If you get a chance, you’re welcome to check out the beta version of the new NewVintageSD.org .
Archives For nvc
God continues to do great things at New Vintage Church. Since our first informal gathering of 16 on December 5th of last year, and through our “official” launch on Palm Sunday of this year, God has continued to grow our church into a vibrant fellowship of people who love one another and are committed to His mission.
This past weekend, God rained an enormous blessing on New Vintage when Hidden Valley Christian Church in Escondido, California (the church whose facility we rent on Sunday nights), voted to dissolve and join New Vintage Church in ministry going forward. That vote was an enormous step of faith in God and trust in our church—and we couldn’t be more grateful. It was also a beautiful expression of Christian unity. New Vintage Church will begin meeting on Sunday mornings with a special service on October 23rd.
At a very practical level, here are some other things this means for New Vintage Church:
- And one of the biggest joys of this step of faith: New Vintage Church has a home. The facility we meet in and the land it’s on now belong to New Vintage Church. This opens soooo many doors for us from the perspectives of outreach, potential compassion ministries, and visibility in the community. It also provides some long-term financial stability I thought might elude us for some time.
- The addition of about 40-50 new Brothers and Sisters in Christ to our fellowship. This will send us well above the dreaded 200 mark.
- We can move our assembly times to Sunday mornings
- Our capacity for service goes up as we join with these servant-minded people Sisters and Brothers.
We hardly even know where to begin thanking God for this amazing gift. Though our church still has a number of challenges ahead of it, there’s no doubt the Kingdom advanced last weekend. Unity prevailed. Because of it, God is pleased and more people will be reached for Christ.
Here are some things on my mind this week:
- People always view 1 John as a simple, easy read about loving one another. This time through, I’m struck by how black and white his theology is. Light/Dark, Love/Hate, etc. It rubs me just a bit the wrong way as a supposedly enlightened 21st century Westerner. Maybe I need to reconsider my views.
- I love California, but our state agencies are terribly cumbersome and enormously expensive to do business with. That’s a rather generous way of putting it.
- I spent 4 days as Mr. Mom with my girls last week. Enjoyable, but a chaotic and nerve-fraying experience. I didn’t set the house on fire and no major injuries were reported.
- USC’s football team is driving me crazy this year. Looking forward to next year when we’re allowed to get back to the BCS championship game.
- The Red Sox collapse has to be up there with…the ’86 World Series My colleague and homie D.J. Iverson tweeted, “Somewhere Bill Buckner is trying to hold back a huge grin. #Karma.” Nice.
- The encouraging word of a Brother or Sister in Christ remains one of the most simple yet powerful weapons against Satan.
- Can you imagine how much energy and spiritual power would be released if all churches actually loved and supported one another?
- If you miss Satan or believe he may not really exist–start a new church. He’ll make himself known. Then…God will show up even stronger.
- Physical health may be the most neglected part of most pastors’ lives.
- The NFL has to be loving this. They avert their strike and the NBA isn’t going to play for a long time–giving them the nation’s undivided sports attention.
- For the first time I can remember, I have no real desire to read. It takes real discipline for me these days. I need to figure out why that is.
- After a few weeks of the season–I’m thinking a San Diego vs. Green Bay Super Bowl. Homer call–maybe. Maybe not.
- The new NIV Study Bible is coming out in a couple of weeks. I’m eager to see what they’ve done with it.
- Never underestimate the power or relevancy of Scripture. No matter how highly I think of it, I’m probably underestimating it.
- At the same time, I need to always keep the Word Made Flesh, of whom the Scriptures testify, the centerpiece of our church and theology.
- I need a haircut.
Every May, without exception, I head to Pepperdine University for the Pepperdine Bible Lectures. If you have never been, you need to go! Not only is it one of America's most beautiful settings–it's one terrific spiritual feast.
This year, I'm teaching a 3-day class and I, along with Peter Wilson will be leading the Morning Praise session on Wednesday at 7:30am in Smothers Theater. My wife is also keynoting the opening night AWP Women's dinner.
My 3-day class is entitled: The Contrarian's Guide to Church Leadership: The Road Less Traveled to Church Health and Growth. It's 8:30am Wednesday – Friday. It's going to focus on some of ways that in ministry, zagging helps you zig and yanging helps you yin. That was a bit much for a subtitle. So, if you're interested in ministry strategies for church health or growth that are: unseen but right under your nose, unconventional or frowned upon–but effective and right…I hope you'll come to the class. I believe it will be lots of fun and bless your church.
If you're not interested in my class…come to the Pepperdine Bible Lectures anyways. How could you not be blessed by a week with the Psalms in Malibu? It's also great for kids. Have I made my point, yet?
It is this: You will go home full in every way…I promise
I put two pictures here. The one on the left is from NVC's very first gathering. It was in the same building, for that night only. Afterwards, we moved to the campus of Ranchland Church for a few months before returning to Hidden Valley Christian Church's campus for launch. On the left, we had 16 people. Those pictured comprise pretty much everyone that was there. Staff and their spouses, and a few others. We all fit in the first 4 rows. Last night, we passed 200 in attendance for the first time as we celebrated our start. We are prayerfully hoping to have 300+ this Sunday morning. Some say numbers don't matter. They certainly aren't everything. But, of course they matter. "Numbers" are people, and people matter to God.
So, the engagement phase and the wedding is over. The "reception," if you will, is this Easter Sunday, when we celebrate the Resurrection. Then, comes the marriage–being the church every day growing in our love for Christ and one another. I'm thrilled and hopeful for the future, having watched God move in amazing ways in the just the first few months of our existence.
Here are some random thoughts from last night's launch:
- When a church is birthed, you feel a special kinship with those who have served alongside you. I of course have a unique friendship with the ministers–Randy Armstrong, Peter Wilson, and DJ Iverson. But, I feel an equal, if different, affection for those who have toiled for the Cause. Starting a new church is a beautiful fight, but it is a fight–or at least a journey with volatile weather. Such experiences pull people together and build a special closeness.
- God has used NVC to bring out the best in people. I've watched people who were marginal become core. I've watched core servants become core leaders. I've watched people completely shift there ministry interests, and pick up the basin and towel in ways they never thought they would. I've watched a man who was in prison a couple of years ago become a Christian and remarkable servant. As I preached last night… "The Kingdom of God… is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
- This whole experience has challenged certain convictions I have about ministry, and reaffirmed others. I'm sure as time goes on, that cycle will repeat. These three remain–preaching, praise, and people…not necessarily in that order. Maybe I'll talk about this more in a future post.
- Encouragement has always been the nectar of the gods in ministry. It's just vital. We started with a desire to cultivate a culture of encouragement, blessing, and celebration intentionally. I'm so glad. It's one of our most cherished resources at New Vintage, and one I'm going to strive to preserve.
Lastly, one of the greatest things about starting a new church thus far is having much better access to testimonies of God's work. New churches give people fresh starts. It's just amazing to see how God uses those new starts to do a new thing in people's lives. I'm seeing it from a whole new angle…and am awestruck by it.
What a blessing!
Now, we're on to Easter weekend. We launched on Palm Sunday with DJ Iverson painting the first half of a painting during the sermon. This Sunday, he'll finish the painting we preach the Resurrection of Jesus. I can't wait!
New Vintage is off to a great start. However, we still need lots of things–more funding, encouragement, and lots and lots of prayers. Nevertheless, I have full confidence the God who brought us this far will meet all our needs.