Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wrong About Church Buildings 2 | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders

you should read this article about church buildings. It's a good one! I've personally wrestled with the idea of church buildings since it's been a blessing and a burden. We opened our doors as a church in September 2003 without the hassle of setting up and tearing down as a typical church plant would do. We've had the opportunity to regularly meet bi-weekly since that time. It's allowed us to provide classes and a meeting place for pre-marital counseling and other great things. Being a full time staff member up until July of this year I can see that it can be a burden. Would I still be a paid staff member if we weren't in a building? Not sure. But the rent and utilities does add up along with paying for projectors, sound system, children's and student ministry programs, etc. Does this limit the opportunity to help those in our community with serious needs? Maybe. Read these articles and i'd like to hear your thoughts on them as well!

A few weeks ago, pastor and author Dan Kimball posted an interesting entry here about church buildings. In the introduction, he notes that eight years ago he would have said, “Who needs a building? The early church didn’t have buildings, and we don’t need them either!” Today, however, he notes that he was wrong.


I think he still is.

Here is my official response to Dan Kimball.

click the link to read more... Wrong About Church Buildings 2 | Out of Ur | Conversations for Ministry Leaders

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


DISCLAIMER: Please read the following article VERY CAREFULLY before you do anything
at all. There is more going on here than meets the eye. You have been forewarned. -

As most of us are aware, Christians today need to be more vigilant than ever before.

This is why what I am about to tell you is SO CRITICAL for each of us. I'm tempted to ask everyone to forward this to EVERYONE IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK right away. (Especially if you "really" love Jesus).

What I'm about to tell you is SO ALARMING, it could seriously threaten Church in America forever!

There is new legislation in motion, at the earliest possible stage, which I need to let everyone know about now before it gets out of our control.

First, many of you are already aware that there are forces out there that threaten to take away the non-profit status of Christian Churches in America whenever messages of a political nature are delivered from the pulpit. As desperate as this is, there is a new development brewing now that is EVEN WORSE.

There are people who want to propose legislation that would challenge the non-profit status of any Christian Church simply based on whether or not that Church actually gives a significant percentage of its funds back to the community, as most other "non-religious" non-profits are required to do.

WHAT THIS MEANS is that your church could be in DANGER OF LOSING ITS NON-PROFIT STATUS simply because little of the tithe money goes to help out those poor families who live around the community. EVEN IF THEY DON'T ATTEND YOUR CHURCH!

Of course, there are plenty of churches in America that do care for the poor in their community. They pass out free groceries, they provide free oil changes for single Moms, they host after-school programs for kids in the area at no-charge, etc. Churches who are already "giving back" to the community in this way and serving others the way Jesus would would have NOTHING TO FEAR!

However, if a church in the community were to spend 70%, 80%, or even 99% of its tithe on ITSELF, it would be in danger of losing that non-profit status and would have to pay taxes JUST LIKE ALL OTHER LARGE CORPORATIONS.

This means that a church spending most of the tithe for salaries, or a new building, or the new flat-screen plasma televisions for the announcements in the nursery, or the Starbucks Coffee bar at the back of the Church, or the new carpet, etc., would have to justify their non-profit status on the basis of whether or not they were actually performing any actual "service" to the poor around them. If they couldn't demonstrate a tangible connection between their church and the community around them, their NON-PROFIT STATUS would be REVOKED FOREVER!

REGARDLESS OF THE FACT that Matthew 25 suggests that Jesus takes our concern for the outcast seriously, this attack on the non-profit status of our big, fat American churches is just NOT FAIR!

We've earned the right to collect as many hundreds of thousands of dollars as we like in the name of Jesus and it should be totally up to us how we spend that money. Especially if it's for our OWN NEEDS, WANTS AND DESIRES.

Just because we're not really involved in the needs of the poor around us, the Church SHOULDN'T BE PUNISHED IN THIS WAY.

Regardless of the fact that the Church in America HAS THE POWER and the ECONOMIC RESOURCES necessary provide affordable housing, long-term community development, and primary health care to everyone who needs it, the US Government should NOT be the one to force this upon us through legal means. That should be left up to a Higher Power.

Even though Universal primary education would cost $8 billion a year, which is about half of what parents in the US will spend THIS YEAR on TOYS FOR THEIR OWN CHILDREN, this has nothing to do with those of us who are called by the name of the One who humbled Himself and surrendered His life to demonstrate the compassion of God to the World, and especially to the least and the lost.

So, if you want to protect your church from this kind of judgement, I urge you to write to your pastors, your elders, your deacons and your church leaders and let them know how you feel about this very serious issue that faces the modern Church in America.

We, the Church in America, are dangerously close to the SIN OF SODOM!

Do you know what the Sin of Sodom is? Read Ezekiel 16: 49:

"Now this is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were proud and did detestable things before me. Therefore, I did away with them as you have seen."

Obviously, the issue facing the Church in America today is WAY MORE SERIOUS THAN SIMPLY OUR NON-PROFIT STATUS! If the Church were to rise up and spend their money this way, THAT WOULD BE AN AWESOME THING, and yes, a lot of people would probably stop calling us HYPOCRITES and maybe they'd take us seriously when we tell them that Jesus loves them, because we've demonstrated that (just maybe) we love them too.

As you may have guessed, this legislation IS TOTALLY FICITIOUS! I have made up the entire thing with the help of my good friend Jarred Romley who first suggested the concept to me.

I couldn't resist mimicking the style of those alarmist Christian email messages we all get forwarded telling us that we must send it on to everyone we have ever known in order to prove our love for Jesus. Please, also forgive me for all the CAPITAL LETTERS I USED!

Seriously, I think if my friend Jarred were to introduce a Bill like this one to our Congress it might put a fire under our churches to wake up and realize that their Bibles are full of commands to care for the outcast, the poor, and the needy who are all around them. If nothing else, it would create an amazing open dialog in the media between the leaders of the Church, the members of the community, and the man on the street about issues of compassion, Christian charity, and the calling of Jesus to care for the poor as we would care for Him. (see Matthew 25)

Until that legislation comes to pass, I will have to resort to stunts like this to try to wake people up and realize that God's heart is for the poor and that He has taken this issue very seriously.

The truth is, the idea of their church losing its non-profit status is more likely to spur Christians to action than the fact that there are thousands of homeless, and poverty-stricken human beings suffering a few blocks from their front door.

"He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?"- GOD, speaking of King Josiah in Jeremiah 22:16

Keith Giles

Monday, December 7, 2009

Big love in November.

This past month was full of love. But before we got to November Life Bridge has been preparing to do great things. It started this past summer when our student ministry took a trip to Holland, Michigan for the CIY MOVE conference. This year at the conference \the students were challenged to go out and MOVE in the kingdom of God and serve something more than themselves.
This year, sealed envelopes were handed out which contained cards with a mission written on it. Those with an envelope were asked to pray about it and asked NOT to open the envelope unless they were sure that they were going to complete the mission God had called them to do.
Adults could grab an envelope, but were not compelled to. Jeni Bolton, who has been working with me as a Sr. High Youth Leader, grabbed one. It read:


Organize a food drive for Thanksgiving this year. Make it your goal to raise enough food and funds to feed 500 families.

The goal was to raise 500 turkeys but she took it way past that. She was able to raise enough money and other donations to provide 500 turkey dinners including all the fixins’ for Thanksgiving. You can read more about the process and the organization of it all at and in the local newspaper here,01n5001126.article.

All the while this was happening, our community group that meets at my house felt compelled to raise some funds for the Rapha House. The Rapha House is committed to rescuing young girls who are victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and prostitution. They provide these young girls a safe home to heal; receive an education; and to empower them to make good life choices.

Our community group thought about all the ways we could go about in raising funds and awareness and landed on the idea to put a race together. Since a few of us are active runners we were able to start spreading the word about it to our running circles. We were able to work with the guys who run the timing to organize a 5K run/walk and 10 mile race. The race was able to raise almost $2000 to help the Rapha House. With over 100 runners we were able to promote awareness and rally together around mission and justice. You can read more about it at and in the local newspaper here,01nwoycik1112.article.

Valparaiso may not seem so diverse of a city but if you look close enough, you can see many sub-cultures dwelling within it. We have commuters traveling to Chicago via the train or car. Local business owners making a buck or none. Veterans of the steel mills. Farmers growing and maintaining their crops. Local and out of state students attending V.U., PNC or Ivy Tech. The economic balance within the city is askew and you'll see pockets of racial diversity as well. Just a few blocks south of Life Bridge "the Hill" is known for it's poverty and low-income housing.

As Christians we're called to be sent out into our hurting world and join God in the renewal of all things. Bearing the image of the invisible God, being His Ambassadors, called to peace, mercy and love. Just as Jesus was sent, so are we.

As we recognize the diversity in Valparaiso we also need to recognize who it is we're being sent to. We are to do this by engaging our culture (in the world) without being absorbed by the culture (of the world.) This means we need to tear down our private fences and open up opportunities to know and love our neighbors.

Our mission exists for that purpose: to engage our culture with the image of the invisible God building relationships that transform lives. Each community is unique as is the diversity Valpo has to offer. But at her core are the Word of God and a nurturing community building each other up. When we rally together around mission you see God at work in our community and outward, even to Cambodia.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Planting the Gospel extended.

Last weekend we had the chance to take 8 of our high school students to Obsession which is a retreat directed to go deeper into God’s Word and hear what it means to be more Obsessed with Christ. Megan, who I talked about in my last update, was able to be there. Me and my roommate (Scott Hansen) had to drive up late due to work and missed the opening session. We were able to catch up with everyone later that night and I had the chance to talk to, or err…brush by a pass of words that really didn’t make sense from Megan. I wasn’t able to have a chat with her until the next evening after Scott’s teaching. I saw her sitting alone by herself with her head between her hands just sitting there. So I took the opportunity to catch up with her and see what she murmured the night before. What she had said that night was, “it’s frustrating.” I asked her what she meant by that and she goes on to tell me that she’s not hearing the answer she wants to hear. She has some background of abuse and she’s carrying it around all by herself. The struggle she’s fighting is laying it before God and forgiving the person involved. What a heavy battle!

I didn’t say much but really listened to her fight. She knows what God wants her to do but she doesn’t want to surrender. Just reflecting back on this, how many times do we act before we really hear or listen to what God is calling us to do. Later that night I saw a different Megan. She was dancing, laughing and hanging out with some girls from the other church. I heard that she danced so much that she had to go back to the dorms to shower cause she was sweating so much.

I hadn’t talked to her since then until this afternoon. As I was getting ready to take a precious nap I got a random text from Megan. She asked me if I was moving soon. I had told the students of my plans of starting another church and partially why I’m not the student minister anymore is because of those plans. I asked her why she was wandering this and she replied back with, “i dnt want u to go.” That floored me. I told her I really appreciated that and it reaffirmed why I’m still here in Valpo.

Sometimes we can get so consumed by our future plans that we miss the opportunities that are right in front of us. I pray this won’t get the best of me and I see those who God has put in front of me to love and show mercy to. Please continue to pray for Megan’s battle. Pray those hurting in Valpo. Pray for the Rapha Race that’s coming up this weekend. (I will give you an update next month about the Rapha Race. It’s a 10 mile/5K run to benefit the Rapha House.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

following the mission.

Rick, Nate and myself went to a conference a couple weeks ago called Story. It was intended to remind pastors and teachers about the greatest Story ever told. One of the speakers there asked the audience something that was so great that I want to ask you guys. Turn to the person next to you and I want you to share your deepest darkest sin to that person. Do that now.

Okay so you don’t have to. That more than likely made you feel quite uneasy. But if I asked you to turn to the person next to you and share with them your relationship with Jesus, for some of you, it’s almost like sharing your deepest darkest sin. We’ve talked about some pretty heavy stuff this weekend. For some of you it’s gone in one ear and out the other and for others the Word of God really kicked you in the heart.

Every year we talk about becoming Obsessed with God and following Jesus. When we leave here some of us forget the Obsessed part and for others the whole Jesus part about being a Christian. Rick talked about being covered in the dust of our Rabi, that we need to walk in the way of Christ. This is summed up in the great commandment of Loving God and Loving your neighbor. That we need to cast down our idols that come before loving God and rethink who our neighbor is and how can we love our enemies.

When it comes to loving our God and neighbor as our agenda, as the top priority of the way we live our lives, this is when we see the Missio Dei. This is the mission of God. Or even better, the God of mission. Just as Jesus was sent from God into the world to restore it back to Him we also have that mission to partner with Him.

This has been God’s plan since mankind has been separated from Him. When we look at God’s plan through Israel we see our own.

Gen 12:1-3

John 1:17

John 20:21-23

The basic missional charge, the sending of the disciples by Jesus, the sent one. Yet notice that Jesus did not send his followers out unequipped for this mission. He breathed on them, giving the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the Spirit who forms and shapes us as individuals and believers. The Spirit at work in us produces the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). The Spirit at work through us produces the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12-14). The Spirit alive in us forms us to be more like Christ in our personal lives and in our communities.

Parable of the Good Muslim – Samaritan

Dallas Willard – The Divine Conspiracy - The story does not teach that we can have eternal life just by loving our neighbor. We cannot get away with that nice legalism either. . . . But in God’s order nothing can substitute for loving people. And we define who our neighbor is by our live. We make a neighbor of someone by caring for him or her. . . .

Jesus deftly rejects the question, “Who is my neighbor?” and substitutes the only question really relevant here: “To whom will I be a neighbor?” And he knows that we can only answer this question case by case as we got through our days. In the morning we cannot yet know who our neighbor will be that day. The condition of our hearts will determine who along our path turns out to be our neighbor, and our faith in God will largely determine who we have strength enough to make our neighbor.

Isa 42:6-9

Isa 61:1-3

Luke 4:16-21

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Planting the Gospel.

This past weekend at the teen service we had a very intense lesson about God’s righteousness and mercy. Starting with small groups, the teens were asked to look up certain scriptures that talk about justification, mercy, righteousness, truth, holiness and love. Each small group has its own flavor from their leaders guiding the discussion. Beth and Erik who are just recently engaged have started helping out leading worship and a small group with high school students. They’ve had their own struggles with church but have been wanting to get more involved.

One of the girls in their group was Megan. She’s been coming for almost a year now but just tagging along with her sister. Rarely talks in the group and doesn’t really relate to anyone in the student ministry. She’ll come in, find a place all by herself and wait for the service to be over. She’s very short answered to anyone who tries to have a conversation with her and is fine with just being, alone.

During the discussion in their small group while reading the Bible, things just clicked in all the right ways. From the stories of Eric and Beth to the discussion from the other teens, things got very emotional. While the others in the group had their eyes reopened to the Gospel, for Megan it was like for the first time. In the groups they were using object lessons to relate to those big words like justification and righteousness. During the main lesson, Traci, the family minister, was teaching and asked the students what they got from the discussion. While some of the students were distracted by other things, other than the lesson, for Megan, she spoke. Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened as she explained how the thermometer shows how much God loves her. She described that the “red stuff” when it gets closer to the “light” rises and it’s like us when we get closer to God.

There are plenty of times that when we read or hear God’s Word it goes in one ear and out the other. Megan heard what God is communicating in His Gospel. It reminds me that when we set out to start Life Bridge we weren’t trying to plant a church. What we’re striving to do is plant the Gospel into the hearts of those in this world who are alone like Megan. I’d love to say that Megan instantly became included in the student ministry, but there are plenty of us who fail to hear that Word from God. This coming weekend we’re taking some of the students in the group to a retreat called Obsession. It’s a time to get away from the norm and become obsessed with God. Megan is still considering whether she’ll go or not.

Monday, November 2, 2009

individual community.

what makes an individual healthy and the same for community groups. When gauging whether a group is healthy or not, there needs to be standards as to which to be held accountable to. Each for the individual, small group and church body. This is at the core of the wholeness to the body of Christ. So each group should be held accountable to these "standards." Not that they should be judged or deemed unhealthy but it should be the drive towards in the hopes they should be more and more like the body of Christ. I think that the next iConnect would be a great time to cast this vision of what each group should drive towards. Right now there are 3-4 things that are at the heart of the individual and the community of being the body of Christ. Transformation, Connection, and Movement. All encompassing the surrender to Worship God with our whole lives. I know this is a dump but it is really at the forefront of my thoughts and passion to see lives transformed through community.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

missional community dna

This has been something that's been growing and developing within me for quite some time. When looking at the missional communities, the merging of community happens when it's centered around being sent. The purpose that it has of going into the community to restore it back to God is the uniting mission that draws people together in community. At the core of the group is the DNA. The DNA is the lifeblood of what Jesus was about and this is what the church should reflect.
The D in DNA stand for Divine Truth. This is the transformation into the likeness of Christ through God's Word. This truth is a major strand of the DNA. Jesus is the divine truth. Jesus said, "I am the... truth" (John 14:16). No one can come to the Father except through him. When we bear this truth in our lives it leads to loving communities with purpose and mission, which are the rest of the DNA. The transformation of the Truth is at the heart of worship (Romans 12:1).
N in DNA stands for nurturing relationships. This is a continual building into each other of love, mercy and joy. Being a self-pastoral community the needs are met from the community not just one person pastoring the church. "Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay his life down for his friends. You are my friends" (John 15:12-14).
A in DNA stands for Apostolic Mission. Just as Jesus was sent into the world to restore all things back to Him (John 3:16) so are we to join him in this mission. "As the Father sent me, I am sending you" (John 20:21). The DNA does not function in linear fashion. Working together, the Divine Truth is flowing into Apostolic Mission (Acts 1:8). Apostolic Mission is propelled by Nurturing Relationships. (John 13:35). Being together in Nurturing Relationships drives one another toward a unified Mission.
Pretty much this is Neil Cole's book Organic Community summed up. Not only does this serve as a drive from mission it is at the heart of the church. This can be compared to the Tangible Kingdom of Communion, Mission and Community. Then again it can be applied to Rick Warren's 5 purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism. Not matter what scale you're at these purposes are at the individual to the corporate. But it starts with the individual first.

Monday, September 7, 2009

what a weekend.

So i'm not sure the exact location of this place but i would have to say that this has been one of the most interesting weekends in quite some time. Interesting from the sorts of company. we're (scott, nikki and myself) hanging out with a dude named rick. he's been with us at our small group for the past few months. we're at his grandparents trailer by some lake in north webster, in. All i know is that we're east from valpo. Along the way we stopped by the blueberry festival in plymouth, in and i didn't see one blueberry.
Thinking we're going to a lake house, by no means am i demeaning where we're at, but this not exactly what we had in mind. Rick is a very interesting character. he's a married man with a 7 year old and was looking forward to this weekend for quite some time. Looking to "get away from it all" with us. Now i'm thinking, "why in the world would he want to get away with us?"
I can tell he's looking for his "roots" but has quite some opposition. By inviting us out to his "lake house" he's looking to us for his spiritual life. His wife has been calling nonstop and is pretty dang crazy when he drinks. I love him to death but it's been challenging for me.
Just like i've noticed the comfortability from being in the ministry (maybe another conversation) it seems thats where we are now. Being away from drama and all the things that make life comfortable, this is quite the opposite. The only way that we're able to be out here with rick is because his wife vouched for us as being "bible humpers." lol. No joke.
So we've been out here for a day, we've fished, napped and watched family guy and had some great conversation and still, what we had in mind is beyond what we had in mind.
I am definately glad that we came out. I believe this is exactly what God has in store for us in the future. What i had in mind when we came out here was comfortability. When it comes to partnering with God in restoring all things back to Him it shouldn't or doesn't necessarily mean that things are going to be comfortable. It goes against everything God had in mind in the beginning of time.
So, for the point of this not being exactly the way i thought things would be, i'm glad we are here. And now for some more family guy.rick is awesome

Friday, August 14, 2009

Missio Dei

From: Josh Epperson <>
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 2:29 AM
Subject: Missio Dei

Being sent into the world just as Jesus was sent. God is already there no matter where you go. Partnering with God in restoring everything back to work Him. When entering new environment and culture we should look to see what God is already doing or see who the oppressed are that are crying out to Him.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

time to slow.

so i've been packing my schedule quite tight for the past few months and it's time to slow down. more than likely i think God is or has been all this time trying to get my attention. as though the sound has finally caught up to me and the words coming screaming by halting me to walk. just like a safety patrolman.
actually it came about due to achilles tendonitis. (thanks webmd) somehow i just either didn't stretch enough or just ran on it wrong playing softball on tuesday. i was also training to run the chicago marathon. that didn't last long. i got up to 10 miles though and kris' leg started hurting.
maybe there are more ways that God was tryin to slow me down. it almost sounds negative. especially in our culture today. but i think i'm missin quite more by zoomin on.
it's been this way for the past 6 years with life bridge. not that the fast paced progression hasn't had any positive effect, cause it has, but it's been too constant. particularly in all the roles i've played here. children's. students. families. communities. developing programs. tweeking programs. people coming and going. equipping leaders. just going everywhere oh so quickly.

Friday, April 3, 2009

discovering and escaping liturgy. by Dan Kimball

For years I served on the staff of a megachurch with a very contemporary style of worship. We had a state-of-the-art sound system, large video projection screens, pop-rock music, and a sophisticated lighting system. The worship services were programmed to the minute: predetermined transitions, upbeat intro songs, announcements backed with PowerPoint slides, sermons crafted with felt-need application points, and abundant video clips.

The church was growing as several thousand people connected with the presentations each week. But at the same time the church was thriving with one generation, I began to notice that younger adults were not engaging as well as their parents. So I began listening to these young people to discover why they were not resonating with this way of doing church.

I repeatedly heard that they were longing for something less "programmed." At the same time, I began hearing questions about "liturgy," a word I'd never heard before. I was not raised in the church, and my only church experiences at the time had been at an organ-led Baptist church and the megachurch where I was on staff. Even in seminary, I had never been taught about liturgy (literally, the "work of the people") or ancient forms of worship. And ministry conferences I attended only seemed concerned with the newest, cutting-edge trends.

continue reading...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

my apologies.

So last night what I was trying to communicate about what Jesus was doing through the miracles found in Mark was totally wrong. I just wanted to clarify that so you can know that it was I that messed and not the Bible.

And how much more beautiful does it show through the book of John. Especially when he starts his book with the same words from Genesis that the Jews have been hearing for quite some time... "In the beginning..." And the rhythm begins. The beauty of it all starts there for all to join in the song. Not only would they recognize familiarity from of being naked and unashamed but they would also remember what they have been called to do since Abraham... to be a blessing to all nations. As John talks about Jesus and the miracles he's done, it continues the song but you can tell that it's building up. The song is coming to a point where all feelings and emotions will be moved, not just to listen but to get up, move your legs around and dance. The missio dei is to restore all things back to Him. This is what God wants and does this through the sending of Jesus Christ. This is also our mandate from Jesus himself. As Jesus was sent, so are we. And the song continues...

Friday, March 27, 2009

missional community @ life bridge... it's a start.

we are called to empower one more to walk together with God. this is ultimately a calling from Jesus himself. not only is it the mission of Jesus but from the Father. joining God in His redemptive story of rescuing His people. the pinnacle of this was the incarnation of Jesus. the life of Jesus (not only death and resurrection) is at the core of the incarnation. God taught how to live here and now on earth as it is in heaven. this is the life we're empowered to walk in. since the Father gave this mandate to His Son, this is also out mandate. we see this as the transformative agenda Jesus lived his life. just as Jesus was sent, so are we.

Mission takes place where the church, in its total involvement with the world, bears its testimony in the form of a servant, with reference to unbelief, exploitation, discrimination and violence, but also with reference to salvation, healing, liberation, reconciliation and righteousness... Looked at from this perspective mission is, quite simply, the participation of Christians in the liberating mission of Jesus, wagering on a future that verifiable experience seems to belie. It is the good news of God's love, incarnated in the witness of a community, for the sake of the world.
David Bosch - Transforming Mission, 519

Friday, March 20, 2009

dot dot dot...

Valparaiso may not seem so diverse of a city but if you look close enough, you can see many sub-cultures dwelling within it. We have commuters traveling to Chicago via the train or car. Local business owners making a buck or none. Veterans of the steel mills. Farmers growing and maintaining their crops. Local and out of state students attending V.U., PNC or Ivy Tech. The economic balance within the city is askew and you'll see pockets of racial diversity as well. Just a few blocks south of Life Bridge "the Hill" is known for it's poverty and low-income housing.
As Christians we're called to be sent out into our hurting world and join God in the renewal of all things. Bearing the image of the invisible God, being His Ambassadors, called to peace, mercy and love. Just as Jesus was sent, so are we.
As we recognize the diversity in Valparaiso we also nee to recognize  who it is we're being sent to. We are to do this by engaging our culture (in the world) without being absorbed by the culture (of the world.) This means we need to tear down our private fences and open up opportunities to know and love our neighbors.
Our missional villages exist for that purpose: to engage our culture with the image of the invisible God building relationships that transform lives. Each village is unique as is the diversity Valpo has to offer. But at her core are the Word of God and a nurturing village building each other up...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


it's all about Jesus.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


so i've been reading for the past couple weeks the book Organic Leadership by Neil Cole. Creating a church movement that spreads like a virus, creating an epidemic that reveals the Kingdom of God. Becoming an organism that is alive and moves fluidly whichever direction it naturally flows. There are three things that never change which is it's DNA.
Divine Truth. Nurtering Relationships. Apostolic Mission.
Organizational leadership is designed for one person to make decisions for all and delegate mission to those under the authority. Christ is always the head of the church. This is where all the functions and authority come from.
So I was thinking about what this would look like. I was thinking about the other people who have decided to become "full time" ministers. Those of us who get paid either to teach God's Word or some who put programs together to help the church function. (just some light cynicism, nothing to be concerned about.) In the church, those who attend services or are part of the body look to the title or positions held as authority. Mostly the people will follow the leaders even if they don't know the person or aren't even passionate themselves about where their going.
So what if the goal was to get rid of paid positions and titles in the church? What would that look like? The head would be Christ totally and all decisions would be made solely to bring God's Kingdom here on Earth. The body, with all different parts, becomes passionate about doing things that suit their purpose. All programs that exist are ran by people who have the same passions. The church wouldn't come together to vote, but come together to be and exist and move and bring light to a dark world.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

truly incarnational.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4:10-11

As we remember Christ, just as through the eucharist, we remember that we become Christ. Rob Bell says in Jesus wants to Save Christians that the "given over" is important here. Paul is speaking of the healing in the world and how when we identify with the suffering of our neighbor and we commit ourselves to doing something about it, it will cost us something.

So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 Corinthians 4:12

That's how the eucharist works. For someone to receive, someone has to give... the church is the living eucharist.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

church marketing.

i at first liked the idea of marketing. coming up with creative ideas to sell your product. i think i just liked the creative part. i am just not comfortable trying to "push" the church or Jesus on someone. i was trying to think of any organizations or business' that don't advertise or spend any money trying to get people to buy their product. there aren't many.
does the church try to "push" itself into people's lives because the product is not that good? what happens when you sell and it doesn't live up to the standards that you had to offer? what if we spent our time living it out instead of hyping it up?