Category: Missional Church (page 2 of 2)

Equipping vs. Event Planning

How much of your team’s time is spent organizing and administrating events? How much time does your team spend equipping leaders and empowering people to do ministry? If we really evaluated these two questions, the results would be shocking and would go a long way explaining why so many attend our events but so few are actually engaged in the mission of making disciples.

I am not saying that events are evil or that organizing an event is a waste of our time. Some of the most epic moments I have had with God have been at events that someone took the time to organize.  What I am saying is that we must balance our time so that we are actually empowering people to be Christ followers who are making disciples and not enabling people to look at big events as the sum total of the Gospel experience.

A friend told me today that a man in our church is sitting on the sidelines and is waiting for a chance to do some ministry.  I told my friend to tell this man to open up the newspaper everyday and look for an area in our city that needs serving and get busy serving. If this man is waiting around for me to plan and organize an event tailored to his passions, he could be in for a long wait. Chances are, we might schedule something that fires him up, but then again, he may pass on several outreach events because they do not fit his schedule or align with his passions.

The bottom line is the pastors and leaders of local fellowships should spend the majority of their time equipping, training, leading, praying and releasing people to serve. We can schedule a few events that are necessary to rally the entire family around a big need in our city, but the primary responsibility to get involved falls on the individual, not on the church leaders.

What do you expect from the leaders of your church? Can you support your expectations with the expectations placed on them by Scripture? The life of God is released in a church and a city when leaders are equipping the people for the work of ministry and events only exist to strengthen the mission of the fellowship.

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Giving and the Local Church

The local church should be the most well funded group in our culture, but it’s not, and there are plenty of good reasons. Most local fellowships, including New Life, need to make some fundamental changes in the way they function in order for people to trust them with their finances. Here are a few thoughts to discuss and consider.

1. The church must be a storehouse and not a stockpile

In the Old Testament, there were regional storehouses, where people would literally bring their tithe of livestock, grains and produce. These storehouses had two primary functions – to take care of the needs of the priests and to distribute resources to the widows and poor. The New Covenant established by Christ did away with the Temple sacrifices, but the function of the local church was to be much the same. The elders should have the support necessary to pray and lead the church, and the local fellowship should be the distribution point for the widows and poor.  The church was never meant to be a stockpile of resources that were consumed primarily by its members.

2. The church must be missional not empirical

The days of empirical church are coming to an end and the age of mission is returning. People are no longer motivated to build more buildings just for the sake of new buildings. There has to be a legitimate Kingdom mission attached to each project that can be clearly communicated. If there is even a hint that something is being done to promote a person’s ego or ambition, wary churchgoers will withhold their resources. However, if the real needs of humanity are being met with the project, you can expect extreme generosity, even in a down economy.

3. The decisions must be made by a team, not a person

The local church is designed to be led by a team of people with various strengths and differing functions. That’s why it’s called a body. One dominant person with a charismatic personality may get the crowd charged with excitement, but over the long haul, it will require a team of men and women, young and old to accomplish the audacious dreams that God gives us.

I do believe the local church is returning to its original design and just in time. Our culture is tired of the flash and hype and is longing for humility and authenticity in a local church. May we respond to the needs of our world and reflect the love of Christ to our city, using words only when necessary. When we do, we will never lack the resources required for His mission.

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Freely Give and Freely Receive

Regardless of our economic situation, most of us have things in our homes that are not being used that would be a huge blessing to another family. Starting this week, I have asked New Lifers to take a look at what they have and to give away anything that is not really needed. We are calling this “Freely Give and Freely Receive.” To find out more, go to:

There are only five ways to use money – give it, save it, invest it, lend it or spend it. I hope we all choose the first three more often and think of spending it less often. This would take a huge amount of stress and worry off our lives and allow us to be the generous givers and producers God needs us to be.

I do believe that God wants to bless us and I certainly believe it’s appropriate to enjoy the nice things God gives us. However, our possessions cannot ever be the focus of our worship and we must be willing to give any of it away. That is when we begin to take hold of a life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:19)

It will be great fun the next two weekends to watch as huge trucks are filled with the surplus of our homes and given to families in our city and in our own fellowship who are in real need. Better yet, it will be liberating for all of us to finally find freedom from the stuff that can so easily become the focus of our worship. Godliness with contentment really is great gain.

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The future of the local church

In the past ten years, I have witnessed remarkable changes in the local church and the coming decade will usher in even more transformations. While the ancient Sacraments will remain, everything else is up for debate. How we worship, when we gather, what is said, who is leading and where the gatherings happen will all undergo scrutiny and debate.

I have four predictions for the next decade of local church.

1. The places where we gather will become smaller

Every social and cultural trend is leaning toward the smaller, more intimate gatherings and away from the stadium worship experience. Mega churches that purposely create numerous worship settings that promote intimacy and community will see the most significant growth. There will always be a group of church people who will come to the big building, but if we want to see significant growth among skeptics and seekers, we must create less threatening venues for them to explore the issues of faith.

2. The church will be launched into real mission.

The local church is hungry to embrace the mission of the New Testament and this will only increase in the next decade. This next generation is tired of the hype of events and is eager to give their lives to something that requires sacrifice and results in biblical justice. They want to get their hands in the dirt of humanity and see real change in the communities where they live. They will come to the church building for some of the attractional events, but will get disillusioned quickly if these events do not result in real opportunities to serve their world.

3. The church will return to its ancient roots

If it’s new, it’s probably not truth. If its truth, it’s probably not new. I believe the ancient, yet simple recipe of local church will return. We will gather often, read the Scriptures, worship intently, pray fervently, be led by servants, live authentically, and honor the Sacraments. For sure, we will continue to be creative and inventive, but not at the expense of the ancient structure which has transcended all generations for over 2000 years.

4. The church will return to wonder and awe

The churches that embrace the supernatural nature of God will see the most growth and have the most influence in the coming decade. Good preaching, trendy stage sets, and clever videos will not be enough in the next ten years because people want to see God intervene more and more in the affairs of the earth with miracles and healings. Sound theology must prevail and we must not return to our sloppy Charismatic tendencies, but we must also embrace the mysterious and risky nature of God and not be afraid of wonder and awe. While the Holy Spirit may be unpredictable, the results are always predictable – people will find God, people will be healed and people will discover real freedom.

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