The Road Ahead

Today we begin a new chapter at Creekside Church. This is my first Sunday after as lead pastor of this amazing church. I know that I have a lot to learn as we move forward. I am trusting that Jesus will continue to do the work that he has already started in me.

There will be challenges.

There will be celebrations.

There will be lives changed by the Gospel.

Creekside as we look to the future together I ask that you pray with me. Pray for me and my family. Pray for the people in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools. Pray that we will always say yes to the mission of helping people discover, trust and love Jesus Christ.

As we are launching Creekside Lynnwood, pray for wisdom and favor in the neighborhood. Pray the congregation in Lynnwood that we will build unity around the mission. Pray for the leadership teams in both campuses.

The road ahead of us is exciting and I am looking forward to going on this journey together. Let’s see where Jesus takes us.

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.

Groups Coach

Yesterday I talked about the importance of starting and maintaining the projects that you know you can pour yourself into.

One of the projects that I have started and I want to make sure that I can keep focused on and maintain a strong level of commitment to is Groups Coach

Groups Coach is a training initiative for our Groups Ministry at Creekside Church.  The goal is to produce a weekly 10 minute podcast that our leaders can listen to for quick training sessions.  The beauty of the podcast is that it’s available when the leaders are available instead of trying to work everybody’s schedule into a meeting.  There will still be needs for meetings of course, but this way training will be in small doses instead of trying to drink from the fire hose.

Out of this there is also a blog project to post groups and community related articles and ideas.

And this is a resource that I want to give away for free.

So if there are any folks out there who need resources for training group leaders, then please check out Groups Coach, and please tell your friends, colleagues pets etc know about it as well.

The Groups Coach Blog  GroupsCoach.tumblr.com

Groups Coach Twitter: twitter.com/groupscoach

email ideas for groups coach to coachinggroups@gmail.com

Nouwen on Leadership and Theological Reflection

Without solid theological reflection, future leaders will be little more than pseudo-psychologists, pseudo-sociologist, pseudo social workers.  They will think of themselves as enablers, facilitators, role models, father or mother figures, big brothers or big sisters, and so on, and thus join the countless men and women who make a living by trying to help their fellow human beings cope with the stresses and strains of everyday living.

But that has little to do with Christian leadership because the Christian leader things, speaks, and acts in the name of Jesus, who came to free humanity form the power of death and open the way to eternal life.  To be such a leader, it is essential to be able to discern from moment to moment how God acts in human history and how the personal, communal, national and international events that occur during our lives can make us more and more sensitive to the ways in which we are led to the cross and through the cross to the resurrection.

The task of Christian leaders isn not to make a little contribution to the solution of the pains and tribulations of their time, but to identify and announce the ways in which Jesus is leading God’s people out of slavery, through the desert to the new land of Freedom.

. . .

THe Christian leaders of the future have to be theologians, persons who know the heart of God and are trained — through prayer, study, and careful analysis — to manifest the divine event of God’s saving work in the midst of many seemingly random events of their time.

Theological reflection is reflecting on the painful and joyful realities of every day with the mind of Jesus and thereby raising human consciousness to the knowledge of God’s guidance.

Henri Nowen In The Name of Jesus: Reflections of Christian Leadership. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Co, 1989. pp 86-88

The Body

Ephesian 4:11-16

“And he [Jesus] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

This is the pastors job description, and the goals of our job.  Ultimately, Jesus has called pastors and teachers, and leaders in the church, to help the church grow up.  Pastors are instructed to build maturity, equip people to do the ministry, and to keep the Church on course, instead of being blown about by the trends and waves of the times.

This passage is often used as a proof text for giving away ministry to the church members, and that’s there, it’s important.  But what kind of ministry?  I think it’s supposed to be all kinds of ministry.  From teaching and preaching to serving behind the scenes.

This is really hard to do, because as I give up more and more of what I do, what am I going to do?  Well the pastors who are doing this are able to steer the ship, and keep it all focused on the mission.

But also the more I give away, the more I can love and serve the members of the church.  And the more I love and serve the more that will be reproduced in the life of the church.  What’s keeping the church from growing, I think, is love.  True biblically love for other members of our communities.

Just some thoughts.

Spectator or Contributor?

I hate to watch baseball, but I have fun playing baseball. I suck though so you probably shouldn’t invite me to be on your league team. I love to watch football, but I’d rather play.

Bottom line is I would rather be a contributor than a spectator. I would rather know that I had a hand in the process of creating something. Contributing creates ownership and community.

I listen to a show called TBTL (it’s on 97.3 KIRO 7-10 pm weekdays or you can podcast it). To me the brilliance of TBTL is that they allow the audience to contribute. And it’s not just about making an argument about something like most talk radio. TBTL allows people to participate in creating the actual content of the show, and their blog.

Case in point, I sent a video to Jen the producer today:

Jen not only posted it on their blog but she emailed me to tell me she like it and posted it.  I’m not a contributor to TBTL-dom.  This is not the first time I’ve submitted something to TBTL, but every time I submit something and they use it TBTL stock goes up in my mind.  I feel like I’m part owner of TBTL.  That makes TBTL more fun for me, and I’m sure other folks who have contributed to the show feel the same way.  Just ask Doug Shrecengost.

What are you contributing to?  Your Church, Community, the company you work for?  How can you contribute to making it better, stronger, more fun?  Don’t just spectate and criticize, contribute.  That’s the best way to make your mark on something.

In the Church world, this is my area of knowledge, the people who are most invested in the church are those who contribute, not just money, but time and energy.  They are the ones who are your key indicators to health.  They are the ones who bring life to organizations that are struggling.  The contributors are key to the future.  So my challenge then is to not just raise up leaders or volunteers, but to raise up contributors.

Thanks TBTL for the life lesson.  (Cue the more you know music . . . Flying star . . . )