Month: September 2010

Marinating vs. Microwaving

Jesus was brilliant. I know I sound like Captain Obvious, but Jesus knew how to build something that would last for millenniums. He invested three years in 12 men and then left them right when the church was about to be birthed. The 11 that remained as followers plus a small group of committed women then changed the world.

Why is this idea so hard for modern church leaders to grasp? Why do we continue to use Western marketing principles that ultimately fail instead of using the simple methods of Jesus, which are rock solid?

I am building a ministry to men at New Life and I have decided to spend the next three years building a group of leaders emphasizing relationships and not events or classes. We will have some events and some classes, but we will focus most of our effort on living our lives in authentic community. We are going to go deep before we grow wide.

Most people looking from the outside may think we are not that successful because I cannot point to big attendance numbers as proof. Please pray for me that I will not give in to the temptation to simply get a big crowd to come to an event. My goal at the end of the three years is to have around 200 men from every generation who will help me pastor the 5000 or so men who call New Life home. My goal is not to get the 5000 to show up at some meeting.

Crowds do not multiply, but disciples do. The challenge will be to marinate and not succumb to the microwave mentality that plagues the American church world. We want instant “success” like we want instant rice. We want to be on Top 100 lists even though Jesus would have never made it himself.

Only 120 were in the Upper Room and they were tired, scared and immature. Then they changed the culture of the evil Greco-Roman world in which they lived. They had depth because they had been built from the inside out. The crowds ultimately abandoned Jesus, but those who were in relationship with him stood firm.

I am returning to the ancient because it is the hope for the postmodern world in which I pastor and lead. Come marinate in deep relationships with me. Let’s go deep before we grow wide. Let’s change the world one friendship at a time.

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The Top Ten Worship Tunes in My World

I love songs that help lead me into worship and I have a list of 10 favorites that are special to me right now.

1. Overcome – written by Jon Egan of New Life Church. It’s the song that’s the anthem of New Life Church and will forever be one of my favorites because of what happened when we sang it on the Wednesday night after the shooting on our campus. Favorite line – “Everyone, Overcome”

2. You Hold it All – New Life Worship, written by Jon Egan – Favorite line “I will not fear!”

3. How He Loves – written by John Mark McMillan, but best sung by Jared Anderson. This song still wrecks me when I sing it. Favorite line – “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that you love us.”

4. Revelation Song – best when sung by Kari Jobe, although she did not write it as most people believe. Jennie Riddle wrote it. Favorite line – “Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder, at the mention of your name.”

5. The Great I Am – a brand new song written by Jared Anderson, not published yet, but it will be soon. This song is sung to God about God, which I believe is the purest type of worship tunes.

6. This I Know – a brand new song written by Jon Egan and Daniel Grothe, not published yet, but it will be soon. Ditto from my explanation of #5.

7. The Stand – From Hillsong United. Favorite line – “I’ll stand, my arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One who gave it all.”

8. Tears of the Saints – a killer song from the band, Leeland, that talks about the church helping the poor. The first time I heard this tune, I had to stop walking around my neighborhood because of the tears.

9. From the Inside Out – From Hillsong United. My favorite line –  “Your glory goes beyond all fame.”

10. In Christ Alone – no song so clearly communicates the entire Gospel message as this one. Written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend, but best sung by Brad Parsley. Favorite line – “No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.”

What are the songs that God is using to draw you closer right now?

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Every Sunday Needs a Wednesday…

Recently, I was asked to be a part of a really cool leadership event called “The Nines”. It was broadcast over the web to about 25,000 leaders. They asked me to tell about a game changing moment in my ministry life and how it affected me. I had only six minutes to talk. Watch the video by clicking below to hear what I said and give me your thoughts.

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Dream Centers Update

We are really close to experiencing a huge miracle for the Dream Centers. There are several possibilities looming for us to get really large buildings donated that would allow us to pastor our city for decades. Remember, we are praying for buildings bigger than we think we need, ones that are better than we deserve and we are praying for them to be donated.  The aforementioned buildings meet all three requests.

Right now, we are meeting with the owners behind the scenes, asking a lot of questions and trying to do due diligence. One of the big issues is actually operating such a large building once it is given to us. It will require thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteers to even get rolling, but I am full of faith that God is directing our steps.

I am also meeting with leaders and pastors in the city who can serve with me on the board of the Dream Centers. As I have said before, the Dream Centers will not be owned by New Life, but will be operated under a separate 501(c) 3. I want to partner with other churches, business leaders and military leaders because the needs in our region are simply too big for us to tackle them alone.

Keep praying with me and be patient in this process. I know it seems like we have been waiting a long time, but believe me, once we open the Dream Centers, it will be all hands on deck to pastor our city. It is about to happen and God will get all the glory. Selah

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