Church Planting Isn’t Biblical

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Lets clear up the confusion now that I have your attention.  Although we do see a biblical model for church planting in the New Testament we don’t find a command.  I am a huge believer in starting new churches just seems in recent years the emphasize has be placed more on the “overall church” and less on the disciple. I heard Mike Breen say, “You can get the church but you won’t necessarily get the disciple. BUT, If you get the disciple you will always get the church.”  Breen’s quote embodies my argument.

“You can get the church but you won’t necessarily get the disciple. BUT, If you get the disciple you will always get the church.”

So…what is biblical? Simply put…making disciples.  Matthew 28:16-20 clearly places the command on making disciples.  Having started a new church I write from expreince when I make these claims.  I too, was caught up in the enchantment of gathering large crowds of people and seeing hundreds, if not thousands of people coming to faith in Jesus Christ.  I still believe in the Pentecost revival we read about in the Scriptures.  However, most church planters today want pentecost but fail to put in the work to get there.  Jesus discipled his followers for 3 years before they were sent out.  What makes us think we should be any different?  I have the opportunity to train other church planters and I am amazed of Pastors/Planters who have never been discipled.  How in the world will be make it?  I want to propose a planting philosophy:

1. Make Disciples – If you can’t make disciples you will never get the church.  You may play church but eventually you will fail.

2.  Appoint Leaders – Out of those that were discipled identify those who have the calling of God on their lives and empower them to carry out the work of the ministry.

3.  Plant God’s Church – Now that you have co-labores to work in the harvest fields, GO FOR IT!

4.  Hold On – Watch God multiply your community faster than you ever have before.

Go make disciples and you will get the church!

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Gospel Centered Living

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A few days ago I wrote an article entitled “Where is God in the midst of my sin?” I made a point about the Gospel being the driving force for our sanctification and I wanted to elaborate some on this topic.  Being a pastor of a local church I hear some things that make me wonder some time.  I have heard people complaining that their church always talks about the Gospel (live, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) and fail to give the meat of the scriptures.  Early on I didn’t understand why this didn’t sit well with me until I started to understand the entirety of the Gospel.  You see the Gospel is not for sinner alone but also for the saved.  We systematically think that someone who is not redeemed needs the Gospel and those who are need Theology.  While this is true, we must also include the Gospel in our Theology.  In fact the Gospel is the root for all Theology and its the driving force behind developing christian to be more like Jesus Christ.  The more we understand the Gospel the more we begin to understand the gravity of our sin.  This draws us closer to God and drives us deeper into the study of our God which results in becoming more like our Savior. In fact, its our destiny to become more like Jesus Christ.  Look what Romans 8: 29 says:

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

Without the Gospel we have no foundation for our Theology and we can’t grow into the image of Christ.  So realize the Gospel is the meat of the scriptures and fosters our growth as believers.

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If you could hear my thoughts or read them

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Well if you could hear all of them you would probably freak. I want to share one thought with you because I believe that if we are not careful we will turn our churches into country clubs.  Sure country clubs are nice and entertaining places to frequent but if our churches become country clubs then there is no accountability, we can come and go as we please and we take just enough of Jesus until it starts to hurt or until He inconveniences us.

Sometimes I wonder what we are doing in the American Church.  We have brothers and sisters around the world that would give up everything to worship with their church family during the week.  In China, they are driven to meet in secrecy because the persecution from their government, yet they still meet and worship.  In Haiti I personally met families who live 2 hours away by foot, yet they still make it to worship.  Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani who has been given his own personal execution order could recant and his execution would be reversed, yet he still remains faithful and still continues to worship even in the face of death.  Believers are being persecuted all over the world for their faith and we can’t even make it to church because our child’s activities or because we stayed up too late watching some stupid fireworks.  The American pop culture church has lost their way, REPENT.  Now some of you will read this and say I am being too tough and its okay to miss church every once in awhile.  Here is what I have for you…in our Savior’s words, “Get behind me!”  You are the biggest part of the problem.  It’s not okay to miss fellowship with other believers and worship of our God.  The reason you would say this is because you think this life is all about YOU and you are sadly mistaken.  This life is not your own, you have been bought with a price and I can guarantee that Jesus didn’t suffer a brutal beating, have the flesh ripped from his skin, wear a thorn of crowns and drown in his own blood so you can be a half hearted Christian.

Today is the day to start living your COMPLETE life for God.  Don’t be satisfied with just almost and don’t live this life with regrets.  Lay it all on the table because this is exactly what our Savior Jesus Christ did.

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Where is God in the midst of my sin?

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Maybe not a question you are asking your small group or your pastor but definitely one  you are asking in your heart.  Let me explain.  When we sin and our lives are filled with guilt and shame we naturally detach from community and fellowship with God.  We don’t want to face accountability and fear our sin might be exposed by the light. Mostly I feel people detach from community and hide from God because they don’t have a correct view of the Gospel.  Most Christians understand the Gospel to be for the lost and fail to realize it is just as much for the redeemed.  We believe in the saving power of the cross to redeem sinful souls but we fail to see the sanctifying power of the Gospel for the believer.

The Gospel is what removed all the guilt and shame that kept us from the father yet we find ourselves living a condemned life through a redeemed soul.  STOP, this is sin and we must begin to embrace the Gospel and allow the work of the cross to sanctify and form us into the image of Jesus Christ.  It’s not easy but understanding the depth of the Gospel and power to set us free from our bondage and allow us to live in the freedom of the cross.  Next time you find yourself checking out draw near to the Gospel for its ability to save and remove your shame is incomprehensible and will move us closer to God.

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Recent Conversation About Haiti

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I recently answered some questions for a pastor who is working on another mission’s partnership and he wanted to know about what we are doing in Haiti.  I thought the questions were good so I thought I would share.  Here you go:

What led you to adopt Haiti as a mission?
I had been on a trip there before in the summer of 2003. Haiti as this way of grabbing you and never letting go. Our church wanted to be involved in a foreign mission so we starting praying for opportunity. There were already some local churches working in a village so I inquired more about the situation. When we heard there were 54 orphans without a home we decided then and there we couldn’t turn our backs and this was what we had been praying for.

How did you raise your initial funds to go to Haiti?
We took up a special offering at church for the trip but we mostly paid for the trip out of our general budget. We have some very dedicated givers at Journey which allowed us to go on mission.

How did you decide to build an orphanage in Haiti?
When we saw the need for the orphanage we couldn’t turn away. There was already a church working in the area raising money to support the kids with food, school and clothes. We knew the next step was building an orphanage.

What are the strategies that you are moving forward with to promote the campaign?
We had planned on using lots of different modes of marketing but we have landed on the viral loop. Social media and word of mouth remain the best advertising at least for our situation. We started a twtiter page, facebook page, youtube channel, we will have different bloggers writing about us and we will be placing ads on facebook. We are also going to rely heavily on our community for help (ie. poster, collection jars, forums, etc.)

How do you plan to get 30K in 30 days?
Good question!….Well, without sounding too churchy, we are going to rely on God. When I was in Haiti this last August I felt the Lord was telling me to start this campaign, www.30kin30days.org. I hesitated for awhile but confirmation after confirmation came so we went for it. We are simply believing that God is going to do something amazing. The great thing about this campaign is its not only going to change the lives of these orphans forever it will also change our community and our church.

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30k in 30 Days

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This campaign started because we, Journey Church, found out about a need in a small rural village in Haiti called Susaub.  We heard that there were 55 orphans living homeless in this village.  We later found out that the Pastor’s daughter from the village dreamed one day when she could build an orphanage for the kids.  She moved to Port Au Prince to get a degree and work so she could send money back to care for the orphans.  Tragically she died in the earthquake and the hope of the orphanage died as well.  Until now…The village believes God is using us to not only save the children but help honor and keep Rebecca’s memory alive in Susaub.

We took a trip in August of 2011 to document this epidemic and to start devising a plan to build this orphanage.  You can see the initial video here.  A final video is being produced that will tell Rebecca’s story.  Today we have started a facebook page and we are asking 1000 friends to join and help this cause.  We are also going to use justcoz.org you can see our PENDING profile here.

All of our efforts will point everyone to www.rebeccashope.org which is in final production as we speak.  I believe through facebook, twitter and youtube we will raise the money quickly.

Here is how you can help:

  • like us on facebook
  • follow us on twitter
  • tweet, blog and write out this campaign

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Just a Randomn Brain Dump

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I never really let you guys step into the mind of Jeff Jackson.  Probably because everyone would freak out.  My mind turns all the time.  I love thinking of ideas that can change the world.  Here are some of the ideas I have been thinking about (disclaimer – not all are world changing ideas!):

  • Global clean water initiatives resulting in Church planting (100 wells, 10 years with 100 Churches)
  • Group funding website for church planters to raise money
  • Cold Stone Creamery franchise
  • Multiple church plants from Journey
  • Seeing salvation of biblical proportion in Southern Indiana
  • Building an Orphanage in Susab, Haiti (funding starts soon for this project)
  • Launching a film project on kickstarter.com
  • Finishing Rediscover Me which is my Dream Year project

Some of these I will finish, others I will not.  Feel free to run with one of these ideas or let me know if you want to collaborate on a project.  Wow! That feels good to give a public brain dump.

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Don’t give us your money

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I have heard before that tithing is not for the new testament (NT) Church.  I used to get really bad at this statement because I thought most people wanted a way out of giving to the Lord.  I was asked the other day what I thought about NT tithing so here are my thoughts.

TITHING which is a tenth or commonly know as giving 10% of your income to the church is for the church and is biblical for the NT church.  The most common argument against a tithe for the NT church is that tithing was Old Testament law.  Well…in Genesis we see Abraham giving a tithe to Melchizedek who was the priest of the most high God.  This tithe that we see took place over 400 years before the law came into existence.  Now with that said, I want to make sure everyone, especially at Journey Church, understands that tithing is not a destination but rather a starting point.  We see in 1 Corinthians 8 and 9 that the NT church gave sacrificially and well above the tithe.  I would encourage everyone to start with 10% and go from there.

Also, remember that the tithe should always be given out of devotion and never focused on a dollar amount. Journey Church members, if you give 10% because you think the church demands this from you then give your tithe to another church because we want people to give out of devotion to the Lord and to the mission that He has called us.

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We are blessed

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So for a few weeks I’ve been struggling with lots of different things and one of them was our finances at church.  For what ever reason we think money gives us security.  Last week, while spending time with the Lord I told God that he had to provide. Basically this is my way of saying, “God, I can’t do it on my own…I give you control.”  Guess what happened when I let go….?

  • Our building flooded (causing us to spend $1800)
  • But then an anonymous $1500 donation came in the SAME DAY!!
  • Then another $1000 donation that was expected
  • And then today at the post office box a $2000 check…once again unexpected
  • Also, $2100 has been raised for the Haiti Orphanage and we haven’t even begun to raise money…I guess we have!!

Its amazing what happens we when relinquish control and let God do His thing.  Here is what I learned from this expereince:

  • God is good
  • We need to step up our giving at Journey Church
  • God is about to do something big in our church
  • He is not done working in America
  • We need to let go and hold loosely what God has given us

I’m wondering…what do you need to let go of?

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Church is Not

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What church is not…

Church is not a country club
Church is not a museum of saints
Church is not a democracy
Church is not political
Church is not a retail shop
Church is not for the perfect or proud
Church is not designed to accommodate your schedule
Church is not a business or a business meeting
Church is not comprised of programs

That’s all for now. What is your definition or lack there of for the church?

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