I was watching two comedians talk about life. Each of them have achieved success and fame. They have everything. Yet during this discussion they each admitted that nothing ever quite lived up to their expectations. There always seems to be something missing.
I know this feeling personally. It haunted me for years and was part of the catalyst for me to start my search for God.
That’s why I am excited about the Explore God Initiative in 2019. This will be a city-wide effort to help people in Chicago explore 7 BIG questions about life. The genius of the effort is that this will be a community effort.
NewThing is a sponsor. After all, we plant churches to help people find their way back to God. I would love to see hundreds of churches in Chicago participate.
Do me a favor and take a moment to learn more about the initiative. Expect to be hearing about it here on occasion.
I see three ways churches and leaders are interacting with NewThing.
The first, are churches and leaders INTERESTED in NewThing. They follow us on social media, come to our events, perhaps they’ve attended a meeting with one of our networks.
The second I call ALIGNED churches. These are churches that have aligned with our values (the 4Rs) as well as churches that are interested in NewThing. These churches are not yet participating in NewThing. While they might embrace the value system and focus on mission, they have yet to engage in an active network.
The third group of churches are COMMITTED or PARTICIPATING churches. These are churches that have our DNA of reproducing and are shifting their paradigms to achieve movement. These churches are focused on building cultures of reproducing at all lever. Reproducing churches have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NewThing, contributing to NewThing financially and they are fully participating in a local network. They are completing an MRP (My Reproducing Plan) each year. These churches are taking reproducing seriously and being intentional about it.
The distinction is important.
While we celebrate churches that align with NewThing, the work of multiplication is done by reproducing churches. Our goal is to help churches get into a reproducing network and start planting churches!
If you’re ready to talk about partnering with us, GO HERE.
Not only does it cause anxiety and frustration for you, it does not acknowledge that God has made you and has a plan for your life and that you are unique. The only one whom we should try to please is God.
The other day I was having a conversation with a leader I really admire and he admitted that he gets stuck trying to please others. I know this happens to lots of you. I think leaders often struggle with this, alone. And over time I think it causes burnout and despair.
I struggle with this on occasion. You would think that I would shake this desire and figure this out by now. I haven’t. Seasons of my journey have been all about relenting of who I expect myself to be in order to please others. Sometimes it’s exhausting.
I want to please my kids.
I want to please my colleagues.
I want to please my bosses.
I want to please other leaders.
I want to please family and friends.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with pleasing and serving and loving others . Christ follower should do these things. But it becomes dangerous when it becomes your drive and inspiration.
Where does this come from? Why does it continue to dog me? I am not sure I know.
I am learning though…to embrace the truth. I am learning to embrace the truth of who I really am – that God made me, well, to be uniquely me. My journey has been a long one and I’ve often stumbled. But I know that there is only one I will answer to.
When I veer off course, Psalm 139 always reminds me that I am unlike any other.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:14)
Moreover, Jesus has made the ultimate sacrifice for me so that I could step from darkness into the light:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
The truth is, I don’t fit a mold or standard; I can’t be like everyone else nor can I please everyone.
I have to trust God and be the best version of me. I believe the scriptures that Christ died for me because he loves me. These are the truths I must acknowledge. I am loved by the creator of the universe and therefore no other opinion of me matters.
So if you’re trying to please others, stop it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made to be uniquely you.
As the gospel has spread across the world, it has united the body as never before. As globalization becomes normative, the church must rise to the challenge.
What does this mean for you?
Very simply this: If you are a leader in the church you must learn how to lead cross-culturally.
Whereas in the past this might have been optional, it is no longer true. Moreover, the church has a real opportunity here to be the first to go globally. We are the universal body of Christ, and therefore we can lead the way.
I am grateful for the fantastic team that put it all together. They worked tirelessly to bring all of the details together.
I am grateful for our time of worship with Community Music.
I am grateful for everyone of our workshop leaders who crafted practical and engaging platforms for us to learn from one another.
I am grateful for all of our volunteers who helped make it happen.
I am grateful to our North American Advisory Team who are leading us to the next level. These leaders are committed to movement.
I am grateful for Albert Tate who truly challenged us to lean into the gap.
I am grateful for Bob Bouwer who taught us how to lead ourselves better (1 Timothy 4:16).
I am grateful we’re beginning to tell more stories about how God is using Catalyst Communities to start new networks.
I am grateful for all of the churches and leaders who have partnered with us to catalyze more church planting all over the world. They are doing great work.
I am grateful for a great night out (seriously it was a BLAST) celebrating God and connecting with friends.
I am grateful for the unique vantage point God provides me to see what he’s doing all over the world.
I am grateful that for reasons we simply don’t understand, God continues to work in and through us to plant more churches. He continues to do exceedingly more than we could ever dream or imagine. And for that, I am truly grateful.