Tuesday, January 23, 2018

5-4-3-2-1 This is Church

City Campus Church has some simple, yet unique DNA that we are consistently aligning ourselves to. It's our ethos for where we are going and how we are trying to get there. It's as simple at 5-4-3-2-1.


We are a values driven church, which means that these values direct our thinking and actions on a micro (individually) and macro level (in community). Based off Acts 2:42-47, our five values as a church are

Celebration...a win for you is a win for me and it is right to give thanks.

Community...we are better together than we could ever be apart.

Change...God doing a transforming work in us and doing a transforming work through us.

Generosity...We give more than we take.

Replication...Multiplying at every level. Disciples making Disciples who make disciples. Communities making communities who make communities. and Churches making churches who make churches.


Each of our Missional Communities have 4 rhythms that help us to live out a Gospel centered life.

Substance. This is where we share God's Word together and apply it in meaningful ways.

Social. Jesus found himself sharing meals and enjoying people frequently. We want to do the same. Have fun and build relationships.

Serve. Each community partners with a specific cause in our city. One supports foster parents and their kids, one supports the under-resourced on the West side, one partners with chronically and terminally ill children and their families and one partners with single mothers on the East side. Our serves are about fostering relational capital (not just doing nice things but being connected with the people we serve) and kingdom impact. We want to do things that are close to the heart of God.

Sabbath. In a culture that goes with reckless pace, we choose to live an alternative story and catch our breath and slow down.

These rhythms are all to be done at least once each in a 6 week window. We are low control (each community determines where they are heading) but high accountability (they have to own our 4 rhythms and our 5 values).


We think that discipleship happens in three vehicles and encourage our folks to hop in the right vehicles at the right time in their faith journey.

Celebration...It's our Sunday morning gathering. There you will experience music and teaching and communion and prayer and baptisms.

Missional Community...Groups of 15-40 people doing life together (family) and serving a specific context (mission). We are a family on mission.

Huddle...Groups of 3-8 folks who go through a very intentional process of learning how to consistently lean into the Most Important 2 Questions (see below)


We believe that every person who is following Jesus can answer the two most important questions:

What is Jesus Saying?

What am I Going to Do About It?


People being change(d) in the city of Columbus. If we really matter and make a difference in this city then if we closed our doors or stopped our missional communities, who in the city would be upset or miss our presence? If the answer is no one, then this DNA isn't really taking root.

This way of church isn't for everyone. But we consciously and consistently seek to choose presence over polish, development over delivery and low control with high accountability as the way to live out this story. We have seen God do some pretty amazing things in these first 5 years as a church and now we are beginning to look toward the next five with hope and expectancy of how He will move! Hope you'll join us for the ride!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Right as Heaven Hard as Hell.

Hey there! It's me. 2018 is here and some of you are thinking now is the time.

Now is the time to respond to the opioid epidemic and the subsequent surge in foster care placements.

Now is the time to get your foster license and make family available either temporarily or more permanently to some kids who haven't had a very easy go of it.

I'm your biggest fan. If you go down this road, you can be a literal world changer for the kid or kids you welcome into your home. The numbers are staggering regarding how many kids in the system end up dropping out of high school, experiencing teenage pregnancy and ending up in prison. You can help rewrite stories, break toxic cycles, restore nuclear families, help a kid feel loved, safe and at home.

As someone who has gotten my feet wet in this crisis, I think I can offer a piece of advice as you head down this road:


Don't do it.

It's hard as hell.

You're committing to open your home, your marriage, your kids up to total strangers. Strangers who have often been neglected. Often abused. Often undisciplined. Often underfed. Often overmedicated. Often terrified. Often pissed off that they got taken from their home. Often distrusting because the last placement gave up on them or hurt them or didn't want them.

They will disrupt your routine, your sleep, your systems.

They will rock the boat. They will sabotage the one thing you and they both know they need. They will sabotage the love you are trying to give them. They will self destruct.

So don't do it. Because if you have stars in your eyes that it will be a happy story or an instant connection and if you think they will be compliant and grateful, you will be crushed...devastated when reality sets in.

They've been ripped from their home and in many ways their hearts ripped from their chests. You will be near the top of their list of people to blame for this.

I know. I know. You had nothing to do with that. You're just opening your home out of the goodness of your heart. They don't see it that way.

So again...Don't do it.

There is a surprising number of foster homes who take one placement and then never do it again or after a very short time with a placement realize how disruptive the foster kids are and ask for removal. It's hard as hell.

Getting a stranger to let down their guard enough to even begin considering the prospects of family is brutal. Even if you are consistent and persistent, it may never take. Even if you have predictable patterns and clarified expectations, it may never translate to trust.

Don't do it.

That's the advice I'd give you. It's also probably the advice I'd have given God. Don't bother with these wicked, destructive, self-centered humans. They will seek to sabotage the very thing God wants to lavish on them. And yet God takes the road less traveled. Sent from Heaven to save from Hell. He looked at the mess of our rebellion and chose restoration and redemption at substantial cost. Where it seemed He had multiple choices, He saw only one. He couldn't not engage the people He loved. He chose it, knowing full well that the story, filled with betrayal and desertion and denial and rejection would be hard as hell. But He also knew this road was right as Heaven. He couldn't not engage.

So hear me, you would be heroes of foster kids, all I can tell you is don't do it. The risks you'd be taking on your marriage and your family and your routine and your mental health and your freedom and flexibility in your schedule...its costly. Don't do it.

Unless you absolutely can't not do it.

Then do it with everything you've got.

It will be hard as hell. But you know with every fiber of your being, its right as Heaven.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Do you value a Discipleship Culture

I recently asked my staff team and some of the key people at City Campus Church how often they thought I should preach in 2018. I'm the leader of this thing. I've logged the most hours and experience preaching and communicating. My family's story and C3's story are interwoven...made of the same fabric. I'm wired with vision and called in general to champion that vision and invite others to champion it with me.

In a typical church, the lead pastor is likely north (in many cases, FAR north) of 80% of the yearly preaching. This is almost a no-brainer in many settings. They are paid to lead the thing. They should be the voice of the thing.

Delivery matters. If you're a good, growing, gifted communicator, you should hone the gift.

Preach, evaluate, grow. Preach again.

Delivery matters.

But development matters more.

Replication is one of our five values as a church. We want to see it happen at every level. Disciples making disciples who make disciples. Leaders making leaders who make leaders. Missional Communities who make Missional Communities who make Missional Communities. And yes, churches launching churches who launch churches. If we really believe that the church is a body and that every cell will run its course and die, all the while new cells are being made, then the quicker we align ourselves to the desire to activate more cells to realize the fullness of their potential.

Jim Winkler did it for me. I was a young gun who thought I knew how to lead and preach and I was like third or fourth on the depth chart at the church. But he kept letting me give it a go there. And when I fumbled the ball, he didn't take me out of the game, he put me back out there and gave me another shot. The highest calling of a leader is to see what others can't or won't see in themselves and then do what is necessary to tease that potential into existence. This is discipleship in a nutshell. Choosing development over delivery.

If you feel pressure to do 90% of the preaching, all that is doing is guaranteeing that your church will likely die or largely turn over when you try to turn it over to the next person because they won't deliver the way you delivered.

Delivery is a good servant, but a horrible master. We should want to do our best and inspire and encourage hearts. But not at the expense of teaching and developing others around us to do the same thing.

So? Back to the question I posed. I was getting a sense that the answer I was to swing at this year was between 60 and 70 percent. The church still needs my leadership, but they need it up front and through the painstaking work of developing others.

The staff I asked all said the same thing.

And the key people of C3 I spoke to said the same thing too. And many of them said that it wasn't because they were tired of me (I think they would tell me if they were), and they admitted that if I wasn't preaching, their posture in hearing and engaging the message often times would diminish. But they all came back to this same idea that if we really are about replication, then, we need to represent that in our culture and let the fumbles happen. It was one of the coolest moments in leadership for me. I usually feel like I have to convince people if it isn't the normal way...But in this instance, they were already largely there. They believe in a culture of development.

And that is a thrilling place to be.

Believe it or not this principle applies 100% to the corporate world and even to family/parenting dynamics. You develop people to be able to deliver as well or better than you, then the potentiality of your company skyrockets compared to managing a team and making sure they deliver of the tasks set before them.

Don't get me wrong. We don't throw delivery out with the bathwater. Delivery matters. Development matters more.

Our Staff Team has some maxims that we try to filter our decisions, our attitudes and our leadership through. They are:
1. Where is God in this? (What's Jesus saying?)
2. Make it better. (What are we going to do about it?)
3. Same Team. (A win for you is a win for me.)
4. Who's Next? (Always look for who can replace you and invest there.)
5. Stay Curious. (Ask more questions than you give solutions.)

It feels like a posture as a team that allows us to feel the freedom of chasing development while still being attentive to delivery. Fumbles are likely the way our people learn to hold on to the ball the best. And once they have grown in competence and confidence in holding onto the ball, then they can start handing the ball off to others.

Each person who preaches at C3, myself included does a run through of their message on Sunday morning. They are all working off the same preaching grid, that I've tried to download to them so that we know what effective communication is and can hold people accountable to it. After the run through, everyone there gives feedback. Its a pretty vulnerable place because we've all fumbled a time or two, but knowing we are on the same team and seeking to make it better and support the next person up on the depth chart has been an absolute game changer in our culture.

After talking to all these guys, I felt pretty good about the 60-70% range for the sake of developing an arsenal of dynamic communicators. I talked to one of the more important leadership voices I know of in the Church, Mike Breen and asked him what his approach to preaching was. At one time he was leading one of the largest churches in England and his approach to discipleship has impacted literally tens of thousands of lives across the globe. He has lived as a movement leader. His answer? 50%!