Monday, March 21, 2011

Citywide Celebration and Serving Opportunity

I’m excited to announce details for next month’s Citywide Celebration and a serving opportunity for the Body of Christ in the Charlotte area.
The event will take place on Saturday April 9th at 6pm, on the campus of 2XSalt/Salt Mine Ministry at 1900 Queen City Drive in Charlotte.

On the same day, we’re asking you to prayerfully consider serving a shift packaging meals for children in Managua, Nicaragua. You can read more information about this on the 2XSalt/Salt Mine website:

So, talk to your Father, and see if He will have you partner with us to package meals for hungry children, then come together to celebrate Jesus, hear words to cultivate kingdom life, and seek the Lord to see His glory fill our city and region through His people. Lord willing we’ll see you soon.

OneBody Celebration site:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On Being Institutionalized

I am really enjoying Neil Cole’s “Organic Leadership”. Cole does a great job of communicating how the Lord brings about leadership that glorifies Jesus. But early on, he also effectively spells out what currently ails much of the church world… the curse of institutional religion. In the chapter, “On Being Institutionalized”, we pull these excerpts from the section, “Two Lethal Problems”:

Christ did not come to establish an institution. His kingdom and his church are meant to be relational and spontaneous movements, not organizations. It is his followers who created the “church institution” with layers of authority and solidified programs and practices that take on a sacred nature in and of themselves.

When we become part of the perpetuation of the institution so that our own identity and security are found there, we have become institutionalized…”
There are two lethal problems with being institutionalized. First, the leader who has been institutionalized in the church, often unwittingly, places his or her faith in the institution rather than in the Lord. The church’s institutional form becomes the provider: the source of security, identity, and hope. As the institution goes, so goes this person’s sense of worth and well-being. If the institution is threatened, the leader’s own security is threatened. In this state, the leader’s faith is reduced to maintaining and promoting the institution and its agenda.

The second problem is we elevate the institution to the level of being God’s main, if not his only, instrument on earth. We limit God to working within the institution. This is by far the worst consequence of institutionalization. If we see the organization called “church” as God’s special means of working on earth, it takes on divine importance. If this is our perception of the organization, then to resist it or exist outside of it is to resist or be outside of God himself. When we further the cause of the institution, we further God’s cause. When we question it, we question God. Those who are not friends of the institution are not friends of God but enemies. Anyone who competes with the institution must be against God. The worth of people is determined by their value to the institution and its objectives. Even the buildings that are owned by the institution are said to be God’s house.

Of course, God may well be working in and through the organized expression of the church, but I guarantee he is also at work outside of it. His kingdom is bigger than any church, denomination or institution.

The first problem is personal and affects the leaders and perhaps those closest to him or her. The second - believing the institution is God’s main instrument for working in the world - can create an entire culture that affects many others. Both problems are forms of idolatry, because in both cases the institution replaces God. This is bondage. It is unhealthy and can destroy lives, and it certainly is not the reason Jesus died on the cross.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Citywide Celebration: Reflection and Looking Ahead

This has been a day of reflecting, rejoicing and of contemplation.

Last night we held our first Citywide Celebration event here in Charlotte. It brought together people from our 3 fellowships in the region, members of The Creek (who hosted us) and a number of others who responded to invitations from friends, through facebook, online message boards, and radio commercials.

It was a night of music, of testimonies, of teaching, and fellowship. We hope to post audio and video segments soon.

Today I rejoiced in the Lord, reflecting on a hopeful prayer of faith that began the night from Lisa Koons of Charlotte 24-7, a testimony of sacrificial servanthood from Dan House about Ed Bellaire, a fatherly exhortation from my friend Don Atkin, a humorous and simple yet profound message on the purpose of our gathering together from Steve Crosby, and the joy of watching the Lord establish new kingdom connections.

It was a joy meeting new people, and observing the way our Father weaves our lives together in Him: like the young teacher overflowing with Jesus, who just happens to be reading blogs from an apostolic friend who is coming to Charlotte next month. There's also the man who just happened to hear a radio spot announcing the event and decided to come with his wife. He figured that since it was happening at the church where Dennis Hall pastors, it must be something good. By the way, that couple lives in our neighborhood and we expect to connect as couples very soon.

Looking ahead, I'm reminded of the sobering task ahead, to see strongholds of religion and fear demolished so we, His sons and daughters can truly walk as one body.

For those who shared the night with us, I welcome your testimonies as well. Otherwise we'll keep everyone posted on plans for the next citywide gathering. Stay tuned.