Archive | March, 2011

You got a friend in me…

30 Mar

Here is the final part of this blog series.  The business and the church can and will be mutual beneficiaries of each other.

The business and the church will be able to help each other as we move forward through time.  One major benefit for the church is the fact that we will not have to use a major portion of our tithes and offering to pay for building upkeep and maintenance.  The business side of the organization can be responsible for the maintenance of the building.  This will free up dollars that can be used for Kingdom ministry including mercy ministry, missions, local community outreach, and staff.  Also capitol from the business side can be used to fund church planting, model reproduction, mercy ministries, adoption and foster care.  The church can help with staffing the business as well.  Some of the church staff positions will overlap with the business employees especially in the children’s area and the auditorium staff.  The two different organisms will work to benefit each other.

All the details have not been worked out to their fullest as of yet, but we are in the process of bringing in outside companies and advisors to help us plan this all out.  These companies and individuals are listed below.  We want to make sure that we are doing things biblically first and foremost, and then we want to add value to our community in a way that glorifies God.

These are the thoughts that I have put together for this idea of marketplace ministry.  We, at our church, believe that this is where God is leading us as we move forward in ministry, and some very exciting things are on the horizon.  We are continuing to pray for guidance and wisdom as we take each step forward in the process of following after God.

 

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You know what they say, they say it’s all good…

29 Mar

Here is part five of what has been titled “Operation: Marketplace.”  Today speaks to the positive impacts and aspects of the business model that we are talking about.  Enjoy!

As was mentioned above, the business will be designed to infiltrate the community with the Gospel.  We believe that it will be an amazing platform to reach people outside of the church.  This is where we answer the question mentioned earlier; how do we reach truly unchurched people?  We leverage our business influence to share the Gospel with people who would never come to a traditional church.  This can be an incredible asset to our ministry as we are striving to reach the community.

The first positive impact of this business is that it teaches believers that the call of God does not solely come to those entering full-time Christian ministry, but also extends as equally to those who are vocationally called to the workplace.  So often, church members believe that the church staff is in place to do ministry on their behalf.  However, the bible is explicit that the call of ministry is placed on the life of every believer to live as a citizen of the Kingdom of God.  This business is a ministry of the church that God has given the people to steward, lead, and invest in.

The business will also provide jobs for people in the community.  There will need to be people who run the cafe including people who can cook and prepare food, baristas to prepare coffee, and cleaners.  There will need to be people who can supervise children in the children’s area and nurture them while they are under their supervision.  There will need to be people who can run sound and technology for the auditorium.  There will need to be someone who can organize all three facets as they work together.  These facts will lead to a great opportunity for us to impact the surrounding community by providing jobs for those who need them.

This business will provide services to the community that are not currently being offered.  Sure, there are Starbucks on every corner, there is any restaurant at which you could possibly want to eat, there are daycares, and there are live music venues where performances take place.  However, there is not currently a place where all of those services are housed under one roof.  This is a very unique opportunity to truly add value to the community by offering something that they cannot get anywhere else.

Ultimately, the greatest positive impact of this business is that it can be a blessing to the community.  As we live out our centrifugal and centripetal mission as God’s people in the middle of the world, the community will see they way that we live and operate and they will glorify God and be drawn to Him (Matt. 5:13-16, Matt. 13:33, Col. 1:13, 1 Pt. 2:11-12).

 

Everybody’s working for the weekend…

28 Mar

Here is part four of this series about marketplace ministry.  Today talks about what the business would look like for the church I am a part of.  Let me know what you think.

As mentioned earlier, we are talking about a community space/business that the church utilizes as opposed to a church space that the community utilizes.  While we would desire to eventually have multiple business platforms, we will start with one.  So, what will our first small business be?  Our idea is for a business that has three main facets: a cafe, a children’s area, and an amphitheater.  We want to find a way for all of this to be played out together under one roof so that the community can come utilize and enjoy each facet.  Let’s speak to each facet individually beginning with the cafe.

Everyone loves Starbucks.  Their business model has truly transformed the coffee industry in America.  Another popular business is Atlanta Bread Company.  Our idea would attempt to meld these two concepts into one by serving top quality coffee along with great food at an affordable price.  We would serve light breakfast items such as pastries and small breakfast sandwiches in the morning, paninis and light lunch items in the afternoon, and sandwiches and salads in the evening.  All of these items will be priced in a very competitive manner to other establishments in the area that serve similar items.  The cafe would be a place that is inviting to enter as well as comfortable to stay in.  It would be designed in a way that would allow for business men and women to meet clients, but it would also be a place where families could share a meal together.

The second facet is a children’s area.  There are many schools and neighborhoods throughout our community, and there is a great need for a safe place for parents to bring their children.  Our vision for this children’s area is that it will be a place where they can simply be children and have fun.  We want it to be an area where children can forget anything else that may be going on in their lives for the duration of the time they are there and simply have fun.  The area would be large enough to house a bouncy house for children to jump in.  There would be an art area where children could color or draw to pass the time.  There may also be a playscape with tunnels and slides for playing.  This children’s area could also include a small stage area where children to congregate and have story time on given days.  Also this area will be staffed as a baby-sitting service so parents can leave their children there while they go shop in area stores or simply take a breather in the cafe.  The overall goal for this area is that it will be a safe environment that parents will want to bring their children to, and the children love it to the extent that they want to come back when they leave.

The final facet of this business is an amphitheater.  This amphitheater will be a multi-purpose room in the broadest sense.  It will be a area equipped with the latest technology that can be utilized for live music performance, movie screenings, corporate meetings, open-forum discussions, as well as our corporate worship services.  The desire is for this to be a room that could seat upwards of 450-500 people at a given time in a comfortable way.  It will include unique seating arrangements from auditorium chairs to cafe tables and couches to theater-style seating.  It truly will be a unique non-traditional, non-churchy environment.

All three of these facets will be housed under the same roof in a way that promotes a family atmosphere, entices people to return, blesses the community, and provides a platform to reach people with the Gospel.  Just as Paul used his tent-making ventures to share the Gospel in his time, this will be our tent-making business.

 

 

Well she looked at the donut and she looked at me

28 Mar

Did you know if you google songs about food…theres a really lame song about donuts…well that’s where todays post title was from. I’m going to try and attach 2 documents. One my april meal plan and the other my running list of foods we eat in case you want inspiration. In my attempt at financing our adoption I’m trying to slash out food budget even more…although I’d love to know what a real food budget for a family of 4 should look like. I really feel we don’t spend too much and I add diapers into that since I usually stack coupons and get them pretty cheap.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
          1 2
             
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  Zucchini soup with chicken- Paula Deen recipe 30 mins Stuffed Baked potatoes with broccoli, cheese, bacon Grilled cheese, fruit, leftover soup Trip Trip Shepards Pie, fruit
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
  Meatloaf- limas, corn Chicken pesto pasta French toast, fruit, eggs Zuppa Toscana Blackeyed peas, rice, cornbread Leftovers
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
  Salad with fruit Sloppy joes, carrots, mac n cheese Baked chicken, beans, fruit Pasta with squash, peas, and parm cheese Good Friday- church? Pizza- homemade
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
EASTER Grits, eggs Chicken pot pie Spaghetti with meatballs Bean burritos/nachos Chili leftovers
             
             

Okay that looks silly but you get the picture…okay I didn’t do the 1st and 2nd because we were celebrating dads 50th bday and I just found out when so we will probably just fix something from the freezer…maybe lasagna cuz it’s in there. I also didn’t plan the major christian holidays cuz those usually involve a church service and a trip to someone’s family’s house…and since I plan a lot further in advance than our families…well I’m leaving it open. I also don’t plan sunday nights since we have small group and usually eat there or eat something else leftoverish.

This isn’t the exhaustive list cuz I’ve got one more paper to update it with but here ya go:

Ground Beef dishes

Tacos

Sloppy Joes

Spaghetti

Chili

Meatloaf

Shepards pie

Burgers and gravy

 

Chicken Dishes

Tacos

Pot pie

BBQ shredded

Teriyaki

Lawry’s chicken

Pesto Chicken

Baked chicken

Chicken Broccoli bake

 

Pastas

Lasagna

Ziti

Squash with peas and parmesean

Ravioli

 

Soups

Ham and Bean

Zucchini chicken

Beef stew

White chicken chili

Zuppa Toscana

Veggie soup

 

Other Dishes:

Mexican-tacos, quesadillas, nachos, enchiladas,

Grilled Cheese with or without soup

Kielbasa

French toast

Grits and eggs

Pigs n blankets

Pancakes

Braids from cresent rolls

Pizza

Stuffed peppers

Fish

Shrimp

 

More Expensive cuts of meat dishes:

Pot roast n gravy

BBQ pork

Beef tips and rice

Cube steak

Roast

Pork chops

Sliced Ham

Pork Tenderloin

Turkey

 

Yep by far the most random post I’ve ever done…hope you can get some inspiration!

 

I dare you to move…(Version 2.0)

26 Mar

So after thinking through my blog from a couple of days ago, I thought that I could word it and explain it a little better.  So here is version 2 that will better explain this paradigm shift that I am talking about.

A “paradigm” is defined as, “a typical example or pattern of something; a model; a worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.”

Therefore, what is being proposed is a change in the way that the church thinks about reaching people day in and day out.  It’s not about a building or a plan.  It’s about a people who are ‘called out’ in order to be sent back into the community to shine the glory of God to others.  In order to recapture this missional nature and calling of being sent, the church must renew it’s heart with and for the Gospel.  In his book, The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons writes, “The first things for the Christian is to recover the Gospel – to relearn and fall in love again with that historic, beautiful, redemptive, faithful, demanding, reconciling, all-powerful, restorative, atoning, grace-abounding, soul-quenching, spiritually fulfilling good news of God’s love.”

We have to rediscover our love for the Gospel and everything that it entails for the believer.  Lyons goes on to say,

“Early followers of Jesus showed up and exemplified what restoration living looked like.  They befriended people who were different from them and served those in need.  And somehow along the way, evangelism took place.”

If we, as Christians, will learn to live out the Gospel in our everyday lives in such as way that we shine God’s glory to those around us, evangelism will become a much easier process.  Our paradigm shift must come in the form of a realization that the church cannot sit in its buildings and wait for the people to come to it.  Christians must become intimately involved in the community in which they live.  Christians must seek to bring peace, to be a blessing, and to extend God’s kingdom to the community around them.  These are major aspects of our calling as the church in the culture around us.

This is where the new direction and paradigm shift for our church enters the picture.  We want the church to go in the direction of running a business that will add value to the surrounding community.  Rather than building church buildings that are primarily used for church purposes, we want to create community buildings [aka businesses] that will primarily be used by the community.  In other words, church space that the community uses, we are talking about a community space that the church uses.  In his book, Surprised By Worship, Travis Cottrell writes, “How many times do our confining perceptions of corporate worship hold us back from truly communing with God?”

We have to break out of the same confining mold that the church has lived in for the past 100 years, and we have to begin to think differently as we approach ministry.   The way we are talking about doing things is different, and that is totally okay.  This is a paradigm shift that, prayerfully, will impact the church world as well as the community.  The mission of God is why we exist, so to continue pursuing the same modus operandi of the past 1700 years because it is comfortable is wrong.  The mission should drive the church, even if it means changing the way we ‘do’ or ‘think’ about church.  We have to come to the point where we are okay with being different from other people and approach ministry differently in order to reach people that are not currently being reached.  We believe that this will be a successful avenue to travel because 1) there is a biblical warrant for it, 2) our economy works off of small businesses, 3) it creates a space and platform by which we can take the Gospel to our city, 4) the small business and the church can be mutual beneficiaries, and 5) it will become a church planting model.

 

The B-I-B-L-E…

25 Mar

Here is part 3 of this series of blogs dealing with the direction of the church.  Today deals with the biblical warrant for this type of ministry model.  I think that you will find this very informative and reassuring.  Let me know what you think.

The idea to do ministry in a marketplace venue may seem radical or new, but, in fact, it is nearly as old of an idea as the church itself.  Throughout the Bible we can see that God wants His followers to be involved in the world around them.  It begins in Genesis.  God creates all of creation including humanity.  He then tells Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28).  This is known as The Cultural Mandate given from God to humanity to go out into the world and create culture and rule over all of creation.  God’s desire from the beginning of time was for His people to create and cultivate culture in His name and for His glory.

This is reiterated in the covenant that God made with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai.  It is while Moses is up on the mountain with God that He says, “If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:5-6).  This is the centripetal aspect of God’s mission that Pastor Josh has been talking about recently.  The people of Israel were called to be on mission in the middle of the world, and as they obeyed God’s voice they would act as a light to the world around them to draw other nations to God.  This is the mission that we are wanting to live out by being involved in market place ministry.  As we do business and work in the community in the name of Jesus, other people will see the way that we do business and be drawn to the godly business practices that we follow.  We truly are called to be in the world but not of it.  This sentiment is echoed in the New Testament by the Apostle Peter as he writes,

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pt. 2:9-10).

It is almost the identical verbiage that was used back in Exodus.  If we are followers of Christ, then we are called to live our lives and behave in a way that shows the world around us that we are in this world but we are not of it.

If we are followers of Christ, then this world is truly not our home.  Our home will be in heaven one day, so we are exiles in this world.  When the nation of Israel was in exile in Babylon God told them through the prophet Jeremiah,

“Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jer. 29:5-7).

Even though the people of Israel were not in their homeland, they were still commanded to live as though they were so that those around them would see and notice the difference in them, drawing attention to God.  We are going to be about seeking the welfare of the community in which we live by advancing the Gospel to the city using small businesses as one of our platforms.

Jesus is a great example for this mode of ministry.  His incarnation and willingness to put on flesh and be woven into the fabric of culture, ‘rubbing elbows‘ with sinful man, magnifies and displays what incarnational ministry is all about (John 1:14, Phil. 2:5-11).  He chose to be among His creation in order to live a perfect life and draw people to himself.  He was totally countercultural in His approach to the world.  Everything He did and said was an attempt to redeem the culture for God, but most importantly to redeem mankind by seeking to save the lost (Luke 19:10).  We strive to follow that example and be a countercultural force to redeem the culture and people around us in the name of Jesus.

The greatest missionary of all time, Paul, was involved in marketplace ministry.  There were two aspects to Paul’s marketplace approach.  First, after having sought out a synagogue, he would then go to the marketplace.  In The Book of Acts, we read, “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and  the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17).    While in Thessalonica and Athens, Paul spoke with a reasoned with the leaders and philosophical thinkers of the city.  While he was in Ephesus, Paul used the Hall of Tyrannus, a public place that had nothing to do with the church, to speak about and proclaim the Gospel (Acts 19).  He immersed himself in the culture in order to change the culture of a given city.

Second, he would go into business in order to fund his ministry.    Also in the Book of Acts we read that as Paul was in the city of Corinth, “He found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.  And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade” (Acts 18:2-3).  We can read in the two letters that Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church that he used the money he made from making tents to fund his ministry instead of asking the church there to pay him when he preached, even though Paul had every right to ask the church to pay him.  Not only did he use his business profits to fund ministry, but it is very logical to assume that Paul also used his business as platform to share the Gospel with his customers.  We would have the same opportunity with our marketplace ministry.

What is evident, particularly from Israel, Jesus, and Paul is the utilization of the Cultural Mandate and extending God’s Kingdom by living in the world, but not of it, as a vehicle to radiate and bring the good news to a city and community.  In his book, The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark writes, “Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with urgent urban problems.”

This is the kind of hope, revitalization, and renewal we want to bring to our city as well.

 

I dare you to move…

23 Mar

This is part two of my several part blog about the direction that our church is going.  Today’s post concerns what we believe to be the answer to the problem that was presented yesterday.  Again I really want to know what people think about all of this, so comment away.

A “paradigm” is defined as, “a typical example or pattern of something; a model; a worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.”

Therefore, what is being proposed is a change in the way that the church thinks about reaching people day in and day out.  It’s not about a building or a plan.  It’s about a people who are called out in order to be sent back into the community from which they were called out in order to shine the glory of God to others.  We want to engage the people of the community and bless the community by providing a business that will enhance the community.  We, as the church, should be concerned with trying to bring restoration to the community in which we live.  In his book, The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons writes, “The first things for the Christian is to recover the Gospel – to relearn and fall in love again with that historic, beautiful, redemptive, faithful, demanding, reconciling, all-powerful, restorative, atoning, grace-abounding, soul-quenching, spiritually fulfilling good news of God’s love.”

We have to rediscover our love for the Gospel and everything that it entails for the believer.  Lyons goes on to say,

Early followers of Jesus showed up and exemplified what restoration living looked like.  They befriended people who were different from them and served those in need.  And somehow along the way, evangelism took place…this is predominantly how [we] are seeing the church spread in the West. [We] show up with a restoration view, create solutions to the problems the communities face, and gently respond when spiritual conversations arise among friends.

 

Our paradigm shift must come in the form of a realization that the church cannot sit in its buildings and wait for the people to come to it.  It is time for Christians to become intimately involved in the community in which they live.  Christians must restore peace to the community around them.   This is what we were called to do.

This is where the new direction for the church comes into play.  We want the church to go in the direction of running a business that will add value to the surrounding community.  We are trying to reverse what is already being done, but in a different way. We are talking about a nuance difference. Instead of a church space that the community uses, we are talking about a community space that the church uses.  It is about the members of the church being woven into the fabric of society in a way that they are able to have influence and restore peace to that community.  The fact is, for a long time in the church, the commonly held perception for many people has been that the church staff is responsible for ministry in the community.  However, ministry and mission does not just happen on church staff.  Ministry and mission is every Christian’s vocation and calling.  In his book, Surprised By Worship, Travis Cottrell writes, “How many times do our confining perceptions of corporate worship hold us back from truly communing with God?”

We have to break out of the same confining mold that the church has lived in for the past 100 years, and we have to begin to think differently as we approach ministry.  Cottrell continues by saying, “Not everyone is going to worship like I do — nor should they.”

The way we are talking about doing things is different, and that is totally okay.  We have to come to the point where we are okay with being different from other people and approach ministry differently in order to reach people that are not currently being reached.  This is why the church is poised to enter the small business realm as the vehicle by which we restore the community.  We believe that this will be a successful avenue to travel because 1) there is a biblical warrant for it and 2) our economy works off of small businesses, and approximately 80 percent of the population is employed by small businesses.