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city church. so much more

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From the beginning of the church in Acts 2, the gospel went out to the nations. After a short period of time, the believers were scattered and the gospel went again to the nations in Acts 8. Undoubtedly, God’s plan for the nations is essential for the city church. Whether a church is the oldest, most traditional church in the community or the newest church plant, it is part of God’s plan to be about taking the gospel to the nations. The city church is blessed with the calling to take the hope of Christ to its community and beyond.


When considering the scope of the call for the city church as she seeks to live sent, it may prove helpful to have thought about what did and did not happen in Scripture. If God’s desire was only for a small, homogenous group to live in obedience to Him, the Old Testament would have been significantly different. For example, no mention or model would be found in Melchizedek. Neither Ruth nor Rahab would play a special role. The Ninevites would be left to their own devices and certain peril. Other altered stories would have included Balaam, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius.

If His plan was for only a select number from one ethnolinguistic people group in one geographic area to walk in the transforming love of Christ, then the New Testament would be radically altered–even more so than the Old Testament. If God’s desire was not for the nations, then Jesus would have dismissed the woman at the well, the Syro-phoenician woman, the Roman centurion and the thief on the cross. He would not have pointed to a good Samaritan as the hero in the story….

(this is the start of a chapter posted on reproducing churches.com’s discussion of City Church. Check out the whole piece and the other contributions on City Church starting on Sept. 22. They are all worthwhile!)

Categories : church, missiology
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the world would notice

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Pure religion is practical, straightforward and non-negotiable–care for orphans and widows. James records these instructions as the clear outcome of what it looks like for believers to combine faith and action. Anything less than practically meeting the needs of the needy is simply an exercise in worthless religion. Not taking action is a sure way to fool ourselves into thinking our religion has meaning and purpose. But….

But we are to make a difference. We are not to be served, but to serve. We are to give our lives as a living sacrifice. We are to feed those that are hungry and clothe those that are naked. We are to care for orphans and widows.

Toward this end, I am happy to introduce and shamelessly promote theworldwouldnotice.com. These guys are encouraging the church to make a difference in the lives of orphans–all of the orphans in the state of Florida and beyond. Their challenge is this: For every one church, let there be 1 less child that needs a home.

Advocating that we impact the world together, the site founders promote the idea for every church to have multiple families that rally around one adopting family to be their support network and community to love and embrace a new member of the family. As a result, the church living in obedience will impact so many as they experience and live out the love of Christ. And one more thing…if done on a large scale, the world would notice that something unique and good is happening among these people seeking to obey their God.

Categories : church, social justice
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a good scrub

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Lots happening lately, so much to write, so little time to put it down on digital paper. But a brief story real quick…

Sometime recently (my days are running together both figuratively and literally right now) I went over to meet one of my new neighbors. Walking toward his porch, I see soap suds and water flowing freely. Turning the corner I see Gus with a stiff, soapy brush and the water hose giving Jesus a good scrub. Yes, he was washing the grime and dirt off of Jesus. In spite of the fact that his Jesus had either a party hat or a horn coming out of his head–it didn’t seem appropriate to do a micro-examination of his Jesus statue when we were exchanging names and pleasantries–what surprised me most was his attentive, diligent concern for cleaning Jesus.

I have been in his home briefly twice already and his sons helped move some furniture. Gus is already showing himself to be a person of piece. More on this in the future as we are days away from moving in among a people who scrub their Jesus.

Categories : story
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Church Metrics and Mustard

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This latest installment in the Michael Frost video series follows along sequentially in the original interview. Here, he draws heavily from his Purpose of the Church segment as he addresses the issue of what metrics would be appropriate for the church.

If you would like to view the previous Frost videos as well as other videos that present ideas important to the church, you may visit or subscribe to the almost an M You Tube channel or feel free to sign up at the top right-hand side of this blog page for email notifications or the RSS feed to add to your reader.

Thank you for being a part of this conversation in some way.

Categories : church, video
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Separate from the world?

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Author Michael Frost shares his view on the North American church’s use of resources and about a skewed theological framework about being “separate” from the world. This is the 7th video posted in this series.

Let me encourage you to register for email updates or add this site to your reader to learn about future videos and posts. Also, if you would like to view the previous Frost videos as well as other “favorite” videos that present ideas important to the church, you may visit or subscribe to the almost an M YouTube channel.

Categories : church, video
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“Am I crazy?”

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“Am I crazy?” she asked with tears filling both eyes.

Following a breakout session this past week at the Sent Conference in Houston, Sandra shared with a friend and me that she had become discontent sitting inside her church when she saw so much lostness in her community. So many that would not come into the church. So many that were not able to find their own way to the Savior. Her disorientation was evident.

Seeking to find her purpose in taking Christ to the community, Sandra has prayed throughout her community, spoken with her pastor, and currently is meeting with a group of university students in her home. The conversation with this beautiful, gray-haired lady was the highlight of my conference experience. She is seeking to find ways that she can make her Savior known to those that need so desperately to know Him.

For her and others that can identify with her, I am thankful to share that “hope has two beautiful daughters” according to St. Augustine and Michael Frost.

Press on Sandra, I am cheering for you, praying for you, and ready to help in any way I can. To others like her, I encourage the same. May we join His purpose “to seek and to save what was lost.”

Categories : Bible, church, story
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Mission Catalyzes Community and Worship

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In this, the fourth video interview installment, Frost contends that both community and worship happen through people being on mission. Pursuing something greater than the individual helps catalyze a coming together of people. In the same vein, being about the mission of God “stimulates a desire either to want to praise God or throw yourselves on the mercy of God.”

Let me encourage you to register for email updates or add this site to your reader to learn about future videos and posts. Also, if you would like to view the previous Frost videos as well as other “favorite” videos that present ideas important to the church, you may visit or subscribe to the almost an M YouTube channel.

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Future Learning

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Last month I had the privilege of spending some time with Michael Frost and his lovely wife. One of the primary reasons for this time was to shoot some video for an upcoming project…more on that in the future, but it will be great! During the video shoot with all of the normal professional video gear, I plopped a little Flip Video cam up to capture some of the content and make it available sooner and to this audience. The upside is the videos will be made available in short clips over the upcoming weeks. The downside is that there were constraints on the editing that can be done which impacts the audio a bit. Also, it required some creative video editing that gives Frost a bit of an angelic appearance. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. (smile)

In this first piece he identifies some of the problems faced and insights available for those that have been about disciple-making and church-planting in cultures that are a little further down the road of secularization and appearing more and more as a post-Christian context. At this point, let me make a brief plug for readers to consider the issue of disorientation that is facilitated by being involved in international and/or cross-cultural engagement.

Categories : video
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Velocity Quotes

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Here are a few quotes from presenters today at the churchplanters.com Velocity conference.

  1. “We have to assume now that all mission is cross-cultural.”  ~ Alan H
  2. “It’s not that the church has a mission, but the mission has a church.”  ~ Alan Hirsch
  3. (Speaking about planting churches,) “I’m not even sure what we are trying to do the world wants.”  ~ Shawn Lovejoy
  4. “If you do church to reach church, then you’ll reach somebody else’s Christians.”  ~ Hugh Halter
  5. “The [Christian story] is a peasant’s movement.”  ~ Hugh Halter
  6. “…community has to be the witness now.”  ~ Hugh Halter
  7. “You cannot sell a Christendom approach to a post-Christian world. They are anti-Christian.”  ~ Alan Hirsch
  8. “Go among the people. Don’t assume you know what church looks like.”  ~ Alan Hirsch
  9. “You plant the gospel. You don’t plant churches.”  ~ Alan Hirsch
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Hello World

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Even with minimal observation, the reality is clear. The world is coming to your door. In fact, they are already here.

  • According to a 2007 edition of the New York Times, “Nonwhites now make up a majority in almost one-third of the most populous counties in the country and in nearly one in 10 of all 3,100 countries” (Another Man’s Sombrero).
  • DHS estimates that the illegal immigrant population grew by 27% between 2000 and 2009 (HS: Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population: January 2009).
  • Estimates of permanent expatriates residing in the U.S. legally allow for half of those to have achieved their legal status since 2000 (HS: Estimates of the Legal Permanent Resident Population in 2008).

While a significant percentage of the foreign residents are from Mexico, the reality is that the spectrum of nations are here. Personally, I see them in all my travels in various cities and states. They are patrons at Starbucks coffee and Cici’s pizza.

The significant growth of foreign residents in the U.S. are one significant reason that the U.S. church must begin to “think and act like a missionary.” The implications are mutliple. One major issue the church must address is the issue of how will we choose to pursue or avoid relationship with select ethnic groups that have not assimilated into a more homogenous U.S. culture.

Categories : missiology, trends
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