Mormons on the Street

We returned from North Carolina last night about 8 pm. It was a great weekend, with a ton of driving and fun.

We went to Chapel Hill for a couple of reasons. When I started this blog a couple months ago, with the few of you that actually read it, I was at a point of total struggle and frustration. But... I also didn't just want to keep complaining. I needed to find out what God wanted to show me. In my mind, I was taking a leap, in a community of people, to find out what the future might hold.

About that same time I started thinking about Chapel Hill. I love college students, and I've spent time around UNC a few times with our friends from North Carolina. Every time, I've loved it. The area is incredible, and ripe for ministry. Maybe it was just a need to get away, or maybe it was God speaking, but Carrie and I decided to take a weekend down there in prayer and exploration... and wondered if God might be leading us there permanently. I was terrified, and felt like an absolute crazy man. But I wanted to at least DO something.

Anyway... the trip was great. We spent late Thursday night driving and pulled into our friends' house about 2:30 Friday morning. Our friends, Jordan and Deirdre, went with us and it was great having some other perspective on the trip.

Friday we walked around Chapel Hill and I realized that I really had no clue how I was supposed to "discern" God's voice. Funny story though, the first people that talked to us in Chapel Hill were two young mormon men on mission. Complete with short sleeved dress shirts and black ties, they were also about the only people in Chapel Hill who spoke with us. It was at this point that I started to realize how much I was stressing myself out trying to "hear" God.

Saturday we relaxed. I spent some time in prayer Friday night and really felt like I needed to just stop stressing and be present with the people we were there with that we loved a lot. We all went to get tattoos Saturday (even my wife!) which was a blast and took it easy.

Long story short, we're not moving to North Carolina. Most of you probably realized that as soon as I told you we were even taking the trip. I think I did too, but was perhaps glamorizing my own "Abraham experience" of going into the wilderness. I don't regret it though. I think the clearest I heard God on the trip was in the voice of the people I was there with.

That is what I keep returning to--the absolute divine nature of the intentional community we surround ourselves with. I am excited to be home... I missed our family and our friends... those of you who love and support Carrie and I. We have some big ideas that we're praying about and I'll be sharing in the coming weeks... I'm dying to get them out there for you all to start praying too, but I don't think it's quite time. If you really want to know, give me a call and I'll pour out my heart, but it may be a long conversation.

Anyway, thanks for your prayers and love for us. It is good to be home and I still have no clue where the road is going, but I think we'll keep walking.

Off to Explore

Carrie and I are off this weekend to spend some time in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Be praying for us. I'm hoping it's a great weekend away, and somewhat clarifying for us as to where God might lead us in the future. I'll try to keep you all updated.


I just read a brief article in "Worship Leader" magazine written by Francis Chan. The title was "Why are they Leaving?" and dealt with why so many youth are leaving the church in droves. His conclusion was that we've based so much of what we do in ministry on the entertainment mentality. The challenge was for worship leaders to go away from this--begin modeling the true Acts 2 church.

I love Francis Chan. I've heard him speak a couple of times and he is one of the most passionate speakers I've ever heard. But this article was ruined for me when I read the last page. In the midst of a great article was a full page spread with an ad for some worship projection software. The image was of a man kneeling on some carpets, arms raised in worship as he knelt before an enormous projection screen. The tag: "Powerful imagery for a powerful message." This was mirrored by an in-article ad for worship films, "20+ all new loopable videos to enhance your worship services."

Understand, I have no problems with the use of media and projection and those things in a worship service. I just think that sometimes with our "Christian" media world--magazines, shows, radio, etc. our message is very inconsistent.

Marketing your Church

What do you think about marketing for outreach? There are a lot of different opinions, from doing nothing at all other than relationships to mimicking the best in the world with a fifth avenue mindset.

Part of me loves the creativity and challenge of good marketing while another part of me wonders about it.

Any thoughts?

If you like good marketing, you should love Apple.

Decentralizing the Church

I've been thinking about a community of believers being organized in a decentralized way. One of the criticisms I've heard a lot of the church at large is the overly-corporate mentality. I think some of this stems from a need and desire to manage and organize the church in ways that give more seamless programs and processes. Intuitively, this makes sense. I don't know that this is necessarily a bad thing at heart.

The problem comes, in my opinion, at a level when something is so managed and centralized that the Sunday "event" becomes the central focal point, the key to all else that happens in the system. I'm reading a book called Here Comes Everybody, that deals with organizing without organizations. It's a fascinating book looking at the systems so prevalent today that people are organizing themselves around, minus the need for hierarchical organization. Things such as myspace and wikipedia are great examples.

So I wonder about decentralizing the church. I wonder, if a church were planted with part of it's value being in a decentralized nature, what that would look like. What if a system of house churches functioned as communities, organizing themselves around a common mission and purpose--perhaps with a monthly gathering at a larger level for worship and story telling, teaching and vision. I wonder what the key issues would be. The organizer in me comes up with a list of things immediately, but I also see a lot of values. What do you think?

Check out this article for more thoughts on the subject.

Jesus Truly is My Friend

Probably the funniest thing I've seen in a LONG time. I may learn this song and lead worship with it this Saturday.

Jesus is my friend by "Sonseed" from Peleg Top on Vimeo.