So I started thinking on the road down to California what lessons I’ve learned since we planted Antioch a little over a year ago.
The question has been banging around in my head ever since…
Here are my thoughts as they stand right now (I’m certain I’d change something if I kept thinking about it, but I want to focus on the Turkey and the Dallas Cowboys this Thursday instead of church planting lessons :)
1. Prayer Matters
I hate talking about prayer sometimes because it can sound very cliche. The truth, however, is that Antioch from start to finish has been about prayer. The good things that have happened stemmed from prayer or answers to prayer and the bad things that have happened stemmed from my thinking that I know what I’m doing.
There is nothing more significant to me in the last year than my deep realization that when it comes to God’s church… prayer matters.
2. Leadership Matters
I’m learning more as I read through scripture that when God wants to move in this world he does it through people… ordinary men and women.
These people lead.
They are sometimes assertive by nature and sometimes passive yet with a willingness to respond to God’s call. They are sometimes bold and sometimes timid. They are sometimes project people and sometimes people people. They are many different things… but they are all God’s leaders. Without these people nothing would happen.
In looking back at Antioch over the last year it is becoming clear to me that everything happens because of the leadership and service of a couple dozen people. Without these people nothing would happen.
A prime example is the recent college that was given to Antioch… without Lindsey Taft and Sheryl Bryant it would have been enough to swamp us, but with them it is slowly turning into a wonderful bright spot with exciting possibilities.
3. Selfless People Matter
Church ought to be a movement away from self and toward community. So it is no wonder that church and community grow and develop most through the work of selfless men and women.
I don’t know how to make a person selfless, but I do know that they are invaluable.
(Long live the set up team and the children’s workers!!!!)
4. Creativity Matters
We have been on a journey to rethink church since before we started Antioch. Our compass has always been the New Testament church, the teaching of Jesus and the four commitments that we have: Christ Centered, Authentic Spirituality, Inclusive Community and Missional.
The creativity, ingenuity, innovation and fresh thinking have become what Antioch symbolizes to me. With this it is fun and meaningful. Without it I feel that it would be mechanical, routine and stale.
As I look forward to what is to come, I get excited because I believe in Antioch, I believe in the creative spirit and talent at our church and I truly believe that there are fresh and amazing adventures on the horizon… because at Antioch, creativity matters!!
5. Mission Matters
We just finished a three week series on Human Rights. The in depth look at Compassion and Advocacy has reminded me that church doesn’t exist exclusively for us. Church is a highly effective tool that God uses to reach people in this world and love them spiritually, emotionally AND physically.
I am absolutely committed to making a difference in this world with the life that God has given me… and I know of no better reason to get out of bed on a Sunday morning than that!
Mission matters… for without it, the church would simply be providing entertainment.
Lastly, I began thinking that Antioch matters. If for no other reason, it is the stimulus that I have needed to keep running after, trusting and depending on God.