Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mormons. Kony. Belief. Action.

Do you really believe what you say you believe? That is a very interesting question. If you really believe, then what? What do you do with it? What do you do or say or how do you act on what you say you believe? I was challenge by this article about Mormon belief. In one part the author shares how there is a huge emphasis on working your way to get to God within this religion. Therefore part of the belief of this religion is heavy on works. This article started to get me thinking about what it means to believe.

If you believe in a movement does that mean you follow it? For example Kony20112 is a huge movement in the media and blowing up on Twitter, Face Book and You Tube.  Its purpose is to stop a leading terrorist of child abduction. The mans name is Joseph Kony. Many people hear the video and believe. So how would you define their belief? I would say by action. People support, pray and promote the cause to stop Joseph Kony. Others have other opinions about the topic and even different ways on how to go about stopping him. An interesting thing that I have noticed in many of the replies on YouTube, is that some people are against the video, but have no response or action on how to change anything. So even though they do not agree, they have no action to their belief and what they are saying.

Lets flip it around on Christianity and the Bible. Many say they believe. Many have walked an isle and said a pray, but now what? How do you keep up a lifelong belief and movement in and about Jesus? How do you keep following the Bible and Jesus teachings? I would say that the answer is not just a lifelong record of showing up at church, but more of a biblical worldview of giving up our lives for the gospel and loving our neighbors as ourselves. See, we go to church, but we also should plan as a church. The church is not an hour or a building, but those that believe in Jesus. As we believe, we should lay our lives down, share our faith and disciple believers and start a movement. Belief should cause an action.

Sometimes because we have the knowledge and scriptures memorized, we think that equals belief. But the church should be a movement not a monument. We should not just be an organization, but an organism that moves and promotes change for a life of freedom and purpose.

So what do you believe? What do you say you believe? Do you really believe it? Put it in action.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Staggering Stat of Discipleship

We live in a day and age where consumerism defines us. We want what we want when we want it. Most times we will get it. Think of a 30 second big mac commercial from McDonald's. You see it, you have a desire in you to get it, so you go and get it. Its just that easy. We constantly press our Easy Button and our desires are magically fulfilled. Alan Hirsch has a 2 minute video that is worth watching.

The problem with consumerism is that it has infected our churches. Instead of obeying Jesus last words of "make disciples" we have created attractive programs and events that have served as our recruiting strategy to fill our pews and chairs. But if people come, then we are a successful church. Let's put it this way: Good programs and Events = Vision of many/most churches. Yes the gospel is shared in those context, but is it lived?

So, what do we do? We change the vision. God can do anything including working through our programs and events, but call me old fashion, what if we just made disciples? To make a disciple means you are involved in shaping someones life. You help shape their worldview and character. I do not know anyone who can do that through a program or just 45 minutes of Sunday School. It takes time and relationship. Below is a model that has not been tested, but I am in the works of building for our youth ministry. Its not the model itself that is great, its making disciples that is the goal. Maybe this model will change the stat of the 10 people that I have talked with and only 2 being discipled that have grown up through our church and are now out of youth ministry.

(2211) The 2211 is a set up and a structure for our youth ministry. Each of our youth leaders will take their students (their small group/Sunday school class) per semester and Have 2 get togethers, 2 Community Involvement projects, 1 one on one with a student and meet with me once per semester.

2 - The two get togethers are just activities that the groups do as a group (not the whole youth group, your small group and/or Sunday school class). This shows students you care about them enough to get together with them outside church times. They start to trust you and build a relationship with you. Many more implications.

2 - The 2 Community Involvement Projects show the students that community is important. Students get to work together and with their leader. They learn about service and community. This could be as simple as a Community Kitchen type of event or just raking leaves for an elderly neighbor. The point is: they are serving together.

1 - One on one. This could be anything from having the student come and eat dinner with your family to go to a park and pass a football. The point is: the student has your full attention and you have theirs.

1 - Meet with me once. Although I will have constant conversation/aid/accountability, with our leaders through meetings and e-mail, we still get to meet one on one together. We chat about youth ministry, but its not all business. We can chat about life, family and more. (I meet with the 2 female leaders).

This blog post is not to sell anyone a discipleship plan, but just to encourage to change current models that may be built on consumerism, good programs and events. Outside this model we have a Sunday night meeting with small groups after the message, Sunday School, Worship Service and our The Well.

To make a disciple, you have to ask yourself what is a disciple and how do I make a disciple? Start with the Bible, its a great resource.  Then get a game plan together and do it. I pray that many disciples and world changer would grow up out of our youth ministry. It would be tough to know the stats on how many people are actually being discipled in churches, but I pray that we would let consumerism take the back seat and follow Jesus in making true disciples.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

12 Goals of 2012

My 12 Goals of 2012

The difference from a vision and a new years resolution is that a vision is a life long goal that can be broken down each year to fulfill the overall vision. A new years resolution is mostly intended to try something different or try to change something. Some of my goals relate to the vision that God has called me to and some are resolutions. As we all know, most people make goals and keep them for about 5 days. I hope to keep many of these goals at least past January, ha. So here they are:

1. Make a proactive choice to make Jesus Lord daily. 
2. Win: Share my faith as often as people exist.

3. Build leaders: Students and adults.

4. Date my wife more.

5. Paint all rooms in my house.

6. Get Blue Belt in Jiu Jitsu.
7. Workout often

8. Invest in kids school, hobbies and lives.

9. 10 Outreaches at Hixson High/Middle School with follow up Discipleship

10. Grow deeper in my relationships.

11. Grow: Read more books and meet with mentors more.

12. Keep house clean.

Here are last Years Goals: Last Years Goals

What are your goals??

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas- Who is coming?

CHRISTmas represents the Savior of the world coming to rescue a depraved humanity of its sin. Not just anyone arrived. He arrived. It was God in flesh. It was Emmanuel; God with us. He is the Messiah that was prophesied for 1,000's of years. He came to give of life. He taught us how to live and He taught us how to die. He went into heaven and is coming again.
The Holy Spirit. God is in us. God is with us. Jesus promised He would come. Inside of our souls, our lives, we hold, we own the power of God. In the midst of worldly propaganda He still reigns. Although we may suffocate Him, He still lives. Although we choose our choices, He does not hide. God is in you. Confess sin, retreat from worldly desires and grab on to the life giver, the freedom giver inside of you. The hope for humanity dwells within you, within me. Let us not just speak of Him, but show Him with our lives that have been laid down for the gospel.
This Christmas we own the Holy Spirit, but is He owning us? Through our discipline and obedience, let us ask God to move this season.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Back in the Blog

Well it is good to be back on here. Life has been very busy. I bought a house, bought a dog, sold a dog, started an interim position, got the full time position, bought a truck, started P90X, lost the remote, and am now back to blogging.

The first blog I want to write about is about what students want in student ministry. I will share a few things that I have found that they want/need. I did not find out by blogs, books or any other source. I tried something innovative. I asked them. 

From programs to small groups to pizzas and campus time, there are a lot of things that make up a student ministry. There were several things that I heard from my students and I will just share two. Here they are:
1. I want to know you care 2. I want to be heard. There are many ways to do youth ministry and many different personalities in it, but at the end of the day what matters is that students know that you care and you listen. We lead them to Jesus when they see Jesus in us. Jesus cares and Jesus listens.

Do you care? I asked many of my students several different questions just to see what they were thinking and how they were feeling. I believe that if I am a youth pastor (and I am), then I should... pastor. You can not pastor, lead, Shepard people if you do not know them. If I were to Sheppard sheep and did not know much about sheep, they would all probably run away. If I am ignorant of sheep and I do not know how they act, think (do sheep think??) and respond, then I am probably up the creek. The same with youth. Asking them questions, getting together outside church and asking about their lives are just a few ways to show you care.

Do you listen? It is good to hear from middle and high school students. Its good to see where they are in life. As I ask questions, I love to hear the comments that come back. I know that I cannot implement everything they tell me and that is not the point. The point is to just listen. It's to hear their heart. Listening shows them that I care.

So I write this blog to share ministry life with you and maybe even encourage you in your life. Are there people in your life that need to be heard and cared for? Just sit with them. Listen.

God is King! I thank him for my family and all he has provided. For my loving church, great staff team, killer youth group, caring youth parents, and an awesome youth leadership team. God has blessed me. I continue to look forward in seeing what God has planned.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Start, New Chapter

I love how people have new beginnings. I think of the word redemptive and the power that that word holds. Think of Saul. What if that dude did not get a new start. He would totally be messed up, but God had a plan for his life. He blinded him, humbled him, changed his name and called him. He became a phenom in the missionary world. He wrote 2/3 of the N.T. What a new start.

Faith and I are in a whole lifestyle change as we begin our new start. We just celebrated 7 years of marriage and I just turned 30. Crazy! We were talking about all the things that happened in life when I was in my 20's. I got married, graduated college, had a couple of kids, lived in 8 different places and had 9 different jobs. I wonder what God will do in my 30's. So far, we bought a house and are starting a new job next Monday. I get to be under a pastor that I really respect, go to church with one of my closest friends and mentors and am able to go back to my heart of heart in serving youth.

Life can be interesting as different and weird things can come our way, but in the end God is glorified and works all thing out for the good for those that love Him and live according to his purpose. Keep pressing on in your journey. Persevere through the tough times, enjoy the blessed times and continue down the road less traveled whatever may come your way.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Awaken: The Final Chapter

Family and friends, things are coming to a close at Awaken Community Church. This blog serves as a purpose to celebrate the lives that God has changed and what God will do in the future. We feel like God has done what He wants to do through this local church and we are now transitioning into other churches in our community for further growth and community.

On December 8, 2008 Awaken had its first core group meeting with 17 in attendance. We met at my friend Brian Curriers house. We had set out on a journey to bring people to God and back to God and bring people into meaningful relationships with one another. Many lives have been changed since the conception of Awaken. Listen to these stories.

Brian Currier... Brian was my right hand guy at the start of Awaken. We gave ourselves cute little titles and his was program director. Brian ended up meeting the love of his life, Laura, within the first couple of weeks of starting Awaken. He also met an acquaintance, Janie, that lead him to his current job. Brian and his wife now serve the Lord and attend Calvary Chapel downtown.

Bryce Patrick.... Bryce used to play X-box up to 8 hours a day. Tony invited him to Awaken and Bryce found more fulfillment than Halo could offer. He started serving like crazy. The first time I met Bryce was the first Sunday he came to Awaken. The dude was scrubbing our bathroom toilets. Those were the famous toilets that peed back on you. Talk about a servant! Bryce was with us over a year and has been called into youth ministry and is in the process of getting married and is open to God using him in the mission field.

Barry Underwood.... Barry was lonely and did not think anyone cared about Him. He craved Christian community. Barry came to Awaken and started to come alive with the gospel. He shared the gospel at the Rush and invited friends every week to Awaken. If we made an award for most invites, it would for sure go to him. He met a homeless guy named Gene and moved him into his house, bought him clothes and helped him get a job. Gene ended up being baptized at Awaken.

Adam and Dana Wyatt.... Adam hated church people. He is a drummer that loves his music and likes to be real and honest with people. He found for the first time, real Christian community at Awaken. Dana was still kind of new to town when they came to Awaken. She had not been able to meet a lot of people so she hung out with all of Adams friends. She ended up meeting and keeping meaningful relationships at and through Awaken.

I could go on and on with stories from Sam and Lindsay who were burnt pretty bad in ministry and wanted to quit forever. They were with us for a season and now back on their feet serving as worship leaders in Chicago. My family, who were not in church, are now active in church. There are countless lives that were changed and encouraged along the way. The majority of our core group was dechurched at one time and now God is leading many of them to their next step in life in serving Him.

Although Awaken as a church is coming to an end, the people who made up the church have come alive. Our goal was to reach the dechurched, nonchurched and bored at church to show them that the God of creation wants you to come alive and awaken to what He has for you.

I praise God for the opportunity and privilege of starting a church to reach the one. I am not sure what the next chapter is for my wife and I, but we are open to what God wants to do. I want to thank my family and friends for your prayers and support for the past two and a half years and let you know that it was all worth it.

I would like to invite you to celebrate what God has done over the last several years by attending an evening service on Sunday night June 5th. We will meet at 6:00pm and have an open mic for folks to share. It is a time to get together, celebrate Jesus and what He has done through Awaken.