The Tentmaker Group website has launched! If you know people looking to fund a church plant transition, pastors who seek supplemental income or people interested in roles that will re-invest money into church planting and ministering to people in their city, this is one avenue. From the site:
The Tentmaker Group exists for God’s glory to create self-sustaining, gospel-centered movements to change cities. Learn more about our vision. The Tentmaker Group was created in answer the following questions:
How do you transition into ministry?
How do you create a sustainable movement?
How do you fund a church plant?
How do you change a city?
For many, funding is a significant challenge to the pursuit of their calling. The Tentmaker Group provides opportunities to help fund these transitions and city-changing movements.
I've been reading Total Church, a remarkable book that looks at a 'radical reshaping around gospel and community'. In it they talk about the community formed at The Crowded House, where:
We are committed to caring for one another, discipling one another, investing in relationships and resolving conflict. We will expect one another to make decisions with regard to the implications for the church and to make significant decisions in consultation with the church. We will not view church as a meeting you attend. We will not let conflict continue unresolved. (emphasis mine)
Chester/Timmis argue that just as a 'married man must take into account his wife and family' in making decisions, the same should be done in the family of God. The book then points out:
This is not a process of 'heavy shepherding' where the leader tells people what to do. Our statement does not say decisions are made for people. It says they are made with regard to the community to which they belong. Nor is it top-down. It is a community process in which everyone is accountable to everyone. As leaders, we submit our schedules, priorities and key decisions to the community.
In the book they cite one attender who quit his 'high-paying' job as a bank executive to teach English as a second language. Is the American church ready for this? (The book is not yet released in the US. I believe Mark Moore has 50 copies for purchase.) They go on to say:
I cannot be who I am without regard to other people. Into our pervasively individualistic world-view, we speak the gospel of reconciliation, unity and identity as the people of God. This is perhaps the most significant 'culture gap' which the church has to bridge. (emphasis mine)
Since I did my session on Post-Christian World, here are a few add'l external links from the last day in the blogosphere that relate:
What do our church buildings witness to? "Our church buildings witness to the immobility, inflexibility, lack of fellowship, pride and class divisions in today's church." According to "Radical Renewal: The Problem of Wineskins Today" (Howard A. Snyder), post at Mark Moore's blog.
The Center for Christian Leadership is pleased to announce an upcoming conference, Beyond the Church Doors: Developing a Missional Mindset within Your Congregation, on March 31 and April 1, 2008, featuring Dr. Ed Stetzer and Dr. Alan Roxburgh. If your church is developing creative and strategic ways of engaging in missional ministry, we would like to profile your activities in our conference materials.
Take the Missional Church Survey online >>
Many North American churches today are shifting away from an “attractional model” of ministry designed to draw people into the church building to a “missional model” which involves training and equipping whole congregations to act as missionaries in their local communities. We would like to know how your church is engaging in ministries of compassion and service in order to further the gospel and impact the culture. …
We are compiling a list of stories that will inspire others to creatively engage in missional practices. Please share one or two of your church’s activities that have impacted your community. (HT: djchuang)
Also check out Inc. Magazine's newest issue, Fun! It's the New Core Value to continue to see how the culture shift is changing institutions.
Here is the session I did at GCA on Communication in Our Post-Christian World (86-page PDF). There is a lot of stuff the pdf won't explain but it will provide a general idea of the conversation. For example,
We are in the middle of one of the greatest worldview transitions in recent history. Gen-X is turning 40. While much has been discussed in terms of culture/postmodernity, it is now beginning to take hold institutionally as this generation moves into positions of power. How the values of Gen-X & Y are reshaping ecclesiology, theology and mission and causing greater diversity in the forms and expression of the church.
The ghost of Christianity and Christendom and it's gospel inoculation impact on mission. The reversal with new church expressions seeing 'tradtional/modern' churches as synchronizing to a dying culture.
How the increased connectivity of Gen-x & Y creates a Virtual Tribalism and the impact on evangelism, outreach and churches. A look at this hyper-affinity and the 10 Idols of these new generations.
For those who asked for the church planting movie, it's located here: Post-Christian America & the Urgency of Church Planting (This post also has the link to all stats/sources)
I attended Emerging 1 & 2 and Evangelism 1 & 2 today. Emerging Session 2 was led by Steve Treichler from Hope Community. Some quotes:
"We are in the middle of the greatest worldview shift in 200 years and evangelicals have largely sheltered themselves from this transition." (Meaning: we no longer understand our culture)
"The gospel is a chocolate covered waffle cone. In 11 years of our church I have never told our people, "'you should invite your friends to church. We do very little 'should'." (Meaning: If our people don't see the gospel as something to prize and share, our people don't get it.)
Here are a couple quotes from Martin Ban who is currently the Senior Pastor of Christ Church Santa Fe. These are from his session, Making Room: A Trinitarian Reflection on Evangelism and Cultural Engagement with the Gospel. This was an excellent session which impacted me particularly as it relates to how God has allowed us to be IN Christ. I'll have to digest this for a bit, but here are two quotes that struck me (but don't really indicate the thrust of the message).
"The gospel is not efficient." (As it relates to loving others and being missional.
If our people learn a Systematic Theology of Grace it results in a reduction of risk (taken by people). We need to teach our people a Kingdom view of Grace with enables them to take greater risks.
Dan said one of his mentors was Dick Kaufmann (he also mentioned Frame, Keller, Schaeffer, Newbigin and others) so I liked him from the get-go. Plus, he presented his session with a triperspectival understanding of evangelism. Eg., He discussed things like the Logos, Ethos and Pathos in evangelism. He's going to send out his presentation PowerPoint so I will refresh myself on a couple thoughts and post on these.
Ed Stetzer promises to blog regularly. He just launched EdStetzer.com. Here's the goal of the blog:
This blog will be a mixture of several things. We will look at research and discuss it here. In just a couple of weeks we will release some groundbreaking research on the dropout rate for the transition years from high school to college. Several guest bloggers will both write and interact here. Whenever we release research, this will be the official forum for interacting with us. You can post questions, question our assumptions, or say we are the smartest people ever for doing the project (thanks, mom, for dropping by).
David Wayne and I had breakfast with Ed and asked him a couple questions. Here is a quote:
Evangelicals have a weak ecclesiology. Ecclesiology and missiology are the defining issues of our day. We are going to see a great die-off in the American church of established churches, yet see a broader diversity of forms of church.
…more from GCA later.
We completed day 1 of the GCA Church Planting conference. John Piper did a session encouraging the church planters and reminding them to be weary of church planting experts/formula's it is the Holy Spirit the preaching of the gospel. The first sessions took place as well. Afterwards, I had a chance to meet David Wayne (JollyBlogger) in person. Bart Johnson, Larry Kirk, James Martin and I sat around a table at an ice-cream social talking about cessationists, creedo/paedobaptism and a sundry of other denominationalism topics SBC, PCA, EV Free. All over a nice sundae.
Ed Stetzer came over and gave me a hard time for my Missional – Missio Dei, Missionary or Mission post that got him in trouble over at Bill Kinnon's blog. Stetzer's talk is now leading many in the emerging church to begin the overthrow of governments according to Kinnon (all in good fun people). I realize my post didn't portray Stetzer's full intent, I apologize for the ease of the straw man argument with no substance. Stetzer asked us not to post further, so we're left waiting for his article to come out….. (no pressure Stetzer).
Stetzer, David Wayne (JollyBlogger) and I plan on getting together tomorrow morning for an interview. So if you have questions for Stetzer that you can post prior to 5am PST (when we meet!), post them.
I'm putting the finishing touches on my GCA presentation, Communication in Our Post-Christian World:
The culture is changing and it requires new methods of communication. This session will help you learn how to effectively minister in a post-Christian context. Come learn the 1) five values of this Post-Christian generation, the 2) ten idols that enslave them and 3) effective ways to communicate the eternal and unchanging gospel message.
This is the first session for my Media & Message series. Any of you planning on being there? (Jollblogger is coming to the conference! btw- If you haven't, add his feed to your reader.)
This week has been extremely crazy, as the Monk team is in town planning the future of Ekklesia 360 Church CMS. We now have over 750 churches and ministries using our system and growing rapidly! Secondly, I am wrapping up my two sessions for the GCA Conference on Message and Media: Communicating the Gospel in Our Post-Christian World. It will be held at John Piper's church next week. I haven't been able to finish a couple posts I'm working on, so here are a few links that have caused me to think:
Part-time pastors are making a comeback (another reason the Tentmaker Group is so necessary…)
Top 25 Church Planting Churches in America : Reformed vs. Reformational (David Fairchild)
A new book is released, entitled: Signs of Emergence by Kester Brewin. (HT: Jordon Cooper with a full review of the book.) In his discussion of how the cities have changed into complex, bottom up systems, Brewin says this (pg 63),
There are still those who cry for revolution, for a revival that will change things in a snap, make everything OK as thousands flock to church… But the days for revolution are over. The cry for revival is too often a cry for abdication: you do it all, God. Well God has done God's bit, it is the systems that now need to change. This is the faith we have signed up for: the Church as the body of Christ where we have real parts to play, real responsibilities.
Lastly, if you haven't already done so, I'd encourage you to check out Tim Chester's blog : Reformed spirituality, radical ecclesiology. Chester and Steve Timmis are releasing a new book (not yet in America) called Total Church. I leave the summary to Mark Moore :
Total Church is one of those books that you hold in your hand and think two things after you've read it. First, Wow! This book says it all. Second, Wow! This book says it all. The first "wow" is the one you say while cheering and applauding that someone has said things that you have desperately wanted to hear. Each page drips with gospel understanding and real life love for the church. The second "wow" is the one you say while realizing that you pretty much have nothing new to offer the world at this point other than a copy of this book. The things you had been thinking about that seemed so "radical" and "refreshing" are now nothing more than restatement of what's been said.
The Tentmaker Group is launching. On August 13th & 14th a group from the Tentmakers will travel to Las Vegas to observe and meet with one of the companies to participate. This company has a role that fits well with the need for church planters to fund a transition into ministry as described previously. Training for this role will take place August 27th through 29th. We expect a class size of 5-10 for this first round of training. This role is a sales role, but allows for flexible work-schedules and the ability to work from home. People who are interested in moving to San Diego to participate in a church planting movement will be able to shortly. (We are looking at office space Friday.) We also have a second opportunity for pastors or ministry leaders who seek to supplement their existing income with part time work.
After we launch this out of San Diego, cities who would like to start their own Tentmaker Group will be able to.
The Vision of the Tentmaker Group
1. Helping fund local church planting and ministry movements.
2. Allowing church planters, ministry leaders and others to augment their existing salary or setup a transition into ministry.
3. Providing a Kingdom expression through the value of work and a desire to demonstrate the cultural mandate to cultivate this earth to reflect God's glory.
4. Involving local organizations and businesses in these expressions.
5. Providing gospel consulting to people starting companies who want to give back to the city.
The Opportunity to join the Tentmaker Group
1. Church planters or ministry leaders who would like to raise support through one of the Tentmaker Group's positions.
2. Companies who would like to provide flexible part or full-time jobs to people transitioning into ministry.
2. Business leaders who want to impact their local city with a gospel-centered view of work and the city.
3. Entrepreneurs who desire to start business to impact their local city with a Kingdom mindset.
If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact me. At this time we also will seek to raise some seed capital to fund the development of the Tentmaker Group.
UPDATE: The Tentmaker Group has launched to help church planters raise funding.