Monday, May 4, 2015

Be Careful Little Eyes

I remember the first time we had communion as a church. There were about 20 of us in our living room, which at that time was our entire church. And as people came to the center of the room to take the bread and dip it into the cup and remember what Jesus had done for us, they had to side step a little girl who had found her way to the foot of the table. She had a tube in her nose, couldn't walk or crawl because she had fractures all over her tiny body. But she could scoot. And she scooted right next to the table and literally watched every person come take communion.

I remember Shaina and I reflecting on that and saying "That is what we want our kid to experience about church." Not the meetings that stole her dad from her too many nights of the week...not the frustrating conversations of a disheartened/burnt out pastor and his annoyed and lonely wife...But of a bunch of people trying to figure out the Jesus way together. Less drama. Less committees. More community. More service to the people of our city.

And in many ways, C3 has raised that little girl into a sweet young lady.

And she is still watching.

She sees C3 support a group of first graders where we meet by helping them with their First Grade Factory pencil company (over 600 pencils bought last Sunday!)
She sees (and sort've helped!) our community move in a family and welcome them to Columbus last Thursday.
She sees our community partner last Friday with Graham Primary School to pull off a Food Truck Event for a fundraiser to help the school continue to invest in kids.
She sees Mr. Carl, a student at Otterbein move in to our house this past weekend for the summer to do a pastoral intern with C3 to see if church planting is in his future.

She's watching. As are many other kids.

Our job is to make sure they love what they see.

This past week, City Campus Church was recognized at the Stadia Church Planting banquet at Exponential Conference for their work in investing in kids in our community and in Ecuador and Mexico. Shaina and I accepted the Wess Stafford award on behalf of C3. We received money to continue investing in children at C3 and Shaina and I got a crazy gift to travel back to Ecuador to visit our Compassion sponsor kiddo, Yelixa!

What are the kids around you seeing when they observe your life?

I pray it is really really Good News.

150409 Thompson Video from Stadia Church Planting on Vimeo.

Thanks for all of you who are investing in our story through prayer or financial support. It is changing the world quite literally.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

5 Things...Cleveland Sports Edition

1. The Cavs are the real deal. It's fun to watch. The road to the finals isn't easy...through a re-energized Bulls team and likely through a younger, less star-studded version of the Spurs (The Atlanta Hawks). It's great to see some guys know and own their roles. JR Smith is at times deadly from the perimeter, Mozgov seems to be consistently good for 8 points and 8 boards. Thompson has the uncanny ability to impact the game without having to touch the ball offensively, a la Dennis Rodman. He gets the biggest rebounds on the offensive glass to give second chances night in and night out. Shumpert defends. Delevedova, while at times painful to watch, does a good job spelling Irving. I think the X factor against the Bulls could be Perkins. He's had very few minutes to this point, but that is going to be a very physical series and an enforcer could send a needed message. Cavs Spurs would be a great finals (and the worst matchup the Cavs could face.)

2. It looked like Kevin Love was having fun in game three against Boston. I'm not sure how well liked he is by his teammates or by fan base, but bottom line is, if he hits shots and grabs boards when it matters, they'll all come around.

3. Trevor Bauer looks like the real deal. If he could just get the k's without all the walks, you might see something special this year. Between him, Carrasco and Kluber, if they stay healthy, the Indians might be ok. (It doesn't hurt when they put up 13 runs like they did in game one against Detroit.

4. The Browns draft has less hype than usual...that's what happens when you win more than 4 games and don't have a high draft pick. Maybe Cleveland could get used to that a little more and make December and January the most meaningful months of the year rather than April. I don't like the situation at quarterback, but if they get a run stopper, another linebacker and sign Gipson and Mack to contracts, I think they will be improved everywhere from a year ago at this point (with the exception of QB). I don't know if you sell the farm for Mariota like some are speculating.

5. Here's my take:
Cavs Playoffs: I think they get to the finals and I think they beat anyone except the Spurs there.
Indians Season: If they have a winning record against Detroit, they will make the playoffs. But, that is a huge huge if.
Browns Draft: Stay put at 12 and 19 and get a run stopper/wideout/linebacker and then get a guy in the 3rd or 4th round that could take the helm if Manziel and McCown are as bad as they potentially could be.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hey Pastor, Quit Baptizing People!

Sounds sacrilegious.

But hear me out.

Jesus, in his final words in Matthew, lays out this plan for how this thing he has ushered in is going to go viral. Not through some million dollar marketing scheme. Not through some military take over.

Instead through a mustard revolt.

Go and make disciples. Baptize them in the trinity. And teach them.

Who was Jesus talking to? It must have been the paid, hired ministry professionals with Bible college degrees and seminary educations. Right? I mean I look at most of our churches and that's who is doing the majority of the discipleship and the majority of the baptisms.

No? That wasn't who Jesus was talking to? It was his disciples? Every day, ordinary followers of The Way?

It's interesting.

Pentecost was the moment that the Holy Spirit was placed into the hands (and hearts) of the masses.

The Reformation was the moment the Bible was placed into the hands of the masses.

I think it is high time we put discipleship there too.

Last week a beautiful thing happened at our 2 year birthday. Laura and Sam were baptized, taking ownership of their faith. It was awesome! I got to give them a hug when they got out and meet with them to hear their stories! Great stuff. But I did not do the baptizing. Laura was baptized by Deb and Sam was baptized by Zoe. The cool thing? A year before that on our 1 year birthday, Deb and Zoe were baptized! Deb was baptized by Shaina. Zoe was baptized by Sheridan.

One of the things I am most proud of regarding C3 is that a number of unchurched/dechurched folks are finding their way back to faith and they are finding that way in large part because people are investing in them relationally. My hunch is that changed people change people and it is a blast to see that hunch being proven right.

I assume that the reason pastors do the baptizing is related to the fact that they know what they are doing and they've presumably done it before or they are the only ones actually invested in making disciples.

But there is nothing more beautiful than an every day disciple investing Christ into another every day disciple and being able to publicly help them take ownership of their faith.

Out of the 30 or so baptisms we've celebrated at C3, I have had the privilege of baptizing about 5 of them, mainly because they were people I had meaningful connection to. The rest have been baptized by others in C3 who have been invested relationally in their story.

Pastors, everything you do and say aids in creating some type of culture.

What kind of culture do you want to create when it comes to baptism? One that gives others a vision for what discipleship can look like in their own life or one that says you've got it covered?

Don't let discipleship bottleneck at your desk.

Make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.