just like Devin, only different

Devin Hudson has a great post up about Choosing Who You Loose. In it he talks about intentionally choosing what you will talk about, or really how you will do church, in order to keep those who are really on board with the gospel essentials. I really encourage whoever in the world reads this blog to check out what Devin says, it’s pure gold.

Currently I too, even though I am simply building a core, am in the process of loosing people.

I have lost people who came and thought my preaching was too brash. I have lost people due to scheduling conflicts. I’m sure I’ve lost people who don’t like me or the style of the church. I have even lost people who have never come.

Most of this is due to the way we have set up church. Both the preaching and the service are designed to catch a certain group of people, and to let others go. I have been talking with my buddy Travis (also planting a church in Las Vegas) about this lately, and he has encouraged me to hold that line tight, and never compromise. One of my core convictions is missional leadership.

My idea of missional leadership is simple. As the gospel infects, and affects the people who come to DOXA, it should cause them to respond in kind. Respond in song, respond in tithes and offerings, and eventually respond through service. So if there is art to glorify God at church, it is becuase someone is painting in response to the gospel. If there are service projects, its becuase someone wants to love and serve in response to the gospel. I will not individually ask a single person to step up during this core phase, all I will do it preach and challenge from the pulpit. This is missional leadership becuase it is organic to the community. A church never has to worry about being culturally relevant if it is constantly engaging non-Christians with the gospel and challenging them to serve God with their lives as a response. If a church is doing this, then they will by default be reprensenting the gospel to their culture. For this reason I will never “bring in” a worship guy. No, God will raise him up from our community. This sounds all nice and great on a blog post, but how do you do church with no worship? The answer: you allow the hole in the service to be there so that a person is compelled by God to fill it.

The main reason for this is missional, but a secondary reason has to do with commitment. I don’t want a person to be committed to me, I want them to be committed to what God is doing through DOXA. If God calls them, they are serving him. If I convince them, well, I am no god to be worshipped or followed. THIS IS SO FREAKING HARD (especailly for those of us with Campus Crusade backgrounds, who individually challenge people like Jack Bauer interrogates people). See, this is intended as a filter. A filter to keep all the people God wants, and to let all the people God doesn’t want to fall through. Here’s the problem with that:

“THAT GUY WASN’T SUPPOSED TO FALL THROUGH GOD!”

That was what I said this afternoon, and have said it many other afternoons (mostly regarding the people who haven’t even come). I am stuck with the harsh reality that God picks teams much different than I pick teams. I would have had me wait until I was 35, had so and so do worship, and so and so do admin, have so and so do youth, and in roughly 21 years we would have seen Las Vegas repent, shut down, and do things the way me..I mean God wants. But see, God’s ways are different than my ways. He is picking his team not me, and really its my fault for deciding to do church in a way that would expedite that process. See I’m loosing people too, but unlike my friend Devin’s situation, they are not the people I would choose to loose.

Matt

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3 Responses

  1. Great post. This stuff is fun for me to read as I plod through my paper. Here is a few things I would like to hear your thoughts on. What do you define as a core group? How many is a core group? Then what happens after the core group? How do you share your vision with people as you explain this period of DOXA, especially those who have had much more of a spectator experience with church? Just a few things I think I would like to hear from you on.

  2. I’ll answer your questions in posts later.

  3. A church planter in Mississippi shared this nugget with us while we were at the Beeson Program in KY….”SWSWSW”…”Some will, some won’t, so what?”

    He didn’t say how much it still hurts.

    🙂

    But it sure helps to remember that God’s work never stops because others choose another course….as well as alleviates problems that might escalate later due to a mismatch!

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