Posts Tagged ‘missional living’

I ran across this tonight.  I’m astounded- in a good way!  See, not every big church pastor is interested in big buildings and big programs.

Several months ago I heard the story of the further missional directive of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California. They were set to spend $20 million on a new facility when teaching pastor Francis Chan said, “Nope.” He said he couldn’t in good conscience be the pastor of a church that spent $20 million on itself. He suggested instead that they build a much, much cheaper outdoor amphitheater and community park. And the multi-millions left over? He said they should give it away.

His board agreed. Several hundred reportedly left the church, so unnerved and inconvenienced were they by this decision. But Chan and his fellow ministers committed to giving away millions and millions of dollars. They said that one great message the outdoor space would send is that whenever it was too hot/cold/rainy/windy, it would remind those gathered that there were many people around the world who never have a roof over their head.
Furthermore, Cornerstone Church amended their budget to now give 50% to missions. Half of everything they receive goes right back out the door to the hurting, poor, starving, and dying.

It cost them to be extravagant in this giving (or prodigal…).  The folks who were all about the big programs and big buildings weren’t the staff in this case.  Not every church can build an amphitheater, but many churches can consider giving away lots more money and spending less on themselves (like Element is going to do).  Sounds something like Jesus, who impoverished himself to make us (spiritually) rich (2 Corinthians 8).  Smaller churches have a harder time doing this- as a small church pastor I know this firsthand.  There is not much fat in their budgets.  But as the church seeks to expand their giving it provides an example for the people as they think about their own finances.  We are easily caught in the trap- whether individuals, families, churches, businesses- of selfishness, thinking only of what benefits us.  Love considers what also benefits others.  And the result is compassionate ministry!

HT: The Gospel-Driven Church

Read Full Post »

The final section of Dan Allender’s The Healing Path calls us out of our individual journey to embrace the redemptive community.  Though God works in us as individuals, he also brings us into relationship with one another so we can growth through mutual ministry, and engage in mission.  We are not on the healing path for purely selfish reasons, but to love God and love our neighbor as Jesus has loved us.  This last section calls us out of our narcissism.  This is a message far too many of us need to hear.

“A radical life begins with the premise that I exist for God and for his purposes, not my own.  … A radical life has eyes and ears for the deepest purposes of God.  Yet to live for his purposes it not to forsake the passions and burden of our daily life; rather, we are to give them to him for his glory.”

The first is Christianity, as well expressed in the first answer of the Westminster Shorter Catchism; Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.  The second is the kingdom of me, where God exists to fulfill my agenda.  And when we are suffering, it easily becomes all about our agenda.

I often talked about this in my ministry at Good Shepherd/Cornerstone.  God is not asking us to add more to our list of things to do so much as seeing those things as part of his purposes to redeem people.  We purposefully & creatively engage the people with whom we interact that we might enter into their stories.


Read Full Post »