Doxa Fellowship

Books on Revival

Revival SermonSlide 3

Here's a list of books I own on revival that I'll be using in one way or another for my current sermon series Revival: Longing for a Surprising Work of God.

I tried to list them in the order of how much I expect to use (or depend on) each one for this series. I'm referencing a number of other things as well (articles, audio, websites) but this list is for books alone.

UPDATE 2.8.11: I added some new books at the bottom, and a few comments in parentheses where I have something to say, so far.

Additions as of 1/20/2011...

Additions as of 2/8/2011...

I'd love to hear your suggestions for other books on revivals or about revival. I also assume as I peruse my personal library I could add a few to this list that I overlooked.

Commentaries for 1 Peter

Jobes_1 PeterI'm starting a sermon series through 1 Peter this Sunday at Doxa Fellowship. These are the commentaries I'm using. Some will be read in full, others referenced or skimmed. I starred the ones I expect to use most. Feel free to suggest other resources you think would be helpful.

Lots-o-Links 6.13.09

Lots-o-Links 1.21.09

Kent Shaffer over at Church Relevance has determined that Reformissionary is the #27 church blog in the world.  Some good blogs on the list, and I'm honored to be there.  It's the best system of measurement I've seen for judging the popularity of a blog. Impressive, Kent.

I've started a new church blog (Doxa Blog),though I don't know exactly the role it will play yet. Working on it.  I have the domain, but right now it's only masking the link to this blog and it's a headache.  Also working on a Facebook group for Doxa. 

My new article: When Doctors Are Stumped

Joe Thorn is blogging again

Two talks on Questioning Evangelism

Paste Magazine anticipates 29 movies in 2009

Scot McKnight says some nice words about my photography, which I have long neglected

5 Reasons Why Consensus Sucks...true

Our Church Restart: Name Change

Doxa fellowship BESTIn April of 2004 we came to Calvary Baptist Church of Woodstock, Illinois. It was a small church that had serious issues.  I told the Pastor Search Committee before the church called me here that it sounded like a dead church that needed to restart.  They called me here and it's been an uphill battle ever since. But we are finally in the place of working through the transitions we know we need.

A little more background.  Just under a year ago our church chose to start heading in a new direction: adopting a new name, constitution, and leadership structure, possibly selling our property and more.  The church then chose an Interim Leadership Team (ILT) to replace the "church council," which was the leadership group the church had for several years before I came.  The ILT has been put in place to work through the transitions above and lead the church until eldership can be adopted in our constitution and elders are installed.

The first of the changes the ILT is working through is adopting a new church name.  We chose "Doxa Fellowship" on Sunday.  Doxa is the Greek word for "glory" and is found in words like "orthodoxy" and "doxology."  "Doxa Fellowship" won't be officially/legally adopted until we adopt a new constitution and choose a restart date and do all the crap needed to make it legal, but we are going to start using it immediately.

The ILT came up with this name after working through the following criteria.  I said more about each point during our discussion, and some points overlap and fit in similar categories, but these are the points I made to explain why the leadership chose "Doxa Fellowship."

1. Identity, Calling, & Mission – We want our name to have meaning, to help identify us by our calling & mission. To mention our church is to mention our mission.

2. Unique in McHenry County – It’s best if people outside our church hear our name and have no other church in mind.

3. Not Location Focused – We are a church for McHenry County, not just Woodstock. A name describing us in Woodstock will be too narrow. A name describing us in McHenry County may make people think of the city of McHenry. So a non-location specific name will work best.

4. A Brief Identifier – For both church members and folks who live in McHenry County, it’s helpful to have a name they can say in 1 word, though our official name will be longer.

5. Web Domain Options – Most visitors first find us on the internet. A more unique church name leads to a better domain name and easier web discovery.

6. Creativity in Branding – Church branding is often based on name & mission and we want a name that gives some freedom for creatively branding our church.

7. A Name Worth Discussing – When people hear of our church we want the name to peak their interests, draw out questions about the name and/or church. A typical church name often leads to no response from people. A more unique name, based on identity, calling, & mission, opens doors for conversation.

The 2009 Reformission

DSC_00161I've identified 10 changes I want to see in my life in 2009.  Call them resolutions if you like.  I have much more I could say about them, but I wanted them to be somewhat brief here.  The first 3 are general and pervasive through the next 7, and are things I've been working on for years (ordering not important).  The last 7 are more specific (and in order).  I know that it's really God who works change, and that everything below should say "Lord-willing" after it, but just accept that up front if you would.

10. A year of clearer boundaries.  I'm thinking of several areas here including the areas of hospitality (more at #6), personal organization, what I do in my different workplaces, time with my wife (more at #2), what we let our kids do and not do, etc.  This isn't about "tighter" boundaries necessarily (well, maybe in a few areas).  But muddy boundaries make for a muddy life.  Clarity is, well, clarifying. 

9. A year of fewer excuses.  I'm sick of my mind running to look for better excuses for why things aren't different, better, possible.  I've been working on this area for some time because it's a tough one for me. I'm going to work at dropping excuses, admit when I'm wrong, and press on.  "Do or do not. There is no 'try.'"

8. A year of greater risk.  Comfort is an easy default mode for me.  Risk is a sexy word to me, and a sexy idea.  But all too often it's a word and idea and not much else.  This year when I catch myself being too protective or fearful (also see #7) I'm going to try and let go and go for it.  I'm still going to count the cost, I'm just going to try and not selfishly count the cost.


7. A year of saying what needs to be said.  I'm a prophet-type guy.  I used to be the guy who would say things and then find out later that I was actually very bold and courageous and truthful and transformational, though at the time it didn't feel at all courageous.  I've been tamed a bit, and I'm sick of it.  This year I'm going to speak when I feel led to instead of feeling later on that I should have said something.  This will result in things from more direct evangelism, to more regular meetings with church folks who are slacking, to a louder public voice in my city, to many other things. 

6. A year of expanding our "public" space.  I'm thinking mostly hospitality and relational discipleship here.  Some things have led us to restrict levels of private space and too rarely invite people in.  Most of those things are stupid and selfish.  We are going to try to open our home more, enjoy the company of friends and strangers more, etc.  We used to influence people more through things like letting them be around parenting situations.  This worked especially well with university students.  We don't do that enough anymore.  We have been really changed over the years by hanging around older Christians, pastors, and others and watching their life, asking questions, and just sitting and soaking in the relationship.  We need to be more intentional about being there for others.

5. A year of scheduling mission.  This has always been something I've done, but it's waned and I want to get serious about it again.  Unscheduled mission is always easier for me (ALWAYS!) when scheduled mission is happening.  So really this will help scheduled and unscheduled mission.  I've already added some significant chunks into my winter schedule. I'm going to vary the locations, means, and approach.  Along with this I have some ideas from last year that we shelved until some core changes happen at our church, which are coming very soon (see #4).

4. A year of church transformation.  Starting in a few weeks the changes I've been working for at my church for more than 4 1/2 years are finally going to start happening.  We are working on reconstituting, restarting, and renaming our church.  That's just the beginning.  Last year we made some important decisions and went through some real pain to make what's happening in 2009 a reality.  Should be a busy, fruitful, exciting, and risky year.  I'll try to keep you posted here. 

3. A year of discipling our children better.  Last year discipleship was just ok.  We are still not close to what I want for my kids.  I have a picture of what I want to see in their lives, of how I want them to experience the gospel, truth, faith, ministry, and compassion.  Now we will day-by-day begin, one stroke at a time, to paint that picture. 

2. A year of rediscovering my wife.  The end of 2008 was really difficult for my marriage.  We never grew apart or stopped loving or liking each other or anything like that.  But most of my readers know how really tough these last few months have been.  When you spend all the time thinking about how your car isn't working right you never get to experience the joy of being on the road.  You get too focused on the problems.  Same with our relationship.  We need to get out and feel the wind in our hair and hug a few turns on the country roads again, even if Molly's issues mean it will be at a slower speed.  This means things like getting date nights back in order, finding more time in the evenings to just hang and talk about something other than what's wrong with Molly, and me stopping being such a jerk. :)

1. A year of responding better to the Holy Spirit's promptings.  I've noticed, especially over the last half of the year, some things in my life that just aren't in order.  They get better, and then worse again.  I going to spend more time preaching the gospel to myself.  I'm going to refresh the disciplines while also simplifying things a bit.  I'm going to be more protective of times of silence and solitude. I'm looking forward to a growing intimacy with the Lord over 2009.

The Church I Pastor: ILT

Leadership1Because our church has adopted a new direction including some pretty dramatic changes, I have led them toward adopting an Interim Leadership Team (ILT). 

Today our church changed our constitution to add the ILT, and upon my future recommendation will vote in a few men to be on the ILT.  This essentially is a transition team of leaders who will lead us through our changes, primarily toward a new constitution and the appointment of elders.  While the ILT won't be elders, they will be a much more like elders than what we have now.  Once the church adopts a new constitution and appoints elders, the ILT will dissolve.

The Church I Pastor: The Missional Triad

Here is what I call The Missional Triad (a tweaked version of this by Joe Thorn and this that Joe and I fleshed out together).  Forgive the handwritten sloppiness, but it's what I have for now.  It's essentially a missional paradigm for our church to think through what we do and where we do it.  The mission is a very central part of the paradigm.  (Click the diagram for a larger version.)

Missional_triad_423 If you are familiar with Joe's paradigm the next few points will help you see the changes I've made for my version, as well as explain a few things I thought you might have questions about.

1. The order of the shapes is different.  I changed them to a left to right flow for unbelievers and right to left for believers.
2. I've changed the titles of each shape.  I have included something of each shape in the name (example: tri-formed discipleship).    I can still use "table, pulpit and square" as designations, and have done that, but I felt it helpful to give each a name that is slightly more descriptive.  That also allows my "table" to lose the Lord's Supper confusion.
3. The "Circles of Friendship" is fleshed out so that hospitality is seen in three different spheres:
        neutral >> semi-private >> to private
It also moves beyond the home into third places (why?).
4. Under Tri-Formed Discipleship I have used "Equipping Ministries" to explain all discipleship, from one-on-one to seminars, short-term classes, membership class, leadership training, etc.
5. Our small groups are transitioning toward being "Missional Communities."  These will be more than small groups but less than house churches.

If you want to know something more, let me know.  It's basically still the same three shapes, the same basic approach, the same goal of simplicity.

The Church I Pastor: Changes

Dsc_0035I'm starting a series of posts about the church I pastor.  We are entering a transition period and I thought it might be helpful to talk about what we are doing and why in the hope that it will encourage us all to be better church leaders or members.

During January and February I preached a series of sermons to prod our people to think about our church direction, what we do well and what we don't.  Then at the end of February I preached two sermons on "A 2 Year Plan."  I chose 2 years because it's longer than one, and one passes by very quick.  My 2 year plan included five points.  I've tweaked one of those, but the general direction the point stayed the same.  Here are the five changes in a more final form.  All have been adopted by the church in a vote a couple of weeks ago except #3, which we are researching first before something more official. 

1. Documents: We are rewriting our constitution by adding a plurality of elders and a biblical view of deacons.  Rather than adding those things to our current constitution we are rewriting the whole thing because other aspects must be changed.  We will also probably change our doctrinal statement and our church covenant.  All documents are on the table at this point.

2. Name: Our name is Calvary Baptist Church, but that is going to change.  We are choosing a new name.  "Baptist" stereotypes are common in Northern Illinois, and several of our church members have found resistance from friends when invited to Calvary.  I explained to the church that we need to put as little in the way of people knowing Christ as possible.  I also explained that we are in no way ashamed to be Baptist, but that we want to be known for the gospel first and foremost.

3. Property: We own property, a church building, and a parsonage.  It's an understatement to say they aren't serving us well for a variety of reasons.  So we have started researching the possibility of selling the property and using the resources to kick-start us in our new direction.

4. Networking: As a Southern Baptist church we have connections with state and local associations.  But as a church looking for broader association (beyond denominational links) we are eager to connect with churches and networks who are founded upon the gospel and the mission.  So we are pursuing connections with other networks, or will form some of our own.

5. Evangelism: While there are several new public "square" ministries we are working on, a key one is a new series of talks I'm hoping to begin in our county.  Woodstock is in the center of McHenry County here in the distant Chicago suburbs.  We are 9-12 miles from six main cities in our county, and they are arranged in a somewhat hexagonal shape around us.  Since we are already reaching folks in the surrounding cities in our county we have changed from thinking of ourselves as merely a Woodstock church to a McHenry County church.  I haven't found helpful terminology out there to describe our approach.  In the cities you can be a church for the city though located in one area, but here it's not that simple.  Lord-willing, we will start new churches/campuses in these other county cities in the years to come.

I said all that to say that I'm bolstering this county/region approach with an evangelistic effort.  It will be an evangelistic circuit of talks by me, for lack of a better description.  It's similar to a monthly Theology Pub, but it will probably be quarterly, more directly evangelistic, and in a variety of locations in our county.  I have more to say about this in a future post.

Those are the five points that describe a new vision and approach for our church.  Essentially I'm leading my church to reform and reposition itself as a church restart.  May God show His power and love through us to the world.

Future posts will include more stuff on evangelism, discipleship, church leadership, and my tweaks to Joe Thorn's "The Table, the Pulpit and the Square."  After he initially founded the paradigm I sat down with him and added my thoughts and asked some questions.  He was gracious enough to let me barge in on his very good idea, but I think together we made it better.  I'll share my version that includes a few tweaks, which I call "The Missional Triad," very soon.  I started preaching through it last Sunday.