the room.   Prayers are often spoken for sick family members, [...]

Experiences that Change Us

By |February 25th, 2018|

Has a worship experience ever changed your life? I’ve had a few that I can vividly remember. I was at a church men’s retreat in the early 2000‘s and there was a group of us worshiping with a large Native American drum. It was during that time that God began to restore and rebuild my heart. It started the healing [...]

Season of Unity: Why Together Matters

By |February 15th, 2018|

In college I was in a group of friends, probably twenty-strong, who would gather every Thursday night to watch the cultural phenomenon that was “E.R.” A medical drama set in Chicago, it centered its stories on the personal and professional woes of Emergency Room doctors - a clever mix of soap opera and state-of-the-art medical drama it captivated audiences for [...]

A Thessalonian Prayer for Disciples Church

By |October 23rd, 2017|

As part of our CELEBRATE EIGHT festivities on Sunday October 22, 2017 I prayed a long, but deeply personal and hopeful prayer over you, Disciples. Thanks to the pushing of Taylor Seminary President, Dr. David Williams, I spent the next few days pouring over 1 Thessalonians 1 & 2. So with one eye on the Apostle Paul's prayer for Thessalonica [...]

Celebrate Eight!

By |September 26th, 2017|

I cannot believe it’s been eight years since we launched Disciples Church. In some respects the time has flown by, but in other ways and for many people in our church, Disciples represents a lifetime of spiritual direction in their efforts to nudge closer to God and community. There have been dozens of baptisms, countless decisions for Christ, five trips [...]

Dear Disciples Parents,

By |August 18th, 2017|

I am growing with excitement that this upcoming Sunday, August 20th, is our big Back to School Bash. It will feature all you can eat pancakes, raffles, games, and a great opportunity for the students to bring friends that haven’t been in a long time or ever. I am asking students to bring a ‘breakfast at dinner’ dish to share [...]

Mission Trip Aftermath: Detox, Rehab or Renewal?

By |July 30th, 2016|

Yesterday I returned from what I think was my seventeenth mission trip. Read on, it’s not as spiritual or impressive as you might think. I’ve been on mission trips in several American inner cities, Mormon headquarters, Paraguay, Mexico and Guatemala. Each trip is unique and I’ve learned to expect the unexpected while “on the field.” I can deal with changing [...]

Six valuable principles I learned as a restauranteur but forget as a pastor

By |April 10th, 2014|

My wife and I owned a restaurant for nearly 10 years. She had grown up in that industry and knew it inside and out. I had worked retail a bit and managed a bike shop and knew just about zero - other than I liked pizza and I wanted to be a pastor someday. During that near-decade of restaurant ownership [...]

What Are The Rules?

By |May 8th, 2013|

This past week I was sharing a meal with our newest staff member, Jason, when he posed a question I had never heard before: "What are the rules here?" I was intrigued and really engaged not only in trying to get him a suitable answer that was honest and true all the while thoroughly enjoying the questions behind the question. [...]

The Chase is On

By |April 19th, 2013|

Yesterday I sat with a fellow church planter in a restaurant in Southern California discussing the best ways to lead the various people that come in and out of our new churches. My colleague's frustration with the state of people's pursuits in church was obvious and while I know him to be a VERY good pastor I couldn't help but [...]

Suffering’s Essential Role in the Formation of Perfect Leaders

By |April 11th, 2012|

Yesterday on my way home from the office I stopped off at Ted's house (Ted is our worship leader) to sit on his patio and talk for a bit. Not only do these talks feed my soul but they tend to be a welcomed and unpredictable mix of topical discussion ranging from deep theological pondering to fart jokes. In the [...]

Burnt by Vision

By |February 28th, 2012|

Amidst the rock n roll revolution of the free-love sixties was a dream, pushed forward by Martin Luther King Jr. A few years later the seventies greeted world leaders with public threats of nuclear war set against the back drop of a simple and very hopeful message to millions through the prophetic voice of Billy Graham. As the eighties and [...]

‘Missional’: The Smoke Screen For Evangelism-Hating Hipsters.

By |December 14th, 2011|

Let me paint for you a picture. It’s one that I live in real time on a somewhat regular basis, it’s something I, from here on out will, refer to as Church Planter’s Groundhog Day:   It’s Wednesday afternoon, 4p. I am sitting in a local pub (Starbucks was so 90’s). As I scroll through a bunch of junk email [...]

Sunday Matters

By |December 12th, 2011|

Yesterday was a monumental day in the life of Disciples Church. If you had been there you would immediately say it was because of all the baptisms we did during the service, in fact we did more baptisms in yesterday's service than we have done in our first two years as a church combined. It was a stunning sight to [...]

Stop Underestimating Fun.

By |November 28th, 2011|

Proverbs 16:15 When the king smiles, there is life; his favor refreshes like a spring rain.   We could all learn a thing or two from a good kindergarten teacher: Recently I helped in my kids classes at school and was impressed with all of their teachers and the great work they do. But I have to say, after spending [...]

Surviving Challenges

By |November 3rd, 2011|

If you've been a leader for more than about 15 minutes you have a story or two of surviving challenges. And if you've been leading a while, the likelihood is this: You've survived your share of significant challenges, and tragically seen some leaders crushed by their own challenges. In the face of challenge we look to our confidants and friends, [...]

Set ‘Em Up to Win

By |October 6th, 2011|

Two weeks ago I had the privilege to make the trip from sunny California, where God is, to spend a few days in Dallas, where He is obviously...not. While there, I was at the Monday Night Football game when the Cowboys narrowly defeated their divisional rivals The Redskins. Now let me preface this with what may already be obvious: I [...]

80 Percent Is the New 100

By |September 6th, 2011|

As a former athlete and current church planter I am well acquainted with the idea of 'playing injured'. As a full time road cyclist I raced with broken bones, separated joints, tendonitis, fevers and worse. As a church planter I have given talks on joy when I was sad. I have performed weddings when my wife and I were fragile [...]


By |May 26th, 2011|

As a leader, especially a church leader, discouragement is something with which I am well acquainted. In some ways it is the commodity we trade in, you work hard to keep those you lead encouraged, so momentum continues. You spend even more time trying to lift UP those who are down or beat up. I try hard to take the [...]

The ‘Big Vision’ Bulldozer

By |May 4th, 2011|

Ever seen a bulldozer do it's work on an old house, dead tree or mountain of dirt? It's a sight to be seen, and if you have little kids it's especially fun. The smell of diesel fuel being drank by the gallon, exhaust spewing black smoke and big stuff getting demolished. It's awesome. Unless you're in the house it's running [...]

Unplanned Collaboration

By |April 20th, 2011|

  Last night while watching a documentary, The Pixar Story, I was reminded of an important leadership practice. In the course of the documentary, John Lasseter, founder of Pixar and current Chief Creative Officer of Disney, made a statement about what he calls "UNPLANNED COLLABORATION". It is this unplanned collaboration for which he attributes the survival and success [...]

Subtraction by Multiplication

By |February 22nd, 2011|

We've all heard the term, 'addition by subtraction'. As a church leader there are times when the best way you can lead your organization to the "next level" is to remove a few variables. Most notably, to ask some people to leave. This is true, and also NOT the topic of this entry. But be ye not dismayed I say...for [...]

Apollo 13 Leadership in the Church

By |January 2nd, 2011|

Recently I found myself sitting over coffee with a young and insightful leader who burns with passion, albeit cynical passion, for Christ's church. It's a conversation I've had countless times in the last two years as a first-time church planter. It's a cynicism, which, to some degree I understand. I grew up going to church, had my doubts, asked my [...]

Lowly Leaders Welcome

By |April 27th, 2010|

This past Sunday we served communion at Disciples Church. This worship experience is one that has been celebrated since the Last Supper of Christ as a reminder of the price Jesus paid, illustrating our privilege to connect with Him directly. We take a small piece of bread and a bit of juice as a simple but powerful symbol [...]

Giving & Attendance Trends: Heroin for Church Leaders

By |March 9th, 2010|

As a leader of any sort there are things we measure in the well-intentioned efforts towards illustrating trends. With trends in hand we then evaluate our efforts or the efforts of the project we’re leading. If we are in retail leadership we measure profits, contacts and expenses. If we are in educational leadership we measure scores, publishing and [...]

The Carpool of Life

By |February 18th, 2010|

Recently I was driving with some of our church leaders and dear friends to an event. We could not all fit in one car and as happens many times in life (at least in America) we found ourselves driving several cars to one destination. Now for those of you who have driven in a carpool or caravan before [...]

Snow, Sleds and Cynicism

By |February 5th, 2010|

While away on a family vacation this past week Jen and I spent many hours standing together watching our kids play in the snow. They rolled around in it for hours laughing and playing. Yet without fail, the fun was always followed by the cold and wet feeling that leaves them ready to get inside and eat some [...]

My Bad!

By |January 8th, 2010|

If you've ever played basketball with me you know that I have very little skill. Really the only way I ever even made the team was on what the coach called, "hustle". Coaches used to say, "Streeter's got hustle." Which at the time just seemed like a kind way of admitting to the rest of the team that he knew [...]

Raising Resources

By |December 29th, 2009|

There is a saying my cycling coach used to say to me often when I would race foolishly. The saying goes, "You cannot win the race in the first mile, but you can certainly lose the race in the first mile." As it relates to leaders and raising resources, you cannot achieve God's dreams for the things you [...]

High Mileage Leader

By |December 21st, 2009|

While there is a certain allure to a brand new car, I've never found myself too impressed by those kinds of cars. You aren't either, I bet. Just think of the conversations you have from time to time with a person about their car. You say, "nice car", "thanks", they respond, and the ensuing conversation inevitably ends up with you [...]

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