Why RE.THINK Church part 3:
featuring new methods; advanced and original; introducing new ideas; original and creative in thinking.
I’ve been a pastor since 2001, though I’ve been involved in church to some capacity my entire life. I’ve noticed something about churches….they seem to be the same thing. Every weekend there is a service, songs are sung, someone stands up and gives a message, there’s prayer, and that’s about it. Some churches have kids ministries, some churches don’t. Some churches have youth group and some don’t.
RE.THINK Church has a goal, a mission, to be an innovative church. We don’t want to just start up a church that acts, feels, functions the same as churches we can find anywhere else. Innovation goes beyond cosmetics. I believe innovation goes down into our DNA.
RE.THINK Church resides in Lake County, Indiana. There are 220,000+ people who have no religious affiliation at all. We want to see that number eliminated. Why? Because we believe the message of Jesus is one that will change people’s lives forever. These 220,000+ individuals have stories, reasons, and beliefs that have led them to consciously checked “No Affiliation” in the census. I don’t know their story, but I want to.
I want them to know the grace and mercy I’ve found in Jesus. I want them to know the purpose, guidance, and yeah even the discipline I’ve found in Jesus. Why? Because without all the above and so many other things, my life would be lacking. More importantly, though my life would be void of grace, mercy, purpose, guidance, any form of discipline, and it would be without the assurance that for eternity, Heaven is where I’ll reside with Jesus.
Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." I think it’s time that we recognize this and live it out as a church. In my 16 years as a pastor, I’ve found a lot of churches become consumed with what church people want, prefer, and like, not what would actually make a difference to people in their own communities that have no religious affiliations.
We believe the Bible is our standard, not only does it give us the initiative to find people who don’t know Jesus and allow them to encounter Jesus in a life changing, relevant manner, but it also gives us some clear instructions on what and how to do this. Matthew records Jesus’ last instructions to His disciples as this, “ "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Teaching them to obey everything that I (Jesus) have commanded you… that’s a lot. It’s also our standard, we do our best to stay true to what Jesus instructs, when we find ourselves drifting away from that standard we stop and return to it. I’ll explain that process in our next blog.
Why RE.THINK Church part 2:
relaxed and unconcerned
Growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s life was all about how you looked, the acid washed jeans, guess, huge hair, we could go on and on… look around all that is back!
I remember waking up every Sunday and wanting to wear my jeans and a t-shirt, but no I couldn’t. I had to dress up, put on my Sunday best. The funny thing is I remember doing all this, but not doing my hair. My hair was a mess most Sunday, but at least I wasn’t wearing jeans!
One Sunday, in between our Sunday School and church service, I asked an adult, "if someone can’t afford dressy clothes can they come to church?”
The adults response has shaped me ever since, but not in a good way.
The response I got was essentially like this, “If you can’t afford dressy clothes church is the least of your worries…” the adult caught himself after those words, but the damage was already done. Like toothpaste that has been squeezed out of the tube he couldn’t put the words back in his mouth. There was no recovery for him, his attitude is one that I’ve seen in several churches throughout America. He just happened to voice it.
When I think of a church a place that should be known for grace, mercy, love and kindness. I shudder at the idea that church is known for the thing most people get dressed up in order to encounter Jesus. Pastor Jud Wilhite states in his book, Uncensored Grace, “Sometimes people who have it together externally are a mess internally.” Let’s not fool ourselves here, dressing up doesn’t make you any more godly.
I’d rather have someone show up in what they can afford, what they are comfortable in. As long as bits and pieces are covered and there are no disrespectful writing or graphics, then we’re good.
Having a casual church isn’t all about the dress code though.
We understand that the message of Jesus and living life the way He intends us to live, can be a very difficult thing to live out. We get it, we are still striving to do the same here. Creating a casual church goes beyond the dress code and into the terms of how people mature through their relationship with Christ.
People are in control of the pace at which they want to take their next right step. We’ll explain everything up front as much as possible, but we expect people to take the journey as they see fit. We’re here to journey with you along the way!
Why RE.THINK Church part 1:
1. enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure.
One of my first memories of church happened when I was about five years old. The pastor standing on the stage babbled on and on about stuff I had no clue about. Like most five year olds, I got bored... like really bored. My older brother and I sat there talking, fighting, and who knows what; but we were especially loud on that particular day.
The pastor, Pastor Helmet Head, was the name I gave him because of his perfect depiction of a TV Evangelist of the 1980’s… his hair wasn’t moving at all hence “Pastor Helmet Head.”. He looked down from the stage as he stood behind the pulpit and told my brother and I to be quiet. I simply responded back, “Yes, Pastor Helmet Head….” I realized then that kids were expected to act like adults, and most adults just simply endured this version of church. After Pastor Helmet Head, a new guy named Dave became our pastor. Dave was pretty traditional, but fun. He helped me to get a glimpse of what church would look like when there is fun involved.
I think it’s time we started allowing church to be fun. I think it should be age relevant environments so that an adult can encounter Jesus just like a child can encounter Jesus. Kids shouldn’t have to sit through an adult service and never move. There should be dancing, fun, games, and the occasional loud screams of joy from the kids area. All these things should be a sign as to what’s going on as adults break down the complex truths of the Bible into simplistic forms meant for kids. If these things don’t happen I would tend to question what’s really going on!
I think it’s time for RE.THINK Church to make it fun!
We don’t take ourselves too seriously because let’s face it, if God has a sense of humor maybe it’s time for His church to have one too!
WHy a blog?
RE.THINK Church values being a church that is casual. Casual Church goes far beyond the way we dress, it's more about we expect people to take this journey at their own pace. We are here to journey with everyone. So we've created a blog so people can check us out before they show up for a service.