Friday, August 20, 2010

#11. What's the magic number?

My church is made up of about 75 people on any given Sunday. We're 6 years old and we are located in the heart of the city of Atlanta. I often hear people at our church describe it by it's strength....NUMBERS. It's the inevitable first question when talking to someone new or catching up with an old friend about their place of worship..."How many people go there?"

According to people who care...we're a small church. Because we're small, people find our church to be more like a family. They are encouraged way more by the relationships and gathering that takes place on Monday through Saturday, than they are by the hour we worship together on Sunday. Although both are an important part of church life...there is something to be said for hanging out at your pastor's house on a consistent basis. Or always knowing that someone will be available to babysit or pick you up from the airport. Which leads me to my question...What's the Magic Number? How big can a church get before it goes from Family to Fancy? How big should it get before it sends some people to a new area of the city and starts a new church?

Atlanta just so happens to be one of the places where the mega, non-denominational, juggernaut church was born and has thrived over the past 2 decades. My friend is helping start one of those juggernauts that has been gathering thousands of people since it's first service around a year ago and there is no telling how big it could get. For the record...they seem like they are a seriously healthy church. That being said...nobody but the inner circle is going over to their pastor's house. You might live next door to another church member and never even know it. Not to mention you might live three hours away from another church member who drives in from out of state. Do you see the difference?

Dunbar, a brilliant European anthropologist, just put out a study that states our cognitive ambition is for 150 people. If you're a pastor, church member, or leader...what do you do with that? If 150 people is as big as our sphere of influence can get, how should we strategically structure the way we make disciples and teach people the way of Jesus in our churches? My "small" church just sent 4 of our 75 people to start a new church on the west side of town. I suspect if the Lord ever allows us to double in size we'll send 10 or 20 or 50 more. What's the magic number? What's your answer?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

#10. Who hid all the GOOD marriages?

HEllo there blogLAND....thanks for being patient with me! In April I got my real estate license and simultaneously stepped into some sort of inter-galactic entrepreneurial black hole that literally ate my soul. I have recently resurfaced and I hope you will have me back. A good friend of mine always says "The worst kind of blog is a dead one." Here's to grace and the Resurrection.

This is a timely question and I will dedicate it to my beautiful, brilliant, humble, unbelievably good looking wife who also happens to be the best mom I've ever met. Last Friday we celebrated 5 years of marriage and I gotta say, by the grace of God, they have been the best 5 I've known. Full of grace, trust, hoping in tommorrow, reminiscing in yesterday, and wrecklessly living the present. If I were to define the institution of marriage solely by my own experience I would say that it is the tangible representation of all things good. I have been made aware that this is not a popular perspective so naturally, I've been wondering who hid all the good marriages?

I mean seriously, western modernity clearly defines marriage as a dead end life full of pain killers and prozac. It's as if saying "I Do" is a synonym for prison, or suicide, or maybe suicide in prison. In movies and television, if marriage is even a part of the storyline, marriage is beautiful for about the 1st 24hours. They spend a million dollars on a fantastical wedding, and run off to a mystical carribean island, and then "real" life sets in. After the honeymoon it's straight to boring sex [if there is sex in marriage], daily shouting matches, regret, and a relationship that is fueled by self motivation. I understand that there might be a sliver of reality in those character sketches, but that's not the intention or framework of marriage.

And what about the real life examples of what marriage should look like? Think about some of the most popular marriages of the past few years... John and Kate Gosselin, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, the bachelorette and whoever she chose...ugh. No wonder the perception is skewed.

There is no doubt that a good marriage requires hard work, sacrifice, and the supernatural favor of God, but seriously, it's so much better than what we think it is. It's what we were meant for. I am convinced that being a Husband is one of the most important things I'll ever do. More important than a career, or an accomplishment, or even a ministry. It is the ministry.

So who hid all the good marriages? What's your answer?