Spring break is here and it is 30 something degrees outside. I thought the whole idea of Spring break was to get a break from winter. Anyways, I will have to make the best of this week. In spite of the freezing temperatures I am fired up about what God is going to do North of Kansas City in the community of Smithville in the Spring and Summer of 2011. Things are about to get hot!!
I want to first start off by thanking everyone who has worked so hard over the past few months at North Lake to get us where we are at today. We couldn’t have done it without you. God brought together people from all walks of life, and created a force to be reckoned with.
What’s going on people! Man it has been crazy the last 8 weeks. I have been on the mission field of church planting North of Kansas City for the last 8 weeks, and God has been doing some awesome things. I just wanted to take a bit, and in an unorthodox fashion just pour out some of the things that are running through my head. These are in absolutely no order.
1. Church Planting is hard work!! If you are contemplating planting a church, you better check yourself. It may seem like the cool thing to do, but I promise you that if you are not CALLED you will fail, and fail miserably. Continue reading →
Today is the first day that I have even been able to sit down, and do a little bit of work on the ol’ PC since my transition to church planting. I don’t have an office set-up yet so I have been working at the local McD’s, but hopefully come the first of the week we will have a central hub/office for North Lake Church.
This has been a great change of pace. Over the past few months I have become so content in ministry. Nice office, nice church, nice group of people, and I found myself too comfortable with where I was at. It wasn’t until I started reading Steven Furtick’s book “Sun Stand Still”, that I started realizing that I was sick of settling for great when I can experience God’s best. I have stepped out in faith, and loving every miniute of it. The McDonalds saying “I’m loving It” doesn’t even decsribe the excitement, and adventue that I am experiencing right now.
The worst part about being on a spiritual high is knowing that there are some spiritual lows that are going to effect me just as powerful. It is important that as I begin this adventure that I am reminded that this is a whole new ball game. Not only am I on a different team, there are different rules, different opponents, different strategies, different rivals, but the same old adversary. It is like going from playing baseball to football.
The most important thing is that I am spiritually equiped for this (Ephesians 6). Time to strap up the helmet, put on the shoulder pads, and lace up the cleats. It’s Game Time!!
It’s amazing what happens when we get out of the “Christian Ghetto” and actually get around people who have zero interest in church. I use to pride myself on being connected to unchurched people as a pastor, but the truth is I was still viewed as a pastor when I was around those who didn’t attend or care about church. Because I was a pastor, that always skewed the way they acted around me. All that changed when I was simply Gary. When you move into an apartment complex and drive a big honking roofing truck, you are simply Gary, not Pastor Gary. That totally changes the way people act around you. You get real people doing real life in a real way.
99% of the unchurched/dechurched people in your community don’t even know your church exists. Maybe this isn’t surprising to you but it was to me. I was an arrogant prick as a pastor and I thought everyone knew Revolution Church. With all the direct mail pieces, all the signs we put out, the billboards we had, and the amount of people coming, I would have told you everyone knew who we were. After being around “regular” people the fact is they don’t think about church and because they don’t think about church they don’t notice that you even exist. Christians know you exist but non-church attending people have to much going on in their lives to even notice you are around.
Unchurched/Dechurched people could really care less how many people attend your church. I have heard Rick Warren say the only people who care about church attendance is you and other pastors. This is so true!!!! Those who don’t attend church were never impressed when I would say how many people Revolution had attending. They could care less. I actually think (I have no proof) they are more comfortable in a church around 250-300 people. Anything smaller feels awkward and bigger churches are often intimidating the first time you attend.
Unchurched/Dechurched people aren’t looking for a “cool” church, they are looking for relationships. Hands down, the thing that amazes me the most is how desperate people are for relationships. I see it in my apartment complex where you can tell people are looking to have someone to talk with but simply don’t know how. People hang out at the bars not because they want to drink (they can do that alone) but because they want to hang out with people. I’m not totally sure how the church can make this happen but I do know that forced friendship in things called small groups isn’t the answer.
Everyone has someone they look to for answers and guidance and most of the time that isn’t a pastor. When people are hurting, their lives are falling apart, and they need someone to be there for them, they turn to the person who has been there for them. Sadly, that isn’t their pastor or church staff in most cases. I joke that I spend more time “pastoring” people from my former church than I ever did when I was actually their pastor. I spent 5 years building and pouring into their lives and they turn to those that have been their before when their world is falling apart.
Financial Pressure is ruining people’s lives. Holy Smokes!!! It is amazing to me the financial mess people are in. I mean I kinda knew it when I was pastoring but there needs to be a financial revival in America. People are in bondage because of their finances. In my apartment building are people who use to make 6 figures and now live in $600 a month apartment. I’m more convinced than ever on the importance of the church hammering over and over the importance of learning how to manage finances.
Business World is way more ethical than the church world. I’m in about one of the most crooked industries around (roofing) and I have never seen the competitiveness, cut-throat, bad mouthing, and general unethical behavior that I see in the church world. I love what Andy says in Shawshank Redemption where he says he had to come to prison to be a crook. In some ways the church world is the same way. You want to see a pastor freak out, let a new church come to town or let another church start growing. They’ll smile on the outside but they are fuming on the inside. You would think it would be that way in the business world but that hasn’t been my experience at all. In the business world, I have actually had people way more willing to assist me, help me, guide me, and offer advice.
People need Jesus. After being in the “real” world for the last 18 months I am more convinced than ever that people need Jesus. I am more convinced than ever that the church needs to stop catering to Christians and get busy about the Father’s business. People are searching for answers and we have that answer!
Gary is on a path of restoration, and is passionately on fire for God. He has some valuable insight on church planting, and I highly encourage his blog: www.garylamb.org