Archive for June, 2006

Third annual camping trip

Third annual camping trip

Dave King of Ideajoy fame and I are hosting our third annual* camping trip. It is designed for Christians actively rethinking or reforming church who want together with people working through the same issues. In the past years I’ve met some fantastic people and made some good friends.

We hope to organize a couple of informative sessions or discussions

led by people who plan to come. If you are interested in sharing or

leading a discussion about a particular topic of interest let me know

and I’ll slot you in. This year I plan on sharing some the lessons

I’ve learned in my last 3 years of “organic” church planting.

It all takes my place at my family cabin in Chitek Lake, Saskatchewan. There is no base cost, just bring whatever food you want to eat. Chitek Lake is a nice

little resort town about 250km north west of Saskatoon.

Map of Chitek Lake (You’ll need to zoom out).

It all starts on Friday August 4th and ends on the Monday. If you

want to come just let me know by filling out my contact form. We will do our best organize transportation to make the event as accessible as possible.


The poor have the good news brought to them

The poor have the good news brought to them

One of the things I’ve grown concerned with is the trend towards a user pay system in the church. The local church conducts ministry and most of what goes on is accessible to all regardless of whether they have money to donate or not. However the more the church “farms” out its calling to para-church ministries the more people have to pay for ministry. Buy this book, buy this CD, buy this curriculum, go to this conference, enroll at this college etc…

A few years ago I was looking at the following passage.

Mat 11:3-5 NRSV

“and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. ”

The first items on the list are miraculous but the last is not: “The poor have the good news brought to them”. This was an integral part of Jesus’ role as redeemer. As we continue as His ambassadors I believe we should be walk the same way.

If someone doesn’t have the money to pay would they be adequately discipled?


House church comes to a close

House church comes to a close

Last week we had our last house church meeting. We invited some old members back for a fireside and spent time remembering what God has done. For some the last 2 years were more a pleasant part of the journey of life, for others it was part of something more dramatically life changing. For me it was the best church experience I’ve ever had. It had a rough start but the last year and a half were good.

I learned a lot of things. I learned that church doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it out to be. A church can be as a simple as a group of people committed to one another gathering to commune with God and explore the scriptures. Overtime we implemented tweaks to how we do things and added structure along the way. We tried lots of things that fell flat. That was ok because we weren’t trying to impress anybody.

Some people really impressed me. People you wouldn’t ever expect can sometimes surprise you if you give them a chance. I enjoyed hearing the voices of people you wouldn’t normally hear from in church. I enjoyed going beyond the clichéd Christian answers to everything and truly explore what an idea or particular scripture means.

I think this church worked as well as it did for as long as it did because there a number of people who were really open to new ways of doing church and hadn’t been active in an established church for awhile. There is a completely different mindset to this form of church. It requires a deeper level of commitment from everybody because without the participation of every one house church can be lame. If you take the very common passive church mindset and import to a house church it will fail miserably.

One of the sensitive issues with house church is kids. In the absence of Sunday School I felt the need to personally disciple my own kids. At first I was really scared because I didn’t know how to do it. It was kind of surreal because I have an accredited degree, I’ve interned as a pastor, I’ve interned as a bible college instructor and I wasn’t sure how to disciple my own kids. Once I got started I realized how much I loved it and how much my son loved it. I’m afraid the experience has kind of wrecked him because he never wants to go to Sunday School.

I’ve always had strong misgivings about Christian education and my recent experiences confirmed a few things for me. The most consistent worthwhile effective ministry happens in groups of 2 or 3. This is a thought I picked up from Neil Cole. Today most churches invest the most of their attention to the large group, next the small group and finally the “micro” group. I think it should be reversed. We place the most effort in the form of ministry that is the least effective. To change that people have to overcome their fear and their laziness and being willing to minister to each other. There is a lot in scripture about ministering one to another and I wonder if it isn’t being considered strongly enough.

Why did the house church come to a close? There were a number reasons but I think the main one was it was time. I and others sensed that the main purpose for the group had come to a close. I was already planning something different for the fall. Some people were going through major life changes that had shifted their priorities.

Now I’m thinking through the next step. In each church experience I learn new things. I definitely plan on taking what I’ve learned and planting a new church in the not too distant future.


Conky Returns!

Conky Returns!

Last night there was a terribly tragedy. I was set to watch last night’s hockey game at a house with a 52 inch HDTV and surround sound with a BBQ and a bunch of great guys. Just before everything really got started I noticed I couldn’t bring up my blog. I had to rush in to the city and figure out what had happened. My battery backup power supply had failed. All it took to solve the problem was plug my server and firewall in to the wall. Alas I missed watching Carolina’s fantastic comeback and Oiler self-destruction with a bunch of people cheering for the Oilers. It was a glorious opportunity missed. I tend to thrive in such hostile environments. I knew the Oilers were done when I saw Ty Conklin go in net. They are done like DINNER! Go Conky!