Monthly Archives: January 2012

Missional Training #11 – Things to Consider Before Starting a New Missional Community

The Core Group of our Church plant has been meeting for the last few months and we’ve come to a point where we are near ready to start a couple Missional Communities.  As we draw near the need to multiply, here are some things to Consider.

Where should we plant a Missional Community?

  • Is there a places for potential service nearby?
  • Are there any prospects or connections with the unchurched already?
  • Are there other Christians living in the area who are commited to the vision?
  • Do you have a meeting place available in the form of a house or apartment?

Who will lead in the MC? 

  • Who will be the primary leader of the MC?
  • Who will Colead? 
  • Is there a balance of Prophet, Priest, and King perspectives among the leaders? 
  • Do they know the DNA and vision of our church plant?  Do they unerstand Missional Communites?
  • Have they experience in leading the Story or coleading other elements in MC life? 

Who Could You Invite?

  • Vocation – Every Christian is a full time minister.  God just route our paychecks through different routes.  God has placed you in your job so that you could serve others well through those means, but also so that you might be a witness to others.  Who do you know at work that is unchurched?  Do you ever get together with them socially?  If not, how can you engaged them to grow your relationship?
  • Location  – All of us live in a place surrounded by people, even if we live in the country, there are people around us.  Do you know you’re neighbors?  Do you know who are churched or unchurched?  If so, who can you invite to your MC?  If  you don’t know your neighbors, get to know them.  Bring them over some extra soup, invite them to a party, serve them in some way.    
  • Recreation – All of us have hobbies that we enjoy.  God’s given us all unique skills and interests.  God has also given us all unique relational connections to others.  How can you use your passions and interests to connect with others?  Who are you already in relationship with that you can connect to other members of the MC or invite to an event?
  • Relations – Who in your family needs to know Jesus?  Can you invite them to social gathering of other MC members?  Would they enjoy The Story?  Would they join us in service projects? 

 For My Core Group:  To prepare for our next meeting, please think and pray over the questions above.  Pray for direction of the Holy Spirit, for open doors to Gospel conversations, and for coworkers and laberors.

Read the Gospel-Centered Life Chapter 12, Horizons.     Also, Is anyone interested in leading The Story this week?  Please let me know and I’ll get you the materials.

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Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 3

In Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story Part 1,  We mentioned that every Christian needs to know how to share the biblical story of

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

In Part 2, we talked about how the Christian life and a personal faith story adds validity to sharing the Gospel Story.  Today I want to share why it’s important to always be ready to share these stories.

We all have people in our lives that we know are far from Christ and we feel like we’re called to share the gospel with them.  For my mother, this person was her hairdresser.  She prayed for her daily and always wanted to share the faith with her, but she never saw a natural way to bring it up.   

Every time my mother came home from getting her fair done, she’d stand at the door smiling, waiting to see if anyone noticed her new hairdo.  We almost grew to expect it and we’d keep an eye out for her return so that we would remember to say something about her hair style.

One spring day she went to her hair dresser again.  When she go home, all of us were looked up, ready to check out her new hairstyle, and we noticed that she wasn’t smiling, but she looked like the dog died. 

After some prodding, my mother shared that her hair dresser had asked why my mother was getter her hair cut.  My mom responded that it that she was getting ready for Easter later on that week.  Then the hair stylist asked, “That’s one thing I’ve never understood about Christians.  Why is Easter so important to you guys?” 

My mom panicked.  She simply said, “Oh, that’s when we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead”….and that was all she said.

Now was my mother’s answer wrong? No!  Not at all!  It was spot on. Yet she could have given a better answer.  She didn’t make the most of the opportunity God had granted her.  In fact, her answer probably didn’t make much sense to the hair dresser.  Yet if she was prepared ahead of time, she could have shared the grand story of why Easter is important through: Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration.    If she had memorized those four themes, she wouldn’t have panicked and would have given a much greater answer that explained the significance of Christ’s death. 

This encounter wither her hair dresser was years ago.  My mother has been looking for another chance to talk to her about Christ ever since.  Don’t miss your opportunity.  Be prepared to Share God’s Story and to share how it has changed your Story.

Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 2

Yesterday, in Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story Part 1,  We mentioned that every Christian needs to know how to share the biblical story of

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

You’ve been saved by believing the Good News of that Story.  You need to be ready to share it as well because God will allow you opportunities to be his witnesses.   Yet what makes that story ring true? They need to see it working in your life.   

Before Peter tells us to be ready to share the Gospel Story, he says in 1 Peter2:12,

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

For people to believe the message of Jesus, they often have to first see it working in our lives.  So, we should try to live our lives as if we truly do believe that God owns everything, that he has given us everything we need in Jesus, and that he will give us life eternal with Him.  When we don’t do this perfectly because we are still sinners, we can’t cover it up and act “holier than thou.”  Rather we need to be honest about our struggles and be ready to live lives of confession, repentance, and forgiveness openly so that others see that the Christian life is attainable and not just for the morally superior.   They also then see the Grace of God in action. 

 

How To Share Your Story

Besides being willing to live the Christian Life,  we also need to be prepared to Share how God’s Story has affected us.  The best way of doing this is by following this outline:

  1. How Was I before Christ?
  2. How Christ came into my life?
  3. How He changed me and my life?

I’m Lutheran, so in my church body we baptize as infants and teach our children the faith from infancy.  Many of us can’t remember a time that we didn’t believe.  So instead of talking about when we became Christians, the pivotal point in our story is when our faith became our own and not just what our parents taught us, or when our faith was tested and how it brought us through difficult times.   So our stories might look a little different.  It might go something like this. 

  1. I was raised in the faith
  2. When I made my faith my own/ how I grew in it
  3. How it changed me

or

  1. I was a Christian
  2. I faced a horribly difficult situation
  3. How my faith gave me hope and strength

 

My Story

Personally, I’m a mix of both story methods. 

1) I grew up in the faith, but I was never taught why I should believe.  I walked away from God and became a selfish individual.  Everything I did was for my own benefit.  I was in every relationship I had for only as long as I got something out of it.  I was willing to lie, steal, or to hurt anyone to forward my own agenda of become successful. 

2) Yet I ran into difficult times which forced me to reexamine the faith.  After much study I found out how real God was, and how reliable his word was.  I was floored by the love that He showed us by sending his Son to pay for all the bad things I had done.  I soon realized my life shouldn’t be about me, but really everything was about Him.

3) Now I try to live every day of my life for God instead of myself.  I don’t do this perfectly, but I continue to try to serve God with my life because of everything he did for me through Jesus.

How would you tell your own story of Faith?  Feel free to share it in the comment section.

Tomorrow I’ll share why it’s so important to always be ready to share these stories.

Sharing the Gospel: All You Need Is Story, Part 1

As Christians we’ve been transformed trough the message, or story, of what God has done for us through Jesus (Romans 10:13-17). The story has been passed on to us, and we’re also called to then pass on that story to others that they too might believe.  The apostle writes in 1st Peter 3:15

In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Peter doesn’t call on all Christians to be evangelists, or street preachers, or those annoying people who harass you until they get you to accept a bible tract.  Rather, what he says is to be ready to share the Gospel.  If you’re living the Christian life, some how some way people will notice.  In their time of need, or plainly out of curiosity, they will ask you for the reason for your hope.  So you must be prepared to share it.  To do this, you’ll need to know the basics of the biblical story. 

How To Tell God’s Story

The easiest way is to remember these four elements.

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

If you have these four elements, you can tell people of the entire redemptive act of Jesus. 

(Creation) God created this world perfect.  It was everything we yearn for.  The world was good.  We had peace with God, with each other, with the animals, & with nature.  It was heaven on earth. 

(Fall) Yet God had an enemy who convinced humanity that they didn’t need God and that they could run the world better.  So humanity was led into rebellion (that is sin) against God.  Because of that rebellion, the world isn’t how it should be.  There are natural disasters, wars, famine, hatred, suffering, and death.  Yet God couldn’t bear for this to go on forever.

(Redemption)  He sent his one and only son, Jesus, into the war zone of this world to offer a truce.  He paid the price of our rebellion on the cross so that we could be pardoned and forgiven.  He has made it possible for a relationship with God again.

(Restoration) Yet God didn’t leave it there.  One day, he will come back and restore all of the creation to what it was meant to be.  There will be no more wars, sorrow, weeping or pain.  It will be heaven on earth once more.  Everything will be made right. 

This narrative of Creation, Fall, Redemption & Restoration is something every Christian needs to know how to share.  Try to speak or to write the gospel story following Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration.  Feel free to leave your attempt in the comment section below. 

Tomorrow, I’ll share what makes people trust the  Biblical Story

Will You Live God’s Purpose For Your Life This Year?

Happy New Year!  As we enter into a new year many of us reflect upon our accomplishments and failures of the last year.  We then look forward to the coming year and decide how we need to change.  We envision a better “me” and then set our goals or resolutions to make that prefered future come to pass.

Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions?  If so are they in alignment with God’s purposes for your life?

People say the greatest question is “What is the purpose or meaning of life.”  Well that is not much of a mystery when you read the word of the one who created all life.  God has created you to be in a perfect relationship with Him and to reflect his image to all creation.  (Gen 21:26-28).  Yet, we didn’t do that.  Sin entered the world and broke the image of God in us and we separated ourselves from Him in our rebellion.  Yet since then, God’s will has been to restore what is lost.

  • According to the bible God’s first desire is that you believe in him (Jn 6:29). He wants a restored relationship with you.  The beautiful this is that God did the work to make this happen.  When we were still helpless, Christ died for us.  We are justified freely by his grace.  We are his children, and so we should desire to know our Heavenly father more and more.   Make it your first priority, this year,  to read God’s word, meet and learn with God’s people through a church, and to pray or talk to God daily.
  • Secondly, God has also created you to love Him with all that you are and to love you neighbors as yourself (Matthew 22:34-40).  He wants you to be in a good a loving relationship with both God and everyone else.  This is part of God’s work in recreating the image of God in each of us.  As we hear the Gospel, God’s Spirit transforms us and teaches us to say no to ungodly things, and yes to God’s purposes.  So then, we desire to reflect God’s love to one another. This year, focus on loving others as God showed such great love to us through sending his Son into this world to save us. (1 John 4:10).
  • Lastly, God has created you to share God’s image again by being a witness to who God is and what he’s done (Matthew 28:16-20).  You can love others in many ways, but if you never share with them how they can reconnect with their true father and creator, if you don’t share with the way to eternal life, you aren’t all that loving at all.

Have you made your New Year’s Resolution?  If so, is it aligned with God’s purpose?  This year may we only resolve to know God more and to let him transform us into his image to be used for His purposes.  This is the way to the best people we can be.  This is the only way to make what we do in this coming year and our lives count forever.

Missional Training #10 – Preparing to Lead the Story Formed Way

Story has a way of engaging us and getting past the intellect by speaking the the heart.  We’re all story formed.  The music, movies, tv shows, and books we like shape and form our beleifs.  Story Sticks.  A good story will be remembered far longer than any sermon, speech, or discussion. 

At our church plant, The Story Formed Way, from Caesar Kalinowski and Mike Novelli will be our main discipleship tool to teach the biblical story and theology.  I’ve brought my core group through the first few lessons.  Currently, we have a few members who are reading the Story and leading the dialogue for the first time.  The questions below are meant to help my core group process the video, however, anyone is welcome to leave a comment below.

Check out this video from Echo The Story:

  • What  are some helpful things he said that could encourage interaction of even unchurched people in the Story?
  • I’ve known some people who think they’ve heard or read bible stories before so they have nothing left to learn.  Is this true?  Have you ever read an old familiar story in scripture and have it speak to you as if you heard if for the first time?  What made it fresh for you?
  • What does it mean that God’s word is living and active?  Can God speak to and through all of us? 
  • What is imaginative listening?  How do you think this could give you a fresh hearing of God’s word? 

Caesar Kalinowski suggests beginning each week by reminding people that their input is important to the dialogue after the reading of the Story.  He reminds them that the dialogue is like a potluck or buffett.  A buffett with only a few options isn’t much of a buffett.  What make a meal like this is the rich variety of foods.  Likewise, the dialogue with the story is the same.  It’s not great if only one or two people are talking.  What makes it is the full rich variety of voices and opinions.  Every person adds a unique flavor when they give their perspectives and thoughts on the story. 

The above video above is one of many videos that come with Mike Novelli’s book Shaped By The Story

For my Core Group, Please read  The Gospel-Centred Life, Chapter 10, “Relationships.” 

Resources

Also Check out Missional Training #6 – The Need For Story

Pastor James Hein's Blog

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The Matt Walsh Blog

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instigating a life, one story at a time...

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KPB Stevens

Fiction, Nonfiction, and More

Plasso

Spontaneous acts of controlled synesthesia

Missional Church Planting

a misson alive blog

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