Archives For Missions

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?

Family-Style Adventure

Chilly —  April 25, 2014 — 13 Comments

This blog post was inspired by reading some of the amazing comments on my post, When the Adventure becomes a Job <– click.  (this post set records in views, over 1,000 per day). You may want to read it BEFORE proceeding with today’s…

The past few days, I’ve really been thinking and praying about the ADVENTURE that God has called me (us) to live. And, obviously, my post about this really hit home with so many others.  I’ve been asking God, how can we have discipline, planning, and order without getting all business-like or turning my adventure into a job? Then, I said something in one of my responses to a comment, that began to help me understand – here’s what, in part, I said…

Courage Church

Courage Church Detroit, “4Days” 2013

My family would be chaotic without structure! Hmmm… Maybe I just stumbled onto something…

“Family” not business, organization or even church. Decisions created out of love not results.

I think this is brilliant (said best with British accent)!  Adventurous ministry is done best Family-Style! LOVE and LIFE are the keys. We’re doing life together with crazy, awesome, love!

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5

Here’s how the family-style adventure could be enjoyed.   Continue Reading…

7 C’s of Church Planting

Chilly —  March 19, 2014 — 14 Comments

This post was revised from previous blog post in 2012
(some comments reflect time of previous post)

Church Planting is awesome! I love it!

downtown-detroitIs 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!

 7 C’s of Church Planting Continue Reading…

Preach It!

Chilly —  February 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’m a “complicated” person. I’m a Christian, husband, father, neighbor, church-planter, pastor, mentor, author, barista, blogger, presbyter, etc. Plus, I am president of my own non-profit charity and a media design collective. On top of this, I travel across the country, and sometimes overseas, to preach at camps, conferences, churches and conventions.

I know, I know! “With all those other things going on in my life, why in the world do I still travel??”

Well, here’s a few reasons:

  1. dtw_water_fountainGod called me to do it. I know that God has put an apostolic purpose on my heart. From the time I asked Christ into my heart as Savior & Lord, I’ve known that He desired to use me to share the Gospel with people across the country and around the world. Ultimately, we’re all called to do it, “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” 2 Timothy 4:5.
  2. God’s gifted me to do it. That’s not a prideful statement – to be honest, I’m surprised that God still uses me like He does. I’m often amazed how God brings out insight, humor and practical application even as I’m speaking. Some people fear speaking in front of others, I love it! “each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” 1 Corinthians 7:7.
  3. I desire to be a blessing to my friends. I love to partner with friends and leaders by coming along side them and helping them accomplish something God has led them to do! Most of my speaking opportunities come through relationships. I often return so refreshed by the hospitality and kindness of my friends & allies. Late night dinners, early morning coffee or midday times just laughing are priceless. And I LOVE praying together!
  4. It’s tent-making for our ministry. Church-planting in Detroit has been such a challenge and adventure. One of the areas where it’s most difficult is financially. So, when I receive an honorarium, it allows my family to do something that we don’t have insurance or excess funds to accomplish. For example, this week we had to spend over $500 on glasses for our youngest son. There’s also dentist/orthodontist and other medical bills that we don’t have health coverage for. Plus, special times like going out to eat or summer vacation. So, yeah, I need to bring in extra $$ to bless my family & ministry. I can’t make tents, but I can speak!
  5. Raise awareness & missions support. I love to share our story with others. Detroit is a great missions field and opportunity for ministry. Many churches have large vision & budgets for missions across the ocean but have not considered the mission fields right in America. And, what city is in greater need than Detroit? We’re a great investment – mission funds put to use daily to reach the lost and make disciples!
  6. It’s fun. Although I’m not as into travel as I used to be, I still get excited after I get to the other side of the security check-in at the airport. People watching, trying new food, jumping on hotel beds and of course seeing lives change! BOOM!
  7. It reminds me of what/WHO matter. Getting away from home is a good exercise in trust and love for me and my family. We miss each other. And, I love coming home again! Sure, I don’t need to travel in order to love my family – but, since I do, it makes our love even stronger! They pray for me and can’t wait to hear the amazing stories of what God does. And, I love to share my experiences with them.

So, yeah, those are some of the reasons why I travel near and far! I love my life! If you or church/ministry/organization is interested in booking me, shoot me an email!

Stay tuned for the next post about: WHO I speak to.