We Are Closing…Again

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We are doing it again. So, you are probably used to seeing the title and know we don’t mean forever. It has been just under a year since Riverdeep canceled our Sunday service to go out into the city and communities to serve and share with others. Last time we went out it was Father’s Day and I will never forget driving up on one of my neighborhood friends who was passed out on the sidewalk, in the heat, surround by the pieces of a broken glass bottle. I got out of the truck and cautiously walked up trying to determine if he was dead, the whole time thinking I had my whole family in the vehicle just a few feet away. As I woke up my friend, he was glad to see us and especially grateful to be given a cold bottle of water. I went back to the …

We Are Closing…

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Its heart stopping, isn’t it? So much weight behind those few words.  But there is more behind them.  You see, those ellipses say there is more to the story.  And there is. We are closing for one Sunday.  We aren’t closing forever, which the title of this post may seem to indicate.  Just for one day. On June 17, 2018, we will not gather together as Riverdeep Church at 627 Monroe Ave.  Instead, we are closing the doors and SENDING OUT our people to reach and minister in the community. So much of Christianity today is about gathering.  In fact, we gather so much that it is incredibly easy to lose sight of the fact that there is a whole world OUT THERE who either knows nothing of Christ, or who has consciously chosen to stay away from the church.  You see, we have asked the very world we are called to …

Easter 2018

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There is something so intoxicating about scent. For some, a bundle of flowers can set the mind at ease or the heart racing. For others, the smell of a campfire can spark nostalgia or make one feel masculine. Even walking through the grocery store today, a woman walked by and while I wouldn’t call her perfume intoxicating, it was pleasant to be brought back from the endless soup options before me. The ability of smells to provoke our mind to a time gone by and at the same time to tie directly into our very soul is certainly a mysterious wonder. In many religious traditions, the lighting and offering of incense is seen as a deeply spiritual practice. Even in the Bible it says that the prayers of the saints are intermingled with incense and as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. If we could just imagine our prayers being …

No One Is Coming.

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People rarely attend a church because of a new logo. Or a new name. Or a newly renovated space. The impetus for people to attend a new church is not because of a progressive “Coffee in the Sanctuary” policy. To think these changes are what bring people to a church is less than intellectually rigorous (read: stupid). Riverdeep Church is 10 days away from our launch Sunday. Ten. Days. And although we have made all the above changes, we are not so silly to think that those reasons are going to usher in a flood of people into our church doors. The first Sunday will come and more people will attend than we knew would be there. Their motivation coming from a variety of reasons ranging from curiosity to a desire for community. We will have friends from our past ministry contexts who are just coming to celebrate what God …

Life on Mission.

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What is one of the least evangelized mission fields in America? How do we strategically reach those people far from God? The Church must find a way to train, empower, commission, and send out disciples to fulfill the Great Commission. How many people sitting in churches today would say they feel adequately trained to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, let alone the end of the street? Christians run into so many people at work, school, Crossfit classes, or on neighborhood walks that would never think to come to a church to hear the Gospel. This is Mission. Christians MUST fulfill the Great Commission.  In order to do that, they must be discipled to AUTHENTICALLY and ORGANICALLY share the Gospel.  We need to remove the awkward and plastic-ness of much telemarketer manual witnessing scripts, and just share the Hope in Christ in a compelling and biblical fashion.  Be winsome.  Too many …

Home Groups – Cont’d

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Home Groups. Missional Community. House Church. Small Groups. Bible Study. There is no shortage of terms to describe communities of individuals gathering around the word of God in small groups. Depending on who you talk to, all these terms have multiple meanings depending on the person saying them. For the sake of understanding, we need to clarify the definition of Home Groups. Home Groups are the communities where discipleship and relationship take root. They are located in the homes of our members and at their core, are the context where the heart of the church is most vibrant. Many people confuse the Church with being the Sunday corporate gathering, but the truth is that if you cannot do it under a shade tree in Africa, then Jesus didn’t die for it. Corporate worship gatherings too often rely on pomp, dramatic lighting, and are too dependent on a few skilled individuals …

Home Groups

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“What’s next?” This is the question I have been asking myself over the past few weeks.  Not because I haven’t thought about it, but because there is just too much to do.  So many directions I could turn, I’m constantly asking myself, “Which one would be the best use of my time and attention?” It is a difficult balance in giving a solid effort to my employer, quality time with my family, and the spiritual responsibility of my church. For Riverdeep, the next task before us is to root Home Groups and begin the process of establishing a discipleship pipeline.  Far too many churches start with a gathering and hope that they will get the discipleship component figured out later.  However, that is a major problem.  The Great Commission says nothing about a gathering and everything about discipleship. While the two are not diametrically opposed, if we do not make discipleship a …

What’s In A Name?

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A name is important. It is an identity.  It has the power to change circumstances.  A name communicates. Riverdeep Church.  Why Riverdeep? The first step with the church planting effort in downtown Memphis was to change the name.  Why not stay with Church on Edge? Or even revert back to its original name, International Baptist Church? I hope to address these questions below. Why change the name from Church on Edge?  The key to understanding this decision has more to do with a preposition. I know…I already alluded to Shakespeare and now I am discussing parts of speech (I’m really making my high school Lit teachers proud).  But bear with me.  The preposition in question is “on” as in Church ON Edge.  If I were to say, “My boss is on edge,” you would assume that they were in a bad mood and that it would be best to steer clear …