October 21, 2008

Southbrook:Monroe Vision - Part 2

Here is another of the questions I received last week about our vision and direction for Southbrook:Monroe.

"When speaking about kingdoms, you made a comment stating that we’re not about building individual kingdoms but that we’re working together toward (or within) one Kingdom
. How would Southbrook:Monroe demonstrate its belief in that principle?"

Our desire is to cooperate and work with anyone who is willing to partner and join us in the spread of the Gospel in our community. How can we demonstrate this? We will invite other churches to join us in outreach efforts. We will continue to work with para-church organizations to be a presence in the community. It is not our goal to reach out in the community so that more people will come to Southbrook:Monroe. The goal is to lead people into a life changing experience with Jesus Christ, and to help them join in fellowship with other believers, whether in our church or some other local congregation.

October 19, 2008

Sunday @ Southbrook:Monroe - 10.19.08

Here are a few highlights from today:

  • Meeting in a school means we have no control of the heating/cooling system. The air was running inside, it was about 55 degrees outside. It was cold in church today!
  • Zach did a great job leading worship today. He brought back a couple of older songs. I especially enjoyed "I Surrender All." That never gets old.
  • I preached the second part of the series on Haggai: God is calling us to obey Him, to be ambassadors for Christ in the context in which He has placed us. Let's not get discouraged when things don't work out the way we think they should. Let's be faithful to do what God has called us to do - in the context in which he called us to do it.
  • I'm watching some Panthers football, relaxing, and getting ready to head over to our Home Group meeting this afternoon.
I hope you have a great Sunday!

October 17, 2008

Thank You, Stranger

Today I walked in to Starbucks where I was planning to get a little work done this morning. I put my stuff down, went up to the counter to order. There was a lady in line in front of me. One of the people behind the counter said "I'll be right with you Geoffrey" (they know me by name now.)

When I ordered the usual (tall coffee) the lady in front of me said "O, you could have just had my free drink." I looked at her, she looked at the girl behind the counter, then said "I bought a pound of coffee beans, can he have my free drink? (you get a free cup of coffee when you buy a pound of coffee).

So they handed me a cup of coffee...free!

Thank you stranger - whoever you are!

October 16, 2008

Southbrook:Monroe Vision

I had a couple of great questions come to my inbox earlier this week. With permission, I am posting those, along with my answers. Hopefully these will prove helpful to others who may be asking similar questions.

“We’re doing something in Monroe that no one else is doing”.
If you were to give someone a 15 second “pitch” on what we’re doing, what would you say that would convey our unique work in Monroe?

First - I would restate it this way: “We’re doing something in Monroe that no one else in Monroe is doing”.
There are three things (at least) that make what we are doing in Monroe unique:

1) Video Campus - As far as we know, there has been no attempt to plant a video campus/multi-site campus in the monroe area. One church did try at a high school in the area a couple of years back, but they did not stay long. Having leased a building, we have no plans for moving out of the area.

2) Community Outreach - Our outreach pastor, Daryl Sutherland, has been partnering with several para-church organizations in Monroe for a little over a year now. He has not seen any substantial involvement in community outreach from any of the many churches that currently exist in the community. This is not to claim that we are better...simply an observation: there is no church doing community outreach to the extent that we plan on doing - as far as we have seen.

3) Worship Style/Method - although several existing churches advertise a 'contemporary' worship service, there are no churches that have the DNA that Southbrook has. We are primarily attempting to reach the un-churched and de-churched - those who have been turned off from church in the past, or those who have never even been to church. We are careful not to use church language, or do anything that would discourage a 'tire-kicker' from checking us out.

I'll post the next one in a couple of days...

October 15, 2008

Thoughts on Church Methods

I listened to a conference session by Ed Stetzer called "Kingdom-Focused Church Planting." While he covered a lot of information, I was especially challenged by this statement:

"Too many church planters plant churches in their heads and not in their communities - then you're a cultural mismatch because you're not focused on the message of reconciliation, but you're focused on a messenger that God has sent to a different context."

He went on to say that "the biggest problem in church planting is not focusing on the message of reconciliation, but instead focusing on the model of the church."

How true this is. How many people try to start churches, or make their church 'better' by copying or implementing something they read in a book or hear at a seminar, or see at another church. Now, there is nothing wrong with learning from others, using methods that we think will work in our own context. The problem is when we think that just because it worked somewhere else, then if we follow the steps, if we get the formula right, then we too will experience the same results.

We are not called to follow the methods of other churches in other contexts. We are called to bring the message of reconciliation through Jesus Christ to the context in which God as put us.

October 13, 2008

Sunday @ Southbrook:Monroe

I woke up yesterday absolutely pumped and looking forward to what God had in store for our Sunday morning service. Here are the highlights:

- I spoke on Haggai chapter 1. A solemn reminder to the people of God, that if we get comfortable, lazy and self-absorbed, then God will not bless our efforts. But if we step out in faith, obey His direction and follow His guidance, we can do great and amazing things for the glory of His name!

- We had a leader lunch meeting at Mexicali Rose. This is the first time I had pulled the key leadership team in Monroe together. We talked about our successes and our frustrations with Southbrook: Monroe. I have to say I was encouraged. There were very few frustrations. Everybody there is excited and ready to follow God on this adventure.

- After lunch I took the team over to our new location, which is being renovated. This was the first time some of them had even been inside! I could see the excitement as dream gets closer to reality.

- Then Garren and I met a few others for a pick-up game of flag football. I can feel the soreness setting in.

Praise God for an amazing day. I am blessed to be a part of something that God is clearly leading. By the way - we meet every Sunday at 10am, in the Benton Heights Elementary School auditorium. You should come check us out!

October 07, 2008

Triple Overtime

Last night I got to watch one of the most exciting football games I've ever seen. It was the Porter Ridge 6th grade team playing Holy Trinity. They had to make up their game from two weeks ago that had been canceled because of the rain.

Garren is the quarterback. Their record this year so far: 1-3. That is until last night. They started out really well. Holy Trinity scored, then we scored: 6 to 6. Then Holy Trinity scored again. We got the ball back, tried to drive down the field, tried to score one more time before the end of the half, but that wasn't going to be. We went into halftime down by 6.

They came out after halftime and scored on their first drive, tying the game at 12 - 12. The rest of the second half was a battle for the ball. Nobody was able to score, so we went into overtime. Each team gets the ball on the 10 yard line and each teams get a chance to try and score. We got the ball first. We scored, but failed to get the extra points. Holy Trinity scored, no extra points. The score: 18 - 18.

Second overtime, we got the ball first again: no score. Holy Trinity took their turn: no score. So we headed into the third overtime. We got the ball first again. Garren took the snap on 2nd down. Two defenders took him out in the backfield. One of them rolled their helmet over his left hand, leaving him squirming in pain on the ground. Garren is taken out for the next play. 3rd down, they run the ball to the 2nd yard line. 4th down...touchdown! The score is 24 - 18. Then they scored the crucial extra points, bringing the score to 26 - 18. Holy Trinity got the ball on the 10. They score a touchdown but fail to score the extra points. Porter Ridge wins! What an epic game! A win that was well deserved and well fought for. Way to go guys!

Moving Forward

It seems like so much is happening at once. And in reality, I guess it is. We had a great service in Monroe this past weekend. We were challenged to spread God's anointing and movement throughout the community, wherever we live and work. Am I willing to trust God with what He has entrusted to me, even if it doesn't work out according to my own plans?

We are getting closer to moving into our permanent location. Benton Heights has been so gracious to let us meet in their auditorium until our building is completed. We are looking forward to all that a permanent location has to offer as well.

As we move forward, I am going to kick off a short series on the book of Haggai. There are some great things we can learn - as a church and as a nation - from this Old Testament prophet.

I hope to see you this Sunday, 10am!