CELEBRATING THE NEXT PHASE FOR MOVEMENT CHURCH

Three years ago in 2012, my family moved to Hilliard to plant Movement church. Our launch team started with 16 adults and 5 kids. Some were already situated on the west side and others sold their homes or moved to new apartments to that we could make our homes and have an impact around Hilliard.

Our vision was the same in those early days to be “A movement of people finding their way back to God”, but it started small as we talked about the church we wanted to be and how we would accomplish that. I remember many steps along the way and the excitement that came when the first person gave their life to Jesus, the first person was baptized, and the launch of our first worship experience.

Yesterday came and went without much fanfare, because it’s the middle of the week and the 4th of July is coming up, but I wanted to take a moment and talk about the significance of July 1st, 2015. Movement Church was planted with a 3-year startup plan so we have had many churches and individuals who have supported us through prayer, finances, and volunteer hours to get started and be self-sufficient.

We have seen God add to our numbers, our influence and our body as a church. We have gone from a small group with a big vision to developed group able to stand on our own. It’s time for us to leave the official title of church plant behind. We want to always have the heart and feel of a church plant and be involved in the multiplication of churches, but we are shifting gears.

July 1st, 2015 Movement Church became a self-supporting church. This means that our budget is now entirely dependent on the giving and investment of the people who make up our body. Our direction, the care of our staff, and our future ministry will all be written by those who believe in and are involved in seeing our vision happen.

Movement Church isn’t perfect and we are still a very young group of people. We will grow in size, maturity, and our ability to lead and navigate where our vision takes us, but I am excited for this next phase. We are doing a series as a church this summer in the book of Exodus and I have always loved the parallels to us of watching Israel trust God to provide for them and guide them. No matter our size or the look and feel of our church, we can never lose site of our need to follow God as he builds us into the church He wants.

This fall we are kicking off the school year with a series called ownership. This will be a vision series, but will take us deeper than we have gone as we explore some key areas to our vision like owning our personal faith, Sunday mornings, groups, serving, and outreach. As part of this series we will begin the process to name elders from our group. We will be doing this under the guidance of the elders at Encounter church our sending church. This will be one final step, as we become a self-sufficient, self-leading church.

This step is just a chance to pause and thank God for the way he has provided for us and kept his promises as we stepped out on faith. Our vision doesn’t stop or have en expiration date, so we will continue to work hard to be intentional and contagious to help people find their way back to God.

In the coming month, we will be rolling out some videos and a final prayer letter to celebrate, but I wanted to take a moment and just say a personal thank you on behalf of my family and myself. Thank you to each person and church who has prayed for us, invested in us, given time, donated money and been apart of the startup of Movement Church. I pray that you see the exponential value in you young kingdom minded investment and that the example of Movement Church gives you an enthusiasm for a role in starting more new churches.

Movement Church, I love you! I am grateful for each one of you from the first people on the launch team to those who have recently found their church home. The best is yet to come and I am excited to see God do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.

10 THINGS I AM EXCITED ABOUT RIGHT NOW AT MOVEMENT CHURCH

10 things I am excited about at Movement Church right now

1. NEW LIFE – We have recently had some close friends in our Movement group give their lives to Jesus. Some we have lifted up in prayer for two years. I get giddy thinking about their testimonies being shared on Sunday and celebrating new life in Jesus.
2. LARGEST ATTENDANCE EVER – This week we had 171 people attend Movement Church. That’s not gigantic and everything isn’t just about flashing numbers, but I am excited about the church God has slowly built in less than two years. “Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God”.
3. NEW ENERGY – As we have recently had an influx of new people it is so exciting to get to meet them and their families and see their gifts being fused into our body. I love seeing the gifts and passions of God’s people.
4. 7 HEALTHY GROUPS – We recently trimmed back from 9 Movement groups to 7. This was necessary pruning and I am really excited about the result. I believe that every one of those groups could potentially multiply in the fall and has a healthy leadership structure. Multiplication gets me excited.
5. LEADERSHIP COMMUNITY – We have one of our all leader gatherings coming up in March. Its not going to be “normal” and we are using this even to take our leaders to the next level as we look for Easter to be a next level season for us.
6. EASTER RAMP UP – We have some great things planned for Easter. Some creative things, some logistic things, some tech things, but all done in the name of Jesus. We want this day to be a big deal because Jesus giving us life is a big deal. We had the best most productive meeting in church history last week and it was all about Easter and using this day to make Jesus famous.
7. MOVEMENT WORSHIP’S FIRST ALBUM – Movement Worship is releasing their album next Sunday. It represents what God has built at our church and is soundtrack of the last year. I am so excited for our people to have something to encourage them in worship throughout the week. I am so proud of our team and especially the work that Josh Howard and Jeremy Noland their team put into this.
8. BAPTISMS – We have a baptism service coming up on February 22nd and it looks like it will be the biggest one we have ever done. We have seen new life in Jesus and I am just as excited to see people taking steps in their faith in obedience.
9. APPRENTICESHIP – We try to apprentice everything we do and multiply our impact so that we can develop our people and the gifts God has given them and so we can plant churches long term. Today we saw some great teaching and worship leading and I love thinking that these young leaders are not only getting experience but are so gifted and want to grow.
10. HAITI – We have had a church-to-church partnership in Haiti for over a year now. As a young church still figuring out many things we have had to grow into this and have been in transition with changing leaders in Haiti. We have three nurses going on a trip with Grace Fellowship in February to learn first hand how we can do medical missions trips and have just been re-partnered with a great pastor and wife. My heart loves Haiti and I am excited about us being able to have a consistent, sustainable impact there through a local church that we get to help grow.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY @SEANSPOELSTRA

Today is my friend Sean’s birthday.

He doesn’t really need anything other than a new wardrobe, but all I can afford is this blog post to honor him.

He is sentimental and old fashioned so he will probably print this off and make a scrapbook or Modge Podge it to a plate.

My friend Sean Spoelstra is a crazy Canadian.

Before I introduce him to others I always try to prepare them.

I describe him as a Jim Carey character from the mid 90’s who loves Jesus and the church.

They always underestimate the way he sweeps into a room and takes it over.

When he leaves they say, “you weren’t kidding!”

Sean has cared for me as a friend and mentor for 8 years now.

He is one of my sanity people that I like to tell everything too, so he has seen me at my maddest and most discouraged.

Sean is a great husband and speaks into my marriage.

Sean is a great dad and speaks into my fathering.

Sean bleeds for the church and always champions multiplication.

Sean has hands down been the most vocal and supportive of  Kristin and I planting a church.

Long before Movement Church when we were thinking about moving to Cincinnatti and/or had no idea what God could do, Sean told us he saw that in us and encouraged us to follow God.

I am grateful that God us made us friends and put you and Melissa in our lives.

Thanks for green lighting our calling and telling us we could do this when others weren’t as optimistic.

Thanks for the constant encouragement and helping me pursue God.

This blog post good for one free haircut.

DEFINING MOMENTS IN MY LIFE AS A CHURCH PLANTER

I recently read this post by my friend Ben Arment. He always inspires me so I decided to copycat his post with a little twist. There have been some defining moments in my life that have stair stepped me toward church planting and looking back I can see God using each one in different small ways. I think this is important because recently I realized how important it is that we have moments and people who green light our dreams of what God is putting on our heart and tell us we aren’t crazy. If you are reading this, let it encourage your dream.

  • When I was 11, the student pastor I looked up to at my church announced he was going to plant a church. I still remember sitting in the room as he told what the process and timeline would look like. I remember the concept resonating with my heart even at that early age.
  • Also when I as young I remember the Boehm family coming through my church on a Sunday night and talking about their desire to plant Western Reserve Grace Church. Not just that night but I got to watch them and their family, church, and ministry as it grew in our district.
  • I remember Mike Jentes (who I thought invented sliced bread because he introduced me to DC Talk) coming back to our home church and talking about his church planting effort (The Quest) in Columbus, Ohio.
  • I remember going on Operation Barnabas and our team having time with Jim Brown as he explained what was essentially a re-launch of Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana.
  • That same summer I remember being captivated by what God was doing in and through Dan Gregory at Community of Hope in Columbia City, Indiana. Dan shared how when he came on the church was 15 people and was meeting in a double-wide trailer.
  • As I committed to full-time Christian ministry and was leaving for college and also formulating my life I remember processing to Kristin that I saw myself in student ministry and than planting a church someday. We actually had the conversation that if she wasn’t on board we weren’t for each other….God made her a perfect fit.
  • I remember when Ron Boehm started working in church planting and having he and Chery take Kristin and I out for ice cream the week of the missions conference at Grace College and explain the process and nuts and bolts of really planting a church. I told him that I wanted him to keep bothering me about church planting. I told him I could say not to him but no to God.
  • I remember interning at Wooster Grace and being sent on a ministry trip to help Clancy Cruise launch Marysville Grace and seeing first hand what it looked like in the early stages from ground level. I would stay in touch with Clancy through seminary.
  • I remember coming to Grace Church knowing they had planted Marysville Grace and meeting pastor Ed Jackson and for the first time knowing his heart, his story, and his passion for planting…wow!
  • Kristin tells me I came home from Catalyst in 2008 and said beyond a shadow of a doubt God wants us to 1) adopt and 2) plant a church.
  • I remember many long talks with Sean Spoelstra about planting and the call I felt on my life. When he left in 2008 to plant a church, he always joked with me that he was living my dream.
  • I remember Sean taking me to a church planters gathering in 2011 in Kansas City where I felt amongst peers.
  • I remember sharing my heart with Terry Hofecker, Tony Webb, and Ron Boehm again all at my house, testing the water and seeing if God wanted us to act in the spring of 2011.
  • August of 2011 we were assessed as church planters at the urging of Tony, Terry, Ron and Vision Ohio, and if nothing else it was a time for Kristin and I to realize that God was doing this in our hearts and our life timeline and we just needed to get on board.
  • In September of 2011 Encounter Church’s elders asked us to consider planting a church and it was a formality because looking back god had been preparing me since 1994. But they were the ones that gave us the blessing to dream and drive stake in the ground.
  • Since September in these last few months, we have had friends, families, and churches who have also said we don’t think you are crazy, in fact we believe in you enough to give you money to see this happen.

What are the defining moments of your dream?

HOW TO HANDLE CONFRONTATION

I remember the first time I was exposed to confrontation in ministry.  I was a 17 year old on a summer ministry experience and decided that making a joke at the expense of a teammate was more important than him feeling self worth.  I was a prideful, team chemistry killing, sin machine.  It wasn’t the end of the world, but it did need confronted.

Anyone who wants to see growth in people’s lives they live with, work with, or minister to is going to be in situations that need confronted.  As imperfect people who represent a perfect message from time to time you will need to confront patterns of sin.

Matthew 18:15-17 is the passage that all confrontation situations should be measured up against as it gives obvious easy instructions on how to handle things. When I  am in a situation of confrontation I also like to remember some advice I was once taught that compliments the Bible’s wisdom.

Here are the rules of confrontation I was taught to compliment Matthew 18…

Compliment/encourage

There is a reason you are confronting this person so let them know that you see potential in them as a friend, influencer of people, or someone people follow.  Name something they do well that you appreciate so that you set the plate for them to hear what you are about to say.

Confront

Matthew 18 is clear on this so just follow it and speak to the person head on humbly bringing the issue to their attention in love.

I say humbly because I was recently reminded by Ephesians that we don’t just speak the truth in love and use that as a license to be insensitive or say whatever you want.  We must do it with their best interest in mind and with a humility that makes us deserve to be listened to.

(if they don’t listen you have to bring a witness and try again, but lets pretend they do for this post)

Compliment/encourage

Just like you started with a compliment, you should end with one. It is easy to jump right into the problem (once you work up the courage) and it is just as easy to harp on the problem and tear the person down, rather than guiding them and caring for them.  Make sure you don’t leave the bad taste in their mouth with your attitude or words. They might be hurt or caught of guard by your confrontation but they shouldn’t be hurt by your approach.

A GLIMPSE IN MY MIND DURING WORSHIP

Anyone who has worked at a church knows that it changes your mindset when you are at a worship service.  You can’t be totally engaged because you have things on your mind; things that you are worrying about. Things that might not even apply in that moment or deserve your attention but whether it is positive or negative, forward thinking or in the moment you aren’t able to focus all of yourself.  Is the system to blame, or is it you the employee?

This post isn’t even going to try and answer that question but today as I sat in our second service I had 50 things racing through my head as I tried to worship and be taught. For better or worse I thought I would share some of those things here for a glimpse inside my brain.

  • I am the student pastor so I was thinking about what was going on in the middle school class because I knew a new family was there and had 2 students who were forming their first impression of us.
  • The visiting family had a mom who I was told I needed to meet so I was scoping out where she and the family she came with were sitting
  • The gospel was presented in the service and a high school guy who has only been coming a few weeks went forward to give his life to Chirst.  Immediately I knew I had to talk to him about the road ahead and growing in his relationship with Jesus.
  • One of my HSM Grace group leaders who is a police officer was back for the first time since his car was struck and he had a bad concussion and took 2 weeks medical leave.
  • My wife is my better half and so I always want her connecting with women and girls who want to talk. I was determined that somehow I would go pick up our kids from Sunday school so that she could stay in the room and be available for people.
  • I lead a small group and there were two young couples 2 rows in front of me who looked about our age and I wanted to meet them, see how long they had been at the church and if they were looking for a grace group.
  • Speaking of small group I was sitting next to my co-leader and his family so I wanted to talk to them and his sister who lives in town but isn’t attending a church right now.
  • I also always have my entire group on the radar and want to touch base with anyone I can find.
  • Our friend Catherine and he husband Dave (top notch couple) were in town from Cincinnati for the first time since I was apart of their wedding and I wanted to touch base and see how they were and how marriage was treating them.
  • On top of that, I am always scoping the room for my main man Sean (coolest 8 year old ever), Ross Owen, Sarah Knepper, anyone else who wants to talk.
  • Of course you can’t help but be in constant evaluation mode of teaching, music, transitions, etc. But lets pretend I wasn’t thinking about that stuff today.

I am sure there are more and I am forgetting them.  Not proud of it, but for better or worse that is the chaos and not stop conversation going on in my head as I try to attend our worship services on most weeks. Whether you are on staff or a pastor or not can you relate to me? What is going through your head when you sit in church?

Its pretty amazing that our God is bigger than all this stuff and still draws us to himself and teaches us the things he intends in the time he intends. Our God is greater…in spite of me!

PHRASES I AM WRESTLING WITH

We all have a person, conversation, book, or quote that we have come across that has rocked us.  Might be the stage of life we are in, might be the events it is tied to, or it might be the way God is using it in His timing that really shakes us up.

I am no different and have been thinking about a few one-liners recently so I thought I would throw them up here for you.

 

1) What if you lived today without any fear? Try it. Most common command in bible = fear not. Perfect love casts out fear.

-Obviously based on 1 John 4:18, but also a tweet from my distinguished colleague Kary Oberbrunner

 

2) “Without Faith it is impossible to please God.”

Hebrews 11:6 highlighted in Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

 

3) “What would you be willing to attempt for God if you knew you could not fail?”

-The question that Perry Noble likes to ask all the time and the one that lead to him planting his church as he tells in this post