EverythIng is an experiment (Change is constant)
One of the exciting things about being in a church start is you really don’t have to hear people say, “We have never done it this way.” Because the church has never done anything, any way. It is a church start so everything that Elevation Community Church does will be new to Elevation Community Church.
This is a value that as the leader of the church I seek to keep before us. While I was at the Exponential Church Planters Conference in Orlando,Florida Craig Groeschel spoke about being a leader that is part of a movement of God. The three things that he shared about asking the question “What if?” is first you need to see things that others don’t see, second do what others won’t do, and third you have to hurt like others don’t hurt. For me as he was speaking about that subject I felt that this is exactly why we need to value the are of experimenting with what we do as a church. We need to be willing to stretch ourselves, we need to be willing to try and fail, we need to be willing to risk. We need to seek the leading of the Holy Spirit to be creative like our Father in Heaven is creative. I mean just look around the world and see the amazing creativity that our Lord has. We need to be able to follow His leading and that may mean that we do things differently then we have ever done things. We need to know that the church as it starts is not going to be the same church in a year, and will not be the same in another year, and definitely in the next five years. We will never leave the biblical standards or our values but our methods and systems will always be in change. Why? We will experiment so that more people can come to know Jesus. That more marriages will be restored because of Jesus. That more parents will raise their families in homes where the model is Jesus. That Jesus will always be presented to people that don’t know Him.
What area of your life has changed over the years? What area of your life have you taken risks?
I wanted to be able to share with you all some of the amazing things that I have been able to walk away with from the travels that I have been on for the last couple of weeks.
From April 18th – 24th I was in Orlando, Florida for the Exponential Conference for church planting. There I was able to meet and connect with some amazing people as well as learn some new and amazing things. I love it when I am able to be challenged in my thinking as well as be affirmed in other areas. But I have to say that the best part of was hanging out with other church planters and church leaders. Just to be able hear what God is doing through some many diverse churches is way cool. When it came to the conference and the speakers that I was able to listen to there are two men that really stuck out for me. There was Craig Groeschel and he had a couple of statements that are still resinating with me right now as I look over my notes from the session:
- It’s not about how you package it, it is about God’s presence.
- Luke warm pastors build luke warm churches
- Build a church on what you are about not what you are not about
- Don’t blame yourself for the declines because you will take credit for the increases
In the session that he talked about Building a movement he challenged us with the following statements:
- What if? What if 3,000 people came to know Christ in a day? What if the church is where God does miracles?
- Dare to ask questions that no one is asking.
- Do what others won’t do - Revolutionaries break the rules!
- Where we are to where God wants us to be is the amount of pain we are willing to endure.
- You have to hurt like others are not willing to be hurt.
Then the last session of the week was Francis Chan pastor and author and he just rocked my socks off with what the Lord had him share and here are a few of the highlights:
- When was the last time you were astonished by someone be bold?
- God wants to astonish people
- We have been preaching exegetically but we have not been living that way.
- Are we more like the prophets of bale or Elijah?
Then what he did to conclude the week was have all of those that were there to start churches to come forward and there would be people to pray over you and anoint you with oil. I was so deeply moved by this time, the prayer, the anointing, that I began to break down. I got up and began to walk back to my chair and an awesome man of God named Troy Dean another pastor came over and threw his arms around me and prayed so much encouragement into me and my spirit that I then broke down. I then sat there in my chair just enjoying the time that I was experiencing in the Lord’s presence as people sang and prayed. I cannot wait to be able to share with others what that week and that anointing will do for Elevation Community Church in the years to come. It is all about what the Spirit of the Lord is doing and continues to do as we follow him in starting this church.
More to come about the other conference that I went to in Charlotte. More amazing things to share.
Here is a special prayer that I read from the book “IT” by Craig Groeschel.This book is about the church and the work that we have in this world. He has the premise that there are churches that have “IT” and churches that don’t have “IT” or that have lost “IT”. I am excited to say that this book challenged my thinking, caused me to evaluate what I do and how I do “IT”. The message of Jesus Christ is not something that should be taken lightly or without passion or thought. May I say this prayer and know that it is a way to always be seeking “IT” so that the gospel will go out and the Holy Spirit changes lives. It is a Franciscan benediction read it and process “IT”:
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who from pain, rejection, and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
What are your thoughts about this prayer? How can you see this playing out in your daily life? What can you do to see that you church has “IT”?