We're in the process of understanding our community. It's hurts. It's needs. It's dreams.
Really, we want to understand people's hearts and motivations in order to apply some healing salve to the wounds that are always present in the human heart. Too often, American churches have been guilty of franchising. We go to super-conference at mega-church and discover they are doing 'X' and seeing 'Y' results. "Ah," we think, "if we do 'X', then we'll get 'Y' results." So we head home to implement exactly what they did.
What we often fail to consider is that 'X' came out of a long study of the needs of their community. Like good missionaries, they studied their local culture and wrapped their ministry in something their community could grasp. They incarnated the Gospel for their local culture.
We're working to do the same with North County. We're surveying the community, asking questions, building relationships...all with an eye to demonstrating and announcing God's kingdom of love and justice.
Here's a short video about some of the demographics of North County.
Gotta love this from Matt Chandler, a pastor of a church near my hometown outside Dallas.
On Thanksgiving he had a seizure which revealed a 2 inch tumor in his brain needing immediate surgery. He is my age and dad to 3 beautiful kids.
This short video is how he is seeing what is happening to his body. The emboldened question coming out of this for me as a pastor: Who is your everything? What's all-consuming enough to ride you through pain, heartache, and suffering? Is it really enough, as Tim Keller says, to fulfill you when things are going well and forgive you when you fail?
Here's the constant testimony of Scripture and people who've followed Jesus to the death: Jesus is everything. Amen Matt Chandler, Amen.