Links of the Week

  1. Listen to the new EP from Mar Hill worship band Ghost Ship. It’s a good one.
  2. Michael Patton on Why people love C.S. Lewis and hate Rob Bell.
  3. Free Advent resource for individuals and families from The Village Church.
  4. Leadership Network on New megachurch research.
  5. Michael Kelley on God will not give you more than you can handle.
  6. Mark Driscoll on 8 reasons single men should volunteer in the church nursery.
  7. Churches that embrace technology attract younger people.
  8. Grace Driscoll on Transitioning from the workplace to the workhome. Some practical insights that go with my sermon on Titus 2.
  9. Churches not canceling worship on Christmas Day.
  10. Bob Franquiz on Huge outreach results on a limited budget.
  11. Scott Williams on 5 reasons why organizations and individuals fail.
  12. The role of preaching in church planting.

Being on Mission Today

The approach of the first Christians was strikingly different [than our modern way of evangelizing]. It was a totally opposite strategy [than how we do 'outreach']. They learned it from Jesus. He had spent much quality time with three men; Peter, James and John. Beyond that had been the circle of the twelve, then of the seventy, then of the crowds. Jesus had concentrated on getting the center of his little band hot and well informed, and he moved out from there. And that is what the disciples did. They gave attention to their own unity and prayerfulness, obedience and expectancy. And they were able to move out from that hot center onto the streets with enormous effect on the day of Pentecost and in the months and years that followed. In obedience to Jesus, they began to be his witness in Jerusalem first, then Judea, then Samaria and then to the uttermost ends of the earth. It was an effective strategy. Their fellowship was so vibrant, their lifestyle so attractive, their warmth so great that it was infectious. People were drawn in, as to a vortex. God added to the church those who were being saved. -Michael Green, Thirty Years that Changed the World

Christmas Offering

Tonight I shared a little bit about our Christmas offering. I will be sharing more details in the coming weeks as we get closer to kicking it off. The kick off date will be December 4th and will run for the month of December. Our goal this year is to raise $6,000 and we will give away 100% of that money to bless those around our city and to move the gospel forward in Tucson and beyond.

The Christmas offering is to challenge our generosity in a season of materialism. Our challenge is to give to the Christmas offering above and beyond what we normally give back to God. We’ve been talking with our kids about buying less gifts to give to the Christmas offering and how the gospel affects our view of the Christmas season.

I pray that this will be a time that challenges what our culture says we should do in December and that the gospel will infiltrate this area of our lives and we see how God can use our resources for more than just buying more ties that we don’t wear.

To give to the Christmas offering, simply write Christmas on your check memo or on your giving envelope on a Saturday night. Let’s make a difference this holiday season for the kingdom of God here in Tucson.

What Guides Revolution #8 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#8:  We will expect guests

Every church would like to have guests, at least that is what they say. You drive by most churches and their sign will say “visitors expected.”

One of the things that has been in our DNA from day one is that we want to reach people. To do that, we need to have an expectation that people will come to Revolution or that we will bring people with us. But not only that, we must create an environment that will make people want to come back.

The reality is, whenever someone comes to Revolution, that is a gift, one of God’s creation that we need to treat with respect and honor God by being prepared for them. The reality is, God does not send people to churches that are not prepared for them to come. Why would God allow someone to enter a place that won’t honor God, that will give someone a bad taste in their mouth? If someone is ready to hear the gospel, God is going to send them to a place where they will hear it, be welcomed and get a good picture of who God is.

Do your church building and environment say, “We’ve been waiting for you?” One of the best compliments for us is when a pastor or a church planter comes to Revolution and says, “You can tell you’re expecting guests.” Awesome.

What Guides Revolution #7 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#7:  We want Tucson to be grateful we’re here.

There has been a question circulating through church leaders over the last several years that I think is a good one to reflect on:  If your church disappeared, would anybody notice? And if they noticed, would it be good or bad that they noticed? What would they remember you for?

We want to be a church that loves our city, that serves our city, a church that our city would be grateful to have as part of the city.

This is a huge dream and a daunting task.

One of the ways that we do that is by doing what we call missional life projects. This is where we serve other organizations in Tucson. We go to them and ask, “How can we serve with you, how can we come alongside of you and help do what you are doing?”

What Guides Revolution #3 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#3:  We will stay simple.

When I was growing up, we were at church all morning on Sunday morning:  Sunday school and then church. Back for choir practice Sunday afternoon, then church. Back Wednesday night, throw in some other ministries and you are living there.

A few years ago I was in a staff meeting at a church I just started working at. The Executive Pastor said with a smile, “If you wanted to, your family could be at our church 7 nights a week.” I asked, “Is that good?” You should have seen the glares I got. Apparently, I didn’t know what was “good.”

One of the things that has driven us is to be simple. At Revolution, we want to do a few things and we want to do them well. When we got started, we looked at what the Bible said a Christian was, what they did, what practices they were involved in and then set out to just do those things (worship, teaching, serving, community, reaching out).

Right now, here’s what we do:

  1. Worship gathering
  2. Small groups
  3. Kids ministry (Planet Rev)
  4. Student ministry (Rev Up)
  5. Missional Life Projects (outreach/serving)

One of the things we are doing to stay simple is with small groups. They run on semesters. There are 3, 12 week semesters each year, with a 4 week break in between. This is when we have sign ups for the upcoming semester. We also do most of our missional life projects in the context of small groups in place of having a “normal” small group time that week.

As you can see from the list above, there are a few less things than the church you grew up in. This is intentional. Does this mean the list will always be this small? Not necessarily, but we are not going to do something just because another church does it.

When a new idea comes up we ask:  Will this help us reach our target (20 – 40 year old men), can we do it better than anyone else? If we can’t do it better and someone else is doing it, our stance is how can we support them and be a part of what they’re doing? The goal is not to grow Revolution, but to expand the kingdom of God in Tucson.

What is interesting about this is the only push back we get on this is from people with a churched background. Unchurched people don’t give push back to this idea. The conversations I have with people as to why we don’t do more are always interesting. I will say something like this, “This isn’t the only biblical way to do church, it is just the way we do church. It may not seem right, but you can’t tell me it doesn’t work.” By staying simple, we are able to help people grow, not kill themselves with church activities, and stay on mission. Because their calendar doesn’t revolve around church, you are able to build relationships with those who don’t know Jesus and live out the gospel in front of them and share it with them. If you are always with Christians at church, you aren’t able to do that.

I think this philosophy is one of the reasons God is blessing Revolution and moving the way he is.

Links of the Week

  1. Catalyst on Key leadership principle for young leaders. This has been hard for me to do, still is hard for me to do, but being faithful with what God has called you to is so important. Stop looking at others and ahead of you, just do what you are called to do. Great reminder.
  2. Sam Rainer on Signs of a struggling local church. Even though the news is grim when it comes to local churches, with what I see God doing at Revolution and other churches in Tucson, I’m excited. We are kicking a dent in hell and this list will help to keep us on track.
  3. Thabiti Anyabwile on When to make changes. This is a great look at how to make changes in a church or organization.
  4. Greg Despres on Does leadership skip a generation? Great reflections on Andy Stanley’s The Next Generation Leader book.
  5. David Putnam on Common mistakes church planters make. This list is right on. I/we’ve made most of these.
  6. Perry Noble on 10 questions leaders need to ask. Great list.
  7. Steven Furtick on The power of regret. It is good (sometimes) to be reminded of the journey we have taken, what God has saved us from, the grace he has extended to us.
  8. Katie had a great post on Supporting the man in your life. This came from our small group discussion, it is right on when it comes to what a man needs and the role his wife plays in his life.
  9. The Daily Dish on The odd lies of Sarah Palin. Regardless of your opinion on her politically, this is a great reminder that at the end of the day, as a leader, integrity, your word is all you have.
  10. Ray Ortlund on Jesus Jr. We miss what Jesus is all about and instead of seeing ourselves in the image of God, we try to make God in our image.