Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Nirvana Generation

There is a generational gap, especially among pastors today. We have been seeing a shift in Christianity for about the last 10 years that is coming to a head. There is the rise and separation of what I call, "The Nirvana Generation." The kids who were greatly influenced by Nirvana and the ensuing grunge movement are the ones leading the next wave of Christianity.
In 1990, music changed forever. We still see the effects of it today (even in church music). The 80's birthed hair bands. They were interested in fame, girls, fortune and they were all technically amazing guitar players. They wore make up. They wore spandex.

One day, music changed forever. A little band named Nirvana helped bring to the forefront the "grunge music scene." The metal, hair metal rock and heavy metal bands all took a hit. Grunge was about 4 chords, angst and real passion. You did not wash your hair, you sang angry, abstract songs and did not care if you got girls or fame. The scorecard changed. In 1990, music changed forever. I was around 12 years old at the time. I grew up listening to this music and heavily influenced by it.

Now, how does this apply to pastors and a church? Well, we are seeing the fall of traditional pastors and traditional religion. The way pastors teach, the music that is played and the environments have caused a great divide in the church. It is like the 1990's for the church, especially in America. Like hair bands being replaced by grunge, "churchy" pastors and churches are being replaced by the "Nirvana Generation." The rules are being re-written before our eyes. 3 Piece suits and Rod Parsley style of church is diminishing quickly. Televangelists are struggling like never before. Over 3,000 churches close a month. On the flip side, we are seeing some of the most creative churches and pastors arise. No longer is the scorecard Christian TV, 3-Piece Suits, Preaching at People, and Begging for Money. The scorecard is seeing as many people come to Christ through relevant ministry. The scorecard is flipping fast. Traditional is not hymns and suits anymore. Traditional is doing it the way you did last year, or 5 years ago. Traditional is not a building or name. Traditional is holding to ineffective ways of doing ministry in order to hold to the previous order of the great divide.

The hair/rock/metal bands that fought the change, went down when old methods disentegrated. The scorecard has changed for the church as well. It is not how big your building is, but how much community impact you are making. It is not how pretty or loud you preach, but rather your impact on your context/culture.

Yep- things are changing, changing fast.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When is Good Enough, Good Enough?

When is Good Enough, Good Enough?

Okay, this is the struggle of most people. It really has been mine. I was talking with a friend about 6 months ago on the issue of ministry and I told him what I had asked myself, "Is my good enough, good enough to see this dream come to pass?"

I was in the middle of a struggle yesterday. I am going to be very honest and real. As a pastor, sometimes it hurts (right in the heart), when someone chooses not to come back to your church and chooses another. I think every pastor, at the core of their being (and rightly should), believes that their church is awesome and everyone can be fed the most there. There should be a healthy love and respect for the work you are doing in Christ and Christ through you.

But, it hurts. I told God yesterday, "God, I cannot prepare any harder, pray any more, schedule anymore rest time, be more focused on my wife.... I am running on all cylinders. Why won't people connect here to our ministry like they do other ministries? Is my good enough really good enough to see this thing come to fruition?"

I felt the Lord answer back, "Kevin, your good enough will never be good enough if the standard is the approval of other people. Other people cannot dictate if your 'good enough' is good enough. Only I (the Lord) can dictate that. And am I pleased with you and love you. I gave David his ten thousands and Saul his thousands. I raised up kings and brought kings low. I am Sovereign. Don't let the enemy take you captive with this foolishness of being good enough in ministry to impress people so much that they come back. This is my ministry and I call those who are assigned to this ministry."

I feel the Lord has me at a stoplight. So many people and especially leaders are co-dependent on others to bring them a sense of self worth. So.....

Dear World, from this day forward I am going to be real and truthful. I will not sugar coat things in order to make you feel good if I am doing it to just gain your approval. I will also be very loving in delivering truth. I appreciate your congratulations on successes. I appreciate your feedback on messages. I appreciate your times when you really, really, don't like me. I have learned that my good enough was never and should never be based on what others think, but who I am in Christ. I am sorry for allowing my emotions to be dictated by your approval or disapproval. I am sorry that I cannot meet all your expectations all the time. I will remain accountable, and allow criticism, but my best is my best. God approves of me. He loves me and is walking with me. It is HIS grace leading through me. It is HIS grace that preaches and teaches.



ps.... hope you like this. :) J/K

Monday, November 1, 2010

Guest Blogger: Keith Rowell

BUST A MOVE: Keith Rowell

I’m honored that Kevin has asked me to be a guest on his blog. I’m just a young leader that knows that God has a plan for my life. I believe my purpose, no matter the avenue, is to empower people to be who Christ has created them to be. The avenue God has blessed me with currently is being the youth pastor at Celebration Outreach Center in Elberton, GA. It’s amazing and the students keep me feeling young.

Starting a movement is not a 1, 2, 3 process. It’s a living organism, something that will look different in every community. Just because it worked for that one person in that amazing, empowering book doesn’t mean it will work in your community necessarily. I’ve fallen in that trap. I read about five different books and look at dozen of models for small groups. I then took a little bit from each model and developed my own. I cast vision for it got everyone excited about it, trained leaders, got the audience pumped. We held a service just about small groups and afterward people signed up for different groups. Within a month the whole thing crumbled. It crumbled because of my leadership and my stupidity of focusing more on a model than what the people needed. Every movement revolves around people, moving them in the direction of becoming who Christ created them to be. It’s not about reproducing a method but making God’s will a reality. These are the concrete needs to start a movement, without them the movement will just be a ripple that will only go as far as the length of the puddle. However, if you implement these factors the movement will out last your leadership and even catch the heart of other leaders to start their own movements.

Dummy Disclaimer: If you want to start a movement it starts with you having a close relationship with God. If you have a hard time having consistent time with God, the most you’ll be able to accomplish is a big bible study. You have to know where God is taking you and what He wants to accomplish in the movement, because it’s His not yours.

Your obedience is someone else’s victory. When God calls you to go into “that” neighborhood to share Christ do so without hesitancy. Be obedient to what God is calling you to do. There are different type of movements, like before don’t try to mimic what God is doing somewhere else. Seek after God yourself and see what He wants to do through you to build His Kingdom.

A movement revolves around God’s will and His people. The people God will put around you develop the movement. Speak life into your people. It sickens me when I hear about leaders talking about how terrible there congregation is, about how they hate their city. If you hate the city you’re in do those around you a favor and leave, because you will never start a movement unless you love where God has placed you. Love the people that God has put around you because they will be the main ones who push the movement forward. The only things you do is fuel the people with the vision God has given you and empower them to make it a reality. Take time with them and share your life with them. Love them for who they are and for whom Christ is transforming them into.

If you truly love the people then you will serve the people. Perry Noble preached a sermon entitled “Saved People Serve People” and the title said it all. If you want to start a movement it means that you will spend time meeting needs, not just planning events. If you want a movement it will mean that will find out the needs of those around you and will do whatever you can to meet those needs. What does your community need? The answer to this question is fuel to your movement.

A movement moves. Your consistent pursuit of knowing God’s will and making it a reality is what keeps the movement moving. If at any point the movement becomes about you and not about God, it fails and stops. All Christian movements move towards the Father. Towards accomplishing His purpose and spreading the Gospel of Christ to everyone it comes into contact with.

Starting a movement is easy, but how long will it last. Every movement at some point will come to an end. This is not a bad thing, some movements last decades and some only a few years. But what will you do with the time God gives you? Who will be changed because of your obedience? What movements will erupt because of your obedience? Who will take the lead when your leave? What will this movement accomplish?

Keith and Lauren Rowell reside in Elberton, GA. They are the youth pastors at Celebration Outreach Center. I have known Keith since he first gave his life to Christ. He served faithfully as an adult leader at Celebration Outreach Center and Reaction Student Ministries when I was youth pastor there. He is now the youth pastor and taking the youth ministry to new levels. They are also expecting their first child.
follow him on twitter: @keithrowell