The Cowardice of Control

The spirit of control reduces what should be an intimate relationship with the Father [through the Spirit] to nothing more than a robotic formula for the “success” of a well-oiled machine.

If you are in leadership of a spiritual community of any type please please please do not let the enemy rob you of the adventure of trusting the Holy Spirit in the lives of the “ordinary” believers who have trusted you to shepherd them.

If you catch yourself seeking to control them, or something they are doing please take a step back and ask the Father what fear is fueling that need for control of the particular situation. Chances are there are unknowns involved, which make you nervous…so you want to step in and control the situation to mitigate some level of risk…so it doesn’t disrupt the community…and ya know what, it will. You’ll control that person. You’ll keep the situation safe, and healthy, and risk-free.

You’ll rob that person of experiencing connection with the Spirit. They won’t have to learn to hear God’s voice because you’ve put so many boundaries, and rules, and walls, and policies, and “challenges”, and theologies up around them. Not to mention you’ve accidentally become the “priest” in their life…their connection to the Father, the primary conduit through which they hear God.

Talk about boring. What a terrible tragedy.

When that happens, you’re also robbing yourself of an expansion of faith that comes from watching God work in someone’s life outside of the perfect little lane ropes you set in place for them. News flash, God doesn’t need the perfect little risk-free boxes we put Him in in the name of “protecting the flock”.

*Disclaimer: I struggle with this spirit of control every day, and have for years. If you struggle with that spirit of control I beg you to practice saying this to someone as often as possible:

“I trust the Spirit of God in you.”

As you say it, beg God to grow your faith. You’ll watch as the Holy Spirit starts transforming lives in a real, organic way…and believe you me, it will be WAY better than any “nugget of wisdom” or challenge or push back you could have placed on them in an attempt to get them to do what you felt was right for the situation.

Oh, *Disclaimer #2: they’re going to be wrong….like….a lot…you’re gonna want to be the guy that says “I told you so” like….a lot. But you know what just happened? They had a real experience where they practiced listening to God…they got it wrong…things didn’t turn out how they could have. That’s the most powerful discipleship they could experience. Now they have honed in a little more on hearing God’s voice…with your shepherding and walking with them through the situation you get to help them discover where they may have heard wrong, so they can get it better next time.

I know, it’s much easier for people to just trust what you say and do what you say they should do. You don’t have to worry about them “hearing God say something” that doesn’t jive with what you think. That’s pretty lazy, though. It’s also cutting the legs out from under the church…

Take a step back…see if there are ways you may have [accidentally, subconsciously, or unintentionally] kept a leash, training wheels, etc. on those you lead in an attempt to “protect” [or control] them…I promise you that if you let go and start practicing trusting the Spirit of the Living God who dwells in the hearts and minds of each of those people your faith will grow immeasurably….and so will theirs.





“The Art Of Being Wrong”

As I prepare to ramp up and start writing here at “A Holy Discontent” again I thought I’d do a few throw backs to some of my favorite posts from “the early days”. When driving to work this morning I had this peaceful feeling when thinking about how I don’t always have to be right, and how good it feels to just say to someone, “ya know what, you are right. I was way off, and thank you so much for pointing that out – I’m going to work on letting Jesus fix that in me.” Then, I remembered that I had written this post back in January of 2010! Whether you’re a long-time “A Holy Discontent” reader, or new around these parts I hope you enjoy…

“When we are wrong Jesus is right – it’s redemption in action.”

“You see, if we are never wrong about anything then that means Jesus isn’t having to make us right in any areas of our lives…we hinder His redemptive work in us.”

American culture (and human nature) screams that we must never, ever, ever, under any circumstances admit that we are wrong…about ANYTHING, ever. Whether it be a petty decision we made, statement that slipped out, or a huge life decision that did not go as planned, we seem to have an inability to recognize that we just might have been…WRONG. Is it really so bad…to be…WRONG?

I have determined that we, as humans, need to learn, practice, and perfect the art of being wrong; not when we are not wrong, of course. = ) Perhaps our default should not always be that we ARE right, and could not possibly be wrong. Maybe we could re-program our default to be that we quite possibly could have made a better decision.

“When we are wrong Jesus is right – it’s redemption in action.”

“You see, if we are never wrong about anything then that means Jesus isn’t having to make us right in any areas of our lives…we hinder His redemptive work in us.”

We allow our upbringing, traditions, and personal preferences to get in the way of being wrong all the time. These things cripple us from growing into the people we need to be; the people God desires to build us into. Over the past two years it has become increasingly freeing to let go of things I have done to realize they may be wrong, and could be better in. It hurts at first, but the end result is a more perfect you.

In marriage, our spouses have been placed into our lives to sanctify us by the Holy Spirit that lives within them. When we refuse to ever be wrong we disregard that truth, and hinder our own personal cleansing. In our lives as believers we are so certain we are right that we miss out on things God is trying to teach us.

This also plays into how we “do ministry”, church, etc. My friend Neil Cole directs an organization called CMA. In their organization they have what they call a “wall of shame”. On these shelves resides years worth curriculum, strategies, and plans that they had to retire due to their ineffectiveness. They were willing to accept that those things were…wrong. They put them on the shelf, and began striving for better. Of course, it was painful to retire the resources that took so much time, energy, and money to create. However, the end result was so much more beautiful than the tragedy that would have followed had they insisted on being right.

We could go on and on with examples of how this plays into our lives, and negatively affects us. I am not suggesting that we be ok with being wrong all the time, or become insecure in everything we do because we “might be wrong”. I am simply suggesting that we have a much looser grip on our pride that insists we are incapable of making a bad decision…otherwise known as…SIN. If I never realize, and accept the sin in my life because of pride or not wanting to be wrong I refuse to allow anything in my life to be redeemed.

“Jesus, continually reveal to us where we are wrong. Allow Your Spirit in us to more quickly recognize these wrongs so we may invite Your Spirit in to bring us back into alignment with Your Kingdom. If we neglect this longer we continue to shout with our actions that Your work on the cross was unnecessary, and that we do not need it. Set us free Jesus, and remind us of the permission you gave us to be wrong when you died for the fact that we are sinful.”

I leave you with two definitions…

Redeem: Compensate for faults, or bad aspects.

Redemption: The action of saving, or being saved from sin, error, evil.

The Most Embarrassing Day Of My Life: To Date

Tweeted by me the day of the event:

“The most embarrassing thing in the history of the world just happened to me. Don’t even ask. Maybe in a yr I’ll be recovered & ready to talk”

And then,

“Just when I thought it couldn’t get ANY worse….IT DID. This one could go down in the record books. How will life go on after this…? ; )”

***Warning: You will get to know me a bit more personally if you read this post***

The stage must be set before we begin: First, if you know anyone I work with, or happen to work in the same office with me…I trust you will spare my life, and keep this post and it’s contents to yourself.

Those of you who have known me personally for even a short period of time know that a couple of years ago a lovely Dr. in Las Vegas, NV. diagnosed me with the very common yet incurable disorder known as “I.B.S.” (That’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome) There are various symptoms of this lovely disorder, many of which I do not have. The main symptom I do suffer (Or, should I say, my wife suffers) is…GAS. You see, I was having incredibly sharp pain in my abdomen. It’s become known around our house as “the knife pain”. When “the knife pain” comes there is but ONE option. Release the pressure that is causing this terrible pain. There IS NO OPTION two (Morgan). “But Aaron, you can control that! Just hold it in!” Excuse me? Here’s how it works, it’s very simple-I hold it in, I suffer. Release it, I have relief…

While there is no cure for I.B.S. most people can figure out which foods particularly upset their stomach. We have some guesses, and the ones we’re sure of I simply enjoy too much to stop eating. For example, I love fruit & fruit smoothies. When I eat an apple, you don’t want to be around me for at least the next 6 hours. No lie. Nonetheless, I have learned to live with this unfortunate disorder. Apparently, those around me have not…

I recently started a new job with a start-up company here in Austin. It’s exciting, and I have thoroughly enjoyed this first week of work…Thursday morning took a turn for the worse…not for my co-workers, or the company I work for necessarily – I was the only one from my company in the office this early…

Because we’re a start-up we currently lease some office space from another company that has an extra office. These are friendly, respectable people. It’s great, we have everything we need from a receptionist to a Keureg coffee machine in the lounge, and a copy room with every office supply item you can think of. There’s healthy/organic snacks, and a water dispenser as well. Again, this is a nice place – fancy if you will. While myself, and my co-workers come & go when we want, dress however we like, etc. we are surrounded by nicely dressed, responsible grown adults…


It was a Thursday morning in Austin. My alarm went off. As I pulled the covers off there was a potent odor released into the air. Apparently, “the knife” had visited me in my sleep – luckily, my body was able to “release the pressure” throughout the night without waking me. I woke up feeling quite crappy, so this nostril stinging smell did not help the situation. (Many of you are now feeling very sorry for poor Morgan…who sometimes experiences this, as she usually wakes up before me – therefore, she’s the first to pull the covers back-unleashing the wrath of my I.B.S.) Nonetheless, I got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and headed out for work. My stomach was feeling weird…I could sense “the knife” plotting an attack. So, I did what I had to, and spent the 20 minute drive to work “releasing the pressure” – yes, I cracked the window down – what do you think I am, some sort of sicko?

I thought I had taken care of the issue as I pulled into the parking lot. To be honest, this was the worst scent my body has produced in all the years since we found out I had I.B.S. I got out of the car somewhat relieved that I had defeated “the knife”, and headed up the elevator to the office. Walking in the door I smiled and said a friendly, “good morning” to the receptionist as I made my way to the lounge to put my lunch in the fridge, and get my cup of coffee. You see, although I had taken care of the worst of the problem in the car I knew I needed to drink a good strong cup of joe to get the ol’ bowels a movin’ – best way to start the day – ask anyone. This is when it (by “it”, I mean “it part 1”) happened…


I was all alone in the lounge, and had come in a bit earlier that morning – there weren’t too many people in the office yet. As my coffee was brewing I felt “the knife” creeping up. As the air bubble in my stomach filled up I began this thought process:

“Ok, there’s NOBODY in here. I can let this one out, get my coffee, and get the heck out. The smell will go away before anyone else comes in here……………………………………………………but wait, what if someone comes in? I don’t have a choice ….aw hell, I’ve always been a risk-taker. I’m doin’ it…”

It was at that moment that I new this was not going to turn out good for Aaron Snow. I “released the pressure”, grabbed my coffee, and turned for the door only to find a fellow office-mate (who worked for the other company) entering the room headed directly for the cloud of odor, which smelled the color green. He was smiling, and took a nice, deep early morning gasp of air through his nose as if to say, “what a beautiful morning-it’s a good day today”. I held my breath, gave an awkward smile, and walked out. It was all in slow motion and Matrix-like as we passed one another. I swear I saw his face cringe as he passed through the cloud. I hurried to my office, which was directly across from the lounge, and had a window I could look through across the hall into the tainted territory. I closed the door quickly and sat at my desk…

The next five minutes included beads of sweat, blushed cheeks, and racing terrified thoughts. I watched through the corner of my eye as, one by one, everyone in the office entered the lounge somewhat puzzled. The first victim was explaining something to each person with a confused look on his face. They were frantically opening cabinets, the fridge, and the trash can. They were searching for the answer that only I had….but would NEVER, ever, under any circumstances share with them. In the middle of their search, victim number one knocked on my office door. I motioned through the window for him to come in, and stood up to greet him. Our conversation was as follows:

Him: “We’re smelling some sort of odor in the break room that we’ve never smelled before…like rotten eggs, or sulfur or something…did you notice it when you were in there…?”

Me: (With every ounce of acting skill I acquired in theater class in 9th grade): “Hmmm…ya know I didn’t notice anything, but my nose is stopped up right now. Did you check in the trash can? Could it be some spoiled food?”

Him: “Ya we’ve checked everywhere, and can’t seem to find where it’s coming from.”

Me: “That’s weird… that I think about it I may have noticed something faintly…huh.”

I began questioning my deceptive choice to lie to this man who HAD to know what I had done. But it was too late now. I was in too deep. There was no turning back. I made a decision, and had to follow through.

He changed the subject, introduced himself, and began asking me about our new company. The conversation went on for several minutes, and before he exited my office it seemed as if I was in the clear. The lounge was empty, he had seemingly forgotten about the incident, and everyone was back to work – I called Morgan and told her what had just happened. She laughed harder than I’ve heard her laugh in a while, and told me it served me right. Then, I got out my phone, and tweeted,

“The most embarrassing thing in the history of the world just happened to me. Don’t even ask. Maybe in a yr I’ll be recovered & ready to talk”

I was off the hook…



Remember when I said “by ‘it’ I mean ‘it part 1′”? (As if what had just happened wasn’t bad enough…my FART didn’t clear a room out – it was so bad it drew the entire office IN to try and figure out where the dead & rotting animal was. Then, I lied straight to my office-mates face! Not sure if grace covers an incident like this…)

A few minutes went by and that cup of jo started to kick in. I’m convinced a good strong cup of coffee is the best way to stay regular. What’s all this “fiber talk” about lately. Pshh, just give me a good strong cup of coffee dadgumit. I thought, “this is good. I can go to the bathroom, take care of my business, and ‘the knife’ will be gone for the rest of the day.” I got up and headed for the water closet. (bathroom for all you Americans-sorry, I’m feeling witty now) As I relaxed comfortably on the throne I noticed someone in the stall next to me. “Shit“, I thought. (Literally) Let’s just say the next minute or so was not exactly quiet, or particularly fresh. Poor guy next to me was probably traumatized. Turns out the guy next to me happened to be another guy from the company we share the office with. (I know this because I peaked through the crack in the stall when he went to wash his hands) He also happened to be one of the investigators in the lounge earlier when everyone was about to call an exterminator. I hope you’re following me here…in the lounge he experienced a smell like he had never experienced before. He would remember that odor the rest of his life-not to mention 5 minutes later.

Unfortunately, I’m the only one in the office who where chuck’s to work. They are quite noticeable – not your typical black Converse All Stars…he saw them. He knew it was me. He put two and two together. I was the rodent in the lounge. He had found me out. Now the question was, “will he tell the others that he now knew what they couldn’t figure out earlier?” I could just hear him in my head saying, “You guys aren’t gonna believe this! That new kid with the tattoos ripped one in the lounge! THAT’S what we were smelling! I was just in the restroom while he was tearing it up, and smelled the same thing!”

I sat on the jon humiliated, wondering how in the world I would walk back into that office, and spend the rest of my day working there…I pulled my phone out and tweeted, “Just when I thought it couldn’t get ANY worse….IT DID. This one could go down in the record books. How will life go on after this…? ; )”

Life goes on. I.B.S. still taunts me. “The knife” lingers waiting for an opportunity to torment me. I will never forget that Thursday morning in January the first week of my new job in a new place with new people when my body produced the unspeakable odor. I hope you have enjoyed this story, and it gave you a good laugh. I don’t know how I would have made it through if it wasn’t going to produce something positive like some good humor for a few. Bye for now, off to go make a fruit smoothie.

South Asia Team Is Back!

Many of you have asked me about the the team that went to S. Asia over the break to do a CP training. I look forward to seeing them in person to hear the incredible stories of how God used them to equip the local believers there. Until then, I thoroughly enjoyed this detailed update from my friend Jon Dorris, who accompanied the team as a wonderful “Spiritual Father” & guide. I trust the testimonies will encourage you also…

REMINDER: the unique thing about this team & this trip is that God spoke directly to each person involved. They believed BIG things from the Lord, and had great faith to pursue what they sensed Him speaking to them. They arranged and organized this trip entirely on their own. (Yes, a group of twenty somethings!) From raising over $25,000, to hosting info sessions, making travel arrangements, & conducting a Church Planting Training for 41 locals they have proven that everyday believers CAN hear God’s voice, step out in faith, and see incredible Kingdom Growth as a result. We truly believe this trip has sent a message to other young people throughout the country that you don’t need a big “missions organization”, huge budget, already established presence, etc. to see unreached peoples come to Christ!

Update from Jon: (edited for the protection of the locals in the closed country)

North INDIA Mission Trip

December 27, 2010 – January 15, 2011

Greetings Family & Friends 1-18-11,

For the last time, before starting the long journey back to America, I stood on the roof of the place where we had been staying, peering across the border which lay less than 10 feet in front of me. While looking into this nation that I had been praying for over the last 8 years, I was thanking God (again) for the incredible privilege that our Team had in spending the last 9 days training the 41 young leaders. They would now go back into their country, armed and envisioned with specific God-given plans to powerfully and lovingly make disciples for Jesus Christ resulting in the creation of church planting movements. Ironically, even though this nation now stood just 10 feet away, God has yet to give me permission to enter it. (To protect these 41 on fire young leaders we will leave this nation undisclosed.)
A few days earlier one of the 41 saw a vision that so appropriately describes what is going to happen (God-willing). She saw the young people bringing revival to her nation, in the form of multiplying candles on a cake spreading the fire of intimacy with God.

Like a proud Papa, I marveled at how well our team of 6 college students conducted this mission. They were the primary ones to lead and conduct this CPx Training (Church Planting experience). All I did was simply fill in the gaps and help them navigate their way through the vast country. They did such a wonderful job of imparting to the 41 all that they had learned and experienced in their church planting and disciple-making experiences at the University of Texas. Highlights of their impartations: The loving Father heart of God; Hearing God’s voice; Experiencing the Presence of God through creative prophetic worship; Team building; Treasure hunting – prophetic – healing Evangelism; Disciple-making, Church planting; and much more.
Our Team wonderfully maintained the John 17 love and unity, which powerfully facilitates the Presence of God. Our daily Team worship times astounded all of us. The Presence of God uniquely flowed among us each day during the Team worship times. Many times one or more members of the Team began getting various respiratory ailments, mainly due to the nasty air pollution, BUT very quickly God’s healing would usually manifest. I wish I could say it was every time, but some symptoms persisted a few days.  Once, during our Team worship times, while we were all praying for another Team member I got instantly healed of a several hour old soar throat. These healings became so common among us on a daily basis, that we lived in this awesome state of joy constantly. Laughter was commonplace. We then would take all this into the larger morning worship times with the 41 trainees. To God be all the glory. He is the Healer, not us.

TESTIMONIES from the 41
1. One of the 41, which we will call “The great Dancer”, during a corporate worship time started crying after a sister laid hands on him and prayed, resulting in him experiencing the Presence of God for the first time in his life. He then went into a vision (for the 1st time) and saw a Light, then saw Jesus with His outstretched arms beckoning him to come to Him (Jesus). He then felt Jesus hug him.
2. One of the 41 laid his hand on his tumor on his chest during a corporate creative worship time, and felt the tumor continue to shrink during the entire worship time. This radically revolutionized his relationship with Jesus Christ.
(After forming the 41 into small home church groups for the training, ironically one day we forgot to assign one of them to lead worship like we normally did. That day spontaneous creative and prophetic worship broke out among us, with no one leading it (except for the Holy Spirit). It turned out to be the most powerful worship time of the training. During those 2 hours many of the 41 and us experienced God’s loving ministry in wonderful and powerful transforming ways.)
3. At least 3 testified that they came with bitterness in their heart which was blocking them from receiving from God, until the Holy Spirit sovereignly melted it away during corporate worship times. They stayed free and flowing with God from that time on.
4. The great Dancer saw another vision. During worship he watched Jesus’ entire crucifixion detail by detail unfold from start to finish in his vision.
5. During another worship time the love of God fell strongly on Y____, one of our translators, and she began to minister God’s love to several of the 41, who later testified that they came away profoundly transformed from those wonderful times of experiencing God’s love.
6. After I encouraged the 41 to ask God to interpret their visions and dreams, one girl, the previous day, saw a vision of a small seed fall from heaven, then a person (in the vision) next to her said “plant the seed”. She did and saw it grow into a tree with lots of fruit. Then saw many birds coming and eating the fruit and taking the seeds to many other people. This girl did not know what it meant. But then she asked God what it meant. He quickly revealed to her that He wanted her to share certain Biblical truths with an unbelieving friend of hers. She felt like God was saying that friend would get saved and lead many other people to Jesus.
7. Somehow a girl got invited to come to this training but was not yet a follower of Jesus. You could tell it by looking at her countenance. She testified that after watching our Team’s love for God and one another, she knew God was real and invited Jesus to come into her heart and be the Lord of her life, which He wonderfully did. Her smile was beaming the rest of the time. We think this same thing happened to a young man whom his sister invited to come. (He was one of the few survivors of a tragic bus accident which killed their mother and another relative and several friends just 2 weeks before the training. Early on in the training I spent some time talking with this young man as he processed this unfortunate event. Later we began to see him enthusiastically participate in worship and prayer times.)
8. Several times we sent the 41 out in small groups to practice treasure hunting / evangelism in the town where we were. One group met a man who fled from them. Later God led them to a house. They knocked on the door and this same man lived there. They spent the next 2 hours witnessing to the man and his wife. Long story made short, both the man and wife renounced Hinduism and invited Jesus to be their Lord. They came to our compound the next day and wanted to get water baptized.

Twice we had the 41 meet in smaller teams (according to their local regions) and ask God for and develop specific plans of how He wanted them to go back into their country and implement these things they experienced in our training. As we listened to each group testify to the God-given detailed plans and their passionate commitment to one another to carry them out, we were overjoyed knowing this nation was getting ready to see an explosion of the spread of the Kingdom of God among their people (almost all of which are unreached people groups). A couple that helped translate for us will be periodically going back into this nation and encouraging these new evangelistic and disciple-making groups.

PLEASE PRAY with us for these 41 precious, passionate and dedicated (even in the face of persecution that they know will come) fellow Believers. Pray for the increase in their fiery passion (never a decrease). Pray that they will regularly fellowship and pray with each other. Pray for unstoppable disciple-making and church planting movements to sweep through their nation and on into surrounding nations. Pray for their favor among their lost friends and family and for a great harvest of souls to come into the Kingdom of God. Pray for their protection and provision to do God’s will. Pray for our Team to hear clearly about how we are to follow up with these 41 fellow Gospel laborers (whom we are maintaining ongoing contact via email and hopefully a return trip). Pray there would be no demonic backlash on our Team. We were and are praying for all of you who gave financially and prayed for our mission. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT. THIS IS AS MUCH YOUR FRUIT AS IS OURS. ALL OF US CAN GIVE THIS FRUIT TO JESUS AS A REWARD FOR HIS SUFFERING FOR US!!!

For more information about this trip, or the work being done overseas please send an email to

Many of you know my friend’s Tony & Felicity Dale of I have had the pleasure of knowing them for several years now, and have been so blessed by their friendship. I have a deep respect for the Dale’s because of the way they model a Kingdom Lifestyle outside of the context of vocational ministry. (More to come on this later, but I am convinced that until everyday lay people are equipped to do the works of ministry as a outpouring of an everyday Kingdom Lifestyle in the context of their job we will continue to see the spread of the Gospel stunted in America – The Dale’s are among few who have modeled what it looks like to do great things for the Kingdom while being successful business owners – I long for the day when every follower of Jesus believes they are in full-time ministry, and that statement has no direct correlation to their paycheck.) The Dale’s, & two of their son’s along with a team of other successful investors & businessman (Head of IT and partner in the 500 million dollar company, etc.) have joined forces to launch a new company called

You’ve heard of sites like,, etc. is a similar site that will provide subscribers with daily deals (via email) saving them tons of money on everyday purchases. Obviously, there’s no cost to join these sites unless there is a coupon you’d like to purchase. Moolala works the same way, however, the main difference is that 2% of every coupon purchased by you, and any of the friends who joined after hearing about it from you goes straight back to you! This is the genius way moolala hopes to spread rapidly throughout the country – they are passing along some of the revenue produced right back to the consumer – all you have to do is sign up to get daily deals & tell your friends about it! (Groupon & other similar sites rake in TONS of dough – moolala passes some of it back to you, the consumer as a means of effective/inexpensive marketing/advertising as they grow.)

Currently moolala is building subscriber lists before they begin releasing daily deals. They want to be fair to every merchant/business that offers a daily deal. So, we get to join, tell our friends about moolala, start getting great deals in the near future, AND even earn a small percentage back to support our coupon purchasing addiction! Haha!

CLICK HERE to join moolala today so you will be sure not to miss great deals when they are released! (There is no cost or commitment to you at any time unless you purchase a deal, or would like to take a few minutes to share the link with your friends)

Also, there is a great aspect to the business model of for those of you interested in sharing the moolala strategy with your networks of friends to earn a bit of residual income on the side. This is also a great way for non-profits, ministries, and bi-vocational ministers to earn some extra income as well. CLICK HERE to check out how…

“Preaching” vs. “Good Teaching”

A close friend of mine who I love and respect asked me this question over text message a couple weeks ago:

“What role does preaching play in simple/house churches? Strengths, weaknesses, ways it could grow, ways it could teach the church.”

This friend of mine has been a part of many types of churches. We have also had the pleasure of starting a house church with his family and some others. He is sharp, loves Jesus, and wants the best for The Church. We have an incredible relationship, and sharpen one another in the areas we may disagree. The mutual respect is refreshing in a day in time where it seems all anyone wants to do is argue their viewpoint. My friend places a high value on “good teaching” (primarily in the form of sermon style preaching) I do not yet have the answer to this “issue” in terms of a house church setting. Below are the initial thoughts I sent back to him via email regarding this topic based upon our observations and past several years pursuing Jesus in the context of simple/organic/house church settings: (Would love to hear your thoughts on either/both ends of the spectrum. Us “house churchers” definitely have a lot to learn about how to champion “good teaching” & placing a high value on the Word of God in our various settings)

“Hey buddy,

The role of “preaching” in simple/house/organic churches is relatively non-existent in my experience. However, in some older generations of house churches their gatherings look much like a typical church service in a living room. The only difference is the type of structure they meet in…(even chairs in rows, and a podium, etc.-haha!=) In our experience (much different from the above described older generation HC’s) we have moved from a desire for good “preaching” to the pursuit of healthy’good “teaching”. (These are not synonymous in my mind, and the minds of many we have observed/practiced with) You see, many of us spent most of our lives listening to sermons. While they are not completely absent from the lives of those pursuing “house church”, it typically does NOT happen in a house church gathering for various reasons, and on purpose. (many may continue to find good sermons online and enjoy listening to them for various reasons) Our reasons for not involving “sermon style teaching” are numerous, but the most basic are below:

1) Practically speaking it has been proven that humans retain about 20% of what they hear. The percentage goes up drastically as you factor in SEEING (visual), WRITING, DOING, etc. So, I look at it (preaching) as a very use of time/energy based upon those findings. I know that growing up I was lucky to remember more than 1-2 “good points” I heard from a sermon. I might remember a bit more if I took notes-rarely would those notes be referenced in the future.

2) In a HC setting there is a high value for EVERYONE participating. If one person is PREACHING this becomes difficult, and we fall right back into spectators coming to hear a sermon. We place a high value on the Holy Spirit speaking to every believer, and know that Spirit speaks to everyone for the mutual edification of the body.

3) So, we seek for what we feel to be more effective ways to “teach”/equip the body. Of course, we are far from figuring this out, and it constantly changes as we pursue being more effective. Here are some examples of things we’ve done in the past:
-Inductive studies: these involve little to no “prep work” on the part of anyone, but make it easy for a believer of any age (including a brand new believer) to be empowered to play an active role. Sometimes ONE person WILL do some before hand research or read commentaries, etc. in order to guide the group as tough questions come up. This usually involves helping the group to understanding the historical context of the scripture, who is writing, who they are writing to, etc.
-Breaking up into groups to discuss portions of scripture. Coming back together to share findings/revelations/etc.
-Sharing at random what the Lord has been speaking to individuals throughout the week during their own personal time, etc.
-Reading through a section of scripture together and then discussing it as a church family. This is so fun because everyone involved has different backgrounds, knowledge, perspective, etc. Everyone benefits, and walks away sharpened, more equipped, and knowledgeable of the scriptures.

These are just some off the top of my head thoughts/responses to your question. I do think that “GOOD TEACHING” could improve in HC’s, and a higher value placed on studying/knowing scripture. However, I’m not convinced that this will be in the form of sermon style preaching. Again, preaching and teaching are much different to me. I also cannot ignore the sermon style preaching that is found in scripture. I wonder, though, if these types of “preaching moments” took place more in the form of evangelistic pursuits rather than the day to day equipping of disciples who make up the Church…this plays into my strong feelings about church services not being for the purpose of evangelism. Most sermons or churches try to accomplish both discipleship and evangelism in a once/week sermon. This is impossible to do, and BOTH get watered down/suffer.”

Again, I’d love to hear any thoughts/additions from you guys from your experience/convictions regarding this topic. Have fun, and keep it civil! =)


Advent Conspiracy…

It’s that time of the year again. For the past three years we have pushed for change during Christmas and all throughout the year. We seek for a more simple lifestyle that “requires” less in order to give more. This does a lot of things, but we won’t get into all of that at this point. For now we’ll focus on Christmas. I do not need to say much; the video speaks for itself. Share the video with those around you. Step out of the norm, and your comfort zone to bring change to potentially dangerous “traditions” that may hang out around your family…it may be difficult at first, but it will pay off in the end.

Life “Outside the Walls”…

We are often asked by people all over the world, “what does a typical simple/house church gathering look like?” While many of the house church communities we have started or been a part of cannot be defined by what takes place during a weekly gathering we did feel like our friend Chris Kosho did a great job of capturing a bit of what the life of the King Street House Church looks like on a regular basis…(Much of which takes place outside of the context of the powerful weekly gatherings that take place within this community)

Chris made a documentary film capturing short samples of videos from the past year or so as this community has formed…the unique way this documentary was developed uses some pretty cool technology, which selects random/short video clips based upon your click. Take a minute to peruse the site, and make sure to click on “Film” at some point. Check out a few of the short clips, and take a powerful peek into what God is doing in Austin through some ordinary young people who started taking the Great Commission seriously…

***A pretty cool side note not mentioned in this documentary is the fact that there are several other house churches that have been started as a result of the King Street House Church sending out lay church planters***

“Permission” – Part Two…

(Part one of “Permission” can be found HERE)

In His grace, Jesus has allowed us to be a part of these incredible people’s lives. The King Street House Church family was birthed after a group of these young people went through Student CPx in Austin two summers ago, and then helped me run SCPx Austin this past summer. In the last few months I have had the pleasure of watching this house church community flourish & grow into a healthy spiritual family. There are some things about what is happening with this group of radical young people that I think are worth taking a look at. Below are some things that come to my mind when I think about these close friends. (You read in “Permission” Part 1 about the team of 7 this house church is sending out to S. Asia over Winter break to train University students there to plant house churches)

What is unique about this community?

1) It is completely lay-led (There is no paid staff) – There is something powerful about a group of people who are pursuing the Kingdom in radical ways when there is no paychecks or any kind of financial gain attached…They birthed, lead, and pursue the healthy growth of this family out of the pure love for Jesus in their hearts.

2) It was birthed by women in their early 20’s – I almost did not mention this because it seems so normal and natural to me – like, “so, what’s the big deal?” However, after thinking through it I realized how unique and POWERFUL this really is because of the negative view that MANY have towards women in “leadership” or “ministry” in the American Church. Anyone who sees what God is doing in this community would have a tough time arguing their opposing view-point about women not being able to be in positions of leadership/authority in the Kingdom of God.

3) It is healthy, producing NEW disciples, and releasing people to walk in their gifts (Men are being raised up to lead) – This has not been easy, and without much pain, mistakes, failures, etc. I’ve seen and been a part of communities with “strategies for multiplication”, and others who are complacent; both are dangerous. The strategic ones bring death to relationship for the sake of sticking to a formula, and the others never see the beautiful power of the Gospel working in the lives of new people. This community seems to walk out a decent “balance”. They are quick to recognize when things are “off” and fix it. They hear God’s voice, and have faith to obey what He says. It’s hard to be a spectator in this community.

4) They have a deep desire to see new house churches planted all over the place, and have already seen a few planted since August! I have been in many different streams of church planting all over the world in the past few years. Nowhere have I seen twenty year-old’s who have BIRTHED and are leading new churches where new believers are being Baptized as a part of the natural DNA of how they “function and grow”. Not only that, but they are sending others out in two’s to start new “spiritual families”. They don’t have it all figured out, & are not perfect, but what God has done with them in the past year puts most “church planting strategies” I’ve seen in my life to shame. God seems to be showing off through the lives of some humble/passionate young people.

5) The power of God is present. I have also been in various environments in the past few years that seem “spiritually dead”, as well as others that are freakin’ CRAZY, which seem far from the nature and character of God. AKA: very conservative & highly charismatic. This community can be placed in neither of those camps. However, the power of God through the work of His Holy Spirit displayed through the obedience of these radical followers of Jesus is not arguable. They are seeing supernatural physical, spiritual, and emotional healing take place. They are seeing the fruit of the Spirit displayed in people’s lives (Gal. 5:22-23) as well as the power of the gifts of the Spirit on a regular basis. They are not afraid.

6) They walk in a humility & refusal to pursue personal gain/attention that is like nothing I have experienced in most of my life.

I suppose I could go on and on. I want to make it clear that I am not bragging on anything other than the miraculous work of Jesus in the lives of these people. We like to call out the Christ-like qualities of Jesus we see in people as a way to edify them, and bring glory to Jesus. We are not “puffing them up”, but recognizing the redeeming work of Jesus in their lives. Obviously, I care about these people a lot. I am so proud of the Jesus I see in them, and wanted to share them with you a bit. I hope it has encouraged your Spirit.

Big Transitions Ahead…

Jesus never lets us get too comfortable. He’s always drawing us closer to Himself. This process OFTEN involves the removal of certain comforts, or things that have allowed complacency during our short stay on this earth. This seems to happen a lot with us. It is usually painful, and involves a chunk of our flesh to be burned away. We are so pumped about this latest shift in life, both for our family, and for Intentional Gatherings as an organization. Over the next few weeks I will be blogging in detail about the events leading up to this transition, but in the meantime I recorded a short video for those of you who keep up with what goes on in the lives of the Snow family & I.G. as an organization. It’s about 5 minutes long. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know if you have any questions or comments, and stay tuned for future blogs about “why in the world the director of a non-profit would give himself a complete & permanent pay cut…”

If you’re in the Austin area and know of any job openings shoot me the leads! =)