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a lifetime of surrender
Here lately, as we move into the future with the Warren Campus, there have been many great questions come up from people in the church and out. So, periodically I will write something in response to some of the questions we have heard. I know that if one person has voiced the question then there are probably others that have the same question.
Recently someone asked how small groups will work with both campuses? I believe the answer to this will be an answer that will be given to many questions to come…”We are ONE church, in MULTIPLE locations”. In others words, it will still be North Point Christian Church in both locations. You may have people in one small group going to two different campuses. Michele Phillips will still oversee the entire program at both campuses.
We want to be unified in all areas of the church life as possible. We serve under ONE Lord through Jesus Christ as head of the church. So, at NPC there will be ONE congregation, ONE Leadership Team, ONE Budget, ONE staff member for oversight of each of the 5 Focus Points (Weekend Services, Dennis/Tim-Student Community, Matt McClane-Children’s Department, Ramona Rendall-Small Groups, Michele Phillips-Lifeguard, Dennis/Tim)…yet meeting in different locations.
I had a great day yesterday fishing on Lake Michigan. Gary Christianson graciously took me fishing on Lake Michigan yesterday and it was a blast. I have lived next to the Lake for going on 6 years now, and that that was the first time fishing on the big lake since we moved here. What a great experience and Gary was such a good host and guide. We caught perch in the morning and salmon in the afternoon. It was pretty eventful since we were in a relatively small boat for Lake Michigan ( a 16 foot Ranger…unsinkable they tell me…course that is what they said about the Titanic) fishing in 150-160 feet of water in some pretty rough water with whitecaps and good sized rollers…boys will be boys.
The salmon fishing was really cool. We landed 3 and had three other hook-ups. One that we lost was a 6-8 pound rainbow trout that we lost right at the boat…the one that got away. He fought like crazy and was jumping clear out of the water an unbelievable amount of fight in that fish…then the line broke right at the boat…fun none the less. I can’t wait to go back.
Today was a great day. I had an opportunity to worship together with several church leaders from across Lake County at a Catalyst meeting. After the meeting, Mike, Dennis and I gave Jim Tomberlin a ride to the O’Hare airport. On the way we were able to pick Jim’s mind about church planting. Jim has been a church planter now for many years and has worked with many successful plants. God has utilized Jim in a variety of ministries from pastoring a church in Germany, to growing a mega-church in Colorado Springs, to pioneering the multi-site strategy at Willow Creek.
It was good to pick up some golden bits of information to use for the new Warren Campus, and I thank him very much for his words of wisdom and insight. Even his affirmation that we are on the right track with much of what we are doing was a great source of encouragement.
As we begin this move to multi-site it is amazing to see God at work in the hearts of so many people in the church. I pray that this “stirring” will remain in action as the Spirit moves in the hearts of people.
Never worry, never fear…Todd Tate has been here…since last Saturday night anyway. Todd is our missionary in
Again this is a follow up to a blog post, THE 13 NPC DNA COMMANDMENTS, I did on the DNA of NPC. I had someone ask about DNA #’s 9, “Thou shall endeavor for “Seeker Friendly Services”—Designing services that Celebrate Christ and Connect with the people. Planning services that reach those who are unconnected to the church (may not necessarily be what the churched people would want). In other words, identifying and connecting to the best of our ability the gospel message of Jesus Christ with the unconnected “Everyman” of the area we serve”. and 11, “Thou shall be Staff-led.”
I tackled # 9 in the previous post, now I will endeavor to explain #11 and what it means to be “staff-led”.
I have to admit that staff-led can be very mis-leading when you just read those words alone, but placed in the context of “leadership structure” it may become more clear as to its meaning.
First of all, it must be said that the church and its leadership must be Spirit-led in all aspects of the leading of the church…again this is an absolute must. Reliance on the Holy Spirit for wisdom, knowledge and discernment are critical in understanding and following the will of God for the direction of the church.
The other term that goes along side of “staff-led” is “elder-led”…again very misleading without context. Basically, when you look at these two terms in the context of church leadership it comes down to, who takes care of the day-to-day or the timely matters of the church. Another word might be, who takes care of the micro-management of the church.
Let me share with you our (NPC) philosophy of staff-led. Our leaders/elders of the church are the shepherds of the timeless principles of God that we see in scripture. They make sure that the church is in line with the Biblical based core values of Christ's church. They are also the ones who make sure that the church adheres to the core values (DNA) of the philosophy and vision of the church. Their position is oversight of the timeless core value principles of the church.
The staff then, carries these core value principles of the church out in a timely manner. The staff is given the freedom to move forward with these principles in a way that connects with the context of the current culture and society. They are trusted and given the freedom to make day-to-day decisions within the context of the core value principles (Biblical and visional).
Example…the decision to do backyard VBS (Blastzones) was a decision made by the staff and then ran by the leadership. The leadership said yes this is exactly what we need to be doing. From there the staff ran with the ideas and the structure and the advertisement and the volunteers and engaging with the small group leaders and make sure that all the day-to-day activities were meeting the needs the families within the church and local communities.
I hope this answers the question…and I also pray that we will be a church that is obedient to the call and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the life of the church.
I had been asked in a previous post, THE 13 NPC DNA COMMANDMENTS, to explain a couple of points to the NPC DNA, so I will attempt to explain this to the best of my ability.
First would be #9, “Thou shall endeavor for “Seeker Friendly Services”—Designing services that Celebrate Christ and Connect with the people. Planning services that reach those who are unconnected to the church (may not necessarily be what the churched people would want). In other words, identifying and connecting to the best of our ability the gospel message of Jesus Christ with the unconnected “Everyman” of the area we serve.”
NPC has always been a church that has been concerned about people who were/are disconnected from the church or from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Our first concern has always been to teach the hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that connects with the ‘everyman’ of our area. Side note, ‘everyman’ simply means, “an ordinary person; the typical or average person.” So our target audience is the simple everyday people you meet on the street everyday.
In meeting these people where they are at and taking them where they need to go, we want to make a concerted effort to bring the gospel alive to individuals using creativity in our worship services. This by no means insinuates that we “water down” the gospel message, but sharing it in a way that connects with people. The life changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is something that can be difficult to live out in our daily lives, so we want people to be able to receive it in a way that is meaningful and practical.
Some would say that non-believers cannot fully participate in worshiping God with believers. Where I understand this thought and believe there are some truths to that…I also believe that we need to give opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work on the hearts of the non-believer, this can take place in the worship services of the church. This leads me to my next thought…
Why do I say that some “churched people” may not want this or desire this. Simply…we (I label myself as a churched person here) bring much tradition (not always bad tradition…but traditions non the less) and sometimes even “baggage” as to what we think are essential for church. When you begin to strip some of these things (traditions and baggage) away and get to the core of the gospel message and preach that in a creative way it may not look like what some people are used to in the church. Not that one way of “doing” church is better or even more holy than another…but different.
I pray that NPC can continue to be a church that reaches out to an unconnected group of people and draw them into a new relationship with God. I pray that NPC will continue to meet the felt needs of others, to make it simple for them to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, and be wise in how we meet people where they are and take them to where they need to be.
Issue #11 next...
I am writing this from the hospital bed due to my back being totally destroyed during the making of this video. Oh by the way my partner in this video is the new intern at NPC working with our mission’s team and our coming Warren Campus...Welcome Donna Taylor.
2. Thou shall be Christ Following.
3. Thou shall be Spirit-led.
4. Thou shall uphold and teach what NPC views as Biblical absolute truths.
5. Thou shall do Biblical Teaching that is balanced in “formation” and “information”.
6. Thou wilt be a church that is Reaching up, Reaching Out, Reaching In.
7. Thou shall concentrate on the Five Focal Points- Weekend Services, Small Group Ministries, Children’s Ministries, Students Ministries and Life-Guard Ministries.
8. Thou shall be a Church Characterized by Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness.
9. Thou shall endeavor for “Seeker Friendly Services”—Designing services that Celebrate Christ and Connect with the people. Planning services that reach those who are unconnected to the church (may not necessarily be what the churched people would want). In other words, identifying and connecting to the best of our ability the gospel message of Jesus Christ with the unconnected “Everyman” of the area we serve.
10. Thou shall concentrate on Externally Focused opportunities by showing the love of Christ to individuals and helping the community succeed for the cause of Christ.
11. Thou shall be Staff-led.
12. Thou shall endeavor to be a church that is open and authentic.
13. Thou shall endeavor to build openness to change that enables the church to reach the “everyman”.
The multisite vision for North Point is to have more campuses in more convenient locations for more conversions. Some of you may cringe at the sound of the word convenient in conjunction with the church. I unashamedly want to make it easier for people to come to know Jesus. Not by watering down what it means to be a Christ-follower, but by providing more places and more opportunities for people to begin a relationship with Jesus. We want more conversions, we want more life change, more people coming into relationship with Jesus and letting Him change their lives.
Some may ask why? Why take away from the group here to go and start something elsewhere. You might say, “I like my church. I like it just the way it is.” You know why? It is because the fields are ripe. According to a 2006 census estimate there are some 713,000 residents of Lake County. Some numbers that the Chicago District Evangelistic Association have come up with state that only 250,000 of those residents are “claimed” by a church. “Claimed” is a loose term meaning they are on the membership roles of a church but they may or may not actually be attending that church. The need is great in Lake County and the best way for us to reach Lake County is by starting new churches or new campuses so to create more places for people to experience Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness.
We are also going so we can meet the needs of others. I have heard many stories of how North Point has met the needs of many through acts of kindness. I got to take part with some of you yesterday helping out Mrs. B. To the best of our abilities we want to “give to anyone as he has need.” We want to give the Gospel its best hearing possible by meeting the needs of others and showing them the love of Christ. We want to do good deeds to create goodwill to share Good News. Tim said it last week but I too love the quote by St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.” Too often we go to the words too fast and they don’t see enough love in action.
Some of this launch is like becoming a parent for the first time. You are scared to death, yet terribly excited, all at the same time. I was describing how I felt to a friend of mine and I said, “I feel like I am at the place where peace and terror meet.” I have peace knowing this is exactly where God wants me to be and that I am doing exactly what He wants to do. At the same time, I have this sense of terror as I don’t know exactly how we are going to get from here to there. This is where God wants us to be. A place of peace totally relying on Him, yet holding on for dear life not knowing exactly where He will take us.
We serve a wild God, a furious God. A God of Adventure, and by no means tame. We’re expecting. We’re expecting God to move and to move us to greater levels of faith. So many times we limit God by the things that we can do, let’s let God be God and let Him take us to where He wants us to be.
50 North Pointer’s descended upon Mrs. B’s house this last Saturday, as NPC joined forces with the national organization called Rebuilding Together. Rebuilding Together is an organization that helps people with their homes who may not be able to afford or have the physical ability to do work on themselves. This is a great way to get into the community and help people succeed for the cause of Christ.
Last year we were able to work with Mrs. A…this year Mrs. B…next year I hope to be able to help out Mrs. C, D, &E. There were people painting the interior and exterior of her home, putting on a new porch, fixing broken windows and doors, and endless numbers of maintenance jobs around the house from electrical to drywall patch. More than the work though was this amazing time of Christian fellowship as we worked side by side. It was awesome to witness and awesome to be part of.
I want to thank the team leaders for all their extra time and effort that they put into this project…Scott Lindemann, Donna Taylor, Michele Phillips, JC Crawford, Scott Holverson, and Don Evans…THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!!
As the day was wrapping up, Mrs B came to me one more time to say thank you…as she had done so many many times during the day. But this time, as she looked at her new porch and fresh paint, the emotions and tears were very evident that words could not express her sincere thanks.
All there was left for me to say was, “you are entirely welcome” as she gave me a huge hug…and in my mind I was thinking, “as Christians, isn’t this just what we are supposed to be doing?”……keeping our eyes open at the intersections of life to share the love of Jesus Christ with others.
There are great things that can happen when we put our thoughts together and work together as a team…whether in the church, in our homes, or where we work. As Mike Foster has come on board with us as our “New Campus Pastor” we were looking at our office space and decided to try an idea for awhile. Mike, Dennis, and I will be sharing an office. The hopes are to synergize our thoughts and efforts and to be as unified in thought as possible as we move forward. I can’t wait to see how this plays out. If things go well…I would love to be able to do this with more staff members…just finding a space big enough to do it. So the experiment begins.