Tuesday, November 23, 2004

This is so not about church planting but I have to have record of the free U2 concert I went to on November 23. The youth minister here at Manhattan Church of Christ and I, on a whim, went to see if we could get in and we certainly did! We were about 40 feet from the stage. To read more about it and see pics and eventually a short iMovie check out Jason's blog. Let me just say this, IT ROCKED!

Monday, November 22, 2004

We now have 24 people committed to the launch team. I hope that each of these committed will come to understand their role(s) in this community of faith. Many of them have been marginalized in the established church and several have yet to find their niche. The new church will allow them the opportunity to grow and mature quickly because the learning curve is fast and furious.

Over the last two Saturdays we’ve done walking tours of Brooklyn and come back to pray about what we’ve seen and experienced. It’s been great to get out with some of the launch team to dream and envision what God has in store for us. We’ve walked Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens over the past two weeks.

As we walked in Carroll Gardens, Tom B. pointed out a “social club.” I was mystified as I had no idea what he was talking about. I kept asking questions as we walked and he kept shutting me up. Finally he said the “m” word: mob. It was a place where the mob bosses hang out and make their “business” plans. I asked him what would happen if I just walked in and he said I would quickly be ushered out. Wow, who knew this still existed? But in Carroll Gardens the mob still has a grip on the neighborhood. Tom said it was kinda nice because it meant that the neighborhood was safe.

Not much is going to happen in December but we are gearing up for our Sunday night meetings in January. That will be when the launch team will start gathering together at my house. Wow, this thing is so around the corner.

My next blog is going to be on the relationship the Brooklyn church will have with the evangelical world. To give you a hint: shivers are sent down my spine when I hear the word “evangelical”…and it ain’t the good kind of shivers.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

By the way, we've been praying for at least 20 people to join in the launch team. We have 21 who are committed and several who are in the "I'm still praying about this" stage. PRAISE GOD!
One of the things I’m learning about this blog is that I will never be consistent in updating it if I continue to write long drawn out blogs that cover every detail. I was breaking all the blog rules by writing long blogs in the first place but I’m going to attempt to start shortening them a bit.

Much has happened since my last blog. The Yankees lost to the dreaded BoSox, my Texas Aggies have had a roller coaster ride of a season and tu (Univ. of Tex.) is still to come, Kerry lost to Bush (boo!) and Laura is pregnant with our second child! Wow!

Let me give a brief report on the last church I visited in August. It was Park Slope Presbyterian Church. in Brooklyn. This church was planted in March of 2003 so it wasn’t even 6 months old when I visited it. It was so much different from the other churches I visited. I almost missed the church because there were no huge signs advertising it’s presence in the high school. The people were friendly enough but not overbearing. The service was high church and liturgical. The leader was good about describing what the different worship elements were to those in the audience who might not know what was going on. The advertising of the small groups caught my eye. Each one was assigned a community institution. For example, the Smith’s small group was matched with John Doe Nursing Home and the Taylor’s small group was paired with John Jay High School. I took that to mean that the small groups did whatever these institutions needed them to do as volunteers who cared for the well being of the institution. There was a real community feel. I felt as if this church was interested in this particular neighborhood and wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. I liked it. The disappointment was that they too met in the school auditorium. It was huge and cavernous and there were only a few of us there. It felt empty and vacant. There was no real community feel during the worship. I wonder why these new plants don’t meet in the cafeteria where they can manipulate the space?! I was able to get out of there without talking to anyone. This would not happen at one of the Southern Baptist church plants I went to. Overall it was a good experience.

Visiting these churches was good for me. It gave me a sense of what was good and what we should strive for in our own plant. It also allowed me to see what I wasn’t impressed with and what we could do without. I pray that God will lead us and create in us a place of fellowship.

Lord, may you create in us a place of community and fellowship. May it be authentic and real. May we involve ourselves in the community and by doing so, may others see how much you care for the world. Amen.