Blessed and Impressed
"Our goal is to bless you – not impress you." This was one of the first statements we heard from Pastor Steven Furtick at THR3E in Charlotte, NC this week. To the credit of the entire Elevation Church team I can speak for anyone who attended by saying "Pastor, thank you for doing both."
The basic concept behind the event was for Pastor Furtick to pour out all he could from Elevation's first three years before they got too far away from the beginning. The very limited audience (capped at 150 participants) was treated to a month's worth of impartation in approximately 8 hours.
I'm not going to use the blog to re-hash the entire conference but I'm sure from time to time I'll unpack the lessons that hit home or I sincerely wish so many guys would hear.
Pastor started off the day with a great lesson on Elevation's Culture and Vision.
Some of my notes:
Audacity- There is a certain audacity to start something from nothing. You are in the same vein as our Creator when you want to start something from nothing.
Audacity is a spirit- not a set of actions.
Pastor spoke of the fact that you can't copy audacity. It has to come from within. Audacity comes from faith.
Audacity has to come long before your logo!
If you can’t talk someone into joining you- you don’t need a logo!
I thought this was a humorous but honest quote. So many planters want to look good before they can articulate their uniqueness and reason for being.
“My primary job is to speak something before it comes to be.”
Apart from the amazing teaching we received, the staff and volunteers of Elevation could not have been more kind and attentive. In our case we were greeted about 40 yards from the front door by a young woman with Krispy Kreme donuts and a gentleman who would act as our concierge for the day. He greeted us with kindness and walked us up to the venue and helped us get checked in. He then gave us a business card with his cell phone number and invited us to text or call him and he'd meet any need we had on the day.
While we didn't call John during the day it was an amazing gesture and we did hear of someone having their concierge bring Kristal Burger for them.
In addition to the great teaching, amazing hospitality and seeing friends, this conference was well worth the price of admission simply by the gift of a jump-drive they gave everyone in attendance. We were given several thousand dollars worth of forms and documents used to make Elevation Church go. The resources on this jump drive are amazing.
Thank you Elevation Church and Pastor Furtick for imparting into the lives of others.
Be More for B'More
So many amazing people read this site on the regular. This note is to you.
As you know, we're actively working to flip this city upside down with the Gospel. People all over this region need a church that is not afraid to do whatever it takes to reach people with the love of God.
We have so many exciting things planned for this Summer and Fall as we head into our launch in September. God has been gracious to us and we're pumped! We've had several mission teams come to town already and more on the way.
Our fund raising is going well despite the rocky economy we're all experiencing right now. God has again given us favor and while we've not reached all of our goals yet we are pleased with our progress.
With all of that being said, we'd love to have more churches, small groups and individuals get involved. Why not yours? Wouldn't it be cool for you to be able to say "I had a part in getting that church going back when it was nothing but a dream! I want that experience FOR YOU. God is building this church...no doubt. The cool thing is that you get to be a part of it! So let's get you on board. Your family, small group or church can make a huge difference while having fun at the same time!
Here's how you can help:
1. Download this PDF with several sites for you to check out.
2. Print the PDF off.
3. Show various people in your church: Small Group, Children's Pastor, Lead Pastor, Missions, etc.
I certainly appreciate so many of you following along as we launch a God-honoring church here in Baltimore... What I'm asking you today is to engage with us. Partner with us. Get your nails dirty with us.
Be More for B'More.
How You Can Pray
As we launch Captivate Christian Church we are so humbled to have so many of our friends around the country willing to pray for our efforts. If you could (as you read this) please pray for us in the following ways:
- Tally and Kristy to sell their house in Virginia Beach. Since November we've carried two homes and with the addition of our daughter in January lets just say that it's been a financial challenge. By God's grace we are not behind on anything but just to shoot straight with our friends, we need that house to sell.
- Captivate location- We have surveyed our area and haven't seen the right place yet. We are going to look again with a fresh set of eyes and now look for secondary options. Our ideal locations haven't fleshed out to this point. I'm believing we'll end up in a great space but we would like that to be nailed down soon. My internal deadline was Easter Sunday so while we're not very far behind our projections we certainly would like to nail that down soon.
- Fund Raising for 2/3yrs- We have a few potential partners walking through the necessary processes as they consider financial partnership. We can hit our goals if even 1/3 of them come through. Please pray for our fund raising efforts. If you're interested in contributing, feel free to visit our site here and follow the instructions at the bottom center of the screen.
- Staffing Positions- We have two positions I'd like to see us fill by the summer. You can pray toward that end.
- Small Groups- We'll start small groups here soon. Pray that God brings us those who He would use to grow this church and expand our influence. We don't want these small groups to become small churches but rather catalysts for all we'll do in the area.
Start with the Address
I'm in the middle of writing some letters to a few significant leaders. I've had the opportunity to meet these men and women recently so these are follow up letters and not "cold calls". Regardless, the content of the correspondence is heavy. The response to my letters could have an amazing impact on the vision God has given me for our ministry here in Baltimore.
You may not be writing a letter but you may have to have a conversation. Maybe you are wanting to write a book or letter of love to your spouse. No matter what your situation is you may be in need of accomplishing a huge task that gets your heart beating fast at the weight of what you are about to attempt. Let me give you a piece of advice. "Start with the address."
In life the biggest tasks are only started by the smallest of steps. A proverb I once heard is that the greatest of journeys starts with the first step. Or maybe you prefer to hear that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. No matter the analogy it's the same principle.
So today as I begin each letter I don't start with what I hope to say to the recipient. I don't start with the heaviest part of my letter. I start with the address. That part of the puzzle won't change. That part of the page is safe but vital. If I don't have the address written, the letter will surely not arrive.
What is that next task God has for you?
Why are you stalling?
You have to start somewhere. Just start.
In my case the words I hear in my mind are "Start with the address."
I was speaking with a new friend last week about this gentleman and his book called "Jesus Interrupted". Turns out that he was on Colbert Report this week.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
Cross Pointe Church at the Fudgery
The last two weeks have been an amazing whirlwind. I've been able to spend time with some amazing people and speak to nearly a dozen churches about potential partnership opportunities. I'm in a time of prayer for the right partners to join arms with us to reach our potential with TheBaltimoreProject. God has been so good thus far and I know He'll partner us with some tremendous churches.
One of the great churches that has taken an interest in our work is Cross Pointe Church of Duluth, GA. Cross Pointe is lead by Dr. James Merritt and as I've come to discover has a great team of people serving with him. This past weekend I spent time with two gentleman from Cross Pointe who were here to discuss partnership opportunities and logistics for TWO teams they are planning to send our way this summer.
We had a lot of fun together... below is a sample of what we got into.
The Web of Policy and Pastoring
As a Pastor I want to see people have an encounter with Jesus and see their lives change. As a product of Baltimore I want that life change to lead to an end of Generational Poverty as well. I've been blessed to see this sweeping change in my lifetime and it is my desire to take part in seeing thousands of other people encounter Jesus and have their lives changed by Him.
I have friends both in and out of the ministry who see no reason for Pastors to pay attention to what is done in other sectors of our world (government, business, health, etc.) and to be honest it saddens me.
Tonight I came across yet another example of a policy that could ultimately hurt the lives of the very people I want to Pastor. This example however is not an issue normally associated with 'the church'. It's a policy issue. In order to fix this issue the political process would need to be engaged.
Many of my peers however are becoming more and more accustomed to sitting out of the governing process in our country. That's terrible. Most of my friends point to Jesus and say that he wasn't involved in politics. I disagree on two levels. One, his very death and being passed around from leader to leader was certainly politics. Secondly he was not in a democracy. Government was not anything close to our form of participatory democracy.
From where I sit I believe it's up to the Church to have a voice on issues that concern the welfare of its people. Much of our city is in tough shape. They need all the help they can get. As the entire Christian influence walks out of the room it's up to those who don't know God to decide how to rule over both those who we call brothers and those who we're called to reach. Either way I believe we should speak up and add our voices to the key causes of harm to our people. If we're leaders we must lead.
Just a thought I wanted to get out there.
Mark Batterson has a great post over at Evotional.com that you should check out.
One of the ways I'm often drawn to God is when I study his creation. Romans 1:20 gets me to that place.
Check out Mark's Post on the earth and God.