Posted tagged ‘Community’

PLNTD South Florida Conference – Register & Reserve

February 24, 2012

I’ve enjoyed trekking through South Florida the past couple of weeks (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Ft. Myers, etc.), meeting with pastors and church planters about the upcoming training event, “Cultivating Gospel Community.”

Evangelical shorthand would call it a conference, but we are intending it to be an event with practical help and relevant application to ministry and mission in the local church.  Our hope is that men and women passionate about the gospel, making disciples, and building authentic community will be compelled to come (not just pastors or church planters).

I realize that some (many?) are coming from outside South Florida, and we are glad you are coming! This week, we are giving a heads up for those of you coming from outside the area and looking to book hotel rooms for the weekend of our conference.  This is the peak week of our peak season (spring break, spring training (Red Sox), snowbirds galore, etc.), which means the available rooms will go really fast.

The going rate for hotel rooms right now is $199/night. That’s crazy, I know. But we have worked out a deal to get them for nearly half that price, just $109/night. To take advantage of this rate and reserve your room, follow the instructions on this online newsletter.  If you have not registered already, be sure to do so.

I hope to welcome many of you to sunny South Florida for a great weekend of rejoicing in the gospel and renewing our lives in the mission of the church!


Grace Saturated Community

August 16, 2011

The more I dwell on the amazing grace of God, the more I realize how deeply I need to grow and be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 2:1; 2 Pet. 3:16).  I have been dwelling on it quite a bit lately as I have been preaching a mini-series on how the grace of God sets people free to experience generosity toward others, genuine love in community, and now this week empowerment for life of mission.

As I wrapped up my message, I tried to give some specific examples and points of application as to how grace builds and defines Christian community (as opposed to moral community that is often Christless).  Here’s some that came to mind based on my meditation last week on Luke 7:36-50.

A grace saturated community will . . .

* have a warm disposition to the very worst of sinners (while moral community often be cold and careful to avoid people with big “messes”)

* show no pressure to perform or pretend; you are set free from lying about yourself (while moral community often centers on religious performance and convincing one another we are better than we really are)


Be-ing on Mission in Community

March 9, 2011

There’s a lot of talk these days about missional communities.  Currently, I am working through Porterbrook’s Missional Community Life curriculum in three different venues, so I am discussing it quite a bit.  About a year ago, I started my kingly moleksine when I accidentally bought a sketchbook moleskine instead of a regular hardback journal.  I am not an artist, so there’s really nothing for me to sketch, but I do like to lay out my thinking in various ways, including systems, charts, diagrams, etc.

Several months ago, I began thinking about what would be the process of an unbeliever being engaged in a gospel community on mission.  The result of that thinking was this process I “skecthed” out on my kingly moleskine:


GCM Everyday Audio

November 26, 2010

Last month, he GCM Collective held a one-day training focused on the gospel, community, and mission in everyday contexts.  Steve Timmis and Tim Chester has a new book coming out soon on the “ordinary” church–living as gospel communities on mission in everyday life, not just Sunday’s.  The audio from this one-day conference is not available, so check them out!

There are some additional resources that you can check out here.  I also recommend that you check out their online community, which is a great place to learn with/from others.

The GCM Collective • Gospel • Community • Mission

April 8, 2010

Three BIG areas of my thinking, writing, and ministry exist on the axis of gospel, community, and mission.  So when I discovered the GCM Collective, I was very eager to get on board and learn from others who, like myself, have given themselves to them.  The GCM Collective exists to promote, create and equip Gospel Communities on mission. By a “gospel community” they mean “a group of believers that lives out the mission of God together as family, in a specific area to a particular people group, by declaring and demonstrating the gospel in tangible forms.”  In other words, regular people, living ordinary lives, with great gospel intentionality.

To join the GCM Collective, you simply need to provide your email address, and you will receive instructions on how to create your profile and jump into the discussions.  Speaking of discussions, you can browse such groups as:

» Bible Teaching in Missional Church
» City Renewal
» Community Life
» Everyday Mission
» Fostering a Missional Culture
» Gospel Resources for Missional Church
» Missional Exegesis & Theology
» Planting Missional Churches
» Role: Missional Community Leader
» Transitioning to Missional Church
» World Mission

In each group there are discussion threads on particular topics, some of them having downloadable resources for your benefit.  For instance, I am currently reading through the docs on missional community leader from Soma Communities, Kaleo Church, and Austin City Life for our leadership development here at Grace.  Really good stuff.

Although I do not post that often on the GCM Collective, I am learning on a daily basis from the likes of Tim Chester, Drew Goodmanson, Jonathan Dodson, and many others.  I encourage you to check it out, especially if you are a church planter or leading a missional church.

In Defense of Physical Community

February 2, 2010

As a follow-up to my post about technology and the absence of community, I want to direct you a a series of guest posts by Jake Johnson on Rethink Mission wherein he makes a good defense for physical community, contra “internet church.”  Here are the links:

–> In Defense of Physical Community – Part One
–> In Defense of Physical Community – Part Two
–> In Defense of Physical Community – Part Three
–> In Defense of Physical Community – Part Four

Homogeneous Community vs. Gospel Community

October 21, 2009

One of the undercurrent movements of evangelical renewal in local churches has been the rise of missional communities.  These small communities are distinct from your typical home groups or small-groups because what unites them and defines them is a common mission.  I resonate with this kind of missiologically-informed structuring of the ekklesia scattered as those who have been sent.

Here at Grace, we have been transitioning to similar communities to have a broader and deeper impact in Southwest Florida.  Part of the developmental process has been to listen and learn from other churches who have embraced some form of small groups to foster community, whether it was life-on-life discipleship or a more incarnational lifestyle in engaging the community at large.

One of the things that has confused me about some of the philosophy behind leading models is how they are formed or constituted.  There are various filters that one can use to encourage members to participate in these groups.  What seems to be the leading filter has been for members to choose the groups according to what they have most in common (e.g, affinity-based).  So there would be the young married groups, elderly groups, ladies groups, mens groups, college groups, and so on.  These groups are shaped to bring the most homogeneity and thereby promise to be more effective and fruitful.

What I find troubling about this filter/model is twofold:


Parking the Great Commission

July 7, 2009

Sunday night, we parked the Great Commission.

It’s fourth of July weekend, lots of people traveling out of town on vacation, and with one of the biggest holidays of the year, the reasonable thing to do would be to alter the Sunday format to accommodate according to lowered expectations.

Not exactly.

About a month ago, I pitched the idea to take advantage of the 4th of July weekend by taking our church gathering to the biggest park in town and reach out to the community.  With the recent convention travels, VBS, and a busy June, very little time was allowed (one week to be exact!) to plan what I was calling “Worship @ the Park” (not to mention that half our staff would be en route overseas with a team to labor among an UPG).  For those of you who do not know, Grace is not a large church, so there was no cool signage, props, or video promotionals.  In fact, the fliers we passed out was made by yours truly with MS Word and an old Flickr photo. 🙂


The Gospel and Biblical Community

April 13, 2009

Jonathan Dodson, on the Resurgence, writes:

Biblical community is significant not because it makes you feel significant, but because it recognizes that Jesus is our common source of significance. The gospel, not people, becomes the means to the end of our identity. Our sense of acceptance flows from our relationship with Christ which, in turn, frees us to love and serve one another, instead of judging, demanding or ostracizing. We become a “one-another” community, freed by the gospel to love and serve each other. We are never too spiritually mature for the gospel.

[…] Does your church, community, small group, or missional community gather in anticipation of being reminded of the gospel, corrected in the gospel, motivated by the gospel, to sing of the gospel? If not, what can you do to reshape community expectations around the gospel, not community? Have you become too mature for community or too community-centered for the gospel? Consider how to make the gospel central, and community will follow.

Read the whole thing.

Brethren, Pray for Us

August 1, 2008

This morning, I was directed by a brother from Grace to read Winslow’s Morning Thoughts.  (Isn’t it a blessing to be fed, edified, and encouraged by others in the body of Christ?)  I found this devotional thought wonderfully true and convicting.

“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” Romans 15:30

There are many weighty and solemn considerations which powerfully plead for the prayers of the Church of God, in behalf of her ministers and pastors. The first which may be adduced is- the magnitude of their work. A greater work than theirs was never entrusted to mortal hands. No angel employed in the celestial embassy bears a commission of higher authority, or wings his way to discharge a duty of such extraordinary greatness and responsibility. He is a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ- an ambassador from the court of heaven- a preacher of the glorious gospel of the blessed God- a steward of the mysteries of the kingdom. Properly to fill this high office- giving to the household their portion of food in due season- going down into the mine of God’s word, and bringing forth to the view of every understanding its hidden treasures- to set forth the glory of Emmanuel, the fitness of His work, and the fullness of His grace- to be a scribe well instructed, rightly dividing the word of truth- to be wise and skillful to win souls, the grand end of the Christian ministry- oh, who so much needs the sustaining prayers of the Church as he?

Secondly. The painful sense of their insufficiency supplies another affecting plea. Who are ministers of Christ? Are they angels? Are they superhuman beings? Are they inspired? No, they are men in all respects like others. They partake of like infirmities, are the subjects of like assaults, and are estranged from nothing that is human. As the heart knows its own bitterness, so they only are truly aware of the existence and incessant operation of those many and clinging weaknesses of which they partake in sympathy with others. And yet God has devolved upon them a work which would crush an angel’s powers, if left to his self-sustaining energy.

Thirdly. The many and peculiar trials of the ministry and the pastorate ask this favor at our hands. These are peculiar to, and inseparable from, the office that he fills. In addition to those of which he partakes alike with other Christians- personal, domestic, and relative- there are trials to which they must necessarily be utter strangers. And as they are unknown to, so are they unrelievable by, the people of their charge. With all the sweetness of affection, tenderness of sympathy, and delicacy of attention which you give to your pastor, there is yet a lack which Jesus only can supply, and which, through the channel of your prayers, he will supply. In addition to his own, he bears the burdens of others. How impossible for an affectionate, sympathizing pastor to separate himself from the circumstances of his flock, be those circumstances what they may. So close and so sympathetic is the bond of union- if they suffer, he mourns; if they are afflicted, he weeps; if they are dishonored, he is reproached; if they rejoice, he is glad. He is one with his Church. How feelingly the apostle expresses this: “Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of how the churches are getting along. Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?” To see a Christian pastor, in addition to his own personal grief, borne often in uncomplaining loneliness and silence, yet bowed down under accumulated sorrows not his own- others looking to him for sympathy, for comfort, and for counsel- is a spectacle which might well arouse in behalf of every Christian minister the slumbering spirit of prayer. We marvel not to hear the chief of the apostles thus pleading, “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thess. 5:25).


Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts (August 1)