Thursday, November 29, 2012

Genesis Collective - 5 Yardsticks.

In Steve Addison's book entitled: "Movements that change the World", Addison argues that there are certain ingredients that are seen in every movement that has had local or global impact.

He writes: "In general, movements are informal groupings of people and organizations pursuing a common cause. They are people with an agenda for change. Movements don't have members but they do had participants...

"Movements are characterized by discontent, vision and action. Discontent unfreezes people from their commitment to the way things are. Movements emerge when people feel something needs to change. If the vacuum created by discontent is filled with vision of a different future and action to bring change, then a movement is born. Movements change people and changed people change the world...

"The renewal and expansion of the church, the breakthroughs always occur on the fringe of ecclesiastical power - never at the center. In every generation, in some obscure place, God is beginning something new. That is where we need to be."

Addison says that all movements have these characteristics in common:

1.   White hot Faith;
2.   Commitment to a Cause;
3.   Contagious Relationships;
4.   Rapid Mobilization;
5.   Adaptive Methods.

He quotes Victor Hugo:
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world and that is an idea whose time has come."

Applying this to genesis collective, 

1.   White hot faith - we are simply passionate about being a gospel-centered Trinitarian crew. The gospel burns in our soul - not just in salvation, but in ongoing transformation and kingdom advancement;
2.   Committed to a cause - we desire to see cities, counties and countries touched by this great gospel by planting effective, healthy, growing, multiplying, New Testament churches, partnering with God and his supernatural power as he continues project planet earth;
3.   Contagious relationships - we love doing life with mates! In the humility of our humanity, we carry out vulnerability with honesty, removing any notion of being professionals and maximizing the idea that we need each other going forward;
4.   Rapid mobilization - we are committed to the theology of multiplication. Seeing churches as seedbeds of leaders with a passion to multiply out, we are continuously on mission whether it be in the shadowlands of our city or the uncertain culture of foreign nations;
5.   Adaptive methods - outside of the key, clear biblical 'must-do's', we give much room for each church to explore and discover their own adventure. There is certainly not one model, pattern or way of doing things. Culture and context must be factored in to ensure that this gospel is global in impact without losing the biblical essence.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Genesis Collective - name

There is always a chasm between what is biblically accurate and what is culturally understandable. So seeking to be biblically accurate can at times, alienate us from cultural impact. Similarly, seeking to be culturally connected as the highest value, can equally alienate us from remaining true to the text.

When we stepped from the NCMI team, we gave ourselves time to:
1.   Applaud and re-own the NCMI best practices. This has been very easy, especially thinking back on the earliest years, pre-NCMI when we actually learnt the most from Dudley. They were certainly remarkable years, with some weighty life changing lessons learnt and values defined - those days were very organic, fun, uncertain, adventurous.

2.   The next thing we did was to put all our desires and convictions back on the table and revisit them through the lenses of scripture. There are times that we all have to admit that we are deeply influenced by our prejudices, biases, traditions and history. That was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be.

3.   Third step was to be very honest about who Meryl, I and our friends are, what we can do, cannot do, strengths and weaknesses. I suppose we were rather amazed at the vulnerability you experience when you step out from the role you have played, are known by - 27 years of leading 2 churches on 2 continents, as well as 25 years of being a key player in the unfolding of a church planting movement. Step from these 2 roles and one has to face the reality of who you are as opposed to the traction that you carry by being in a very defined leadership space.

4.  As these matters became clear, we were then stuck in the biblical / cultural dilemma. When we studied the New Testament and became more than ever committed to reflecting that, we realized there was no cultural framing for that understanding. People asked me: "So are you a missionary?" or "Is this the Chris and Meryl ministry?"or "Are you a guest speaker in these churches?" or "Are you a mentor, a coach or consultant?". It was then that I realized that we needed to give verbal empowerment to those who desired to understand what we do. Hence the name...

genesis collective

genesis - I love going back to the very beginning whenever I set out on a new study. In a perfect world, what do the first 3 chapters of Genesis teach us? It was here that the call to Adam empowered me to see that God's created order was defined by - "increase, multiply, fill the earth..." Gen 1:28 This is the fundamental framework that should fashion the way we do life, so too our marriages, families and churches. This is the very essence of being apostolic.

collective - The ascended Christ left his ministry on the earth, not just with the priesthood of all believers [and that is wonderful] but also, through his fivefold gifting as seen most beautifully in Ephesians 4. The forgotten gifts that history keeps trying to write out of the church's story, remains one of the major keys for these, the last of the last days. The apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are still gifts to the church, not to dominate or dictate but be servants to empower each church in their unique story.

So, we are a group of mates who desire to see the nations discipled by planting New Testament churches, each on their own journey by serving them through the E4 gifts that Jesus has given for their adventure. We love being a grassroots church planting movement that works with new plants laying strong foundations, secondly revitalizing and recalibrating churches that have grown stagnant, and thirdly helping large churches become movements through church planting, multi-siting / planting campuses as well as leadership development.

That is what the name stands for...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Genesis Collective - the faith foundations

Wow what a year!

It has been an amazing year for M and I.

We took this year as a pilot year, to see how God unfolds the biblical apostolicity that would define our future - it has been an adventure. The danger in times of entrepreneurial uncertainty, is to repeat the past. Whether successful or a failure, it is what we know, so we do it over and over again.

Our past has been extraordinary. The numbers look like this

We came to faith - 35 yrs ago,
Married 32 yrs ago,
Pastoral ministry for 30 yrs,
Served in 2 international church planting movements,
Led 2 churches for a combined 27yrs,
On 2 continents,
Have 3 biological children, - [now 4]
And 4 grandchildren,
Helped plant many churches,
In many countries.

Yep - an amazing adventure. However, we still have another good 20 years in the saddle.

In many ways the next 20 years are the most intriguing. They are certainly unchartered, but unlike 20 years ago, we now know just enough to be dangerous. 20 years ago, we knew that we were ignorant - and I guess ignorance was bliss. Now after all these years of study, leadership, pioneering, brotherhood, we can begin to believe our own press. There is just enough for us to be impressed with the story, thereby relying more and more on repetition rather than on the destructive nature of faith.

Why 'destructive'? Faith always has to undo us first - our knowledge, our experience, our wisdom, our ways, our thoughts, our efforts. Then, in the midst of this seemingly calamitous undoing, is the first stages of the discovery of the new. It is scary, painful, vulnerable, but empowers us to divine dependence.

The world we live in is simply not the world we set out in during the "Invis" Jesus People days of the 70's, nor the same as the pre-NCMI days of the early to mid 80's. These are such different days to the 'heady and intoxicating days" of the 90's. So much is changing. So much has evolved and transformed. So must we.

Over the next while I am going to walk you through the Genesis Collective unfolding story. It has been amazing watching God put the journey together.