I love being a part of the Acts 29 Network. I love what sets us apart from other networks as a brotherhood of relationships and the doctrinal distinctiveness. The video below, Sam Storms explains our doctrinal distinctiveness. One of the things I appreciate is how we are growing in our articulation of the role of women in the local church which you can find around minute 30.
Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.
Will Mancini on Why your church is working at only 50% of its effectiveness.
The problem is that most churches have a general sense of their mission rather than clearly defined and contextually crafted mission.
Jon Acuff on 6 tips to get up earlier in the morning.
Daniel Cooly on Pastoral envy.
So, after an average first pastorate, we moved from Canada to a church plant of 120 people in New Mexico. I was ready to become a workaholic, see our church grow, have a meltdown, repent of my selfishness, lead a seminary department, and write a best-seller entitled Dogs Playing Poker. Actually, I’ve never wanted a mega-ministry, but a growing, healthy ministry would be awesome.
Denny Burk on How to spot a false teacher.
The Bible suggests at least six characteristics that commonly identify false teachers. Not every false teachers exhibits all of these characteristics at once, but often times they present some combination of these traits.
Since Revolution Church is filled with people in college and their 20’s and because we’re part of Acts 29, myself and the other leaders at Revolution will often get requests to mentor someone. Either in our church or a church planter or worship leader.
This has caused me to think through, what makes an effective mentor. They are important, but I think we often set ourselves and the person we are seeking help from up for disaster.
A mentor is someone further ahead of you in an area you want to grow in.
No one person can mentor you in every part of your life.
This is the problem we run into. We look for someone to be the end all be all for us.
When someone asks for a mentor, I explain this to them and then ask a series of questions:
- What is the 1 or 2 areas you want to grow in as you think about your life in the next 3, 6, 12 months? This could be finances, prayer, marriage, boundaries, health, etc.
- Why do you think I can help you? I want to know why they think I can help them. Not because I want to pump up my ego, but I want to know they’ve done their homework on me not just threw a dart at the wall and picked the closest person.
- What are you doing or have you tried to grow in this area? Often, not always, but often people seek a mentor because they are lazy. I want to know what books or blogs this person has looked at in this area. Are they actively seeking to grow in this area or just hoping to rub off success from someone. Which leads to the last part.
- How much time are you willing to put into this? Anything worth doing will take time. You won’t grow in your handling of finances, health, marriage, career, preaching, etc. without putting in time and effort. This is a commitment you are as the person getting mentored is making, the mentor is coming along for the ride and if I as the mentor am not convinced you are into the ride, I’m getting off.
If you are worth your salt as a leader, person or pastor, you will be asked often to mentor people. You must be selectively in who you mentor because you are giving up one of your most precious commodities as a leader, your time. If you are asking to be mentored, to succeed and have it be worthwhile for you, you need to do your homework and be willing to put in the work. There is nothing more exciting than working with a person who wants to grow in an area and helping them to grow in that area. Love seeing that happen.
Within Acts 29, a lot of leaders talk about the leadership lens of prophet, priest and king. The idea of using the offices of Jesus to talk about how people see things, how they best work and relate to each other. At Revolution, I find this to be a helpful way to know what a leader is like, what I can expect from them and how they will react in a situation.
The broad overview of these are:
- Prophet: Tends to be big picture, visionary, bible person. They love to talk about where things are going. They love reading, preaching, theology. They only need a verse to be right. They ask a lot of “why” questions. In preaching, they love doctrine and can get lost in the weeds. They will preach from a letter whenever possible or throw in some Old Testament history or wrath of God just to keep everyone a little scared. They will take 6 months to preach through Jude or Philemon and will happily spend 10 weeks on 3 verses in Romans to make sure everyone gets it.
- Priest: Tends to be shepherding, caring. They want to make sure that everyone is being taken care of, cared for and is connected. They worry a lot about feelings and how people feel about something. They ask a lot of “who” questions. In preaching, they love stories. They love to preach from the gospels and talk about how things feel. They will sacrifice doctrine to talk about how something feels. If they do say something difficult to hear or are confrontational in a sermon, they will quickly say something to soften the blow and give a verbal hug to the congregation.
- King: Tends to think strategy and steps. They help to move a vision to reality. Often, they are very organized, detailed and financially minded. They ask a lot of “what and how” questions. In preaching, they love logic, things that add up at the end and steps. They love steps. A sermon is not complete without a next step (or 15), every point starting with the same letter, but it is clear.
These are just broad strokes.
On a leadership team and in a church, all are needed. I am high on the prophet scale with some king thrown in. I need priests around me to make sure that everyone is cared for, but to also challenge me in how I am shepherding and caring for people. I need kings to help make my visions happen. I often walk into a conversation, listen, throw out some vision ideas, get people pumped and then walk away. I need a king to walk behind me and say, “Okay, that one thing will never happen, but here’s how we can do those two things.”
While these lens help to live out of our strengths, they also make it easy to sin.
Broadly, I’ll hear leaders say, “I’m not very kingly” as a way to excuse their disorganization or financial carelessness. Or, “I’m not very priestly” as an excuse to not meet with someone or do any counseling. Or, “I’m not much of a prophet” as a way to be wishy washy in their theology or have no vision for their church. All followers of Jesus are called to be like Jesus, which means we are to be growing as prophets, priests and kings (Numbers 11:29; Acts 2:16 – 21; Romans 12:1 – 2, 15:14; Ephesians 2:6; Hebrews 4:14 – 16; 1 John 2:20, 27; Revelation 1:5-6).
Each lens though, can lead you to sin (and often you will not see these as sins because it is how you are wired). Here’s how:
- Prophet: You are always posting your opinion on Facebook, twitter or your blog about gay marriage, eating, diets, vaccine’s, adoption, games. All you need is a verse or a scientific study and you are good to go. You are determined to win and be right, because, well “you have a verse.” You can miss the people because you are so infatuated with your vision and end up not caring for the people God has sent you to care for or the people who are supposed to help accomplish the mission because you are so focused on “out there.” The prophet also tends to be pretty legalistic and loves rules. You look at a priest and wonder why he wastes so much time on meetings and can’t confront anyone. You look at a king and get frustrated that he can’t see the big picture, he only wants to talk about the steps to get there or why something isn’t possible and you question his faith and salvation.
- Priest: You are often willing to sacrifice doctrine, holy living and confrontation in an effort to keep the relationship. Your first priority often is the relationship and the person and will let them keep walking in sin as long everyone feels good. You have a tendency to burn out because you can’t say no to a person or a meeting. Every request that comes in is an urgent thing that must be handled now. Every crisis you jump at. You tell yourself you are needed, that you can save this person or fix that situation and will sacrifice your health, your marriage, your kids, their heart (because you won’t confront them) all to save someone or a relationship. You struggle to trust that God can save and fix them and are content to just do it yourself (God is really busy any way). You look at a prophet and wonder if he has a heart or a soul the way he talks about people. You look at a king and wonder how she can be so organized and can become frustrated at how everything has to fit on the bottom line or fit into a budget line.
- King: You tend to think about the bottom line and ask how everything affects the bottom line. You are willing to sacrifice visions if they cost too much or relationships if take away from other endeavors. You are organized, detailed and a rule keeper and consequently if something is messy or doesn’t fit in a box, you skip it. This includes relationships. You strive to keep things in order, so new ideas or things that seem new or out in left field are off the table. You look at a priest and wonder why they are so disorganized, always late. You look at a prophet and wonder why he can never come up with a detail to his plan.
As I said, a leader and follower of Jesus is to grow in all areas to be more like Jesus. A healthy leadership team needs to have all three represented to push on each other and to keep the church functioning in all areas. But our blind spots as an individual or church can keep us from being who God created us to be.
We are continuing our Christmas offering at Revolution Church and today highlighted Acts 29 and church planting. Church planting is a big part of our vision and dream at Revolution. For us, 10% of our budget goes to church planting. We’ve helped plant churches in Tucson, other parts of America and around the world.
Part of our Christmas offering this year will go to planting Revolution Church | Midtown, Lord willing by the end of 2014/beginning of 2015.
Here’s a video of what we are a part of:
Every year at Revolution Church we do a Christmas offering. This is a chance for our church to give above and beyond what it normally does and give it away to bless others and move the gospel forward in Tucson and beyond.
In years past, we’ve helped to build wells in Africa, help fight homelessness and sex trafficking in our city, and helped to plant churches in Tucson and around the world.
So far, we’ve given away over $20,000 away.
This year, we are hoping to raise over $10,000, which would be our largest Christmas offering ever.
Here are some things it will go to:
- It will go to helping church plants in Tucson and beyond through Acts 29 (the church planting network we are a part of).
- It will go to helping us as a church get closer to planting Revolution Church | Midtown. Lord willing, we will begin preview services in the fall of 2014 and officially launch in January 2015.
- We will continue to fight sex trafficking in Tucson through Sold No More and around the world through A21.
- We will continue to be a blessing to Magee Middle School (the school we meet in). So far, we’ve been able to do teacher appreciation lunches, new student lunches, bought them over 170,000 sheets of paper when they ran out and TUSD wouldn’t buy more paper and stock every teacher with markers for their classroom because the school couldn’t afford them.
You can give online here to it or on a Sunday morning by marking your giving envelope “Christmas.”
My church, Revolution Church, is a part of a global church-planting network called Acts 29. I can’t say enough about my excitement for the network, what it has done for our church and what it is doing around the world. Here’s a short video from the President of the Network, Matt Chandler, describing why we’re a part of Acts 29.
- So excited
- After 4 weeks off from preaching at Revolution Church, I am working on a sermon
- In reality, I’ve worked on sermons in the last 4 weeks, but those are all in the future at Revolution
- So it feels good to work on a sermon I will preach soon
- It’s been great to work ahead, spend time evaluating our church from all angles with some leaders and looking ahead
- Chris Gonzalez, a fellow Acts 29 pastor came down from Phoenix yesterday to preach and did a great job
- Love that they are working through John the same time we are so he could serve our church in this way
- If you missed it, you can listen to it here
- We announced yesterday that we will begin sign-ups for our missional communities on July 28th
- So excited for them to get back up and running again
- One of my favorite parts about taking a summer preaching break is the extra time I have to read and learn about leadership and preaching
- For me, that is one of the big blessings of it
- I’m not sure about you, but I’m ready for football season to start
- Can it please be September!
- This summer I’ve done some reading on automating your life and leadership and doing less
- Definitely something I need to get better at and the steps I’ve taken have been huge
- Katie and I have been talking about things we can automate or stop doing in our family life and it has been incredible to see the change
- As we get better at it I’ll blog on it
- I think that might be a need for a lot of people
- Say a prayer for us as a family as there is a chance we will be traveling to Ethiopia this week to meet our son who we are adopting
- It isn’t for sure, but it looks more and more likely
- Unfortunately, it will be a last minute trip, which is just adding to the stress in my life
- I keep repeating: God is great, so I don’t have to be in control
- Loved this weekend
- It was awesome sitting in the service yesterday and hearing Jared preach
- He hit it out of the park talking about how Jesus handles our fears, anxieties and worries
- If you missed it, you can listen to it here
- Katie and I got to spend last week in Newport Beach, CA with all the other Acts 29 Pastors and their wives
- It was awesome getting away and being with friends
- I love hearing what God is doing around the world and how He is using Acts 29 to change lives and cities
- We have been a part of Acts 29 for over 3 years and I have never been more excited about the direction of the network than I am right now
- Matt Chandler is an off the charts leader
- Being away was awesome, but it was great coming back home
- Even if it is 111 when we got back
- Really feeling blessed to be on my summer preaching break right now
- Love the extended time to meet with leaders, study for future sermons and feed my soul
- It is a blessing our elders see the value in this time for me
- This time is great to for looking ahead at future sermons
- Pretty positive we will be preaching through 1 Corinthians in 2014
- Going to be fun to hit some of the controversial topics in that book like church unity, divorce, lawsuits, speaking in tongues, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, head coverings and the list goes on
- Should be fun
- Looking forward to taking my kids to see a movie this week
- We’ll have to decide between Epic, Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University
- If you’ve seen any of them, leave a comment about it and if it is worth seeing
- Excited about getting our MC together this Thursday for a picnic on the 4th
- Not preaching also gives me more time to read
- Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve read some killer books: Sex & Money, Boundaries for Leaders, Influencer, Drive, The Pastor’s Family and Follow the Leader
- It’s been a great 2 weeks seeing God work in a variety of places
- Makes me excited for the next season at Revolution Church!
- I always love preaching after having a week off
- I preached on the labels we wear, labels we place on ourselves and labels that others place on us and how they keep us from experiencing the life Jesus has for us
- I am always amazed at the response to sermons
- I got a ton of, “I can’t believe how much yesterday spoke to me”
- It was awesome seeing people walk around with their “Jesus changes everything” stickers after church
- If you missed yesterday, you can listen to it here
- Really excited for next Sunday as I’m preaching on “Jesus and Healing” from John 4:46 – 5:17 if you want to read ahead
- This past Friday night we had our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
- It was awesome being together with our volunteers and celebrating them and thanking them
- Revolution would come to a screeching halt without them
- I loved the part of the evening when we let people share what God is doing in different areas of the church and most volunteers thanked or talked about volunteers in other areas
- Love that humility and bigger picture thinking
- It was also cool to reflect on how many volunteers we still have from our launch team
- That is a rare blessing for a church planter
- Saturday night, Katie and I went to see Now You See Me, which if you are looking for a good, entertaining summer movie, this one is worth checking out
- We are less than 2 weeks away from our final adoption fundraiser
- Here’s how you can help us bring our child home and bless a widow
- We are having another newcomer’s lunch this Sunday after church
- You can sign up and get details here
- I am blown away how God continues to send new people to our church and that we need to have a newcomer’s lunch every month to accomodate all the guests
- Love it
- If you have a child, kindergarten to 5th grade, you need to sign them up for sports camp
- It’s going to be awesome