Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'll Take the Coffee

From one basement to another. I moved in with Mike Armbrust and his family on Monday of this week. I'm living in his basement with my own bathroom, a pool/ping-pong table, pinball, a piano, a guitar, a 37 inch LCD TV with dish, two couches, a queen size bed, and very fast wireless internet access. I'm really suffering for Jesus. Along with that I am finally getting to hang around some people my own age. Mike has two sons still at home. Wes is 19 and Zach is 18. So it has been fun getting to know them. The other day I went to Toco Bell with Wes and his girl friend. So I was the third wheel, but I'll take whatever contact I can get with someone who isn't married with 2 kids.

On the ministry side of things, I've been going to meetings with Mike and chatting with him about how he got into ministry and the do's and don'ts of church planting. He's got me reading this book entitled Starting a New Church by Ralph Moore. The first part of the book was really good, because it focused in on what it takes to be a Church planter, which speaks directly to my internship, but the last bit of it has been harder to relate to because it's kind of the how to's of church planting, which is valuable but a lot farther into things than I'm going to get this summer. Nevertheless it will probably be a great resource later on in life.

As I continue in this internship I really feel like God is leading me in this direction, and it would be really easy for me to jump the gun. I am eager to get started in some ministry, but I also really see the value of finishing my degree. Mike gave me a good word about this. He's said that it is always good to practice contentment. He said, "you're 20 so be happy being 20. Don't try to be 25 or 30 or 15. Do what a 20 year old should do and enjoy it because you're only 20 once." Basic wisdom, but it's great to be reminded of that every so often.

Today we met with a group of local pastors for prayer. I had know idea what I was getting myself into, which was probably a good thing. We met at The River Church (Mike's church), which is in down town Farmington, to pray for Farmington. I soon found out that we would be walking around the town to pray for it. I was ok with this. I can walk the streets and pray for a city. So we started walking and proceeded to enter a pizzeria to pray for the business and the employees. We weren't going to just pray for Farmington in our little group of pastors; no, we were going to pray for the businesses, the owners, and the employees specifically pulling them into our prayers. We were out to evangelize via prayer. It may sound as if I am against this, which I am not, but it is definitely out of my comfort zone and to be honest I was a bit skeptical of it. It ended up being a great experience. We went into the city council building and met with the city administrator to pray for him and the city. His reaction was interesting. We told him what we were doing and then asked him if he had any specific prayer requests for himself or for the city. He gave them to us and then we asked him if we could pray for him. He paused for a moment, the short silence was a bit awkward, and then said, "well I firmly believe in the separation of Church and State and so I can't ask you to pray, but I'm not going to throw you out if you choose to do so either." We were alone in a conference room. Really, separation of Church and State? So we proceeded to pray for him and then left. We also went into this senior center and talked a bit with the receptionist. We asked her if we could pray for her specifically as well as for the senior center and her reaction was priceless. She had no idea of what to say and no desire for prayer and so she turned to the separation of church and state as well and said that she wasn't supposed allow solicitation in that building. We assured her that we weren't soliciting anything but that we just wanted to pray a blessing on her and this business. "well," she said, "you're welcome to pray in the building if you want, but I'm pretty busy and need to help Ruth. (another receptionist)" So we prayed in there and then left. Then we went to an Edward Jones financial office and talked to John. That was a positive experience. We told him what we wanted to do and he was more than excited to receive a blessing on him and his business. He was a believer. It was definitely and interesting morning. I was surprised and how people were so opposed to prayer. Also I was a bit uncomfortable with one of the Pastors tactics. He was very in-your-face talkative, if that makes sense? One of those types that tries really hard to force conversation on strangers. He definitely struck up a lot of conversations, but I could tell a lot of people were uncomfortable with it and maybe received a bad taste in their mouths from the interaction. I appreciate his heart, but I wonder if that's the best way to bring about believers. Christians already have enough bad stereotypes. It's great to be bold and zealous for Jesus, but it's also important to have a certain amount of tact and intuition when evangelizing. Body language is 90 percent of all communication and this pastor would do well to pay more attention to it. Although his style made me a bit uncomfortable, I could learn a thing a two from him. I tend to hold back and at times I wonder if that's because of a fear of man and looking stupid or freakish. With all that said, I still think it's possible to be bold in my faith and share the Gospel in a zealous way that is personable and nonabrasive. There is a time (usually within an established friendship or christian fellowship, not with strangers) to bluntly ask, "what can I pray for you about," and a time to sit down with a person over coffee and discuss the struggles that life is throwing their way. I think I'll take the coffee. People don't care what you know until they know how much you care. Having said that, walking up to a stranger, giving them your name, and then asking for their prayer requests seems a bit off base. A better route to the same end would be engaging in a conversation and steering the conversation gradually towards the eternal, maybe ending with a prayer using the information that you gathered via asking good questions. Different strokes for different folks I suppose. God works all things for good and those who do not oppose us are for us. So although this was not exactly my cup of tea, God can still use it, but like I said I'll take the coffee.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Basics?

This morning began like every other morning this week. Willie and I got up at about 7ish and headed to the coffee shop down the street. We sat around a table for a while, I had a coffee and a bagel, and chatted with one of the regulars named Jim. It was just casual conversation for about 30 minutes. Then Willie met his cousin and his fiance there to do some marital counseling. So while he was doing that I remained at the table with Jim and steered the conversation to a more spiritual focus. I questioned Jim about His faith and beliefs. Then ensued a hour and a half long conversation. Jim explained that he is part of this sweat lodge. He was adopted and raised by Native Americans. So over the years he has adopted what he calls "the basics". These basics he referred to I gathered to be his hodgepodge conglomeration of "truth" that he has selected from Native American religion, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. I really challenged him and questioned how he managed to set the standard for what he could select from these religions to be truth. We talked, or rather he talked and I listened, at times poking holes in what he was saying and then allowing him to rebutle and essentially talk himself in circles. Never in my life have I ever felt such a wide variety of emotions from a single conversation. It was extremely frustrating because I couldn't straight out tell him he was wrong without ending the conversation. So I listened and question and got absolutely no where. It was humorous at times to see him respond to my questions and completely sway from one idea and then refute himself in the next. Most of all it was sad. As I sat there and listened to Jim I began to really connect with the sense of sorrow that Jesus shared at the end of Matthew 23. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." Jim was completely content with his beliefs. He believed in a "supreme being," but he said he wasn't willing to commit to anything more than that because "how can you really know?" Jim didn't want the truth because with that truth comes responsibility. If he really committed, even if not to Christianity he would have a responsibility to adhere to the teachings. At the end of our conversation he said, "you know I could be wrong and I guess that means I'm going to hell, and so what."

I realized more today than ever that it is not my job to save people. I had some great apologetics and asked some really solid leading questions that according to the books I've read should have lead this guy to the right answers. God is the only one who can save Jim and anyone else for that matter. God has to lift the veil, sometimes he might choose to use me to help and sometimes it's just planting seeds.

It really broke my heart to see the deception that Satan has seized Jim with. For instance He prayed to spirit guides (justified by Catholics praying to "saints" and his native american background) and believed that we have power within ourselves to bring about healing. There were all kinds of things that were complete lies from Satan that he latched on to. It was a tough conversation for me to hold my tongue in. I left that coffee shop with a new sense of awe and thankfulness for the grace that God has showed me that I may know his truth. I could just as easily have been sitting in Jim's shoes on the opposite side the the table if it were not for the Grace and Mercy of Jesus that I may know him.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Standing on Giants!

A wise man once said, "great men stand on the shoulders of giants." Don't ask me who that wise man was because I couldn't tell ya, but one of my good buddies at school shared this with me when I first got to Taylor as a young freshmen and it's really stuck with me ever since. I love this quote because I love to read and I really see the value in reading. It gives people the capability to walk in others' shoes and see many different perspectives. I've seen the truth in this quote lived out in guys' lives like Jay Kesler and the men of Crossroads. They are all very well read and what I would consider to be great men. It saddens me to read statistics like 80% of Americans last year neither bought nor read a book. No wonder our nation is in the state that it is in. Anyways that's my rant on reading. Thanks for listening. Tonight this quote took on a bit of a new meaning for me. I've always thought it was a reference to reading, but as I sat in on Willie's small group tonight I realized that it is also applicable to Christian fellowship. I met a woman named Jane tonight who was probably in her mid 40's. Jane has five children. One is a Doctor, one is a recovering meth addict who's done time in jail and recently relapsed, and another one (her youngest) had leukemia, part of her legs mowed off by a lawn mower and suffered seizures from a peach sized tumor in her brain. Jane is also divorced. Apparently her husband loved money more than her. At Jane's last church a woman told her that none of these things would be happening to her if she would just pray more. Remind ay of Job's friends? Anyways so Jane was sharing all of this with me and she finished by saying, "Dontcha know, Satan is out to seek, kill, and destroy, but I'm not going to let a few little problems like these get in between me and God because he is so good and faithful, and I wake up everyday so thankful for what the Lord has done for me and all that he has blessed me with." Wow! So now I'm on the verge of tears and astounded at this woman's faith. Jesus talked about the faith of a mustard seed can move mountains and I always thought He was referring to literal mountains, but as I listened to Jane I realized that she had, with her soy-bean-seed-sized faith, cleared her path to God by moving some serious mountains like a divorce, wayward children, and leukemia. I know that this internship was supposed to teach me the methodology of planting churches and I am learning a lot in that area, but more so than that God is helping me climb on giants' shoulders. My faith, trust, and confidence in Christ is growing stronger daily via Christian fellowship. C.S. Lewis, Eugene Peterson, Thomas Kempis, A.W. Tozer and the other great authors and spiritual giants are no longer the only shoulders that I want to stand on. God has allowed me to come and see bits and pieces of His Kingdom being worked out and it's awesome. I commented a little bit of this to Willie and he said really that's all you need to plant churches, strong faith. Maybe God is preparing me for something like this?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crazier than a bed bug!

And I’m off again! Well I was home for about 6 days. I had some time in the office to catch up with the guys, work on my sermon, sit in on some church plant stuff with Wes and help out a bit with a funeral. It was a good week. I got to see my friends and talk with Logan a little bit about his trip to Jamaica, which was great. It was so good to hear about the seeds that he and his team were able to plant over there and listen to the growth that he experienced in his faith. So my time at home was very relaxing.

Now I’m on the road again. I’m currently staying in a town that I can’t particularly remember the name of currently, but it’s right outside of Cannon Falls which is where one of the three church plants is that I’m going to be checking out while I’m up here. Mike Armbrust picked me up from the airport today in his stylish jeep wrangler with the top down. I rode with Mike back to his house and had lunch with him. While we were at lunch I asked him how he and his wife met. I’m kind of a romantic and so I always like to hear how people got hooked up. His story was very interesting and I think you all will enjoy it because it’s a bit unconventional. It may be one of the most odd and awesome stories that I’ve ever heard. Are you ready for me to tell it yet? Good! So Mike was doing campus ministry at the University of Minnesota where he and some of his friends decided to make a commitment that they were no longer going to date any girls. They would be friends with girls, but they kissed dating good bye. (like my cheesy Christian book reference?) They were fed up with the way America was doing dating and so they decided to place their trust in God. Later then, Mike was out in the woods praying and fasting and he said he heard a voice, apparently audibly but not with his ears (weird right? That’s what he thought), telling him that he was going to marry Debbie whom he said he knew as good as he knows me. So he thought that’s just like Satan to try and tempt me with this girl while I’m trying to pray. So he rebuked that thought in the name of Jesus, but the voice came back and said the same thing again. So he rebuked it a second time and then there it was again. Mike said that he knew that he had power over Satan and so it must not be him. He concluded that it must be God. Mike kept these thoughts to himself, but started to pray that if God truly wanted him to marry Debbie, He would bring it to pass. He then told his pastor about it and his pastor simply asked, “if God can talk to you don’t you think He can talk to Debbie as well?” So Mike started to pray that if it was God’s will He would tell Debbie (good move Mike!). He went on and said that one night while Debbie was studying for finals she kept thinking about marriage and finally she broke down and prayed that if God really wanted her to get married He would show her. Well right after that she, herself, audibly said “Mike Armbrust” again who she knew only very little. She then went to the Pastor’s wife and told her about it who then told Mike. So one night after church Mike asked Debbie if he could talk to her afterwards. She said yes and so they went for a walk and Mike asked her to marry him and she said yes, and they were married within 3 months!! They have been married for I think he said 20 some years and they have 3 kids. Crazy! I thought that was a very cool testament to God’s faithfulness and provision if only we are willing to place our trust in Him.

So I did lunch with Mike and then went back to his house where I met Bill Davis and his wife. Bill is an ex-bank robber who was sentenced to prison for 9 years. He lived in a cell next to Charles Manson! Anyways to make a long story short, he was converted and now he travels the world sharing his testimony and speaking to people. He and his wife live off of a little support from people, love offerings, and faith. Neat people! I hung out with them and Mike for awhile until Willy showed up. Bill described Willy as “crazier than a bed bug, but rock solid for Jesus.” (that gives you a little picture of what Bill was like as well as Willy.) Willy is one of the church planters who works with Mike. Willy picked me up from Mike’s and showed me around Cannon Falls where his church is and then we grabbed a bite at the local coffee shop and now I’m just chilling in his basement. He seems like a really great dude. It looks like I’m in for a treat up here in Minnesota as well. I’m not really sure what God has in store, but I’m excited. It’s going to be a great learning experience again and I get to meet a lot more sweet people. Good stuff!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Setting Sail

The past three days have been very good. Friday the Knowles and I went to Portland to Fort Williams on the coast where there is a light house and some other stuff. We walked around the coast for a while and the kids played on the beach. Then we went to we went to the mall because Pam needed to buy a dress for her piano recital that she is hosting. So we went to the mall and I helped her pick out something fashionable. Just kidding, although I am very fashionable, Tim and I decided it would be better to go play with the kids at a playground while Pam went in search of her dress. After that we headed back to South Paris, put the kids to bed, and soon afterwards I went to bed. I was downstairs in my room hanging out before Talia had gone to be and she came down special to give me a hug. It was precious.

On the church plant side of things, I asked Tim earlier that morning what the Organic Church should or would look like in 50 years (that was the last of the “twenty questions” that I had written up to inquire about). Tim said that it is hard to maintain this structure if the church body gets too large, but he said that the main thing is that you need to fight the desire to take control. Pastors often becoming managers and take over all the programming and what have you. Tim said that you need to fight the tendency to take those things over and force/encourage the lay people to step up and use their gifts. For instance, there was a lady here at Moss Brook who wanted to start a lady’s ministry. So she came to Tim and said, “Hey I really want to start a lady’s ministry.” Tim said that was great and that she should go ahead and do it. Well, a couple months later nothing had happened and this same lady went to Mike and said the same thing. Mike told her that was great and that she should go ahead and start it. Again, nothing happened. About six months after that this lady called a meeting with her and the pastors and complained about how she didn’t feel like they were supporting her. Tim told her that they had their full support, but that they weren’t going to put their energy into programming a lady’s ministry. He said that God had given her a passion for that not him. There still isn’t a lady’s ministry at Moss Brook and it would be really easy for Mike and Tim throw that on their to-do list, but they don’t. Tim explained that God gifts people for certain things and gives them passions for certain things. He believes that if God made that lady passionate about lady’s ministry she should be the one to put it in motion. This may sound harsh, but it puts responsibility for ministry back into the lay peoples’ hands. As far as what the church is going to look like in 50 years, Tim didn’t have a whole lot to say about that except that he thinks it’s important that we ask that question of every church system in place and not just this style. Although he did say that he thinks it’s possible to keep it this simple by being intentional and focusing on duplication instead of growing the congregation.

Saturday was very chill. Justin came down and woke me up at 8:20. He rode into my room on his big wheel trike and said, “Levi are you sleeping?” Haha! Kids. Anyways, so I helped Tim set up their pool and tried to avoid getting splashed by the munchkins. Then at noon the Knowles took me to a Tim Horton’s somewhere where we said good bye and they handed me off to Steve and Ann. We got to their house in Gardiner and then went on a bike ride down a scenic river trail. We had dinner and then I read some and talked with them about their kids, politics, and the church.
Today then we had church in Steve’s home. It was basically a bible study lead by Steve. There was a man named Joe who came and brought his family. Joe is a Christian but his wife is not. So that was interesting to have her here with us. She was very nice but didn’t say much when we were going through the passages. She seemed to be very comfortable though and I thought and Steve said she’s been coming for a little while with Joe and she’s starting to ask some good questions. After church then we had lunch and then went to Boothbay Harbor where we went sailing on a double masted schooner. Very cool! We sailed around the Atlantic for about 2 hours. There were many small islands and it was very scenic. Quite a way to conclude my time here in Maine.

As we were sailing the Captain explained that he had circumnavigated the world 2 times and that when you sail, you never go the same way twice because the wind depicts where you are going. Forgive me for the cheesy analogy, but I couldn’t help but relate that back to what I’ve witnessed up here. The Holy Spirit is blowing in a different direction than what I’m used to in relation to how church is being done, but the outcome remains unchanged; disciples are being made. It seems that a church planter and sailor are very similar in that the destination is always in view, but the wind is determining the path they take to get there.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Horticulture + Geo-Survey = Relationships

What up! So yesterday I hung out with this 65 year old man named Don Winkla (actually Winkler) a.k.a Winks. He is an ex-CEO of some technology business. If you’re familiar with principle of birth order and it’s affects on personality, Don is a classic only child. He is very driven. He is list oriented and very personable. He’s also a visual learner and really fond of the white board as I soon found out. Don’s title at Moss Brook is Outreach Coordinator. To start our morning we went to a corner store and got some coffee. We were there for about 15 minutes and Don talked to everyone he saw. Some of them he actually knew and had developed a relationship with and others he hadn’t. After a short while we headed back to the office and straight to the white board for my first lesson of the day. Don walked up to the white board on drew a big question mark. Then he said, “This is what people are thinking when you first talk to them. You’re job is to push that question mark off to the side and develop a relationship. You do that by selling them yourself via body language aka a smile and firm hand shake and then you ask them lots questions, because what person doesn’t love talking about themselves.” Then he said, “Later with the help of the Holy Spirit you introduce them to the….scribes….cross.” After this he told me to make a list of everyone that we met. So I wrote down: Lisa, Kelly, Talkative girl, Bicycle guy, Sheriff, Mustache guy, Old guy, and Construction Worker. Don then proceeded to point out that we were only there for 15 minutes and we had made eight opportunities for relationship. Then he said, “What down what God has gifted you with Levi.” So I wrote down: discernment, teaching, people person, leadership, and service. “Now what’s your mission today?” he said. To which I replied very Sunday schoolishly (it’s a word I promise), “Umm… ministry.” We laughed a little bit and I was actually pretty close, but Don explained that my goal for the day was simply to be used; I was supposed to look for ways in which God could use me and the gifts that He has given me. From the white board we went to several different places doing various things. We went to look at a Shelby GT 500, talk cars with a salesman and visit with him. We went to a track and walked with a Sheriff whom Don was mentoring. We took some plant boxes to a landscaper named Phil and talked horticulture, which actually was very interesting. (Google blooding heart they’re a neat little plant.) We went to the Lost Gull, a sea food restaurant, where we had some clam chowda and talked with an elderly couple we randomly met. Finally we concluded the day by playing some cribbage (a board game that Mainers love) with a guy about my age named Travis. It was an interesting day and it was neat to see the people that Don connected with and the ways he was used by God. Don connects with people that Mike and Tim cannot because his personality connects with different people then Tim and Mike. Lesson: Mission of the day equals to be used. Good stuff.

Today then was very low key. I went with Tim and Jeff to Portland where we did some surveying in the woods for some road work that they are going to do. We traipsed in the woods for 4 hours with an Engineer and a surveyor. Then we went to Famous Dave’s for some Pork BBQ. It was a normal day in the work force, but it’s days like those where Tim is able to deepen preexisting relationships (Jeff) as well as build new relationships and network with business folks like Wayne and Candy (Engineer and Surveyor). Lesson: Intentionality, Relationships, and Networking. Tim is intentional about not spending too much time in an office. He has a “tent-making” ministry where he works to help support his ministry and as well as uses his work to build relationships and network (a little BAM (business as mission) for ya).

Tonight then I went to Mike’s for dinner and met Tom and Denise. We had a huge turkey dinner and good conversation. This was yet another example of Christian fellowship. I have been amazed and extremely encouraged at the way in which Christ bonds believers together. I’ve only been here for like 6 days and I feel like I’ve known some of these guys for a long time already. You read about the brotherhood of believers in the Bible and it has been way cool to really see that come to life. Anyways, so we had dinner and it was good and then I walked back up the hill to Tim’s house where I caught the last half of their camp fire and Talia before she went to bed. It has been such a blessing to hang out here at the Knowles house hold. Tim and Pam have a great marriage and two incredibly cute kids whom I have become extremely fond of. It’s been really great to see Tim and Pam together as well as watch them parent their kids. Watching Tim manage his ministry with his family has been invaluable. Tim said that his family always comes first. His role is to look after his family. God is looking after the Church.

Tomorrow, we, meaning me and the Knowles, are headed to the coast to do some touristy stuff and spend probably our last day together. Saturday I leave to spend the rest of my time here at Tim’s brother, Steve’s, house. It has been an incredible experience thus far and God has blessed me with some really great company! It was a bit uncomfortable coming up here not knowing anyone, but God was so faithful and now I’ve made some pretty sweet new friendships and learned a ton as well. God is good!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Life of a Church Planter!

This phrase has become me and Tim’s joke. Tim’s life is very unscheduled and he has his hands in a lot of different things. You could say that he wears a lot of different hats. One minute he’s having a phone conversation with someone about Sunday morning’s message and the next he’s grocery shopping and picking up diapers. His schedule doesn’t look much like a schedule and he pretty much flies by the seat of his pants. It’s a very flexible this thing he has going here, and at times hectic. Sigh! The life of a church planter.

To truly get a feel for what I’m talking about let me give you a rundown of my last two days. Monday, June 1: I woke up around 8:30 showered, made my bed, did my devos, had some breakfast, and watched a John Deere (or as the Mainers say it John Deea(r)) movie with the kiddos. Then at 10:30 Tim, Mike and I drove about 30 minutes away to a Tim Hortons where we met up with Steve. There we joked and talked about chocolate, food, and ministry. Our conversation revolved around a book entitled Organic Leadership, which happens to be the sequel to Organic Church. We discussed the role of the Pastor within the church and how we need to be careful not to spoon feed the congregation making them dependant but rather help them to be self feeders. We also talked about the importance of releasing control of ministry to God. Tim said that the Holy Spirit is fully capable to teach people without any help at all and told a story of his time in Bolivia where he ran into a man who was living alone outside of a village because he had been shunned. He had been shunned because he had found a New Testament and become a believer solely by reading it. This man was actually ministering to neighboring villages and cults and he had never been instructed by anyone. So Tim said that we don’t place enough trust in the Holy Spirits ability to teach, but Steve reminded him that God also chooses to work through humans. We decided that they were both right and the two ideas should be held together in cooperation with not against each other. We also discussed how Jesus made it difficult to follow him and how that should relate to the way we disciple and do “seeker friendly” services. Mike pointed out that in the Gospels when a large crowd starts to gather Jesus starts making things difficult. He either starts speaking in parables or says things like “sell all your things and follow me,” or “deny yourself take up your cross and follow me,” or “follow me and leave the dead to bury their own.” After Jesus said these things the crowds would dwindle and he would again begin to teach. We thought there was maybe a lesson in there somewhere. Finally we talked about the right process for planting a church which Tim said should be first making disciples; second, giving them a mission; third, doing service together and in the community and eventually the outcome is a church. After that 2 hour discussion Tim and I headed back home to watch the kids because his wife teaches Piano from 2 to 5 on Mondays and Tuesdays. So we picked them up and then went to the bank and Wal-mart. Ah, the life of a church planter. Then we made dinner, flew some kites, and had a camp fire. Good stuff! That was Monday.

Today: Well I went to bed yesterday at 9:30 to prepare for today. We left Tim’s today at 5:00 (in the a.m.). I tried to get up at 4 to shower and stuff but I may have shut my alarm off and so I ended up getting up at 4:55. We were on the road at 5. Ah the life of a church planter! We had to drive over to Gardener (Gadenea(r) again with the Maaaine accent.) for a small group at 6:30. It’s about an hour drive. This group is one of the simple churches. It’s a group of about 20 guys. It was a smaller crowd today. Richard and Chet are veteran believers and then Steve are three years new, Jeff is 2 years, and Randy and Pete are a little under a year. Tim and Steve were also there. We went through the 28th and 29th chapters of Proverbs. We joked and chatted about life and how the truths we read related to us today. We did theology. It was great. It was simple but life change is happening from it. I asked Tim afterwards where these men went to church and he said that they went all over, but for some of them this was there church. Good stuff! Pete and Randy (the new guys with the help of Steve) actually started another group that meets on Thursday nights in a Biodiesel plant that is similar to this. Less than a year old Christians started a small church! Steve (one of the pastors) has been there to be their Paul and guide and direct them, but they brought the people. They made more disciples from their circles of influence. That’s organic church being worked out. It’s all about simplicity and growing faith where life happens.
After small group, I went with Tim to McGee Construction where Tim is a “Business Consultant.” I soon found out that Business Consultant pretty much just means “Business Pastor” and “Conflict Resolver”. Steve (not the Pastor, but the three years old Christian who owns McGee Construction) hired Tim to be his, as he said, personal coach. So I sat in on a meeting with Tim and Steve discussing business management everything from personnel cuts to employees’ roles and responsibilities. It reminded me vaguely of my time as an intern under Nate last year where I would go into Nate’s office and go over what I was going to say at group that night or how to handle a certain situation. After that meeting I got to go sit in the truck for an hour while they had their staff meeting and confronted some issues. I used that time to do some reading and get started on my sermon in Ruth. Again, the life of a church planter.

Well I’ve been up from 12 hours now and it’s only 4:30. I’m about to have some pulled pork and then Mike is coming to pick me up to go to with him to his small group (at Tim Hortons, which I’m becoming quite fond of that place) where we are checking out John 20-Acts 1. After that I’m headed to a planning meeting with Mike and Tim to talk through Sunday morning. Then I’ll be back here to hang out with the kiddos, Tim and his wife and then probably hitting the sack early because we’re starting at 6 tomorrow. Oh joy! :)

The life of a church planter!