Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.

book

  1. Making your ideas contagious. Excited to read this book.
  2. Jake Chambers on Your language as a leader matters.
  3. When Mother’s Day is hard. You can read here how we handle this at Revolution Church.
  4. Jared Wilson on Why the ascension of Jesus is so important.
  5. 8 business tips from Jack Welch.
  6. Mark Driscoll on Lasting in ministry.
  7. Ron Edmondson on 10 things I’d do if I were raising a daughter today. Great list.

Jeff Vanderstelt on Missional Communities

Several months ago, NewFrontiers interviewed Jeff Vanderstelt leading up to their conference, and below is part 2 of the interview, focusing on meaning of missional and missional communities. These are some critical issues for the church today, and Jeff is one of the best at addressing them.  Jeff has been a huge influence on me and our church as move forward to what lays ahead for us to become a multiplying church.

On the Verge

Just wrapped up reading On the Verge by Dave Ferguson and Alan Hirsch.

If you want to read a book that will tell you to keep doing the same thing, hoping your church will change or reach more people. If you want someone to tell you to keep pushing for the status quo in your church and not change anything. This is not the book to read.

But, if you want to read a book on the future of the church, our world, how to take your church into the future to reach the world around us, this is the book to read.

The premise of the book is to look at how the world has changed and what the church needs to do in response to that to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. It definitely is a book that will push your thinking, but also give you practical ideas on what to do. It is a book that will take you from the safety of your world into the unknown. And that is what it scary for many pastor’s. Unfortunately, most pastor’s do not do unknown, even though we live in the unknown (but that is another post).

As Mike Breen points out in the foreword, “If we are to build strong centers of mission-churches that resource networks of missional congregations and communities, we need the strongest attractional forces and the most vibrant missional impulses to be present.” That is what this book presents.

One of the things that drives the book in its point of how to build a movement of churches is that every person in your church can be a church planter/missionary and your church has everything you need to do what God has called you to. Many pastor’s say they believe this, but I wonder if we actually live this out in our leadership. One of the things that has me excited about the future of Revolution is some fo the things we are putting into place to make this happen, some simple training ideas we will be using to train our people to be missionaries in their world.

At the center of this idea of movement is discipleship. I remember Jeff Vanderstelt asking me “how many people could leave Revolution and plant a church.” The answer to that question shows you the level of discipleship in your church. My answer was, “not many.” That was a year ago and that has pushed our leadership to figure out how to change that answer to “many.”

One of the things I appreciated in the book was the back and forth between Dave and Alan’s voice. They have different perspectives, but want the same thing. It made the book move along and keep your attention.

I was reminded while reading, why we are giving our lives to building a movement in Tucson. We are not playing at church planting. Lives, marriages, families, careers, and eternities are at stake. We need to get it right.

You Know You are Pastoring a Missional Church When…

This came from a talk Matt Carter gave on how to lead on mission and how to know if you are actually pastoring a missional church:

  1. The church leader’s job is to equip people for ministry (Ephesians 4:11).
  2. The body (the church) works together properly (Ephesians 4:16).
  3. You know you are pastoring a missional church when it is filled with missional people.
To read the rest of the article or listen to the talk, go here.

Links of the Week

  1. John Piper on TULIP. Many people have an opinion about the 5 points of Calvinism, what they mean and how that affects how you live. Piper explains them really well in this series.
  2. Will Mancini on 11 trends for churches in 2011. I always read what Will has to say on church and leadership, this list is no different.
  3. A missional way for the pro-life passion.
  4. Michael Wallenmeyer on Missional (and simple) church is unattractive to cultural Christians. We see this a lot of Revolution because of our goal of being simple and missional.
  5. Tony Morgan on 11 questions every church leader needs to ask. Some good stuff here, a gold mine of questions.
  6. Justin Holcomb on What the Bible says about sexual assault. He recently wrote a great book Rid of my Disgrace: Hope & Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault.
  7. Mary Kassian on the Church in a post-Feminist Era.
  8. Scott Thomas on Parenting Sons.
  9. Dave Bruskas on Parenting daughters.
  10. Mark Driscoll put out a free ebook on Genesis. How to read it, talk about it with kids. Looks great. It looks especially helpful for our next series at Revolution.
  11. 10 characteristics of a missional church.
  12. Jeff Vanderstelt on Leading your people on mission.
  13. Tullian Tchividjian on Gospel gold.

What Followers of Jesus Do

“Our mission has not life of its own; only in the hands of the sending God can it truly be called mission. Not least since the missionary initiative comes from God alone…mission is thereby seen as a movement from God to the world; the church is viewed as an instrument for that mission. There is church because there is mission, not vice versa. To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love.” -David Bosch, Transforming Mission

Acts 29 Boot Camp: Mission & the Surge (Matt Carter)

The third session of the Acts 29 boot camp in Phoenix was with Matt Carter and his talk was “Mission and the Surge.” The theme Surge is about moving the gospel into the city. You can follow updates from the boot camp here.

Here are some thoughts from his talk:

  • The attractional model of church alone will not get the job done
  • When was the last time the gospel brought you to tears?
  • Love your savior more than your mission or else your savior will have no part of your mission
  • The church cannot stop its message with “Come to us” there has to be more
  • If the Spirit of God is showing up at a place and you are on mission, you will grow
  • Jesus would make a horrible megachurch pastor
  • How to be missional communities
  • Change the definition of success for your small groups, success must be about moving a group beyond just gathering, have they found a group of people to engage with for the sake of the gospel
  • We changed how we train our leaders from consumers to self-feeders. Train your church to think and act like missionaries.
  • We are raising the bar really high on what these groups can do.
  • Nothing fosters community like mission

The Gathered AND Scattered Church

I had heard about Hugh Halter and Matt Smay’s book The Gathered AND Scattered Church for awhile and it even sat on my shelf for several months before I picked it up. I’m glad I finally did.

The premise of the book is to look at the discussion many pastors and leaders have when it comes to church:  Are we missional or attractional? I have always found this conversation kind of pointless because I believe the church should be both. The goal of this book is to show how a church of any size can be both, hence, the AND.

They start off with a great question, “What could God do with entire generation who loves him but won’t settle for stale church anymore. What could God do with an army of kingdom peasants who have no interest in safety, religion, or money, but who want to help people experience the presence of his kingdom in the here and now?” It is a great question. I think the answer if God could do so much more with people like that than what is happening in many churches around the country and in the lives of many people who sit in those churches.

Chapter 3 “Consumerless Church” is worth the price of the book. If there is one thing holding back the church in America, it is consumerism. Think about it, the number one reason people leave churches is because “I’m not getting fed.” “They don’t have the programs I want.” Our culture is so consumer driven that we expect our faith to be the same. Yet, Jesus over and over called his disciples to die for him, to lose their lives, to take up their crosses. Not sure how we get consumerism out of that. What happens in churches is that we strive to have as many programs and ministries as we can possibly have (the thinking is to have more than the church down the street). What that leads to is a church that just takes and takes instead of serves and gives. As the authors point out, “A consumer is not a disciple, and a disciple is not a consumer.”

The problem with the consumer church is that you fill up your calendar with church things and then you are never loving people into the kingdom because you only know people who attend your church. I often get asked why we are simple and don’t have a long list of ministries for people to plug into. The answer is, “We want you to grow in your faith and the best way to do that is through Saturday night’s, small groups, serving inside and outside of the church, which then leaves time for you to build relationships with people who don’t know God. One of the best lines in the book articulated what I have seen in so many people’s lives, “People don’t need most of the stuff we give them. In fact, there seems to be a direct correlation between providing too much and the immaturity that develops when people are given the chance to overindulge.”

Here are a few other things that jumped out:

  • The church is beautiful because it is endowed with the purpose of giving herself away wholeheartedly to the world God desires to redeem.
  • How “missional” you are is largely determined by the extent to which your people model the life, activities, and words of Jesus.
  • Church happens when a group of people decide to go on mission with God together.
  • Engaging culture isn’t as much about doing evangelism as it is incarnating the presence of Christ in every relationship we form.
  • Church is God’s people intentionally committing to die together so that others can find his kingdom.
  • The more missional you want to be, the more incarnational you’re willing to be, the more you release your people out into the world, the more you desire to equip and empower young leaders, the more effective and faithful you want your church to be…the more you’ll have to die to your self.
  • Whatever you give your best to will grow.
  • Love this one:  Pastoring is as much about protecting the flock as it is about growing a flock. It’s about pushing them and challenging them instead of pandering to them.

What this means practically is the philosophy we’ve had at Revolution from the beginning. We want our gathering times, whether that is Saturday night or small groups to propel us to scatter and be on mission in the world we inhabit.

Definitely a book worth wrestling through, regardless of your belief on the attractional or missional discussion. It will definitely stretch your thinking.

Top Posts for the Last 4 Years

Today marks my 4 year anniversary of blogging. It has been fun, it has taught me a lot. I thought I would share the top posts (in order of hits) for the last 4 years so you can get a flavor about what this blog is all about and for some of the things that have happened over the last 4 years.

Enjoy!

  1. Why did I get Married?
  2. Tattoo
  3. How to Break Growth Barriers
  4. Gran Torino
  5. What is the 30 Day Sex Challenge?
  6. Planning a Preaching Calendar
  7. The Role of Men in the Family
  8. What Attracts People to Church
  9. Simply Strategic Growth
  10. Sex in Marriage
  11. Ten Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing
  12. The Mission of God
  13. Interacting with the Opposite Sex as a Pastor
  14. Do you Listen?
  15. Meet Ashton Joshua
  16. Enemies of a Growing Church
  17. How a Wife Handles Her Husband’s Sexual Addiction
  18. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership
  19. Thoughts on Pastor’s Making it to the End
  20. When Male Headship Doesn’t Work