Be Simple

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Revolution is going to turn 5 years old this Sunday. It is really hard to believe that the church God birthed in me 13 years ago while living in Chicago actually came to be with 11 people who prayed and dreamed together in Tucson, AZ. Over the coming week as we gear up towards Sunday I thought I’d share some of the dreams that drove us to start Revolution and still drive us to this day.

On Monday, we looked at our dream of helping people become who they were created to be. On Tuesday, we looked at how to help people take their next step with Jesus and why that is so important. Yesterday we looked at our target, what we call: Get the men, win the war. Today I want to talk about something I mentioned yesterday but is critical to who we are as a church and I believe, why we are effective. And that is be simple. 

One of my first jobs was on staff as a student pastor at a church in Wisconsin. It was a church of 1500 people and I remember sitting in a meeting soon after I took the job and the Executive Pastor with a huge smile on his face said, “A family could be at our church 7 nights a week.” No one said anything. Finally I asked, “Is that good?” You would have thought I just questioned an agreed upon theological stance. I got looks that said, “Are you crazy? How do you not see how great that is?”

I then read in a book about the difference between the home pages of google and yahoo. Did you know that each month 88 billion searches are done on google and 9.4 billion are done on Yahoo? Think about the difference of their pages and how crowded yahoo is compared to google. One is simple, one is cluttered and busy. One helps you accomplish what you need, the other makes you guess as to what is important.

In America, there is a desire many churches have to make sure you never have to go anywhere for anything else. We have coffee shops, bookstores, sports leagues for kids, sports leagues for adults, groups for every need imaginable. Now, I’m not saying any of these things are bad or wrong. What I am saying is that by having as many ministries and programs as the average church has, we make sure none of our people have time to hang out with people who don’t know Jesus. If you are at church 3-4 nights a week, when will you spend time with your neighbor or co-worker who doesn’t know Jesus? Probably never.

To accomplish the goal of helping our people live on mission, we have intentionally chosen to be simple. To do two things as a church: A worship gathering and missional communities. Often in churches, people aren’t sure what is the most important thing. Should they join a class, a men’s group, a women’s group, a small group. We took the guessing out of it and said, we want you to do two things. And if you do these two things, we believe you will take the next steps in your relationship with Jesus.

This also helps families not overload their schedule with things so they can have family nights, date nights and family dinner together and do family devotions together. This also helps people to be on mission in their neighborhoods or workplaces. It also clarifies for our church what the win is. Everyone knows what the most important things are at Revolution because we only have two things.

Links to Start the Week

  1. Al Mohler on President Obama and same sex marriage.
  2. 10 reasons why Kodak, Blackberry, Yahoo & other major brands fail.
  3. Brad Lomenick on How to lead millennials.
  4. Parents, cuddle with your children.
  5. Critics and character. Some good points here.
  6. Crossway has all of their ebooks at $5.99 for the next 5 days.
  7. J.D. Greear on What it takes to reach college students part 1 and part 2.
  8. Alex Absalom on Ideas for Missional Community meetings.
  9. When your preacher is not John Piper.

Links of the Week

  1. Tim Chester on How the church is the best example of the gospel. Great video and huge implications for churches and communities on mission. 
  2. Greg Atkinson on What is your vision for 2011? Too many leaders have no idea what their vision is for their church. Do you know?
  3. People want to change. This is a great open door for the gospel.
  4. Ron Edmondson on What happens if leaders are too controlling of other leaders.
  5. Do pro-lifers care about life after birth? This is definitely a challenging question and one that pushed Katie and I to adopt.
  6. Generosity (and stinginess) are contagious.
  7. Generous Justice. This is a must-buy book.
  8. Jim Tomberlin on What multi-site churches and church planting will look like in the next decade. So excited to play some of these things out at Revolution in the next decade.
  9. Duane Smets on Purging the Pugnacious Planter.
  10. Daniel Pink on Becoming a motivational leader. Great insights in this talk, definitely worth watching.

Links of the Week

  1. The Role of Vision Casting in Preaching. I was talking with D.J. about this the other day. Very few pastors understand the power they have when they preach in terms of leadership and vision casting. Their preaching sets the tone for the church.
  2. “Sexual Detox” is now available. This is a great little book on porn, sexuality from a man’s perspective. If you are struggling with porn, this is definitely worth picking up.
  3. Collide Magazine on Who do you create for. This is a great question that many worship leaders and pastors never ask, let alone answer. If you don’t know who will be in your audience this weekend, how do you know who you are speaking to, what their needs are and what and how you will need to communicate.
  4. Justin Holcomb on 12 ways to make your teaching and writing anti-Christian. Sadly many pastors and churches these.
  5. C.J. Mahaney on The humbling power of cross-centered thinking.
  6. Al Mohler on Christianity and Yoga. This was a really helpful and thorough article. I practice yoga, but don’t meditate or pray or look for energy when I do it, for me it is about stretching and staying limber as I grow older. According to Mohler, “I don’t do yoga, I do stretching.” It is a helpful distinction and I think Christians need to be aware of where yoga came from and what it is really all about and be careful, but I also don’t think that it is wrong for a Christian to practice yoga.
  7. Steven Furticks book Sun Stand Still is only $6.99 on amazon. This was one of the best books I read all year and easily one of the best on the topics of faith and prayer. If you want a book to challenge to have big faith, pray big prayers and believe in a big God, this is the book.
  8. I’m hoping that Apple will block the new iPhone “pimp” app. Read more about it here and how to tell Apple to block it. This would be disastrous for the fight against sex trafficking if they allowed this app to be put on the iPhone.
  9. Ben Roethlisberger is back at practice. This makes me so happy.
  10. Men’s Health 20 Best Weight loss tips. Many of these have helped me over the last 2 years lose over 100 pounds.