Thursday, September 27, 2007

Did God Call Me to Plant a Church?

Well, I'm supposed to say yes to that question, but in reality I think the answer is no. God has called me to make disciples...that's the is not planting a church. Planting a church is just a method used to make disciples. But I'm not called to plant a church. The church plant is more of a by product of the real calling...that of making disciples. It's sounds like I'm splitting hairs but I don't think so.

If I think too much about planting a church as being the calling then for me, pride creeps in...this is my vision...oh yeah and God is important, too...

But for me to stay focused I have to constantly remind myself that I'm here to make disciples. That will involve planting a church...probably with lights...sounds and all that. But making disciples is more. It's the small group in my house on Sundays. It's my soccer team on Tuesdays...It's perhaps an after school program or a gymboree type place. It is conversations over football on Sundays or a drink on Thursday nights... That's the bigger picture.

I'm praying today that we all recognize and stay true to our real calling in this world.

Show and Tell

My friend and mentor, Brian Mavis, spent the weekend with us in Richmond, this past weekend. He advised me that our church needs to launch with a Show and Tell method. Don't just tell people that you are going to be a church that loves and ministers to the city...Show them first...then tell them later why you do what you do. This made a lot of sense to me. We need to be serious about meeting practical needs in the community if we are going to ever earn the right to be heard with the gospel message.

Here's something big to pray about: We are considering launching a not-for-profit organization that serves the community at least 6 months prior to the launch of the church. I have my eye on a property on Cary Street that would be ideal for a kids indoor gym type of place that can also work as office space, and perhaps an after school program, and childcare venue. Can we rent that the whole plan feasible...can we raise support for it? Many questions...few answers right now. Please pray for this, because it could be HUGE. More details to come...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Preached at Mechanicsville Church of Christ

This past Sunday I spoke at Mechanicsville Church of Christ. They had two services, a traditional church and a contemporary service. It made for a long morning but it was worthwhile. There are some great people out there. Mark Coffey, the senior pastor has a great heart for the people there and is doing some great stuff there. They have a new family life center, and seem to be growing with young people. Kent Childers, who has been a friend of mine for about 6 years now, going back to my days at Forefront, when I was youth minister, does a great job there with youth and college age.

I will say it is hard to cast vision in such a way that everyone gets it. I feel like when I preach, I really put my heart out there and you sometimes feel like a lonely voice in the wilderness. I wish I could grab people by the collar and shake them and say “you just don't realize how amazing this church will be!” I have a dream. God is directing it. I pray we can build something great in Richmond for His glory, not ours.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Speaking at Chester Christian Church

This Sunday, September 16th, I will be speaking at Chester Christian Church in Chester, VA. Chester's lead pastor, Neil Wheeler has a real missional mindset and has told me that their church really wants to be involved more in the city of Richmond. Please join me in praying that I will communicate clearly this Sunday to the people at the church, and that this will be the start of a great partnership to help reach the city of Richmond for Christ.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Living in the city

The other other day my wife received an email from another mom in Richmond. When Abby told her where we live, (carytown). This mom's response was basically "I didn't know anyone with small children lived there in the city!" This response is not very unusual. There seems to be an unwritten rule that as soon as you have children you need to move out to the burbs where you can have an enormous fenced in back yard so your children can run and play all day, in the safety of your own corral. Add in the fact that taxes are lower in the counties than in the city and the flight to the suburbs makes sense. I understand this..I really do. We just want to live differently than that. This year, for the first time in history, more people will live in cities than in rural areas. The world is becoming more and more urban, and as I see it, Christians need to know how to live, work, and play, and even raise kids in this urban jungle. It is our hope to raise our kids to love the city, love their funky urban neighbors, and be light in a dark world.