A husband, father and Christ-follower, Matt is Lead Pastor of Restoration Church in Lake Zurich, IL. Matt is also an accomplished Writer, Producer, Director and Editor who has earned multiple awards including two Emmy's for his work in Chicago television broadcasting.
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.
Although we’re already a few weeks into 2019, it’s still not too late to share my top books from last year. As you’ll see, my selections center on theology, the church, and pastoral leadership. I tried to limit it to just 4 or 5, but this was a year of hearing from a number of formative voices that are shaping me, my leadership, and our church. So here they are, my top books from 2018.
It’s no secret the church, specifically the broader evangelical church, is in a state of crisis. Attendance and engagement is down, stories of financial, physical, and spiritual abuses are mounting, and any meaningful conversation regarding theology, philosophy, and morality in the cultural mainstream has become nearly impossible. Even the faithful in the evangelical church are becoming disheartened, weary, and have stories of frustration, disenfranchisement and hurt. This growing crisis should cause us to take an honest look inwards through the lens of Scripture, in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and with a heart of great humility before the Lord.