My life as I follow Jesus Christ, and live life as a husband, father, friend, pastor, runner, coach, and sinner who found forgiveness and favor with God.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

why the how is greater than the what

What I've learned as a churchplanter:
It is easier to agree with the "what-vision" than the "how-vision".

For example, here are some various "what-visions":
  • "Lead your family well"
  • "We need to score a goal"
  • "Let's launch this church with momentum!"
Most everyone would agree and buy-in to these "WHAT" visions.

It's when you get to the "HOW" that people start to bristle.  After saying "YES" to the previous "WHAT VISIONS" they may not like the end of the sentence...
  • What: "Lead your family well"
  • How:  Stop watching 20 hours of television and playing video games like your still an adolescent!"
  • RESPONSE:  "HEY!  That's not being fair..."
  • What:  "We need to score a goal!"
  • How:  "We need you to sit the bench for us to have the best chance of scoring"
  • RESPONSE:  "Hey!  That's not the strategy I was thinking..."
  • What:  "Help us launch this church with momentum!"
  • How:  "Spend every extra hour of your day passing out doorhangers for one week so we can get the word out to 20,000 homes!"
  • RESPONSE:  "Hey!  You're asking too much of me!"
If you want to gather a momentary crowd, spend the majority of the time casting "WHAT" visions.
If you want to create a movement, spend the majority of the time casting "HOW" visions.

If people buy in before the HOW prepare for a wave of disillusionment.
If people buy in after the HOW you've got a movment.

Spend 20% of your time casting "WHAT-vision"
Spend 80% of your time casting "HOW-vision"

The team will be smaller at first if you cast "HOW-vision" because less people will like your "HOW" even if they agree with your "WHAT".  But by clarifying the "HOW" your team will also be more powerful, more capable of reproducing, and result in exponential movement.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Understanding Given not Gained

1 Kings 3:4  "Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?"

In churchplanting there are so many opinions, models, books, and networks that it can seem like "success" is simply finding the right formula by adding  A + B + C.  If I just read "this" book, or talk with "that" churchplanter for have "these" resources, we'll be good to go.  So, so wrong.

Once again I read in Scripture that God is the source and that he alone is the one that gives understanding.  The moment we put these other (well-intended) books and people above God - we've begun practicing idolatry - as if those people and books are what we really need rather than God himself.

Let God be your God, and let your friends be your friends - but don't ever get them mixed up in where your source of wisdom and help comes from.

Prayer:  God be my source.  That I would know you.  Help me.  Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people in the name of the Lord without the Lord?  Come Lord, be my source.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

God or Bust

"Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain."
- Psalm 127:1 (the Bible)

"And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground." 
- 1 Samuel 3:19 (the Bible)

"We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God's purpose prevails."
-Kay Warren

For the past 9 months I've tried desperately to have a great plan and purpose for starting hopecity church.  I've labored to do things the right way and with wisdom.  Understanding the responsibility that has been given to me, I've wanted everything to go as perfectly as possible.

The danger is that plans can become manufactured.  All of a sudden I subconsciously became plan-dependent more than God-dependent.  Not good.

I don't think God was all too concerned about the exact words that Samuel uttered in I Samuel 3...I just think God wasn't about to let one word fall, because it was the plan of God to raise up Samuel.
  • Is it fair to say, that God is much less concerned about our plans, 3 year goals, and various strategies than we are?  
  • Wouldn't you agree with me, that - more than anything our PRIMARY purpose is to be totally dependent on God, to be desperate to be near his heart?
  • If we honestly read the story of the early church in the Bible - can't we conclude that none of them really knew what was next?=
It's not that we don't have's not that the watchman in Psalms 127 isn't supposed to's that our primary dependancy must be overwhelmingly clear.  May we all live accordingly.

God or Bust.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prioritizing Spiritual Disciplines

Quiz for Christ Followers:

Greatest Commandment is....___________
Second Greatest Commandment is...____________
(Hint:  matthew 22:34-39)

Chances are that if you have been a Christ follower for a year or more, you probably got that one right.  Good job.  A+

Here's a second quiz that bothered me today:  What spiritual discipline should be the highest priority for Christ followers?  Should there be a priority list?  Are some more important than others?

As I read the Bible in the book of Acts today, I think there might be a right answer to this...and if life-application is the grading curve, I think I've flunked this quiz. 

It's not uncommon to get excited about the "Acts 2 church" and desire to mimic their devotion "to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (2:42).  But these disciplines, being lumped together, don't really provide a priority list for us...or do they?  Turn back a chapter and we get some clarity:

Acts Chapter One Scenario:  Jesus has ascended into heaven...has instructed the believers to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit...and then we read the FIRST discipline, the FIRST priority, the FIRST activity of the Christ followers:

"All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers." Acts 1:14

The first activity the people of God committed themselves to was prayer.  It was the foundation for all that had happened, all that was happening, and all that was about to happen.

You may enjoy the discipline of Theological Study, of Community, etc.  But I believe that what really matters in the end is a devotion to prayer that will align, illuminate, and cultivate the other activities to their utmost potential and purpose.

What priority is prayer in your life?  Me?  It's lumped into all the disciplines & activities of a believer, but I'm more convinced than ever to re-prioiritze, re-position, and renew my commitment to prayer.

So, what do you think?  Is that a fair assessment?  Is the activity of prayer MORE important than other activities and disciplines?  Do you think spiritual priorities exist, or should we just lump them all together?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Portland Marathon: Nerd Watches, Honeybuckets, & a Downpour

Running a marathon isn't an event - it's a journey.  6 months of daily runs, sacrificed Saturdays, and an emotional rollercoaster all converge into a race that takes place in a single morning.  Because of this, what happens on that single day unleashes all the emotions and hopes that have stockpiled over this extended season.

Today was that day, and the journey didn't disappoint.  Details started getting interesting earlier this week, when the weather report predicted heavy rainfall for today's race, and for once - the weatherman actually got it right.  We were soaked to the bone before the gun ever went off, and the rain never stopped.  Perhaps the best movie themed title for today's race could be:  "A River Runs Through It."

The most unexpected surprise happened last night when my Garmin 305 GPS Watch (aka Nerd Watch - thanks Jenn...) stopped working for the first time ever.  No charge. No hope. No backup.  For those of you who are not runners, this may seem meaningless, but trust me - running a marathon is all about keeping the right pace.  Strike one.

I thought I could use my new iPod nano, which has a stopwatch, but with all the rain, the touchscreen didn't work.  Strike two.  Never fear, my third plan was to run with the pace group from the Red Lizard Running Club.  They have runners hold up signs with a goal time on it, and then pace everyone to finish in that time.  I looked and looked for the 4hour pace group, but I was in the wrong starting gate, so there was no one to pace me.  Strike three.  For an added bonus strike, I thought I could just look at the posted times at the mile markers and adjust my pace, but the marathon didn't a single time clock until the finish line.  Looking back, I started out way too fast, but without a watch, I just tried to keep an even pace.

Everything seemed fine during the run, until my bladder almost exploded around mile 19.  I had hoped to just get to the finish, but couldn't wait any longer and had to stop at the honeybucket.  Nothing like letting minutes and seconds passing by while hanging out in a smelly, green, closet.  I lost about a minute, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

I didn't use my headphones until mile 21.  I need some extra motivation, and I had pre-made a 3+ hour playlist.  Unfortunately, my nano somehow got stuck on repeat to the ONE chill song that was on the playlist...which I ended up listening to over and over again for the last HOUR of my race.

The too-fast first half drained me the last half, and it was all I could do to keep running the last couple miles.  My jog turned into a shuffle, but strangely enough I was in good spirits heading to the finish line.  I crossed the finish completely unaware of what my time was, fairly certain I didn't break 4 hours as I had hoped.  The final results came in:  4 hours, 41 seconds.  I missed it by a Honeybucket.

Overall, I was very happy with the results.  I still P.R.'d by four minutes in pretty nasty conditions.  It still amazes me that its even possible to run 26.2 miles.  It takes me to my absolute depths, it reveals my ultimate pain threshold, and allows me to celebrate a feat that few experience.

The details of my race can be seen with cool graphics, if you'd like to see how I compared to the other marathoners.  I'm pretty sure they don't give out trophies for coming in two thousand eighteenth place, but I'll have to find out.

After recovery, we headed to Claim Jumper to reclaim part (or all) of the 3000+ calories we burned earlier in the day.

Special thanks to the Portland Marathon Clinic for giving me a reason to run on Saturday, and my wife for putting up with my quirky requests - not just on race day, but during this whole experience.

Overall a journey with no regrets, lots of twists, and a finish worth fighting for.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sobering Success: a small hopecity story

Last night we had our first ever public pre-launch gathering for hopecity church.  It was a tremendous night.  We currently have about 30 people on our launch team, but there was about 50 people who showed up to Papaccino's cafe in the heart of Woodstock to hear the hopecity story and consider joining our team.  We had no marketing, just people inviting people.  It was great to see our team so energized to see God move in our midst.

We had laughter, a few tears, and renewed hope.  We bragged about Jesus and his love for our city.  We tipped our barista over $100.00 for serving us for 2 hours, and people visiting from the community were extremely open and friendly about the idea of a new church coming to this area of SE Portland - despite it being one of the most unchurched areas of our very unchurched city.  

Walking away, I'm very thankful...but I'm also sobered to the deep need of prayer.  After a big event like that I'm more convinced than ever, that our strategies, plans, and efforts are absolutely ineffective in producing life-changing results UNLESS we run to God in prayer and intercession.

 This week our team is stirring up our commitment to prayer.  We must remind ourselves that: 

"Prayer is the primary role of church planters and their core team. Jesus taught that God provides the harvest and the workers in response to the prayers of the saints (Matt. 9:38). Neil Cole writes, “The more prayers we offer, the more workers we’ll see. The more workers raised up, the greater the harvest”. Prayer provides the wisdom and understanding necessary to deal with the monumental cultural shifts created by the advent of postmodernity. Busyness is an enemy to prayer, and church planters’ lives are replete with busy work. "
A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary

The first Mon, Tues, & Wed of each month we are fasting and praying over these things:
  • Mon:  "Break up the fallow ground in SE Portland"  (see Hosea 10:12-13)
  • Tues:  "Draw we go to people." (See Luke 8:1) "Draw the launch team." (See 1 Samuel 10:26; Numbers 11:17)
  • Wed:  "Open up the doors for financial provision, that we would be well-supplied" (See Phil 4:18-19)
I'd love to invite you to join us in these prayers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why I haven't been blogging

I haven't blogged for months, and those that know me well know that I love to express ideas, insights, and thoughts.  Here's the reason for my absence: 

I'm in a season right now of reading more than writing...of listening more than talking.

As we prepare to plant hopecity church, I'd rather be a sponge soaking up wisdom, than a squirt gun spewing out insight.

To those I've been entrusted to lead - there's a lot of leading happening.  A lot of faith, a lot of momentum, and a lot of anticipation.  But in the bloggosphere I'd rather read than write.

The irony is that this will be changing in some ways.  We are developing a hopecity communtiy blog that will update our progress, and share insights we have learned, promote events and families living in SE Portland.

As for this blog - I'll begin to post more about who is influencing me and how, and why they may be valuable to you...and every once in awhile I may post my own thoughts.

In a social media world where there is pressure to get our two-cents in, perhaps its time for voices to quiet down, and ears to open up.

- brian

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Willing To Wait...Ready to Move

Numbers 10
21 And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out.22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out.

Are you sensing a shift...a change of direction...a new adventure?  I think a lot of us are - but the key is to do nothing unless God moves first.  There are a lot of selfish reasons to move...after all, it's exciting to do something new.  There are a lot of selfish reasons to stay put...there is security and comfort in the known.  That's why I like what the Israelite's did - they were ready to move in a moment's notice - but were willing to stay for was all dependent upon the movement of God.

Be willing to wait...and ready to move.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Wife. A Proverbs 31 Paraphrase

I had the privilege today of reading Proverbs 31 in my Bible reading plan from  In this chapter it describes an excellent wife...and it describes my wife Jenn.  Here is my paraphrase of Proverbs 31:10-31

My wife is excellent.
She is far more precious than jewels.
As her husband my heart trusts in her,
and I will have no lack of gain.
She does me good and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She is productive and creative,
and she makes great sandwiches :)
She goes out of her way to provide
nurture and care for the household
Her strength comes from the Lord
and she seeks Him daily.
She is compassionate and longs
to do all she can for the helpless.
She is not afraid of the "what might be"
because she has seen the miracles of yesterday.
Strength and dignity are he clothing
She laughs at the time to come
She opens her mouth with wisdom
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks wel to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Give her the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

My wife, is an excellent woman.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Confessions of a Portland Church Planter

Church planting is considered by many to be an insane calling.  In fact 8 out of 10 church plants fail within two years.  Lesson?  Be called, be humble, and repent - a lot.  We'll save the "calling" and "humble" posts for another time - this is all about repentance.

So - I've decided to start a blog series called "Confessions of a Portland Church Planter" to prepare me to be a useful instrument for God to use in the city of Portland as we prepare to launch hopecity church in 2011.

Confession #1.  I've lived in the city of Portland for almost 11 years, and I have yet to have a Voodoo Doughnut.  It's simply unacceptable and borderline sinful to call yourself a local and yet not know the world famous creative flavors of what some people liken to heaven on earth.

Not only is this a confessional...but it's a promise as well.  By next Friday, I will have done due diligence and allowed my tastebuds to partake in what is long overdue.  The only question is...which Voodoo shall I choose?

Here are a few options...
  • Grape Ape: (raised doughnut with vanilla frosting and grape powder)
  • Dirt: (raised doughnut covered with vanilla glaze and oreo cookies)
  • Arnold Palmer: (cake doughnut covered with lemon and tea powder)
  • Butter Fingering: (Devils food, vanilla, and crushed Butterfinger)
  • Neapolitan: (chocolate doughnut with vanilla frosting and strawberry quick powder)
  • Triple Chocolate Penetration: (chocolate doughnut, chocolate glaze, and cocoa-puffs)
  • Voodoo Doughnut: (voodoo doll doughnut)
  • Dirty Snowball: (chocolate cake doughnut covered with pink marshmallow glaze and surprise filling)
  • The Memphis Mafia: (chocolate chips/banana/ peanutbutter/glaze big!)
  • Portland Creme: (raised doughnut filled with creme and covered in chocolate with two eyes)
  • Nyquil Glazed and pepto-bismol (currently on hold)
  • VEGAN: (thats right, vegan doughnuts! assorted flavors, come in and eat many)
Ok, Portland purists!!! Help me out.  Text me, facebook me, give me a tweet, or simply reply here.  What is your favorite VOODOO?  May I bear the fruit of repentance this next week.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a new era ::: hopecity church ::: coming 2011

And so it begins.  hopecity church now has legs.  Truelife Church officially announced on March 14, 2010 that Jenn and I would be sent to launch a new church in SE Portland beginning in 2011.  What started out years ago as a restless thought has developed into a clear call as we seek to carry hope and unleash love as we root ourselves and the Gospel of Jesus in our wonderful city of Portland Oregon.

Currently we are praying and asking God to speak to the hearts of the people He wants to join us in this adventure and privilege of serving Him.  Perhaps you were created and positioned for this very moment to join us.  Pray, seek wisdom, receive counsel, and then let us know...maybe our journey will become yours as well!  Some of you have been waiting for a reason to move to our beautiful city - well, here you go!

Thank you so much for all the love and support we have received from godly counsel, friends, and family.  It is a wonderful thing to be sent to plant a church while in great relationship with those around you!  The future is bright.

Brian Becker
lead pastor
hopecity church

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Actions That Produce The Influence

I continue to wrestle with the lifestyle of influence - the lifestyle of loving our city, rather than merely preaching at them.  Here are today's thoughts:

These kind of actions....
14I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
   my justice was like a robe and a turban.
15I was eyes to the blind
   and feet to the lame.
16I was a father to the needy,
   and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.
17I broke the fangs of the unrighteous
   and made him drop his prey from his teeth.

produce this kind of influence...
 21"Men listened to me and waited
   and kept silence for my counsel.
22After I spoke they did not speak again,
   and my word dropped upon them.
23They waited for me as for the rain,
   and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.
24I smiled on them when they had no confidence,
   and the light of my face they did not cast down.
25I chose their way and sat as chief,
   and I lived like a king among his troops,
   like one who comforts mourners.

These verses from Job 29 show us that whether its our neighbors, co-workers, interest groups, clubs, or organizations...if we will live to serve and fight for those amongst us - we will gain their respect and admiration and our voice will be heard.

On the contrary...nobody wants to hear your message, if you are not willing to first love, defend, and serve.  This serving lifestyle is not natural in American culture, so as Christ-followers its up to us to FIND ways and LOOK for opportunities to serve and love as Job did, as Jesus did, and as went have been sent to do.
Love the world.  Proclaim the Gospel.  In that order.

These are the convictions that are fueling my life right now.  I'm excited to be a part of a program that mentors fatherless boys, but beyond programs I want to slow down in my day to day life and look for opportunities to serve and love.

Push back: What have you found difficult or exciting regarding actions that produce influence?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bring It.

"Soon afterward he (Jesus) went on through the cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God."  - Luke 8:1

Conviction:  I can't proclaim the good news if I'm not willing to bring the good news.   

What if Jesus only proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God? He would have still brought truth - it just wouldn't have been as effective or clarified the total picture of God's redemption plan.

We're working really hard right now to equip people to BRING the good news of the kingdom to their areas of influence.  One way that I'm personally getting involved is through The Mentoring Project which taps into the local church to find godly men to mentor fatherless boys.

We must look for open-door opportunities to love and serve our city.  Open-door means there are people and places that actually WANT you in their lives.  Neighborhood associations, volunteer groups, clubs and organizations would love you to be a part of them.  As you are welcomed - you have the opportunity to love, reach out and build friendships with people who are looking for faith, hope, and love.  It's time we didn't just proclaim the good news, but bring it as well.

May the love and compassion that Christ poured out for us, be poured out through us to those in our cities that need it most as we proclaim and bring the good news of the kingdom.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guerrilla Lovers (not the animal kind)

As a pastor I'm not a big fan of preaching other people's messages.  In fact, I honestly can't think of the last time I used a book to directly influence a message series.  That all changed this week as we dived into Vince Antonucci's new book "Guerrilla Lovers: Changing the world with revolutionary compassion".  I think this book is a perfect fit for our students at truelife church, and I can't wait to see the impact it makes.  I bought 10 books today for my leaders, and I think you'd really enjoy Vince's humorous, yet compelling writing style as he challenges us to reach people with intentional love that exposes the gospel of Jesus.  You can get it on Amazon here.  Do it, and join the Guerrilla revolution.

Monday, February 1, 2010

HOLD, HOLD, HOLD...but not too long...

Agree or disagree:

The right people + The right vision + The right target + Bad timing = disaster.

In terms of timing, what would have happened if they had engaged 5 seconds earlier, or 5 seconds later?

Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 = Dream Year

I've been fortunate enough to be accepted into Dream Year.  A chance to really pursue & investigate what could be.  The following is from my DY Coach, who explained what DY10 is all about:

Dream Year is a 12-month process that's designed to help you bring your God-given dream to life.
You bring the dream.
I'll be your dream coach.
As a community of just 20 participants..
We'll make it happen.

While you go about executing your project, we'll walk through a 12-month curriculum that looks something like this...

January - Authenticating your dream (tracing its history, assessing your readiness, testing the idea, defining a clear project, raising your faith level, preparing for risk)

February - Building your platform (moving from beggar to influencer, finding your audience, trading value for information, becoming an expert in your field)

March - Defining your values (determining what you won't do, then determining what you will do, on the subject of excellence, building a team to bring your idea to life)

April - Funding your dream (great ideas are spreadsheets with skin on, identifying revenue sources, shaping your strategy, cash flow is everything, the art of making the ask)

May - Branding your project (developing a total user experience, a field guide to designers, developing a creative class around you, design as the foundation for what you do)

June - Creating milestones (working backward from the goal, productivity tools, the sacrificial substitution principle, how faith changes the order of action, )

July - Leveraging influence (if you don't have influence you borrow it, if you already have influence you still borrow it, creating social movements around your idea, networking with leaders who matter)

August - Partnerships (creating win-wins, the art of negotiation, rooting out great partnerships, angles of benefit, value exchanges, approaching partners)

September - Rainmaking (sales for people who hate sales, how to put yourself out there without losing dignity, systems that produce revenue, closing deals, invoicing, merchant gateways)

October - Shaping an organization (organizational systems, proprietary versus outsourced, contractors versus employees, legal issues, how to make your idea your living, etc.)

November - Positioning yourself (navigating the world of media, agents, publishers, and conference makers, marketing in an over-saturated field, differentiation)

December - Last-month epiphanies, unresolved issues, feedback and last minute-ideas, charting the future connectivity of the class of 2010

There will be monthly assignments that will help you work toward your dream. But you'll benefit from the influence, connections, resources, talents, and ideas of all of the participants. Each year will produce its own class of graduates... a fraternity if you will. A skull and bones of the Christian world.

I'm so thankful that I have a pastor/boss who is challenging me to grow this year and allowing me to pursue avenues such as DY10 to truly seek out God given dreams!  You don't have to be in Dream Year to move towards the fulfillment of your God-given dream.  Decide now to grow.  Decide now to take initiative.  Decide now to pray and then respond to God's leading.  It truly can be a DreamYear for us all.

So...I'd love to hear your story.  What's your Dream, and what steps are you taking to see it become a reality?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lord, is that you? 3 Keys To Confirming God's Will

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.
- Proverbs 25:2

The search for "God's will" seems to be at an all time high in the midst of my friends and family members at this very moment. I don't ever remember a time that so many people were seeking direction involving jobs, relationships, relocation, education, retirement, and overall direction in life. The resounding question is: "God! What do you want me to do?!?"

For some this question is birthed from dreams of what could be and should be. For others the question comes because of unexpected circumstances forcing a new direction in life. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how the question got there, the fact that it's there puts an intensity back into our prayer to glorify God and make wise decisions about our future.

As I seek out direction for my own life and family here are some things I'm beginning to realize:
  1. God won't just tell you what to do. He's into relationship, not management. He wants you to seek out the answer by investigating, praying, and wrestling with Him. He must be your ultimate counselor above all (Proverbs 25:2; Psalm 16:7; Psalm 32:8;)
  2. God is ok with you asking for confirmation before proceeding with big decisions. Moses asked for a sign (and another, and another - see Exodus 4), Gideon asked for a wet fleece - then a dry one (Judges 6). Jonathan asked for specific conversation (also known as smack talk) from the Philistines (I Samuel 14). Some see this as a lack of faith, but God knows you. His dreams are big - really big, and if it doesn't shake you to the core and ask for confirmation, you probably haven't heard from God in the first place.
  3. God put people in your life to give wisdom - so seek their counsel. Just make sure they are the right people - there are way too many "yes-men" who don't have discernment, and way too many people who will discourage you due to their own lack of faith. (Proverbs 15:22; 11:14; 20:18)
Books have been written on this subject, but really it comes down to this: Be willing to wrestle with God and wait for his guidance. Struggle on the fine line of moving out in faith vs moving out in foolishness. I believe God loves a wrestler (see Jacob in Genesis 32).

God's will IS a big deal. What you do with your family DOES matter.

Don't just sit around and wait for an audible voice...
Don't just take a guess and do something...

Get busy and wrestle - and let God show you his will as you seek Him. He will counsel you, he will give you a sign, and he will confirm it through godly people...and then you will move in faith and confidence into the destiny of your life.