According to Barna Research Group (see attached article), Burlington, Vermont is the #1 most UNCHURCHED city in America! What better place to rethink how we do church and offer a collaborative opportunity for communities, families and churches to come together for the sake of their teenagers and young adults? We are not seeking to abandon existing churches but, instead, to provide a unified, off-site, setting for students to build friendships, receive love, encouragement and hope. We will also provide a judgement free environment for students to explore the outrageous claims of Christ with honest, unfiltered curiosity! These types of opportunities are difficult in smaller church, youth group, settings.
Archives For Family
a few vacation thoughts…
I love going to the beach! LOVE IT! And, yet there’s something about going to the beach that I hate! Yeah, I do it, but I hate it… applying sunscreen! Especially, when there’s 6 other people needing it (in varying degrees of protection: SPF 50, 30, 15, etc). The process takes us 15 minutes or more — and, then, at some point on the beach we must reapply — but by this 2nd time we’re sort of gritty from the sand.
As much as I dislike applying sunscreen, I DO IT. I hate sunburn FAR worse! And, I’m also aware that neglect today could result in much greater problems later: skin cancer. We don’t think about cancer when we’re younger — sunburn is just how we start our tans. Stupid, right?!
It’s easy as Christians to be careless and stupid when it comes to exposing our hearts and minds to the sins and dangers of the world. We’ve all been burned and damaged by the fiery attack from the enemy. We need to apply protection – daily (or more) and liberally.
I know some that choose to live in the shadows with pale faith — fearing worldly damage so much that they avoid lost people all together. That’s not God’s plan. No, we must put on the protection provided and then get out there and make a difference. Find the sunscreen here:
Don’t become lazy or indifferent by forgetting to reapply. We need the power of the Holy Spirit that comes through DAILY (or more) application of God’s Word and authentic prayer.
The other thing we need to enjoy a day on the beach is sunglasses. This year I purchased a pair of sunglasses that are super dark — designed specifically, to protect from sun reflection on the ocean (water).
Sunglasses do 2 primary things: they protect our eyes from damage. Did you know you can sunburn your eyes — OUCH! And, sunglasses, help us focus. You see better when the glare is diverted and your not forced to squint through watery eyes.
The lenses of our ‘sunglasses’ should be God’s Love. When we see others through these lenses — everything becomes more clear and beautiful. What comes through them — like damaging sun, is filtered into vivid clarity. We are protected from insecurity, fear, doubt and hurt. And, then when we look back out through the love of God, we see ONLY good.
Looking through these lenses should also cause us to stop being so selfish, judgmental and rude.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Philippians 2:3-5
Sometimes Sunscreen and Sunglasses may seem over-the-top or unnecessary, but they protect and preserve you. And, now, each time you use them, perhaps you’ll be reminded of God’s Armor & God’s Love — wear BOTH daily!
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!
Chilly Chilton (and Family)
*Journal entry during flight to Siesta Key
I’m 33,000 ft. above the earth on my way to Siesta Key for family vacation… sigh… You don’t realize you need rest until you make it happen (maybe until then, you operate in a focused denial).
I have so much to be thankful for:
- ALL of my family is with me and ALL of my kids still love & enjoy being with ‘daddy.’ Rare in our crazy world & dysfunctional culture.
- My wife (and queen) is still in love with me. Miracle for sure!
- I’m healthy. I’m eating better (and less) and I run & play soccer almost every day. And for three weeks I’ll also swim/play in the ocean and pool for 4-6 hours per day!
- My sleep is still not great but, perhaps, this vacation will allow me to adjust this to something sane.
- My church (Courage) is doing really good! We’ve never been healthier – in all ways! They showed their love to us & for us in such a big, significant & generous way yesterday (pastor appreciation Sunday). Love them!
- My other church (Mount Hope) also have expressed their love and appreciation. My role there is so unique – I never feel like I’m doing enough. But, GREAT things are happening.
Random: I’m drinking Bloody Mary mix (spicy tomato juice)
This time away – priorities:
1. God – deeper … More listening, More journaling and More vision!
2. Family – attention, fun, individual times with each. LOVE!
3. Health – exercise, eat right & sleep — and relax (breathe, stop over-thinking)
4. Seek Direction: next 25+ years marriage & family // And, next 10+ years ministry
5. Minister to my friend and host here in Florida plus other people we encounter
6. Follow: I lead & make so many decisions — so, here, it’s fun to just tag along.
7. Enjoy lots of seafood! Fish, lobster, crab, clams, scallops, calamari & more!
We’ll land soon and our adventure will continue. IF you think of us, please pray! We want this time away to be refreshing, defining and encouraging. We’re so thankful for ALL of you! More later…
Time to find my boardshorts and sunscreen!