Episode 212: Carl Kuhl makes deciding where to plant simple

Planting a church, but you’re unsure where to start? Carl Kuhl joins Rusty on the podcast to share some of his experiences planting Mosaic Christian Church, which was twice named one of the fastest growing churches in America. Rusty and Carl also dig in to his new book, Blood Stained Pews and talk through the value of vulnerability in the church.

Narrator: Welcome to Leading Simple with a Rusty George. Our goal is to make following Jesus and leading others a bit more simple. Here's your host, Rusty George.

Rusty George:
Hey, welcome to Leading Simple. My name is Rusty George. It's so great to have you with us today. Today we have a church planner by the name of Carl. Cool. How great of a name is that? It's not spelled C O O L. It's K U H L. He is a church planner up in the New England area, specifically the Baltimore area, and the author of an incredible book called Blood Stained Pews. It's a great resource, great book. You're going to want to check it out. But he's also a great leader and a church planter. And if you've been around real life church in the past few months, you know that we are on a mission to plant 30 church planning churches by the year 2030 in California. And Carl's going to teach us some ways to do that, make church planning a bit more simple.

And so for those of you out there interested in planting a church, come to California. Go west, young man. Love to have you come out here and plant a church. We'd love to participate with you. And because of that, we are working with a great organization called Stadia. stadiachurchplanting.org is where you can find out more from them. They're sponsoring the show this month. They are an incredible group of people that have a mission to plant churches until every child has a church. And right now, there's just not enough. In fact, if every church in America was filled to capacity to service us on Sunday, there still wouldn't be enough. So with that in mind, we want to sponsor and work with church planners. And we're so grateful that Stadia is helping us promote this message. Go to stadiachurchplanting.org.

Well, here is my conversation with Carl. Kuhl. Hope you enjoy this. Carl Kuhl. The man with the coolest name that I know spelled K U H L though, right?

Carl Kuhl:
You got it.

Rusty George:
All right. Tell us a little bit about yourself for those who don't know you like I do.

Carl Kuhl:
So I am a pastor, a church planter outside of Baltimore, Maryland, at Mosaic Christian Church. We planted it 14 years ago and I am married. I should know the exact year should be something like 18 years for kids and die hard. Baltimore Ravens fan. University of Louisville basketball fan. Let's go.

Rusty George:
Okay. Now, I know there's not a lot of people that have that combination nor claim it, but. Wow. Okay, so university of Louisville. Most people I know that hail from the state of Kentucky are UK basketball fans. But you are you of all. Tell me why.

Carl Kuhl:
I grew up going to games from I was three years old. Okay. And was there in the late eighties when we were awesome. Suffered through the nineties. Came back during the Rick Pitino years. So here's a quick story for you. When Rick Pitino is deciding where he was going to coach after he left the Celtics and been fired from the Celtics.

Rusty George
Yes.

Carl Kuhl:
He was commentating for CBS during March Madness in Dayton, Ohio. I drove to Dayton. I got a second row seat and held up a sign that said, Come. Joanne. His wife's name come back to Louisville soon. Love Card Nation or something like that. And he made eye contact with me and laughed. And the guy said next to him said, he'll never go there. And I think he came because my thing.

Rusty George:
I think you turned the tide.

Carl Kuhl:
I did.

Rusty George:
So basically, you are responsible for a national championship, but also a lot of allegations and punishment as well. Sure. You're not going to own that part? No way. Okay. Well, for those who don't even have a clue what we're talking about, I'm sorry, but Baltimore Ravens. Okay. Yeah, you've got some Super Bowls out of that. So let's let's talk about kind of you growing up.

All right. So you grew up in the church, go into Southeast Christian Church, was which is a massive church in Louisville, an incredible church. Tell me a little bit about that. What was that like? I mean, how did just growing up at such a big church prepare you for ministry or maybe even spark the desire for ministry?

Carl Kuhl:
Well, my family started going to southeast, which was a great church when I was something like five years old, and it was less than a thousand people. And it grew to just gargantuan numbers and gargantuan buildings and budgets and the whole deal. But all I knew of church growing up was these simple things churches, fun, churches where your friends are.

Church helps you grow and the church itself grows. Like, that's all I knew about church growing up. And I even remember when kind of a light bulb came on that I had an atypical church experience was when I was in Bible college, and one day I was in this like Ministry 101 class and our professor said, Hey, what today we're going to talk about church splits.

And a couple people around me started laughing and saying, Oh, yeah, and I thought I was I didn't know what they were talking about. What is a church split? And what they were talking about is when a church splits in two and like a new church is planted, quote unquote, because they split.

Rusty George
So you never had that experience. You had a great experience with a great senior pastor in Bob Russell and then Dave Stone. Now Kyle Eidelman, you saw nothing but up and to the right success. You go to Bible College, you went to Cincinnati, is that right?

Carl Kuhl:
That's right.

Rusty George
May he rest in peace.

Carl Kuhl:
Yes, sir.

Rusty George:
So you went there? I think we actually took a class in seminary together, and I don't know if you remember that or not when I was working in Lexington, but during that time, you began to develop a heart to do ministry. And I guess this is what I'm driving at. You're a person that only saw success in ministry. Did that prepare you or did that blind you to what church can be sometimes?

Carl Kuhl:
It gave me advantages of which I knew not okay, because I just saw things done healthy ways without realizing it. And no church is perfect. I get that I didn't have any you know, delusions that southeast was the pinnacle of God's church and, you know, that they had perfected the way of doing church or anything like that. But it was a healthy church.

And, you know, healthy churches have problems, but they handle problems in healthy ways. And it really helped prepare me for ministry because then later, when I saw ministry done in unhealthy ways, I could just feel that even before I could articulate it. This isn't how it's supposed to be, you know, there's a better way to go about solving this problem or having this hard conversation or any number of leadership issues.

Rusty George:
So tell us about your journey after you got out of college. Where did you go next and how did you get into church planning?

Carl Kuhl:
So one day in another ministry class and Bible College, my professor says, hey, we're going to talk today about church planting. And we have a guest speaker today named Tim Cole and this guy got up and talked about the church he had co planted with Vince Antonucci in Virginia Beach called Forefront Church and just told story after story of reaching people who are so far from God, stories of utter brokenness and great redemption and doing church outside the box.

And I thought, man, that is really compelling because my high school youth minister had been Jim Burgin, his at Flatirons Church now, and he really stoked this fire inside me to reach broken, lost fringe people. I mean, every day because of Jim Burg. And when I went to high school, it was a mission field and I couldn't explain the gospel, but Jim could.

So I knew if I could just get them to church, they get it, and they may not accept Jesus, but they get it. But fast forward to college. I hear that about church planting and doing church outside the box ways. And when it came time to graduate, I called that church up and said, Hey, I want to do an internship for you.

And talk to the pastor, Vince. And he said, Well, tell me a little bit about your thoughts on ministry. I said, Well, there's this book that's really impacted me called What's So Amazing About Grace? And on page one, the author talks about a friend of his is a social worker working with the down and out in Chicago. He has a woman come to him who got into drugs, got into prostitution to support her drugs, got into more expensive drugs, and then started renting out her two year old daughter to support her drug habit.

And she's absolutely disgusted with herself. She's seeking help. And this guy says, Did you ever think of going to church for help? And she stops short and says, I already felt bad about my bad enough about myself. Why would I go to church? They just make me feel worse, right? And in the book, Philip Yancey says, the interesting thing is those people often run away from the church today, but in the Gospels they ran to Jesus.

And that story, that book really grabbed me. So I explain this to Vince on the phone. I said, Have you ever heard anything like this? And he says, Actually, that's my favorite book. I think this is going to work. Why don't you come out here? So I ended up going to Virginia Beach and working with Vince for about four years in total.

Got married in the middle of that, took my wife out there and was a creative arts director. And it was a really helpful experience for me because it was at the time when I grew up at Southeast, it was a traditional church. Everybody on stage had suits and it's very polished and hymns and the whole thing. And so, you know, the church I worked at out of college was kind of opposite end of the spectrum. Hey, let's break rules of doing church just to break them type thing. But I learned a lot.

Rusty George:
I would say. So for those of our listeners who don't know Vince, he's spoken at real life a few times and he's he's just out of the box. Crazy thinker. And, man, I'm just thinking about the stories you must be able to tell about Vince and about Jim Burgin. Man, these guys are really the renegade is when it comes to church because they're always pushing the envelope.

And I think you said it really well. Let's break rules just to break them. Give me a few things that you guys would do there. Front line with Vince that you thought, wow, I can't believe we're doing this.

Carl Kuhl:
Man. We so Vince is a funny guy and I think he could be a writer for, like, a late night talk show. Yeah, if he wanted to. And one of his goals was always to make people laugh. Yes. And I think that's a great thing. I think Jesus made people laugh. I absolutely think we should laugh in church and with other Christians. Absolutely. One of the ways Vince wanted to do that was to have a parade of characters that we brought in through video or live in service every so often. I think he was inspired by Conan O'Brien.

Rusty George:
Yes.

Carl Kuhl:
The one that was most the two that were most memorable is he had Paco, the dancing bear who would go to random public places. And he was just a dancing gorilla. And he would dance and he'd film people's reactions. And then we had, gosh, I can't remember the other one stats. It was just that kind of stuff. It was unique and sometimes and sometimes people laughed.

Rusty George:
Well, that's the thing. And not everybody laughs, but Vince laughs and that's what's so great about it. Yeah, I worked on a message series with Vince one time. We did a series called Stranger Things based off, you know, the show and everything. And so we said, Let's write this together. I said, Great, because Vince is a great message writer.

Rusty George:
And he said, Okay, I'm going to film some videos and you can use them if you want to. Okay, great. Well, they were like man on the street kind of things where he's interviewing people, you know, about the show, Stranger Things. And one of his interviews, he he doesn't let the person answer because he's just reading the bio of what stranger Things is and all the credits of everybody who worked on the show before he stops the question.

It was so hilarious because the person just standing there waiting to speak and I laughed. I don't know if our people found it all that funny, but that's that was just the beauty events. And now he's out in Vegas and we've helped them and they just are doing great things with Verve Church. So, okay, so you and this is quite a resumé you're establishing here, grew up at Southeast, worked for Vince Antonucci and now talk about the decision to play in a church so seated already kind of been planted by Burgin and then Tim Cole and obviously front line but then what happened.

Carl Kuhl:
So I knew it was time to go lead a church had that inside me and obviously knew I wasn't ready right out of college as a 22 year old. So I got in a little bit of church experience and was exploring what that would look like. I was at the exponential church planting conference and Orlando and I ran into a guy who worked at Southeast that we've been family friends with for years.

He and I sat down and I said, Look, I've seen a decent amount of church world in my few years working in ministry now, and I know that something Southeast has to offer the church plant world is not just dollars, but DNA. And I think you all should bring somebody on as a resident church planter to soak up some of your DNA to replicate that in a church plant.

Obviously, I'm thinking in my head, I know a pretty good candidate. Yeah. And he said, why don't you write something up about that? So I did send it to him, but never heard anything back and thought, well, you know, I tried. Oh, well. And then one day, like three months later, a Kentucky area code 502 pops up on my phone.

I thought maybe somebody in my family got a new phone number. I answered it, and it was somebody I had only talked to in passing one time before, but I greatly respected. And he said, Hey, this is Kyle Edelman, let's talk church planting. And a few months later I was on staff at Southeast and was there for about a year and a half before he moved to Maryland to plant.

Rusty George
Wow. So, I mean, obviously, Kyle had a heart for church planning because he did that and he planted real life church. And the greatest thing he ever did for me was leave this place so I could come here. That's right. He goes to Southeast and still continues at heart for church planning, which I just love. So what did you soak up in a year and a half there at Southeast that you didn't already know?

Carl Kuhl:
The greatest thing I learned, because, you know, you grow up at a place and you're baptized at a place and you see what's on the outside. And I've had I had people tell me this, but to see firsthand they didn't know what they were doing either was just great. It really was. They did this big groups push within a few months of me being there.

And when I, you know, I was in the meetings where I was hearing the plans pitched and all that, and I just kept thinking, man, I would do it differently than that. I hope I didn't think that would work. But, you know, they hire smart people here, so I guess this'll crush it and it completely bombed. And I mean, they could have got as many people in groups and just doing like one simple announcement and having a bad sign up system.

And it was so refreshing to see, Oh, great, they don't know what they're doing either. Yeah, but it gave me so much freedom as a leader I love. I've stolen adapted halfway trademark Mark Patterson's phrase of everything is an experiment because I've just realized nobody knows what they're doing. I don't really want to say I don't know what I'm doing because that creates insecurity in people.

But if I just make a decision and say, Hey, we're going to do an experiment, then people totally buy into it because they say, Great. He's not saying he has it figured out. He's not saying this may not even be biblical, but he's trying to reach people or trying to disciple people. So we're going to go for it. I can do an experiment. Let's do it.

Rusty George:
That is such a great piece of insight there. That's the Larry Osborne talks about that in his book Innovation's Dirty Little Secret, which is just tell everybody that we're going to give it a go. We're going to give it a try for six weeks or whatever it is, and just see what happens sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

But I, I too have made the mistake of saying, this is what we're going to do. It's going to be awesome. Here we go. And it bombs. And then what do you do? And you're just left standing there. So, okay, so you decide to work there. You soak up all this great information, you learn that not everybody's got it figured out and you choose to plant a church in Baltimore, Maryland.

Rusty George:
Okay. So for our listeners who don't know this, the Northeast is kind of like a graveyard of church plants because it's so hard to plant up there. High Catholicism rates, Heidi, church area. The only things that are seeming to work up there are old Catholic churches that people feel compelled to attend. But there's a huge need for church planning.
You decide to go there. Why did you choose Baltimore and help some of our our listeners who are thinking, well, I think I'd like to plan a church. How do I know where to go?

Hey, let me interrupt for just a second. Would you help us plan a church, go to stadia church planting dot org today to find out more. All right, back to our episode.

Carl Kuhl:
Yeah. So I went to all these church planting conferences, read the church planting books and ever and talked to church planners. And all of them had this great call of God to where they went. You know, the clouds would part. So. So I talked to this one guy. No lie. Actually wrote a book on church planting to dispel this myth in part.

And I talked to this guy who planted I think it was in Portland, Maine. And he said, Carl, when we were figuring out we were doing what you're doing, we were going to different cities and demographic studies and all that. And he said, My wife and I land in Portland. We're just going to drive the city. We stop at a gas station to get directions.

He said, I'm over getting a hose or some snack. I go up to pay for it and my wife is hugging the cashier. They're crying and praying together. And he said, Honey, what's going on? And the wife had gone up to the cashier to get directions and not even seen it to anyone out loud. The cashier says. To no one in particular, she says out loud, I wish there was a good church around here, because I would go to it.

And the woman said, the pastor's wife says, We're here seeing if we could start a church. And she goes, I'll come to it if you start it. And she starts pouring out her life story. And the woman they planted there and she went there. Wow. Like no lie. That was their sign from God. So when we decided we're going to plant, we start visiting all the cities in the Northeast because that's really the only place we were directed to look and think of that story.

First place we landed was Baltimore. We drive to the north side of Baltimore like an outer suburb. It's lunchtime, so we go in Chipotle. There's all these people in like business clothes on their lunch break. I thought, I'm going to put it to the test. So I go up to the soda machine and there's this 25 year old guy and at my end is going to be the question, Hey, do you know of any good churches around here?

So I asked that question and I'm expecting him to say no. But if you start one, I'll go to it. And he looks at me like I'm an alien out of a horror movie, as if I have three heads and just asked if I could murder his children. And he says no. And he runs away as quick as he can.

And that was our experience over and over. Like, I would try to find an like, God, give me a sign here. And there were no signs. The clouds never parted. We never had God speak in a special Morgan Freeman voice. We did demographic studies everywhere, needed a new church. So it wasn't even like, how do you narrow it down?

And eventually it came down to, hey, there's a few different growing areas we've looked at. One of them is suburban Baltimore. We seem to like the area. Let's go for it. So we jumped.

Rusty George:
Wow. I think that's so great for our listeners to hear because it's not always the God part of the Red Sea kind of moment. Often it's just, okay, we're going to go for this. And, you know, a lot of people want to know God's will for their lives. And sometimes it's not a right or wrong. It's an either or.

You know, you're going to honor me either way, whether you plant this church or you go and transition a church and he just puts you there. So what what a great place. So for a kid that grew up in what would be considered the South, what was a learning curve? What did you have to figure out? Living in the Northeast.

Carl Kuhl:
Maryland's a weird place because compared to the South, it's very northern compared to the truest northeast, like Massachusetts, it feels a little southern. But then the big thing is we're basically a big suburb of D.C. so you have all these government workers, which just adds a whole unique twist as well. So it was its own unique mission field.

And I loved that because I love, you know, all those books you read about we're all missionaries. And how how would you go about life if you moved to some other country? I mean, that's what we did, right? It's learning the culture. It's learning the religion. It's learning the politics. It's learning family systems. You know, how how do people work?

I mean, it was starting from scratch in a lot of ways. And I'll tell you this, you'll appreciate this. One time I was preaching a sermon in like the second year of our church. There's this guy coming. He wasn't a believer, but he's come in every week and one week I'm standing. We met in a movie theater. I'm still in the hallway outside our theater, you know, just saying hi to people.

And this guy comes up to me and says, Hey, I want you to meet my sister. She came for the first time today and no one has family story. I knew she wasn't a believer or churchgoer. She looks at me with squinted eyes and her question is, Where are you from? And I said, Kentucky. She responds, Yeah, you are.

And then she walked away and she never came back. So there was definitely a learning curve of, Hey, I ain't in Kentucky anymore.

Rusty George:
Yeah, it's so good. Yeah, I have found that the accent is sometimes charming and sometimes a little offensive to people. So. And I didn't even grow up there. I only had nine years in Kentucky and I can't shake the y'all and the drawl, but that's the way it is. There you go. Okay, so you choose to go to Baltimore, you plant this church now.

Now you're a lead pastor. Okay. So you've been an intern, you've been an associate, you've been a creative arts director. What was the toughest thing about being a lead pastor? What is it today?

Carl Kuhl:
One of my friends told me before I became a lead pastor that his biggest surprise was just the weight you feel when you sit in that seat and a totally got it. And for me, the way it expressed itself the most in church planning was the journey to become self supportive. Because we had worked hard to raise all this money and you know, in a way the definitive characteristic of a church being successful is simply, are you self-sustaining financially?

Because then you can last. You're not a church plant, you're a church. And I remember when we became self supportive, nobody else in the church cared because their lives didn't change. Like I announced it, Hey, we're self-supporting and explain all the vision behind it. And they kind of gave me a golf club like Carl. We can tell you want us to clap, so we'll clap.

Make you feel better. But their life didn't change because people come to church because they need help. Like they don't come to church just to help an organization become self supportive. So it's just that type of stuff that nobody else sees. But without it we don't get to help people and that is early on in church planning was the biggest barrier for sure, or the biggest burden, I mean for sure was becoming self supportive.

I think now the biggest burden is similar. It's just the stuff that nobody else sees. Yeah, we do. We ask our people to write in a prayer request every week and every week I go over at least a handful of those and just remembering, here's who I'm preaching to, here's who I'm pastoring like these are. These people's lives are falling apart.

I really, honestly try to go back a lot to my mom and dad's story because when I was young and for multiple years, their marriage really struggled. And thank God their marriage is healthy today. But they talked about just being in such a bad place that they would go to church and their one hope was, Can church give us something that can just make our marriage last this week?

We don't know if we're going to be married in two weeks, but can we can you give us something that can make us married for one more week and just make us not go insane with a tough marriage and four kids and all the things for one week, if you can give us that will keep coming. And that's all they cared about. And that's the reality that most people live in. And that's that's the burden we all carry.

Rusty George:
That's really good. Okay. So you have a book out and I love talking with authors because it is a a very difficult thing to do to write a book, to put it all out there and to publish it and hope somebody reads it. But what you wrote this book called Blood Stained Pews. I'd love to know the story behind that. And I'd love to know why you chose to write it.

Carl Kuhl:
I ran across a story a few years ago that just captivated me and would not let go. And the story goes like this. It's about two medics on D-Day. They were part of the 101st Airborne. They were dropped into Normandy. They were mist dropped. They lost most of their medical gear in the drop, but it's the middle of the night and they hear gunfire breaking out between Germans and Americans, you know, their medic.

So they're not there to shoot. They're there to help the ones who've been shot. One of them finds this 900 year old church building gorgeous, beautiful little one room church puts a Red Cross flag on the outside. He says, we're going to make this our trial center. So he and the other medic take turns over the course of the night, going out and finding wounded, shot soldiers, bringing them into the church, laying them on the pews and working on them.

And over the course of night, it's so dramatic. At one point, a mortar round comes through the ceiling and doesn't explode. It's a dud. At another point, a German soldier burst through the door with a machine gun. But when he sees what they're doing, he crosses himself and leaves and many more just dramatic things like that. They save some 80 lives over the course of that night.

And eventually, you know, the fighting moves on because this was some out of the way village after the war was over. The people of Angus ville, that village are rebuilding the town or rebuilding the church, and they replace the stained glass and they fix the hole in the roof and different things. But when they come to the pews, they're covered in blood.

And if I saw that, I'd be grossed out and I would either get new pews or maybe sand them down and revanche them or something. But they did something very compelling. They left them. They didn't do anything to them. They said this church was built 900 years ago to be a place of hope and healing for the broken and hurting.

And that's what it was on D-Day. So we will preserve the blood stained pews in honor of those whose lives were saved here. And the first time ever ran across the story I was watching the PBS documentary While Home Alone. One night my wife gets home and I'm sitting there crying watching this documentary. She says, Babe, what's wrong?

Do we need to check you in somewhere? And I told her I just seen the best picture of church I've ever seen in my life. You know that our churches have to be places of bloodstained pews where people know we will drag you in here. This is a safe place for you to bleed. And we will help you.

And we will help heal you. And we will get you what you need so you can go fight the battle that God has in store for you.

Rusty George:
So tell me about the book then. How do you walk through this? Because this is such a compelling story and vision for the church.

Carl Kuhl:
I believe that the barrier to church being that is our own Christian's own lack of vulnerability, that we don't bleed in church. Therefore, why would someone on the outside of church think it's safe for them to bleed if no one there is bleeding? And there's been so much talk of vulnerability over the last several years in our culture that I think is so good and so healthy.

We need to be vulnerable. But it lacks a key thing because the message and vulnerability I'm getting from books and podcasts and TED Talks says, Hey, be vulnerable because you're enough and you're worthy. And those are great things. And when I read those books and listen those podcasts, I can connect the dots. But the reality is they don't say why I'm enough and why I'm worthy.

And so it's only when our vulnerability collides with the gospel that we experience, the true freedom of community that Jesus had in mind when he said, I will build my church. Yeah. So for example, the foundational I was taught growing up in church, I was taught something called Romans Road. It said, Hey, here's how you can tell people how and why they need Jesus. But it starts with you are a sinner.

Rusty George:
Mm hmm.

Carl Kuhl:
And that's the message people get a lot. But the reality is the scriptures start in Genesis one, when God created man and woman, he calls everything else in Genesis one good. But when he creates man a moment, he calls them very good. The foundational truth of me is not sinner.

It's very good creation of the Almighty God. And that's a different starting point. So the reason I'm enough, the reason I'm worthy is because God created me and He has redeemed me. And that is why I can bleed in front of others. What we do instead, though, is we just keep secrets. We hold in our shame and we pretend everything's okay. And that does not lead to freedom or community.

Rusty George:
Hmm. That's so good. I love that starting back at Genesis one rather than just Romans, because that has typically been the way that we've said it.

Carl Kuhl:
It is. And I think there's so much talk today as well of people trashing the church or, you know, I love Jesus, but not the church or the conversation of deconstructing, you know, their church or religious experience today. And you can call it whatever you want. But at the end of the day, I think people are looking for real grace, real truth and real freedom.

And so instead of being vulnerable, we keep secrets. You know?

And we keep secrets about all kinds of stuff. I mean, when I say that word, a lot of us probably think of something dark or that happened to us. And it could be that it could even be a dream we have. It could be a fear we have. But we all keep secrets and it's when we bring that stuff into the light that other people realize, okay, I can bring my stuff to the light, too.

I think we've done this bad thing in church before where we try and story top, you know, it's like there is a period of my Christian journey where I was actually jealous of people who had been strung out on drugs and, you know, become prostitutes because I was like, man, I don't I don't have as good a testimony as they have.

What's wrong with me? You know, but it's not about what I did. It's about that what what I did is doing to me inside of me. And that's really the layer deeper. It's not, oh, here's what I did. It's here's the shame I carried. And that's where we we need to be vulnerable.

Rusty George
And it's so well said. I was just going to say something similar, but not as profound as that. As most of us as pastors think. I don't have that great of a story or I've already shared it. I can't keep trying to top it, but I think it's just sharing that, you know, I have my doubts, I have my shame, I have my guilt, I have my insecurities that make us on the same wavelength as everybody else, don't you think?

Carl Kuhl:
Yeah, and I think it's, it's been specific with it and you've got to be appropriate. Like I heard a one pastor who talked about how he struggles with lust even while he's preaching. And I was like, Oh, probably don't want to say that. I think my wife's not coming back to your church next week but.

Rusty George:
Starts pointing people out from the stage. For instance, you, ma'am.

Carl Kuhl:
If you could stop wearing that shirt over there in the third row. You know what I'm talking about.

Rusty George:
That's right. That's right.

Carl Kuhl:
So we don't want to do that, right? That's just that's just bad boundaries is what that's called. But I did share in a sermon this fall, I said how me and my wife run a day. And it was supposed to be great. And we went to, you know, not a cheap restaurant. And she had dressed up. She was looking good.

And I made the mistake of saying, how did your counseling appointment go today? And she said, Let me get up my notes. And it resulted in tears and anger. And I shared a couple more details on this in the sermon, even to get specific. But I said it was a horrible date that neither of us wanted to be there.

We did not like each other at the end of it, and I did not want to share that in the lobby after church. And this couple come up to me who is in their sixties and they said, Hey, thanks for sharing that story about your bad date. And they said, We remember ours. It was in 2007 and I kind of laughed because they were kind of laughing like I didn't know where they were going.

And they said it was the worst day of our whatever it was, 35 years of marriage and the husband, both the couples tell me this and then they say that essentially the husband says, hey, how come you don't share with me as much as you share with your girlfriends to his wife? And the wife said, because I learned a long time ago, you don't listen when I talk, so I stop talking.

And she said that set us on a path of dealing with real stuff where we actually have a marriage we like now. But the reason they felt safe sharing that in Christian communities, because I had gone first.

Rusty George:
Yeah.

Carl Kuhl:
And I think we always want somebody else to go first like, oh, the pastor should go first or that person should go first. So the older Christians should go first. Like we all want somebody else to go first, but we have to put our thing out there with specifics. Right, that are appropriate to the context, right? Yeah. To create that context of vulnerability.

Rusty George:
That's so good. All right, Carl, for our listeners, give them 90 seconds as to why they should buy this book and how they can get it.

Carl Kuhl:
90 seconds why they should buy this book, because we want deeper community and that comes when our vulnerability collides with the gospel. And so the book gives practical tools and tips on if you do these things, you will experience the community you're looking for. So it's available on Amazon, on Kindle as an e-book, as an audio book, as a paperback blood stained pews.
I think you're really not going to regret getting this and really diving into with a group of people.

Rusty George:
Awesome. Carl, I'm so proud of you, what you're doing and so grateful to know you keep up the great work in a very difficult area. CHEERING on your ravens unless they play by chiefs and Louisville is inconsequential to me. So there you go.

Carl Kuhl:
Hey, buddy, look up to you a lot. Thanks for having me.

Rusty George:
Well, thanks so much for listening. Carl had such great stuff. Go buy his book. Go do that right now. Just go to Amazon and pick that up. Blood pews or go to his website for more information. And please leave us a review and we will read it and we will draw for a winner. We've only got four weeks left of this contest, so make sure you post a review and get that out there so we can put you in the drawing.

Well, next week we'll be back with brand new content as we kick off a new month. Cannot wait for you to be a part of this special special thanks to our incredible sponsor stadiachurchplanting.org so glad to have you with us and make sure that you check out stadiachurchplanting.org and we'll see you next weekend. And as always, keep it simple.

Narrator:
Take a moment and subscribe to the podcast so you'll get it delivered every week and subscribe to the Rusty George YouTube Channel for more devotionals, messages and. Fun videos. Thank you for listening to Leading Simple Lessons.

Creators and Guests

Rusty George
Host
Rusty George
follower of Jesus, husband of lorrie, father of lindsey and sidney, pastor of real life church
Episode 212: Carl Kuhl makes deciding where to plant simple
Broadcast by