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 Missions
the avenging of past mistakes or misdeeds.
Do 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 Commission. YOU ARE NEEDED. It’s time.
one to be reckoned with,
Q: What needs a day of ‘reckoning‘ in your life or leadership today?
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.
You kids are capable of SO much more than you can even begin to imagine!
- When 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!
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.
Wikipedia: 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?