Thank You For Encouraging

Posted by on Feb 17, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Jeff Schrank is the senior pastor of Christ Church in Phoenix. His vision brought about the Best Practices conference I’m attending today and tomorrow.  500 people from around our denomination are here, listening, learning and enjoying one another.

It is also Jeff who approached me and said, “I want you to tell the group about FiveTwo.  It’s the most exciting missional movement we have in the synod, and they need to know about it.”  I didn’t have to beg or cajole.  Jeff saw a way to encourage churches to embrace sacramental and mission and dialed my number.  He’s a living example of how encouragement creates momentum.

His encouragement-in-action provided me a forum to present FiveTwo’s worldview, connecting us into 100’s of sacramental church leaders seeking a voice and “how to.”  My FiveTwo overview last night generated thank you after thank you of “I’ve been waiting for someone to tie sacramental and missional together,” “Your marrying of sacramental and mysterious and mission are spot on,” and “How do we join this cause? It’s exactly what we need.”  All because Jeff lived out encouragement.

So thank you, Jeff Schrank.  Over 90 people attended our mixer, sharing their sacramental stories.  And at least another 5 FiveTwo Locals will come on-line.  All because of you.

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Why I Use #apostolic

Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll note I occasionally hashtag with #apostolic.  To those of mainline heritage, it might appear I’m claiming “the original 12” status.  Definitely not.  Those guys were of a foundational era, with face-to-face Jesus time.  Not me.  I’ve had no beatific visions nor friends named Judas.

The thought that I’m using #apostolic that way, however, speaks to a more fundamental issue.  Namely that #apostolic is solely for the initial days of Christianity, reserved for history and libraries and theological tomes but of no relevance in today’s age or Church.  It possesses past-tense significance but no present-day power.  It speaks solely of men and women long gone, of an office once filled but now sublet.  It describes not the work of leaders in God’s Church today.

That’s a fallacy.  And said fallacy leads to us losing the power present in apostolic work.  Paul wrote of this work in Ephesians 4 where he says God gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists and some shepherds and teachers.  He gave these offices to the Church so that the unity in verses 1-6 would result in the maturity God desires in verses 12-17.  The bridge (means) to that maturity is the work of apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers.

That work and those offices continue today. They did not die with the first century Church, just as God’s desire for the Church to reach maturity did not die.  Nor are they reserved solely for an ordained individual.  They were given to the Church, to be lived out by the Church.

When we no longer allow a word but instead relegate it to back pages or sub-bullets, we negate its concept and soon lose its purpose. We speak around the word, about the word, without using the word.  And in so doing fail to embrace the authority and meaning of the word.  We desire an outcome but possess limited power to reach it.

Thus the reclaiming of #apostolic.  

I’m not saying I’m an apostle or she’s an apostle or he’s an apostle.  I am saying there is apostolic work to be done in order for God’s Church to reach maturity.  And apostolic work is the work of starting new expressions of God’s Church.  It’s continuing the work of The Apostles in planting and placing men and women in new locales in need of Church.  It’s the work of encouraging and equipping so that Church starts in populated places and on dry, hard ground.  It’s the work of questioning current ineffective practices and bringing “What if…? vision so that God’s Church is more effective at reaching God’s lost people.

It protects and propagates God’s value of “Go!” so that all ethnic groups would become followers of Jesus Christ.

That’s why I use #apostolic.  By the grace of God I get to do some of that kind of work.

So if that’s the work you find yourself doing, join me in using #apostolic. Reclaim the word for today’s Church so that more of today’s lost people would follow Jesus.

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Posted by on Jan 25, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

There falls a shadow between the conception and the creation. In the annals of innovation, new ideas are only part of the equation. Execution is just as important.

T. S. Eliot
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How Do You Define Crisis?

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

The Chinese word for crisis consists of two characters: one for dangerous, the other for opportunity.  When faced with a crisis, which side do you lean to?  Consider paying attention to the devastating aspects without losing sight of the potential.  Lead through the dangerous into the possibilities.  Don’t stop in the valley.

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Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments


Jesus saves near the Packard motor plant in Detroit. Photo: Trevor Patt. (Taken with instagram)

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