Exponential 2010: The Acts 2 Church
Louie Giglio is now a church planter. He is the lead pastor at Passion City Church, but you may know him best from his leadership of Choice Ministries in Waco, Texas many years ago or of the Passion Network these past 13 years. He's been a huge influence in my own discovery of the joy of following Jesus and of intimate, biblical worship.
I heard him in Atlanta last fall at Catalyst, but when he spoke Tuesday at Exponential, I was struck by his renewed passion and intensity. He has always urged college students to drive deep into their love relationship with Jesus Christ. At Exponential, Louie urged church planters to do the same thing.
He began by reading all of Isaiah 55, focusing on Isaiah 55.10-11. As he talked about his growing conviction that led him to help start PCC, he answered the oft-asked question that many of us church planters receive: What kind of church is it?
Louie's responses about PCC was simple: "I don't know."
I thought his response was brilliant. Most folks are wanting to pigeon-hole your church, and in doing so, they attempt to rob it of influence. "Oh, it's a Baptist church..." Or, "Oh, so you guys light candles?" The list goes on. I wrote an entry a while back about the danger of marginalization. In a nutshell, when people can classify you, they feel comfortable with you.
So Louie's response to that question may force initial discomfort.
As he unpacked his biblical rationale, he also wisely challenged some assumptions of the contemporary church world that needed to be challenged.
Most will say that you need a clear vision in mind when you're starting a new church, that you need a mission statement, that you need a 3-year strategy, a launch date, and an iPhone. Louie said that with PCC, they didn't start with a photograph in mind of what they should become. Rather, they began with operational principles.
While many in the past 20 years of the church planting/growth movement have identified the church in Acts 2 as being their role model, Louie asked a great question: What kind of church did the Acts 2 church think they were becoming? In other words, the Acts 2 Church didn't know they were an "Acts 2 Church."
Louie said they had three operational principles:
They had the teachings of Jesus.
They were eyewitnesses of the Resurrection.
They were filled with power by the Holy Spirit.
He urged us to rest secure in the reality that Christian today have what they had. "We have what they had!" he exclaimed. "Plus, we get the maps!" he said with a cheeky grin.
When we depend on the teachings of Jesus, believe and act in dependence on Christ's resurrection, and surrender and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, we too can demonstrate the radical nature of the New Testament church. He then asked with conviction, "How could we ever become arrogant?!"
"It is arrogance that leads to divisiveness and competition." He also urged leaders to quit getting our vocabulary and ideas from the latest book that is released in the contemporary/missional/postmodern/transformational church world.
Be confident in the Word of God.
Quoting from the Isaiah passage above, Louie passionately urged leaders to believe deeply that God's Words will accomplish their purpose. Every time. They never fail in their assignment. We must seek repentance for failing to walk by faith in His Word.
Louie said he occasionally hears someone say something to the effect, "You really hit it out of the park this week." He wished that expression and all like it would be banned from our responses. It's not whether we "hit it out of the park," but did we place the Word of God before the people? If so, "it ain't coming back."
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