Monthly Archives: April 2008

Facelift

as you may or may not be able to tell…I’m in the process of a site facelift. Part of it, I am re-doing my links. So, if you are listed and have a different site, let me know. If you aren’t listed and want to be, also let me know. email me.

Sustainability

On this topic of “The Failing Economy of Church,” I want to post another idea. The word “sustainable” gets used (and abused) in many ways. When we talk about creating a sustainable missional community, I wonder if our motives are pure. I think that many of us seem to have this ideal vision of community that is self-sufficient and is able to be sustained for the “long haul.”

I just don’t know if that’s the point. I don’t think that we are necessarily in the business of creating communities as much as we are working towards helping people live out kingdom lives. Now, I think that is sustainable, but not profitable.

I would also say that our aim must not be to sustain one ideal of community, as much as it is to sustain a “way” of being a jesus person IN community. A local group of people will change and will die, naturally and we must have the ability not to tie our ego’s into this change, yet somehow become humble enough to allow death of community as a part of the ongoing, life-giving kingdom of God.

So when I talk about creating a sustainable community, what I mean is that we must help nurture a sustainable missional order that can help people live in an authentic Kingdom way.

The New Christians – Trucker Frank part 2

“The New Christians” Road Trip with Trucker Frank-Episode 2

The Failing Economy of Church

Jason, Chris, and Aaron have all been chatting recently about this issue and I believe it to be a critical lesson for all those who are looking into “simple church” or “missional church” or whatever you want to name it all.

One issue I see is that we (the church) have created a non-sustainable economy. While since before the beginning of “the way” there was an idea of pastors who received their pay via the gifts brought into the temple, what we’ve done with that notion has puffed it up beyond our ability to maintain it. I remember rambling on about this five years ago when I was still a youth pastor. (I’m sure you can find it somewhere online) Back then, I was asking the question of how long the average church could sustain this idea of a paid, professional youth pastor. It is still a relatively new concept, and I continue to doubt it. When I am paying $3.69 per gallon, rice is being rationed, and the mortgage industry has bottomed out – we better buckle up. The truth is, those seminary trained (myself included) lot may not be ready to make the changes that are coming.

I proposed on J’s blog that I believe that those of us who’ve made the choice to live out church in a different way need to be re-trained to better serve our communities. I believe that one answer lies with learning new skills to network with non-profits, businessmen and prayer leaders in our neighborhoods. (hence, why I am partnering with Kingdom Causes) I see this as a way for me to fulfill my missional call, and allow me to provide for my kids via transforming and creating a new sustainable way to benefit my community. Let the money go to mission, and stay in the community. One thing that Bush did right (maybe the only thing?) is opening up non-profit grants to faith-based initiatives. One thing we’ve done in Tapestry is offered a class to train others on how to write grants for community projects. Again, this isn’t “the” answer – and I don’t believe that there is one answer.

The bottom line is that people are weary of churches, I mean “normal” people are. The idea of giving money to pay for a person to preach isn’t flying in most missional contexts. People will give to mission. That’s why we have made our budget reflect this. At tapestry, 90% of all money received goes right back to the local mission of their community. The other 10% pays for book-keeping, planning, paperwork, technology and less than 5% goes to eric and I for some housing help. That’s it. That’s all we are ever going to do. I want to add that I don’t think that every community, church, or network can or should adopt this budget plan. It’s just what we’re called to do.

So, what happens to all these paid clergy? How are all the seminarians going to get re-trained? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s possible to know. But, after getting forced out of a mainline church and thrown into the deep end of missional church in 2003 I can say this: a) God has always provided b) when you have to, it’s amazing how quickly you’ll adapt to a new type of income source. while I hated my role at Citi bank, without it I couldn’t have gotten the type of disability insurance we know partly live on.

*Point of clarification: I still believe that it is a healthy, and necessary part of our call as God’s children to keep all aspects of what we are entrusted with in balance via stewardship. Money, the highest failing for most people, is perhaps the single most transformative balance that we can learn to be stewards of. We fail when we begin to believe that it is our money that we give to God (or the church), it’s better understood that all we have has been entrusted to us by God, and a way we live holistically and in balance is through giving to one another, especially within the context of a jesus community. Let it be the black eye of the church where there’s one person in its midst going hungry, not being able to pay their bills, or get gas. Just because we live in a horrible economy does not mean that I advocate people to look out for #1. If we learn ANYTHING from Jesus’ life and ministry it is that we are called to be the church, broken and spilled out for others. If we can’t take care of one another, than is our news still good?

Dove Awards


So, my mom is in Nashville right now and is staying at the Gaylord OpryLand Hotel for a work conference. Last night, she went out and saw Third Day and Switchfoot play a concert downtown. She let me know that it’s GMA week down there and it hit me that I had NO IDEA of that going on. You see, there was a time that I cared about “christian” music. Now, I really don’t. There are christians that make good music, and I appreciate some of it…but overall, I could care less.

When I was a teen, Christian music was being sold as this alternative to “secular” or real music. You could always tell which stations were the Christian ones because the quality of the music was so inferior to the rest of the dial. There was a basic formula in early Christian rock music: Make a decent rif, talk about Jesus, sell a million records, make sure there’s an alter call at your concerts. That was about it. Petra were kings for a time. They would take pithy Christan sayings and cheese up some rock chords. The classic “Why Should The Devil Have All the Good Music” was the perfect example of this sub-culture (all due respect to Larry Norman who passed away a few months ago). I remember seeing Whiteheart for the first time. They had this album about checking your “heart” rate (a not so clever analogy for making sure your soul was set on Jesus) and they all came out in hospital scrubs. At the time, I remember thinking “Well, I guess if your music sucks, you have to dress it up.”

Over the years, the quality of the music has drastically gotten better. Today, more and more Christian artists are not looking to be cornered into being a “Christian” band/artist. Groups like Switchfoot have broken that mold. Which I am thankful for. I don’t think the question that the Christian industry should ask itself is “why should the devil have all the good music” anymore, perhaps it is “why should christian artists settle for only singing about jesus?” or “why do we need a sub-category of music just for christians?” wouldn’t it be better if talented christian musicians simply created “good” music like everyone else, and let the quality of their craft draw attention to the ultimate creator? I’m all for Christians who are excellent artists, but give them the ability to swim in the deep end not just the kiddie pool next door.

Man Arrested After Trying To Buy Machine Gun With Crack

No joke, some 27 year old guy from Detroit got picked up after trying to buy a machine gun with crack cocaine! (story) Man, you can’t make this stuff up.

What solar system is this guy flying in? “Let’s see, I need a machine gun….I don’t have any money….maybe they’ll barter with me, yea barter! What do I have that’s worth the same as a machine gun….well, I have plenty of crack lying around, maybe they’ll take that.”

Another thing I love about how the Associated Press covered this story is where they say “Federal Law forbids private ownership of automatic weapons.” As if that’s the only problem here. Are you telling me that there is no law on trying to trade crack for automatic weapons? Way to get to the heart of the crime here guys.

My Fantastical Mysterious Brain

So, last night I fell asleep while my kids were watching some dance show that they like. Melody woke me up and began asking me questions like she does when I black out or loose my memory. Then she tells me that I had been awake and unable to remember anything past early March! I guess I couldn’t tell her what I had done yesterday, the week or even three weeks prior.

That’s freaky to me. Honestly, the only thing I remember is waking up with a terrible headache, that is still present.

My doctor tells me that my brain is simply over-taxed from stress, and the vast amount of reading that I am doing right now. Thanks doc, doesn’t really help. I can’t just not read. I mean, I could stop reading extra materials other than my required reading I guess, but what fun is that?! I just can’t NOT read. I read all the time, and when I’m not, often I’m listening to audiobooks in the car. I just love to read. Ever since I lost my ability to play drums, my reading has ramped up a notch. I guess I’m filling in the cracks or something.

Anyway, if you think of it pray for healing.