A New Generation of Church
A Church That Smokes, Drinks, and says Curse words???
I grew up going to church off and on most of my life but it was always segregated from my real life. Church was more of a social gathering or something to check off of my list of “to-do’s”. I’m thankful for the exposure I had, but honestly for most people church is primarily social…especially the society in which we live. Some people have trouble looking for something beyond a shallow surface desire. I admit Ive been there at times. There are not many other convenient social gathering venues in my neighborhood so people just go to church. Everyone says they have a church or have gone to church but Im realizing in most cases that’s a bunch of fluff. It’s really not true…once or twice a month attendance is not actively a part of the congregation by any means. Unless of course your job prohibits it.
To me and my wife, we’d rather not go to church unless it’s something that actually makes a larger impact on our lives and our boys lives. For us its more than a feel good gathering on Sundays. I get bored easily so without a greater draw, my mind wanders quickly. Celebrity Christian speakers and amazing concert-like worship gatherings are great, but I lose interest in time. We have other friends and social gatherings we can go to. So, if church is just that, I’d rather sleep in on Sunday’s, wake up and go play golf. But for us, church is essential. It is essential because we have seen The Pathway Church vision literally make a direct impact on our immediate society and in our sons lives. My oldest boy is three and he knows that Jesus loves people beyond the four walls of a building. He knows it because he has witnessed it first hand. He sees church as a group of people who serve, not as a place/location, or some kind of steepled building. That’s really what the church in the Bible looks like anyway…the church buildings we see do not always represent a Biblical model of church. My son Beau loves the church! Sometimes he even refers to himself as the “pastor of The Pathway Church”! For us it’s a church for a new generation. We are not static, we are fluid.
“If the Holy Spirit were removed from the early church in the Book of Acts 90% of what they did would stop/seize to exist. If however the Holy Spirit were removed from the churches in America today 90% of what they did would continue on.” -AW Tozer
Some Eye Popping Re-search from Barna Group:
80-85% of Americas churches are plateaued or declining in growth
Only 4% of those dying churches reproduce themselves by starting new churches
Change the World
We do not have plans or a vision to build a building, we’d rather focus our efforts on changing the world. A permanent building will likely come, but it will be only out of absolute necessity. Some people can’t understand that but we are ok with that and have patience in explaining the topic. The city of Houston is the 4th largest city in the nation and the largest land massed city. It just passed New York City as the most multi national city in the U.S. with over 300 different people groups represented and at least that many languages spoken. It’s among the nations leaders in human sex and drug trafficking. Not to mention the gang activity, and two of the nations most dangerous neighborhoods, one of them a hop-skip-jump from my home. With worldwide fortune 100 and 500 companies moving their locations to the Houston skyline, and growing at a population of 2500 people per week…I’d say if you want to change the world, reach Houston! We are focused on that.
Authenticity for a New Generation
Statistics show that 20 and 30 somethings are more concerned with authenticity than anything. We ruthlessly pursue truthfulness and authenticity. We are thinkers and dreamers…many of us are smart educated folks who can see passed the fluff. If I have learned one thing in my life, Ive learned that talk is cheap. A lot of organizations including churches have mastered the art of bait and switch. They have mastered the art of selling an image with an ulterior motive. A beautiful building and brilliant marketing only guarantees two things about a church…they have great grounds keepers, and smart marketing guru’s. That may be a notch on someone’s belt but I’d rather quit ministry than have those two items consume me. Yes, I want you to come to my church. And, yes I want you to financially contribute to my church because I believe in our vision. It is effectively working. We need money and resources to do what we do. But I’m not willing to compromise integrity and depth to win the masses. The early church literally changed the culture beginning with a few authentic believers that eventually turned into masses. If it works that way for us, Im good with that. We make our budgets very public, always remain open to questions, and spend money very conservatively. I understand Im talking blanket ideas that do not represent every church (I know many great leaders and church organizations), but their is a reason that our society has lost trust in an institution that should be society’s most trusted institution.
We are not perfect by any means
So The Pathway Church is not perfect, nor will we every be, but I can say with integrity we’ll always be honest with you. I am not a perfect pastor, nor does a perfect pastor exist, but I can promise I will love you with the help of my Savior Jesus. I know some people want a pastor that presents himself as having it all together so as to be an example…that’s one way of thinking in leadership. But I know too many pastors, like really know them. So I’d just assume be myself all the time. In so many ways we are a church focused on a new generation of people. It’s a church that takes the shape of a younger “church skeptical” “de-churched” generation. Notice I didn’t say “church jaded”…we are not angry ex-church attenders, but rather de-churched and un-churched folks who want to be a part of something real and bigger than ourselves. People that come to our church are smokers, drinkers, and they sometimes say cuss words in church. We are rough around the edges, but we are real. We are a driven people, a deep thinking people, and a motivated people. We may not be the finely tuned type, but we have been touched by the Spirit of God and HE is working all things together for good in our lives. He is growing us in His Word, and moving us to mission, and spiritual transformation. We are growing followers of Jesus who believe the bible and teach the bible. We believe church should feel like a party, and we work incredibly hard to make our guests feel welcome.
God continues His good work in us and continues to use us to make a massive impact on society. We are growing by leaps and bounds. So much so we’re not sure how we’re going to handle the growth. But I’ll say this we’ll let God do whatever He wants with us and we’ll adapt as necessary! So excited about the future! May God bless all you guy in amazing ways!