Have the homeless become invisible?

This video was published on April 22 this year by the New York Rescue Mission. I thought it was a provocative approach to challenging our typical view of homelessness. Since April 22 it has been viewed over 2.7 million times. Which means there is a good chance you’ve already seen this. I commend this to you for 2 reasons: #1: to spread their message to you about homelessness awareness and #2) to spark creativity in how you are communicating your message.

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Tim Keller on Community & Millennials

I thought this was a surprising and insightful response from Dr. Keller. I think he brings up a very significant challenge for us as we lead the millennial generation towards a healthy practice of church family life. This came from Jefferson Bethke’s youtube channel. 

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The People of God: Empowering the Church to make disciples

People of God CoverBut you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2.9-10

I’ve been anxiously awaiting when I can tell you about the book I recently wrote. It’s titled The People of God and it is debuting this week at Together For the Gospel. The team over at B&H took a risk on myself and my good friend Trevor Joy and I am grateful they did. I am honored the book’s official release is at such a great conference like t4g. Oh, and one thing real quick…LOOK MOM!!! I WROTE A BOOK!! thanks guys, had to get that out. feeling better now.

For my part, this book is the fruit of 12 years as a part of the Summit Church Family who has loved on and invested into me and my family in so many deep and meaningful ways. The same is true for Trevor over at the Village Church, a true sister church to the Summit in every sense. His pastor Matt Chandler wrote the foreword, and my pastor & friend J.D. Greear wrote the afterword. Both Trevor and I now have the humble privilege of coaching churches around the world towards a healthy practice of making disciples in the local church. This book is the fruit of our time here in the trenches, hoping it will be helpful to other men & women down the line in their trenches of ministry.

In short, this book is a message of hope for the church. I know the church can be screwed up. I went through some messy church stuff growing up (an entire chapter is devoted to this problem). Yet the people of God remain the bride of Christ. We have been called TO something together. And I believe the church can be the family-on-mission God has designed it to be.

We worked hard to make this a practical theology for the church. That is, this book will discuss a theology of community, but then give you some very practical steps to take to implement that theology. I’m not gonna lie, now that it is in print and available for you to read, I’m a little nervous.

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Summit Cancels social media small groups

 

R.I.P. social media small groups. You lasted One glorious day: April 1, 2014.

Yes, yesterday’s post was a good old fashioned April Fools Hoax. While I enjoy the occasional social media surf, the Summit will not be launching online small groups. Danny Franks & I would like to thank those who played along to make this possible.

The Summit remains fully committed to face to face church family life. If we got you, and i know we got a few (one of our pastors even called me while deeply troubled by this around 5pm yesterday), maybe that was God’s way of stirring you towards leading a real in-person small group! You can begin that process today!

This was one of the best responses to an April 1 post I’ve had. Coming in second only to April 1, 2011: Advance Conference =dd’s U2’s Bono.

back to For-Realzies now.

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Summit Launching Social Media Small Groups

April 1, 2014 1 comment

 

 

With easter fast approaching, the Summit Church is rolling out a new initiative called socialMEdia™ Small Groups to connect more people into community at this critical time in their faith journey. To make this dream become a reality I’ve had the great privilege to work alongside one of my best friends in ministry, Summit Connections Pastor Danny Franks. We pulled together some of the genius tech minds in Raleigh-Durham (this area dominates in that category) who are members here at the Summit and shared our dream with them. Danny wrote the formal announcement for our church and I’ve copied portions of it here for you as well:

we know that getting into a small group is tough. Every month we see hundreds of people attempting to join a group, and the truth is, it’s hard to keep up. We want to have well trained group leaders, but training takes time. And time is something that prospective leaders and members just don’t have.

But one thing Americans (even American Christians) seem to have time for is social media. Whether you love it or hate it, most of us are tech junkies. We love our Twitter, our Facebook, our Instagram, and our MySpace (shout out to our 90′s brethren!). So last year several of our pastors asked the obvious question: Why can’t we do both?

Why can’t we increase involvement by CHANGING commitment?

Why can’t we lower the risk and give a better return?

Why can’t we – for lack of a better term – dumb down the process?

So that’s exactly what we did!
We took the best that social media had to offer and applied it to the fast paced lifestyle of the 21st century disciple. We worked with some of the best and brightest tech people out there to flush out the kinks in the system. We vetted the go-getters of the online community to build a new kind of community, and we think you’re going to love what you see.

Here is a bit on how it works:

Imagine: what if you could have all of the benefits of a small group without the difficult commitments? What if you could connect with your fellow disciples anytime, anywhere? What if you never again had to walk into a strange living room, endure a long and awkward prayer request, or risk rejection from a group that’s already gelled before you showed up? Maybe you laugh at those examples, but then again, maybe you’ve never had to face these realities.

socialMEdia™ Small Groups changes all of that. For starters, you choose the group that’s right for you. When the SMSG site launches, you’ll complete a profile that describes your preferences. You can tag your profile with any descriptor from seeker to serious, from dog lover to Democrat, from Lecrae devotee to Larry the Cucumber fan club president. From those tags and profiles, our database will run an algorithm that will generate up to ten social groups that might be right for you, much like E-Harmony or Match.com. You can pick one or several, and try them out at your leisure.

Some groups will meet weekly, much like our traditional groups. Others will meet at more random times: sometimes every other week, sometimes several times a day. Because there are no houses, childcare, and schedules to deal with , the sky is the limit.

GETTING STARTED.

socialMEdia™ Small Groups don’t officially launch until mid-May (just in time for your summer travels), but you can join the waiting list and fill out your profile starting today. Simply follow the link to get started.

 

 

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Gene Bartow, Joshua, & Risk

This January I gave a talk to our small group leaders on taking risks for the glory of God. The genesis of the talk came out of some personal conviction God was doing in my life through reading and meditating on Joshua Chapter 1. My lead pastor, J.D. Greear, posted the article on his site today and I hope you will take a look at it. J.D. takes great care to make sure he is constantly putting great resources out for his readers so if I were you I’d make that a regular stop on your internet cruise. Since you can read the article there, I’m going to do you a favor and show you a favorite movie scene that captures the tone (albeit not the theological underpinnings) of what I wanted to get across:

 

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Rend Collective: A fresh call to church life

February 13, 2014 Leave a comment

I was introduced to the music of Rend Collective just a couple of months ago. Today while listening to their music I came across their campfire experiment. I love it. Truthfully I want to give it a shot if some friends with some musical talent will join me. Who is in with me? God created us to be creative just like him. Fresh expressions of timeless truths will engage fresh generations. That’s where i want to live & interact. I’m grateful for this group and their love of the church. Below is their explanation of the campfire experiment.

 

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