What if I told you that every day should be a little terrifying. What if I told you that if you aren’t walking through your life of faith a little nervous then you aren’t living at all. The problem with both of those statements is that they make us UNCOMFORTABLE. Something that most people in the western community of faith don’t like to hear. I mean we want to be comfortable in our chairs, we want to be comfortable with our coffee, we want to be comfortable in our groups, we just plain want to be comfortable.
Well when my family and I felt that God was leading us to start a church in Colorado we all came up with our own word, “Terricited”. Because every day we were terrified and we were excited at the same time. We were terrified that we were to move back to Colorado a place where I grew up and not as a follower of Jesus. (Dealing with your Past) But excited to be able to share with those same people about how my life has been drastically changed because of Jesus. We were terrified that we didn’t have a place to live and we were struggling to find a place. But we were excited about getting a place that would be a home base for raising our kids as the graduated from high school. We were terrified because I had never been the lead pastor of a church, but I was excited because I had never been the lead pastor of a church. In the New Testament you can read:
Mark 10:32a (NLT) 32 They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear.
The people that were walking with Jesus the son of God in flesh, were in awe of what was going on were also overwhelmed with fear. What does that mean? They were “terricited”! So let me ask you this, where in your life are you terricited? Where are you experiencing the awe of Jesus and the overwhelming fear where you need to see him show up? Where are you terricited? Because honestly I think that more and more of us need to be less comfortable and more terricited. Let’s take some time this week to start getting a little TERRICITED.
At Elevation we have what we call the “Advance The Line” campaign. It is our hope that we are going to reach 1,000 people in the city of Aurora in the next year. So we have developed this campaign and prayed about what it would look like in our community. One of the things that we realized about the city is that we are seeing more and more people that speak Spanish. That there are families that have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation families that are from a Spanish speaking background in our community.
So we thought what would it look like for a church in Aurora to bring both english and spanish speaking people together. What would it look like for a church to develop a process of having the different generations of spanish speaking people all in one church. A church that is not the typical spanish speaking church with it’s traditionalism or even the charismatic side of things that are associated with a spanish speaking church. Through all of this we are excited to let people know that we have added to our team a leader that we believe is going to help us create this new opportunity as a church in Aurora for all of these people.
So I would love for you to meet Neill Snyder he is the guy that we believe that God has brought to us so that we can be exactly the church for Aurora. He and his wife are going to be helping us reach out to the spanish speaking people of Aurora. So if you would like to meet Neill, talk with Neill, or give Neill a big hug you can email him at email@example.com Over the next several months we are going to be working to forge a plan where we are going to engage people so they can experience life change in Jesus. We are planning as of now to be launching spanish speaking experiences on Easter weekend in 2014. If you are interested or if you are just curious please let us know or even take the time to come and check out Elevation as we prepare to “Advance the Line“.
At Elevation on October 6th we celebrated our Third Anniversary as a church in Aurora. It was a great day where we talked about what has happened in the life and people of Elevation and what is going to come. It is on that day we revealed the “Advance The Line” campaign. We are preparing and planning to engage 1000 people in the next year. It is a goal that is way above any thing that we could possibly do on our own and is only going to happen because God shows up. Much like when Gideon went into battle, with only a kazoo and a flashlight. (My twist to the story.)
So what does “Advance The Line” mean. When a battle is being fought there is always a line that is to be crossed. That when men used to fight they would draw a line in the sand and then they would be asked to tow the line. The line is a figurative way for us to remember that the kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing. (Matthew 11:12)
Here is what the “Advance The Line” campaign looks like and then how you can help to be a part of this advancing line:
- The development of storefront or warehouse property where Elevation can be seen as permanent in the community. Unfortunately there are too many church starts that are coming and going in Aurora and people are noticing, especially people that don’t go to church. (Why should I go to your church? You won’t be here in a year any way.)
- We are going to plant a Spanish speaking campus right along with Elevation. We are going to call it Elevation Espanol and it is going to work in conjunction with Elevation to engage people so they experience life change in Jesus. There are currently 70,000 documented Spanish speaking people in Aurora and approximately another 50,000 undocumented Spanish speaking people. They all need to hear about the radical grace of Jesus.
- We want to reach students and their families in a new way. So we are along with the help of another church in the state going to start a driving school. If you want to reach people that no one else is reaching you need to do things that no one else is doing. (Don’t know who said that.)
- It is our hope to have an inflatables business where we are involved in the parties and events of the community. We have already been blessed by a church that is given us four inflatables. We hope to call this business “E-flatables” and use this business to spend time and develop relationships with people all around the city.
- Then finally have in the campaign to begin the process of having a fitness gym. Our hope is to call it “Elevation Fitness”. We want to let people know that we care about them physically, mentally, and spiritually. All with the hope of building a bridge through a relationship with people so they can experience life change in Jesus.
This is the “Advance The Line” campaign and it is an audacious and huge plan to engage people so they experience life change in Jesus. It is our hope that not only will we be able to reach people but that we will see God move through this in such a way that we can help other church planters and plants see the possibilities of reaching people this way. But we are raising support to get all this going. So if you are reading this and this is something that you are interested in supporting financially then here is how you can do that. You can click on the link ADVANCE and it will enable you to give online to the “Advance The Line” campaign. If you would like more information on this courageous endeavor then please feel free to email me here firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to share with you more.
What are some things that you are praying about doing that is going to “Advance The Line” where you are living?
The time that I was able to spend at the Preaching and Teaching conference was great. I was so glad that I was able to spend some time with a great friend named Arron Chambers. He is the lead pastor at The Journey Church in Greeley, CO and is also the author of one of my favorite books called “Eats with Sinners“. Arron has a great passion and great ability to communicate to people the importance of spending time with people who are far from Jesus. I get excited every time I hear him give his talk about it. In fact the main reason that I get excited about it is because he is always saying that we need to listen to the voice of Jesus talk about meeting and caring for people who are far from a relationship with Jesus.
That is the last thing that I shared with the college students that were a part of the talk that I gave at Ozark Christian College. If we as church leaders and church planters are to “Quit to continue and continue to Quit” then are last thing is to “quit listening to other voices then the voice of Jesus.”
There are so many people who are going to be telling you as a church planter and church leader what is important for you to be doing. That there is the need for a woman’s ministry, that there is a need for a men’s ministry, and that there is a need for the under water basket weaving for Jesus ministry. (Not real, but if you have this ministry stop. People might drowned.)
We need to as leaders and church planters to focus on what God is telling us. Here again is a place where I believe that Saul can give us some insight in what not to do in 1 Samuel 15:24:
24 Then Saul admitted to Samuel, “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded. ” (My emphasis)
Saul as a leader was more worried about what the people wanted that what God had commanded. There are certain times that as a follower of Jesus, leader in a church, or church planter that we just need to quit listening to everyone else and focus on what Jesus is calling us too.
For me that means that we need to make sure that we are seeking to reach people who are far away from Jesus. At Elevation we put it this way; “Engage jacked up people so that they can become followers of Jesus.” This is something that we are always going to do in our church. Why? Because that is what God has called us to do as church in Aurora, CO and that is not up for debate. Not because I want to be a jerk but because at the end of my life I want to be able to stand before Jesus and know that I listened to his voice and his voice alone. “Quit to continue and continue to quit.” Let’s be quitters and not get caught quitting.
What is a voice that you need to stop listening too?
As was sitting in the room at the Preaching and Teaching Conference at Ozark Christian College preparing to talk to students about church planting. The talk that I was about to give was called “Church Planting is for Quitters“. I thought about the weeks and months that lead up to the start of Elevation. I was fortunate to be able to go through all of the faces of people who were and are a part of the team that makes up Elevation. (Faces because I am horrible with names, hit in the head too much.)
When we were preparing to start Elevation in Aurora, CO. I had prayed and fasted that God would bring together a team of people who would see the opportunity to be a part of the vision and mission of church that would, “Engage jacked up people so that they could become followers of Jesus.” It is one of the areas that I carry the most concern for when it comes to church planters. That they are willing to get a group of people to be the team that starts a church in an area. Especially people who are living in that area. That have an invested connection to the place where the church is going to start. We were fortunate to have people be a part of the church planting team, but we were more blessed when we started to see people in the community that saw the vision and mission of church as a need for their community.
I have always heard the business statement, “Get the right people on the bus.” I truly believe that is a great statement. But I believe it is way more important to “Get people on the bus.” Especially as a church planter to get people on the bus from the community that you are starting a church in. I love the verse in 1 Samuel 14:8 where Jonathan and his armor bearer are about to get in the battle:
8 “All right then,” Jonathan told him. “We will cross over and let them see us.
Even though Jonathan was the son of the king and was the one that was leading this charge into enemy territory. He included his armor bearer in that amazing statement. When it comes to church planting and church planters we need to really see the need to quit going alone. We need to continually look at how we can bring others along with us into the battle.
Who are you bringing along with you into the battle?
I don’t know how many times that as a pastor or a pastor to students that I have heard people make this statement:
“God is calling me too, (fill in the blank) and I was hoping that you would pray with me about it.”
Most of the time my answer to them is “NO, I won’t pray with you about it.” Which really usually brings faces of shock and the question of “WHY?” Here is my response to that. “Because if God has called you to do it, then DO IT! Don’t pray about if you should do it. DO IT!” Again when it comes to the area of “Church Planters being Quitters” I believe that is where church planters have seen that God has called them to do something so they have quit waiting to move. I love the verse where Jonathan and his armor bearer have taken a step of faith and are now about to step into the battle. As I read 1 Samuel 14:6 I was able to see the area of church planting and the need to move:
6 “Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the Lord will help us, for nothing can hinder the Lord. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!” (Emphasis mine)
The more and more that I read through the bible and the more and more I talk with church planters and church leaders I believe that God has called us to live in the “Perhaps“. We are as followers of Jesus first and foremost to rely on God and see the obstacles more as opportunities to see Him show up and do something amazing.
When we were preparing to launch Elevation Christian Church in Aurora, CO. I kept putting off the date that we were going to launch. I was worried about money, I was worried about people, I was worried about the place, and I was worried if I was ready. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to have dinner with Pastor Perry Noble. (Twitter is awesome when you are able to find out people are in your area and you beg for dinner.) We were sitting there eating and he began to ask questions about what we were doing then he asked when we were going to launch. The question that I had been dealing with. When I gave him my answer of not being sure he made a statement that rocked me. “If God has called you to do this then do it, if it is God’s will then he will flip the bill.” It was exactly what I needed to hear at that time. To me it was the Jonathan moment where I need to hear that we need to live in the “Perhaps” of following God.
Where are you hearing God call you to move? Is it a life style move, is it a vocational move, or is it a spiritual move?