Archive for category Innovate 09
Just a quick entry to let the readers know that I’ve updated my posts from Innovate ’09 with video from the speakers.
For the Good Stuff click.
Jon Falwell came out on the evening of the 19th and invited all the church planters in the room to come forward so the pastors of the churches could pray over them. It was pretty amazing.
I went to a church conference, and I have to vent about something. I cannot stand the trend of Christian leaders that has bred the metrosexual look. What is a metrosexual? As defined online, metrosexual is a heterosexual man who looks homosexual.
The apostle Paul is pretty straightforward in 1 Corinthians 11 that men should not look like women. They should not look like men who wish they were women. Men should not give the impression that they go both ways.
I want you to understand that I am not saying we cannot dress fashionably or in style. I am not saying we cannot groom ourselves. What I am saying is that intentionally adopting this blurry style of metrosexuality drives me nuts. It is a preference, not a conviction, but men should look like men.
What can I say? Perry Noble ROCKED!
I seriously do not know where to start. He said so many great things that I cannot choose a highlight.
Perry spoke from Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal Son. But he looked at the ‘other brother’ and compared him to so many churches and leaders. It was very poignant.
Here are just some of the ideas he shared that I wrote down:
- I am not a speaker; I am a preacher.
- The older brother was working for the Father rather than being with Him.
- If it is God’s will, then it’s God’s bill.
- We celebrate the empty tomb. Discrediting, protesting – those things are not “tomb worthy.”
- We always love to condemn the sins we’re not committing.
I am taking these statements out of a greater context, so they probably feel disjointed. Essentially, he was challenging us to get with God before we try to “build the church.”
You can view Perry’s message here.
Mark was the one speaker at the conference that I was really looking forward to hearing from. Perhaps my expectations got too high. I was disappointed with his session.
I think the biggest disappointment was that he presented information rather than really engaged the group. Maybe it was just that it was after lunch. He just seemed to be riding a hobby horse, and he took way too long develop his main ideas. Even his main ideas were somewhat cliché for me. I’ve heard all these things before.
One of the other things was just that he spent so much time identifying things that we (pastors and leaders) can do on our own. I felt like he was trying to spoon fed the carnivores. He should have thrown some steaks in front of us and let us gnaw.
That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy hearing things I’ve heard before or that I don’t like the simple things. An earlier speaker, Francis Chan, did not introduce anything I hadn’t heard before, but he said it in such an amazing way. Mark simply was not as effective or as engaging – in my opinion.
It is hard for me to put my finger on my issue with the multi-ethnic presentations that I have heard over the years. It seems to me like these guys have an unconscious condescension toward those who are not multi-ethnic. I’ve heard it in all arenas – church, politics, business. It just feels as if they are calling us to force something. I don’t know how to do it better; but it just sounds weird to me.
Don’t get me wrong. Our church is wonderfully diverse. We love this. We continue to adapt and make it more so. In our little church of 45-60, we have an extremely, beautiful diverse group of skin tones, countries of origin and cultural identities. We do it just because in Christ, we don’t see the divisions.
We just are diverse. I feel like when you make the race issue and issue, it becomes MORE of an issue. We choose to simply believe race does not exist.
You can watch the video here.
In the church, we need to take seriously the damage and danger of sin.
I really expected Ed Stetzer to throw statistics and charts at us. I think it may have been what he was planning to do. A funny thing happened on the way to the church…
He spoke on the topic of “Secret Sins” and it was actually pretty good.
It was not quite as excellent as Francis Chan (the Spirit used him to blow me away!) but it was more than I expected.
Quite simply, Ed challenged us to live “Christ-centered, repentance-filled” lives. It was simple and yet cut so deep.
You can watch the video here.
On Tuesday morning, Francis Chan offered us an awesome challenge in ministry. He had a ton of great stuff, and to be honest, I was pleasantly surprised.
One of the best things he shared was this single thought:
It bothers me that the modern church is so stoppable.
I heard that, and I thought, “YES! What is up with that?!?”
Why is the modern church so stoppable? Do you know what I mean by that? A single grumpy member can nix the entire vision of Christ with a single protest. A late nursery worker can make the entire worship service grind to a halt. A Sunday when the biggest giver does not show up means that we are suddenly on the edge of bankruptcy. The modern church spends more time stalled and waiting for consensus than it does doing anything else.
And that should piss us off.
I know that we’re not supposed to get upset with other Christians. I know that we’re supposed to keep everyone happy and let that little old lady have the power to stop everything. That’s just dumb.
The mission of Jesus Christ is unstoppable. So if the church can be stopped and halted by every little thing, then aren’t we compromising the mission and vision? Aren’t we distracted from what Jesus wants us to do?
Watch Francis Chan’s Session.
A couple of guys from our church team and I are down in Lynchburg, Virginia, for Innovate ‘09. We are intentionally not going to every session because I think there’s just too much going on to actually be able to absorb it all. Yesterday, we heard Eric Geiger, co-author of Simple Church.
Both of the guys who are down here with me commented, “Isn’t this pretty much what you did?” The answer is yes. We looked at our church and said: let’s not do programs just to do programs. Let’s have meaning and vision for everything we do. We clarified our vision and we ask the hard questions to keep ourselves focused. We take our time and do things right.
One of the thoughts Eric shared was that too many churches have ministries that are “silos”, distinct from the other ministries of the church. Eric said it just as an illustration, but I spent most of the session thinking about the idea of silos in ministry.
It is no secret that I am highly cynical about the way the modern (and postmodern) church at large does ministry. To me, the purpose of the church is to lift Jesus Christ up and create environments where people encounter him. Too much is invested in church and not enough on living the Way of Jesus.
And this idea of silos really resonates with me because I grew up on farms, and I know that silos are for storage. They are for accumulating grain and storing as much of it as you can for later. Jesus spoke on the problems with this in two different situations.
Jesus said to his disciples:
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. [Luke 10:2, ESV]
He makes it clear that we are called to be laborers in his fields rather than farmers of our own fields. In fact, it reminds me of a church growth book I read a few years ago that talked about how pastors need to be ranchers instead of shepherds. This idea always struck me as a bit off from what Jesus said. Jesus does not call us to own the church but to be his servants in the church.
Which leads me to the second time that Jesus spoke on this topic. He told a parable:
The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ [Luke 12:16-20, ESV]
Here is the danger of building silos instead of working in the fields, in believing we own the farms instead of living as workers in the LORD’s fields. We become complacent; we become content. We store rather than serve. We forget the amazing blessing of seeing the harvest come every year and knowing it is from God.
Jesus spoke on this theme of ownership at another time:
A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others. [Luke 20:9-16, ESV]
Do you see what Jesus is saying to us? We cannot afford to think that the church is ours, that our ministry there is somehow ours to control. We are his servants.