I just ran across this blog post by Tim Keller on the Family. Give it a read and tell me what you think? Is he right to suggest that as Christians we are more prone to procreate because of the hope we have in the Kingdom of God? What do you think about his comments regarding Western Christianity’s idolization of the Family? Do you agree with this affirmation of Hauerwas? – That “both singleness and marriage are necessary symbolic institutions for the constitution of the church’s life… that witnesses to God’s kingdom. Neither can be valid without the other.”

What’s your take?

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We’re happy to announce that we’ve selected a name for our new church. We’re going with Center Point Community Church or CPCC! The idea behind Center Point is (1) that it ties into the location of the Denver Tech Center and (2) it challenges people to think about what is at the center of their lives. We’re excited with the choice and we believe that God is at work in even the very choosing of the name.

Please keep Center Point in your prayers as we continue to follow God’s lead ministering here in the Denver Metro Area.


The last little while has been full of great learning opportunities. We’ve been challenged a lot lately and we’ve really been given us some concepts to think about. Briefly, here they are:

  1. Mark Batterson recently made a statement on his blog, “If you’re doing things that others can do 80% as well as you can, then you are not just wasting your time. You are wasting other’s gifts! Think of it this way: your responsibility = someone else’s opportunity!” This statement has huge implications in how we train up people within the church to do ministry. Traditionally, the church has kept the ministry to the “professionals” and it’s led to the slow death of the Gospel here in North America.
  2. Another bright individual has encouraged leaders in the church to create a permission giving culture. As Dave Ferguson puts it this way, “Lead with a Yes.” We all too often worry about what a new program, ministry, or effort might result in. We worry and therefore we shoot great ideas down all the time. What if you’re church culture led with a yes? What kind of new ministries might you have? How might the gospel be shared in a new and creative way? How much does a “yes” really cost?
  3. In a recent post on the Harvard Business Review Blog, Peter Bergman posted a reflection entitled “How to Teach Yourself to Trust Yourself.” In it he writes:

Many of us have spent our lives listening to our parents, our teachers, our managers, and our leaders. Choosing what we are told to choose. Being told gently who we are. Molding ourselves to the feedback of others. Seeking approval. Reaching for recognition.

There is good reason to learn from the wisdom of others. But there is also a cost: as we shape ourselves to the desires, preferences, and expectations of others, we risk losing ourselves. We can become frozen without their direction, unable to make our own choices, lacking trust in our own insights. O here, twice blind at being born.

There is a simple remedy to the insecurity of being ourselves: stop asking.

Instead, take the time, and the quiet, to decide what you think. That is how we find the part of ourselves we gave up. That is how we become powerful, clever, creative, and insightful. That is how we gain our sight.

It’s an interesting piece on how we lead. When do we stop listening to the newest and best philosophy and simply follow God’s leading for us personally? When do we live out who God has made us to be without waffling between the popular or kitsch idea of the moment? As church planters we’ve found that lots of people have lots of great ideas, many that have worked well. Our challenge is to glean the ideas that conform to how God has wired us and be willing to cast aside those that don’t. Ultimately, this discernment process is always on going and not unique to planting. We all are called to live authentic lives – authentic to who God has made each of us and yet we are still called to grow and become more Christlike. Some might say that we’re even called to live within this tension.

These are just some of leadership development thoughts we’ve been wrestling with. We’d love to hear your thoughts/reflections or comments on these ideas.

We love you all.

Peace,

Nate and Sam


Hi Everyone,

Sorry for our long hiatus. A lot has happened in the last couple of months. First of all, we had a baby. Elijah Andrew DeJong McCarron was born on November 22 at 7:46pm. He came out a whopping 9lbs. 8oz. and stretched to 21 1/2 inches. Both Mom and Eli did a fantastic job. He continues to grow and is doing well.

Second, as you might have already observed we haven’t added any video components to the blog yet. Unfortunately there have been some speed bumps in that process. We still have a strong desire to put up some video components, but we have to wade through it a little more before it becomes a reality.

Thirdly, we’re blessed to let you know that God moved and our end of the year fundraising requests were answered in dramatic fashion once again. In November we set an end of the year goal for $26,500. We prayed over the amount and informed our donors. As we waited through November and December we continued to lift it up to God. Fundraising is an amazing way to stretch one’s faith. Just the other day we complied the donations given thus far and were blown away by God’s provision and the body of Christ’s generosity. As of today, $18,500, in cash and pledges has come in since our request – 70% of our original goal. God is good! We aim to raise the remaining $8,000 in the next month or two. Ultimately this money will carry our ministry into June of this year and beyond. We can’t thank you, our family and friends, enough for your support and encouragement!

Fourth and finally, we also are looking forward expectantly to this new year. We look forward to starting a study group with people interested in joining us in planting this new church next Thursday. We look forward to beginning meetings with our Leadership Team in mid-March. We look forward to our first preview service on April 17th. And we look forward to our public launch service on October 23.

2011 is a big year for us and it is a big year for prayer. We ask that you join us as we pray for God’s leading and guiding. Pray that He would bless us with discerning hearts, with willing hands, and with Gospel driven words. Pray also for those who will join us in this venture. Pray a blessing over them and their homes. Pray for strength and courage.

We thank God for you all and lift you up before Him and we pray the Aaronic blessing over you. We pray:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you his peace.”

In Him,

Nate and Sam


Sorry for the delay! We’re working on getting it in the right format so we can post it. Thanks for your patience!


Hey there,

Basically we’ve added video capabilities to the blog. Which means we’ll be posting a video of our Ordination service on Sunday to the blog sometime next week. Keep an eye out for it. Also, we’ll start playing with some video as far as explanations of how God is calling us to organize a new body of believers here in the Denver area. We’re looking forward to it and feel like it is a good step.

Peace,

Nate and Sam


Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to give you a quick update that we passed our ordination exams with Classis Rocky Mountain! This is the last real formal examination we had to face on our way to become official ministers in the CRC and to get that little prefix Rev. We nailed the exam  – it went a little long – 2 1/2 hours – but we passed with flying colors.

Thank you to many of you who have supported us through these last several years as we made it through Seminary and now through the ordination process.

We’d like to invite everyone to our ordination service at 1st CRC of Denver on October 24 at 5:00 pm. Mary Hulst will be flying in to officiate the service and we look forward to a great celebration of God’s call on our lives!

We love you all!

Peace,

Nate and Sam


Last December we posted a write up of why we believe we should plant new churches. Here it is again as a reminder to why we are called to do this. Enjoy!

  • Why plant new churches? Why not work to revive existing congregations that are struggling?

1. We have a biblical mandate to evangelize.

Quite simply – planting churches is the best way to carry out the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Here Jesus calls us to make disciples and to baptize, both of which help incorporate individuals into a community of faith. C. Peter Wagner, a leading missiologist (a person who studies missions), argues, “Planting churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” Not only do we have a mandate to evangelize, but we also have biblical examples of reaching those distant from faith through church planting. The key example is found in Paul’s missionary journeys as he worked to establish churches in nearly every city he visited.

2. We have a need for more churches.

In the last 100 years the church-to-population ratio has declined drastically. The number of churches has increased just over 50% while the population in the U.S. has quadrupled. In 1900 there was one church to every 357 people, but in 2004 there was one church to every 909 people.

One of the most staggering statistics is that even if we filled, if we packed out every church throughout the whole U.S. three times every weekend, if every seat in every church was filled throughout the nation – there would still be 90 million people without a seat!  There is a need throughout North America for new churches.

Some may argue that the U.S. and Canada are already evangelized and therefore we should focus our evangelistic efforts elsewhere. This argument is simply false. In the U.S. there are 120 million secular/undiscipled people. The U.S. is the largest mission field in the Western hemisphere. The U.S. is the fifth largest mission field on earth.

3. Our present methods aren’t working.

We have a need for new churches. Some might argue that we need to revitalize the struggling congregations in our denomination before we plant. While we agree that such revitalization is needed, we struggle with the concept. Often saving dying congregations is more difficult and ultimately more costly than planting new ones. When we consider being good stewards of God’s Kingdom resources we find that it is often more responsible to plant new churches.

Not only does it make financial sense to plant new churches, but it is also proven that planting new churches is the best form of evangelism (note Wagner’s quote above). Studies show that on the average 60-80% of the members of church plants were not previously attending any worshiping body, while churches that have been established 10-15 years gain 80-90% of their new members by transfer from other congregations. In short, the average church plant will bring 6 to 8 times more new people into the Body of Christ than an older congregation of the same size.

Also, new churches are better at reaching new residents, younger adults, and new social groups than are established churches. Why? Simply because new congregations provide access, ownership, and leadership opportunities to these fresh faces right away, while older established churches often require people in such groups  to wait several years before they are viewed as prospective leaders.

  • Why plant in the Denver area? Why not in Chicago or Western Michigan where you guys know more people?

There are many reasons why we feel called to plant in Denver. First, God has led us to the Denver area. We first kicked around the idea of church planting in Denver over a year ago. At the time, we felt God leading us to accept an internship opportunity in Albuquerque, NM, but while here in ABQ we found ourselves within classis Rocky Mountain (a regional body of churches). At a classis meeting last October we were approached by three successful CRC church planters and the regional director of Home Missions. They asked to consider planting a church in the greater Denver area. After much prayer and many long conversations we do believe that God has called us to the Denver area.

We also feel called to the Denver area because these three church planters have promised us their support. They will coach, mentor, and supervise us in our efforts. The Denver area provides us this network of encouragement. Ultimately, the goal is to plant ten churches in the area in the next ten years and we will be on the front end of this movement.

We believe we are called to the Denver area because since we’ve let people know what the plan is we’ve been overwhelmed with encouragement. Whether through phone calls, emails, or quick conversations many of you have shared your excitement about God’s call on our lives. Thank you for that!

Finally, we are called to the Denver area because of the great immediate need. In this area nearly 90% of our neighbors, family, and friends do not have a significant connection with a church body! We are called to help people connect with our God and become members of his body.

We hope this has helped answer some of your questions. If you’d like to chat or have more questions – please contact us. You can post here on the blog or email us – we’d love to talk more with you.

For more reading on why we should plant churches check out the document below written by Tim Keller or click on the link to Ed Stetzer’s blog. Also we’d like to credit these two authors for providing us the hard data and statistics found above. They come from Stetzer’s Planting Missional Churches and Keller’s Church Planting Manual.

Tim Keller on “Why Plant Churches?”

http://www.edstetzer.com/


Hi Everyone,

Below are a few pics of our new place. So far we are loving it!

Our Home in Aurora, CO

Thank you for all your love and support! We continually give thanks to God for you!

Peace,

Nate and Sam


We had another OBGYN visit today, our first in Denver. It went very well and we got to see the little one too! He/She looks really healthy and is moving right along. We were told that our due date is November 26 – the day after Thanksgiving. Overall we’re thrilled with our doctor and very happy that God is protecting us all through this adventure! Thanks for all your prayers!

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