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Archive for September, 2008

Sunday Nite

It's Monday morning… I know that this is late but yesterday was great (rhyme on a dime, all the time )

  • I was in "experiential mode". I saw the 8.21 and the 9.51 service… 
  • Greatly enjoyed the worship in both services. Thought Steven, Brandon and Bree all did some great leading yesterday.

  • Had a great mocha at the ROC Cafe' yesterday. What did you have at the ROC yesterday?

  • Have you taken someone new to the ROC Cafe lately? What a great way to introduce something new to someone new to our church…

  • with that in mind – thanks to Hubert and the crew at the ROC Cafe'

  • GroupLink was the bomb! When each group went to their class and the group leaders told "their story" – AWESOME!

More to come later!

Musings on “The Gathering” – Part 2

Yesterday I posted the 1st of my thoughts concerning "The Gathering at UNCP" (check it out here 1st). These are my thoughts, prayers and overall foundation for what this new ministry is all about. Yesterday I shared:
 
  • The Role of the Gathering in relation to UNCP / Pembroke
  • One Purpose is to be a preparer of spiritual soil for the future harvest
  • To be a Foundation Builder for the future church

Part 2: The Gathering will be a New Paradigm/Teacher

Most of us resist change. In our desire to remain holy and separate from the world it is easy to forsake anything which is different from what we're used to. Another problem is exposure and the fact that many in the church have little knowledge about technology, methods and its usage to reach out to people for Jesus. "The Gathering" will use relevant methods to communicate the gospel to a generation that has no ties to the methodology of the 1950's model of church that most of our bodies still represent.
 
As "The Gathering" attempts to reach those that are still unreached by the true gospel message, I believe that it will show many, from the local church, who are unfamiliar with modern forms of expression another way to do church. As they watch, observe, listen and participate they will be challenged to view what is happening in the light of the scriptures, challenging themselves in what the bible says about worship and culture, hopefully understanding how they can use this expression in the context of their local bodies. It is my hope that "The Gathering" challenges the church in the ways that we communicate who Jesus is to people who don't yet know Him.
 
The Gathering is Not a Church
 
No, "The Gathering" is not a church and I am not the pastor. I feel the calling and believe God has shown me that Lumberton is my specific mission field. I believe that the reason that I feel called to do this is that God will use what He has placed in me as a spark to do what He wills on the campus that I too once walked. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that He would bring me back in this context.
 
So, though it isn't a church, it is a gathering of the church and my prayer is that it will be a vehicle by which God can inspire the church, open doors for the church and inspire the planting of New Breed Churches in our region. I also pray that God will use it to embolden the church and prepare the church to live out it's God-breathed purpose:
 
The Bride of Christ is to be the earthly body of Jesus Christ – extending His hands in His Name and making known His love and sacrifice the He might draw all men to Himself.

I mentioned this the other day:

Our churches are struggling with reaching this generation. Statistics (LifeWay research) show the dropout rate of baptist 18-22 year olds is 70% (!!!!). These aren't all 18-22 year olds – these are the ones who are currently attending our churches. Thom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay, states that this is because "church is not essential to them.".  It's obvious that we are not "connecting" this generation and their college years are enormously foundational in the direction of the remainder of their lives.

None of us is doing a great job reaching 18-22 year olds (often college students) – we want to see that changed! "The Gathering" is just my little contribution to the overall emphasis – Who is with me?!?

Musings on “The Gathering” – Part One

Slide11 (The following statements were originally written on August 13th)
 
Here are some thoughts that I have had while specifically praying last week about "The Gathering". I believe these thoughts to be response to prayer about my role in "The Gathering", and Pembroke in general. I've been wrestling for a while about the call of church planting and what my role in the planting of future churches might be.
 
I have had Pembroke, specifically the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, on my heart for more than 2 years now. The following is the result (at least currently) of those 2 years of thoughts, prayers, musings, speeches, messages and leadings.
 
For the purpose of clarity let me say that I believe the local church to be God's vehicle to rescue an unregenerate world. The sad truth about that is that most local bodies are not prepared to reach into their societies and their non-christian cultures for the purpose of the gospel. In most churches you'll see that, unless something drastic happens, most of their membership will pass in the next 20 years leaving a huge void in the area of local church.
 
I believe that the response to this growing void in the area of evangelism and the need for evangelistic local churches is the planting of what I'll call, "New Breed Churches" (which I will now refer to as NBC's). The NBC's have decided that they will be faithful to do whatever is necessary, short of sin, to reach INTO their communities with the gospel. An "NBC" understands that the culture of their church does matter and that their methods MUST differ from those of past generations while being careful that their message remains consistent with biblical doctrine and standards. An NBC understands that the message NEVER changes, although the method must from generation to generation for the perpetuation of the gospel.
 
The Role of the Gathering in relation to UNCP / Pembroke
 
I believe that "The Gathering" is a forerunner to "the Harvest" in our region:
  • A preparer of spiritual soil for the future harvest
  • A foundation builder for the future church
  • A new paradigm/teacher, showing a new way to reach people
 
A preparer of spiritual soil for the future harvest
 
Jesus often used farming analogies to speak relevantly to those He was communicating with. To stay with His thoughts, I see "The Gathering" in these terms. One of the great works that will happen is that "The Gathering" will begin to prepare soil not necessarily ready for harvest in an unreached people group/generation. This generation, statistically, is a "spiritual" generation. The problem is that their spirituality is based on feelings and bad theology. Many want to know God, as will always be the case, but have decided to seek Him "their own way". Statistics also show that their problems are with "the church" and the fact that we are more known by what we are against than what we are for. We pray that God will use "the Gathering" to prepare the hearts of those we wish to rescue for the promised harvest of the Lord.
 
A Foundation Builder for the future church
 
"The Gathering" is not a church. "The Gathering" will not be a church. I believe that God may use it to build a foundation for a future NBC (prayerfully many), a church that can reach out to those that most churches are not prepared to reach out to.
 
More tomorrow…

The Gathering Update

Slide11 Here's a quick update on "The Gathering at UNCP"

When: Sunday Nite, October 19th
Where: The Annex – University of North Carolina at Pembroke
What time: 6:00 pm
Who: Everybody who is anybody at UNCP better be there – on Sunday Nite, the 19th, "the Gathering" is going to be the place to be!!!!

Had a great lunch meeting with Paul Brooks, who's on the Gathering team, talking about many, many things. Definitely at the center of conversation was "the Gathering". Our conversations are always challenging, encouraging and a blessing (Proverbs 27:17 – I love people who make me think). Paul's heart for Pembroke is deep and God is going to use him in amazing ways there in the future. I thank God for bringing him into my life.

Check out "the Gathering – UNCP" facebook page – just added today by Gathering team member, Brendon Jonsson…

For those of you who aren't "in the know" about "the Gathering":

Hyde Park Church, in conjuntion with the UNCP Baptist Student Union and other campus Christian organizations, will be hosting a one-per-month, on-campus Sunday nite gathering called, "The Gathering" (how imaginative, huh?). "The Gathering" will meet on 3rd Sunday Nites at the brand-new UNCP Annex – centrally located on campus between the Student Center and The Givens Performing Arts Center

Music for the event will be provided by local worship leaders, Narrow Way Band – Mike Pittman and the Gathering Team will bring the messages.
 
The purpose of "The Gathering": a place where all Christians from different groups, BSU, FCA, Campus Crusade and area churches can come together for the purpose of worship (in a context purposely designed to reach students), community, glorifiying God and most importantly, evangelism. "The Gathering" is going to be a place on campus where Christians can bring their non-Christian friends and allow God to show them who He is. Sunday nites are a great time: not much is happening on campus – we are petitioning God to" create a buzz among the students.
 
Our churches are struggling with reaching this generation. Statistics (LifeWay research) show the dropout rate of baptist 18-22 year olds is 70% (!!!!). These aren't all 18-22 year olds – these are the ones who are currently attending our churches. Tom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay, states that this is because "church is not essential to them.".  It's obvious that we are not "connecting" this generation and their college years are enormously foundational in the direction of the remainder of their lives. None of us is doing a great job reaching 18-22 year olds (often college students) – we want to see that changed!
 
Prayerfully, "The Gathering" at UNCP will fill a place in students hearts that will show them God's plan for them in this time and begin to show them how "essential" their faith is to their whole lives.

Rockin’ my face-off!!

I have just finished an INCREDIBLE journey through the books of 1st and 2nd Samuel. I have to tell you – God is ROCKIN' my world lately through His Word! I wish so much that my relationship with Him through scripture would be as powerful as it has been lately. Here are some thoughts from my journey…

  • You can practically live in the church and still not love Jesus (1Sam 2:12-17). This scripture really made me think – I wonder what I've done that may have looked this way to the Lord (i hope nothing – probably wishful thinking). Verse 12 shows that they didn't really believe that what they did mattered spiritually.
  • (1Sam 7:15-17) You may not see this thought in this scripture, but these are my notes. :) Samuel ministered everywhere, but his altar was at his home. My home should be the holiest place in my life. Period. More holy than church or anything else. If my home is holy, everything else in my life will take on a holier presence.

  • Chapters 8 showed me what happens when we don't trust JESUS. Israel tried to take their direction in their hand and didn't trust God to deal with the fact that Samuel was growing old. If we don't watch out, we, in our "wisdom" try to solve our problems in the best way we know how. In the process, we rob God of the opportunity to show Himself strong on our behalf.

  • We can operate in boldness when we have "a Word" from you (1Sam 14:6-7,12-13).

  • Sometimes people think they can get over on a man of God by going "church" on us. (1Sam15:13-15)

  • Do you think that when the man of God, Samuel, annointed young David in front of his family that they might have thought that Samuel was "getting old" and maybe that he (Samuel) had finally gone crazy?

  • God gave Saul a spirit that "troubled/punished" him – I've heard many say that God doesn't do such a thing…

  • God gives us experiences in life that are foundational to His plan for our lives – these experiences build confidence that we will step up when the opportunities appear.

  • It takes a humble, God-inspired leader to be able to deal with someone beneath you having greater "fame" than you. To allow someone beneath you overshadow you is tough and requires much maturity.

  • When David was on the run from Saul, he had many victories – when he heard that Saul was coming (1Samuel 9-13) he inquired of God. David could've been overconfident because of his victories – I was reminded to always inquire of the Lord before I move.

  • I hope my heart is always aimed like this (1Sam 24:4-6).

God's Word is so alive – i hope it's rockin' your world as well!