This Weekend @ Revolution || Living Out Your Identity

Last week was a great week at Revolution Church. If you missed it, you can listen to it here.

But, I’m really excited for this week at Revolution:

  • I’ll be preaching out of Ephesians 4:7 – 16 and looking at how God has wired each one of us, what talents and gifts he has given to us and how to use them.
  • This matters in a big way, because many people in our culture live dull, boring, unfulfilled lives because they don’t know how they’re wired, how to make their life count or how God wants to use them in their world.
  • Knowing these things can open your life up to an exciting adventure you never knew possible when you start to live out of the identity that God has given to you.
  • If you are new to Revolution, you don’t want to miss this. We will be having a newcomer’s lunch on November 11 where you can meet some of pastors, eat some good food and ask any questions you have to help you get more connected with what we are doing at Revolution.
  • If you haven’t “Liked” the Revolution Fan Page on Facebook, do so now. It is one of the ways we communicate and pass on resources for sermons and other ways to help serve you in your spiritual growth.

This is definitely a week you don’t want to miss at Revolution Church. So, bring someone with you (you never know when a simple invite will make an eternal difference)

Remember, we meet at 8300 E. Speedway Blvd. at 10am

See you on Sunday!

Pictures of a Follower of Jesus: Farmer

Saturday was part 2 of our Ultimate Fighter series. In 2 Timothy 2, Paul gives 3 pictures of what a follower of Jesus is to be like. The first is a soldier. The second is an athlete. And the third is a farmer.

While the other two images can sound glorious and exciting, while this one is rather ordinary and mundane. A farmer works long, hard hours. Many of them in the heat or rain, through drought, snow, whenever it is necessary. The farmer though has his eyes on the prize, the harvest. It is all about the harvest.

To be a farmer though, is to do many seemingly thankless, insignificant things. While it may seem that way to an outsider, they are all necessary. Without one of those tasks being done, the harvest suffers.

For many Christians, we want to big, public assignment from God. We don’t want the assignment that seems insignificant, thankless or in the background, we want to be out in front. In short, we want credit. We want to be seen, to be known. This desire keeps God from using many of us because we are more concerned with getting noticed and getting the credit than we are with moving the gospel forward.

Practically, this means there are no unimportant roles in the church or the kingdom. There is nothing too small. Every part matters. Whether that means you use your gifts to hold babies, play in the band, make people feel welcome, follow up, lead a small group, run lights or preach, they all matter because without each one, the harvest is not what it is.

Farmers, every year keep their eye on the prize of the harvest. They know that everything matters and if everything doesn’t happen, the harvest will not be what it could be.

Don’t Say No For Someone

One thing I have noticed in the lives of pastors and those who are on church staff is a fear when it comes to volunteers and delegation. I understand where it comes from and appreciate it (because I used to feel the same way), but there is also a lot of danger in it and a robbing of our churches.

It goes something like this. A leader in a church has a need, a role that needs to be filled. They have someone in mind who could fill it and do it very well, but they don’t ask them. It might be because they think the person is too busy, that they will say no or that they won’t want to do it (most leaders normally feel this way because we assume that if we don’t like to do something every person on the planet also dislikes doing those things).

What happens then is the leader says no for the person without giving them a chance to say yes or no. Would that person say no? I have no idea and neither do you.

I hear from many pastors though who feel guilty for asking people to give their time in building the kingdom. I understand this sentiment as people are incredibly busy. But I think this also says something about our theology. If all Christians are given spiritual gifts and will one day make an account to God for how they stewarded those gifts, it is our job as leaders to help them develop those gifts and use them (Ephesians 4). When we don’t challenge people, make the big ask of them to step up, we are robbing them of becoming all that God wants them to become and we are keeping them from using all the gifts and talents that God gave to them.

I remember talking to a mentor a few years ago about this fear I had of asking people to get involved or get more involved and he looked at me and said, “Don’t ever say no for someone.”

So, I started letting people tell me no instead of doing it for them. What is has done is required me to trust God more when it comes to leaders and the holes that our church has, it has forced me to make some big ask’s of people and cast vision to people, but God has also had people step up in ways that I didn’t expect them to do because “I didn’t say no for them.”

Being a Pastors Wife Part 3

Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Below is part 3 in a series of 5 posts (Go here to see part 1 and part 2)

The other thing that too many churches do with pastor’s wives is not being sure what to do with them or how they should serve or be involved. Many churches see them as free labor. He’s here, she came with him, why not put her to work, for free. She leads the music, plays the piano, leads the kids ministry and the women’s ministry. Why? Why not.

What makes being a pastor’s wife difficult is that nowhere in scripture is there a job description. The only job description people know of for a pastors’ wife is what they saw their last pastor’s wife do. If she did it, they assume every pastor’s wife does that. The problem is that every pastor’s wife is not musical, many of them do not have upfront personalities, or have a teaching gift or have a passion for children or a women’s ministry.

A pastor’s wife needs to be treated like the rest of the women in the church. She needs to be encouraged to find her spiritual gift and use them. Whatever that may be. And, like every other woman in the church, her first responsibility it to care for her husband and children. That is her first ministry according to Titus 2. This is something churches can get better at as well. We need to encourage and hold up the important role women play when it comes to their role as a wife and a mom. Yes, women are not just that, but we have lowered those roles so much in our culture that it is seen as a step down if that is your role. By fulfilling this role, a woman is making the biggest impact on the world because of the impact she is making on her family (particularly, her kids).

Sorry, that was a tangent.

Once, I had a conversation with a woman at Revolution and she told me all the things her pastor’s wife had done. She had recently moved to Tucson. Her problem was that Katie didn’t do these things. What she failed to recognize was that Katie was 28 and her previous pastor’s wife was 44, with only a high school senior still at home. Katie had 3 kids under 4 at home.

While, this does not give a pastor’s wife an excuse to be lazy and say, “I have 2 young kids at home so I can’t volunteer anywhere in the church.” If someone else said that in a church, we would give pushback because we are all called to serve somewhere in some capacity in the body of Christ. She does need to be selective with her time.

Every family finds themselves in different seasons. Some are busier than others. A pastor’s wife needs to be aware of the season she is in, the season her family is in and the church needs to be okay with that and respect that. As they do with the other women in the church.

Pastors, does your church see your wife as free labor, or do they treat her like other women in the church and encourage her to find a spot to serve? You need to not treat her as an employee, she is a member of your church, just like everybody else who is a member. Have you helped her discover her gifts and what she is passionate about? In case you haven’t figured it out, this might change as she grows older, which makes it fun. You get to discover something new with her, and then discover something else with her as her season in life changes.

Churches, do you treat your pastors wife with respect, but also like other women in the church? She is going through the same things all the women in the church are going through, she just gets to go through it in a more public way.

Life, Work & God

Had a fascinating discussion with some Revolutionaries after Saturday night. I preached on Nehemiah 3 and we looked at what it took the rebuild the city wall of Jerusalem and compared it to what it takes to build a church in our culture.

One of the misconceptions that is incredibly dangerous for many Christians is that they are not doing ministry or working for God if it doesn’t involve building a church or using their spiritual gift at church. This is dangerous because it leads to a place where we see our work and how we live our lives the other 6 days of the week as not holy and therefore, not as important.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Think about Nehemiah 3. They were rebuilding a wall. Now, one can make the case (and I am trying to in this series) that they were not just building a wall, but they were attempting to place God in his rightful place of honor. The city of Jerusalem and its existence was connected with God because it is where His people dwelled. Nehemiah raises up this team of people because God is being defamed because the city is broken down.

But, they were still building a wall. A wall that would glorify God.

When people leave church, pastors do them a disservice if they leave with the idea that what they do throughout the week is not ministry. It is just as important as ministry in the church, because both glorify and honor God when we do them. Don’t miss this, we need to do both. Not just one, but both, every follower of Jesus.

Here is what it does. It makes you think about your job, your time (how you spend it and waste it), your parenting, your marriage, how you treat your neighbor and boss. It makes you think about those things and more differently. If you view your life through the lens of “I am reflecting God in every part of my life (good and bad), I need to watch what I do.”

Why does this matter? Because we are called by God to reflect Him and in everything we do to honor and glorify Him (Colossians 3:17) and because it leads people to Jesus.

Why Highly Talented, Busy People Volunteer

This past Saturday, I talked about how we build the city (Revolution) within the city of Tucson. How it takes everyone to do what God has called us to. To amplify the point, we did what we called “No Show Saturday.”

I came across this list on Mark Beeson’s blog about why highly talented, busy people volunteer at a church:

  1. They want to see done the thing you’re trying to get done.  What you’re doing is clear to them, and clearly important to them.  Because they value what you value, what you’re doing is clearly worth their sacrificial effort.
  2. They see the need and want to help meet the need.  Whether they jump in to help for a moment (helping with one step of the process), or stay with you for the entire mission (laying down their life for ultimate mission success), they see how they can assist you and they do.
  3. They want to be involved. After considering their other options (how they could otherwise be using their time, energy, knowledge and skills), they prioritize your mission above other competing values. The success of your work – for one reason, or another – is important to them.  They believe the work is worthy.
  4. They’re invited. They feel welcomed and valued. They recognize you’ve made it possible for them to join the effort. There is a place for them on the team. Affirmation and appreciation are hand-in-glove with a mission strategy that organizes all available human resources.
  5. They understand how their personal involvement improves the work. Once they understand your mission, most people know themselves well enough to realize whether their skills, training, education, strength, possessions and experiences can be leveraged against your need. They see how they can add value and advance the mission.
  6. They want you to succeed. Your ultimate success in life matters and they believe your mission success in the particulars of the moment will serve as a step toward the ultimate fulfillment of your life. For reasons you may not even understand, they want you to succeed. Since they care about you, and want you to fulfill your destiny, they volunteer to help you all along the way.
  7. They love working with you. You are inspiring, encouraging, positive, expectant, trustworthy, successful and fun.
  8. They love working with the other volunteers. They want to be with the other volunteers on your team. They love the way they’re treated and valued. It’s fun, fulfilling and rewarding to do what you’re doing with you and your team.

Conversely, good people will quit, and leave your team, if they no longer feel welcomed, don’t feel valued, lose their vision for mission success, can’t make a contribution worthy of their effort, don’t like you or find the rest of the volunteers unkind, unreasonable and impossible.

See original post here.

No Show Saturday

This past Saturday was unlike any other night at Revolution. It was unlike any other night at any church I have ever been to.

As we were planning the big creative elements for this series, we came to the idea of teamwork and volunteerism that it takes to make Revolution happen week in and week out. We tossed around how to really bring this idea home without having the normal, “It would be really great if you served and here is why…”

During this planning time (in the fall) I came across the idea of a no show service from Steven Furtick at Elevation Church and loved it.

So, on Saturday, we had no greeters, no signs around the church telling you where to take your child (we had a full staff in Planet Rev because we wanted to make a point not be a distraction), no food or coffee, no one handing out programs, no Bibles on the seats (you picked up the programs, pens and Bibles from boxes), no moving backgrounds on the screen, no videos, no band, no candles.

Only paid staff did something at Revolution on Saturday.

As a portable church, most people have no idea what goes into making a church happen. It is easy to walk in every week and think everything it just happens.

Paul walked out on stage with an amp, his guitar and a mic and that was our sound system. We had no intro video for me, I carried my table out. It was weird, but it was a beautiful night. God moved in the worship time in a special way.

The point was to say, this is how many people it takes to pull Revolution off week in and week out and that number is growing as God continues to entrust us with more and more people. We also wanted to give all our volunteers a night off (although many of them confided in me that it was tough not doing anything and they wanted to fix problems they saw). In fact, when we brought the screens down at the beginning of the service, one of them did not come down. Not planned, but it went perfectly with the night.

Every week, it takes almost 40 people every week to make Revolution happen. From office help, printing, folding, setting up chairs, bibles, candles, sound equipment, running the lights, sound and video, greeting, setting up food, signs, curtains, teaching classes, holding babies, leading small groups. And then we take it all down. That doesn’t even include small group leaders and hosts.

No Show Saturday was a huge success. It was a risk we were willing to take to say thank you to all of our volunteers and to challenge the rest of our church to jump and help build the city (Revolution)!

This Weekend: Leading & Laboring

Saturday we are continuing our series in Nehemiah at Revolution.

The last 3 weeks have been nothing short of amazing. We have had 2 of our highest attendances the last two weeks, and we are seeing God do awesome things in the lives of Revolutionaries.

This coming Saturday will be unlike any other Saturday in the history of Revolution. We are doing something we have never done, it is going to be a night to remember.

It is going to be a night that you will have to see to believe.

See you at 5 this Saturday.

What are we Accountable For? (A Question about Tithing)

After Saturday night and the talk I gave, I got a bunch of questions on email, twitter and facebook about giving. A couple of days ago I blogged about some of the reasons people give for not giving back to God and why we should give back to God. Throughout this week, I’ve been blogging those questions and some other thoughts about giving back to God.

Here is a question I got the other day (which I have permission to share):  If I can’t tithe my money, can I tithe my time or talents instead?

Yes and no.

Tithing is part of a larger discussion of stewardship. In fact, one author makes the case that stewardship is the Christian life. Stewardship is a larger umbrella that tithing falls under.

We are all given money, possessions, talents, resources, stuff, children, jobs, etc. that we are to steward and we will be held accountable for. I will be held accountable for how I raised my kids. I have been entrusted with 3 beautiful kids and I am to raise them in a way that honors God. I am accountable for this.

In the same way I am accountable for how I steward my money, time and talents that God has given me. As a leader and communicator, I am accountable for how I steward those spiritual gifts that God has given me. Am I growing and trying to become better in those areas or am I just mailing it in not trying to get better. I am accountable for those things.

If this is a question you’ve asked or struggled with I would encourage you to check out some of the recommended resources from this series and/or come out on a Saturday night at Revolution for our series How to be Rich. You can also listen to my talk from Saturday night.

What God is Doing at Revolution

It is easy to be on the inside of a church and think a few things: 1) What happens at my church happens everywhere so it isn’t extraordinary, 2) If something amazing is happening, it’s because of me.

What God has been/is doing at Revolution is amazing and humbling to be a part of. The last 6 months have been amazing.

Here is what I mean:

  • 6 months ago when Paul and Jennifer arrived, we were averaging in the 40’s, we are now in the 80’s.
  • Today, 75% of our church volunteers at least once a month, using their gifts. The national average is 17% of a church.
  • Today, 75% of our church is in a small group. The national average is 16%.
  • Today, 65% of our church honors God by giving back to Him financially each month. The national average is 16%.

That is awesome!

I know somewhere someone cynical is going, those are numbers, are you numbers people? Yes. The reason? Numbers matter because numbers are people. All those numbers represent marriages that are becoming healthier, those numbers represent people who will spend eternity with God instead of apart from God, those numbers represent men who are stepping up and lovingly leading their families, those numbers represent people who are honoring God with their finances and living out their faith.

So yes, when you talk about numbers like that, we are numbers people. I think in that regard, so is God.