Missional Church

oprahs big giveHow is it that Oprah is fulfilling Acts 2:34-43, James 2:16-15, Mat 25:31-46 and the church is not, why is she is known as the radical giver, the one who rescues the orphans and needy and not the local church. Why is she known for giving away millions and church as only a taker, the one who only wants your money.

Why instead of building super mega Christian entertainment centers and calling it a church, isn’t the church going out into the neighborhoods looking for needs and filling them. Finding the person who needs a wheelchair and buying it for them. Paying for the operation to save the life of a child, clothing the naked children, feeding the starving children, fixing leaky roofs. Giving away new cars to struggling families. Filling up the pantries of the widows. Building orphanages, schools and hospitals.

Fighting AIDS, malaria, and digging wells? Why isn’t the body the largest adopters of orphans? Why is Madonna and Angelina Jolie are seen as the rescuers of orphans, the adoption queens and not the church? We where commanded to take care of the orphans.

It should not be that people go to Oprah as the one hope for the needy, that the people are hoping that Extreme Makeover: Home Edition answers their prayers and comes to their rescue instead of God through the church. The church and God should be the first source of help on peoples minds not Oprah. Churches in the US spend less than 3% of their income on the poor, the needy and missions combined, Oprah gives away about 43% of her salary to the needy.

Oprah and the likes of her should not be fulfilling and getting the glory of Acts 2, James 2 and Mat 25, the church is to be doing that. The world should be crying over what God is doing through His church not watching Oprah and see her fulfilling Act 2 and crying over her and giving her the glory that should be God’s and His church.

The church needs to get back to the business, mission of being the church we see in Acts, doing what Jesus said in Matthew 25.

There is two churches doing it right, one is Cornerstone Community Church pastored by Francis Chan, read his story here.

Church-PlantingThe question was asked of me, “What do you see as the difference between Church Planting and Starting a Church?” Which one are people really doing?

I see the difference as this. Starting a church , which to me is mostly about creating an alternative to a church people already go to. In other words all you have is church transplants, people who are already Christians and are just leaving one church to go to your new one. And getting Christians who stop going to church for one reason or another (most unhappy with last church), to come to your new improved version.

To where “Church Planting” I see as like what happened in Acts chapter 2, where the disciples where gospel planting and that was resulting in salvations, which resulting in a church, a new community of followers of Christ, i.e. church planting. In Church Planting the church is birthed out of new salvations just like in Acts with the 3000 (Acts 2:38-48).

Almost all of church growth in the US is church transfer, that is Christian going to a new church or leaving a church to go to the latest version of church, mixed with unchurched Christians trying church out once agan. Take mega churches, they are like Wal-Marts, where ever they spring up, a dozen small churches close.

In China and the rest of the World we have “Church Planting”, people going out and planting the gospel, resulting in people coming to Christ, resulting in new churches – community of faiths.

A “church planter” I know went door to door to over 3000 homes introducing himself saying he was starting a bible study, shared the gospel and invited people to come. The result, many came to Christ, he planted a church. (read more on this planter here.)

The key is “Gospel Planting” results in “Church Planting “, gospel planting must preced, happen first to have church planting. Jesus did not tell us to go plant churches, He said go and plant the gospel and make disciples and He would build the church, and that’s what happen in Acts.

There is nothing wrong with starting a church, we can use that too, I would like to see church planting come back to America, i.e. Gospel planting become the focus, churches coming from new salvation not transplants. See Acts chapter 2 happening in every neighborhood. Just my vision anyway.

You can read more about church planting in my Blog How to plant a church for Free.

Francis Chan made a recent post that all I can say is he hit it on the head, read my mind and said what’s in my heart. I could not have said it any better.

“Is there any logic in believing that God started His Church as a Spirit-filled, loving body with the intention that it would evolve into entertaining, hour-long services? Was he hoping that one day people would be attracted to the Church not because they care for one another, not because they are devoted to Him, not because the supernatural occurs in their midst, but because of good music and entertainment?”

Try to imagine what conclusions you would come to if you had no prior church experience. The things in church services might make sense to the American church-attendee, but they don’t make sense biblically.

Picture yourself on an island with only a Bible. You’ve never been to a church-you’ve never even heard of one. The only ideas you have about church are what you’ve read in your Bible. Then you enter a building labeled “church” for the first time. What would you expect to experience as you entered that building? Now compare that to what you actually experience when you attend church.”

The question is would you except what you would find in the church as a substitute for what you saw in the bible? Or demand the real deal, hold out for, keep looking for the biblical church?

“Something real was happing in the early Church. It was something of the Spirit, too powerful to be replicated by human effort. Imagine taking a friend to one of their church gatherings. Your friend might not experience a smoothly run, professional service. But one thing he would experience: God. Do we even need to ask which is better? So much of church growth today has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. The right team of talented people can make any church grow. When people sit through creative services, is it really God they’re experiencing?

I’m just asking you to be willing to rethink what you’re doing and ask: How can we create a more biblical environment where people see and experience God?”

Read the full interview here

preach470How is it today that the preaching the Gospel has come to be reserved to pastors behind the pulpit and inside the walls of a church building! When it was never meant to be confined to a building, Jesus taught His followers something quite different, to proclaim it everywhere they go, even from the rooftop.

What if pastors like Mark Driscoll, John Piper, Pete Wilson, Perry Noble, Miles McPherson and Francis Chan, took their gift of teaching and passion for preaching out into the world, to those who really need to hear the message of the Kingdom of God? What if all pastors like these awesome teachers uses their gift the way the disciples and Paul did among the lost just as did some of the greatest preachers of old like Charles Spurgeon, Dwight Moody, John Wesley and so many others. These great preachers went where the people where and didn’t stay within the four walls of the church building!

The only preacher that I know about personally today who even comes close is Greg Laurie who regularly does his Harvest Crusades. Reaching 10’s of thousands with the gospel. He has use his gift outside the walls of the church building, but I am not thinking of just something that grand in a stadium, but something done daily in every day places as well.

So this is my challenge to pastors and all like the greatly gifted pastors above who can deliver the gospel so effectively. What if we went back to the likes pastor of the past like above. These men of the pulpit that spent their week days and nights in the bars, social halls, dining halls, school campuses and street corners preaching the gospel. And then where in the pulpit of a church on Sunday filled with the repented sinners they reach preaching outside the church that week. They spent their days about what they knew to be the real business of church, reaching the lost, perching to the lost where ever they where. Like Jesus, the disciples and Paul they went into he world, where the lost are.

I challenge you all to spend your week, every week out and about proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Not where all the Christians are, not even with the un-churched Christians are but rather where the un-believers are, the unsaved sinners, the God haters, the drunks, the harlots, the gang members, everywhere anywhere the lost are, anywhere they gather.

Let history read your life story like the great pastors of old, how you empted the streets, the bars into the church buildings.

Books I would reckomend to everyone to read.

Total Church

 

Total Church – This small manual for doing church was surprisingly insightful and winsome to me. They cover a wide range of topics that are all essential for healthy church life. I love the focus on Gospel and community. This is must read for all church leaders.

the-mission-of-god

 

The Mission of God – What is God’s agenda in the world? You’ll find it clearly and exhaustively articulated in this tome from Dr. Chris Wright. I would say this book should also be required reading for all Christians. A bit longer than most want to tackle, but the blessing will be enormous. Those of us who are passionate about the gospel will want to consume this book as it convincingly articulates God’s heartbeat from cover to cover of the Bible.

deathbylove1

Death By Love – I have not actually read this book yet (on the list for 2009), but I have read enough excerpts to know that this book is certainly one that you will want to pick up and check out. Mark shows how the gospel applies to a variety of different and challenging pastoral situations.

The Biblical Man:

Here are some good resources on biblical manhood.

1) Masculinity Powerpoint
2) Proverbs: What it Takes to be a Man (Darrin Patrick – The Journey Church – St. Louis)
3) Proverbs: Men and Masculinity (Mark Driscoll – Mars Hill Church – Seattle)
4) Here is an interview with CJ Mahaney on biblical masculinity. (PDF here)
5) Defining Masculinity (Matt Chandler – The Village Church – Highland Village, TX)
6) For Guys Only – A Collection of Articles on Biblical Masculinity
7)What’s Your Story? Sermon. Mark Driscoll. Mars Hill Church. 1 Tim 1:12-20.
8)Life Inventory Chart.
Supplement to Sermon.
9)Biblical Man Intro Powerpoint.

I am Looking in 2009 for a Unstoppable church to be part of, the church seen in the book of Acts. I am looking for a church filled with passionate people, a people who are passionate about God. Passionately in love with Jesus, who’s love can not be contained.

A people, a church that says and lives like you can reticule me, imprison me, stone me, torture me, kill me, nail me to a cross, do what ever you want, I will hot stop. Even in the mist of doing these things to me I will praise and worship the Lord, I will still proclaim His word to you, announcing the Kingdom of God, we will not be stopped. Because we found a love greater than life its self and we will not be stopped, for us to live is to live for Christ alone.

I want to be part of a people who are striving side by side to proclaim the gospel. Nothing can cause them to shut up, keep them from talking about Jesus, they do not care if they get beat up, thrown in prison, fired, or killed. Like Paul they are unstoppable, like the first church they are a unstoppable force. A people who are striving together for the gospel, for the kingdom of God, for Jesus. A people that says I would rather be tortured and put to death for the cause of Christ, spreading the gospel than retire at an old age with a fat 401K.

A people who says I must be like, live like Jesus. I must be in a church like the one in the book of Acts, have church like they did, live like they did, turn the world upside down like they did.

A people who believe Jesus when He said unless you are willing to pick up a cross and be crucified together, if you can do that then you can follow me. If you are not willing to do that you are not worthy to be my disciples.( Mat 10:38, Mat 16:24, Luke 14:27 )

I burn to be part of a unstoppable church like the first century church, the underground china church today. I want to be part of something like that, a people like that.

A church that knows what Paul said is true that it has been granted, given to us that we are to suffer just as Jesus did, live with the same conflict Paul did. (Php 1:29-30)

Frances Chan has the same passion for this kind of church, life, he explains it very well, listen to his message, download it here .

I so desire to find such a church this year, be part of a people like that.

Alan Hirsch considers himself a “missional activist”. This article from LeadershipJournal.net is a helpful read aimed at bringing definition to what being missional really means. I think it’s a good reminder that churches that use an “attractional” weekend service are becoming less and less effective as the pace of cultural change increases. Do you have any examples of churches that prove or disprove the theory? Follow the link for the full article.

The attractional model, which has dominated the church in the West, seeks to reach out to the culture and draw people into the church—what I call outreach and in-grab. But this model only works where no significant cultural shift is required when moving from outside to inside the church. And as Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian, the attractional model has lost its effectiveness. The West looks more like a cross-cultural missionary context in which attractional church models are self-defeating. The process of extracting people from the culture and assimilating them into the church diminishes their ability to speak to those outside. People cease to be missional and instead leave that work to the clergy.

Defining Missional | LeadershipJournal.net.

From: J Colber

My end of the month summery:

1. The last month God has been speaking to me about the importance of being an overcomer“.

Several times this month He has brought up the scriptures on it several times from many sources, through my daily study of the word as well as message I heard though out the month. He has been hammering “being an overcomer” I do not know the why, only the take note and learn what He means by being an overcomer and that it is key, important for me.

2. God has also been speaking to me all month about being a man who walks with God

“Enoch walked with God. Noah walked with God” This was the main theme of the month, learning what it means to be a man who walks with God as did Enoch and Noah. This has been at the core of my prayer the last month. To become a man who walks with God, what ever that means, what God wants it to be for me.

Bottom line, Be a man who walks with God as His friend in the same faith that Abraham had.

3. God reformatted my prayer life, gave me a new format to use as to how and what to pray. And it has revolutionized my prayer life the last two weeks. Thus effecting both my walk with God and my attitude in life.  It started by listening to Pastor Perry Noble podcast and a teaching on prayer, it was very challenge, caused me to change my prayer life that week. The Revelation from the Spirit about my prayer life and the need for change was continued, emphazised when I was introduce to Pastor Niles McPherson and started listening to his podcast and listened to his teaching on prayer also. Through those two teachings the Lord caused me to change my prayer life complete, it is on a whole new path now, and that has had a dramatic effect on my attitude and spiritual life, put me on a new course.

4. That I’m still trying to find my place in this world. And I thinking Shouldn’t I know by now what I want to be when I grow up? But it’s bigger than simply what I want to do in the future, It’s also about the right now, today, tomorrow, next week as well as ten years from now. I want to be relevant to God, to impact the world everywhere I intersect with it and maybe even transform it. But I have no clue, not even an inclination of what my place is in life, the world, the church, what my career is to be, or even reason for being here on this planet.

On a lighter note, I started Twittering two weeks ago, and it has been fun and has changed my world in some ways. No really! (I am still trying to get the hang of it) I am linked up with some awsome people and have enjoyed getting into their life and mind, and sharing some of mine with them.

I recently read about a book called Purple Cow by Seth Godin. The book revolves around this metaphor: if you’ve seen one brown cow you’ve seen them all. But a purple cow, now that would catch your attention. One statement in the book has profound implications: “If you aren’t remarkable you’re invisible.”

While this truth could be applied to a persons life in so many ways, it also applies to churches in every way. Every church needs to paint itself purple. I’m not talking about gimmicks or being weird or braking from the truths of God and what church is suppose to be, like the ones that are leaving out the gospel and Jesus like the emergent movement has done. I’m not talking about braking from the biblical church the one we see in scripture.

Brown churches sit on the sideline and invite the community to come to them. Do every thing they can to look like, sound like, be like the world around them. Purple churches are always going, compelling, and are an agent of transformation in the world. They seek to not look anything like the world, but to look like Jesus and the Kingdom of God. To stand out as something different, be an alternative to the world and its ways. And they are making such a big difference that they become a highly visible part of their community, everyone takes notice in a good way.  People drive by the brown churches, the churches that are invisible on their way to go to the purple church the ones that stand out from the world and its ways.

Purple churches are not a mirror of the world, but rather a window into the Kingdom of God. A refection of Jesus high and lifted up in a community of Christ like followers who live in community that is a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. When a church looks like Jesus, it stands out from the rest of the churches and the world because it is a purple cow in a brown herd.

A brown church look like the world, it’s a church that looks just like the society that surrounds it, it blends in with the same music, teachings, way of life, so no one notices the brown cow in a heard of brown cows.

After all isn’t the purpose of camouflaging something to make it fit in, go unnoticed, so that it will not stand out as different from the world around it. Well pastors have done a good job, they have made the church look, sound and function just like the world, made them brown cows, and well it worked no one notices them, sees church as different from the world.

So how do we paint ourselves purple? For starters, dare to be different from the world and look like Jesus and the Kingdom of God, make the good news, the Gospel the news.

Purple churches are where people can go to see God, get a glimpse of the Kingdom of God, see the transforming effect of the gospel in the lives of real people, changed lives. See that God is alive and His power at work in the lives of people, see it demonstrated in the lives of God’s people. See a people of faith living in oneness with God. See Gods love in action, in the love God’s people have for Him, and each other. It’s a church of a different color, it stand out from the rest of the churches today, and from the world around it.

What color is your church.