Monday, April 29, 2013

Tina's healing

This is Tina's story...

I love it when God heals. It is so in his person. He is healing! No we don't get enough cool stories of healing, but we will not shift in our understanding of who he is, what he does and how he heals today...

Hi Chris, 
I want to share with you what God has been doing in me since you taught at Rock Harbor last and prayed for me. I am Tina who came to you Sunday morning for prayer as a 'woman with a bleeding problem'. I had gone to the Saturday night service and I felt the Spirit nudging me to go for prayer, but ignored it, but He was persistent all night and the next morning I knew I had to come back and have you pray for me. Without too many details; stray and random bleeding that I had been experiencing stopped that afternoon and everything has been working as it should these last two months. I have had these types of issues (no bleeding, too much bleeding, infertility) since I was 16....16 years...half my life. I often doubt that this normalcy will last, but then I hear His Spirit whisper 'healed'....a sweet promise of His loving kindness. Thank-you for your faithfulness to go and do and say as God directs you. Thank-you for your loving prayer.

Reflections about Exponential

Reflections are good. There is such kindness in listening and learning from our story, so sitting on the plane last week flying home, I realized that writing my thoughts down would be most helpful - even if it was just for my benefit.

Todd Wilson is a remarkable man. To have been the primary catalyzer of this event and yet to do so in the shadows speaks volumes of this man's humility. In a celebrity driven culture, it is so tempting to get your bit of the 'sun' [the spotlight] and yet to see Todd consistently avoid that, is amazing.

Geoff Surratt similarly. As the one who is the administrative leader, he too avoided 'fame like the plague'. His quiet but persistent commitment to practical excellence made a very complicated event run smoothly [or so it seemed to me] - 5300 leaders present, with many workshop, sessions and conversations, plus a global link up... a very good job.

I went to 'listen, look, learn', more than I went to teach my sessions. It was very humbling to see the width of movements, denominations and organizations present. I was deeply impacted by the passion that all had to serve Jesus, plant healthy churches, influence the nation through the gospel. It felt like I had a little God window to see what he feels about his church in the USA. It is so easy to forget about the broader body and zone in exclusively on our part of the vineyard. Not only is it sad but I wonder if it is not simply rank arrogance under the guise of focus?

There are still many lessons of translation that I have to learn. Many of the words, thoughts and ideas are still being communicated by a cultural framework with which I am comfortable but which is lost in translation. I watched my friend Alan Hirsch [ a fellow South African] as he too taught and communicated his ideas in a way that was understood by the audience. I am still learning to 'speak American'.

I also loved the fact that the pulpit was not used to self-promote. We did all receive a request to steer clear of that, but I did feel there was an honest desire to walk humbly and transparently before God and man. This was very much appreciated.

There is always more to say, but let me move on to some of my saddnesses:

A young church planter and I were in a conversation - a great guy, born in Argentina but raised here and is replanting a Baptist church in a major city here in the USA. When I asked him how he was enjoying the time he leaned forward and spoke in a whisper "the perspectives in the workshops have been so pragmatic. I am used to all matters being taught through the text, yet that is not the case here all the time". I have to agree. Some of that which I listened to was more filled with psychology and economics than scripture. The text still needs to be our primary matrix.

Although the statistics vary, one that I read said that around 80 - 85% of church plants fail in the USA. One of the workshop leaders said that around 6000 churches close their doors in the USA annually. Around 3500 are being planted but we currently need around 60,000 church right now. The urgency that these statistics indicate that we have to look at our approach to planting through fresh lenses - biblical lenses. The answers can be found there, but it will require us to be patiently tenacious ['through faith and patience we inherit the promises'] to complete the reformation that we are currently in. I am a little nervous that the business of church planting [coaches, mentors, consultants, even sometimes networks] are surrogates or scaffolding for the true biblical 'partnerships' of apostles and prophets walking alongside these brave, bold and courageous men and women...

I loved the time and trust that you look at dialing in for next year's conversation around "Seek and Save that which was Lost". There is a humility in learning from each other, yet there are many from different movements, denominations and organizations from which we can learn much - "many streams make glad the river of God" Psalmist.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Letter to 3CI and the Dyer family

To our dear friends at 3CI

Meryl and I so celebrate this day with all of you. We have such fond memories of the conversations we had with Ash and Nadine all those years ago, as the seed to plant was being formed in their hearts. Their passion and commitment to get your community off the ground was legendary. Now all these years later, you have held your course in spite of the many challenges, victories and uncertainties. Thank you for your endurance, patience and continued faith in Him who gave us all the gospel and who gave you your mandate. As I was praying for you today the Lord gave me this promise for you: Hosea 6:11 "For you also O Judah, a harvest is appointed, when I will restore the fortunes of my people." We are so delighted that these very dear friends of ours, Rory and Mel, have come to captain you into this next season. The Lord be with you as you savor the grace of his kindness.

To Rory and Mel

We are simply stoked as the Father gives you the most wonderful gift of loving this bride. You did such a remarkable job with Glenridge and now engage this community with your same profound ability to love, lead and catalyze people into their God stories. May the Father's grace reside on you and your family in a speedy adjustment to this new city and enjoy the richness of this next chapter of your adventure of faith. You are a global ministry but will love this bride with your remarkable affection. As the scripture says: " Remember the former things of old; for I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying; my council shall stand… I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed and I will do it." Isaiah 46:9 - 11

To the Dyer children

It is never easy to adjust to a new church, a new city, new schools and a new adventures. Thank you for believing in your mom and dad's ability to hear and follow Jesus. There is a grace that Jesus will give you as you find him in all the new. Our lives are like a wonderful story that God writes. Every chapter has many faith  components that you will learn and see just how amazing God really is. You will grow to love this new part of your story - new friends and new surprises. We know because our children did. Loads of love, we are so proud of you all.

Much love and in our prayers

Chris and Meryl
Chris Wienand

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Q and A - History prevented?

Given that you have been in two church planting movements, and you have said that your studies conclude that all movements implode or institutionalize, how will what you guys are doing, prevent that from happening?

None of us have any guarantee that this will not happen in the "genesis collective"story. However there are some things that I think could minimize this from happening;

1.   Following the family approach, fathers and mothers are called to raise up the kids to leave home. This Jesus did as well in Matthew 28. So what if we seek to raise up and release emerging apostles to their own apostolic story. I loved what Terry Virgo and NF did. This multiplication of the movement empowered sons to become fathers, be blessed as such, then launch out on their own adventure. The true area of NF influence has grown significantly since they have done this. Meryl and I are so stoked as we anticipate releasing our first movement from this one story. What a great day that will be - like giving my daughters away in marriage  - they were ready, they changed there name, are loving their own journey but still remain connected because we are family.

2.   Out of my many chats with Terry Virgo, I think that "genesis collective " is the name God has given Meryl and me, with friends, for the task at hand. However, our desire is not to take this brand forward under new leadership. The name will probably end with us. We are not looking for brand multiplication - reproducing the system and form. Rather, we want to reproduce the DNA. As with family, we are not looking for 'sameness' but 'similiarness'. We desire the essence / heart to continue and grow after us, but not the continuance of the history.

3.   This is a clear collaborative approach to this journey. It simply cannot be about one man or ministry. As with Ephesians 4, we desire to co-labor with all of the gifts in all of the churches, to let all of the gospel be communicated to all nations.

None of this will fully ensure that history wont be repeated. But it can try to prevent it intentionally.