Wednesday, June 30, 2010

121. An Apostolic Commercial

I saw this commercial last night while watching America's Got talent, which by the way, is the coolest summer show ever.

Anyways, as I was watching this commercial, I thought of how the concept of first can be both sequential OR level of importance. I think most people who misunderstand apostolic ministry see it as being first in the area of importance. Apostolic ministry is primarily first as a matter of sequence, and any level of of priority it gets in relation to the other giftings is derived from this element. It's placing among the logical sequence of movements makes it first. Apostolic ministry is significant because of it's sequential order in the beginning of movements, not because it is important all by it's lonesome.

One of the metaphors Paul uses to describe apostolic ministry in I Corinthians 3 bears this out. Paul compares apostolic ministry to a "master builder", which in Greekreek is the word "arche-tekton". It is a compound word that merges two meanings. Arche means origin, or first on site. Tekton is the term used to describe Jesus's father, a builder, craftsmen, or designer. Apostles are the designers, or craftsmen who are first on site. They begin the project. In this sense, they are more significant than the roofers. However, apostolic ministry is about laying foundations, not building the entire house. They get the project moving and hand it over to the community. In other words, if we use this commercial as out cue, they tip over the large train and start the chain reaction of disciple making and community formation. .

Monday, June 28, 2010

120. Continuous Breakthrough

Attended a 3D Ministries "taster" event this past week with my good buddy Jason Gayton. All I have to say is.....WOW!!! There is nothing like it anywhere. They specialize in helping people build a discipling culture in their community. Met a lot of really cool folks, but best of all, I got exposed to some really good theology and practical tools for discipleship.

Here is a video from their web site.

More to come from 3DM in the future!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

119. Oscar Romero....a stream in a dry desert

Oscar Romero is one of my favorite poets. As I work on some of the organizational infrastructure for The Harvest Network this week, I am reminded of this stirring piece of writ by Oscar. He speaks to my soul, and rejuvenates my passion for apostolic ministry.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Monday, June 14, 2010

118. Lurkers and Community

Not everyone who comes among your community is ready to jump in to what you are about and where you are headed. Some people "lurk", that is, they sort of hang around periodically, absorb impressions and observations about the vibe of the community. If you are into community architecting, then this is an important principle to keep in mind. The idea is that you need to have environments that people can be anonymous in. They are not confronted with issues of being "in" or "out" of the community. They need to be able to observe and poke around with no strings attached, no pressure. Hugh Halter and Matt Smay wrote a book called The Tangible Kingdom with the subtitle Creating Incarnational Community. This book hits indirectly at this concept. If you are looking at cultivating environments like this, you need to do it incarnationally, that is, you need to create social environments that are in sync with the cultural rhythms and spaces of your context. The idea behind incarnational community is that people get to have an up close experience of authentic Christian community in real life and space. It is not an artificial environment constructed by church staff or worship teams on your own turf where you get to manipulate the atmosphere. No, incarnational community is about hanging out and doing things, fun things, adventurous things, right where people are, on their turf and on their terms. It is about getting in step with the places and activities that people are already moving in and centering around.

Them mistake we have made in the past about Christian community is that it has to take place around a bible study, sermon, worship service or some official Christian practice.  Jesus is in us, and if this is true, we will incarnate his presence in our every day lives. So what do you naturally like doing? Do it in community and involve other people in it. Not to proselyte folks, but to enjoy life, letting Jesus spill out while you do it. Some things we have been doing at Ikon on this level have been periodic softball games, softball leagues, kickball leagues, camping trips, dinner nights. Not a whole lot of imagination here, but it has become an intentional way to hang out with folks and meet new people.