Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Wow World of Starbucks Coffee Company

Started working for Starbucks yesterday. My first shift called 'First Impressions" was mostly about learning the mission, guiding principles and standards of the company. I was so impressed with how much the company gives back to the community and with how they really treat their employees aka. partners with dignity and respect. I respected the company after reading about it in Howards Schultz' book "Pour Your Heart Into It" but after being oriented in an actual store as a partner, I am blown away. I think every Christian businessman should study this company and follow in their example. Lessons to learn from: 1) Make treating each employee with dignity and respect a functional priority and 2) Give back to the community more than you take from it.

How do I want to make this happen in our new church plant?

1. Everything we do with the disconnected and with disciples should be governed by treating them with dignity, respect, and grace.
2. As a missional community, we should seek to give back to the community more than we demand from it.
3. Every disconnected person who chooses to become a disciple should be given a "First Impressions" orientation which includes a global perspective on the Church as a movement, the vision, mission, and guiding principles of NUCOMM, and the clearly defined expectations and behaviors of being a part of NUCOMM CHURCH.

Over a year ago, we already started using the word "partners" to describe membership in NUCOMM. I think we need to clearly outline the growth and development path of a partner in NUCOMM. A possible growth path could be:

1. From being disconnected to...
2. Disciple to...(join an LTG)
3. Discipler to...(lead an LTG)
4. Catalyst to...(facilitate/host a Simple Church)
5. Trainer/Coach (teach at the Encounters)
6. Deacon...(manage a ministry or department)
7. Elder.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Fishing Lessons

Just got back from a half day of fishing in Smiths Falls, Ontario. We were 9 guys in all. I caught about 3 fish over the 5 hours that we were there. In the end, we had to let them all go. I spent most of the time feeding the fish with my worms than actually threatening to catch any of them. It's the only explanation why they weren't biting by noontime. They were full!

Here are a few lessons I learned about fishing and evangelism:

1. A key to successful fishing is timing. You have to get out there when the fish are hungry even if it means being inconvenienced by a really early wake up call. Evangelism Lesson: Share with people when they are most hungry to hear about Jesus. And remember, disconnected people don't come to Christ at your convenience.

2. Fishing gets your hands really dirty especially when you're using worms for bait. I poked several new holes in my fingers hooking worms for bait. Evangelism Lesson: Be ready to get dirty when you do evangelism.

3. Use the right bait for the right fish. I didn't get any results when I switched to lures half way through. These fish (pike, bass, pickerel) liked worms. Evangelism Lesson: Make sure to position the message of Jesus in a way that interests disconnected people.

4. Use the hook in the right way. I fed most of the fish with my worms because they learned how to eat the bait without getting hooked. Fishing is useless if you can't get the fish hooked. Evangelism Lesson: The primary purpose of evangelism is not to entertain people but to cause them to respond in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Don't settle for anything less.

Care to add anything else to this list?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Government to Save Church

I read in the Globe and Mail yesterday that the Roman Catholic Church is seeking help from the Provincial Government of Quebec to preserve its dying churches. The argument is that the RCC is not just a religious entity but a part of Quebec's heritage.

I don't know whether to feel pity or anger. On one hand, I feel pity for the RCC in Quebec that it has become so irrelevant in people's lives that it's place is now more of nostalgia than anything else. Religion has been so marginalized in Quebec that it seems this is the only place for the church.

But I also feel angry, in that, a case is being made by a spiritual institution to be rescued by government. It seems too assuming to me that a religious group would expect the government to keep it alive. The RCC is one of the riches institutions in the world! Why doesn't the Vatican do something instead?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Terror in Canada

On June 2, 2006, Canadian authorities arrested 17 Muslims in Toronto who had imported 3 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (explosives material). It was the largest anti-terrorism operation conducted by more than 400 police officers. The incident has sent shock waves amidst Canadians. Recently, a mosque was vanadalized - supposedly as a reaction to this incident.

What is so shocking is that these Muslim "terrorists" come from reportedly upstanding families who have been Canadians for decades. These people grew up and lived in Canadian democracy all their lives. And yet, they bought in to fundamentalist muslim doctrine. It goes to show how powerful ideology and religion can transcend one's social environment.

To me, this shows that social conditioning is truly powerless in changing people's hearts. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can bring the deepest transformation at the heart level. It isn't a matter of religion but of the power of Christ's love and grace applied to the human heart.

What could have changed the hearts of these 17 Muslims? Frankly, Jesus. Period. Think of Saul, the terrorist who targeted disciples of Christ invading their homes and putting them in prison, who became Paul, the apostle, who gave his life for the cause of Jesus Christ. How? His heart had been invaded by Jesus.