A Starting Point for Unchurched People - Adam Johnson & Tim Cooper

People near our churches are ready to have spiritual conversations. Where can they go? In this breakout, we'll share our answer to that question.

I. Understanding how people grow will help us create their best next step.
A. There are spiritually curious people within driving distance of every church.
B. Churches are generally not perceived as the safest places to ask questions, express doubts, or share disagreements.
C. The church should be the best place to have those conversations.
D. There are 5 thresholds people go through on the path to growing faith:
1. Trusting a Christian
2. Becoming curious about faith
3. Being open to change
4. Seeking God
5. Entering a relationship with God

II. We must be intentional about creating the best environment for peel to have safe conversations about faith.

A. Creating the right environment begins with understanding who the environment is for.

We can create environments where God can cause heart change.

B. The priority is creating a safe place for the participants to explore faith at their own pace.
C. The content is driven by a conversation, not a presentation. A presentation is clean and neat; a conversation is messy.
D. During a Starting Point group, participants experience Christian communitiy, perhaps for the first time.
III. The effectiveness of the environment depends only the posture of our leaders.
A. There is not a right way to lead Starting Point, but we have found there is a right posture.
B. Leaders who embody this posture ask great questions.
1. Ask "what" and "how", not why.
2. Respond to questions with questions.
C. Remember, method trumps message every single time.

Recommended resources:
I Once Was Lost, Don Everts & Doug Schaupp

Engaging Culture - Tim Cooper, North Point Labs

From politics to sexuality, there are many topics where culture intersects with faith and opinions vary. How we think about these issues is as important as what e think about them. In this breakout, we will take you through how we gain volunteers to engage wit culture. We'll explore some root causes of existing cultural tensions and focus on how to walk alongside someone who has a viewpoint different than yours.

I. We have to decide if we really want to influence the culture we live in.

"If sincerity were the same thing as faithfulness, then all would be well..."
--James Davison Hunter, To Change The World

Churches have beliefs about what is true and right.
Culture also has beliefs about what is true and right.
When there are differences in those beliefs, gaps are created.
We navigate this tension in 3 ways:
Separate from the parts of culture we fear
Surrender to the parts of culture we enjoy
Engage with the parts of culture we want to influence

II. Our ability to influence culture is limited by our disgust toward it.

"Humans are most likely the only species that experiences disgust, and we seem to be the only one capable of loathing its own species."
--William Miller, The Anatomy of Disgust

--Richard Beck, Unclean

Disgust is a feeling of revulsion aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.
We are programmed to naturally move away from things that disgust us.
Disgust regulates a boundary between a person and the object of disgust.
Disgust becomes. Problem when we project it onto people.

III. To Over one disgust, we must intentionally move toward the messes.

Everyone has a moral circle.
We show kindness to our kind.
Try to expand your moral circle.

What is encouraging your leaders to press through their natural instinct to influence others who aren't their kind?

IV. Jesus modeled how to influence culture.

"The Pharisees seeking purity pull away from the sinners. Jesus, seeking fellowship, moves toward the sinners." --Richard Beck, Unclean

Jesus' ministry prompts us to define spirituality less in terms of religion and knowledge and more in terms of service and engagement.

Theology and knowledge are important.
Service and engagement are more important.
How well we love is of the utmost importance..

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector╩╝s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew╩╝s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””
Matthew 9:9-13 NIV

Understanding the difference between sacrifice and mercy will help us love better.
Sacrifice is intentionally moving toward purity.
Mercy is embracing and intentionally moving toward what is difference.

V. Managing the tension between theology and ministry requires work.

Address core issues of the faith differently than peripheral ones.
Make church the safest place in the world to engage cultural issues.
Put conversations above policies.
Remember: you at the church.

Action Items:
Work to overcome disgust toward anyone.
Ask, "What does love require of me?"

How we educate volunteers to engage with and influence culture is one of the most important things we will try to do as a church. When our devotion to God is illustrated, demonstrated, and authenticated by our love for others, we make it possible to change our culture... and our world.

Table questions:
What does your church do to influence the culture around you?
What do you think is the responsibility of the church when it comes to influencing culture?

Friday Funnies

Happy Friday!  Here are 3 things I laughed at this week...enjoy!

golden retriever garden, golden retriever digging, golden retriever meme, dog meme, dog garden dig, dog digging meme, dog digging funny, dog wearing garden gloves, dog with shovel, dog with spade,

ikea funny, ikea joke, ikea meme, ikea marry her, ikea dating advice, dating advice, dad son marriage advice

febreeze, febreeze meme, kidnap meme, funny memes, is this a febreeze commercial, febreze commercial

Raking In The Swagbucks (and giftcards)

There are 11 more Fridays before Christmas.
elf christmas countdown, elf 11 weeks christmas, 11 weeks til christmas, will ferrell, Christmas memes

I've already started shopping but still feel like I'm behind!  I got stuff for my secret pal at work, several of our grandparents, a niece and nephew, but still.  Just 11 more weekends.  Eeek!  Anyway, I've told you guys before about how I use Swagbucks (a free site where you earn points to redeem for gift cards or cash) to get gift cards.  I just cashed out my points for a $25 Amazon gift card and expect to get another one before Christmas.  Hooray for an extra $50!

Once you've joined Swagbucks, be sure to join the SWAGO game. It doesn't cost anything and is kind of like bingo.  You fill in squares by doing activities and then once you have enough squares for a "bingo" you can turn your card in and instantly get the extra points (called "swagbucks" or "SB").  You can earn between 5 and 300 extra points by doing the SWAGO game.  

Here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB Bonus:
  • Swago will begin on Monday, October 10th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday, October 17th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.
Good luck and if you have any questions, you can ask me here or on Facebook --> here.

Catalyst 2016 - Andy Stanley - Uncommon Fellowship

-    uncommon, out of the ordinary, unusual,
-    Fellowship a relationship that is mutually beneficial and enjoyable.

Head -urning jaw-dropping never-would-have-imagined association.

Once upon a time there was a version of our faith characterized by uncommon fellowship that changed our world. If we could get this right, we could change the world. Why do we know this? Because it changed the world once 2,000 years ago.

Slaves, masters, women, Jews, gentiles, roman centurions - there could not have been a more diverse group who came together around Jesus.

Betrayed by friends
Condemned by the Temple
Persecuted by the Roman Empire
Spread like an air-borne disease

The only the 12 disciples had in common was Jesus. Jesus modeled it. People who were nothing like Jesus loved hanging around Jesus.
Jesus predicted it.
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”
Matthew 16:13-18 NLT
Jesus did not predict a place. He predicted a movement. Jesus also prayed for us.
“"I do not pray only for them. I pray also for those who will believe in me because of their message. Father, I pray that all of them will be one, just as you are in me and I am in you. I want them also to be in us. Then the world will believe that you have sent me.
John 17:20-21 NIRV
I will be in them, just as you are in me. I want them to be brought together perfectly as one. This will let the world know that you sent me. It will also show the world that you have loved those you gave me, just as you have loved me.”
John 17:23 NIRV
Our unity is mission critical. Unity is mission critical. Disunity disrupts the mission.
“"I give you a new command. Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you.” “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35 NIRV
Unselfish love rules uncommon fellowship. Then Paul took the golden rule and he teased it out in his letters when he said...
Forgive one another
Encourage one another
Restore one another
Care for one another
Submit to one another - mutual submission
Carry one another's burdens
Bear with one another
What if we just did the one another's?
Imagine a world where people were skeptical of what we believe but envious of how well we treat one another.
The early church had to fight for it, because uncommon is uncomfortable.
Uncommon - uncomfortable
“He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.”
Acts 10:28 NIV
If it's not uncomfortable? It's because you have surrounded yourself with people who are just like you, and you are comfortable.
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
Acts 10:34-35 NIV
God does not show favoritism.
“Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.””
Acts 15:5 NIV
Do you know what hung in the balance of this decision? You and I hung in the balance. James and Peter made huge theological and cultural concessions so that Gentiles could come to faith. Why? Because they knew that oneness needed to win the day. They went from the entire old convene at to two things. They knew that when it comes to disrupting unity, immorality disrupts unity. Unity preempt personal preference and satisfaction.
Jesus modeled it, predicted it, prayed for it, and branded it.
The early church fought for it. The question is, "Will we?"
Will we prioritize uncommon fellowship over our particular version of faith? We have to overlook what we don't have in common. It is an invitation to embrace the One thing we have in common.
“You see, at just the right time, when we (that is us. That is what we have in common) were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
Romans 5:6 NIV
if your theology separates you from sinners like you, you may have some work to do.
We can't all be right, but Jesus said that we can all be one.
Jesus did not pray for our rightness. He prayed for our oneness.
As is their custom, Catalyst opened up the conference with Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor of North Point Community Church.  He is also the author of such noted books as Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love To Attend and Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials For Those Who Will Shape The Future.  Andy spoke on the value of uncommon fellowship.
Preachers kids see church as the church really is.
Once upon a time there was a version of our faith characterized by uncommon fellowship that changed our world.
People who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus and Jesus liked them.
Jesus did not predict a place. Jesus predicted a people.
Early Christian fellowship included all kinds of diverse people. Unity of believers is a testimony to the world that Jesus is God.
Our ability to love one another will be our megaphone to the world.
Our uncommon fellowship is critical because disunity disrupts the mission.
If there is one thing weve got to get right is unity around Jesus, the Son of God, is the Christ.
Unselfish love fuels uncommon fellowship.
Mutual submission is the most powerful relational dynamic in the world.
When you find a group of people mutually submitting to one another it is extraordinarily attractive.
Imagine a world where the people were skeptical of what we believed but were envious of how they treat one another.
Everybody wants to be one-anothered.
Uncommon is uncomfortable.
If we get this right all of us have to do uncomfortable things.
If you are not uncomfortable you have surrounded yourself with people who are just like you.
Oneness has to win the day. Unity around who is Jesus is preeminent. Everything else is details.
Immorality in the church disrupts unity.
Unity preempts personal preference and satisfaction.
Uncommon fellowship requires we look beyond the things we dont have in common. It is an invitation to embrace the one thing we have in common.
Jesus sacrificed His life so you could experience the most uncommon fellowship of all – fellowship with the Father.
If your theology separates you from sinners like you, you may have some work to do.

We cant all be right. But we can all be one. Jesus did not pray for our rightness. He prayed for our oneness.

Catalyst 2016 - Brandon and Jen Hatmaker

The mornings next speakers were Brandon and Jen Hatmaker.  They live in Austin, TX where they lead Austin New Church, The Legacy Collective, and raise their 5 kids. They are both authors including Brandons newly released A Mile Wide and Jens New York Times bestseller For the Love. They speak at events all around the country and co‐star in an HGTV series called “My Big Family Renovation”. I really enjoyed the Hatmakers, and their talk has spurned an idea for a new sermon series... More to Come!

Be yourself as church leaders. Being vulnerable as leaders will serve our families better. – BH
A lot of pastorskids grow up seeing two different dads and two different moms. – BH
We do have a public life but at home we just have a life. – JH
We treat our weekdays like most people treat their weekends. – JH
We were so busy on our church campus we didnt know our neighbors. – BH
100% of my relationships were with my staff because I needed them. – BH
We were so busy serving the rich in our church we didnt have time to serve those on the margins. – BH
Our approach was radical. Dont be weirdos. – JH
We did radical things like invite our neighbors to dinner. – BH
We would never, ever treat anyone we love like a project or an agenda. They are not projects. They are people. – JH

Serving the community changes you. – BH
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