Archives For Church Planting

New Assignment

Chilly —  January 25, 2015 — 10 Comments

Letter to my Friends and Family at Courage Church

Sunday, January 25, 2015

 

I love Courage Church so much!  I also love Detroit like no other city I have ever lived!

I’m still totally amazed at all that God has done in and through my family since following the Lord’s leading to Detroit. We have lived in three different houses and led our church to four different locations (often more than one at a time). And, now here we are stronger, healthier and more united than ever before. Praise God! He is always so faithful! 

As we have recklessly abandoned ourselves to the cause of Christ; He has led us from miracle to miracle. You can never, ever, go wrong by obeying God — no matter how ridiculous it may sound to you or others.  And, I have learned that God’s will is always about more than just me or you. It impacts all of us who are in relationships together. 

God is calling us, yet again, to radical obedience! As most of you already know, for the last year as I have continued to serve as the Lead Pastor of Courage Church, I have also served as director of church planting and networking for Mount Hope Church in Lansing. I’m so grateful for the way God has merged our churches together and provided Courage with a parent church that provides leadership, encouragement and family. We are blessed to be considered the Detroit Campus for Mount Hope!

As God continues to strengthen this relationship, He has called me to make a radical transition from being Lead Pastor at Courage Church to joining Mount Hope Church, full time, as Pastor of Campus Development. This next step in obedience will require my family and I to move to the Lansing area. As part of my new responsibilities, I will serve as an overseer and board president for Courage Church — which affords me the honor and blessing to remain part of your mission and vision. In fact, I truly believe that I will be able to provide new blessings from this position that I could not by remaining here.

Words cannot express how much I love each of you. You are my friends, my family and my heroes! Your sacrificial and joyful approach to ministry and outreach has literally impacted every place where we have served. We have been honored by 2 mayors and are continually involved in our community, schools, neighborhoods and beyond! And, I have no doubt that the best is yet to come.

God has placed a very unique apostolic calling on my heart and this new position will enable me to continue to plant churches, raise leaders, disciple students and impact cities. At the same time, it opens the door for new vision and fresh anointing to continue the work that has begun and is thriving here at Courage Church. We are already sensing that God is raising up leadership that can truly take this body of Christ to the next level! I look forward to being a blessing and resource to Courage and it’s leaders any way that I can. Each of you, now, have the opportunity to step up and be the church at a greater level.

It has been my greatest joy and highest honor to be the founder and pastor of Courage Church! I have had a front row seat to watch God transform people’s lives. I am a living example that the Lord uses imperfect people to do His will. It’s been so thrilling to worship with you, marry you, dedicate your children, baptize you, share God’s Word with you, pray for you and LOVE YOU!

God has been SO good and SO faithful to us. Because He IS good! We can be confident that his heart, purpose and love will continue to grow and abound through each of you! And KNOW THIS: Greater things are ahead! Like Elisha following Elijah, I am believing for a double-portion of anointing in the days and years to come! It’s SO exciting!

One of my life verses has always been Acts 20:24, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” This passage was spoken, in part, as Paul’s farewell to the church and elders in Ephesus (see Acts 20:13-38). It is this purpose that leads me forward and also requires each of us to examine our own hearts, lives and purpose. God’s will is always best. And, to obey is better than sacrifice. 

I will remain as Lead Pastor through Easter Sunday. I will also remain active in the transition process for Courage Church through this time and beyond. As mentioned already, I will continue to provide active oversight and assistance. I also plan to visit several times this year and I also look forward to continuing to lead “4Days Detroit” again this summer and beyond.

Through this process, the leadership of Courage Church will also be very active and available to each of you. We met this week and truly sensed God working and preparing Courage for greater things! My executive team is Mohan and Freddie Karulkar, Anthony and Erin Gancer, Andrew and Kathryn Jump and Zachary Platt. Please pray for them and seek ways to serve with them. 

You are more than my church, you are my family. And, I love you!  My family and I are so grateful that we will only be 90 miles from you. We are also so excited that our two churches will continue to do ministry together. You are part of our lives FOREVER! 

Thank you for your patience, kindness, prayer, hard work, grace and love. You are the best! You are part of the reason Detroit is changing! You each have purpose, calling and destiny! I will always love you, cheer for you and pray for you! The best is yet to come!

So, my dear family and friends, I close this letter with these final words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

I’m ROARing for you!

Your servant, 

Chilly Chilton (and Family)

Cha-Cha-Cha-Change!

Chilly —  December 31, 2014 — Leave a comment

WELCOME to 2015!

I’m really excited for a NEW opportunity to grow, learn, love and CHANGE!

2014 was a crazy, whirl-wind, type of year. So many things happened. God was SO good! And, WOW, I’m so pumped about the NEW things He’s about to do in and through my life (and all of you)! Change is a good GREAT thing! There’s so much to learn through change!

Two basic principles:

1. Change is Inevitable

2. Everyone Resists Change.

changeWe often cry out for change but rarely do we do anything about it. We’re bored, dissatisfied, depressed or bummed-out… yet we sit & whine – doing nothing – being nothing … that’s sad (and pretty lame). Well, it’s January 1st, 2015 — there’s NEVER been a better time to change! IF not now, then when??

It’s only the view from where you sit that makes you feel defeated. Life is full of many aisles, so why don’t you change your seat? Seriously, get up! Move! Begin seeing from a new perspective!

Obviously, change is a big topic for many of us here in Detroit.

I think one of the dangers can be focusing on how change will affect us. We fail to pray for others – especially for those about to be changed – because we’re so obsessed with how it makes us feel and what it will do in us.

It’s also really easy to become stingy with our gifts — you know, our time, abilities and finances until we see what happens (and if we approve). But, God wants us to have generous faith! To give courageously! Everything we have is HIS, right?

Nervousness or restlessness is not a permission-slip to be lazy, careless, apathetic or lethargic. People who wait for changes to occur on the outside, before they commit to making changes on the inside, usually never make any changes at all.  Continue Reading…

I’m still learning.

Chilly —  October 10, 2014 — 7 Comments

Notes from my journal
(This Sunday we celebrate 10
years of ministry in Detroit.)

Things I’m learning today

… that I had NO clue about 10 years ago.
Part TWO.

You kids are capable of SO much more than you can even begin to imagine!

  • my FIVE heroesWhen we begin, we had three little girls (ages 12, 8 and 4). Since then, we have added to boys! So, we are now: Mariah 22, Courtney 18, Zoe 14, Maximus 9 and Chase 8.
  • They have had to adjust to various types of schooling (public school, home school, charter school, online school).
  • They have had to adjust to various types of sports leagues (Upward, Homeschool, PAL, Community).
  • They have had to adjust to various types of church buildings, leaders, people & programs (Hamtramck, Midtown, Mexicantown … Bars, Apartment Penthouse, Nightclubs, Bowling Allies, Church buildings).
  • THEY ALL LOVE GOD — LOVE THEIR PARENTS — LOVE EACH OTHER — LOVE THE LOST — LOVE CHURCH — LOVE THE MINISTRY!
  • My adult daughters are leading ministry with joy and passion. And my younger kids can’t wait to be at church or at outreach or whatever is happening! They LOVE IT!
  • They’ve had people come in and out of their lives. They have seen people fail. They certainly are eye-witnesses to my flaws & short-comings.
  • But, they have also seen hundreds & hundreds come to know Jesus. They have seen miracles. They have seen, experienced and expressed unconditional love.
  • And, most important, they EACH have a very real, personal, relationship with Christ.

I can’t even imagine all that God is doing and about to do IN and THROUGH each of their lives. They are my heroes!

Blood is thicker than water, but Spirit is thicker than blood.

  • This is a quote from my friend, Pastor Tim Dilena — he spoke this in reference to our family & friends in the faith.
  • One of the hardest things about being in full-time ministry is living far away from your family. Netta has family in Colorado and Kansas; I have family in Missouri, Minnesota and Georgia.
  • So, we are rarely with our natural families – especially when most people enjoy these times: holidays, birthdays and special events.
  • As much as we miss our natural family, our lives and home are filled with spiritual brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, sons and daughters. There’s a bond with those we serve with, that God has given us, that is powerful, personal and awesome!
  • We hope our kids will always live close and serve alongside us but if God leads them away — we are confident that He will surround them with spiritual family.

Thank you to BOTH our natural and spiritual families. WE LOVE YOU!

God doesn’t always lead through policy manuals, flow-charts and business plans.

  • Yes, I know that God is a God of order. But, I also know that sometimes ministry can be (or appear to be) messy, crazy and chaotic.
  • We’re working with people not machines. People are weird. People break down suddenly. People change. People die.
  • Our processes may not allow for the unpredictable wonderfulness, found in people.
  • Yes, we should have a plan. There should be organization.
  • But, we also must recognize that discipleship cannot be done in vacuum or delegated. It’s personal and every person is different.

Spirituality is a mixed-up, topsy-turvy, helter-skelter godliness that turns our lives into an upside-down toboggan ride of unexpected turns, surprise bumps and bone shattering crashes … a life ruined by a Jesus who loves us right into his arms. Mike Yanconelli

Yes, I will still trust the policies, constitution and by-laws, programs, and plans created by amazing servants of the Lord. But, I will not be limited by these things. They are the launchpad not the rocket ship!

IF you missed Part One, be sure to scroll down!

I’m still learning.

Chilly —  October 9, 2014 — 9 Comments

Notes from my journal
(This Sunday we celebrate 10

years of ministry in Detroit.)

Things I’m learning today

… that I had NO clue about 10 years ago.
Part One.

It’s OK that everyone isn’t pumped about your passions.

  • 10YearsOfLearningWhen we moved to plant in Detroit we were certain God had sent us and therefore we expected that everyone else would joyfully and generously support us.
  • Some people discouraged us to even come to Detroit — especially with 3 small girls at the time.
  • Some people avoided me — probably because they knew I would ask to be their missionary (which means ‘I need some money’).
  • Some took a wait and see position. IF we didn’t give up, perhaps they would back us later…
  • Others had things that they were passionate about that I probably totally missed (because I was so focused on my assignment).

We have to learn that it’s ok that others don’t get all excited about the thing that we see as God’s highest priority. Don’t become jaded because they don’t cheer, or give or promote.

How you measure success could be totally wrong.

  • I had seen things (ministries) grow AMAZINGLY fast in my last two youth ministries prior to coming to Detroit.
  • Hundreds and hundreds were impacted weekly
  • We were winning & discipling teens all the time! Our city knew about us, the schools all knew about us, the media knew about us — we were rocking our world for Christ. We were growing so fast that it was like controlled chaos!

This didn’t happen quite so fast when we planted.

  • I guess the roots required to support the fruit we hoped for, would have to push through some concrete-hard soil. We would have to pray harder, wait longer, believe greater and remain faithful. This where is character develops. Intercession, fasting & perseverance are necessities.
  • Sure, we’ve grown and we’ve moved forward. New buildings. New communities.
  • People may not see the huge numbers (fruit) yet, but IF they could only see our roots, WOW!

You’re calling is connected to obedience and faithfulness. So, stick to it.

People who love you are capable of detesting you. Love them anyways!

  • Yeah, this one stings a bit. Always does.
  • I’ve never had a moral failure, I’ve never embezzled funds , I’ve never abused my kids, I’ve never been unfaithful to my wife, I’ve never split the church and I’ve never tried to hurt people.
  • Yet, I’ve hurt people, offended people and let others down.
  • Some can’t stand the mention of my name.
  • Most of these were those who were once close — very close — but, I pushed too hard, was indifferent to their struggles and challenged them to extremes in holiness.
  • I didn’t listen enough.
  • I thought out loud – became too vulnerable – revealed my kryptonite.

I don’t think you can question my love — I loved! But, imperfectly.

  • Some appeared to be loved more than others. He has ‘favorites’ or ‘a clique’ … this was never intentional but I also did not push away those that preferred being closer.

Ultimately, things changed with and/or in them. I missed it.

  • I was expected to know, embrace and follow a script that I had never been given. I let them down unintentionally (but that’s probably not how they saw it). “How could I be so clueless?” I am.

The pain is always more severe because it involves my wife and kids. They are rendered victims to misunderstandings and shattered expectations. They get cut-off & kicked in the stomach with no explanation. People who said they loved them, disappeared without a goodbye and after saying they would always be there for them (should we ever say ‘always’??)…

So, I simply try to keep the bridges from burning between us. I learn from each heart break. Apologize. Forgive. LOVE.

  • I pray that they will, one day, remember: the spiritual investment I have made — the good times — the adventures — the things that matter.
  • I pray that they will remember that we are not enemies. That we are fighting the same monster and these hurts & feelings are distractions from our mission.

And, I keep getting close to NEW people. This isn’t always easy. The door of our lives and home continues to swing open. We continue to believe in others. We continue to do our best to make disciples. We continue to love.

Miracles happen daily. Don’t miss them!

  • Oh sure, we all believe in miracles.
  • I pray for HUGE miracles all the time. But, here’s something I’ve missed SO often: ‘little’ miracles.
  • While seeking the jumbo offering, new church building, qualified staff, supernatural healing and other big-time miracles, FIGHT to see and revel in the little things!
  • People are changing, hearts or softening, doors are opening, someone is smiling, your spouse still adores you, friends love you, people are growing closer to Jesus, bills are getting paid, leaves are changing on the trees, you smell good coffee, the car started, God spoke your name in prayer today, you had milk for your cereal this morning, you remembered something and Hey! You’re ALIVE!
  • Shout, dance, sing and enjoy these daily miracles.
  • They are dress-rehearsal for the bigger miracles that ARE COMING SOON!

Never become so focused on the BIG — it’s gonna take a miracle — stuff that you miss the wonderful miracles happening constantly all around you. Find yourself praising God at various times and in unique places.

Glorify Him!

Be sure to check out Part Two next!