Posted by: Ed | August 7, 2009


Disclaimer: As the title of this post indicates, these thoughts are unprocessed. I’m thinking out loud.

I’m about to get back to working on the message (yes, about 1.5 hours after we finish the Lead Sum we have our 1st weekend service – pray for our tech guys… and me!). But I feel like I want to get some of my rough reflections out of me b/f they get too refined.

Overall, I’m going to say that the best way to describe today for me would be either provocative or disturbing. Yes, it was inspirational, moving, informative, but more than most Summits this one’s giving me a lot to mull.

HYBLES started with the comforting words that the old reality, the reality of well-resourced ministry, has left the building. Nice! He’s right; there is a sense that this will give us an opportunity to be what God meant for us to be all along.

GARY HAMEL was my sleeper speaker. I never heard of him. I had no expectations. He starts with some self-deprecating words about how he’s just a layman…then he proceeded to give some beyond profound insights that basically said, change or die. The new reality means that nominal “churchianity” esta muerto! Good riddance! But we have to really authentically be the community of Jesus.

KELLER: What can I say, he was “Tim-o-licious”! He basically preached the message of his spectacular book, Prodigal God.  Every one, EVERY ONE needs to hear this, read this, get this. One interesting note, Linda had a girl from the 20 something ministry that’s only been a Christ follower about 6 months with her. She was a little bored by TK. Gasp! Her response: I hear this at Journey all the time. I’ll take it! This is actually GREAT!

My problem is that a lot of the voices in my head are not preaching this message.

I’m skipping the interview with Jessica Jackley (KIVA) not because it wasn’t wonderful, but I want to think about the last session with Harvey Carry.

HARVEY brought an interesting message. I know it was a talk that leaned toward motivation more than analysis. He said as much. But I had been having conversations all day with TC Porter about “missional” model of doing church and what that looks like at Journey or for any church. Honestly, I’m really trying to figure out what this means for us. What would this look like to stop huddling & start playing? Are we already doing so?

Do any of you ever have those, “I want to see So & So and such & such in a room together” moments. I SERIOUSLY want to see Harvey Carry & Andy Stanley in a room talking how we do church. Heck, since it is my fantasy, throw Bill Hybles & Tim Keller in there as well. Maybe Larry Osborn will stop by with Craig Groseschel. But I really would love to hear Andy, “you name it & we don’t do it” Stanley interact with Harvey.

Remember the disclaimer. I reserve the right to take any of this back!

I’m already looking forward to tomorrow.



  1. Great post, Ed.

    I saw a couple of other status updates to the effect of “I want to stop huddling, and start playing the game”. And I wonder if they mean themselves personally, or the church, as in Journey?

    Any church can say, “we should do more”, and would probably be right in saying/doing so. I have a hard time looking at JCC and saying “we’re huddled”. We’re forever releasing people by serving downtown, walking & raising money for those with HIV/AIDS, Life Perspectives, sending people across borders & resourcing ones we didn’t.

    That doesn’t smell “huddled” to me. How would you say it differently, if at all?

  2. Good perspective Todd. I think too, that there is a time to STOP. Part of why we gather on the weekends is to stop our activity, to enter more fully into his rest, to worship & reflect on Jesus. I need this.
    Also, a lot of the playing is viral or organic. Kicks For Hope is a great example. It’s not like the church stopped & said, let’s raise money for Ugandan kids, but through a couple of different things at JCC, this thing springs up in her heart. Voila!

  3. Ed,
    Thanks for the updates. I couldn’t get the time off of work to attend the summit.

  4. Good points, Ed. For those who haven’t had the chance to play the only sport Jesus approves of, which we all know is football… it’s important to understand that the team has to huddle every so often for a couple of reasons:
    1. Rest.
    2. Team Talk (who are we as a team/butt kicking (encouragement) from team captain)
    3. Instruction/Understanding for the next play

    Kick for Hope is a FANTASTIC example. Look for “Journey for Justice” to be a similar one in the next year.

    • Todd, I just left this message to Ed:
      Ed is it possible to have a family OGN mission experience that famlies can participate in next summer. We could take our summer vacation and reach out.
      Maybe this is something you can get together. If families can reach out, it would give parents the opportunity to set an example. This could inspire us to ready ourselves to reach out to some part of the world next summer.

  5. Valerie,

    Next year!!!

  6. I thought Harvey was very motivational…and I appreciate the huddle analogy as it is easy for me to grasp. Between Tim Keller and Harvey Carey – there is an interesting crossroad that strikes me as critical.

    Harvey said that the church needs to “stop huddling and start playing the game”. I think this relates to individuals of the church as well as the church as a whole. I know Journey is involved in many ministries and I am sure I don’t know the half of them. But Harvey also said something else very important….

    “Members of the church must take ownership for the works of the church, not just leaders and staff. You must genuinely engage the members.”

    Now cross reference that with Tim Keller’s statement:
    “The thing that shocks us as ministers is the level of spiritual deadness in our congregation.”

    Sure Journey is involved in a lot of ministries, but what percentage of JCC’s congregation is actively and genuinely engaged?

    Speaking for me – I so want to find the right place to serve my church and do God’s work in my church, but I don’t have any direction on what that is (perhaps when I get to “Holy Discontent” by Bill Hybels sometime next week that “one thing” will finally come into clarity and focus).

    Tim Keller said on average (I hope this part I am not misquoting) roughly 3% of a church’s congregation are serving and are involved in the work of the church.

    If this is true of JCC, then no matter how many ministries the church in a whole is involved in, the congregation is still effectively in a huddle.

    What needs to be figured out is, for those that are ready to serve and don’t have direction – get them direction. For those not ready to serve – what can we do to inspire them, to genuinely engage them to do the works of the church.

  7. Bob, what a great connection you made. I think that was divine providence that Harvey came after Tim. Harvey (get moving) without Tim (let the gospel get deeper into you, repent of your good works) will just produce more active Pharisees. I think Tim was diagnosing the REASON FOR THE PROBLEM. HC was motivation to not stop short. Again, I’m still processing.

  8. Good insights all the way around. “Iron sharpens iron.” I’m processing too and I’m aware that my perspective is limited. Humbly,

    Earlier in the day, Gary Hamel talked about the way we deal with confrontation, first we tend to dismiss a situation, and then rationalize. Then mitigate, and finally confront ourselves. He said we need “unflinching honesty, not paranoia or hostility. Welcome descent, and learn from deviants.” He encouraged bringing outsiders into the conversation, even non-believers.

    Now I don’t know what exactly that has to do with Journey. Is it possible that we deny our own culpability in the social injustices of the world? Is it possible that we rationalize by pointing to the good that we do? Is there something latent, something asleep, and it is not waking because we are too easy on ourselves? (All of these questions apply to the larger evangelical church that makes up mainstream Christianity in America.)

    No doubt, good things are being done throughout the community, and I know people like Todd are doing great things. In fact maybe that’s just the problem: too few people are shouldering the load.

    So maybe this is about me personally confessing that I have not been doing my share, and repenting that I will live more radically like Jesus. I have been going to Journey for several years and mainly just freeloading on the comfy chairs and excellent preaching and music. What can I do to partner with Journey to transform the community for Jesus? I’m speaking of holistic, spiritual and social transformation. And what is “the community” anyway?

    I guess in summary the first step is to assess whether or not there is actually a “problem.” And if so, how do we respond. Did Harvey’s earth-shaking message pertain to Journey?

    Thanks all. Hesed.

  9. Yikes! Did I just get called out?

    TC – I appreciate your honesty & humility…and find it interesting that the guy who picks up trash on Sunday morning feels like he has to “repent & live more radically like Jesus”.

    Let’s connect later today!


  10. Todd if everyone lived like you we wouldn’t even need this conversation. The kingdom of God would be closer at hand.

    See you today. Someone please introduce me to Bob.

  11. I didn’t know this dialogue was bouncing around; I’m still processing….

    I was super struck by Harvey’s talk; it was provocative and inspirational. But the danger of such a talk might be to point fingers if ministry doesn’t look a certain way. I think we have to look at ministry in a variety of ways – Big, small, local, global. Singing a song or helping in the soup kitchen. In the building, outside the building, in our home towns and outside them. Being the vision as well as talking about the vision.

    Church means different things to different people and at different times in our lives. As does ministry. For me, church is where I currently go to be replenished; I actually do what I think of as my ministry work outside of church serving people who are in pain, marginalized or both.

    Ed – how could you leave out Jessica Jackley in your summary? She was awesome and the ONLY woman in the line up. “Miles to go before we sleep. Miles to go before we sleep…” Women have a voice in leadership and they have a voice in the church. And there are tons of women out there who need ministering to because their voices have been taken from them and their bodies and spirits exploited. This gal seemed like a cool fusion of Charissa and Bethany. She rocked!

  12. Lise, good points all.
    Jessica was great. It had NOTHING to do with her gender. I loved her interview & facebooked something about it. It just wasn’t what I wanted to write about.

    I’m glad we all got to experience such a great 2 days.

  13. Ed, thanks. In family’s where there isn’t enough food on the table, the tendency might be to grab. When I see an under-representation of women in areas I care about, I scramble to make my voice heard – sometimes without my table manners. But while I can laugh at my obnoxious, knee jerk reaction, I also know that marginalized groups see things differently from those that aren’t. What seems nothing to a male, may always push a button in me, even if I distort situations. (Humans act out of context). It’s my wound that I must learn to better leverage.

    I think I’m the only person on the planet not facebooking. Now didn’t Hamel say, “Change or die!?” I better get with the times.

  14. I was on the prayer team for the summit. For the first session on day one I was teamed with another person to pray corporately for the summit. As we prayed, the prayers moved to JCC specifically and we prayed for a “Paradyme Shift” (sp?) I got a vision of the Worship Center as a box that the sides were bowing out of and the Holy Spirit burst out. I’ve had that vision before. We prayed that the people would take “church” OUT to the East County instead of trying to bring the East County IN. (I don’t mean a church service)

    During the second session that day I was paired with a different partner. We ended up praying for a paradyme shift again. I promise you I did not start that line of prayer. The other person who was not with us during the first session did. He didn’t know what we had already prayed.

    When we heard the speakers the rest of Day One we were very blessed to hear the speakers talking about the things we felt God had led us to pray earlier! It was very cool and we looked at each other and commented on it.

    JCC does have some people who have ministries that reach out to those outside the church. But my sense from our prayers were not even for more of those types of ministries to spring up but of a “new normal” of how the church operates. That we ALL will be going out because that’s just what we do, THAT will be the norm. Each member of the body would consider himself ‘in ministry.’

    That huddle mentality, of feeling like you aren’t ready…yet… to get into the game is a lie that paralyzes. One of the speakers said something like you learn more by just going out there and making some mistakes than you ever could by lots of planning and studying. But stepping out of the huddle for the first time or two is scary.

    God will lead us as we pray and then obey. Ready…break!

  15. The Leadership Summit was challenging in a lot of ways. I love the new Bill Hybels . . . the rogue wave has done wonders in his life and it showed in what he shared and has expereinced. God has transformed not only his life but the way he thinks about leadership and even the church service.

    “The old normal is gone. It will not return.”

    This should cause us to rethink the way we do church. I love and would like to point out two that he mentioned. One of which JCC is already engaged in and the other is one we have dialogue on and may be a bit more challenging to rethink.

    1. Meeting an hour prior to the service to engage people with … Vocal Team to sing over the people, to minister to people with this gift given to the Body so that they can just SOAK in God’s Presence. I know that they do this as well at the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn, NY. for many years with profitable results. This builds a greater sense of community, compassion and the opportunity to hear what God has to say with all the other voices being drowned out by a gift that God designed the Body to have.

    2. Meeting an hour after the service to pray for people, strengthen and encourage them. We cannot get energized by the challenges we face as individuals, families or as a church without doing this in community with each other. I know that there are more people out there (JCC) who could engage in this style of ministry as a way to rethink Sunday morning and taking other peoples stories more seriously.

    “No one is looking for a mild dose of God. They want the full treatment.”

    We have programmed and produced church services so that there is no room to rethink the way we do it when ‘the old normal is gone.’ Whether we want to think about it or not there is a paradigm shift happening across the world we live in and we will have to adapt in order to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to a lost and hurting world.

    Bill Hybels and Dave Gibbons really challenged me to start the process of rethinking what Church means, what service means and how we do that. It truly is time to change by focusing on things that I have not spent a lot of time thinking about.

    Dave Gibbons got me to thinking about how I do ministry and how it needs to change to meet the needs of our ever-changing world. I used to live this way, pray this way but somewhere along the way it seemed to have faded.

    I need to think and process through his points still but they deserve mention in case anybody has had time to give this more thought.

    Your/Their Story
    Priority Shifts
    Obedience over passion

    Connecting at a different level with people in ministry and those we are reaching out to. He pointed out these points that I am still mulling over…

    deeper callaboration regionally
    communal living (Acts 2 Church)
    prayer and radical sacrifice for the outsider

    I will never look at or read the Two Greatest Commandments the same again. They have a different meaning to me that Gibbons resurrected in my life.

    It was great serving at the Leadership Summit and I was impacted by the thought that the Church is in a Paradigm Shift. Will we shift, will I shift, will JCC…?


  16. I want to briefly respond to Steven’s comment, although every response has been incredible thought provoking.

    I love Steven that you reminded me of Bill’s comments about the format change at Willow – specifically singing over people and praying with people.

    I think JCC accomplishes a version of this with their magnificent after service prayer team and stellar music team spear-headed by Jason and highlighted at Selah. But I must agree with Bill that there is something sacred and mystical about these formats. I adore Ed’s sermons (hear them 2x a weekend) but for me, the meat and potatoes of my worship experience occurs in the experiential components – singing and praying afterwards with the prayer team, even if I don’t have a prayer petition or problem. Praying seems to book end the experience for me and invites in the Holy Spirit and whatever affect begs release. I can feel the Holy Spirit tingle in my blood when I hold hands with whomever is praying with me (or I them).

    I look forward to Selah and the week of prayer because I think we’ll get more of this. Often, I just want to meditate and worship. Working in the healing arts, I know that music, dance and drama can tap into people’s pain and spiritual process far beyond what the intellect often can. I’m so grateful JCC does a great job in these areas and is open to more! When we get out of our heads, that is when we get authentic and real with each other and the arts connects us all – fringe or otherwise. I’d love to see some type of dance jam where we can just let it rip.

    The intersection of narrative (ours and the those in the Bible) is beautifully explored in the format of Bibliodrama – an odd yet unique blend of psychodrama and theology. I’d like to explore bringing this forward as a ministry at some point in the next year, if there is interest, as I have training in it. It is something I’m mulling over, as I continue to learn and grow in my process.


  17. This is very stimulating; Journey has some bright minds. Two thoughts here:

    1. Think beyond East County
    2. Think beyond Sunday

    I know a lot of us live in “East County” and the church identifies itself as such. I live up the street, not a mile from JCC. But draw a circle around the church, that goes as far as east El Cajon, and you encompass to the west the “mid-city” section of San Diego that includes our sphere’s most dense section of poverty and need. I don’t suggest an either-or proposition, and in fact as we become experts at serving East County we can do the same in mid-city. I am looking for brave people to hold me accountable to be “sent out” (apostled) into environments as outlined by Harvey Carey: Visit urban parks at night, walk the streets in the day, etc. Any takers?

    Similarly, I am certain the Sunday mornings are only going to become more worshipful – as we submit our lives to worship throughout the week, and then gather to share the war stories and be filled again. Some excellent books in regards to 7-day worship include “Redeeming the Routines” by Robert Banks, “A Work in the Spirit: Toward a Theology of Work” by Miroslav Volf, and (more heavily) anything by Michael Frost or Alan Hirsch.

    A final thought: Wow, look how we are already practicing mutuality: the open sourcing, meritocracy, blogging, culture of respect – leadership principles that were a major theme of the Summit. I’m grateful to be a part. :)

    • TC – I’m not speaking for any of the other Pastors on this one, but I think for Journey to think beyond East County could be a dangerous distraction. Why? Calling. God called Mike Burns to plant a church in East County over 16 years ago…and we should continue to be faithful to that calling.

      Now that said, I think that God has brought people to Journey that have a personal calling (you and I both know some of them) for whom the Mid City or downtown is their passion. And I think they should be free and feel free to join God’s work in those areas…like, um, at Adams Ave Crossing!!! And even though I’m not speaking for the other guys, I think that at some point, Journey should feature your church, and encourage some Journey people to check it out.

      • Todd: Thanks for that insight. If that’s out of Journey’s mission then duly noted, and Ed feel free to use your handy WordPress moderation features. :) Perhaps I sensed maybe the mission has expanded, 16 years later, a larger and mature church? Larger: Certainly many people drive to La Mesa from the West (some from the mid-city). Mature: It is quite possible the mission (reaching East County) is met precisely as people venture out into servanthood in the next city over, moving along from disciples (apprentices) to apostles (sent ones). … But again, thanks for the comment, and the free, um, advertisement!!! :)

  18. Last time we looked at Journey zip codes & put them on a map they pretty much formed a circle around where Journey is located. There are about as many people west of 8363 Center Dr as there are east.
    I have advocated that our statement be amended to say that our purpose is
    To reach as many people as possible STARTING in the east county with the gospel of Christ…

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