Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Is the Current 'Church' Model Not Sustainable?

Hello everyone,

Today I am at a church planting conference in Quebec. As I am listening to the various speakers, I am also writing this entry and I would like everyone from our church to read what I am about to write.

I have been banging on this ‘drum’ for many years now and I realize that my convictions and ideas are the working of the Spirit of God in me. People all over the world are raising the same alarms but speaking much more articulately. I am hearing over and over the message that the way we have done ‘church’ is not the way we can continue to do church, because for the most part, it is not working. I am amazed at how passionately people are communicating their call to reformation of the institutional church model. The 1st guest speaker, Allan Hirsch (writer of the book “The forgotten ways” (http://www.theforgottenways.org/blog), quoted Einstein a bunch of times with this particular quote, I had not heard before. “The kind of thinking that will solve the world's problems will be of a different order to the kind of thinking that created those problems in the first place.” In other words, the model of how we do church is not working and, generally, is in decline in every evangelical denomination in Canada. We need to look at the model and exchange it for something that is working or has worked.

LifePoint is a rarity in churches in Canada, it is growing and is 'risk taking' in its approach to its future. I want you to know that God has been challenging me a lot in my personal leadership goals for the next several years. I was asked by a friend last night at dinner at what my plans were for succession in leadership at LifePoint. I have been thinking about this for a while now and I do not have an answer. We need to have one. Now, if you put that last sentence in context of the previous verses, I am suggested that we should think differently at what succession should look like. I know that in our church model, it has been that the pastor is the linchpin to our ministry. We hire the right guy to lead us and he (or she) is the hub of the whole thing. Is it reasonable to continue to think this way?


Yes, you need to have a leader, because proper leadership is important. Yet, LifePoint needs to mature to a new understanding of how churches will succeed in the future. Am I transferring this new understanding to you, its people? Are you being trained to know some of the key concepts of future successful ministry? I am not sure the answer that is yes.

What is our purpose as a church? What are it's most important actions? Is “pastoral care”, or have our personal needs met by the main leader, the driving factor of our church? Or can we look beyond ourselves and our lack of training, lack of healing or whatever else can be seen as a road block to stepping out, to a new model of doing church?

Folks, are we ready to leave our understanding of how the church is to operate? By this I mean that we leave “The kind of thinking that will solve the world's problems” for” a different order to the kind of thinking that created those problems in the first place”? As Allan Hursch said this morning, more of the same is not going to get the job done”. I agree completely.

At the Billy Graham conference, the high call that they repeated over and over is that people need to be presented the gospel, and the church MUST train and release our people to do this. The speaker this morning, said that the church was SENT out not told to BRING in. I also agree completely.

But with this statement, that brings to me to many more questions. I have badly underestimated the need and energy that discipleship, bringing people into maturity in Christ, brings. It is great to see people saved and baptized but are they still serving God after 5 years? This is also of GREAT concern to me. I feel that is where I have failed as a leader at LifePoint. I feel that the style of ministry that LifePoint has is often focused on the lost coming to Christ. In this, have people not been challenged to grow up into Christ? Are the calls to holiness and total Lordship of Christ also the hallmarks of LPC? I am not sure I would say yes to this. Would you?

I am simply not able to communicate all this on a Sunday. So I am not sure what to do with this question. I would like to have a Vision day where we the church family come together to discuss these ideas and be trained to discover the a new church model. I am not sure who would make the time to come. Would you consider this a priority? Are we getting complacent in our “success”? Yet, if we do not do this, what is going to be the future of this church?



Listen, we can not bring massive change to the church instruction in Canada, but WE CAN bring massive change to how WE are doing church. I never have been more aware of how LifePoint is poised to step out into uncharted waters in our denomination and in our region. I want to, even as my ministry changes. Please do not be concerned about the expression of my ministry changing. I want to experience these changes at LifePoint, but I feel the Lord calling to me to uncharted waters, and it excites and terrifies me.

What does this all mean? I am not sure, to be frank. But I feel the need to step out and I hope you would step out with me. LifePoint has the most wonderful opportunity, especially as we finish the new building, to redefine how we do church. The last speaker said that our model for church is Building + programs + pastor = church. HE is right, that is exactly how we feel in general. Yet all are important, but all are not a biblical definition of what church is.

SO what are your thoughts?

Much to pray about.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Updated pictures of the new building as of today

Hello!!
We are almost done Stage 1plus. The siding is now done on the new side. We will finish the rest of the building in the spring. The eavestroughs are going up as I write.

The inside is being painted this week! Yahoo! Lights are beginning to be connected.

Much more to get finished, yet it is coming.




Monday, October 01, 2007

A NEW NAME!!

We have changed our name!! As we draw close to celebrating our 40th anniversary, it was discussed that we change the name of Lanigan Pentecostal Church to LifePoint Church. It came to a vote on September the 23rd Sunday, and 92% said yes!

We now need to let everyone know! We also need to come up with a logo.

What do you think of this one? Leave a comment!

So, we hope to see you this Sunday at LifePoint!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

WELCOME BACK?! YOU BET!!!

It has been a while since I got to post something. Please forgive me for that.
This weekend begin our 4oth season of ministry. We are trying to carry on with our regular programs for the 2007 and 2008 year. The problem is that the building is not ready to be used as yet. We are aiming for the middle of October to be using "phase one" of the building. So the next fews weeks will be a little challenging as we get going. It is VERY exciting though!

So, remember this Sunday at 9:30a.m. we get going at LPC in the old building.
Pre-school, Grades k- 5 (Powered Up Kids (PUK)), Club 68 (grades 6-8) and THE STAND (grades 9-12). We also have classes that meet for the adults. Our current teacher is Neil and he is doing a study about faith.

We hope to see you here!

-K

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

June 6th update





More picture updates of the project as is it being worked on even now as this is being written.


for Wendell

Friday, May 25, 2007

THE CORNER STONE

The first "pile" got dug today! The soil was filled with clay, great for a firm foundation. A sure foundation. This scripture came to mind... Ephesians 2:20 "Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself."

Jesus says in Mark 12: 10 ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the Chief cornerstone"

So build your church Lord!

-K

Monday, May 14, 2007

SOD TURNING, May 13/2007

Hello All,
It has finally happened...
We have turned SOD!!! Construction begins this week. We will post photos as we get them!

Here are three pictures from the day...


Some of the youth of LPC




To God be the Glory, great things He Has Done.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Danger WIthin: An open letter

“A gunman has shot dead at least 32 people before committing suicide at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., in the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history.” (CTV online news, April 16/07). I am sure you have been reading about, watching or listening to the steady flow of information coming out of Virginia at another recent killing spree. I was looking at a Canadian Press article of a “Timeline of violent incidents at N. American schools” Updated Tue. Apr. 17 2007 10:45 AM. Between 1975 and 1994, 19 years, there was 8 shootings at schools. From 1997 – 2007, 10 years, there has been over 34. Someone said on the radio that people in leadership are totally baffled as to what to do to stop it? I am sure that you, like me, have heard many, MANY suggestions on what to do. I have heard people say “we need more laws”, “we need more screening”, “ban all guns”, to “make more guns available”. One guy said, that if the teachers and students would have been permitted to have guns at school they could have shot the guy before he killed so many people. Is this really the answer?

It is my opinion, that people are trying to fight an internal problem with external answers. You can have all the laws in the world, all the screening programs, all the security checks and balances, but if it is in the heart of a man or a woman to kill, all the external controls in the world are not going to be 100% effective. Something else has to be done; something that can deal with the internal problems that many people have. Problems like: a poor self image or even self loathing, deep hatred, envy, jealousy, rage. How about this list: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions. All deep internal problems that effect our lives everyday.

The Bible calls this list humanity’s “sinful nature”. This nature can not be controlled by laws, clubs or groups, as much as they are good to have, as they come from the inside of a person. Something has to change the nature of a person to see any change in our society. Not many years ago, people believed that God could, and would help in this change if a person wanted. Today most young people have not even heard that God is real and can help with internal and lasting change. I listened to a CBC program this morning when the discussion turned to, who in the room had a Bible. One person said, and I quote, “I do, I use it for a door stop”. Much laughter was the response by the other people. Could I suggest that people everywhere would pick it up from, the door way, or wherever else you may have one and read it? I know they could find real answers to the internal problems of our world.

God, I ask you to be with the families that will be burying their children this week and in the weeks to come. Please help us with our internal problems, our sin nature and reveal yourself to us afresh I pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Christianity on turbo charge

Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen

Published: Sunday, March 04, 2007

The first time Michael Wilkinson saw Pentecostals at worship, he was a teenager, dragged along by his parents. "These people are all crazy," he came away thinking. "I'm not ever going back."

But then the kids in the youth group asked him to some concerts. The music was terrific and the teens were fun, not losers or hopeless squares. "You can be cool and go to church," he thought.

Now 41, he is both Pentecostal and associate professor of sociology specializing in Pentecostalism at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C.

He maintains the Canadian Pentecostal Research Network and is compiling a study of Canadian Pentecostals, one of the first books of its kind. His colleagues are pressing him to finish so their graduate students can use it to undertake studies of their own.

Canada has about 4.4 million renewalists -- some 500,000 classical Pentecostals, members of churches developed in the early 1900s; 2.5 million charismatics, people who are "spirit filled" but stay within their denomination; and about 1.3 million neocharismatics, or neo-Pentecostals, a movement that began 10 to 20 years ago among people who want to steer clear of some of the strictures of traditional churches.

Renewalists don't all share the same beliefs or worship practices, but they are united by their experience of God -- "an intense, direct and overwhelming spiritual experience centred in the Holy Spirit," says Wilkinson, quoting from Frank Macchia's Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology, one of several new books coming out on the subject.

The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements says Pentecostal/charismatic Christianity is characterized by "exuberant worship; an emphasis on subjective religious experience and spiritual gifts; claims of supernatural miracles, signs and wonders -- including a language of spirituality (as it is experienced), rather than a theology; and a mystical 'life in the Spirit' by which they daily live out the will of God."

Psychology might describe it as magical thinking. Political science or sociology might see it as "enchantment," a worldview that embraces wonder, belittled in western civilization but very much alive in other countries.

Renewal resides at the mystical end of the religious spectrum and much of it is an outright mystery, which is just fine with its adherents. For them, reason has its limits.

As one renewalist minister describes it, "When philosophers and theologians get to do enough thinking or talking, they eventually run themselves in a circle. ... They've bumped their brains on the ceiling of a mystery, but don't want to admit it, so they keep talking."

Probably the most mysterious are the "gifts" of speaking in tongues, prophecy, deliverance and healing, and the signs and wonders, or modern-day miracles, "a foretaste of the coming kingdom of God," according to Wilkinson.

Evangelicals are also turbo-charged in their worship but they believe the miracles in the Bible were intended simply to help the Apostles get the church started. Most don't believe they are available to believers today. Pentecostals do!

Since Pentecostals take their name from a passage in the Bible in which the Holy Spirit imbues the Apostles with special gifts and powers, their outlook is hardly surprising.

Acts 2, verses 1-13, describes the 50th day after Christ's death, when the Apostles were struggling with how to proceed without their leader. Suddenly, there was a great whooshing sound and they were granted the "gifts of the spirit" -- the ability to heal through prayer, hear God speak, prophesize, speak in tongues, have visions and expel demons.

The Bible says 3,000 people were converted on the spot.

When people become "revived," they don't simply approve or enjoy it, the way they might with a political party or new rock group. They literally "catch" it. Classical Pentecostals say the believers are not really part of their group until "baptized in the Spirit" -- the Holy Spirit must manifest itself somehow, most often by allowing the person to speak in tongues, an unintelligible, language-like patter that supposedly comes directly from God.

Throughout history there have been several periods of renewal. One of the strongest in recent history occurred in Los Angeles in the early 1900s, as the promise of the American west was fading.

At first, only the down-and-out came to William J. Seymour's services in a derelict livery stable on Asuza Street. But at one service in early April 1906, people spoke in tongues and fell in ecstasy. Black men and white women worshipped together, an astonishing occurrence for the time. "A weird babel of tongues," reported one newspaper headline. Soon the movement was erupting all over the world.

In the following decades, missionaries streamed out of Europe and North America to "unreached" people.

In the 1970s, a similar movement -- a charismatic renewal -- began in the mainline churches. Most adherents stayed within their churches but embraced a more joyful form of worship. In the past 10 years or so, there has been a neo-Pentecostal, or neocharismatic, movement of worshippers keen to steer clear of some of the strictures of institutional churches altogether.

Now, as Pentecostals emigrate to Canada from Asia, Latin America and Africa, they will undoubtedly spark a new form of renewalism, especially as they often feel called to correct what they see as an appalling lack of faith.

Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity near Boston, says: "In a spiritual sense, they feel they are the stronger party. They're the ones with the message now that it has been lost in the West. It's their turn."

"It's only going to get more diverse culturally, theologically and organizationally," says Wilkinson. "I don't think leaders of the (older) Pentecostals have figured that out yet."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'll Always Stand for You

I was listening to my son's tree 63
CD. I happened upon this song and it moved me greatly.

Jesus, I stand for You
No matter what You lead me through
They will chase me out
And close me down
But Jesus I'll stand for You

I'll always stand
I'll always stand
I'll always stand for You
In all this world,
You're all that's true
I'll always stand for you

Jesus, I've stood my ground
When unbelief was all around
I have felt the sting
Rejection brings
But Jesus I still stand for You
(listen to it)

Powerful. So exciting to hear young people making bold faith commitments. It reminds me of a song I sang as a child in church...
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

I remember singing that to the Lord with such GREAT conviction. It still come to mind now and then.
A new sound an new generation, the same call to commitment to follow our Lord.
No turning back
Jesus, I'll stand for you...

Let this be your statement of faith for today.

-K