Archive for ‘Mark Batterson’

March 5, 2013

Mark Batterson, Bestselling Author Of The Circle Maker, Signs Multi-Book Contract With Baker Books

 

 

Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, has signed NYT bestselling author Mark Batterson to a multi-book contract. Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC, and his most recent release, The Circle Maker and its associated products have sold more than a half million copies. The author is represented by the literary agency of Fedd & Company, Inc.

“We are overjoyed to partner with Mark,” Baker Books Editorial Director Chad Allen says. “His passion to help people embrace and experience the abundant, risky life Jesus promised is obvious in his work. And we’re thrilled to be part of that work.”

The first book of the agreement, slated to release in fall 2014, will explore the miracles of Jesus. Batterson will help readers see that these miracles aren’t just about what Jesus did in the past—they reveal what he can do in each person’s life today.

Also contracted are small group resources and a student edition. Batterson joins a long tradition of pastor-authors at Baker Books, who are influencing their local communities and the world.

 

April 25, 2012

MARK BATTERSON Guest Column: How God Answered My Prayer And Turned National Community Church From A 25-Member Struggling Church To Over 3,000 In Attendance

 

 

This past Easter I attended the President’s Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House along with a couple hundred religious leaders from across the country. Before breakfast, a 76-year-old African-American preacher who served alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement offered a prayer. I was expecting a perfunctory pre-meal prayer, but it was anything but. He prayed with such a familiarity with the Heavenly Father that I felt like I barely knew God. It was like his words were deep-fried in the faithfulness of God. And he prayed with such authority that my prayers felt like weak sauce by comparison. After he said amen, I turned to the person next to me and said, “I feel like I’ve never prayed before.”

Have you ever been around someone who prayed with such familiarity and authority that you’d be shocked if God didn’t answer their prayer? I wonder if that is how the disciples felt around Jesus. Maybe that’s why they said: “Lord, teach us to pray.” His prayers were so qualitatively different that the disciples felt like they’d never really prayed before. So Jesus taught them a new way to pray. We call it “The Lord’s Prayer.”

I recently released a book on prayer, “The Circle Maker.” While the prayer theology in the book is as ancient as Scripture itself, I do offer readers a new methodology. Drawing prayer circles. There is nothing magical about it. It’s just a practical mechanism to help people pray with more focus, more faith. And I’ll explain where the concept comes from in a moment.

Too often the word “prayer” induces guilt because we don’t do enough of it. After all, I’ve never met anyone who said they pray too much! All of us fall short. And we often feel like our prayers fall flat. But instead of feeling guilt, prayer should induce feelings ofexcitement because nothing is more powerful than kneeling before God Almighty in a posture of prayer. One prayer has the power to change anything, change everything. In fact, I believe you are only one prayer away from a totally different life.

In “The Circle Maker” I share a true legend about a Jewish hero who was famous for praying for rain. During a first century B.C. drought that threatened to destroy his generation, Honi the Circle Maker drew a circle in the sand with his staff, dropped to his knees and offered this prayer:

Sovereign Lord, I swear before your great name that I will not leave this circle until you have mercy upon your children.

Honi was criticized by some who felt like his prayer was too bold, but it’s tough to argue with a miracle! As his prayer ascended to heaven, rain descended to the earth. The Sanhedrin ultimately honored The Circle Maker for “the prayer that saved a generation.”

Never underestimate the power of a single prayer!

In 1996, I was the inexperienced pastor of a struggling church plant. National Community Church only had 25 members and our total monthly income as a church was $2,000. That’s when I felt the Lord prompting me to pray a perimeter around Capitol Hill. I was inspired by the promise in Joshua 1:3: “I will give you every place you set your foot, just as I promised Moses.” So I prayed my first circle around Capitol Hill.

That 4.7-mile prayer walk took three hours, but God has been answering that prayer for 15 years. NCC is now one church with seven locations. We’re influencing thousands of attendees every week. And every piece of property we own is right on that prayer circle! Coincidence? I think not. I walked by a rundown crackhouse at the corner of 2nd and F Street, NE that is now Ebenezers Coffeehouse. I walked right under the marquee of The People’s Church, which became our seventh location in 2011. And I walked right by an $8 million piece of property at 8th and Virginia Avenue, which we own debt-free and where we’ll build a future campus.

Praying circling isn’t just about physically circling pieces of properties. It’s about circling the promises of God in prayer until God delivers. It’s about circling our loved ones in prayer. Many years ago I turned Luke 2:52 into a prayer and I’ve circled my three children with this blessing thousands of times: May you grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and with man.

By circling, I simply mean that you keep asking until God answers. I’m afraid we give up too easily, too quickly. One thing that has helped me stay consistent and persistent in prayer is a prayer journal. It’s the way I document my requests and His answers. It also insures that I give God the glory when He delivers.

Now let me offer one warning. God is not a genie in a bottle and our wish is not His command. His command better be our wish. Prayer isn’t about getting what we want from God. The ultimate objective of prayer is to discern and do the will of God. But if you pray in the will of God, for the glory of God, all bets are off. And what was true 2,000 years ago is still true: God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God.

Start Circling!

 

 

September 5, 2011

MARK BATTERSON Guest Post: “At The End of Our Lives, We’ll Regret Opportunities Missed More Than Mistakes Made”

 

A few years ago, I was part of a mission team that helped build a Teen Challenge Center in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. After a week of hard work, our family stuck around for a few days to enjoy the island. When we checked into our hotel I happened to pick up a tourist brochure about cliff jumping and the second I saw it I knew I needed to do it. But a few lazy days later, we were on an airplane headed back to Washington, DC and I remember having this thought at about thirty-thousand feet: I might never get back here. I felt like I had forfeited a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And I still regret it. In fact, one of my life goals is to go back and not just jump off a cliff. I want to do a cliff baptism. Talk about baptism by immersion!

So I missed an opportunity to jump off a cliff. So what? In the grand scheme of things, that regret is rather benign. But that experience taught me a valuable lesson: at the end of our lives, we’ll regret opportunities missed a lot more than mistakes made.

That conviction is backed up by the research of two Cornell sociologists, Tom Gilovich and Vicki Medvec. According to their study, time is a key factor in what we regret. Over the short-term, we tend to regret our actions. But over the long-haul, we tend to regret inactions. Their study found that over the course of an average week, action regrets outnumber inaction regrets 53% to 47%. But when people look at their lives as a whole, inaction regrets outnumber action regrets 84% to 16%.

In theological terms, action regrets are sins of commission. And they certainly cause a twinge of guilt. But it is the inaction regrets or sins of omission that haunt us the rest of our lives. We are left to wonder: what if?

One of our core values at National Community Church is everything is an experiment. And that experimental approach to ministry gives us the freedom to fail. We’re not afraid of making mistakes. In fact, we’re afraid of not making mistakes because that means we aren’t taking enough risks.

Every sermon series is a teaching experiment. Every outreach is an evangelism experiment. Every small group is a discipleship experiment. Even our vision of meeting in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the metro DC area is an experiment in doing church in the middle of the marketplace.

I just don’t want to get to the end of my life and my ministry and wonder: What if?

I’d rather have some action regrets from falling flat on my face than leave a trail of inaction regrets in my wake.

I’m afraid that too many churches are playing not to lose instead of playing to win. We’re playing a prevent defense instead of storming the gates of Hell. We’re boycotting the Aeropagus instead of competing for the truth like the Apostle Paul.

Does it bother anyone else that the church is known more for what we’re against than what we’re for? We can do better than that can’t we? Instead of pointing our finger at what’s wrong with culture, the church needs to offer better alternatives. We need to make better movies and better music. We need to write better books. We need to start better schools and better businesses.

In the words of Michelangelo, we need to criticize by creating.

I have a core conviction that drives my ministry: there are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet. That is what gets me up early and keeps me up late. I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be doing church. Podcasting is e-vangelism at the speed of light. Blogging is digital discipleship without borders. Our generation has an unprecedented opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission if we simply redeem technology and use it to serve God’s purposes.

But we need to stop doing ministry out of memory and start doing ministry out of imagination. We need to stop repeating the past and start creating the future. We need to stop being so afraid of doing something wrong that we don’t do anything right.

I know sins of commission grieve the Spirit of God. But I honestly don’t think they grieve God half as much as the God-ordained opportunities we fail to seize.

So what will you always regret if you don’t at least try it?

My advice is this: go jump off a cliff.