Archive - General RSS Feed

#OnePark Celebration, Pt. 3 :: Churchwide BBQ

This is part 3 of a 3 part series on the different ways we are celebrating this weekend for our One Park Celebration (#OnePark). We have already covered the first half of the day – Baptism at the lake, and our move to One Service for this Sunday only. If you missed those posts go read them here (Pt. 1 & Pt. 2). Now it’s onto the churchwide BBQ at 12 PM, in Seward Park.

Tweet if you’re planning on celebrating with us!

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, this upcoming Sunday is all about celebrating and connecting. From celebrating through baptism, to connecting through our One Service being held simultaneously across all of our campuses, so it would only be appropriate to complete our day with an opportunity for our whole church to connect in community around food, games, and some human foosball.

Yes you heard me right…human foosball!

As I mentioned yesterday, there is rarely a time when our whole church gathers in one place to connect. At 10 AM this Sunday we will be worshiping in a simultaneous service through a live video cast to all of our campuses, but the churchwide BBQ will truly give us an opportunity to meet and connect with those from our other Park campuses.

And if you need an extra nudge, think about this: when will you ever have the opportunity to go up against others at Park in human foosball or tug-of-war? And of course there’s the annual egg toss competition to get in on. Only at the churchwide BBQ!

Games are, well…fun and games, but on a serious note, I think many times we actually underestimate the importance of connecting as a whole community. I know for myself it is easy to get comfortable at my campus in my neighborhood. I know the people I am interacting with and we have a context to our relationship. But think about how cool it is to know that there are hundreds of other people around the city worshiping God at a Park campus and throughout the week!

Wouldn’t you like to meet these people? Whether it is just to connect in a conversation about your favorite food spot in University Village, or a good coffee shop in Lincoln Park. We are ultimately brought together by the fact that we worship the same God and share the same hope that he offers through His Son, Jesus Christ.

So I hope you’ll join us this Sunday as we conclude our #OnePark Celebration with a great time at the churchwide BBQ. If you need to purchase tickets, you can still get them at discounted rate online through midnight on Saturday by clicking here. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the BBQ.

Here is some of the fun stuff to look forward to at the BBQ…

  • Human Foosball
  • Bouncehouse for the kids
  • Tug o’ war
  • Egg toss competition
  • Smoque BBQ
  • Ice cream cart
  • Sno cones

and more…

As I mentioned in the last post, we love to see your pictures, and see the fun your having through Facebook and Twitter. If you’re tweeting anything about our #OnePark Celebration please include the hashtag #OnePark.

We also love to see your pictures on Facebook. Post your pics from #OnePark on our Facebook wall.

Click here to get more info on the BBQ as well as the rest of the events happening throughout the day. We hope you’ll join us for the entire day.

Will you be celebrating with us this Sunday?

Are you coming to the baptism, our One Service, the BBQ, or everything?

Retweet this post if you’ll be celebrating with us!

#OnePark Celebration, Pt. 2 :: One Service

This is part 2 of a 3 part series on the different ways we are celebrating this weekend for our One Park Celebration. Yesterday we talked about baptism, the purpose, and the celebration behind it. Today we are talking about our one service that is being held this Sunday at 10 AM across each campus.

Depending on which campus you attend we hold services at different times throughout any given weekend. We hold services on Saturday evening, Sunday morning, and Sunday evening. In total there are 7 services being held each weekend throughout all of our campuses. Many of you have friends that attend the same service so this is a good time of engaging in God’s Word as well as in community.

But do you ever think about our other campuses? Sometimes we have events happening at our other campuses that are a good reminder that we are one church, no matter which campus you attend, but how often are we reminded that we are all worshiping, and engaging in community at the same time?

This weekend we have this special opportunity to worship as one church simultaneously across each of our campuses at 10 AM.

As we worship through song, and engage in community at each campus we can now be reminded that there are many other people across the city who call Park home who will be participating in the same worship to our God.

What about teaching?

Our Lead Pastor, Jackson Crum will be teaching and continuing our series in the heart of David. This will be simulcasted over a high quality live video stream to each of our campuses.

This simulcast teaching experience will allow us all to hear and engage in the same teaching at the same time. This experience will bring together our community in a way we have never seen before, and will give us momentum as we enter into the third part of our celebration (more on this to come).


Some more opportunities we are offering to enhance your experience throughout this service are some things we are doing through Twitter, Facebook, and the YouVersion mobile app.

Throughout the entire day, and especially in the service at 10 AM we know that you love to share pictures, quotes, and experiences with your friends on Twitter. As you are sharing these things it would be great if you included the hashtag #OnePark when tweeting about this day. By doing a simple Twitter search for #OnePark will then show you all of the tweets from other people throughout the day allowing you to follow our One Park Celebration.

On Facebook we would also love it if you posted pictures on our wall from the baptism, service, or BBQ. At the end of the day we would love to have a collection of pictures, quotes, conversations and experiences taken in collaboration with you throughout the day.

Thirdly, Jackson’s teaching notes will be made available for you to follow along on your phone through the YouVersion mobile app. If you haven’t yet used this you can watch this video to get started.

These are some things we are offering to enhance your experience during our One Park Celebration and we hope you’ll take advantage of them.

We’re looking forward to gathering with you in community this weekend during our one service at 10 AM, on Sunday. Click here for more info, and look forward to part 3 of this series tomorrow.

How are you going to be engaging in community this weekend?

Are you going to be celebrating with us this weekend?

Let us know below…

One Park Celebration, Pt. 1 :: Baptism at the Lake

Baptism is a special time in the life of one who has crossed the line of faith. It is a time where one takes the opportunity to publicly say, “I have committed my life to Christ and following his will for my life.” It is a time where one takes the opportunity to not only inwardly confess Christ, but to outwardly confess that Jesus Christ is their Lord.

Why water?

Can’t I just publicly confess with my mouth that I am a follower of Jesus Christ? What is the significance of being dipped in some water?

Yes, you can and are actually commanded to publicly confess with your mouth to be a follower of Jesus, Romans 10:8-10 “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

So we see here in Romans that if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts then we will be saved. But baptism is not only a public confession of what we believe, but there is also much imagery in being baptized.

Baptism is a picture of what Jesus did for us.

Colossians 2:9-10 & 12-13, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority…having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…”

As you can see from this Scripture, baptism is a picture of what Jesus did for us in order to save us from our sins. When one is baptized it is a picture of them being buried with Christ, raised from the dead, and cleansed from our sin.

This weekend we are celebrating with those in our community who have crossed the line of faith, and in obedience are being baptized. This is such an exciting time in the life of our community. This is not only a public proclamation of the decisions that have been made, but it is also a beautiful picture of the Gospel. God sent His only Son to this earth as a human being to make the ultimate sacrifice, and take upon himself the sin of us all so we could be saved from ourselves. Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, this is the Gospel, and this is what we are celebrating this weekend!

So join us this weekend as we kickoff our Celebration Sunday on Lake Michigan as those in our community are proclaiming the Gospel through baptism. Our baptism service is happening at 7 AM, at North Ave Beach. Click here if you need more information. Look forward to more posts in this series throughout this week leading up to our Celebration Sunday.

Have you been baptized?

We would love to hear your story…

Failure & Grace

By Jackson Crum, Lead Pastor

I have found over the years that most of us either struggle with knowing
grace when we fail, thinking that God lives in constant disappointment with
us…or thinking we have a license to rebel with no consideration for how
we have offended God or anyone else for that matter.

This weekend we look at the life of David and one of his greatest moments
of failure.

Do you struggle with God’s grace in your life?

If so, how?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

Spiritual Adoption

By Kevin Howells, Pastor of Small Groups & Spiritual Formation at Park

As I reflect on Ephesians 1:3-14, I’m reminded of the important doctrine of election.

Theologically, adoption is an act of God whereby he makes us members of his family. But this past year adoption, has moved from my head to my heart with the adoption of our daughter. I’ve realized in a new and fresh way, that I too was spiritually adopted at age 5 when I accepted Christ as my Savior. The earthly adoption of our daughter has reminded me of this truth, and as Russell Moore states in his book, “Adopted for Life,” it’s missional and gospel!

Adoption is, on the one hand, gospel. In this, adoption tells us who we are as children of the Father. Adoption as the gospel tells us about our identity, our inheritance, and our mission as sons of God. Adoption is also defined as mission. In this, adoption tells us our purpose in this age as the people of Christ. Missional adoption spurs us to join Christ in advocating for the helpless and abandoned.

As soon as you peer into the truth of one aspect, you fall headlong into the truth of another, and vice versa. That’s because it’s the way the gospel is. Jesus reconciles us to God and to each other. As we love our God, we love our neighbor; as we love our neighbor, we love God. We believe Jesus in heavenly things – our adoption in Christ; so we follow him in earthly things – the adoption of children. Without the theological aspect, the emphasis on adoption too easily is seen as mere charity. Without the missional aspect, the doctrine of adoption too easily is seen as a mere metaphor.

But adoption is contested, both in its cosmic and missional aspects. The Scriptures tell us there are unseen beings in the air around us who would rather we not think about what it means to be who we are in Christ. These rulers of this age would rather we ignore both the eternal reality and the earthly icon of it. They would rather we find our identity, our inheritance and our mission according to what we can see and verify as ours – according to what the Bible calls “the flesh” – rather than according to the veiled rhythms of the Spirit of Life. That’s why adoption isn’t charity – it’s war.” “Adoption is not just about couples who want children or who want more children. Adoption is about an entire culture within our churches, a culture that sees adoption as part of our Great Commission mandate, and as a sign of the Gospel itself.”

Park’s adoption community is a great place to get connected with others who have or are considering adoption. If you would like to get connected with others in Park’s adoption community contact us here.

In addition, these website are very resourceful:

How does this view of adoption change the way you live your life?

Give us your thoughts in a comment below…

Mourning the Death of Osama Bin Laden

In response to Osama Bin Laden’s death, Pastor Jackson Crum tweeted:

Osama, a criminal, was caught, but that doesn’t mean I celebrate his death. Shouldn’t I mourn over a life lived apart from the God of the Bible? -@jaxnc
This is a good question for followers of Christ to wrestle through.

While it is no easy thing to navigate the emotions that arise from this news, we must think through how the Christian should respond. Some have responded with profound thankfulness and gratitude that justice has been served. Some have celebrated that a dangerous mass murderer has been eliminated. While others have been disinterested and unmoved, Crum is suggesting we mourn over a person who has met his end potentially apart from the gospel.

Our response is important because it demonstrates to the world around us who we believe our God is. It communicates what we believe to be true about this life and how we are to live as resident aliens. It’s an opportunity for the church to bring compassion and speak truth in a violent world.

Consider Matthew 5.13 where Jesus says:
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
In this passage, Jesus speaks to the office of every Christian – to salt the earth. Apart from Christ, all that we have within us is tasteless until we have been seasoned with the salt of the gospel of Jesus. Salt preserves and seasons. Commenting on Matthew 5, the Puritan theologian John Owen said,
Salt does not mock rotting meat, it saves and seasons where it is able; and where it is not able it weeps.
Salt does not look at rotting meat and laugh or joke at it’s saltless state. Salt mourns and weeps.

This seems to be what Crum is saying. The Christian weeps over the unrepentant and mourns the death of the wicked because the Christian knows salvation is of God and not our own doing. The Christian knows that nothing separates us from a mass murderer save the grace of God in the heart and mind of a person. We cannot boast that we have chosen a particularly better path than the terrorist and therefore mock or celebrate their ruin. Such a response indicates not only our lack of self awareness as sinful beings, but also our failure to comprehend the gospel and inability to see the world and its wars through the viewpoint of the cross.

The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1). The gospel changes us and transforms our motivations and choices. There is no boasting save in the cross of Jesus Christ. Any attempt at celebrating a death only demonstrates our profound misunderstanding of the gospel that gives life and grace to undeserving sinners.

Our response as salt and as light is mourning and weeping over a life lived apart from the God of the Bible.

Theology of Interruption

Interruption is God’s invitation.

Jesus, in Luke 10, tells the story of the Good Samaritan – a man is on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho – gets robbed – stripped – beaten – and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest comes by, pretends he doesn’t see it and moves along. Likewise, a Levite walks by and ignores the man. (not looking good for the religious folk) Finally, a Samaritan walks by, (the “enemy” of the Jew) fixes him up and makes sure the man is in good care.

As I read that account this week, I was reminded of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, “Life Together“. He writes:

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks

It is a strange fact that Christians and even ministers frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them. They think they are doing God a service in this, but actually they are disdaining God’s ‘crooked yet straight path.’

God has used both these passages in my life quite regularly to convict my heart when I find myself placing the goal for the day above people’s “claims and petitions”. Bonhoeffer comments on the priest and the Levite in Luke 10 that in such moments they not only morally fail to bring aid where aid is needed; but fail to see the visible sign of the Cross, that God has erected in their path.

One might wonder whether Bonhoeffer disregards prioritizing and the practice of managing a schedule. What about productivity? What about that bottom line? What about sermon prep and our daily responsibilities? Surely such things are important enough they demand we create additional positions for people to provide the necessary care, much like the early church of Acts and the installment of the Diaconate.

Bonhoeffer’s point of concern isn’t so extreme. It’s quite simple: the Christian’s job is to listen to God and to care about what God’s telling you and showing you above all else. For the pastor, this is done in hundreds of ways including faithful exegesis and sermon prep. However, the moment our ‘work’ becomes the ultimate thing, and we give no allowance for God to interrupt us, we need to be very careful to stop and examine ourselves. Have we become so deluded and self-absorbed we actually think we’re being good stewards of our time? Or does the situation give cause for uninterrupted work?

Regardless, Bonhoeffer’s point is worth careful consideration. As a pastor, God oftentimes meets you in those interrupted moments of life to not only use you as hopefully a means of life and grace in the lives of those he’s entrusted to you, but also to give you a fresh awareness of himself. The same is true for any follower of Christ in any work environment. Bonhoeffer petitions every Christian to stop and allow for interruption. This benefits both the one doing the interrupting, as well as the person being interrupted because it is in those instances God reveals himself in ways we may never have seen or experienced otherwise. He is erecting visible signs of the Cross in our path for our benefit to show us that his kingdom is at hand – to invite us in his work.

Interruption is God’s invitation. God is inviting us to see him all around us, in the lives of others, in our conversations, in our serving those in need. Interruption is not simply a matter of developing patience in the heart of the Christian, it’s about experiencing life! It is one of God’s ways of waking us up to what’s around us to see there’s perhaps more to be done than our task for the day, as important as it may be. Interruption is God’s tender way of encouraging the Christian to be a part of the kingdom come.

Jesus Wins

By Joseph Tenney & JR Kerr

Rob Bell’s book Love Wins has been the cause for great discussion over these past few weeks in the life of the US church. There have been tweets and sermons alike some condemning and others commending this most raucous work of the famed preacher from Grand Rapids. As a community we have decided to respond to this book and surrounding debate in two simple ways.

First, this past weekend Jackson preached on the biblical doctrine of both heaven and hell. It should be listened to and digested, but in summary, as a church we believe that heaven and hell are both very real and that there is an impending and deep consequence for the way we live life on this earth. Second, we have been working on this response to the actual claims of the book. Our hope is simply that we would remain deeply committed to a biblical view of life & death and that we would engage in the cultural tensions this inevitably creates with our neighbors and friends who are far from God.

The basic premise of our response to Bell’s book is simple. Jesus wins not love. Bell offers a multitude of ideas around how God will deal with our future state in eternity, but ultimately our greatest concern is his diminishment of the person of Jesus Christ in the past, present, and future of our redemption through the Gospel. Three areas that Bell addresses are worth unpacking if we are to understand how and why this elevation of love over Jesus is, in our opinion, misguided and perhaps even dastardly.

The first of these is Bell’s treatment of history. Culturally, we have lost sight of who we are as a church because we have stopped rigorously pursuing a historical sense of who we have been as the people of God. Bell does this with the church fathers and their view of heaven and hell. Luther in particular plays a prominent role in the case that he presents.

Bell states, “And so space is created in this ‘who would doubt God’s ability to do that?’…and so, beginning with the early church, there is a long tradition of Christians who believe that God will ultimately restore everything and everybody.” (pg. 106) Bell gives no reference or context for Luther’s statement. Studying Luther’s Larger Catechism presents a different picture though. The problem is, Luther never said anything close to what Bell would like him to say. You can find this letter in the Weimar Ausgabe, in volume 10.ii, 322-26. This is what the letter actually says,

“If God were to save anyone without faith, he would be acting contrary to his own words and would give himself the lie; yes, he would deny himself. And that is impossible for, as St. Paul declares, God cannot deny himself. It is as impossible for God to save without faith as it is impossible for divine truth to lie. That is clear, obvious, and easily understood, no matter how reluctant the old wineskin is to hold this wine–yes, is unable to hold and contain it. It would be quite a different question whether God can impart faith to some in the hour of death or after death so that these people could be saved through faith. Who would doubt God’s ability to do that? No one, however, can prove that he does do this. For all that we read is that he has already raised people from the dead and thus granted them faith. But whether he gives faith or not, it is impossible for anyone to be saved without faith. Otherwise every sermon, the gospel, and faith would be vain, false, and deceptive, since the entire gospel makes faith necessary. (Works, 43, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1968, 53-54)

Clearly, upon reading more than this single line from Luther’s letter we find that Luther is responding to the age old question of whether someone can be saved without faith in Jesus Christ. Luther responds with an emphatic NO, it’s impossible for God to save without faith. This diminishment of the power of saving faith in Jesus is a direct confrontation of Jesus as Lord and savior.

The next issue worth addressing is this idea that Jesus came to save all people and that ultimately his work will redeem all people whether they have responded to his call in this life or not. In an effort to speak about final restoration for ‘all people’, Bell notes the following passages (86-87):

  • Lamentations 3: People are not cast off by the Lord forever,
  • Hosea 14: I will heal their waywardness and love them freely for my anger has turned away from them.
  • Joel 3: In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem

Bell cites many more passages, too many to show here; but notice, these restoration passages are not referring to “all people”, rather the covenant people of God. The thought is not, “Hang on every person who has ever lived, he will restore us”; but rather, “If you are a child of God and have been saved by grace through faith, hang on, he WILL keep his own.” Bell disagrees and says, “this isn’t just something for God’s people, the chosen, the elect.” And to support this claim he then draws our attention to Isaiah 19:

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt,

and a monument to the LORD at its border.

Bell wants to use Isaiah 19 to show that this kind of restoration isn’t for God’s people alone, but for those who are “opposed to God…the ones far away (like the Egyptians) will be brought near.(p. 87)

The problem is Isaiah 19 has nothing to do with a final restoration being realized postmortem. Isaiah 19 is about an oracle from God concerning Egypt – one in which God brings Egypt to it’s knees where they beg God to save them. There’s nothing in this text to suggest that God will rescue every soul in Egypt. God makes the promise, as he often does in the Prophets, that if they will turn to him then God will show mercy. This kind of restoration would diminish Jesus because it would require nothing from us in terms of obedience in this life, and therefore would mean that we can live as we desire and yet still be guaranteed a place in eternity with God. If this is the case, then what was the point to the life and suffering of Jesus Christ? Was it all simply good drama? NO. It was not, it was essential to the future of the human race and therefore there is consequence how we respond to it in this life.

The final arena is perhaps the most important and the reason why we respond to the claim, “Love Wins with the idea that Jesus Wins”. Penal Substitution is the idea that Jesus Christ was punished, wounded, suffered in our place. He served as the substitute and ransom for sinners and satisfied God’s justice so that God is now able to justly forgive sins through the death of his Son. Bell flat out denies that God’s wrath is enkindled against mankind. This leads him to believe eternal suffering can in no way bring God glory, and in fact, is incompatible with a God who is love.

Bell writes, “Many have heard the gospel framed in terms of rescue. God has to punish sinners, because God is holy, but Jesus has paid the price for our sin, and so we can have eternal life. However true or untrue that is technically or theologically, what it can do is subtly teach people that Jesus rescues us from God. Let’s be very clear, then: we do not need to be rescued from God. God is the one who rescues us from death, sin, and destruction. God is the rescuer.”

Is God our rescuer? Yes, God is our rescuer, saving us from sin and death and bringing us to himself; and yes God rescues us from his holy wrath that is poured out on his creatures in perfect justice. It’s as though all of the sudden, God cannot be more than one thing at the same time. He cannot be both merciful and just, show compassion on some and harden others. God is entirely more complex than Bell would have us believe. Bell’s rejection of Penal Substitution is a rejection of the full nature of God. God is not only love, but as the angels proclaim and repeat, he is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY. God is not only a God to be loved and thought fondly of as a gracious Father, he is to be feared, “ The Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” (Is. 8 )

Jesus wins. He wins because while he could have simply chosen to restore everything and all people one day, he did not because he chose to redeem those who have believed in him. The second reason Jesus wins is because all throughout history he has been drawing a very particular people towards himself by his grace and election. The third reason Jesus wins is because he pays the great price of rescue. He rescues from the wrath and the due that is ours because of our sin. There is no greater love than this, than one who lays down his life for his friends. Jesus has made us friends through the laying down of his life on our behalf. This is great love, but it is also sacrifice. Ultimately, it is Jesus who wins the day and redeems our story, if you do not know Jesus then you cannot know redemption.

Is Missions About Words or Deeds?

In a message I shared August 1 from 2 Samuel 2 I stressed that we cannot just be committed to the work of the Gospel as we engage the city, but we must accompany our work with the words of the Gospel in appropriate way.  Why are we doing this?  What is our motive?

The article below was written by Brett McCracken.  He is stressing the same point.

I would love to know what you think.

Jackson Crum

Is Missions About Words or Deeds?
Our generation has made social justice the focus of missions. But have we forgotten Jesus?

I really enjoyed a column by Brad Greenberg (of The God Blog) a few weeks back in the Wall Street Journal‘s “Houses of Worship” column. The piece, entitled “How Missionaries Lost Their Chariots of Fire,” took a look at the trends in Christian missions in recent years—most notably the shift among younger evangelicals from proselytizing and preaching to doing more service and social justice-oriented work as mission. A shift in focus from words to deeds.

Evangelical youth now hold the term “missionary” at arm’s length, afraid of the colonialist connotations of the word. They prefer being involved in “social justice” under the auspices of a more generalized Christian sense of charity rather than operating under anything resembling (groan) “soul winning.”

Greenberg cites such popular organizations as Invisible Children, an ostensibly Christian social justice organization whose media kit states that its founders “believe in Christ, but do NOT want to limit themselves in any way.”

Greenberg, who notes that “Christians today typically travel abroad to serve others, but not necessarily to spread the gospel,” ultimately concludes that as much as abandoning the colonialist undertones and “vacationary” short-term reputation of evangelical missions is a good thing, we have to remember that both actions and words are necessary in missions.

He writes:

“Spreading Christianity through deeds alone aligns with a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: ‘Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words.’ But research suggests that non-Christians often miss the message without the words.

“A 2006 study by Calvin College’s Kurt Ver Beek found ‘little or no difference’ in the spiritual response between two groups of Hondurans—one which had its homes rebuilt by missionaries who did not proselytize and the other by local NGOs. Intuition would suggest as much. Unless foreigners explain that they are motivated to help by their religious beliefs, locals may be grateful for the new home but they should not be expected to connect dots that they may not even know exist.

“The reality is the Church should be doing both: serving the needy and spreading the gospel. This is what makes the humanitarian work of Christians different than that of the American Red Cross. Both are motivated by the desire to help others, but Christians are spurred by that Jesus thing.”

Props to Greenberg for highlighting this important point—that in our desire to move away from the ills of “old school” missions thinking we don’t throw the baby (preaching the Gospel) out with the bathwater (colonialism, etc). Sadly, we  pendulum-prone evangelicals have a hard time with these both/and scenarios—always inclined to correct the ills of one thing by a wholesale replacement of it with something equally full of its own ills.

I’m all for social justice. I’m passionate about it. Christians have to be serving people and loving them not just in word but in deed. But man, if I hear another well-fed, TOMS-wearing evangelical kid quote St. Francis (“preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words”) one more time as a justification for their unwillingness to utter a word to anyone about Christ as the one true hope, I don’t know what I’ll do.

It’s an ongoing debate in missiology: Should missionaries in foreign countries prioritize meeting physical needs (food, water, social justice, development) before they preach the Gospel, or should evangelism always be given primacy?

To me, the debate is silly. Can’t we do both simultaneously? Can’t we serve others and meet their circumstantial needs while at the same time telling them about Jesus? Yes, we should be in Africa building water wells, or in Haiti building schools, but what’s the harm in mentioning along the way that we are Christians acting as the Church, loving the world because God loved it?

I’m not sure missions could ever be too focused on deeds—unless it is at the expense of the equally important words of truth that people need to hear. I hope my generation figures out a way to emphasize both.

Brett McCracken is a blogger and author of the upcoming book Hipster Christianity (Baker Books). His love for the new Arcade Fire album borders on idolatry. This article originally appeared on his blog and is used by permission.

Originally posted on

Park Financial Update from Jackson Crum

Financial Update from Park Community Church on Vimeo.

This past weekend I made an important update regarding our church finances.  If you missed it, please take a minute to watch this video.

Here are our current year-to-date numbers:

  • Giving Actual YTD: $3,734,640
  • Giving Budget YTD: $3,910,612
  • YTD Average Attendance: 1,980

If after watching this video you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Jonathan Masters, Park’s Executive Pastor, via email or by phone at 312.361.0502.

And, if you feel nudged, please consider giving a one-time gift online or set up automated giving online.

Thank you for your prayers and continued support as we continue to trust God for all things.

Page 2 of 3«123»