One of the greatest challenges it seems that comes with growing a church is not having your own builiding. My students are the ones who have suffered the most with our sense of homelessness. For the last year and a half we have bombarded the living rooms of parents, who had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
As those opportunities have expired, I find myself forced to reconsider the entire ministry. The easy way would be to find another living room and keep on moving forward in the same ryhthm doing the same thing, with the same perspective…same…same…same.
Jesus never did ministry the same. He constantly adapted with every new challenge that faced him. The foundation of his ministry never changed–it was all about Him. Our ministry will always remain all about Him. But in order for there to even be a ministry, I had to ask the students what they thought, what they wanted, how they wanted to learn about him. This is what they told me:
- We want a comfortable and hip environment.
- We want awesome and inspiring music.
- We want to minister to people our own age.
- We want to feed the poor and clothe the naked.
- We want to be heard and to make a difference.
- We want our own building.
It’s a tall order, but one that no doubt is possible, well except for the last one right now. This past weekend we started with “We want to minister to people our own age.” After grabbing Three Taco Parties from Taco Bell and loading the ice chest with gatorade we headed to the local skatepark to show the skaters some Jesus Love. We will continue learning and doing ministry in an organic way, focusing more on serving and loving others with sporatic times of intense teaching.
When buliding a ministry, we have to be moldable, willing to follow where the Spirit leads. So often in church planting we want to use a model, or mimick a local “successful” church. Our success depends on how we accomplish His will for His ministry.
Where in your ministry have you bucked the system and leaned into God’s creativity in your church plant?
Last night I watched the final Presidential debate for the upcoming 2012 election. I confess I haven't exerted too much energy to this political race because, well, I procrastinate. I figure I can gather all the information necessary to make a decision in about a day or less and we are no where near November, or are we? Plus who really likes politicians?
I loved watching how Obama and Romney debated more than I cared about what they actually said. If we are really honest with ourselves, we can admit that both of them are lying about something if not pretty much everything. What either say is merely watered down Tropical Punch Kool-Aid, no matter what your expectations, you will be gravely disappointed, and eventually, both of them will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
I Facebooked my thoughts regarding the debate and it started some pretty heated conversations. But I have to agree with my husband: when it comes down to it, neither Romney or Obama really care about me, or you for that matter. If I can't pay my rent or don't have groceries, or my child is sick, or my marriage is in shambles, or I can't put gas in the car to get to work, it really doesn't matter to the President or the Govenor. They are fed well, dressed expensively and live in very nice paid for houses. My life is of no regard to them, and I am the one who has to negotiate with the landlord.
What saddens me most is the mess we are leaving for the next generation. I am sorry for the United States my grandchildren will have to endure. These candidates are fighting for the job of managing our country but what we need is a leader.
We, and our children, need someone to rise up with conviction and belief in the people of this nation. We need a leader to lead our people, not just manage a budget. A person to share a vision for the greatness our country could be. We need a leader more concerned with integrity and morality than with winning and being right. We need a leader who can motivate our country to be better, to make sacrifices, to stand united. Our country needs someone who is willing to take a difficult position on all things for humanity. We need a leader who is willing to, and has, served in the trenches and foxholes. Our nation needs a leader who will speak hope into our generations…and not merely for financial stability or prosperity. Our country is in need of a strong leader of people, with a voice for love, a fight for justice and an understanding of human nature.
This election we will vote for a manager. But I am praying for a leader to rise up among the next generations who will radically invigorate our country through his character, his kindness and his ability to show the world the beauty of a nation, a family, working together to make life a little more bearable. I believe that person exists, if not now, they will. And our country will be better for it.
In the meantime, VOTE. Whatever you think about the candidates, or how you feel about the current state of our country, voting is one of the freedoms our soldiers and their families sacrifice for. See you at the polls!
I have this love-hate relationship with Twitter. I really, really want to love it but I just mostly hate it. I try, I really do. I opened an account to be trendy, and cool and hip. But I am learning, maybe I'm just not any of those things. My initial motivation was that Twitter was a great way to network. I mostly follow other pastors, children's ministry and student ministry leaders, authors, and gurus on Christian leadership. But I see these tweets and find myself just resenting all of them.
Everyone has such inspiring things to say in 140 characters or less. Like here are a few:
“Where God guides, HE provides”
“Leadership development isn't a program, it's a lifestyle. Learning to serve others doesn't happen in the classroom, but in ministry.”
“Busyness is not from the devil, it IS the devil.”
“I realized today that I am emotionally exhausted today over something I can not change. It's time to change me.”
“Make sure your worst enemy doesn't live between your own two ears.”
It's like walking into a store with nothing but motivational posters around you. Everywhere. Or maybe even rummaging through a very special line of Hallmark cards. And in between these little nuggets of wisdom is advertising and shameless, self-promotion (cough cough) “read here: how to be a better pastor” and “read this blog: How I lead on Saturday's between 8am and 12:35pm”
Tweets are much more profound than status updates, but I find that most people just link their Twitter and Facebook accounts. How lazy! Who wants to read what you think or who you are shopping with twice?! And I don't know how I can possibly keep up with all of the tweets of my following. There are so many, it's so rapidly changing. I don't do well with change. And I'm not sure I have that kind of time.
So I've decided that Twitter is just too much pressure. On Facebook I can be myself, and people respond, and sometimes they even care. On Twitter I feel like I'm at a job interview, carefully chosing my word usage and placement so that someone out there, who will probably never ever read my 140 characters anyway, might be momentarily inspired.
I have a decent following, not phenomenal but some people say they care what I Tweet, so I won't get rid of my account. Most likely I will follow even more wise, insightful 30 year old hipster pastors. But I'm not sayin' I'm gonna like it.
What are your thoughts on Twitter? I would love to know!
So I am toying with this idea–like always. The question over and over in my head for the last week or so is this: how do I create an environment in my home centered on Christ?
I know, you’re shocked. My home is not centered on Christ? Of all people? A children’s and student minister? What has this world come to? It’s people like me who ruin the sanctity of all things Christian family.
Oh Please! I know of way too many pastors whose own kids don’t even read the Bible at home, and barely pray with their family. Why do you think Pastor’s Kids have such a horrible reputation?
In reality, I live in a Christ centered home. We pray together, I have random Scripture posted all over my house–even behind the bathroom door. We talk of things Jesus, I encourage my kids to show his love, be his light. But there are a few things missing, and I’m ready to change that:
- Bible reading time
- Intentional, Holy Spirit led prayer time
- Focus on doing God’s will in our everyday life–especially at school.
So starting this week, I am going to initiate a mandatory time with the Lord. Lots of people oppose this, saying we should not force our kids to read the Bible. We shouldn’t force our kids to be Christians. We shouldn’t make our kids do anything they don’t want to do.
But I make them brush their teeth, and take showers. I make them go to school–horrible ones at that. I make them hug each other when they are mad. I make them do all sorts of things because I feel it teaches them to be societal-accepting adults.
My kids do homework, and work hard to get good grades, so they can get a “good education” and prove to the world how smart they are. The other night, my daughter spent 30 minutes completing homework on evolution, a theory that opposes the very creation of people by a loving God. A theory that is opposed to what we believe as a Christian family.
This world is falling apart, my kids need to be saturated with the Spirit if they are truly going to make a difference in their sphere of influence. My kids need to know what the Bible says about all things controversial. My kids need to be the light in the darkness, and that starts by striking a match.
I expect whining and opposition. I expect several reasons why they CANNOT read the Bible on a daily basis. I expect apathy, and frustration. I expect, “Do I have to?” To which I will simply reply, “Yes, you HAVE to.”
What do you think? How do you view “mandatory” Bible time with kids and in families? What do you do to keep your family submerged in Jesus?
My husband and I were driving around town today chatting about a local mega-church who seems to be taking over the city. The newest campus they planted in a small rural area was forced to offer two services on Easter because their launch Sunday brought in 500 people. This church has talented worship team members, big screen TVs, whistles and bells, decorated hallways and cafes and coffee shops and telecasting and … and…and….
I get it. I really do. I started at a church like that, I was called to ministry in a church like that. But here’s what disturbs me. One of my students from the hood visited this church for Easter. He talked about the big screens, and how funny the pastor was. He was in awe of the feeling of being at concert but really being at church.. But then he says, “It was cool, but the pastor didn’t really talk about God much. He talked about himself and his own life.”
So over lunch, I asked my husband, “When did Jesus become NOT enough? When did the business of church, the business of advertising and gimmicks and enticing ministry get in the way of the purity of the Gospel?”
In his wisdom he kindly explained to my disappointing blue eyes that Church is merely a business these days. That when it comes down to it, even church is about making money, and numbers. I shook my head in agreement, because I understand there is a business side to doing ministry, I think Jesus even understood that when he so carefully picked his disciples-Matthew, Philip, Judas.
But it is Peter, who stood in the courtyards and preached the Good News of the Resurrection of Christ, and that truth, and that truth alone cut to the hearts of the people and they begged for repentance and baptism. (Acts 2) And it is Billy Graham who has stood in front of crowds, preaching the truth, drawing people out of their chairs, out of their old lives and into something new…thousands and thousands…and millions of people.
In a world of comfort, today’s church is becoming more and more guilty of becoming like that world, instead of standing apart from it. The church wants everyone to feel comfortable, what’s the most comfortable chairs, and sound level? What’s the most comfortable place to leave my kids? What’s the most comfortable message I can hear so that I feel good about who I am and what I am doing?
Jesus was not in the business of making people comfortable. In fact, quite the opposite. People were offended by Him, and his congregation, so to speak, would often be split. Some believing with conviction, and some walking away shaking their head because they did not want to be uncomfortable. Jesus let them go. He did not entice them with a free basket of fish if they would just come back. He did not ask them to complete a survey so that He could follow-up with them and make sure they really liked Him. He spoke the truth, and He allowed the truth to speak for itself.
I’m not ignorant or blind to the realities and the changes in our world and culture. I don’t need an explanation of church growth, or statistics on the importance of numbers in a church plant. I just wish that we could, as a church, re-discover a revival of simply Jesus being Enough.
What are your thoughts?