Tuesday, July 12, 2005
The question I want to bring for today is this: Are our churches impacting the lost world or are we gathering other Christ-followers who are church consumers? Let me take it another step: Do we truly see salvations on a regular basis or are we seeing people recommitting to their faith in Christ?
I feel we are not truly engaging the seeker as we should; we aren't reaching the people who are living in the margins of society. It is my heart's desire to influence others to grow in the knowledge of God through His son Jesus; and to share His love; grace; mercy and forgiveness.
As I seek to plant a church (Community of Faith), it is my dream and prayer that the kingdom of God would enlarge itself with lives who come to Him as Lord and Savior.
Friday, July 08, 2005
My goal and dream is to plant a coffehouse community of faith cafe in the Northern Virginia area, here are so great quotes I have recently about third places, cafes and gathering places. Doesn't this sound like what the church should be about...that is just me I guess.
“In the absence of informal public life, living becomes more expensive. Where the means and facilities for relaxation and leisure are not publicly shared, they become the objects of private ownership and consumption.”
“What suburbia cries for are the means for people to gather easily, inexpensively, regularly, and pleasurably -- a ‘place on the corner,’ real life alternatives to television, easy escapes from the cabin fever of marriage and family life that do not necessitate getting into an automobile.”
“Most needed are those ‘third places’ which lend a public balance to the increased privatization of home life. Third places are nothing more than informal public gathering places. The phrase ‘third places’ derives from considering our homes to be the ‘first’ places in our lives, and our work places the ‘second.’”
"The character of a third place is determined most of all by its regular clientele and is marked by a playful mood, which contrasts with people's more serious involvement in other spheres. Though a radically different kind of setting for a home, the third place is remarkably similar to a good home in the psychological comfort and support that it extends…They are the heart of a community's social vitality, the grassroots of democracy, but sadly, they constitute a diminishing aspect of the American social landscape."
“Life without community has produced, for many, a life style consisting mainly of a home-to-work-and-back-again shuttle. Social well-being and psychological health depend upon community. It is no coincidence that the ‘helping professions’ became a major industry in the United States as suburban planning helped destroy local public life and the community support it once lent.”
I really feel that many Christians have become arrogant in their faith and attitudes towards those who are not Christ-followers, I believe that too offten we forget to love others as Christ called us to do. My question to us as Christ-followers to lose our religious pretense? I believe it can be absolutely destructive to our authentic faith and it can hinder seekers from experiencing the greatest experience they can have with a loving God.
With that said, I want to ask this final question to the blog community and the community of faith leaders. What if a homosexual; bisexual; transvestite; drug addict; homeless person; alcoholic; pornstar; someone who watches porn; a witch; a goth; a pentecostal; a catholic; a baptist; a jewish person; a white supremist; a devout muslim attended your church? What would the attitude of the church be like, would they marginalized; stared at; called out; rebuked; or turned away?
Credit to www.terrystorch.com
385,000 down to 10: T and T’s Top 10 list!
Recently Ben Boles from FusionLife.org asked us if we would collaborate and come up with a list of our Top 10 Innovative Churches in America. There are many inherent issues with this challenge. For one, innovation is subjective and really lies in the eyes of the beholder. Secondly, we cannot say that the list will be completely fair due to the fact that neither one of us has personally seen nor reviewed all 385,000 some odd churches.
With that in mind, here is the baseline for how the list was generated. We decided to define church innovation like this:
“Church innovation” is the introduction of new, fresh, and creative ideas and practices which are intended to be used for reaching people for Christ. The main driver for innovation is often the courage and energy to better the world through the local church. An essential element for church innovation is that its application generates results by helping people meet Jesus and become fully-devoted followers of Christ. Another measure of this is considering: Who is leading whom? In other words, what churches are becoming the benchmark for innovative ministry strategies and helping to resource other churches?
It’s unscientific. It’s just our opinion. But that’s what Ben wanted. So here is Terry and Tony’s Top 10 Innovative Churches:
10) Seacoast Church
9) Willow Creek Community Church
8) New Spring Community Church
7) National Community Church
6) Buckhead Church
4) Bay Area Fellowship
3) Journey Church
1) Life Church
00) Fellowship Church & Granger Community Church
(You didn’t think we would leave our churches off the list did you?)
Here are a few more details about our Top 10 churches:
Seacoast Church (seacoastchurch.org) – The church has nine locations throughout South Carolina. Led by Senior Pastor Greg Surratt, Seacoast Church started in 1988 in Mt. Pleasant, SC.
Willow Creek Community Church (willowcreek.org) – The main campus is located in South Barrington, IL with three additional locations in the Chicago metro area. Willow, which started in 1975, is led by Senior Pastor Bill Hybels.
New Spring Community Church (newspring.cc) - Located in Anderson, SC, Senior Pastor Perry Noble leads this innovative church. New Spring Community Church started in 1999.
National Community Church (theaterchurch.com) – The church launched in 1996 and now meets in two locations in Washington, DC. National’s senior pastor is Mark Batterson.
Buckhead Church (buckheadchurch.org) - Located in Atlanta, GA, this is a satellite campus of North Point Community Church led by Senior Pastor Andy Stanley. Buckhead started in 2001.
Mosaic (mosaic.org) – Mosaic meets in five different locations throughout the Los Angeles, CA area including their location in downtown L.A. at Club Mayan. Erwin McManus is the lead pastor.
Bay Area Fellowship (bayareafellowship.com) - Located in Corpus Christi, TX, Senior Pastor Bill Cornelius leads this innovative church. Bay Area Fellowship started in 1997.
Journey Church (journeychurch.cc) – The church is led by Senior Pastor Clark Mitchell. Journey Church started in 2001, and it’s located in Norman, OK.
Daybreak (daybreak.tv) - Located in Hudsonville, MI, Senior Pastor Wes Dupin leads this innovative church. Daybreak started in 1989.
Life Church (lifechurch.tv) – The church currently has five locations in Oklahoma and soon will be opening two new sites in Phoenix, AZ. Craig Groeschel is the church’s senior pastor. Life Church started in 1996 in Oklahoma City, OK.
Granger Community Church (gccwired.com) – The church is located in Granger, IN near South Bend. Granger’s senior pastor is Mark Beeson. Mark started the church in 1986.
Fellowship Church (fellowshipchurch.com) - Located throughout the heart of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, Ed Young leads this innovative church and its four locations. Fellowship Church started in 1990 in Irving, TX.
Again, this was an unscientific list that was heavily influenced by our personal opinions. However, we can say that we did have a great time coming up with the list, and really look forward to the comments this will generate. So let's hear your comments. Give us your lists. We'll also let you tell us where you think our churches fit in the “true 12”...if you agree that they belong there. Have fun!
My online mentor is Pastor Mark Batterson, I know Pastor Mark has no idea that I read his blogs everyday, he will probably never read my blogs. He is the lead pastor at National Community Church in Washington DC, he is an amazing leader at an amazing church. As a perpective church planter myself, I really look up to him as a teacher, coach and a mentor. Someday soon I would love to sit down and talk to him and share with my passion of doing church differently and innovatively. Pastor Mark has been very influential to me and also very inspirational in ways that he wouldn't have a clue. He is one of those people I know I could sitdown with for hours and have a conversation with and know that I would receive something.
Blogging is a huge responsibility and a great tool to discipline yourself and hopefully something I say can have a positive affect on someone else's life and even inspiration.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
First of all, I want to share something that is near and dear to my hear and that is missions. The question that we need ask ourselves is what is missions? Is missions healing the sick...yes. Is mission feeding the homeless...absolutly. Is missions taking care of the widows and orphans...that is what are told to do. Is mission taking care and meeting the practical needs of the less fortunate...that is our vehicle to present the gospel.
My issue is this, why did so many "Christians" come down so hard on what the LIVE 8 concert was trying to accomplish? Was because liberals were involved? Was it because the secular artists were performing? I really believe that the world is doing what we as "Christians" are called to do. I think a great missions program to give to is the ONE Movement. The ONE movement is a call to fight AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa. How is that done? Thourgh meeting the needs like health, education, clean water and food. In my opinion men like Bono of U2 and Bob Geldolf are doing what I believe Jesus would do...remember WWJD? We want to have doors opened up to us we have that smae attitude of compassion, love and fight for humanity, let us use our Swords for the spiritual warfare and pull out our towels to serve others and be a leader in reaching out to the world. I am personally committed to give to the ONE campaign, as I begin the Gathering Place Community of Faith we will commit to given the the ONE campaign as a missions program.
Now onto some discussion questions...please respond and leave your comments to these question. Let us dialogue and share our ideas in our community.
1. What made Jesus so attractive to the sinners of his day? Why did he anger the religious rulers?
2. Why do we as Christians do we not stand alongside human rights causes (unless it has a "Christian" label on it)?
3. Why is it so many people are into Jesus even to the point of being Christ followers...but they are not into the organize church/religion?
4. Why have "Christians" become so arrogant with their faith, wasn't Jesus a humble servant, wasn't he the one that didn't even defend himself?
5. If on 1/3 of Americans believe moral truth is abolute (Barna Research) and unchanging, how can we present Jesus as the absolute Truth?
6. We are called to reach the world, how can we reach the world with competing worldviews?
7. People in our culture feel like spiritual pinballs how can they know what arguments to believe?
8. Is truth relational?
9. What is spiritual pursuit? Is there more spiritual pursuit going on in our culture today?
10. What steps can we take so spiritual seekers can encounter and experience Truth?
For these first question look at them objectively and let me know what you think. I believe as a community of faith we need to ask these questions and even more that I will ask later to be more effective to reaching the unchurched and represent Jesus to the world?