Monday, June 29, 2009

McChurch History 101

Other than the confusion that "Have it Your Way" is Burger King, this is a fascinating blog post.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Unforeseen Networking

The fellow "visioneers" are coming out of the proverbial woodwork! (I need to ask that foxy lady with the accent where that term comes from). I took 2 calls yesterday from people who had heard about Java Journey's mission etc. Neither of which were a result of any proactive promotion or recruitment.

One was from a Christ-follower in Chicago who will be visiting NC next week. We will get together to talk about our mutual dreams of day-to-day ministry. Without going into detail, let me say that this person has worked in high-scale institutional settings doing restorative type ministry with hurting people. I'm curious and excited to see what develops.

The other was from a Christ-follower (part of a couple) in the area who was involved with another missional endeavor in Hickory about 3-4 years ago. For various reasons (timing, preparation, etc.) the effort was abandoned. Again, without going into detail, I knew about this particular venture before I even left California. Both are very eager to explore what Java Journey is doing and ready to become part of the network.

It's dazzling me how this divine reinforcement is taking place after we courageously (and "stupidly") signed a lease that had "the numbers" crying out against us.

That "Indiana Jones" bridge is really there!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Move In Date Set

We have signed the lease on the storefront property on N Center Street and will take possession on July 1. Our goal is to work on the build out along with a crew of volunteers and do a soft opening in September. A soft opening is where we are open for business but don't make a big deal about it. This allows us to work out the bugs. We plan on having a grand opening in October.

How's that going to work if we can't pay any employees? Our plan is to move our home church into the facility and focus on ministry. We will work on the building as money and volunteers permit and open to the public as manpower allows.

We already have a crew of volunteers coming from Greensboro who will help with the tear out and perhaps some of the upfit. God has also provided a project manager and an architect/interior designer to help us complete the build out plans.

Jeff will work behind the counter in the morning hours and we will train volunteer counter workers too who will go through our certification program. If you wish to train and volunteer in this area contact us.

Things are really starting to sizzle as different members of our home church plus volunteers from a variety of churches and ministries climb on board to help in various ways.

One of the plusses of changing from the charitable business model to the non-profit model is that people are more willing to contribute time, goods and financial contributions which is imperative at this point if we are going to close the financial gap.

Pray for God to raise up the qualified experts and resources we need for the build out and for those who work the counters.

Leap of Faith

In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jones must get to the other side of a great chasm in order to save his dying father. But there is no apparent way to cross the divide. Heart hammering, Jones closes his eyes and steps out into what appears to be thin air, but amazingly his feet land on solid rock. What he hadn't seen before was a narrow bridge that was present but camouflaged. He safely crosses to the other side.

We can identify with Jones. A little over a month and a half ago we came to an apparent end of hope. In one last effort Jeff met with yet another banker. After looking over the business plan the banker informed Jeff that he could not provide the remaining money we need for the coffee shop start up. But then he spoke some profound words. He informed us that the gap between what we still needed and what we had on hand was almost the exact amount we needed to pay for salary. He suggested that if we could bypass the salary, then we'd be able to swing the coffee shop until it started turning producing cash flow. This also helped us to make the decision to run the coffee shop as a non-profit through Living Hope Covenant Church.

It's funny how God uses the most insignificant people to convey messages to His people. The path we were to take was suddenly quite clear. He wanted us to open the coffee shop on blind faith, switch from a charitable business model to a non-profit and secure volunteers to make up the workforce and to help with the up-fit.

Making this shift has opened the door to all kinds of possibilities and it has rounded up interested workers who care about our mission. Yes, it feels very much like stepping out into thin air, but our footsteps feel amazingly firm and we believe God is blessing this "leap of faith."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Review on this’ Philippians Go-‘Round - Part 1

The community dynamic of ministry became brightly illuminated as I read. Chapter 1 has “Paul AND Timothy” as the writers – written to “all the saints…together…overseers (plural) and deacons (plural).” Paul stresses “partnership” and “all” in his opening remarks. This certainly doesn’t reflect the current format of wide-spread dependency in the conventional context of “ministry.”

At our house church we have been rotating people sharing what God has taught them in their walk. The dependency on leadership and inspiration is not centered on one or two. This has been a very rich discipline as the Spirit-empowered “partnership in the gospel” has produced a strong corporate sense of our mutual transformation. The words of 1:6 jump to life: “…he who began a good work in you (2nd person plural – or in NC “all ya’all”) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” This encourages us collectively.

Paul urges this encouragement in chapter 2: “being united with Christ …like-minded …same love …one in spirit …” He implores a sacrificial investment of the very highest nature: “consider others better than yourselves.” We do not put feet on this principle like we think we do. It dawned on me that he is not talking about a trite gesture such as opening a coffee shop door for a stranger and uttering a surface mantra: “After you.” He’s speaking in the context of the “partnership” of ministry – the good work being carried to completion. Again, the letter is not addressed to the “Senior Pastor” and “staff.”

The bowels of the letter (and even most of Paul’s writings) follow in the first half of chapter 2 in what has been called “The Kenosis.(‘he emptied’).” I made some comments in my May 29 post. You can see the NIV translation there. What I want to do in my next post is “trans-paraphrase” Phil 2:5-11 from the original language as I interpret the root of each word and concept. Stand by or as Ryan Seacrest would say: “After the break.”