Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Settling In...

After months of setting the foundation in place, The Mission is finally gaining some steam. We have introduced a number of new families into the fold and we're starting to think strategically about different ministry opportunities in the community. Still, the road ahead is long and winding. There's much to do in order for us to launch in September. Here are some specific prayer requests:
  • A space to call our own
  • Wisdom in developing a children's ministry
  • Continuing to build up the bank account
We still feel very confident that God has strategically placed this church in Dayton. Not because there are no other good churches in town. Quite the opposite in fact. There are plenty of good churches around Dayton. What is lacking among the local body of believers is a place for folks that resonate with a newer, more fresh expression of the church. A church that reflects the lifestyle of the emerging generations while still holding dear the essentials of historic orthodox Christianity.

I get asked all the time what kind of church The Mission is and if we're an "Emergent" church. I never know how to answer those questions. We're just a church. A local expression of the Body of Christ wanting desperately to live out the life of Christ in this community. Whether or not we fit into the mold of what conservative evangelicals from these parts perceive as "right", I won't make any promises.

I'm sure in the days ahead there will be many more questions. People in the buckle of the bible belt tend to take very seriously some of what I consider the negotiable aspects of our faith. Things like end times theology, miraculous gifts of the Spirit, women in ministry, "being saved", and a variety of other issues. Notice I said that these things are negotiable. Meaning, they are important, but there's also a lot of wiggle room. When taken to the extreme, these topics can tend to divide more than they unite.

Quite simply, we will not take a definitive stance on most of these issues. Not taking a definitive stand spells trouble for a lot of folks around here. When you don't lean one way or the other you risk being labeled liberal or new age. I think I'm OK with that as long as anyone with questions or concerns is willing to sit down and have a meaningful conversation before jumping to false conclusions.

I'm thankful that God has allowed me to serve in the two very different churches over the last 15 years. I still consider both "my church" and the relationships formed over the years continue to impact my life today. As a result, I believe God has given me a unique perspective of the common ground shared by all of those that love and follow Jesus. It is my hope, and The Mission's as well, that we communicate through our lives the glory that can be brought to God by living in unity on this common ground.

These are exciting days for our little church. We need your support as we forge our way through the tough beginning stages. Pray for us! Pray that God would meet our needs in the way He sees fit. Support us financially if He leads. Join us on a Sunday night if you're interested or have questions. All the info you need can be found at www.themissiondayton.org.

10,000 more blessings,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mission Update

Well, we set up a bank account! Man, there sure is a lot of paperwork and red tape to go through in order to set up a church. Our incorporation papers are being filed and we should start filing for 501c3 status soon. As you might remember, Carrie and I sent out support letters a few weeks ago, and the response has been amazing. We have received a little over $3800 dollars!!! If you are able to support The Mission, I encourage you to click here and partner with us on this incredible journey.

God continues to provide me with opportunities to build relationships with people I run into, and work with, at Wal-Mart. I had a great conversation with a lady just last night. Although much of what God is up to these days remains a little blurry, I think I'm starting to see some questions being answered.

On Sunday nights we are still plowing our way through The Gospel of John. The fact that he was most likely the oldest surviving eyewitness of Christ really does lend to the uniqueness of this Gospel. This week we will be tackling the difficult passages found in chapter 6 about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Sounds kind of shocking doesn't it? I would love it if y'all would share your thoughts with me about this passage.

Finally, Carrie and the girls will be joining me in Dayton this weekend for good. We will be moving into an apartment on Monday. After 7 months of living in other people's homes, we will be together again. I can't wait!!!

Continue to pray for The Mission and it's future impact on this little community. Our hopes and dreams of bringing a "fresh set of legs" to the body of believers in Dayton is becoming a reality. Much love to you all.