Speaking So You’re Heard

Posted by on Jun 28, 2013 in Blog | 5 comments

The church in the US is in a post-Christian society, which is the equivalent in many ways to a pre-Christian society only more difficult because Christianity/Church mean something in a post-Christian society, but almost always something negative that has to be overcome.

In a post-Christian society, the Church and its representatives must earn the right to speak to the culture and its representatives.  It must begin that conversation in the language of the culture and then lead into a Christian conversation.  The Christian missionary in the United States (that's what you are if you are a Christian living in the USA) must not adopt a Christian sub-culture mindset (different language, different hangouts, etc.–think Christian radio stations and Christian bookstores) but rather discern how to speak the local language and dress in the local clothing without selling out the ancient Christian faith (think Acts 17 and the Areopagus).

This is the ultimate challenge of doing effective mission work in any culture and is more true than ever in our US setting.

For that reason, I believe that Sunday mornings must be "evangelistic outreach experiences that are worship services" as opposed to "worship services that are evangelistic."  They should lead with prophetic voices speaking truth but in a way that leaves the listener not belittled but rather cut to the heart.  They employ the local communication methods and craft the message in the language and colloquialisms of the community.  By adopting this mindset we are able to draw the unchurched person into a worship experience with no hurdles.  It speaks to them in words and images they grasp, drawing them deeper rather than making them change or adopt before entering into the presence of the cross.  The cross does not demand change before receiving; it creates change in the receiving.

Nota Bene: Do NOT discard all of the ancient forms/traditions/etc.  But rework and contextualize them so that today's radical heathen, totally-biblically-illiterate American does not have to leap through a mental hoop so that God's Spirit can work in His heart.  Embrace the ancient but decorate it with music, visuals and words from today's cultural language so digestion happens.  Wrap a high, holy view of baptism and the Lord's Supper in a very 2013 package.

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What is the FiveTwo Network?

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

I’ve seen what happens when a congregation is willing to speak the language of the culture as it reaches into the community and as it worships with the community.  I’ve seen what happens when all sizes and shapes of “new” join together with ancient sacramental theology.  If I’m not providing an opportunity for the natives to worship Jesus in their language, then I am no better than the Pharisees of whom Jesus said, “You need a new paint job.”

I saw the power of this in south Austin when a former missionary to Japan was called to a start up church.  I saw the power of this in central Illinois when a 125 year old church in the most conservative circuit of the most conservative district of our denomination started a new worship service for people who didn’t have a church home.  I saw the power of this in west Houston when a small group of people started a congregation designed specifically for unchurched natives.

When ministries take seriously the First Article reality of taking on the look, feel and language of the indigenous community — of being God’s sacrament to that community in ways the community can understand and embrace — people previously stumbling through the dark become followers of Jesus.

FiveTwo wants to help your ministry accomplish this.  We are a network of sacramental church leaders — lay and professional — who have a heart for lost people and a heart for ancient, sacramental theology.  We believe they fit together quite well.  How God ordained the Church to work in Matthew 28 form.

One of our best resources is relationships.  Actually, relationships are our lifeblood.  Our network provides the relationship structure and relationship connectivity so that those who have been called into leadership of the sacramental church have an opportunity to find camaraderie and friendship with those who share their same passion for reaching God’s lost people in their community. We believe that if we can get people together on a regular basis around a common passion and common vision, introducing new insights and personal “how-to”, we can ignite a bonfire out of smoldering embers. Too often our institutional ways of relating pour water on the coals. We want to pour gasoline. We want to pour courage and knowledge and trust.

We want to help you be a part of something bigger than your local congregation, but we also want you to bear fruit in your local congregation AND local community. Everyone wants to make a significant contribution to a successful cause.  At FiveTwo, that successful cause is starting sacramental ministries for God’s lost people.

We need more people on the bus of starting something sacramental for lost people.  We want to ignite a movement of churches willing to adopt the godly values of their communities so the community can get to know the God who designed them.

Join us in a FiveTwo Local near you and join us at our annual WikiConference this September in Houston.

Common passion.  Common calling.  Camaraderie.

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Searching for meaning….

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

We all want to matter. We were designed by our Creator to change the world, at least our little corner or cubicle or cul-de-sac.  We were created to contribute. We want our lives to matter.

But we also  know that a life that matters isn’t just about making a difference, We all want to matter to someone. We want to belong, to be cared for.  We know how each of us matter to God.  The life, death and resurrection of Jesus testify to that. God loved the world, including you, so much that He sent Jesus as a sacrifice for the world. You are now a friend of God.  You no longer bear the label “enemy.”  Easter irrevocably gives you that, and your baptism irrevocably guarantees you that.  You matter to God.

And if that’s true—if your life truly matters to God—then the only way to live A life that matters is to follow the One who makes life matter, namely, the resurrected Jesus.  The resurrection of Jesus is the single-most life-changing event in the world’s history.  This Jesus is alive; He is walking alongside of you on whatever journey you’re on.  And His heart for you is to realize that and to learn from HIM, to listen to HIM, to live with Him on that journey.

So A Life That Matters is a life that follows Jesus.

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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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