Multiply Monday: Leaders and Opportunities

I recently read A Multi-Site Road Trip.  This book was essentially a tour of several different churches that are implementing Multi-Site methodology into their church.  There were many great lessons to be learned and it is a book that I plan to go back to over the next year.

Today I wanted to share one quote with you from Wayne Cordiero at New Hope in Hawaii:

“Our goal for satellites is not necessarily to add locations,” explains Wayne. “It is to develop new leaders. It is to edge these emerging leaders into their own teaching, where one day we can release them as stand-alone churches. When young leaders go out with this model, they have time to build relationships, develop teams, think about evangelism projects, do community outreach, and build leaders,” he says.

One of the key elements of multi-site church is raising up leaders.  I’m a firm believer that the church will never have too many leaders.  The key is willingness in current leaders to train people and then release people.  At Creekside we have talked a lot about being a sending church.  We send thousands of dollars to missions projects every year.  But we also need to send people.  One of the ways that we can send people is through campus launches.

But it starts with multiplying leaders.  So as we launch the Lynnwood Campus, we are looking for people who want to grow as leaders or become leaders.  But we are also looking for people who want to lead the next campus.  Lynnwood can’t be the end.

When Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses” he didn’t stop at Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.  He left it pretty open when he said to the ends of the earth.

The only way that the church is going to faithfully carry out it’s mission is by sending out leaders who are called by God to specific communities.  Maybe Jesus is calling us by saying, “You will be my witnesses to Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Everett, Lake Stevens, and on and on.

But we need to multiply leaders in order to keep multiplying opportunities.

Peculiar

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We have been walking around the neighborhood in Salto. Every time we have passed by this car. we don’t know what it is or who made it. It kind of looks like a Volkswagen Thing but its not.

This morning we were doing a prayer walk and we passed this car again. I felt the Spirit say to me that this peculiar car is a metaphor for the church. We are called to be a peculiar people. We are called to be a little different, to stand out. In the States it’s really easy to just blend in but the church isn’t supposed to blend it. We are set apart. We are in the world but not of the world.

It’s a great metaphor for the church but an even better metaphor for the church and missions in Uruguay. The church has a very small footprint in this country. The government basically eliminated any church influence in the nation. For example people don’t have a common understanding of Christmas or Easter. They call those holidays Family Day and Tourism Day respectively.

Christians here in Uruguay are different by default here. In the States we have lost a lot of our particularity. How can we gain it back?

Election

I’ve been thinking a lot about the doctrine of election.  Mainly because I have been doing a lot of research in the Minor Prophets.  The Prophets were addressing the nation of Israel, which was elected by God to be his nation among the many nations.  The problem though was that even though they were an elect nation Israel was made up of a bunch of people who disobeyed God and were punished for their sin.  How can individuals be elect and not obey God?  This is a troubling place to be.

The doctrine of election as played out in traditional reformed (calvinist) theology makes election sound like God is electing individuals to salvation.  But there are no individual examples of election to salvation for individuals.  Election is always talked about corporately.

I am an individual who has placed my faith in Jesus’ saving work on the Cross.  And I am saved.  But am I elect?  

If I’m reading scripture through a lens that says that election is corporate, then it changes from I am elect, to we, the Church, are elect.  The Church is God’s chosen plan to carry out the mission of rescuing humans from sins and we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

This underscores the notion that our job as Christians is not to just secure our individual salvation.  Instead it is about trying to help as many people as possible receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to become part of the Community of Faith, through which we are encouraged and equipped to help others find grace and so on.  

Is election a biblical idea?  Yes.  But instead of I am among the elect.  It may be better to say, we are working in God’s elected plan to rescue humanity from sin.

Thoughts? 

Missional Spirituality (Review)

Missional is a buzzword in the North American Church.  It’s a buzzword with a lot of ambiguity.  What does it mean to be missional?  What is a missional church?  What is a missional follower of Jesus?  These are all questions that church leaders are asking.  And there are many resources that are trying to provide some clarity to these questions.

Missional Spirituality (Paperback, Kindle) by Roger Helland and Leonard Hjalmarson is one of these many books.  Unlike many of the other texts that I’ve been reading on the subject.  Missional Spirituality builds its foundation on Jesus response to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”  Jesus’ reply to this question is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.”

From this response Helland and Hjalmarson begin to investigate what it means to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  They focus on practices that help believers grow in their love for the Lord in all four of these arenas.  This is important as it helps people build faith and knowledge about God and move them into living the mission of God.  The authors then go into examining what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.

Missional Spirituality is by no means a ground breaking revolutionary text on what the church should be doing to be more “missional”.  However, it is a helpful text for church leaders and non-church leaders to begin to figure out what it means to live in God’s mission of grace and saving the world.

Brothers, we are all broken

My heart is hurting for people who have been deeply hurt by a church in my area.  As a leader in a church I know that it is not hard to offend someone.  As someone who goes to a church I know that it is not hard to be offended.

But the stories that I am hearing lately are too much.  Church discipline is intended to ultimately be redemptive, to help people get closer to Jesus.  It’s not intended to show your power or authority over your followers.

Pastors can you please take a moment to pray for the people in your area who are hurting because of church leadership.  It’s not fair to those people that their image of Jesus is tarnished because of human agents.

The truth is that we are all incredibly broken people.  The grace of Jesus is the only thing that helps us get our lives back together.  Can we talk more about that?  Can we humbly recognize our need for Jesus?

Leaders, let’s get out of the way of people who are trying to find Jesus.  We are not meant to be gatekeepers of faith.  We are guides.  The only reason that we can guide anyone in their faith journey is because some one guided us.  That person was a broken human too.

Let’s be honest.

Let’s be humble.

Let’s celebrate Jesus’ transforming love and grace.

Let’s help people walk away from sin and towards the grace that we find in the Cross of Christ.

I think that’s what people are looking for when they come to church for the first time.

Love.

Hope.

Healing.

Forgiveness.

Compassion.

Community.

We should be the best at creating environments like this because we have received all of this from Jesus in the first place.

Stewardship [or] All About (all) the Benjamins

I am currently working on a series of sermons about Stewardship.  As a pastor, when I use the word stewardship the common assumption is that I’m going to talk about money.  If I say, I’m doing a series on stewardship, people hear, “Here come four week talking about money, give more, give more, give more.”

Can I be completely honest and vulnerable about something here on my blog.  (I’m going to anyway so deal with it.)  I hate this common understanding of stewardship.  I hate it because it is just too narrow.

Am I going to talk about money?  Yes.  1 week.  Am I going to talk about tithing and giving offerings?  Yes.

I have said before and I will say again, I will never apologize for talking about money at Creekside because no one is getting rich at Creekside.  If all of a sudden all the pastors pull up in Bentleys then we will start apologizing for talking about money so much.  (Just between you and me, we are so far from that becoming a possibility.)

Another part of my problem with the common understanding of stewardship is that all that matters is Tithes and Offerings.  These stewardship campaigns often feel like, the goal is simply to increase tithes and offerings.  To give a shot in the arm for the year to make sure that we keep making budget.  Ministry has expenses, there is no way around that, and at Creekside we try to run a pretty tight ship to make sure that we are getting the most of the resources that people have given in tithes and offerings.  So it’s important to talk about the importance of giving, and we do that every week.

But stewardship, and specifically talking about financial stewardship is more than just tithes and offerings.  God cares about every penny that you spend.  And he cares because he gave it to you, and he wants you to use it towards his purposes in the world and his purposes for your life.

Pay your bills, enjoy your life, there is nothing wrong with doing these things.  But stewardship is so much bigger than just making sure people tithe.  Tithes and offerings are a key indicator in spiritual growth and if people are truly trusting God, but so is whether or not you are spending wrecklessly on credit, or if you are neglecting your financial responsibilites.

All of that is also stewardship.

I think we would all benefit, church attenders and church leaders, to take into account that God has called us all to be disciples, not just on Sunday but every day where ever we go.  And not just with 10% of our gross income, but with every dollar.  God cares about all of our life, and how we are using all that he has given to us to advance his mission of grace to the world.  And he cares about the Benjamins, all of them, as well as the little copper Lincolns.

Church & 30 Rock

I love 30Rock.  Smart, funny, quick.  All good things when it comes to a sitcom.  Kathy and I were watching it the other day, and I was struck by a really fun idea, how does the Church line up with 30 Rock?

This does not reflect Creekside, these thoughts reflect stereotype ideas about local Churches

Jack Donaghey = Lead Pastor

Jack has a lot of ideas, but knows that he is not going to be the one to actually carry them out.  He’s always thinking about leveraging the organization to the next level through things like “Synergy” and “Stratification.”  Jack put in his time and moved up the org chart.  He’s got bosses, but he’s definitely king of his empire.  For Jack it’s TGS and Mircrowave Programming.

Liz Lemon = Associate/Executive Pastor

Liz works hard and carries a lot of responsibility on her shoulders.  Liz is often responsible for making Jack’s ideas happen.  She has freedom to disagree with Jack in conversation but she also wants to make sure that their work is great and innovative.  Liz wants to move the organization forward, but she is working with people who are all working their own agenda, Liz has to build the habit of bringing all these people back to the same agenda.

Tracy Jordan = Youth Pastor

No one knows what Tracy is going to do, but other people will know that they have to pick up the pieces.  Tracy has two guys who Dot Com and Griz who keep him on track.  Youth pastors (having been I youth pastor I know) need to have youth leaders to keep them focused as well.

Jenna Maroney = Worship Pastor

The dreamer. The performer.  Always working on something crazy on the side.

 

I could probably go a lot deeper in this whole thing.  And again, I am not saying this is Creekside, but it’s a pretty stereotypical representation of the Church, based on stories I have heard and seen.  The idea tickled me and I had to write it out.