Friday, August 28, 2009

This Changes Everything

I've long been a fan of pastor/evangelist/apologist Voddie Baucham. Having heard him preach at several conferences has been a great blessing, and his ability to clearly communicate the truths of the gospel is extraordinary. For many, however, Baucham is a polarizing figure due to his support for family-integrated church ministry. Baucham is a firm believer that the modern church's methodology of breaking down people into age-divided groups (children's ministry, youth ministry) is unhelpful, counter-productive, and without biblical warrant. A couple years ago, I attended a seminar where he explained and argued for the family-integrated approach. My pastor and I came out of the seminar convinced and struck by what he had to say, but wondering how on earth such an approach could be implemented in our modern church culture. I quickly filed it away as a novel but impractical approach and that was that.

Fast forward a couple years. Seeking to find a book that Heather and I could read together as we sought to raise our daughter to know and love God, I picked up Baucham's Family Driven Faith. I can now say that the book has flipped our world upside down. Over the course of the book, Baucham makes the case that Scripture calls parents to be the primary disciplers of their children (which few Christians would dispute) and looks at how that principle affects life at home and how it should impact the ministry of the local church. As he makes the case that the family is the most fundamental, basic, and vital means of discipleship, the conclusion of the final two chapters comes with striking impact - if that is the case, then our modern way of organizing the church is about the most counter-productive way possible to achieve family unity and discipleship.

Hearing an seminar on the idea was one thing, but reading his case fleshed out in the context of the entirety of the Christian life was a game-changer for us. I've spent the past 4 years of my life as a youth pastor, and while I certainly wouldn't say the time was fruitless or wasted, I've begun to seriously reconsider what the most effective way is to reach our communities - both kids and adults - with the gospel message. I don't have the space here to fully flesh out Baucham's case (this article serves as a decent introduction), but I cannot recommend this book to you strongly enough. It has been the single most impactful book for my marriage, family, and minstry in years. Accept or reject them, Baucham's ideas are things that deserve to be considered and thought through. I'm incredibly glad we did.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A New Chapter

Well, after a whirlwind of a month, I figure it's finally time for me to explain my recent absence from the blogosphere. Two weeks ago, I resigned as youth pastor at Hazelwood. It was a tough decision that was prompted by many different factors, but it has been exciting to see the way that God has used those factors to prepare Heather and I for the next step of our journey in ministry.

We will be moving to Raleigh, NC to meet up with several friends and explore church planting together over the next couple years. We'll be working with some of the guys who served on the team with me that led Hazelwood during last year's interim period, which is very exciting. Being back closer to home will be a nice thing for us (and even more so for Jordan's grandparents), and the prospect of taking new and difficult steps for the gospel is one that we've felt drawn to for a while now.

Leaving Hazelwood, and the many friends we've made over the last 8 years in Louisville, will be hard. Announcing my resignation to the church was about the toughest thing I've ever done. However, we're confident in God's leading and hopeful about this new chapter in our lives. A line from an old Caedmon's Call song about God's sovereign direction has been ringing in my mind these past weeks - "But if I must go, things, I trust, will be better off without me." God has a plan for Hazelwood and for us, and though we're taking seperate paths, we're still united in our task to take the gospel to all people. Please be in prayer for us as we prepare for our move and follow the Lord's leading into the future.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Church as One-Trick Pony

"Some of you are always looking for a new trick, a new tactic, a new angle - [it's about] Jesus! We are a band with one song, and we just play it 'till we see him!" - Mark Driscoll

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Update

Well, if you're a regular reader of my blog (and I'd really like to thank both of you for your support), you've probably noticed that my posting volume has dipped a bit of late. The past few weeks have been pretty crazy in my life, and God has really been challenging and growing me in several different areas. Time and mental energy have been at a premium lately, and the ol' blog has been an area that's taken a backseat. I'm still here, I still love writing, and I hope to return things to normal around here soon. I would ask you all for prayer for wisdom and boldness in my ministry - I'm contemplating some big ideas right now, and I pray that they serve to magnify the glory of God!

Jill and Kevin's Divorce Court Entrance

By now, many of you have doubtlessly seen this video making the rounds around the web of a rather unique wedding procession. Sadly, the stats say that it's likely that story will eventually wind up ending like this...

This video cracked me up, but it also served to remind me just how important marriage is and just how tragic our culture's conception of it has become. Worth thinking about.