Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Checking in with our new starts-1

I'm thinking it might be fun and helpful in encouraging "missional-mindedness" in 2015 if I were to every once-in-a-while put a spot-light on one of our newer LCMC church starts.

Let's start with Waterside, a missional community based out of Rockport, Texas, but its influence is spreading to other states and even other countries!  Waterside is pastored by Jonathon and Cheryl Kosec.  What I love about the Kosec's and Waterside is the boldness to be experimental--- understanding that to reach the cracks and crevices of culture, church cannot not be "one-size-fits-all."

For the sake of time, I will explain Waterside in a basic manner...and maybe that's the joy of this particular ministry!  It's simple, but it's so different from most people's view of "church" that it's often misunderstood and too quickly dismissed.  The proof, however, is in the multiplication pudding!

Example: Think of circles that are multiplying themselves--- like healthy cells in your body.  They don't break off, they are born out and become separate circles, yet still connected by family DNA.  It's kind of like the familiar mega church statement of "one church, many campuses," except Waterside is not about a single campus, but smaller groupings of people meeting "as church" in circles that begin rolling into their respective cities as a daily church-on-wheels.  That's Waterside in a nutshell!  The movement starts in Rockport, but the circles of people are now in Jones County, Iowa, with Los Angeles, New Orleans and southern Florida on the radar.  It's all about thinking kingdom even if it's just one day at a time!

So....each circle group is started because of some kind of relationship.  I think of it this way:  If I were to start a missional community in my home city of Prior Lake, MN, and then begin influencing, training and encouraging all my life-long friends that are living in other areas of the country (men and women I've known since high school through adulthood) to take on my missional communities' DNA of making disciples---- I could birth missional communities from the Atlantic to the Pacific!  Wow!  Simple, but powerful.

Reflect for a second.  Could this be a ministry means that God is currently placing upon your heart, but you have failed to hear the call because it's not fitting your previous notion of "church"?  Many folks have told me they've given up on the modern-day methods of what is church...but they don't want to ever give up on being the church of Jesus.  If that's you, or someone else you know, Waterside's blueprint might be what you are suppose to do--- starting in your community!

Besides the U.S., Waterside is also adopting the same methodology with relationally-based circles in Haiti (with 7 churches) and the Dominican Republic (with 3 churches).  The Kosec's will travel to these areas a few times a year to make personal, discipleship training visits.  Otherwise, much of the contact (including sermons) is done through the website or other social media.

According to the Kosec's own words, "...each missional community is encouraged to have a specific focus or area of service that might help define its mission.  In Rockport, the community works within the government and Chamber of Commerce to find new ways to bless the Rockport area.  In the Jones County Community, there is a great emphasis on workplace ministry, so gospel presentations are conducted all over the map--- in restaurants, realtor agencies, even a body shop.  In Haiti and the DR, we see more neighborhood house churches being established who draw people into relationship with Jesus (through the relationship of other believers)."

While each Waterside circle is different, each holds the DNA of prayer, worship, Bible study, fellowship and sharing/showing the good news of Jesus.  They focus on relationships in order to build trust to more effectively share the faith.

If you would like to learn more about Waterside Missional Community, or bless it with your financial gifts and prayers, see it's website:  www.waterside-church.org.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Staying Relevant

One good way to start 2015 is to ask the following questions....

Q: How does a business stay RELEVANT to the culture it is serving?
A: By keeping a pulse on what the people (will) need or (will) want, then quickly serving-up that product in an affordable and effective manner.

Q: How, then, can a business become IRRELEVANT?
A: By doing just the opposite of the above answer!

Rick Warren, pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life, has said, "...churches become IRRELEVANT when the speed of change around them is faster than the speed of change in them." Since hearing that quote, I've been seeking to help churches re-discover their Godly vision-mission-and-values so they can stay (or become again) relevant to the culture they are trying to reach.

Seem too difficult?  Here's the deal: we have a great advantage as Christians!  After all, when we are operating in the power of the Holy Spirit, and not just in tradition or doctrine, we experience the heart and soul of Jesus who gives his power with his authority.  When that happens, change is constant in us.  We are being born brand new each day with greater, Godly insight!  (see Romans 12:2).

Here's the DNA of Relevance:

D = DEVELOP a laboratory mentality in your church.  In other words, create an experimenting culture of always trying something new and then never stop trying.  I say, "If you alway do what you've always done...you are done!"

N = NEVER stop learning!  All leaders are life-long learners.  Disciples are student leaders of the Rabbi Jesus.  Sticking close to Jesus will automatically keep you relevant--- not because you are doing the latest, hippest ministry thing (using twitter, etc. etc), but because you are constantly practicing the Great Commandment and Great Commission.

A = ACKNOWLEDGE the grief.  There is no growth without change.  There is no change without loss.  There is no loss without pain.  There is no pain without grief.  People who are often opposed to an idea of yours are not necessarily against you or your idea...they are simply grieving.  Learn to lead people's emotions in a Godly manner.  Honor the past without perpetuating the past.

Friends: Practice these DNA thoughts with the truth of the gospel as the core, and I believe the speed of change in you and your church will be faster than the speed of change in the culture.  That's when you become exactly what the culture longs for and desperately needs--- the real HOPE of Christ!

HAPPY NEW YEAR with God's blessings to achieve great things because you are following the Great One!  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Be a Church that Reaches it's City in 2015!


The Lord has really been bugging me about what I'm suppose to be doing this next year as the LCMC Coordinator for New Ministry Development.  I'm not giving up on those of you who feel called to start a conventional church plant, but more-and-more I'm inclined in my missional thinking that our new plants (and even our existing congregations) have to be started and led in a completely new manner, in order to completely connect to people that are currently disconnected from faith and the work of the church.

In addition, I believe that too many of us "church people" think only of our particular church family, when the Great Commission calls us to reach the nations.  In many ways, we are settling for leading at halftime, or being ok with a tie, instead of winning the game.  We confuse doing programming well with doing people well.  FOR MORE on this, check-out this article by the Verge Network.  In my opinion, it's a bulls-eye for truly reconciling, redeeming and restoring the people, places and things in YOUR SPHERE of influence over the next year and beyond.  Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, I bless you in the name of Jesus--- to be ordinary people doing extraordinary things!