I.G. Las Vegas at “Total Church” in San Diego

As some of you may know a group of us from I.G. Vegas went to the “Total Church” conference in San Diego at the beginning of August. We represented two different I.G. Communities in Vegas, and the potential birth of a new one as a result of the things we learned at the conference! The vision of Intentional Gatherings is that we would see simple expressions of the Gospel lived out by the people of Jesus in the context of tight-knit, Gospel centered, Biblical Community. We call these “missional communities” or “simple churches” for short. As an organization we seek to train, equip, and raise up young leaders to start MC’s in their neighborhoods, on their campuses, in their dorm rooms/apartments/etc.

This conference in San Diego was refreshing for all of us as we met others who are pursuing dreams similar to that of I.G. We felt very affirmed, encouraged, and better equipped in returning to Las Vegas to pursue the birth of sustain of MC’s all over the valley.

Seven of us hopped into a 15 passenger van that was donated to us by YWAM Las Vegas (Thanks guys!) and hit the road for San Diego…

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From Left: Sam, Andrew, Dre, Rommel, Candace, Morgan, Aaron

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Dre & Candace…them’s my “family”.

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At the beach one afternoon following the conference…

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Oh yes…swingin’ on the beach with my “fam”…can life get better?

Worship on the beach…Life CAN get better!

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We had a blast together in San Diego, and learned a TON about starting new Gospel Centered Communities wherever we go. To learn more about “Total Church” read the book, or Click Here to investigate the conferences. You can also Click Here to go listen to the sessions from the conference.

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Global Art Inferno

If you have not heard of, or checked out the “Global Art Inferno” you need to do so asap (Especially if you are an artist, or know any artists). The vision behing G.A.I., and how they will be engaging the world through art, business, and other domains of society is amazing. I was interviewed by G.A.I.’s founder, Ben Roberts, on their website. The interview was posted today. Go check it out here.

You can also visit their FaceBook page HERE.

“Airbags”

All-new Hyundai Accent, 3-door version - 6 standard airbags.From the beginning of “Intentional Gatherings” we have made it a point never to think that we have it all figured out. We believe that the second we start thinking we have it all figured out is the second we become closed off to allowing necessary change, and therefore, become ineffective. It would appear that many in America have lost touch with this idea of continuous improvement. It seems somewhat ignorant to believe that the way we do things RIGHT NOW will be the best way to do things in six months, right?

This all makes me think of the automobile industry. Years ago, people did not wear seat belts. Many people died. So, changes were made, and seat belts were required. At first, waist straps were implemented. This worked well, but was not completely effective. Automakers soon realized that they needed to implement a shoulder strap to provide further protection from collision. Seat belts save lives. Wear your seat belt! However, people continued to die in tragic accidents even while wearing their seat belt. So, necessary changes were made…

The airbag came onto the scene. What an amazing invention. The airbag was designed to save lives, which it did. However, there are two important things about airbags that we must remember: 1) Without its partner, the seat belt, airbags are not only ineffective, but dangerous, & 2) Airbags can kill children. Automobile manufacturers are pretty good about making changes, and fixing things that are unsafe. I wonder sometimes if “the church” in America is like the airbag. (I use this term “the church” in reference to our current form of church in American, and very loosely because it means so many different things to so many different people, few of which are correct. This probably includes myself; I beg the Lord daily to teach me what it truly means that as His follower I am, and you are, The Church.) The airbag is an amazing thing. It saves lives, and does great things. But through time those who implemented the airbag realized some things about it. If a small child was involved in an accident, and the airbags deployed it would kill them. The airbag was not effective at saving the lives of smaller children. Our current form of church in America (Institution) is an amazing thing. It saves souls, and it does great things. Period. Anyone who tries to argue that is disillusioned. The institution, just like the airbag, has the potential to spiritually kill if necessary changes are not made. Is the institution bad, wrong, or lost? No. However, it may have become ineffective in many ways by allowing stubborn pride to hinder it from making the appropriate changes.

Soon children under a certain age were prohibited from riding in the front seat, and some cars had the ability to turn off the airbag feature. But wait, the airbag is a great thing, right? Why would anyone want to turn it off? How devastating would it have been if auto manufacturers would have only focused on the saved lives resulting from the airbag while ignoring the child fatalities? I pray that we, as The Church, will celebrate the good, but welcome the opportunity for change and the constant pursuit of effectiveness. This type of change only comes through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Are we spiritually starving the next generation because we feel they are supposed to be “doing church” like we did growing up? Are we pushing the lost away because our arrogant, self-righteous pride has taken over the call on our lives to usher in the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven?

There are guys in the “emergent/organic/simple/house church” movement who are somewhat disenfranchised with the church as an institution. Many of them have taken up a new hobby of bad mouthing the church that doesn’t look like theirs, which happens to meet in a living room. This is a terrible approach. Not only does this cause even more division among the body of Christ, it is arrogant and prideful. Philippians chapter 2 speaks of a unification that occurs through humility. Thinking that I am right and everyone else is wrong is not humility, and cannot birth unity. The issue is not a debate between who is right and who is wrong. Too often in the church time is wasted arguing and discussing who’s right about this and that, who does church “right”, who’s doctrine is correct, etc. I wonder if the Lord isn’t thinking to Himself, “man, they just don’t get it…I thought I made it pretty clear in my word that their purpose is to glorify me, and become more like me.” On that note, I cannot help but think to myself what would happen if the church in America began taking the teachings of Jesus seriously. We’d see rich professionals giving everything they have to the poor and radically following Jesus. We’d see “neat Christians” decide that it’s “ok” for them to NOT be comfortable ALL the time and have perfect, secure, and happy little lives. Shane Claiborne says, “I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning, and when the rich meet the poor poverty will come to an end.” Nicely put.

The root issue seems to be pride. We do things a certain way, our way. We do them for a certain period of time, and it soon shifts from our way to the right way. We then presume to volunteer everyone around us to do things our way, convincing them that it’s The Way. What would it look like if the church stopped getting so set in its ways and tied up in tradition, but allowed the Holy Spirit to lead in a consistent way? Obviously, this would require much humility, and a raised awareness of allowing change.

“Father, as your followers would You burn into us a spirit of humility. May we never allow our prideful flesh to convince us that we figured it out. Show us where You are, and where You’re going so we may follow. Motivate us to action and cause us to embrace doing things differently. Prepare your Church, your Bride, for your return.”

The Birth of a Perfect Marriage

Highlights from a week ordained by God…

At Student CPx this past week our purpose was to equip students to plant campus churches at their universities that will reproduce organically, fostering a church planting movement. Also, in my previous post I shared about the amazing things going on with I.H.O.P. (International House of Prayer – Kansas City). There are also several other prayer movements taking place in America such as 24/7 prayer (“Red Moon Rising”). There are plans to see houses of prayer on every college campus in the world. We started dreaming this week, and the Lord began opening doors to see these two elements join together in a beautiful marriage. It would appear that the apostolic, and the prophetic are joining together among college students on universities all over the country. Campus houses of prayer (The prophetic side) have popped up everywhere, as well as student churches (The apostolic side) on campuses. For years the two have pursued their calling apart from one another. It would seem as if the Lord is joining together these two very important elements that have been seemingly absent from our current form of church in America. Imagine what it will look like when the apostles, and prophets join one another on mission! Stay tuned…

The students at CPx were not only receiving classroom style teaching, but also hands on training. They were split into “Simple Churches” where they pursued, and practiced the values of living in “missional community” for two weeks. They were on a Native American College campus as missionaries. They learned about past church planting movements throughout history, and the pitfalls of evangelism through extraction. We taught them how simple things reproduce, and that church isn’t about a once a week gathering. We challenged them to pursue Biblical community, and to “go out in two’s” seeking a “person of peace” to disciple (Luke 10). We are extremely proud of these 40 students, and hopeful for what is to come. We challenged the them to seek out an international student on their campus during this next semester, lead them to Christ, disciple them, and bring them to a Student CPx follow-up training in six months. Through prayer, a prophetic word from several people, and a step of faith we decided that we would all bring our persons of peace to meet in none other than Las Vegas, Nevada. There are many details to work out, but in January 2009 Student CPx will join Intentional Gatherings in Las Vegas to reconnect, share what God is doing, train more, and be sent back out. My hope is that we will host this on UNLV’s campus, and that it would spark interest in planting Simple Churches among Christians in Vegas. If each of the 40 students, along with Intentional Gatherings in Vegas each seek out one person of peace then we will have close to 100 Christ followers (half of which will be brand new believers) meeting in Vegas in six months to train, and be sent back out all over the country! We also threw around ideas of having this past week’s batch of Student CPxer’s lead the training for the new believers while we facilitate. We would then challenge those 100 to go back, seek out one more person of peace, and regroup again. The potential of this gives me butterflies.

Last but certainly not least: Throughout the two weeks of Student CPx three Native American students developed relationships with our students, encountered Christ in them, and made a decision to follow Christ with their lives! We immediately Baptized these students in the dormitory bathtub! Erik Fish, who lives in Lawrence, now has three new disciples to start campus churches with. Praise Christ.


I am now on a plane to Colorado Springs where a similar conference called “SPARK” is being hosted by Campus Renewal Ministries. I have been asked to come in for the week to share, teach, equip, and empower students to start “missional communities” on their campuses. Sound familiar? Luckily, the Student CPx guys (Campus Church Network), and the “SPARK” guys (Campus Renewal Ministries) know each other well. I plan on sharing with the leadership of CRM about our follow-up training in Vegas. The amazing aspect of these opportunities is that none of the three church planting organizations involved (CRM, CCN, & Intentional Gatherings) have any desire to grow “their own kingdom”, but the Kingdom of God. It would seem as if God is bringing us together with like-minded desires for a true Church Planting Movement in the states. We will pursue this, and trust God to work out the details.

“Jesus, thank you for uniting Your Body, and preparing Your Bride like You promised to do in Your word. Thank You for allowing us to be a part of what You are doing. Protect us from ourselves, our pride, and selfish ambitions. May we be connected to You, and led by Your Holy Spirit that dwells in us. Amen.”

I.H.O.P. – Not Pancakes.

On Wednesday night I went to the “International House of Prayer” with Seth, Jaeson,   Erik, and Neil for the first time. It was an amazing experience. In Kansas City there has been constant, 24/7 prayer and worship for 8 straight years here at this location. If you have never been to I.H.O.P you need to schedule a few days off, and go. When you do, go alone, and prepare to be refreshed. The Spirit is thick in this place, always. They have been praying for revival, and commissioning missionaries out all over the world for almost a decade now.

We spent some time in the prayer room praying. We were then escorted to a private prayer room where we were met by four intercessors. They prayed over each of us, and blessed us all with personal prophetic words from the Lord. This was a powerful, affirming, and encouraging time. Seth took us on a tour of the rest of the campus. I don’t have time to go into everything that takes place at I.H.O.P, so please visit their site and do some research. You will be blessed to know about what goes on 24/7 at this house of prayer.