Sunday, December 11, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Every Monday afternoon I go into church planter mode. Last year, this consisted of trying to figure out where I was going to live in Annapolis, and trying to make sure the house in Indiana was sold.Now, every Monday consists of exploring neighborhoods around Baltimore, trying to find the place that God is leading our family to plant a church. Sometimes, this means read demographics, research, and making phone calls to people who live in the city and know what they’re doing (usually hoping that they’ll call or email back). Usually, it means getting out, walking around, seeing, smelling, and experiencing the city – it’s good, bad, and ugly (could it get uglier than that Ravens game yesterday?) Every now and then, I discover something awesome (example: Zeke’s coffee – amazing). Sometimes, I go to a place that I never want to visit again.
The process is exciting. This process has been like a puzzle. It’s exciting to see new places. Each week we tell Reese that we’re going “exploring.” Literally, this is what we get to do. I’ve been blown away. There are places in Baltimore where I’ve heard 3 or 4 different languages spoken. There are places with way too many Steeler flags and Yankee hats. Along the way, I’ve met amazing people all over the city who are contending for the gospel. I’ve seen little churches that are loving their neighborhoods well, despite the fact that no one outside that neighborhood will EVER know who they are. I’ve met amazing individuals who are trying to live out their faith in an urban context, even when their flesh makes them wonder if they’re missing out on something nicer in the ‘burbs.
The process is frightening. In this situation, I simply don’t want to be wrong. Where does God want us? What would he have us do? What does this mean for my girls? What does this mean for my wife? How much will this cost? How do I balance being a steward of my family, and sacrificing all for the gospel? What is too easy? What is too hard? While I know this is God’s Church, flesh can creep in easily.
The process is complex. Today, the contrast of Baltimore really stood out to me. I pass rows of beautiful houses in a quiet neighborhood that looks like the main street of an old farm town….then I pass a block of grit – literally, entire blocks that are vacant and boarded. Economies have failed. Governments have failed. There is fatherlessness, extreme poverty, few fair wage jobs to be hard, poor education, and, While I believe the answer is God work through the local church, this simply not as easy as it sounds. The processes for bringing change will move slowly.
The process is hope-giving. My hope is that there comes a day when we are part of movement of creating churches in neighborhoods all through Baltimore. Even if the doors slammed in my face, and this plant never materialized, it’s been amazing to see people pouring themselves our to see the name of Jesus made famous is Baltimore. There is hope for this city.
The process is still in process. No answers yet..We’ll keep you posted.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
The downside to this morning: The hotel space where Revolution meets has been under renovation throughout the month. Long term, it will take a cool space and make it look even cooler. However, each week of the month, this will provide a curve ball of some sort. Today, we arrived to find out that the lower level, where all of gear is loaded through, was inaccessible. With that change, we lost the rain coverage of the parking garage- and had to move the truck to the front of the main entrance. In doing so, we lost time, rhythm, and our sense of dryness. All morning my feet felt like I had just ridden the old White Water Canyon ride @hersheypark.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Top 10 Reasons Not to Join a Church Plant
Justin Buzzard is a new member of Acts 29, planting a church in San Jose.
A few months ago I moved my family to San Jose to start Garden City Church. The day we moved we had three adults committed to the church plant. It was a move of faith.
After getting settled, the first thing I did was hold an informational meeting about the church plant. I hoped twenty people would show up. Sixty-one people attended the meeting. The turnout was comprised almost entirely of Christians from a variety of other churches in the area, the vast majority of whom had never been involved with a church plant.
After speaking for about an hour on the vision of Garden City Church, I shared this top ten list. I spent ten minutes sharing and unpacking this list I'd created in order to de-romanticize church planting for all the Christians in the room. As people were growing excited about the possibility of joining our church planting team I wanted them to have a realistic picture of the difficulty of church planting, to be aware of some of the wrong reasons why people join a church plant, and to take an honest assessment of their own expectations and motives in considering joining the team.
Coming up with and sharing this list has proved very helpful for me, for the people who have decided to join me, and for the people who have decided not to join our team.
1. If you’re looking for the next cool thing in town. (We want to grow by conversion growth, not church-goer transfer growth.)
2. If you’re a Christian and you don’t like your current church. (You will find reasons to not like this church.)
3. If you have a bad track record at churches of being unteachable and causing problems. (You won’t change here, you’ll repeat the pattern.)
4. If you’re a consumer wanting to “go to church” 1x a week for a nice show. (We are not a Sunday show, we are a community of disciples on a mission)
5. If you want religion. (This church will be built on the radical gospel of grace)
6. If you have an agenda. (We have our vision, our mission, and our values—your private agenda does not supercede them)
7. If you’re a wolf. (We will sniff you out).
8. If you think this will be a nice little church that stays the same size, where everybody knows your name and you have my cell number on speed dial and we have a picnic lunch together every week. (By God’s grace, we want to grow.)
9. If you think this will be easy and smooth. (This will be hard and difficult; this will be a fight, a battle, and a challenging mission.)
10. If you want to hold onto your comfortable life. (You must lose your life.)
I also shared a quote from Sir Ernest Shackleton, from the advertisement he used when recruiting men for his expedition to Antarctica in 1914:
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
This past Friday, the sale of our home in Danville, IN was closed. In light of that fact, here are some of my favorite "345 Chestnut" moments.