(I am writing this out and linking to this from an email I will be sending our church this week. So a lot of this post is for Vintage Faith Church with the upcoming teaching schedule).
We finished our 4 week teaching series Everyday Missionary on Sunday. I did a wrap up about the how the dream of our church is to be a missionary-community-training-center-base here in Santa Cruz. It was stressing that church buildings are good and can be used for mission, and that Sunday teaching is good and important and that we can have good music and bands and lighting etc. but that those things aren't the primary goals, but only part of the whole missional strategy to see healthy and new disciples made.
I have seen some who tend to go to an extreme and say we don't need buildings, or that we shouldn't have preachers or bands on Sundays or anything "attractional". I don't agree with that philosophy, as many do have preaching, bands and buildings and can still be very missional provided that Sundays is not seen as the spectacular "attraction" for people to be at for the goal. But instead, it is the followers of Jesus who live their lives during the week as missionaries who are the "attraction" by Jesus in them. And then Sunday meetings come into play as most people will then desire to come to a Sunday meeting and Sundays are important (at least in our strategy as a church). I showed this video on Sunday to emphasize this:
Everyone also got coat hangers as they left this past Sunday with a image of Jesus on them (which would take too long to explain) but it was emphasing the reminder that every day we are missionaries in our lives whatever we do.
This Sunday was also my last Sunday teaching at Vintage Faith Church until July 8th. I am taking a sabbatical, my first ever in 21 years like this of vocatonal on a church staff ministry. I will post more on that and what I will be doing before I leave for sabbatical on Monday. But wanted to post the Sunday teaching while I am gone which I will be linking to from an all-church email I will send out this week.
While I am gone, what is happening on Sundays teaching-wise is:
March - April: Smart Love: life together in the way of 1st Corinthians 13 - my friend Jon Talbert from Westgate Church in San Jose will be teaching a 3 week series going through 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Jon leads an amazing ministry called Beautiful Day and has been a good friend for many years.
April and May: The Hole In Our Gospel: we will be going through a 6 week series somewhat based out of the book, The Hole In Our Gospel which was written by the president of World Vision. We have had some planning meetings for this series and will doing a bunch of very interactive things for truly trying to grasp the depth of the needs of the world and the suffering, hunger and injustice out there. Nathan George, who is part of our church and the leader of Trade As One will be kicking off the series and ending it. We also will be having one Sunday where we show the film Journey To Jamaa. I wish I was here for this series as it is an important one.
In June: Kristin Jensen and Joe Bishop will be teaching a 4 week series (they are determing what it is right now).
July 1 - Margaret Feinberg will be with us. I am so thrilled to finally have Margaret at Vintage Faith Church. She is a really good friend and has been to The Abbey before at our church, but not here on a Sunday. So Margaret will finally be with us and so glad our church will get to meet her.
July - The book of Titus: I will be back and teaching through the New Testament book Titus. I look forward to this as Titus isn't a book that normally seems to get taught a lot. So I will be going through the 3 chapters in 4 weeks.
August: Proverbs - will be a month teaching through various Proverbs from the Old Testament.
September through December: The Sermon on the Mount - we will be teaching through the entire Sermon on the Mount from the book of Matthew. We don't want to rush through this, so will be spending almost 4 months on this incredible section of Jesus' teaching.
My next post will be my last for a while and I will be disconnecting for 6 weeks entirely from Facebook, blogging, checking emails etc. Then back but doing research and visiting other churches for anotehr 6 weeks before returning to my role at Vintage Faith Church. I have not scheduled any speaking engagments either for 12 weeks while the sabbatical is happening. So will be interesting doing this as it is definetly a break from my normal patterns of life. I'll post this weekend with more on sabbatical thinking and plans.