Matt Till is a lecturer of Christian Ministry and Communications at Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL, lead pastor of Restoration Church in the Chicago suburbs, and a regular contributor to Ephesiology (ephesiology.com), an online community and podcast dedicated to the study of the early Christian movement. Follow and connect with him at matthewtill.com and on Twitter, @MattTill1.
Last month I received a text from a friend and ministry partner asking if I would be interested in collaborating on a new podcast dedicated to the study of the early Christian movement. The goal would be to participate in a theological conversation that seeks to see movements reignited locally and globally. A few weeks later, this new project was born!
I’m not known to travel very much, especially by plane. However, as the Lord would have it, He put me on six planes in the span of 27 days that took me to the edges of the country for the purpose of joining Him in His mission. The picture above became a familiar sight for me. It was also symbolic to the purpose of each of these trips and how the Lord continues to be leading – “You will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
This week I had the privilege to be part of a 4-day “Church Intensive” with We Are Church, the church-planting network founded by Francis Chan in San Francisco, California. We learned first-hand the heart behind their ministry, the ‘why’ behind their methodology, and caught a powerful vision of what the church can and should be in our communities. The following is one story from my time with them.
Movements and causes come and go all the time. But there is one movement that has withstood the test of time because its founded in truth and spiritually empowered. Regrettably, the statistics have been in for quite some time: Christianity has plateaued and begun a slow decline in North America, not because its been proven false, but because we have lost sight of our mission.
In his final instructions to his followers, Jesus is clear; they have a mandate — a ‘great commission’ — over their lives. To be a follower of Jesus, united in His death and resurrection, and the recipient of a restored soul for all eternity, is to be a fully enlisted and endorsed participant in God’s redemptive plan for the world.
There is something freeing, beautiful & powerful when we get back to the basics. When we strip away the access, fluff, irrelevant, and unnecessary, we’re left with nothing but the essentials. This is how we do church.