Monday, May 22, 2006

What are you doing?

So I just got a call from my buddy Jason who is attending the Origins Conference in LA. Jason and I have had this on-going dialog recently. We've been a bit frustrated with much of our "emerging leanings" and we are trying to process how to see fruit in the Kingdom of God.

Now, much of this frustration stems from failed church plant experience and such. Sometimes I personally felt I was trapped in the never ending conversation about culture, theology, church, and etc., but I was not seeing the fruit that I desired: Like people coming to Jesus, being disciples and allowing God to totally use them for the sake of the Kingdom. I'm currently searching out leaders who are doing things. Things that are causing the church to move forward, and transformation to take place.

This is why I respect folks like Erwin McManus, Rob Bell, Marc Driscoll, Tim Keller, Acts 29 Network, Tim Keel, and lots of others. Because they are seeing fruit, and that is my desire. I want to see fruit, I want to see growth, I want to push the envelope and live a life of faith and risk. I want to believe in a the gospel and the fact that the gospel can bring change and I can see a city like Seattle or Raleigh become more "kingdom-like."

I do not want to JUST sit around in some Theology Pub, talking about what's wrong with the church, or atonement theories, or is hell real, etc. (I'm not minimizing the role of productive conversation or discussing/processing theology) I want to do life with a community of people who are driven to see an in-breaking of God's kingdom. Folks who desire to see those who are not Christ followers re-discover the gospel, its goodness and the forgiveness that they can receive.

Life is too short to just talk all day. Jesus lived a life that was action-oriented. I pray that I can follow his example and set an example for current & future generations.

I heard someone say recently that to be an effective minister you have to find out what questions are being asked in the local area in which you live, do life and minister in.

So for me, what are the folks asking in regards to spirituality, God and church in Seattle? And, how will I effectively answer those questions in a way that will compel non-Jesus followers to look once again into the life of the revolutionary figure and see fruit? Which is the end goal, right?


Jason Hudson said...

Take heart my friend. What I'm about to say is in no way an excuse. But it ooes help me sleep at night.

Chris, when we are faithful and of pure heart, then the burden rests on God. Much like His covenant with Abram, He takes the load.

Paul alludes to this when speaking to the Corinthians: "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Likewise, in the next chapter he warns against even judging your own work: "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God" (1 Cor. 4:2-5).

So, my friend, don't be quick to judge those things with which you've been faithful. Who are you to call your work in Raleigh a failure? And why do you let your judgement shroud your mind in doubt? You're right. Talk is cheap. We want fruit. Determine to be faithful and pure of heart, and let God grow the fruit.

Ryan Van Sickle said...

I would agree with jason here. You may never know or see the fruit from the raleigh plant. I can honestly say now reflecting back that for me the plant was a time of growth, stretching and maturity. I had no clue about anything going into the plant. however, I will always look at my time with sacred as something special. The place where I planted my worship leading roots. The place where you and the rest of the staff let me be myself, a place where I was able to share my gifts in their newness and rawness. You didn't want or force me to fit into any mold and I am totaly greatful for that.

C.S. Lewis said that failures are finger posts on the road to achievement. That is so true. You and the fam were faithful and sacrificed much. I don't see sacred as a church that failed, swept up the floor and shut its doors, but rather as a comminity that grew and stretched itself in passion, love and hope. What we learned and experienced we can take our seperate ways and inject into new communities not just in america, but into communities all over world. I'm excited to see how God will use you and Necole in Seattle. Your passion for Jesus and community is what the "church" is lacking-but that's just my humble oppinion. keep seeking Him!

Carrie said...

We sometimes never know or see the seeds that were planted in someone's life through what we do/did. The good news is, just because you can't see them doesn't mean that they aren't there--because they are there and God sees them. And most importantly, a seed's purpose is to grow.

djchuang said...

I sympathize and empathize with ya.. just as in business planning, a question to answer up front is how do you measure success. In the church and/or kingdom world, it's how do you measure fruit and faithfulness. It's a little unfair to punt and say leave the results to God and not to count fruit. So there is a place somewhere in there for counting, for seeing forward progress, whatever that might look like.

I like Bob Hyatt's comments about church planting (even though I'll never be a church planter) at

On another note, Mark Batterson's first church plant didn't fly, only fluttered, in the Chicago area I think. Now, he's in the metro Washington DC area, and has a thriving church Granted, church growth is not guaranteed, but the same person in a different location could be a difference. Godspeed to you!

Chad said...

Hi, I'm a friend of Jason Hudson and a fellow church planter. I found your blog through his. Even though I don't know you I've really enjoyed reading it and feeling your heart.

I've come to believe that Jesus' words about bearing fruit are about bearing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives rather than producing numerical results. If we are living by the Spirit, how can we fail? We cannot measure the fruit of the Spirit in our lives by counting conversions, baptisms, members, etc.

I hope this thought encourages you as much as it has encouraged me.

God bless!