The Year of Re

release

 

 

 

Let’s assume that you don’t know anything about what is going on at New Venture Christian Church. Maybe we haven’t done the best job communicating or someone hasn’t been paying attention. So I will start at the beginning and lay out the plans and directions of the church through some blog posts.

To begin with, NVCC entered into a transition period on January 1 of 2015. That transition is involves the lead minister of the church. During 2015 I will be releasing the lead role of the church and handing it off to Chris Garrett. This transition period will take up to twelve months, if needed.

Founding Pastor

I was the founding pastor of New Venture and have led the church over the last eleven years. During that time we have met in three temporary locations for Sunday services including Carmike Cinemas, Tomahawk Creek Middle School and currently the SDA building on Courthouse. In addition, during that time the church has purchased property on Lucks Lane, renovated a facility there for a ministry center and will build a permanent meeting place and church campus on that site in the future.

Next Level

After eleven years in the lead role I realize it is time to transition to a younger leader who will move the church forward to its next level with fresh and compelling vision and passion. Chris Garrett is just that person.
Chris grew up in Virginia Beach but has been on staff at Indian Creek Christian Church, a mega church in the Indianapolis area, for the past seven years. He comes with proven experience, solid credentials and a passion for reaching those who are far from God.

Chris and I are equally sharing the Sunday teaching responsibilities at the current time. As the year unfolds more and more of the preaching will be transferred from me, to him.

The Year of RE

So we are calling this The Year of RE. The first RE is RELEASE. I will be releasing the lead role to Chris Garrett who will be leading the charge as soon as the full transition is in place.

Looking ahead, other RE’s to come are…
• Relocating
• Restaffing
• Relaunching
• Revisioning
• Remissioning
• Recareering

The Year of RE

release

 

 

 

 

Let’s assume that you don’t know anything about what is going on at New Venture Christian Church. Maybe we haven’t done the best job communicating or someone hasn’t been paying attention. So I will start at the beginning and lay out the plans and directions of the church through some blog posts.

To begin with, NVCC entered into a transition period on January 1 of 2015. That transition is involves the lead minister of the church. During 2015 I will be releasing the lead role of the church and handing it off to Chris Garrett. This transition period will take up to twelve months, if needed.

Founding Pastor

I was the founding pastor of New Venture and have led the church over the last eleven years. During that time we have met in three temporary locations for Sunday services including Carmike Cinemas, Tomahawk Creek Middle School and currently the SDA building on Courthouse. In addition, during that time the church has purchased property on Lucks Lane, renovated a facility there for a ministry center and will build a permanent meeting place and church campus on that site in the future.

Next Level

After eleven years in the lead role I realize it is time to transition to a younger leader who will move the church forward to its next level with fresh and compelling vision and passion. Chris Garrett is just that person.
Chris grew up in Virginia Beach but has been on staff at Indian Creek Christian Church, a mega church in the Indianapolis area, for the past seven years. He comes with proven experience, solid credentials and a passion for reaching those who are far from God.

Chris and I are equally sharing the Sunday teaching responsibilities at the current time. As the year unfolds more and more of the preaching will be transferred from me, to him.

The Year of RE

So we are calling this The Year of RE. The first RE is RELEASE. I will be releasing the lead role to Chris Garrett who will be leading the charge as soon as the full transition is in place.

Looking ahead, other RE’s to come are…
• Relocating
• Restaffing
• Relaunching
• Revisioning
• Remissioning
• Recareering

Fasting From Spending For A Year

buy buyAfter much thought, discussion, soul-searching and prayer my wife, Sharon, and I have decided to take a fast from spending for twelve months. As daunting and impossible as it might seem we are committed to shutting off the spending flow and sticking with it no matter what the urge, temptation or challenge might be.

EXPECTED REACTIONS

For some this might seem to be an insane decision. Such ones cannot even fathom the remote possibility of denying yourself the luci surprisedprivilege of spending for an entire year. Who would ever want to do something like that and why, why, why? We live in a culture of affluence. I mean, spending is what you do in America. Americans are the biggest spenders in the world. To fast from spending for an entire year is not only insane, it is just UN-American.

THE REASON: FOCUS SHIFT

So why in the world, or at least in America, the land of buying more, are we embarking on an adventure of fasting from spending? To begin with, this is going to provide an extended time of taking our focus off of stuff. It seems that most of life revolves around stuff and material possessions. From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to bed at night, much of our time is devoted to stuff. And much of that time is all about getting more of it. So our decision to go an entire year without getting any more of it gives us a whole new focus, at least for that year. Who knows where it might lead from there.

Materialism is the acquisition of stuff. It is get, get, get. It has been described as get all you can, can the rest and then sit on the can. What better way to break the grip of materialism then to take an extended time of not participating in the insanity of it all?

MORE IMPORTANT THINGS

Taking our focus off of buying and stuff will then enable us to focus on more important things. We can have a transfer of focus from buying to, most importantly, God. Fasting is for the purpose of turning our attention from one thing to another. In the case of eating it is to take our attention from food in order to place it on God. In the case of stuff, spending and buying, it is for the purpose of taking our attention off of these things and placing it on God for an extended period. It lowers the importance of stuff so we can draw close to him. It is a time to hunger and thirst for him rather than more of whatever.

no spendingTaking our focus off of stuff and spending also leaves us with more time to devote to other things that are far more important, like relationships. Instead of spending we can be serving. Instead of buying stuff we can to be devoting that time to being a better husband, better wife, better parents, better neighbors, and better friends. Buying is time-consuming. Not buying leaves us with more time to invest in others.

Then fasting from spending and buying will leave us with more resources to use in loving God and loving others. According to Jesus nothing in life is more important than loving God and loving others. And one of the most significant and practical ways we can express that love is through the resources we have acquired. A spending fast will provide resources that can be used to bless others and meet their needs. We serve others by transferring some of what we would spend on ourselves to meeting their needs.

And finally, fasting from spending will immediately leave us with more resources to give to God, his church and his mission in the world. Wow, what an eternal difference that will make for so many.

THE INVITATION

So, I would like to invite you to consider a similar fast, whenever the time might be appropriate for you. It might be for these reasons or for your own. This could be the most awesome and transforming year of your life. This could be the breakaway you have been needing.

Sharon and I went away for a few days and worked out some *guidelines that we will follow for our fast in order for both of us to be on the same page. I would love to share them with you, if interested.

The Power of Model

One more thing to consider. If you have kids still at home or even ones that have moved out of the house, imagine how much your model could communicate to them in a year about what is most important in life. Instead if it being stuff, spending and materialism they would see self-denial, self-sacrifice, generosity and service to God and others. This is one teaching opportunity they will never forget.

*As our personal guidelines will reveal, our fast is from new spending. Providing for upkeep and necessities is permitted, but only as detailed in the guidelines and agreed upon by both parties.

There’s A Wall In Front Of You.

facing wallThere’s a wall in front of you. Behind you is a past you are running from. Beyond the wall awaits the promise of a new life. But you’re not moving because there is this “wall.” You feel trapped. No way out. This is just the sort of situation in which God does some of his finest work.

You need only ask the Israelites. Behind them was a life of back-breaking work and slavery. Ahead of them was a life in the land of Promise. Behind them was the fierce army of a fanatical Pharaoh coming towards them. Ahead of them was a wall. Their obstruction was made of water.

Your “wall” may be a fear of failure. Or maybe it’s a lack of confidence that has grinded your progress to a halt. Or it could merely be too many problems that have piled up in front of you at the same time. And you have no clue which one to tackle first.

So you stopped. And you aren’t sure if there is a way over, around, or under this imposing impediment.

At this point many people panic. Anxiety courses its way through the body, atrophies the movement muscles, and rigor mortis overtakes their resolve. Eyes which once had clear focus now only focus on the wall just inches away.

But some look elsewhere. The Israelites looked to Moses. They began belting him with blame. Have you done the same? Blame the boss. Blame a co-worker. Blame your dog. Blame God. Maybe even blame yourself? Blame all you want but the wall remains.

While the Israelites were body punching Moses, he opted to look elsewhere. His options? He could have looked at the enemy’s facing a wallarmy. He could have looked at the ungrateful people he led. He could have looked at the wall of water spread out before him, sat down, and given up.

Instead he looked to God. And God opened an unlikely route through the wall of water. Safely on the other side, the very wall that had halted their steps closed in on and covered the sources of their fears.

The very name of the book where we find this story serves as a reminder when we face our “walls.”  “Exodus” is a compound Greek word meaning “the way out.” And in case you might have missed it,  the way out was not a better job, a different spouse, or a victim mentality.

No, the way out is God. Next time you find yourself up against a wall try looking to him.

NVCC Vision 2014

vision 2014Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18. As we begin a fresh, New Year here’s my vision for New Venture Christian Church for 2014.

 

1. LAUNCH AN AGGRESSIVE OUTREACH TO OUR COMMUNITY. We are here to help people who are living far from God come to understand God, connect with God, and pursue a growing adventure with him. We are not here for property and buildings. We are here for people who need a personal walk with Jesus Christ. Our focus in 2014 will be reaching the people of our community in an accelerated manner.

 

Our first outreach to them is a three part direct mail campaign. Part one will go out in a couple weeks announcing to our neighbors around our new ministry center, “Under new management.” The second mailing will go out a week following the first introducing our community to our new teaching series for 2014 called “The Story” beginning February 9. A follow-up piece will go out a couple weeks after that reintroducing them to “The Story and inviting them to join us for this adventure through the Bible in 2014.

 

We will initiate other outreach efforts to the community during 2014. However, the number one way to reach the unreached of our community is YOU. More people, and I say more people by far, come to connect with New Venture through the invitation of someone who is already a part of it, than any other way. You are the key to reaching our community. Sure, you can’t do everything but you can do something. You can identify the people in your circle of influence that are not connected with God and intentionally pray for them and seek ways to point them toward God and the church.

 

We have been given a mission, every one of us. That mission is to partner with God in building his family, in bringing those who are living without hope and salvation, to Jesus. It is the calling of every follower of Jesus. May we in 2014 be more serious about reaching out to the unreached than we have ever been before. May we pray for lost people like we have never prayed before? May we connect with those who don’t know Christ like we have never connected before? May we plant seeds in the hearts of those who are distant from God like we have never planted before? And may we allow God to use us to direct them to him and the church like we have never allowed before.

 

This is why we exist. We exist to reach the unreached, to build the family of God, to redirect lost people to the Savior, to bring hope to the hopeless. This was the reason Jesus came to earth. This is the work that he devoted his earthly existence to, seeking and saving the lost. May we be about the Masters business with undivided hearts and persistent passion?

 

Here’s a personal goal for you: Each one bring one.

Another personal goal: Each one win one.

 

2. DEVELOP AND LAUNCH A WORLD MISSION MINISTRY

 

As I have already affirmed, we are sent to bring others into God’s family.    The moment I become part of God’s family He wants me to share the good news with others. 

God has given us a message the world needs and it is the greatest message in the world – how to have our past forgiven, how to have a purpose for living, how to have a home in heaven.  To not share that would be criminal. It would mean that I don’t care if they go to hell. 

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:18 “Through Christ, God made peace between us and himself.  Then God gave us the work of bringing others into peace with him.”  

Then there is the commission of Jesus, “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:19-29)

And who can forget the words of Jesus right before he returned to the father, “You are my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8) We have not been going to the ends of the earth. We have been staying in our comfortable community. It is time to reach out and branch out and go out.

When Jesus gave these instructions where were they?  In Jerusalem!  So what’s he saying?  I want you to start where you are.  Start in your own city.  Start in Midlothian/Richmond Start in Jerusalem.  That’s your city.  He said to start there.

He said but you don’t just stay there, you also do your ministry not just in Jerusalem – you do it in Judea. What’s Judea?  That’s like the county.  That’s like Chesterfield Co. 

Then he says I want you to do it in Samaria.  Samaritans were of a different culture. He’s saying, reach across cultural lines in your community.  That’s our Samaria. 

And he says and you go to the whole world.

He didn’t say go to Jerusalem, then Judea then go to Samaria then go to the ends of the earth.  He said no, you do it all at once.  You go to Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and the ends of the world. We aren’t doing that. We need to get with the program, the program of Jesus.

The Bible tells us as a church we are to go make disciples of all nations.  He’s not talking to missionaries there.  He’s talking to you and to me!  We’re called to be sent.  Go and make disciples of all nations. 

Here is a quick overview of what our church is planning to do in the next three years when it comes to the world needs. These are baby steps but step we must take.

·              Assemble a world mission leadership team. I would love to hear from you if you are interested in being a part of this team

·              Gather volunteers for a world mission’s adventure in 2014, our first. I would also love for you to contact me if you are interested a missions trip. About a dozen people have already indicated interest in this adventure.

·              Be a real participant in ICOM (International Conference On Missions) 2015 when it comes to our city.

·              With volunteers

·              By having a part in planting seven churches around the world

·              Personally assist in planting one of those churches.

 

Here is a link to the VEF website that can get you connected with ICOM. http://www.vef.cc/

So 2014 is the year when we get serious about the world wide commission of Jesus.

3. ENGAGE IN AN AGGRESSIVE PAY DOWN OF PROPERTY DEBT

This is how it all stacks up. The more aggressive we are with paying down the note, the less interest we pay, (thousands of dollars less) the more equity we build, and the more willingness lenders have when it comes to us taking our next developmental step, a new multipurpose facility. These are indicators that lenders give careful attention to. So the more aggressive we can be the more willingness they will have. And the more equity we build the more ability it gives us to build a facility that has in it more of what we need.

This aggressive pay downbegins with all of us quickly fulfilling the commitments we made to the capital campaign back in May of 2013. The sooner we can get commitments in the quicker we can pay down the note and the more money we can save on interest. If you were not here for the capital campaign or if you were here and did not participate,  you are invited to join the others who are committed to covering the cost of our new property and ministry center. Send me an email at steve@relaxedchurch.com and I will get you started.

Let’s make this debt short term.

4. SOLIDIFY THE PLAN AND PROCESS OF MOVING TOWARD THE CONSTRUCTION OF OUR FIRST MULTI USE FACILITY

On our ninth anniversary I shared a dream that I would like to repeat. Since it is a dream it is somewhat lofty. The dream is that we might be able to break ground on our 10th anniversary, September 7, 2014, for our next facility. You know and I know that God will have to perform another miracle for that to happen. But hey, He’s did it in 2013 and He can do it in 2014.

 

Specifically speaking, for that to happen, we will need three things:

1. A huge amount of our current debt paid down.

2. A master plan on our property designed by a civil engineer that will cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

3. And we will need to have about 75-100 more people, who believe in the message and mission of New Venture Christian church and who are supporting it financially, to enable us to afford that step.

So, that’s my vision for New Venture for this New Year, an accelerated evangelistic outreach to the community, the development of a long overdue world mission ministry, aggressive pay down of our property note, and the development of a plan for our first multi-purpose facility.

Now, join me in turning dreams into reality.

 

From 0 to 5.9 in 6

 

dragsterIn March of this year God opened before New Venture an opportunity of its lifetime. That opportunity was to acquire property for current and future development. Progress and growth had, let’s be generous with this statement, leveled off for an extended period of time. Something was needed to produce forward movement again in the life and direction of the church. Momentum was lacking and all efforts to generate it were falling short.

God, in his timing and wisdom placed before us this open door. With a tremendous amount of faith the church accepted the challenge, rallied its resources and energy and stepped through the door. In six short months the church has gone from a zero position of standstill to acquiring 5.9 acres of land for current and future ministry development.

Here’s the timeline He has taken us through:

                Early March, property purchase presented

                Mid-March, offer made on property and accepted

                April, lending institutions approached and funding secured

                May, first three weeks, capital campaign presented

                May 19, commitments made by New Venture for more than $250,000 to the project

                May through August 18, $92,000 collected for down payment

                September 10, 4:00 PM closing on property takes place

So, from early March through early September God took New Venture Christian Church from 0 to 5.9 acres and a ministry center in 6 months. Isn’t He awesome? Only he could have done this in this way.

Now, here is the timeline for the rest of the year.

                September 13, dumpster arrives for demolition job on the house

                September 14, preliminary demolition day

                September 21, all church demolition day

                October 5 second demolition day if needed

                October-November, remodel house/ministry center by contractor with church participation

                November, move into new ministry center as base of operation for New Venture  Church

So if it has been 0 to 5.9 in 6, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Back to weird

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be weird, be proudAfter taking a week off for a special youth Sunday led by Kevin and Chris we are back to Weird.

 

In our discussion of “Weird” we have included:

               

Weird in a God way

                Weird is Better

                Weird Desires

 

This week we move into “A Weird Way to Win the World.”why be normal

 

I have a question for you. How’s your weird? Are you afraid to be different? Are you just content to be normal? If so, I have news for you—normal isn’t working.