- 64 people today, 19 kids.
- We got some more helpers today for Kidway!
- We’re getting so efficient in setup that I think we could start at 8:30 if we wanted to.
- Preached on social justice today.
- Some days when you preach you really feel it, other days you don’t. It certainly isn’t all about my feelings but…
- Today I felt it.
- Closed with this video:
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We wanted to help out the food bank again this fall during their annual turkey drive so we asked everyone to dig a little deeper yesterday during the offering so that we could make a donation. Our goal was to raise an extra $200 to give to MSB, and we did it! We were going to use the money to buy turkeys, but it turns out the food bank can actually get them a lot cheaper than we can. So, I took a check for $200 down to the food bank today. They were very thankful for the donation. Thanks River City Church for helping to make an impact in our community!
- 70 people, 22 of those were kids.
- We REALLY need help with KidWay. We only have a couple of people helping out right now.
- We asked everyone to dig a little deeper today so that we could donate $200 worth of turkeys to the Missoula Food Bank. We did it! Thanks RCC!
- We did 2 new songs from Starfield today. They rocked!
- Preached on being good stewards of the environment. You don’t hear that from the pulpit very often, but I think it’s good to talk about.
- There was something in the air today…I think it was the smell of a 35-3 tromping of the Cats by our Griz.
- Oh yeah, my WSU Cougs also beat UW in double overtime.
- 77 people today, including 20 kiddos.
- We moved the chairs a little closer today and made it feel a little more cozy.
- I’m loving the family feel that RCC is starting to take on.
- People are starting to hang out longer afterwards just to chat.
- Still getting visitors from our postcards we mailed 2 months ago. I love it!
- I think we need to get a Mac for our videos and powerpoints. Anybody got one they want to donate? It’s tax deductible!
- Preached on”The Resurrection: Fact or Folly?”.
- Here is a link to the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on medical evidence for the death of Jesus. Very interesting (if you’re a nerd like me).
- Below is the video I used for the intro today:
I attended the Missoula Christian Net’s monthly luncheon last week and got to worship with a bunch of pastors and leaders from our community. It was a great time to get to know some other church leaders and to see what they are doing in Missoula. We had a small group exercise where each table of 5-6 people were to discuss ways their church is currently impacting Missoula, and to brainstorm ways that our churches can make a bigger impact in our community. It was interesting to hear some of the ways churches are practically meeting the needs of people: food pantries, free clothes, parenting classes, etc.
When it was my turn to share, I made the comment that since we are a young church with limited resources, we don’t have any programmatic ways of helping our community. Rather, I shared our vision of supporting many of the great non-profits in town by encouraging each RCC member to give time and money to a cause they are passionate about. I’m not sure I impressed anyone with my idea, but the more I think about it the more I like it
Missoula is a very generous, community-minded city, and to that end there are a lot of non-profit groups located here relative to other cities. What if each person in Missoula gave 1 hr of their time a month to a non-profit in town? That would amount to nearly 100,000 volunteer hours a month! That would be an enormous impact in our city. That is a much greater impact that any one church could possibly make in Missoula.
What if all of the churches in town encouraged their people to do this? I think we would make a larger impact than we could if each of us started a food pantry, or we all started some type of programmatic ministry to deal with a particular social issue.
This doesn’t mean I’m against these types of church programs. When we hear God directing us to do something, then we need to do it. Also, I believe that the church has many things to offer that the world does not. I just think that often times we think that our church has to start a program to impact our community.
But isn’t the Kingdom of God bigger than an individual church? Isn’t the Kingdom of God bigger than our programs? Doesn’t God call us to be salt and light in our everyday lives like our schools and our work places? Rather than wait for the world to come to us, let’s be missional and bring the Kingdom of God to this world by coming alongside people and groups that are doing great things for Missoula.
- 66 people today. 17 kids.
- Worship was great today. Seriously felt like we went to the next level. Which begs the question, “how many levels are there?”:)
- Preached on, Jesus: Fact or Fable? This was our 2nd sermon in the series “Mythbusters”.
- I feel that God is using this series to lay a firm foundation for the beliefs of particularly those who are new to the faith and RCC.
- We got to use the new coffee makers in the cafe this week. Hopefully we’ll be using the espresso machines next week! (I think we all know that Jesus loves espresso)
- Our media went off without a hitch today. Below are the 2 videos that we used. I used part 1 for the intro, and part 2 to wrap things up.
Notice the title is a question. I don’t really have all the answers to this, but it’s something I think about a lot, so I thought I’d let you know what I’m thinking these days. I think all church planters want to succeed, and I guarantee you that every one of them has a way they define and measure success.
It’s hard not to use numbers as a way to measure success. At least it’s hard for me. When I was in grad school my major advisor was a quantitative ecologist. In other words, his specialty was quantifying animals and interactions with other animals and their environment. I guess some of this rubbed off on me. I love to graph out our attendance since we started having public services. I like to study the attendance statistics. I’m just that way. Certainly numbers in and of themselves can’t tell you everything, nor can they be the only measure of success. But they are important. Let me give you an illustration.
Let’s suppose I took my 4 children out on a boating trip one day, and something went terribly wrong and the boat capsized. I bet at that very moment, the only goal in my entire life would be to save my 4 children. Nothing could be more horrific as a parent than the thought of losing a child, much less 4 of them. You could imagine the elation I’d feel as I plucked each one safely from the water. But what if I only found 3 of them? Would I be satisfied? Never. As long as there was at least one unaccounted for, I wouldn’t stop searching. Numbers matter.
But numbers aren’t the only thing that matter. Suppose I had 4 kids back in the boat, but none of them were breathing. Perhaps they were breathing, but were seriously gasping for air just trying to stay alive. Would I be satisfied? Never. As long as any of my kids were struggling for life, I would do everything in my power to not just keep them alive, but to nurse them to full health.
I think that God’s desire for His church is no different. He wants His church to grow, because numbers matter to Him. Jesus said so with the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15:3-7.
But that isn’t all He wants for His church. I believe that the primary mission of the church is found in Matthew 28:18-20,
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
In verse 18, Jesus implies that He is giving His church the authority that He had here on earth to make disciples. A disciple is more than a student, he is a devoted follower. Wholly devoted to the cause. In this case, the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In verse 19, He tells us to make disciples of ALL nations. This implies again that numbers are important. He wants us to make as many disciples as possible. But He also tells us to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This baptism is an immersion into the life of Jesus Christ. He wants His disciples to give up their old lives, and be immersed into their new life. This is harder to quantify, but this is where real life change takes place. It doesn’t matter if you have 10,000 people on Sunday morning if none of them have forsaken their old lives and immersed themselves in Jesus.
In verse 20, He says to teach His people everything that He commanded His disciples. This creates a loop. The church exists to create disciples, who in turn are to create disciples. To become a disciple of Christ means therefore to be one who creates disciples.
Last but not least, at the end of verse 20 Jesus promises His presence for eternity. There is no sweeter thing in life than being in the presence of Jesus.
So, to answer the question, “Is River City Church successful?”, we must answer the following:
- Are we reaching as many people as possible? Yes;
- Are we teaching them the teachings of Jesus Christ? Yes;
- Are we baptizing them? No water baptisms yet, but yes people are being immersed in the Way. I’m seeing life changes;
- Are we spending time in the presence of Jesus? Yes.
By my definition, River City Church is very successful. I know that we will just continue to grow, both quantitatively and qualitatively, as we continue on in the mission that Jesus has given us: making disciples and spending time in His presence. Being a part of River City Church in Missoula has been the greatest privilege that I have ever been a part of. I can’t imagine life without RCC, just like I can’t imagine life without one of my children. I pray that God would allow us to reach as many people in Missoula and beyond as possible.
I got this from a church planter named Perry Noble. I could really relate to this stuff so I thought I should post it:
Something hit me the other day as I was reading Colossians 1:18…and so I thought I would share a few questions that I am personally wrestling through when it comes to this specific verse…
#1 – If Christ is THE HEAD of the church…then why is it that I often find myself way less concerned with what He thinks and more concerned with what jealous bloggers and pissed off pastors who don’t like the way we do church think?
#2 – If Christ is THE HEAD of the church…then why do I worry about whether or not the white hot vision that HE has placed inside of me will come to pass? If HE REIGNS…and this is HIS CHURCH…the future is going to be amazing!
#3 – If Christ is THE HEAD of the church…then why am I sometimes tempted to shrink back in asking for people to passionately commit through their serving and giving? If it is HIS then I, as a leader, should be unashamed is asking people to continually step it up!
#4 – If Christ is THE HEAD of the church…then why do I worry as to what we are going to do in the future when it comes to strategy, vision and sermon series? HE ALREADY KNOWS and will show us in HIS time!
Just a few questions…
In reading Ephesians 3:20-21 a few final questions came to mind…
#1 – If He is able to do THAT MUCH…then why are we as leaders afraid to dream big?
#2 – If He is able to do THAT MUCH…why would we ever be satisfied with the way things are?
#3 – If He is able to do THAT MUCH…then why don’t we spend more time allowing Him to work through us rather than convincing Him that our ideas are so good?
#4 – If the church is about HIS GLORY…then why do people want to keep it small and isolated?
This has to be the craziest card ever. I seriously got this from one of our friends when we moved to Missoula to launch RCC.
We started our new Mythbusters series last week with, The Bible: Fact or Fiction? Here’s the video I intended to show before the sermon, but we had technical difficulties and it wouldn’t work: