A Must-Read on Gay Marriage

Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

One of the best written pieces on the cosmological shift that is gay marriage.  It's more than a relationship issue: it's an order-of-creation, how-the-world-works issue.

What does this say to you and how you will approach this issue…in your family…in your relationships…in your congregation?

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Alan Hirsch Wants To Move You

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I first met the masterful Alan Hirsch at a gathering in November 2010.  He was helping a bunch of us sacramental church leaders process next steps.  I boldly asked him to keynote our first WikiConference, an inaugural gathering of 200 in June of 2011 (that will now be over 800 in September of 2014).  June in Houston.  Those folks were faithful.

At that first Wiki, Alan described himself as a phenomenologist.  I'm tempted to tell you to go look it up, but I'll save you the surfing calluses.  A phenomenologist is someone who studies phenomenons and movements. That wasn't too hard, was it?

Hirsch talked about how the energy in a movement isn’t confined to the central core, but flows freely and readily to the outer limits…the extremes.  Almost all movements start on the edges.

That’s FiveTwo’s history: we started with nine edgy church planters, on the edge of their denomination, deciding to lead change from the fringe.  We like fringe.  Fringe is fun and frilly and typically freaks people out.  I’m good with that.

The year following the first Wiki, I spent time with Mr. Hirsch and his Future Travelers, a great group of large-church pastors who talked and dreamed about what could be if we boldly led our congregations into a new future that reached all of the new people the church currently wasn’t reaching.

During that time with Obi Wan Hirsch, I learned you can’t control a movement but key leaders CAN influence it.  Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can guide a movement, but you’re certainly not leading it.  More like prodding it: by exerting small amounts of energy you can cause slight shifts and slides toward a particular outcome.  Throw a little gas here, a little gas there.  Drop a match and pray the wind doesn't blow it out.

What has excited me the most in the past three years is watching the kind of movement FiveTwo is igniting.  Its one where God’s Spirit has evidently been at work, birthing us just in time and then leading us to other networks and groups who had been praying for such a movement of God’s Spirit.

The truth is, spiritual leaders spend their time and energy discerning where the Spirit is moving, and then making strategic decisions based on that direction. It was Jesus who said, “…the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19, ESV)

This is FiveTwo’s commitment:  moving under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and functioning the way a movement does.

Alan Hirsch built on this insight in his excellent book The Permanent Revolution.  He tells a story of an Australian blogger, Andrew Jones, researching whether the current missional movement fits the characteristics of kingdom movements of the past.  Some of the divine movement characteristics Jones lists are:

  • Beginning on the periphery of the established church.
  • Desiring a more authentic Christian life.
  • Selecting and training leaders by new ways and methods.
  • Leveraging grassroots connections.
  • Shifting the theological focus to the everyday life of every believer, and how they live out the calling they have.
  • Acknowledging that opposition from established church leaders is probable.
  • Maintaining flexibility … especially with the structures on which the church is built.
  • Embracing that movements are messy.

(Hirsch/Catchim, The Permanent Revolution, p. 211)

When you think of FiveTwo, which of the above qualities seem to fit?  Which ones do you resonate with in your own life?  Which ones are a challenge?  We’ll unpack more of the details of this whole movement orientation in the next few blog posts.

Tell me what you think.  I’d love to hear your comments below!

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Institution VS Movement

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014 in Blog, Quote | 0 comments

“A strong, dynamic movement, then, occupies this difficult space in the center—the place of tension and balance between being a freewheeling organism and a disciplined organization. A movement that refuses to take on some organizational characteristics—authority, tradition, unity of belief, and quality control—will fragment and dissipate. Movements that fail to resist the inevitable tendency toward complete institutionalization will end up losing their vitality and effectiveness. The job of the movement leader is to steer the ship safely between these two perils.” —Timothy J. Keller

As you examine your local congregation against Tim Keller's chart below, where do you fall?  As you seek to be the presence of Christ — His sacrament — for your community, what vision do you have for that community?  This balance between institution and movement is the challenge for mission-minded Christian leaders, especially in the US.  As CrossPoint continues to grow and impact, we are striving to keep a movement mentality.  As FiveTwo continues to grow and impact, movement is definitely our goal.  

institutions and movements

Where do you see your ministry?

 

 

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Window Washing Via Michael Frost

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Michael Frost is a bald, metaphor machine, and the window metaphor he shared at FiveTwo’s Wiki’13 changed my understanding of following Jesus.

Perhaps you have heard Frost before.  I had not.  I had heard of him from Alan Hirsch.  I spent a year with the South African Obi Wan and others in FutureTravelers, a wonderful journey of large-church pastors learning how to more effectively reach and disciple those dissatisfied with the local church.  We Jedis traveled from Austin Stone to Soma Communities to Community Christian with each layover bringing new insight and fascinating stories.  It launched me and CrossPoint on a journey that aims for the blue ocean.

And it introduced me to the persona of Michael Frost.  “One of the best communicators in the Church,” said Hirsch.  After Wiki’13 I would agree. 

Frost’s window metaphor paints like this:  If the mission of the Church is to announce and demonstrate the universal reign of God through Christ, then we who are Church are simply called to help people see that reign present in this world.  The challenge, however, is the room in which pre-Christ people live: it is dark and dank with grime covering the windows.  No light seeps through.  No sun rises or sets are visible.  No beauty can be seen or birds heard.  Yet we who live in the kingdom of God by the certainty of baptism united to the certainty of crucifixion and resurrection know this Kingdom is real (I fleshed out the sacramental link).  We can already see heaven.  The smell of the wine is in our nose and taste of the bread, on our tongues.

Our windows are clean.  Our worlds, lit.  The images live in our minds by the power of full cross and empty tomb.

Our task, then, our mission, is to clean windows.  To expose friends and family to the reality of Jesus’ universal reign.  To remove the grime that hinders people from seeing Jesus and His Kingdom. 

According to Frost, Christians clean windows in two ways: by announcing and by demonstrating.  Words and action.  Sharing and doing, especially in the areas of reconciliation, justice, beauty, and wholeness.  (Frost admits the first three areas come from N.T. Wright but adds the last for completeness sake.)

Thus, if in the world to come no hatred or prejudice or racism will exist, how can you be an instrument of reconciliation when another color moves in next door?  If in the world to come have-nots will not exist and widows will not have to beg deaf judges, how can you be an instrument of justice for your co-worker who has been maligned, so that she gets a glimpse of God’s kingdom today?  If in the world to come the beauty of creation and music and food and art will be the norm and everywhere, how can you bring beauty, how can you leverage art to demonstrate Jesus reigns right now?  And if in the world to come the whole man will be whole, with no illness or demonic possession or debilitating addictions, what can you do to bring release and healing to the woman who has struggled for twelve years?

The mission of the Church is to move into the neighborhood – to be the sacrament of God in Christ – revealing the salvific reign of Christ for all.  That happens through announcing and demonstrating.  Through both word and deed.

For me, that means my widow neighbor whose husband recently died of pancreatic cancer eight (!) days after diagnosis needs to hear and see the “kingdom to come” today.  Through me.  Right now.

What about you?  Whose window do you need to wash today? How do you need to be God's sacrament right now?

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If Evil = No God, Does Good = God?

Posted by on Dec 22, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

People love to point to evil and claim, “See, there’s no God because there’s some evil.”  But you don’t see any atheists pointing out all of the good in the world and using that same argument to prove a Divine Creator.  You don’t see them pointing to all of the sheer good the Church has poured into the world, all the sheer dollars the Church has given to the world, all the sheer healing ministries and educational ministries.  All the families that have been rescued and marriages saved. 

We live in a time where any proof of God’s demise is denoted in triplicate.  What if the Church took the opposite approach?  How long would the good list be?

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