Leading in Our Churches & Community in this Current Moment with Dino Rizzo

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. In this episode we’ll be chatting with Dino Rizzo, the executive director of the Association of Related Churches (ARC) as well as part of the senior leadership team at Church of the Highlands. ARC was created in 2000 by six pastors and has grown to be a preeminent church planting and leadership support organization.

Having been a church planter himself, Dino has a passion for training other church planters, and coming alongside them as an older brother in Christ to cheer them along on their journey. Listen in as Dino shares encouragement for church planters and leaders in this season.

  • Decide on your outlook. // It’s been a season where church leaders everywhere are evaluating if their souls are healthy and their spirits are full. Painful seasons can cause you to focus on the complications of church and leadership and become disillusioned. Bring your focus back to the simple gospel of Jesus Christ and decide what your outlook will be.
  • Look at your soul. // If you find you are frustrated, angry, fixated on the negative, and comparing yourself to others, it’s a sign that you need to shift your focus. Remember that you are valued by God for who you are and not what you do. You are seen and loved. Look at the field you’re in and know that this is where God has you in this season. He’s responsible for your usefulness.
  • Reach out to others. // If you feel isolated, remember that you’re not alone. Take time to cultivate relationships and be proactive about reaching out to those around you. If you have friends you haven’t seen or talked to in a while, you can be the one to take that first step in reconnecting with them.
  • Serve your community. // So many times the way out of your own pain is by serving someone else. There is no peace or fulfillment when you live your life for just me, myself, and I. Dino recommends that before having your first church service at a new church launch, serve your city. You’re not there to just build a church; you’re there to make the city better and will grow the church by engaging and serving your community.
  • Empower your people to make a difference. // Church of the Highlands wants to empower their people to make a difference so they hold a Serve Day in July with the purpose of serving the people in their community in various ways. An “all call” event like this helps to pull in people who aren’t already exercising those serving muscles. Rather than a one-time event, a serve day is meant to build a culture of service at your church. As you create serving opportunities, you can develop leaders, build partnerships, and plug people into small groups where serving is a regular part of life.
  • Be a blessing today. // With all of the pain and hurt in the world, one of the greatest things we can do is decide to be a blessing each day. Get up and bless the people around you, even in the smallest ways, and model it to your church. For ideas on how to begin, visit www.serveday.com and www.servolution.org.

You can learn more about ARC and access their many resources for church planters at www.arcchurches.com. Or follow along at Church of the Highlands at www.churchofthehighlands.com.

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Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Well hey, friends, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in. Super honored to have Dino Rizzo with us today. He’s the executive director of ARC, The Association of Related Churches. If you don’t know ARC, man, this is an incredible movement. It was started in 2000 by six pastors—and one of them’s on our show today, Dino—and has grown to be really a preeminent church planting organization and really leadership support organization. They’ve launched, I think at the last count, over a thousand churches in the last twenty years which is amazing and they just keep it going. They they not only launch but support churches. They have just all kinds of you know, great helps for churches and they really have a focus on churches reaching unchurched folks. And so I just really love ARC; we love that whole community. So, Dino, welcome to the show. So glad you’re here.

Dino Rizzo — Thanks Rich! Always enjoy it and love last time we had a conversation, and appreciate your listeners and all those that are that are making a difference.

Rich Birch — No, it’s so good, Dino. Why don’t you fill out the picture for us. Kind of give us ah, you know the Dino Rizzo story – ARC and you’re also involved in leadership at Church of the Highlands, so kind of fill out the picture for us a little bit.

Dino Rizzo — Well, you know you know like everybody that that has had an encounter with Christ, you’re you’re just such a debtor to what God has done in your life, and I I always felt that way. You know I was reached through outreach; I was not raised in church. A little small church in Dillon, South Carolina…

Rich Birch — Nice.

Dino Rizzo — …made a move towards me when I was working at at the beach, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And ah so church did an outreach – it impacted my heart. I ended up in a church you know, got to go to bible college, you know which was a shocker, involved with student ministry – I’ve always loved student ministry.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Dino Rizzo — My wife and I planted a church. We we planted a church in ’92. And so during that time you just spend. You need resources, you need help, you need some training, you need some how-tos, and there wasn’t that many, so we had the ability to help church planters. We wanted to do that. And through that process a good friend of mine, Billy Hornsby, who’s Chris Hodges’ father-in-law came to me along with Greg Surratt, who pastors at Seacoast, said, what if we came together and trained church planters to launch churches, and and do all we can can to to champion them? And so that’s been, you know, and I was pastoring a church. Pastored church in Baton Rouge for 20 years, and then I’ve been doing this now in Birmingham with ARC. We we just launched our 1,031 church…

Rich Birch — Love it!

Dino Rizzo — …just a few weeks ago. And then I get to serve at Church of the Highlands. I love Chris Hodges; he’s a dear friend. Pastor Chris has just been ah, he’s just the real deal. And and then all the lead team and all the churches that support ARC, and people like yourself that help us champion this idea to train a church planter where they can go in and launch a church. And then to be just some just be older brothers to them and just cheer them on as they go about their journey.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love it, Dino. I you know just want to honor you and what you know what God’s done through your leadership and your group of friends who over the years have made a huge difference. You know there are not a lot of people who you know you can point to and say hey, you know they were catalytic in a movement of God, and you are definitely one of those people, so it’s really our honor to have you on today and and to kind of tap your brain a little bit. And yeah, just love what you’re you know what you’re up to. But you know you talk to church leaders a lot, you engage with a lot of church leaders. A part of what I love about ARC we actually had Greg on, Pastor Greg on a couple episodes ago so it was it’s been good to kind of connect with our ARC friends again. And one of the things I love about ARC is—and you’ve just heard it, friends—you guys bleed loving leaders. Like the the impression I get from you is like, wow like those people love leaders, like they love church leaders. You want to help and you talk to a lot of church leaders you engage with a lot of leaders. What are some of the questions or conversations you seem to be having regularly with leaders in this season that you kind of keep bumping up against as you’re engaging with them?

Dino Rizzo — Yeah, it’s it’s a unique season. I mean we we had a lot of conversations during Covid about how do you make it? How we going to survive? Ah, you know how do, how do you, how do you deal with the fallout of everything that’s happening in our world. Lot of pain in our world, lot of trauma, lot of hurt. And so you’re trying to help people find healing and find health. Ah leaders, people who lead churches, people lead college groups, small groups, worship leaders, on and on. So we’re doing, you know you do everything you can to help them.

Dino Rizzo — I know, you know, I’ve I’ve had my journey. I’ve had my painful seasons. There’s been times that, you know that that I was not where I needed to be, and so those are tough times. I think everybody is evaluating you know is their soul healthy? Is their spirit whole? You look around at a world. There’s a lot of things going on. We’ve seen things recently in the church that is that are that is painful. And you’ve got to just kind of decide what your outlook’s gonna be. So you’re right I spend a lot of time on the phone with pastors and and planters and just friends, just trying to help them to have an outlook from God’s word, from what Jesus has done. I really am old school. We look to Jesus; we look to his word. The worship, prayer, friendship. You know the world is very complicated. Church can be very complicated. Leadership gets complicated. You can get hurt. You can get disillusioned. I try to bring some things back to the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. Serving people and trying not best to stay healthy through what I’ve learned through grace and mercy.

Rich Birch — What would be some of those signs, as you’re talking to a leader, that you’d say hmm you know this person may need their outlook kind of refocused on Jesus, or like realigned. Maybe you’re in a conversation and you know the call it, you know, you get a prompting for the Spirit, or you’re like you’re hey there’s there’s I need to lean in here. What would be some of those kind of telltale signs of like oh here’s here’s a conversation I need to to to maybe help someone in this season. Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — Sure. Well, Rich, a lot of times I can hear it because I I’ve walked through it myself. And so…

Rich Birch — Sure. Yes, yeah, yeah.

Dino Rizzo — I know you know I know but you know like you’re not in a good space because there’s been times I’ve not been in a good space.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah.

Dino Rizzo — And so you’re looking for frustration. You’re looking for anger. Ah, you’re looking for negative. You you know when when we go negative, when we go critical, when we when we’re frustrated beyond what is healthy. When we all of a sudden you know everything is bad. You know we we believe the worst. Ah you know now we’re focusing on everything that’s not working. How about what we don’t have. And and you begin you can hear that in someone’s conversation.

Rich Birch — It’s so true.

Dino Rizzo — And I think you’re listening for that, or you’re looking for the signs that that someone is unhealthy or that they’re not in ah in a good place, and you’re just trying to bring them to a place of understanding that, hey, you know, you’re not a human doing. You’re a human being.

Rich Birch — So good.

Dino Rizzo — It’s not about what you produce. It’s not about what you perform. You know God didn’t call us to be celebrities or producers. God called us to be his children. So sometimes you got to bring it all back to the the base of I am loved.

Rich Birch — Mmm.

Dino Rizzo — I am seen. I am noticed. And I’m cared for. And I’m grateful to do anything I can for our Savior today.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — Whatever that may be, I’m just thankful for it. And you know how it is, Rich. Everybody’s comparing today. You compare yourself. And that’s such a poison.

Rich Birch — So true.

Dino Rizzo — And so you’re just trying to get God’s sight. Look at the field that you’re in. Here’s where God has you.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — He’s responsible for your usefulness, and settle in on that.

Rich Birch — Yeah that’s so good. I love that. One of the things that I would say is a hallmark of ARC is it does seem like a great network of friends. It’s people who even just how it started and how it’s continued. But there’s a lot of leaders that are isolated who do feel like they’re on their own. Like they don’t know anybody that they can talk to about what’s going on in their world. What would you say to a leader that’s in that spot today that that feels a little bit disconnected, that feels like hey I I don’t have somebody I could I don’t I don’t have an overseer I could call to kind of wrestle through these issues? How how how do we how do we fix that?

Dino Rizzo — Yeah, well, it’s isolation is a dangerous place. I mean you you think when you’re alone in your thoughts, you could come to the wrong conclusions.

Rich Birch — Yeah, so true.

Dino Rizzo — It’s just every man, every woman, a couple can, a person on a staff, an XP, a worship leader – when you just get alone in your thoughts. So I would encourage people to you know to know that, man, you you can’t you can’t let that thing boil over too much. You can’t let that ruminate too much in your Spirit. When you’re when you feel lonely, when you feel forgotten, when you feel overlooked, when you are when your heart when there’s you’re disheartened about your leadership, or somebody else’s leadership… hey someone’s let you down. Man, I’ll tell you I went through a season of my life where a leader let me down, and then as a leader I’ve let people down…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Dino Rizzo — …and you know you’re you’re trying to get that person back that, you’re not alone. You’re not the only one who’s ever done this. There’s a thing called the Holy Spirit. There are mature people that can talk about it. Don’t let it stew and just realize that, man, you’re gonna be okay. You’ll get through this. We will get through this. But you know and and then really you have to seek it out.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — Ah to I’ve got some good friends in my life. And I’ve had to I’ve had to fertilize them. I’ve had to dig around them. I’ve had to text. I can’t sit back and say why ain’t nobody texting me?

Rich Birch — Yes.

Dino Rizzo — Why anybody hitting me up? I’m gonna text a friend. I’m gonna call a friend. And I’ll get on a plane and go see somebody when I feel like I need to do that. So I’ve always I’ve always tried to be proactive in that.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s so good. I love that. That’s a great encouragement for folks today that even, hey if you feel isolated like you, you know, the ball’s in your court. You got to pick up the phone.

Dino Rizzo — Yeah.

Rich Birch — You know I’ve said in another context, a great place to find those contacts is to scroll to the bottom of your text because there’s people that you haven’t texted in a long time, and it’s like who are some of those people down there that you know you need to reengage with you got to jump in again and say hey what you know how are you doing? What’s going on in ah you know in your world? You know I’d love to pivot and talk about community service a little bit. I know this is a passion for you – mobilizing people in our churches to you know, get out of their seats into the streets, making a difference. Doing things to actually you know to to make our communities more like heaven, to make our communities more like what what God wants them to be like. Um, that’s been a part of your story. That’s been a part of your encouragement over the years. Does that still work today? Is that the kind of thing we should still be doing? Is that like or is that just like an old idea that like we need to leave that back behind?

Dino Rizzo — Yeah I think it works more than ever because people are hurting.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo —And there’s such a ah deficiency of so many things in people’s lives. You know the the depression, the anxiety, the trauma is on is on the rise. The ah a food food challenges in certain communities, reduced opportunities in certain people groups. There’s a lot of there’s a lot of pain. A lot of fear, lot of shortage of a lot of things. So I don’t know if there’s ever been a more important time for us to to lift up our head. And you know a lot of times that’s the answer out of your own depression. That’s the answer out of your own pain, is you know, they talk about these these things of depression and and anxiety, that’s so often so one of the ways is is serving someone else.

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm.

Dino Rizzo — And so I think there’s such healing to that in your own heart and so lifting up our head, noticing what’s going on around us. we get so into our our thing, our world. Noticing that there’s pain and there’s challenge and there’s a neighbor, there’s a people group, there’s a nurse in home, there’s a school that’s being challenged. There’s somebody that’s overworked. There’s a widow. There’s a single mom. And and let’s engage, and you know sure we can give them foods, we put food basket together. We put a care kit together. We cut the grass. But you know what else we can do? We can sit listen and talk to somebody.

Rich Birch — Oh so good.

Dino Rizzo — And so all those ways are ways to serve. And I think, Rich, one of the things that that’s been happening is you know because I talked to so many church planters, guys that are going into new cities, I mean we’re we’re parachuting in a city…

Rich Birch — Yeah, yes.

Dino Rizzo — …and you know I’m starting to church I’m.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — Ah, can’t wait to preach; I can’t wait to I have my first service.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Dino Rizzo — And and so it’s kind of too focused. I’m always talking to church planters, hey before you have your first service, serve the city.

Rich Birch — Yes, so true.

Dino Rizzo — You’re not there to build that church. You’re there to make that city better. And then that goes right into just humanity. There is no peace, there is no fulfillment when you just live your life in me, myself, and I.

Rich Birch — So true. Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — You got to move from that and so helping people have ideas and discover ways to engage their community and I really believe it still. Ah, think you can’t grow a church…

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — …without eventually engaging your city.

Rich Birch — No, I totally agree. You know longtime listeners will know that that’s ah, definitely been a thread through our podcast. It’s it’s something we talk about pretty consistently in our coaching, around you know, churches when you you know around how do we see the kind of engagement with our community serving our community as really key, one of the keys, to you know, growing our church. When you think about that from a church planting point of view, there’s so much you can do, like there’s so… You know gosh like I I always say to church planters, man like you are like you’re going to have this giant home in heaven because they just are incredible what they’ve done, what they do consistently. But but looking to kind of serve in the community, trying to mobilize your people to make a difference in practical ways in in your community—whatever that language looks like for you—um it it feels like that could fall to the bottom of the list pretty easily. It could be like, wow there’s so much else to do.

Dino Rizzo — Sure.

Rich Birch — Do you see that or have you seen that be a critical piece of church plants that make it, or church plants that thrive? Is there a connection between those two? Ah, you know, have you seen that as like a pattern that consistently has happened there? Kind of talk to us about that a little bit.

Dino Rizzo — Yeah, I would for sure think that. I would ah there’s a guy right now that’s planting a church, mayo so well, in Atlanta in a cool little area. It’s great some there’s some great churches in Atlanta – he’s found a little spot there in Sandy Springs called Live Church. But he launches in I think it’s September 18th. he’s having its first outreach tomorrow tomorrow.

Rich Birch — Love it. Love it.

Dino Rizzo — He’s a couple months away from launching…

Rich Birch — Yeah, yes.

…but he’s gonna launch a he’s gonna do an outreach. He’s and I told him said why so early? He said I want to know the community.

Rich Birch — Mmm-hmm.

Dino Rizzo — I want to know them and I want us to be known, that we care, that we’re there. And so I think it’s the heart of God that we care for our our city. I think Jesus is the example we serve because Jesus did. And then I think once you get the heart of God—ah I’m glad I’m in this city, I love my city, I love these people—then you got to do something that I call crack the code. You got to figure out what are the needs there. Because every city is different and their needs.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — Every it’s not a one size fits all. It’s not a rubber stamp. You there just every, you know, what’s happening in Boston is not what’s happening in Beaumont. That’s not what’s happening in Spokane.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — So there are different there’s pain, and struggle, and challenge different in all. So you’ve got to crack the code and figure that out. And then you begin to provide an opportunity. Hey we’re gonna do an outreach on Saturday; hey we’re gonna we’re gonna get together and we’re gonna we’ve seen a need we’ve, but we’ve identified a need and so we’re gonna we’re gonna select a day to do an outreach. We’re gonna gonna get leaders together come over bring those weed eaters.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Dino Rizzo — You know, bring that that bucket over here. We’re gonna car wash. And then you know and you just go. And and you know what’s awesome? What I’ve seen happen is is it becomes a part of the celebration.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, right.

Dino Rizzo — It becomes a part of the culture that we care, we notice, and we love. I just think it’s the heart of Jesus. I’m always thrown off and excited when I read this verse Acts 10:38 – now God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. And how he went about doing good…

Rich Birch — So good.

Dino Rizzo — …and healing all who were oppressed by the devil and God was with them. It may be, Rich, my favorite scripture because it just shows you that there was power and there was service and there was blessing on this.

Rich Birch — Yeah, it’s the proclamation and demonstration right? It’s like those two go hand in hand, right? And how, you know, if we do one without the other it, it loses its it loses it. We’re not, we’re not living the kind of life, you know Jesus wants us to live. You know we have a lot of executive pastor types who listen in on the podcast and you know they might be listening in, you know there are a couple thousand person church, and they’re saying like we don’t really do anything like that. That’s not really our our deal. We’re good at like services. We’re good at getting people into boxes and doing that stuff, but we don’t mobilize our people. Talk to us from a Church Church of the Highlands point of view around what’s it look like to mobilize people at a larger scale, so not from a church, you know, a church plant point of view but like.

Dino Rizzo — Yeah.

Rich Birch — I know this is a big part of what God’s doing at Church of the Highlands. Talk to us what that looks like because if you guys can do it sure, a church of a couple thousand could do it. Talk talk to us about that.

Dino Rizzo — Well I mean the heart of Pastor Chris is to empower people to make a difference, so we want to give them them those opportunities so we we do a thing called Serve Day. It’s in July. A lot of churches do love weeks and they do it in the spring of the father’s just so you know at Christmas so you know that we we giving hope, or the Christmas tree. You’re just trying to provide an opportunity where there’s an all call. They say about 11% of the body of Christ has an outreach bent. So if you have a church of 200 there’s a couple in there that already think about bikes for children…

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — …helping those that are have that that maybe are elderly, men thinking about what’s going on in the unreached people groups. You know there there’s just they’re all it’s already in them.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Dino Rizzo — And some people already have that bent there in their profession. They’re a nurse and they’re a social worker…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — …care provider, they work at a treatment center – these wonderful people that that serve humanity all day long. So normally in a church, if you’re a church of 2000, your next week you got some people there already doing this.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Dino Rizzo — You’re trying to harness that with an all-call. And then from there we’re gonna identify leaders, and we’re gonna start doing some consistent things…

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — …in a city, where consistently…

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — …we are there, because I don’t think it’s about one and done, or we’ve come in to rescue the city in this one day.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — No, no, no, no. We’re building culture. And for us our number one way that we’ve created is through small groups. We have small groups that have outreach bent…

Rich Birch — OK.

Dino Rizzo — …but really every ah small group even though it may be curriculum based it may be providing pastoral care, there is an element of compassion.

Rich Birch — Yeah, love it.

Dino Rizzo — We just feel like that’s a part of it. So it’s small groups and then we try to find some things that are kind of consistent or sustainable serves. Hey we’re gonna we’re gonna partner with the food pantry. We’re gonna partner with you know those that ah do Habitat for Humanity.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — And we’re gonna do this on a regular basis.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — Or we’re going to start a food pantry. We’re going to figure out a way to work with…

Rich Birch — Yeah make a difference in that area.

Dino Rizzo — …you know, single moms that are struggling, etc, etc.

Rich Birch — Yeah I love that. So just to underline what you said there, I love this idea of yeah, there’s going to be times where we do all-calls. We kind of get everybody and I want to talk to you about that in a second. But then we we kind of mirror that with consistent things we’re doing maybe throughout the year. Talk to us about the all-call. Why is it important? Why do because it’s a ton of effort and energy. I’ve sat on the sidelines and watched what you guys do with serve day like I’m like that it gives me a headache thinking about it. Why is that important? What’s the drive to get as many people as possible who are connected to the church out and doing something?

Dino Rizzo — Because I just think there’s gonna be a a void and a gap in their life. Everybody is busy. Everybody can be narcissistic. Everybody can be consumed in their own pain. So we’re trying to create a date out of the year where I know you may not be called to it, it may not be your thing, but we’re all going to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Dino Rizzo — All of us are, and probably two thirds of our church will come out and be a part of that.

Rich Birch — Yeah, love it.

Dino Rizzo — And then you know and what happens is a lot of time somebody all of a sudden man, they they get the itch.

Rich Birch — Totally.

Dino Rizzo — They didn’t know that was their gift. Ah oh my gosh. This is what I’ve been born to do.

Rich Birch — Yeah, absolutely.

Dino Rizzo — So it’s an amazing thing. How it’s a catalyst been it create some capacity.

Rich Birch — Yeah, love it. And friends I’ve seen the mechanics of that in our own church, you know 4 or 5000 people we will when we do these big outreaches, man, it is a fertile ground for recruiting into the rest of what we do. So we deliberately will say to our team leader type people you’re going to lead something on these all-call days. You’re going to be but this is a time to make a bunch of relationships with people, to find new folks who could get plugged into other areas. And it’s amazing what awakens in people as they you know as they serve and get out in front of folks. Talk to me about what with a little more detail around what what you’re encouraging your small groups to do. I love that that a part of the small group experience is having a compassion bent. What does that actually look like? How does how do you…how are you working that out with your groups?

Dino Rizzo — We do three we do three semesters of small groups. We do a fall semester. That’s you know, twelve weeks, ten/twelve/fourteen weeks – a spring semester. Our summer semester of small groups is six weeks long, because everybody’s busy. Everybody’s going to the lake…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — …going to the beach, ah going to the mountains…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — But we end it with the serve day.

Rich Birch — Okay, okay, that’s cool.

Dino Rizzo — So it ends with that. Every small group then gets to identify, so we give them curriculum and we’ve we’ve got curriculum. We’ll talk about those resources. But more importantly, they get to decide as a small group, hey there’s a neighbor down the street who Ben they’ve they’ve gone through some things. There’s a sickness. There’s a disability. Ah, there’s ah, there’s a pain. Let’s go fix their yard. Let’s go repair their backyard. Hey there’s a school down the street. The playground is jacked up. Let’s go fix that playground.

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Dino Rizzo — Hey there’s a there’s ah a halfway house that is in our community that needs to be painted. You know, let’s go over there and and serve those precious people that are trying to, you know, find freedom in their life, and trying to do better things. It’s that you’re just trying to find ways to be a blessing.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — And so that is very small group driven. And again let me say, I thank God for the big event. I love how it’s organized. It’s always better when it’s organic like that through people…

Rich Birch — Yeah, so true.

Dino Rizzo — …who leaders they get ahold of this. And you know the other thing, it’s even better when people make a decision every day than I’m going to notice what others don’t notice. I’m going to see what other people don’t see.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Dino Rizzo — I’m gonna hear what other people don’t hear and I’m going to be a blessing today. People may say, Dino, that’s cheesy. That’s Mother Teresa. You’re a do gooder. But I’m telling you we’re living in a world right now. A lot of hate, lot of shame, lot of disappointment.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Dino Rizzo — I think one of the greatest things we could do right now is get up in the morning as a pastor, as a staff person, as a church planter: I’m gonna bless someone; I’m gonna be a blessing today. I’ve been doing a thing in um, drive through windows, and I’ve just doing a little thing that I just let him keep the change.

Rich Birch — Oh yeah, yeah yeah.

Dino Rizzo — So they’re not 4¢ but I’m trying to, you know, if if the meal’s $4 I’m trying to give $10, and and I’m just tell hey man you keep that change. I want to bless you.

Rich Birch — Yep, yep, right. Right. Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — And I’m you know I’m a big old dude. I don’t care I’m Italian. I say, hey man hey man God loves you; God cares about you. And again I think that is better than nothing.

Rich Birch — Right, right, right.

Dino Rizzo — I mean just something – a cup of water in Jesus’ name.

Rich Birch — Yeah, so true.

Dino Rizzo — It’s better than a great idea that’s never released.

Rich Birch — Yeah, it’s so true.

Dino Rizzo — You know intentions don’t don’t do anything. Intention is not gonna dig a well. Ah, good intention is not going to give out groceries into Ukraine right now. But an idea that, hey man I’m gonna support Samaritan’s Purse or I’m gonna support Convoy of Hope as they’re distributing groceries in Ukraine. Now that makes a difference.

Rich Birch — Yeah, absolutely.

Dino Rizzo — So it’s yeah, and I think that’s I think that’s for leaders to model.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s so true. Yeah, absolutely yeah. Talk to me about that piece – the modeling piece. I can imagine that, you know this idea of of being a blessing you know being you know, offering practical help into a community. It’s got to be at the core leadership level, right? We’ve got to feel that as senior leaders. If we don’t feel that it’s It’s not like we can outsource that, or it’s not going to go far if we just give it to somebody who’s one of those 11% who’s already convinced. It’s like we’ve got to own this. Is that true or or you know what’s our role as a senior leader in trying to see this as a value of our churches?

Dino Rizzo — Yeah, you have to model it.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Dino Rizzo — I mean I know we do our survey days. Pastor Chris is out front, man. He’s leading the prayer. He’s visiting those places, he’s encouraging people. He’s connecting, hearing people’s stories. You know that’s that’s with any good leader. It’s like you can’t have worship in a church if the the senior leadership is not worshipping.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — You know you’re not gonna have transparency in a church if the senior leader’s not walking in integrity. It’s like you know you’re you’re not gonna have a giving church if the if the team is not giving.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, yeah.

Dino Rizzo — I mean that’s not gonna have we have to model those things in our life…

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Dino Rizzo — …as as staff, as leaders, as planters, as pastors you know in whatever it is. It’s just there there’s, you know, it the the the momentum is in the modeling.

Rich Birch — Right.

Dino Rizzo — I just believe with all my heart at at every ah church.

Rich Birch — Yeah, love it. This has been so good, Dino. I really appreciate you being here today – this been like ah I’ve got pages and notes here, stuff I’ve been thinking about, chewing on as we’ve been talking. Is there anything else you’d love to share just as we’re kind of closing out the episode? Anything else you’d love to share with us today as we close out?

Dino Rizzo — No, I appreciate you doing this because I think it’s important that and you know the information world right now is is just it is on blast and there is so many things that can can just bum you out and there’s things that can you know set you off. And so the more positive, the more empowering, the more equipping we need to be able to get up in the morning and have a good outlook, get up in the morning and have ah a good perspective. The church has been around for a long time, and and the one who started all this, our Savior, He’s okay. And we’re gonna be okay. We always get better, always improve, always lean in better, but man this…God is doing great things. I’m but I’m a person that just believes that God is at work in Northern Africa. God is at work in the Amazon. God does at work in Siberia. God is at work in downtown Chicago. There are people who love God that are doing great things everywhere.

Rich Birch — It’s so true.

Dino Rizzo — And I just like focusing on those things.

Rich Birch — Love it. So good. One of the things I love about ARC is you guys just produce so many and such great resources. And over the years I’ve pointed a lot of leaders, church planters and otherwise, towards the stuff that you produce because it’s just so helpful and you’re so generous with it. It’s just like hey here it is you know, take it. Where do we want to send people online if they want to connect with ARC or are there kind of specific—we’ve talked about serve day stuff today—is there places we want to send them for more information on that? What what does that look like?

Dino Rizzo — Here here for all things ARC it would be arcchurches.com. You know, hey I want to plant a church. Hey I’d love to you know I love to be trained. I would love to connect with some other leaders in my community. You know so arcchurches.com and then for serve related outreach, there’s two. There’s serveday.com which gives a lot of different resources. It’s a free platform. You also can download literally a serve app that if you’re a church leader and you’re trying to figure out how to do an outreach, the serve app can serve that. And then there’s servolution.org which is great resources. There’s in in in those two sites, there’s probably 500 ideas on outreach…

Rich Birch — Yeah, it’s so true. It’s so true.

Dino Rizzo — …plenty of outreaches. And then you know there’s of course there’s there’s Instagram and other platforms. But I would say those 3 things are the main things.

Rich Birch — Love it. And we’ll we’ll link to all those in our show notes, friends, so you don’t need to go dig around for those, so you you can see you’ll be right there. I would encourage you you know this has been just so fantastic to, Dino, today I really appreciate you being on. Thanks for for being here today; I appreciate it.

Dino Rizzo — Hey thank you, Rich. I always enjoy the talking to you and always enjoy seeing.

Rich Birch — Thanks, man – take care.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.