This is a new segment I’m adding in 2013. It will simply be some honest thoughts about church planting, Detroit life, urban missions, family, etc …
1] Leading a staff of all, non-paid, volunteers is one of the most humbling & challenging opportunities I’ve ever encountered. It’s hard to know the line that you can push or expect when the person has another full time job and family. I try hard to provide & guard their sabbath times. But, understand that each person is different in their maturity, loyalty and devotion. I’m striving to love each for who they are (and offer grace for who they are not).
2] I’m not a hipster.
3] It’s really hard when your friends disappear because you ask them for money. It’s hard enough to ask and I understand that their answer may have to be ‘no’ or ‘not now’ but, hang with me. Be straight with me, pray, give me advice… anything. And, those with resources, man it would be so nice IF you pursued opportunities to bless rather than wait to be begged.
4] Mentors are hard to find. Maybe I don’t look hard enough or maybe they’re not interested. We’re all busy…
5] Every urban church planter must be an entrepreneur. Tent-making requires vision and commitment. In the last 8 years, we’ve started a ministry school, media design company, non-profit charity and community coffee house. We’re constantly thinking of other companies or endeavors we should consider to fund our mission. Don’t ask others for help unless you’re doing all you can yourself.
6] Paul said, “follow me as I follow Christ” — he didn’t say, “follow me because I’m Christ” — yet, some people think you’re trying to be God when you ask them to follow. They want input when it agrees with them but deny or avoid it when it goes against them. Holiness is a tough pill to swallow especially when trying to swallow it with a big gulp of hatorade!
7] I will never, never, EVER allow my family and marriage to come second to the ministry.
8] I sometimes have this dream where I am asked to pastor a happy, healthy, genuine church in the suburbs of Detroit. I agree to do so and bring my current church campuses under their wing. Then, we, model the kind of suburban/urban church relationship I believe should/could exist. Then I’m awakened, often by nearby gunfire, and realize that my dream is probably everyone else’s nightmare.
9] I don’t understand it when God FREELY gives you a way to lead better, reach more or make disciples; and then you take those ideas and sell them (under the title ‘coaching’). Why not give them? Is it because a business concept like “never give anything away for free or they won’t value it” has crept into your theology? Jesus said, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!” Matt. 10:8.
10] My preaching has changed a lot over the last year. From a point-by-point preacher to a laid back story-teller. For me, I was bored with myself — and, I guess it was kind of a natural, God-led, reinvent. Jesus told stories. And, I think truth often slips through the cracks of a hard heart better with a gentle steady stream than the sudden blast of a fire hose. I don’t think I’ve sold out…
Well, those are some unrehearsed, raw, honest thoughts. I’m sure that some may be frustrating, confusing or pointless. Ultimately, my blog is me being honest about me. I don’t presume to think that my opinions or questions are all correct. I’m simply modeling the process of voicing what’s in my heart — these words (above) first were spoken to God and then documented in my personal journal. I left out some of the real juicy stuff!! 😉
IF you want to comment about any of the points, please reference the number(s) in front of the point, so that we know what you’re referring to. Stay tuned for “Confessions of an Urban Missionary – 2” next week.