Posts Tagged ‘Church’

A little over a year ago, my good friend Matt Nelson, his lead team, and their families launched City Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I am proud to say that NORTHchurch helped launch this church.

Check out what all God has done in one year through this awesome church…

Here is the video of the service opener for North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia from December 19, 2010 called “Santa Went Down to Georgia.”

One of the coolest, most creative openers that I have ever seen.

Enjoy…

This weekend Heather and I were privileged to go back to Sulphur Springs, Texas. I had the opportunity to preach Sunday at the Shannon Oaks Church, where I was student pastor for 5 years (2004-2009).

It was amazing being back with that church family that holds a very special place in our hearts. We got to catch up with a lot of great people. Our weekend was full of hugging necks of people we lived life with, catching up with people that partnered up with us in ministry, and getting updates from students that I had the privilege to lead during our 5 years there.

The weekend felt like a big family reunion. Truly special.

When Heather and I made the decision to become the student pastor at NORTHchurch, our number one prayer was for a smooth transition. To transition from one church with the love, honor, and respect that it deserved and to transition to another church with the energy, excitement, and focus that it deserved.

Our heart’s desire was to teach truth throughout our transition: to follow after God, no matter what or where that may take you. We wanted to make sure the ministry that we poured so much of ourselves into for 5 years was in good hands for the future. We wanted to allow time for tears, remembrance, and celebration. Finally, we wanted to leave for a blessing.

God answered those prayers.

I love that I still have an amazing relationship with the Shannon Oaks Church, while being fully committed and focused at NORTHchurch.

But I know that is rare. I am very aware that healthy transition is too often considered a pie in the sky dream. I have seen pastors get chewed up and spit out by churches; I have seen pastors coldly hurt and abandon churches; and everything in between. I have seen firings, resignations, moral failures, accepting another ministry job, and leaving ministry altogether.

The question I find myself today is why? Why is healthy transition in ministry so difficult? Is the answer simply because people are imperfect? That seems like a cop out. Is the answer that people are hesitant and naturally oppose change, especially if the thing that is changing is good? Possibly.

I’m just saying that a place (the church) that is filled with so much love and understanding combined with anointed, godly men and women with gifts of communication should be able to transition healthily.

I know it is possible. I have experienced healthy transition that was communicated with love, timing, thanks, teaching, vision, and hope. I want more of my partners in ministry and their churches to experience this healthy transition.

It is time that healthy transition becomes the norm, not the exception.

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Thoughts? Why is healthy transition in ministry so difficult?

(Artwork entitled “Transitions” by Sanaye)

Western culture has set up a progress-based system for advancing toward God.

Let me explain. For a long time Christians have been taught a three-step approach to God. It starts with belief. Essentially, if you believe the right things, it will lead to a change in behavior. When you have changed your behavior, you will be accepted by the church. Believe, Behave, Belong.

If you believe this way, you will behave this way, and if you behave this way, you can belong here. This is preached, modeled, and affirmed in thousands of churches across America.

It’s time to flip this. The Jesus of scripture reached out and loved people regardless of where they were. It is essential to show people that they can belong in your world even if they don’t act, think, behave, or believe like you.

Imagine a church or community where Jesus was communicated in such a way that everyone belonged. They were included. And from this feeling of belonging, over time the message of Jesus made an impact on their belief. And from that newfound fullness of God, their behavior changed. (Belong, Believe, Behave.)

If this practice won out over religious dogma, rooted in rules and regulations, more people would find hope in the authentic Christ.

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from “Jesus Loves You this I know” by Craig Gross and Jason Harper

The local church is the hope of the world.

There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belonging to the marginalized of this world. Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness.

Still to this day, the potential of the local church is almost more than I can grasp. No other organization on earth is like the church. Nothing even comes close.

~ from Bill Hybels’ Courageous Leadership

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Thoughts?

Church Sign War

Posted: August 21, 2009 in Dogs, Funny, Life, Random
Tags: , , , , , ,

These are apparently two churches that are right across the street from each other…

churchsignwar

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Gaby and Kate are greatly offended…

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Christian youth are leaving the church at an alarming rate after high school. Different organizations have done studies to prove this fact. Some studies say 3 out of 4 (75%) Christian teens walk away from the church after they leave home, while others say 88% of evangelical children leave the church after high school. No matter what research you read, the message is loud and clear РChristian teens are leaving the church at an alarming rate after high school.

As I begin to process this incredibly tough information, I keep asking myself this question: HOW DO SPORTS TEAMS SUCCEED WHERE THE CHURCH OFTEN FAILS?

You see, many people are completely committed and sold out to certain professional or college sports teams by the time they leave high school. Some are die hard fans to a team because their parents ingrained that inside of them from birth. Some maybe are sold out of a team because of the area of the country they live in or the college they go to. Others are committed to a team because of a cherished childhood memory or experience.

For whatever the reason, people are sold out and committed to their sports teams and will not dare to even consider changing. They will continue to wear the tshirts, buy the tickets, and spend the time to be a true fan. To ask them to change that would be considered blasphemy.

As a full-time student pastor for the past 5+ years, I have seen a lot of students graduate from my youth group and leave the church. It breaks my heart. However, those same students who leave the church are just as committed (if not more committed) to their favorite professional or college sports teams. People seem more likely to drop their faith and identity in Christ rather than their willingness to drop their identity as a Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys, or University of Oklahoma fan.

Why? Why would someone be more willing to drop their faith than their allegiance to a sports team? Why is the church loosing the same teenagers that are loyal, committed, and sold out to their favorite sports team?

How do sports teams succeed where the church often fails?

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Thoughts?