Category: Missional Church (page 1 of 2)

The Ministry of Generosity

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.” 2 Corinthians 8:2-4

The local church is at its best when it is generous to others in tough times. Paul was bragging in the above text about the Macedonians, who even though poor, were excited about an opportunity to be generous to another congregation that was in peril.

Recently, the most destructive wildfire in the history of Colorado swept through the Black Forest area of our community, leveling over 500 homes and killing two people. Over 20 families in our congregation lost almost everything in the blazes, many left with only a few belongings and the clothes they were wearing.

Immediately our community rallied with food, shelter, and boarding for the displaced. This past week, our ministry team visited those affected in the congregation and hand delivered some monies that had been given. The stories that came from these meetings reminded me of this scripture. No one expected the gift that was given but they sure were thankful. For some, the money will help them get back home quicker and for others it will help ease the pain of recovery.

For centuries, Christ followers have been generous givers, both with their money and their time. This scripture also gives us a better definition of generosity. Often we think only large gifts are generous, when that is not the case. Generosity is the grace to give sacrificially no matter the amount. Generosity is an attitude that compels us to help, to bless others with whatever is in our hands at the moment.

Generous people are a reflection of our God, who is a generous giver, bountiful with all that He has. I am grateful to lead a generous congregation that has discovered once again the joy of giving as much as we are able in times of very real trials.

Because of the size and scope of the wildfires, the needs in our community will continue for some time. If you want to participate in giving to those in need, click on the “Black Forest” banner at the top of our our website.

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What Every Church Planter Needs?

A group of us had some great conversations at our New Life Leader’s Conference last week about planting healthy, life giving local churches. New Life has planted three successful churches in the last four years and we talked at the conference about the reasons each of them is thriving.

1. There was a prayerful evaluation of the lead pastor

One of the reasons many church plants fail is because the wrong person is leading the effort. For our three plants, each of the leaders submitted to an evaluation from our local elders and a stringent evaluation from the ARC Churches a great organization that you can send your potential church pioneers to for evaluation.

2. There were resources to send with them

Church planting is certainly not a business enterprise, but a church plant can fail for the same reason a new business can fail – no money or resources. Our local church set aside a portion of our mission’s budget so that we could send money with the church planting team. It certainly was not all they would need, but it was enough to get them started for a few months in a new city.

3. A local congregation sent them

It is so important for a church planting team to have an extended family. We believe that when a key leader on our team is sent to plant another church, we should celebrate like at a wedding. So many times, a church does not allow talented leaders to leave and it feels like a divorce. These leaders start leading their church like abandoned orphans instead of sent sons. I talk about the strengths and pitfalls of both scenarios in my new book, Sons and Daughters.

4. There were systems and plans to help them launch

We believe in leaning into the wisdom of those who have gone before us. There is not a need, in most cases, to reinvent the wheel with systems and procedures for things like guest follow-up, children’s ministry in a mobile location, sound equipment that can stand the riggers of set up and tear down every week and building a dream team of volunteers. Again, the ARC Churches is a great place to learn many of these things.

5. There is coaching and support going forward

All of the above can be in place and the church plant still fail. We must be willing to come alongside our leaders in those first few months, but also in the years that follow. All of us need mentors, overseers and coaches. Most importantly, we need friends who love us and will take our call when we feel discouraged and alone.

Church planting is a spiritual battle that only can prevail if there is abundant prayer surrounding a faithful leader who will teach the Scriptures and build authentic community. It is not easy and it costs more than any of us think, but our nation and world needs new churches to bring light into the dark corners of our culture. May we be ready to help them do just that.

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Dream Centers Colorado Springs – One Year Later

Today we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of our women’s medical clinic here in Colorado Springs. The clinic is the first Dream Center to open which was in response to a tremendous need in our city for primary medical care for women 18-64. The free clinic is run by a dedicated team of medical professionals and over 100 volunteers who have cared for over 1000 patients, many of them multiple times.

The stories we hear every week are remarkable. Women who are caught in the nasty cycle of poverty are finding hope once again because they can get the care they need to continue working and providing for their children. Almost all of the women who come to our clinic ask us to pray for them and many of them are deciding to follow Jesus. This past Sunday, we baptized an entire family at New Life because the mom found Jesus through the ministry of our clinic.

More Dream Centers are scheduled to open soon, including Mary’s Home, which is an apartment complex we are purchasing this Fall to provide housing and hope for homeless single mom’s in our city and county.  Stay tuned for more details on this and other Dream Center projects in the months ahead.

All of these ministries are big steps of faith for us. We believe the promises of Proverbs 19:17 and are praying and trusting for the funds to move forward. If you would like to donate toward either of these ministries, click here. I am so grateful for all the volunteers and staff who have labored with such love this past year. This is not easy work, but it is certainly rewarding to see lives changed and families restored.

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Move the Mountain

New Life Church has $23 million of debt, meaning each month, we spend more on debt than we send to missionaries overseas or to support the Dream Centers here in our city. The elders (our Super Committee) and I believe 2012 will be the year the mountain is moved.

In our weekend gatherings, I announced that we will receive a special offering on Sunday night, January 8th at the Dream Team party. This team is the core leadership of our church, including staff, elders and all of our wonderful volunteers and group leaders. We want to lead the way with a first fruit sacrificial offering.

Later in the spring, on Sunday, March 11th, the remainder of the church will have the opportunity to give in all three weekend services. I am so excited to see what God will do through the generosity of New Lifers.

The elders and I believe we are to set aside 10% of the offering for “right now” opportunities that may include Dream Center projects and other strategic ministries to our city. More details will come later, but there are some huge possibilities on the horizon, including the apartment complex for homeless single moms that I mentioned a few weeks ago.

The remaining 90% will go straight to debt retirement, allowing us, in time, to lower our payments and release more money into ministry. We have been told that if we could retire $3million, we could refinance at a better interest rate and a lower monthly payment. Of course, I do believe we can pay it all off, but sometimes the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Thanks for your prayers on this matter. I am so thankful for all the encouragement from New Lifers who have told me they have the same mandate and burden from God to see this mountain of debt moved. I am hopeful for what is ahead and grateful to be on the journey with each of you.

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The Sending Culture of a Healthy Church

I suspect most pastors would not want their kids to live in their house forever. At some point, the little munchkins need to move out of the basement and into a home or apartment of their own. So, if families are okay with sending their kids into the world to be productive adults, why are churches so reluctant to release their sons and daughters?

Every healthy church has a sending culture. In Acts 13, the leaders of the fellowship had been fasting and praying, when the Holy Spirit instructed them to send out Paul and Barnabas for a really important assignment. I imagine the leaders recognized these men were promising young leaders who could help them build a big church in Antioch if they would stay. But these leaders had something better in mind, something more eternal. I imagine Paul and Barnabas had already discussed their possible transition with the leaders and what we read in the scriptures was the beautiful result.

Leaders must allow their team to talk openly about transition, without the fear of being punished. We all say we are for the “kingdom” until one of our best leaders wants to leave for good reason, like a marriage. If the family is the mirror of the church, then we should celebrate when our sons and daughters are dutifully betrothed to another ministry assignment. Instead, most us treat Godly transitions like a divorce and make our teams feel shameful for even thinking of leaving.

The Antioch church was limited in their geographic knowledge, but they did rightfully discern that they were not the center of the spiritual universe. By releasing these two young men, millions heard the gospel, churches were planted, and the kingdom really did come to the earth. If they had refused to release them, I suspect most of us would have never heard of the church at Antioch.

I want the team I serve with to feel appreciated, protected and loved. I also want them to know that if God decides to use them in another city, church or country, I will stand alongside them like a dad. I will cry at the wedding, but I will also be glad they have moved out of my house and will soon be starting a family of their own. I can either be a grandfather or a divorce attorney – its my choice.

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Stories from the Dream Center

We are still a few weeks away from the public grand opening of our first Dream Center, but we are already hearing amazing stories from the women who are coming to the clinic. Our medical team began seeing a few patients about a month ago to get ready for the hundreds of women who will come once the public is made aware.

One of the first patients was a young lady who was out of work, sick, and really needed a miracle. A New Lifer told her mom about the medical clinic and she went there for help. She said afterwards, “I have hope, they really cared about me, they made me feel special. I had no idea there was such a place. The people were wonderful.”

A young, spanish-speaking lady showed up at the clinic and told us that she had never been to a doctor, ever. She had been sexually assaulted last year, but had never gone to a doctor for treatment. We were able to help her with blood work, annual exams, and gave her treatment for severe acid reflux.

Another young lady came to the clinic suffering from high blood pressure and was unable to get her prescriptions because she had been laid off from work. She was supposed to take her meds twice a day, but was only taking them a few times a week because she could not afford the refills. We were able to get her prescriptions filled for $4 a month.
All three of these ladies either wrote down additional prayer requests or asked for one of our volunteers to pray with them at the clinic. What a great opportunity to not only meet the practical needs of women in our city who would otherwise go untreated, but to also be a reflection of Jesus.
Thanks for all your prayers and support for this first Dream Center. I am so proud of the hundreds of volunteers who have made this happen. If you have not seen the clinic, join me for the grand opening on Sunday, July 31st from 3pm to 6pm. We will have more details later this month.
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What can we do to serve our city?

The first Dream Center is about to open, just in time to serve families in our city during the holidays. Read about your first opportunity to serve at the Dream Center as well as other possibilities to serve in the update below.

ONE(CAN)PAIGN

Local Ministries is collecting non-perishable food items. Check our donation trunks in the foyer for more details on the most needed items that we can give to bless families in our city. Please call Rina at 265-3180 if you have any questions.

NOVEMBER MONTHLY FOCUS
Teens are often times overlooked during donation drives. Let us show these students how much they are cared for this month by donating items that mean a lot to them. All donations will go to the kids at Carmel Middle School south of town at Christmas time. Donation bins are available on either side of the foyer outside the living room. On the donation bins you can find lists of supplies needed. Please call Rina at 265-3180 if you have any questions.

PASSING OUT THANKSGIVING BASKETS – NOVEMBER 18-20TH
It’s Thanksgiving time again, and we will be providing Thanksgiving Baskets to families in the Knob Hill area. We have three different ways for you to help us with this project. Option 1: Join us as we assemble the baskets of uncooked ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal at our new Dream Center location on November 18th from 1pm to 4pm. Option 2: Deliver baskets to the families on November 20th from 9am to 12pm. Please help us plan accordingly by registering at www.newlifechurch.org/outreach . Option 3: Sponsor a family Thanksgiving Meal anytime for $20 (please make checks payable to New Life Church with Knob Hill Baskets in the memo line). For more information please contact Rina at 265-3180

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Dream Centers Update

We may have found our first building for the Dream Centers we wish to open. It is a small first step, but I am super excited to get started.

The building is a two-story office complex in the geographic center of our city. I will give you an address once the elders and I finalize the lease. The building is being given to us rent free!

We believe we can open a free medical clinic on the first floor and begin marriage and family ministry for military couples on the second floor. Of course, both will be led by a coalition of volunteers.

We are still looking at other properties around the city that would allow us to meet the unmet and underserved needs in our community. We are also in the early stages of getting a separate 501(c)3 for the Dream Centers and talking to potential board members from the business, military and church worlds.

Thanks for praying with me. God is at work and I am grateful to be a part of what He is doing. Greater things are yet to come in our city.

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Dream Centers Update

We are really close to experiencing a huge miracle for the Dream Centers. There are several possibilities looming for us to get really large buildings donated that would allow us to pastor our city for decades. Remember, we are praying for buildings bigger than we think we need, ones that are better than we deserve and we are praying for them to be donated.  The aforementioned buildings meet all three requests.

Right now, we are meeting with the owners behind the scenes, asking a lot of questions and trying to do due diligence. One of the big issues is actually operating such a large building once it is given to us. It will require thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteers to even get rolling, but I am full of faith that God is directing our steps.

I am also meeting with leaders and pastors in the city who can serve with me on the board of the Dream Centers. As I have said before, the Dream Centers will not be owned by New Life, but will be operated under a separate 501(c) 3. I want to partner with other churches, business leaders and military leaders because the needs in our region are simply too big for us to tackle them alone.

Keep praying with me and be patient in this process. I know it seems like we have been waiting a long time, but believe me, once we open the Dream Centers, it will be all hands on deck to pastor our city. It is about to happen and God will get all the glory. Selah

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Dream Centers Update

Last week, the elders agreed to move forward and secure a building for phase one of the Dream Centers. We are actively meeting with local commercial realtors and ministries and should have some space soon to open a medical clinic and maybe space enough to begin offering ministry to our military families who are struggling. There are still several large buildings that could be donated to us, but while we pray and wait, we want to take a small step to launch.

Also, I want you to know that the Dream Centers will not be an exclusive ministry of New Life Church. It will be led by a coalition of churches, ministries, business leaders and military officials, all who have a desire to pastor our city. New Life will certainly lead the way, but it has always been my desire to see a group of people work together to meet the greatest needs in our city with no one caring who gets the credit.

Notice that I mentioned Dream Centers, plural, not singular. Many people are under the impression that only one big building will house all the ministries, but that is not the case. There will be multiple sites around our city with multiple outreaches all operating under the umbrella of the Dream Center board.  One central location is not sufficient to meet the staggering needs of our city.

So pray that we will launch soon, even if it is a small space. Pray for the resources, both financial and human, to begin well. Pray for a coalition of servant leaders to rally around this God idea. Most importantly, pray for thousands of people to rediscover the dream that God has placed inside of them.

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