Why we need new Church plants in America

I found this video yesterday through my friend Jaime. She and her husband Mark are planting a new church in Arlington, VA. I found John Piper’s statements to be timely and right on the mark. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve ran into here in Dallas, Texas (aka “the Bible Belt”) who are un-churched, de-churched, or have been burned by the church.

I think it’s time for many of us to pray about planting new churches. Jeremiah and I are in that process as we finish out his degree in the next two years and pray about starting a new church (somewhere in America!) along with a core group of like-minded people.

Do any thoughts come to your mind about the state of churches in America today?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lzXuMCeleA]

RightNow Conference Highlights

IMG_6734

Kay Warren, Lonnie Smith, Matt Chandler

IMG_6740

me and Donald Miller

IMG_6737

Kari Jobe, Lonnie Smith, Amena Brown

I feel like I’ve been saved all over again. Well, that’s what I told Jeremiah on the last day of the RightNow Conference.

The theme of our conference: Trading in the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ, spoke to me in so many ways and I don’t want to live my life any other way than to be a “trader.”

Here are a few highlights, nuggets, and take-aways I got this past weekend:

1.) I am selfish and don’t naturally think of others every day, so I must make a conscious effort to trade in my selfishness to help others who need physical healing and help, but most of all, who need the gospel.

2.) Even Francis Chan has wanted to quit. If someone like him can admit that, we should too. Leadership and ministry is a difficult, messy, but well worth it road.

3.) Living for and following Jesus requires a dangerous surrender. Kay Warren encouraged us on Fri. evening to surrender our life to the cause of Christ and to be willing to die for it. Her boldness inspired me and I don’t think anyone left that room unchanged that night.

4.) Matt Chandler’s passion for the gospel is unmatched. He helped us to get the gospel right and I can’t even begin to describe the magnitude at which the Holy Spirit uses him when he teaches God’s word.

5.) Eating Bar-b-que with Kari Jobe and her band. Jeremiah and I had a good time getting to know Kari and her band during dinner. Kari led our worship at the event and it was beautiful and God-exalting. Hearing her sing Revelation Song, Healer, and I Live to Worship You live was the best. She was a joy to meet in person. Check out her music at karijobe.com!

6.) Getting to see Brian Mosley, Marc McCartney, Lonnie Smith, Natalie Drew, and all our video producers in action. Brian is my boss and the Founder of Rightnow. Marc is our Dir. of Events. Lonnie is the Dir. of Church Relations. Natalie was in charge of all the details of recruiting volunteers and tons of the behind the scenes stuff. Every day in the office, I see their passion for our generation, but this weekend I got to see it on stage and among thousands of leaders. It was awesome!

7.) Spending an hour with Anne Jackson over pizza. We had so much fun talking about writing, her upcoming book, marriage, and things we struggle with. It was great getting to know her husband Chris as well (aka her road manager for the trip). Just in one hour, I felt like I’d known her all my life. Now I know why the world is so crazy about her!

8.) Getting a personal note from Kay Warren, and her book Dangerous Surrender. I received a very sweet note from Kay along with her book. I never had the chance to meet her though until after I got the book. She told me someone told her about me. I was shocked and humbled and right now I really want to thank whoever did that. 🙂

So the conference is over and now we are packing all the video and content from the main sessions into the upcoming RightNow Leadership Development Kit. We have lots to do and are so excited to get the experience out to many more leaders.

Kristin’s Miracle House

at_the_gatesI just finished transcribing one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard (that will be included in our Bluefish 2010 Youth Series releasing in the fall). Kristin Elliott (her middle name happens to be Elizabeth- reminding me of the missionary Elisabeth Eliott) is no typical young woman.

Elizabeth grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian school but desperately wanted a story of hope to give to others. At the end of her high school career, she found a lump in her leg. The lump ended up being a cancerous tumor. A life-threatening one. She was operated on and the Make A Wish foundation found out about her. They came to her house and allowed her to grant one wish. She could either meet someone (a celebrity), go somewhere, or have something (an object). She told them she wanted to build an orphanage in Africa. They were perplexed. They’d never had a request like that from anyone. They went back to their headquarters to see what they could work out.

Her desire for an orphanage went back to the need Kristin saw on a special on TV. She thought that someone needed to go to them and that she could be it. So her and her family decided to take a trip to Africa shortly after her operation. She wanted to meet the needs of those children who didn’t have a home or love. When she returned from the trip, she was rediagnosed with this dangerous form of cancer and it was now in her lungs. She was operated on again. Doctors were able to get all of the cancer out. Around that time, Make a Wish responded to her and they were able to give her their maximum amount of money (around 2k) to jump start her funds towards the orphanage in Africa.

The news then got a hold of her story and many people began donating to her wish. She raised the 60k that was needed to build the orphanage and then some. The orphanage would hold 12 orphans and 2 adults to oversee the home.

Kristin began to heal and is now cancer free.  She’s in her first year at Baylor and has had opportunities to spread the hope of Christ just as she prayed for- even though cancer may not have been her first choice.

I’m just blown away by Kristin’s heart. She experienced the most difficult trial of her life and yet she was willing to give of herself fully (reminding me so much of the life of Christ). A dream was fulfilled that she never would have imagined coming true at only 18 years old. Her legacy will certainly be marked in Zambia forever, as the house for orphans is now called Kristin’s Miracle House.

This young girl has definitely inspired me today.

Check out Kristin’s site and story here.

Switch to mobile version