Monday, November 26, 2012

Soma Communities (a call to Be the Church)

Soma Communities - Tacoma, WA from Verge Network on Vimeo.

(This video is about 15 minutes long, and is WORTH your time. What I have shared below is from the video.)

There is so much in this video that resonates with my heart. I have probably watched it five times now since my good friend Allan sent it to me. I took notes as I watched it today, and here are some of the key thoughts/points from the video that really stuck with me and that I am still chewing on (I am mostly paraphrasing for the video below)...

Recovering our sense of "sentness"
We are to live like missionaries HERE (wherever 'here' is) rather than thinking that missionaries always go somewhere else.

To live life on mission in the every day NOT just for 2 hours on Sunday
To BE God's people wherever we are
To Be Jesus' body filling the city...filling every place with His presence
To be the people of God all week

Regularly asking God: Who have you sent us to? or What place have you sent us to? And then responding by asking, "How are we going to radically reorient our lives for the sake of reaching those people?"

This isn't an event (this is a lifestyle). This missional lifestyle is a Reorientation of our lives in response to the Gospel.

The Importance of Multiplication
If you don't have mission, you are an unhealthy family with no reproduction taking place. Healthy disciples make more disciples. Healthy leaders make more leaders.
Healthy churches multiply themselves. Multiplication is at the very heart of who we are.

Most churches are orphanages. They know how to have babies and they have a couple of dads and moms for all the babies, but not enough to care for them well. They don't send them off to start new families. They become a perpetual orphanage.

A Broken Heart
"When I think about my city...and the cities of this breaks my heart (to think of so many people who don't know the love of the Father)."
We must ask God to give us a bigger heart for our city, a bigger heart for the lost.
It's about God's glory and lost people who don't know the love of the Father.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

“Prayer Walks, Football, & the Kingdom”

Last fall as a pastoral team we began praying for open doors of ministry at Richmond High School. One morning we visited the school and introduced ourselves to the principals. They shared some of the volunteer needs at the school and gave us a walking tour. During that initial walking tour we were introduced to a teacher, whom we later learned is another local pastor. He then invited us to begin prayer walking at the school with him one morning each week. We began meeting him on Wednesday mornings at 7am to walk the hallways – praying for the administrators, teachers, and students. Around that same time I learned that one of my former co-worker’s (in Chicago) brother is the head coach of the Richmond High School football team. I set up a meeting with him, and we discussed ways in which our church could serve the football team – ie tutoring, mentoring, team meals, etc. Although nothing materialized last school year after our meetings, we re-visited the conversation this past summer. He asked if we were still interested in hosting team meals each week for the football team. He also asked if we (the pastors) would give short chapel talks after the meal each week. We responded enthusiastically. It almost seemed too good of an opportunity to be true.

Each week this past football season (10 weeks all together) a small team of people from our church gathered in our kitchen to prepare and serve the team of 30 players and 6-7 coaches. It was encouraging to see how this “team ministry” mobilized a group of folks from our church. There was a lot of love put into preparing and serving each meal. Both the players and the coaches were very appreciative for the hospitality they received each time they entered the doors of our fellowship hall.

Our chapel messages focused on themes such as unity, hope, endurance, sacrifice, etc. By God’s grace we attempted to communicate Biblical principles and encouragement in a way that connected to their lives on and off the field. Pastor Aaron even had the opportunity to share his personal testimony of life transformation through his encounter with Christ. We often times ended messages with thought provoking questions about their purpose and identity as young men, with the hopes of ongoing dialogue and personal reflection. We believe that seeds were planted through this time together, and we continue to pray for both the young men and the coaching staff.

In the next couple of weeks I will be meeting with the head coach to evaluate our collaboration this season and to plan and dream about future partnership between our church and the football program. Please pray with us that relationships with the players and coaches would continue to grow, and that God might use this partnership for Kingdom impact here in Richmond.