Church 101 | Lessons from Church Planting and all things Ecclesiology

MISSION: WHO WE ARE| Vision 2020 Pt.1

2017-04-05T16:42:19+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Restoration Road News|

This past Sunday, our church gathered for a family meeting.  The purpose of the meeting was to update the church on our current health, and cast vision for the next few years.  We discussed some important needs and shared some exciting opportunities.  In a series of blogs, we will share more details about each part of our VISION 2020.  The booklet can be downloaded here and audio can be listened to here. The first, and most important, part of our meeting on April 2, 2017 was a reminder of who we are.  This is the part of the vision that never changes because it is rooted in the unchanging truths of God's Word. People change. Programs change.  Practices change.  Even philosophies change.  The practical outworking of our long-term vision will often change quarterly, but our shared identity in the Gospel of Jesus Christ should remain the same over the years.  It [...]

Changing the Score Card

2017-03-28T05:46:55+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Leadership 101|

God continues to bring a phrase to mind through different men, books, and blogs: "Change the score card".  As a church planter, the idea of a score card is something a pastor never admits he is always thinking about.  Though no one is really keeping score, pastors can't help but feel as if there is.  Most days, we feel like we are either winning or losing the "numbers" game. They say numbers are important, but I wonder if we say that to make ourselves feel better.  In truth, numbers don't tell us everything, but they tell us something.  And that something is often the one thing that has become too important to us.  Pastors know this and, for the most part, they try and fight this.  As much as pastors try to ignore numbers, or pretend like they don't really matter, they can't resist the Post Easter blogs and Facebook posts about [...]

Mega-Pastors and Professional Wrestlers

2017-03-28T05:52:13+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Leadership 101, Note to Pastors|

In recent weeks, the evangelical cyber-world has been full of news about two pastors for all of the wrong reasons.   Like two passive-aggressive juveniles who can't seem to play nice on the playground, these men have managed to "fight" one another without ever meeting face to face.   Most of the interactions have been communicated indirectly through a blog, a sermon, or any number of twitter posts.   Both men are smart.  Both men are strong leaders.  Both men lead big churches.  Both men have influential ministries.  Both men have large groups of loyal followers.   Their statements are always influential and their decisions are never accidental.   Their most recent conflict began with a open-handed cyber-slap to the face and ended with what can only be described as an invitation to a theological thunder dome cage-match. As I have watched all of this unfold, I was reminded how [...]

Beautifully simple church

2017-03-28T05:52:59+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Note to Pastors|

Last night marked the first official gathering of Damascus Road Church in our Snohomish space.  This original historical timber frame building was constructed in 1882.  In its 131 years of life, it has functioned as a general store, a livery, a Pontiac Car lot, an office space, and even a Billiards hall.  But last night, for the first time, it served as a dwelling place for God among His people.   We prayed thanksgiving to our Lord.  We worshiped Him in song.  We proclaimed His Word publicly.  We made much of Jesus in a place where, quite probably, not much of Him has ever been made before. After the gathering, several of us were struck by the beautiful simplicity of it all.  Wires are exposed.  Rooms are unfinished.  Plumbing is disconnected. We had no bulletins.  We had no hospitality team.  We had no welcome desk.  We had no kid's program.  We had [...]

Sermonette from Vision 2013

2017-03-28T05:54:49+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Re:Sermon|

Below is the sermonette preached at our recent vision meeting on Tuesday, June 18, 2013: Welcome.  We have a lot of information to share with you tonight. Beyond the decisions, dates, and dollar amounts, more than anything, we want our church to know the heart of your pastors.  The enemy, the Father of lies, is a master of confusion.  He will tempt us to wrongly interpret words, to assume the worst, and to judge outward appearances.  Our hope and our prayer is that we will leave this meeting with a greater love for Jesus, a stronger trust in one another, and a deeper commitment to Jesus mission.  Before we share our words with you, we felt it important to begin with God’s in 2Corinthians 5.6-21 in order to describe our hearts:   WE KNOW DIFFERENT We know differently.  We know that there is one good God who is there.  We [...]

On Church Planting #4-10: Go, Preach, Gather, Train, Appoint, Repeat

2017-03-28T05:54:25+00:00 By |Church Plant 101|

The 10 blogs over 10 days didn't really work out as planned.  The preparations for this upcoming Vision meeting became a little overwhelming.  The last post offered quick summary of an apparent "cycle" of church planting later in the book of Acts.  After the Holy Spirit empowers the disciples, the church settles into a comfortable rhythm within Jerusalem.  Unfortunately, it is possible they became too comfortable because they apparently were forgetting Jesus' command to be witness in Jerusalem AND Judea AND Samaria AND to the ends of the earth.  In order to "encourage" their movement, God allows the church to be persecuted.  Without question, this is an attack of the enemy.  It should give us great confidence to know that Satan's attacks are always under God's sovereignty and always employed for his purposes.  We see that the persecution climaxes in chapter 8 with the martyrdom of the first Christian, Stephen.  A [...]

On Church Planting #3: A Snapshot of a process (Acts 2)

2017-03-28T05:55:24+00:00 By |Church Plant 101, Leadership 101|

The second chapter provides us a snapshot for the entire book of Acts. The chapter gives us a glimpse into how God, by His Spirit, builds His Church through gospel truth, gospel community, and gospel living (our core values).    Before we can identify any pattern of sorts, it is important that we understand the form and function of the particular Scripture that we are reading.  Specifically, we must understand the genre of the literature, its intended audience, and its historical purpose.  Paul says that ALL Scripture is breathed out by God, ALL Scripture is useful, and that ALL Scripture is designed to build our faith (2Timothy 3.16; Romans 15.4).  But ALL Scripture doesn't do this at the same time in the same way. While all Scripture plays a part in the larger story of the Bible, we need to understand how each book of the bible, or letter, or song, is [...]

On Church Planting #2: The power to do what? where? how?

2017-03-28T05:56:26+00:00 By |Church Plant 101|

More than once Jesus told his disciples that He had come to serve and that, eventually, He would suffer and die (Mark 8.31; 9:30, 31; Matt. 17:12, 22, 23; Luke 24:7).   As that time approached, Jesus assured his disciples that God would help them to complete His mission--to do even greater things than He had accomplished.  To that end, they would not be "sent into the world" alone by themselves.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14.26.  In his gospel, Luke makes it clear that Jesus' ministry led, empowered, and protected by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was comforted.  Jesus spoke, taught, and preached by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus performed miracles by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus prayed [...]

On Church Planting #1: The Command to Go

2017-03-28T05:57:07+00:00 By |Church Plant 101|

After His Resurrection, the Bible says that Jesus spent 40 days with his disciples teaching about the kingdom of God.   We can only imagine what Jesus taught , what he clarified, or what he warned his disciples about.   The only words that we have recorded are Jesus' last words to His disciples.  It follows then that these are the only words, from those forty days, that Jesus wanted us to concern ourselves with.  All three of synoptic authors record His last words at the end of their gospels, all sounding slightly different: Matthew 28.18-20; Mark 16.15;  Luke 24.44-49.   Additionally, Luke records a variation of Jesus final words at the beginning of the book of Acts. Most are familiar with Jesus final words as "The Great Commission."   The truth is that the heart of the Great Commission actually first was heard somewhere in the middle of Jesus’ ministry.  [...]

On the Lord Jesus, the Book of Acts, and the Planting of Churches

2017-03-28T05:57:24+00:00 By |Church Plant 101|

Our church will officially turn 7 years old in November.  In that time, God has done more amazing things, personally and corporately, than I could ever possibly list--and those are only the ones I know about!  There are countless attacks God has protected us from, mistakes he has turned us from, and decisions he has stopped us from.  By grace and power, Jesus has built his church despite us. From the beginning, we intended to be a church planting church.  Even as we were planted ourselves, we supported church planters locally and internationally.  We have always intended for our core values, especially church planting, to extend beyond words on a piece of paper.   We learned rather quickly, that a commitment to church planting never fails to inspire the same kinds of curious, or down right critical, questions that parents of more than 2.5 children (and less than 2.5 dogs) [...]