Archives For Missions

reckoning

Chilly —  May 2, 2016 — 2 Comments

reck·on·ing   [rek–uh-ning]

the avenging of past mistakes or misdeeds.

reckoningDo you ever wonder what we’re really doing or at least supposed to be doing? Why are our methods, passion, and approach all greeted with such resistance, fear or doubt? Why are people in the community more intrigued by and engaged in transformation than people in the church? Why no one seems to be able to find the correct phrase or word to describe us? Are we nameless?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this…

What makes us any different from previous pioneers, revolutionaries or trailblazers of the faith?  Are our ideas so unique? Are sermons more inspiring? …hardly. Is it our tech toys, websites, blog pages, crazy videos, or loud music? … no, I don’t think so. Maybe it’s our jeans & t-shirt Sunday attire.  Ha, that’s not it either – but it’s definitely a perk! 

So, what makes us different? Why all the books, conferences, articles with words like: engaging, convergent, relevant, next generation, influential, mosaic, story-telling, etc.? You know what, I don’t know either…

Maybe the labels and titles came from the rigid, controlling, established, religious, on-their-way-out, leadership of organized churches & denominations. We tend to fear what we don’t understand, and a label always helps us sum up something we don’t really get… was that offensive – I’m sorry – that’s not my intention. Honest. I’m not picking a fight.

You see, I don’t think we’re really that unique. From the first century church to where we are today, there has been a need for individuals or groups of believers that stand up and bring radical correction to the waywardness or blandness of the church Jesus planted. Throughout history there has been a need to get back to the main thing:  Salvation, discipleship, and community.

When we stray from the foundation, we tend to take ourselves too seriously and the results are tragic: religion replaces relationship, selfishness replaces simplicity, lust for power replaces love for people, control replaces compassion, greed replaces grace, jealousy replaces joyfulness, conflict replaces courage, and frustration replaces freedom. Has this happened in your church (or mine)? Oh man, just the thought of this makes my heart hurts…

It’s easy to fall into this and hard to climb out – but, we must!  [Warning: Rant in 3, 2, 1 …] And, I don’t think the answer is to abandon ship – kick dirt on your church, or walk away because ‘they’ won’t change and only YOU know what authentic Christianity is – and, then use social media and toxic small groups to validate your righteousness & meekness (receiving applauds & pity from every ‘hurt’ leader) – grow up, shut up & move on – gracefully. [end of Rant]

For the rest of us, still in it to win it, let’s begin our adventure back to truth & life TODAY! It’s time for a holy reckoning to happen in and through you. I want a better church for my kids and the generations to follow – better doesn’t mean “new” – actually it’s just getting back to the book of Acts and living it in the 21st century. It may be simplifying: Love God, Love Others & Love Life.

Yeah, labels will come… judgments will be made… shunning could happen. Embrace it. And do what you’re made to do – be who HE made you to be. The message IS sacred, the method is not... keep that straight and LISTEN, LEARN, LIVE, and LOVE!  The lost are all around us – they’re looking for something genuine & trustworthy — someone to help them find the truth. Making disciples is still the Great CommissionYOU ARE NEEDED.  It’s time.

                                one to be reckoned with,
Chilly

Q: What needs a day of ‘reckoning‘ in your life or leadership today?

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!

Becoming a Missiologist

Chilly —  July 26, 2014 — 4 Comments

It seems that I’m constantly seeking to understand and apply God’s calling and destiny. I have no doubt that He has called me and that He has laid a path before me that is unique to my anointing and giftings. What is so challenging is that the way I grew up, and was taught in seminary, often seems to be a complete paradox to the very place & culture where God has led me to impact… so, my quest is to become a missiologist.

mediaTrendsWikipedia: describes “Missiology“, or mission science, as the area of practical theology which investigates the mandate, message and work of the Christian missionary. Missiology is a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural reflexion on all aspects of the propagation of the Christian faith, embracing theology, anthropology, history, geography, theories and methods of communication, comparative religion, Christian apologetics, methodology, and interdenominational relations.

One of a missiologist’s most difficult challenges is to distinguish between: a) practices that are essential to Christianity and therefore must be practiced by Christians in all cultures, and b) other strictly cultural expressions of Christianity that can be changed and adapted to a different culture. You know, leaving what’s sacred alone but adjusting those things that are cultural so that they have the ultimate impact.

I have not fully grasped all the dynamics of missiology, especially as it pertains to my current call, but I am enjoying my time in the lab! With each page I turn of His Word and with each amazing lecture spoken to my heart by His Spirit, I become more and more aware of who I am, where I am, and why… and even greater, I become more and more aware of WHO HE IS – knowing that He is with me and that His purpose we be completed in and through my life…

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:6 msg.

on a mission… for life! Chilly

 Q: Where are you at in this adventure of calling & mission?

9 C’s of Church Planting

Chilly —  July 15, 2014 — 6 Comments

This is a revised & updated post.
Shared with the Accelerate Network in June 2014.

Church Planting is awesome! I love it!

courageChurchIs it tough? Oh yes! But, is it worth it? Always! Over the last 10 years, I’ve planted three church campuses in the inner city communities of Detroit. My family (incredible wife & 5 amazing kids) live right in the heart of the city. We do not have any full-time paid staff and we continually are in need of funds and resources just to get by … THIS IS FAITH! I’ve been chosen by God to share His love & truth in the most dangerous city in America. This isn’t punishment, it’s an honor! In addition to leading Courage Church, I am also Church Planting and Network minister for Mount Hope Church.

I think church planters are a rare breed:

  • We’re thrill-seeking pioneers with apostolic anointing.
  • We eat impossible for breakfast!
  • We hear God’s heartbeat in HD surround sound every where we go!
  • We smile through trials and accept pain as confirmation for pleasing God.
  • We get dissed & deserted by those we love.
  • We get to share in the most WONDERFUL moments in the life of a person or community.
  • Big time spiritual stuff! Yes, it’s worth it!

We don’t just believe in miracles, we depend on them.

I was recently asked, “what’s it take to be a church planter?” … I took some time to pray & think about this, then scribbled the following in my journal. Maybe it’s unique to me – that’s ok. But, maybe it’s for others too – even better! My prayer is that you would be encouraged, inspired and equipped to do WHATEVER God created you to do and that you would get BUSY doing it!

9 C’s of Church Planting

1. Calling
Friends, IF God didn’t tell you to do it, please DON’T do it! There will be times that you have to go back to the moment when you KNEW God called you to this task. There can be no doubts. IF He has called you, get going! “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 — don’t ever forget that you’re called to make disciples and that’s, exactly, what you want to build your church with!

2. Courage
The Bible is filled with “Be Brave – Be Strong – Be Fearless” challenges. But, my friends, even a Biblical pep talk is not enough. Your personal faith & trust in God is where Courage is born & grown. The bravest thing you can do is obey God. Learn His voice, know His Word and determine to never quit!

3. Creativity
This is an area where many feel lacking. But, I know two things: 1] God is the creator and 2] He has made some amazingly creative people. IF you’re not creative, there’s still no excuse, tap into the creative heart of God through the Holy Spirit. And, recruit some creative people!

4. Colleagues
God made us for relationship. We need other people in our life. I know that it’s an old cliche, but you’ve got to BE the friend you want to have. Serve others, praise others, bless others. He will send amazing people who share your heart & vision — be sure to be a good steward of this gift. Fight for their families, insist that they sabbath and compliment them privately & publicly. Lead them with your life!

5. Commitment
You must decide right up front: Quitting Isn’t an Option! This often involves removing & destroying “Plan B” — when God called Elisha ( 1 Kings 19), he chopped up all his plows, killed all his oxen and had a going away BBQ for his friends & family. He couldn’t go back to his old life – it was nothing but ashes.

6. Character
This is who you are when no one else is looking! It’s known MOST by your family and close friends — and, it’s revealed in your long-term effectiveness. Tell the truth ALWAYS, never cheat in anything, be accountable in everything and live what you profess. Your disciples will become what you are not what you say.

7. Compassion
Love, love, love, love, LOVE!! Love God & Love others! Climb into the eyes of Jesus and see the ‘GREAT’ in every person that you meet. DON’T just love those easy to love or who love you back. Love your critics & haters too! You’ll be surprised who responds to God’s love and who becomes your greatest allies ALL because you showed the unconditional love of Christ! When in doubt, LOVE more!

8. Covering  ( suggested by: Pastor Edgar Cabello)

Seek deliberate covering both through prayer and by oversight. There are lots of church planting networks and associations. ARC, Acts29, CMN, etc. they are fantastic and provide relationships and resources — as well as funding support. But, I’ve found that we still function best with a parent church body that we are connected to. Perhaps this could be an extension of ‘colleagues’ (#4) but it speaks more towards a trusted authority (parent) who is involved in our development and nurturing.

9. Contentment.  (suggested by: Pastor Steve Gagne)
This is a tricky one, because I never want to be content with where I am spiritually, and always seeking more of the Holy Spirit’s activity in my life, and more relationships with others . But, at the some time, we also find ourselves comparing the work we are called to do against the work of others—my church compared to his church. We face seasons of much work, and seemingly slow growth; and it can be easy to start looking around. The “what am I doing wrong” or “what is he doing right” thoughts creep in. We must be content in the process in which God is taking us though, and not go looking for apparent shortcuts. There are no shortcuts… keep your hands on the plow and remain faithful.

Plus, “Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” ~Unknown

The above list is, obviously, NOT Comprehensive (hmmm, another “C” word). In fact, some of  you may feel like it needs a #10 in order to be more complete. Hmmm, ok, here’s ONE MORE:

10. CASH! 

You better be good at asking for money, seeing friends run and hide; and then asking for more! It’s tough to “give people the opportunity to invest into the Kingdom” (or some other spiritual way to say “beg”).

You must truly believe in what you’re doing and have a plan to invest ANY gift that you receive big or small. And, perhaps the best way to receive generously is to be generous! Give what you need. Sow into others. And, when you receive a gift, SEND A THANK YOU!

Ok, now, that’s really it! At least for now… Calling, Courage, Creativity, Colleagues, Commitment, Character, Compassion, Covering and Contentment… and, yeah, Cash!

Q: Which one of these “C’s” stood out to you? Why?