Sunday, November 23, 2003

Targeting Monon Trail Neighborhoods...

This week Ministry Support Services, the company I started to come alongside of pastors and "make their pastors job a joy", has started putting out proposals to some key churches along the Monon Trail corridor. It didn't hurt that the Indianapolis Star ran this story recently. Personally, I believe the 'Monon' serves as an interesting metaphor for illustrating growing linkage of suburbia to the inner city neighborhoods... cutting through various cultures along the way... upscale Carmel, post-modern young thinkers of Broadripple, and leading to where the real needs are in the inner city.

We're looking for churches within earshot of the trail who have vision for neighborhoods and might be willing to 'Adopt A Neighborhood'.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Dr. John Rogers At Crossroads...

What a blessing this guy is. He's truly one of God's servants to Indianapolis and beyond, and has been a joy to get to know this year.

Yesterday he spoke twice at Crossroads Bible College chapel services. Sang at one of them. And had us roaring at his parrot joke. And crying when we heard his heart.

Looking forward to just how God will be using him, and Crossover Indiana in 2004.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

If Every Conventioneer Brought a Gift?

Great article today re one of our "Transform Indiana" affiliates... Jeanne Huiett, surprisingly blessed by Women Aglow bringing their national conference to Indy.

Jeanne: "Could you imagine if every group that held a convention in Indianapolis did the same thing?" she says. "Think of how much our needy population would benefit."


Wednesday, November 19, 2003

"Loving Change"...

As I zeroed in yet further on what God might be pointing out to me these days -- perhaps for republishing here online -- I purchased a new domain name for this blog called . It's a God thing; no one really loves change (entirely, that is -- we prefer to pick & choose, and usually change in other people, not ourselves). But change is exactly what God desires in all of us as He lovingly conforms us to the image of His son... and calls us to love Him and the people He loves. [Funny thing Reid Carpenter said yesterday: "Christians are terrible lovers... of each other."] More later.
Carpenter & Oster Stir Indy...

Thinking back to New Year's Eve '02 and praying that God would extraordinarily act in Indy this year, it didn't escape my notice that yesterday's meetings were part of His answering.

As if it wasn't enough that He would do all the other things He's done this year, and most recently incite a busload of Hoosiers to/from/at CCDA (New Orleans)... yesterday we had the opportunity on short notice to hear Reid Carpenter (Leadership Foundations of America) talk of 'care-ism' and 'spiritual capital' within a city.

Coincidence perhaps? I'd become familiar with Leadership Foundation only a couple of months ago. Later, Jeff Koenig, my innovative friend now in Columbus OH wrote me that I should get to know a guy named Reid Carpenter, whose message is 'right on' with what we've been advocating via Transform Indiana ministry network. Then I ran into it again in New Orleans at the CCDA conference, as some city leaders from across the nation spoke highly of its ability to impact. And upon return to Indy, I got an email from a local friend here, inviting me on short notice to come to a presentation of a thing called Leadership Foundation. [Reid Carpenter perhaps? Of course. God -- you're so funny and amazing.]

It is his belief that we're on the precipice of major re-invention of 'church', especially as we mine these spiritual gifts for the good of our city.

I had to leave early to make the next meeting across town... Merrill Oster (Pinnacle Forum) had also come to Indy, inciting 'influencers' to grow spiritually, network and reach cultural gatekeepers... and transform America's culture.

It was hard to sleep last night.

Monday, November 17, 2003

How Now Shall We Live?
Yesterday was our return-trip home from New Orleans via Lightrider. Excellent choice. The time spent on this 'mobile retreat' was a great portion of the value of CCDA 2003. It was my first trip via a chartered 'sleeper' and totally comfortable, and best of all... totally set up for making friends and conversation.

So we all enjoyed getting to know one another better... but not just 'anyone'... these were certainly some of the "driven Christians" in the Racing Capital (state) of the World. CCDA'rs care about their communities and care about sharing the gospel (and their lives) with them.

So here are just a few of the many great comments during our Sunday morning debrief time together:

Cornelius: "If you come back the same way you left Indy, you wasted your time and resources. My wife's going to ask me 'what happened to you?' Folks, maintain your New Orleans energy. It's time to be about your father's business. If you have to get angry, ok. I'm angry. I see drop-outs, pregnant teens, kids in juv'y, locked & barricaded doors. I'm tired of going to young funerals. Question is, are we angry enough to go make a difference? If it happens to the 'least of these' it happens to me. If we're to love our neighbors as ourselves, then we need to take it personally. If it happens to the least of these, it happens to you.

O: Even though I think I'm doing all I can, I'm not doing enough pouring of myself into the lives of others. I've felt like a 'caged bird' in the church. It breaks my heart. [tears start to run] Single moms need us -- I know, my daughter is a single mom. Thankfully I can help her. But what about the others? They desperately need our help.

Paul: I'm coming back even more concerned about raising up young black Christian leaders for tomorrow.

Chris: I attended an 'After School Workshop' that was a dialog without a leader. We not only learned a lot from each other; one person got on the phone and launched a website to help facilitate an ongoing brainstorming & resource center.

N: What now is my responsbility & accountability? CCDA 'laid it all out' -- I don't have any excuse now. I don't necessarily like the challenge before me, but I needed that seed planted.

NC: Did anyone notice the great contrast in our purpose in New Orleans, and the normal reason go to New Orleans? [Oh yeah.]

#22: Desire Street ministry tour was cool. What a difference they're making. And it all started with a volunteer coach at Carver High.

A: I realize I'm not alone on campus now. There are others that feel the way I do. I'm encouraged and stimulated; empowered and confident that 'its the right thing' to devote my life to. When I graduate I have opportunities and an ability to be a life-long learner -- and that's what I desire. This conference has raised questions, not just provided answers.

B: We'ren not going to help people much by just 'showing' them (what we think are) the answers; rather, by 'being there' with them... showing we care.

K: Just training is worthless unless we put it to work and make a difference in a long-term turnaround via personal relationships. I think the conference was also very meaningful as perhaps an encouragement to those who are already involved for the long haul and may wonder about incremental progress; but when they come to CCDA annually they can look back and see their progress and be encouraged.

[The intergenerational exchange taking place on the bus was enlightening to all of us. Here's an example...]
C: It was great seeing young people involved in CCDA 2003, and we should shoot for even more of their involvement in CCDA Indy 2005.

Scott: I'm concerned that we intentionally mentor young leaders for greater involvement in CCDA for the future.

Meghan: Yeah, intergenerational dialog will help us do away with some of the traditions so we can 'step outside the box' more often. Remember, in the book of Timothy it says 'don't let them look down on you because you're young; set an example.'

Paul: But not arrogantly. Young folks... Never forget, what you're seeing and hearing from these established speakers is rooted in 'brokenness'. They've 'been there' and have been broken in one way or another before God. And that's not something you're likely to acquire at a young age. I know. When I first got involved in ministry, I was arrogant as heck. Don't make that mistake. Brokenness is what God desires and uses.

K: You're right. Brokenness breeds a more relational approach to ministry.

Cornelius: Right. There's a cost of leadership. Remember when Jesus was with James & John and they like asked him if they could be Vice-President and Secretary of State? Same as. Jesus rebuked 'em saying they didn't know what they were asking. They had no idea yet what lay ahead... his suffering and their suffering. My point? Y'all don't know what ya got y'selves into this week.

Ed.Note: My point in writing this journal note today? "Indy... Y'all don't know what ya got y'selves into this week!"

Sunday, November 16, 2003

More From CCDA 2003 Blog...

[Again, thanks Rudy for setting up this site for added & continued value.]

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Dr. Ware Speaks in New Orleans...

What a message. We're so fortunate to have this messenger so close-by in Indy. Right on-target.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Dr. Amy Sherman, Measuring Ministry...

Excellent workshop. Faith In Communities.
Devotions this morning with John Perkins...

Ps.11: "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

Dr. P: "The foundations are family and neighborhood. Community. The church is create a family environment. Christianity is a relationship religion."

"But we have a problem in America that is larger than just family -- it's a breakdown of community; of neighborhood. It's no accident that Jesus says 'love your neighbor'. But as Christians, we haven't decided that we want to build 'neighborhood'."

"Who are 'the righteous' - people who have come to see their own sin as truly sinful, have confessed it, and been clothed in Jesus righteousness -- not ours -- and now, as a result the righteousness we have is God's."

What CAN the righteous do?

#1 break the hip hop culture - go after Truth. Focus on the Bible as the inspired word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God... not only as our personal devotional, but as a textbook for living... together."

#2. De-hijack prayer. It's been hijacked by a 'name it, claim it' methodology for personal use only. That is, a 'Jabez' mindset - praying only to expand MY border.
Prayer is this... Lord what would you have ME to do. Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. It's not a substitute for my own action -- it's the start of my own action. preparation for me to act.

#3. De-colonize the gospel. You can't be a Christian and be a bigot. We need to preach a gospel that saves all types of people the same... and not patronizing one group or another. Reconcilation is the absolute act of God. And he's made us ambassadors of reconciliation. So we need to redeem the gospel from European colonization. Everyone needs their identity to be sure -- but not to focus on preserving it, but rather to exploit our 'identity' to be the people to reach out to broken people of the world.

#4. Understand the place of the church. Sure parachurch has its place, but we also need to focus people back into the church... the local church, where they can be nurtured and developed. I don't believe you can be a good whole Christian without being a member of a local church.... accountable and relational. We need to have a correct philosophy of ministry. We need to put that into our overall development. In a church, people need to have their dignity affirmed... loving them, identifying our worth that God assigned. How to implement in the local neighborhood? 3 R's. Relocation... Living among the poor enriches you. Reconciliation... that's obvious. Redistribution... ('When I mention this R, the place gets real quiet real quick'). But I'm not talking about money -- because even if we re-distributed the money to the poor areas, the rich would have it back the next morning. LOL. The poor would have gone and given it back, for a mercedes." Neighborhood development is about bringing back ownership to the neigborhood. Ownership of many types of resources.

"For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; upright men will see His face."

Dr. P: "Success can be our enemy. CCDA should not be rooted in a 'triumphant' attitude about our successes -- it needs to be rooted in humility & hardship... and preparing today's youth, tomorrow's leadership, in perseverance in trial."

Thursday, November 13, 2003

CCDA 2003 -- New Orleans...

Great opportunity. Thank you Scott Truex and sponsors who made it possible for a chartered busload to come here from Indiana. Well done.

CCDA's 'message' can't typically be heard in content, homogeneous (euphemism for 'segregated') churches. So it's a welcome wake-up call to somehow listen differently, non-traditionally, to Jesus' message of reconciling love for those who need Him most.

And it's a message that goes beyond the individualistic, western mindset that stops once it accepts personal salvation -- rather than marching onward to seek God and His kingdom plan for us as the communal body Jesus calls us to be, The Church, to impact the world as salt & light.

Wish you were here. Looking forward to bringing CCDA to Indy in 2005.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"Transform Indiana" ministry network meeting yesterday...

Here's our "LIVE Agenda" we used during the meeting. Really enjoyed seeing hands-on application of collaboration by our hosts -- Child Evangelism, whose state hqtrs are in Wheeler Mission's Care Center... and how they interact with each other for the glory of God... and to get more of the work done that Jesus set out for us to do.

And it was great hearing some testimonies of how even in its infancy, Transform Indiana's intentional networking has already helped people better find their niche in the local sector of the kingdom. One testimony was about a guy who hooked up with a new friend to go work in a soup kitchen for the homeless, and as a result is now actively visiting 'homes' of the homeless, seeking the lost, seeing how he can help... and getting his church involved in such things. So does our mission of intentionally networking 'driven Christians' get more of the job done?

What was not so great to hear, was one pastor's description of the uphill objective of hoping pastors would invest any time in coming together to sharpen each other via Bible-study together and serve as a biblical steadying force for Transform Indiana. They might be willing to come together to pray though. Or they might later join in re significant citywide events.

Friday, November 07, 2003

"Chuck Colson: 100 Centurions"...

The first person to mention the name "Chuck Colson" to me, was laid to rest today... a former employer/mentor of mine.

Coincidentally, tonight I was invited to a dinner here in Indianapolis, to hear Chuck Colson share his strategic plan for finishing his life strong and impacting future generations. It's called "100 Centurions". (II Tim. 2:2) Awesome vision.

[more tomorrow.]

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

"The Light Went On For Me, When...."

This guy 'gets it'.... really gets it! Look, we've even turned his light on to blogging!

And btw, here's what he attributes as the spark for suddenly 'getting it'.... ie, the value of ministries collaborating in the name of Christ.

[But we all know it is really "God who works in us, to will and to act according to His good purpose", do we not?]
"Too Many Opportunities, Too Little Time"...

Good problem: If with change come new opportunities, and if we're seeking opportunities to change, does that lead to a great accelerating cycle of life? Abundant life to the full. Or as a new friend calls it... Life(Nth).

(Perhaps an explanation is due... another day. Stay tuned.)