Monday, October 19, 2009


I am sure a lot of you are glad we will no longer be focusing on that word, but I have enjoyed it. We have one more week to examine our three books, "unChristian, The Emotionally Healthy Church, and Exclusion and Embrace." It has been a good journey, and I think it has started the conversation in the right way. Hopefully we have learned a little bit about disagreeing, learning, and growing together. We are going to be moving on to some (very) controversial topics, and it will be really good if we are able to disagree in peace.

Some things that we are looking forward to this week:
1. We have a bank account! So we can start tithing to our new church. Make checks payable to Refuge Community Church, and just try to give them to Chad in a discreet manner. This will enable us to do things we would like and use church money instead of always having some individual pick up the tab. We may also have some operating costs eventually, and it will be good to have it for that.
2. We need to get a website up and running soon. Once we have check cards and stuff, I will get with Chad to start the process of setting up a website.
3. I would like us to continue searching for a place to meet. The Ethiopian church Don was thinking of is in Aurora. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is not ideal. So since we have some time, we may look into some other venues.
4. We talked about the grieving process in the Emotionally Healthy Church this week. Then I found out today that a friend who recently left the mission was found dead in a hotel room. Talk about difficult. I am trying to think through it today, but it is kind of strange. I've never had a friend die before.
5. We finished "embrace" in Volf. Let me encourage you again, if you haven't begun reading this, do it. It is a difficult read, but it is 100% worth it. I love talking theology of any shape or form, but to me, this is the most practical theology imaginable.
6. This Wed we are having a Jeopardy night at the Arnold's house this week. 7 pm. be there. I will spill the beans on one category "Harry Potter."
7. We are looking for some type of service we can do as a community this month. I believe we will help one of our neighbors. Desiree has made a connection with her and she could use some strong backs.

Is there anything I've missed? As we continue this journey together, let us continue to pray for one another, spend time with one another, and just generally have a good time.

Monday, October 5, 2009


That's right. Ethiopians. Hopefully we have found a temporary facility. My thought is that we can beg and borrow a place to meet for about a year, and then hopefully sometime in 2011 we will be moving into our own place. There are a couple I would like to see us investigate, so we will see.

There are a few other things we talked about the other night. One thing is doing some roundtable meetings in the community. I really think that this can be a good way to get some interest in who we are and what we are doing. Tanner brought up the idea to do some things at local coffee shops, I think that is a great idea. I think it would also be a good idea to do something at Denver Seminary and maybe Colorado Christian before we start, and then regularly at local universities after we start. I really need some people to help initiate some of that though, I feel like if we set the pattern of me doing most of this stuff, then that may be a pattern that we keep for the long haul. Not upset at all or saying anyone has dropped the ball, but I do want everyone to understand my reasoning for not planning all of this myself.

Some other things we talked about:
1. Chad shared that our early tithes will amount to about 750 a month. Hopefully that will be plenty to do the basic stuff we want to do.
2. Chad will be checking into some pros and cons of various banks for us to go with.
3. We talked about how the common perception of Christians is that they are anti-homosexual, from the book "unChristian"
4. We discussed having an upcoming game night. We need to figure out what games we want to play and where at. It will be Wed, Oct 21st.
5. I would like to monthly have some sort of game/fellowship night, and some sort of service project that the whole church participates in. This can really help our church body in more ways than we might think. We do not want to overprogram, but I do think we can make these things good servants.
6. We talked about how weakness and vulnerability can help us in our ministries, from the Emotionally Healthy Church.
7. WE talked about Exclusion and what it means. Let me encourage you to continue to evaluate ways in which you exclude others in your life. The main part of it was Cain and Abel. In addition, there is an important difference between judging and exclusion. It is acceptable to judge a specific action as evil, and not exclude the person who commits it. That is something I think postmoderns really struggle with.

If I forgot anything let me know. We are hoping to have a website up and running before too long. Love you guys and am excited about the change that God is bringing among us and among Denver!

Friday, September 25, 2009


Sorry for the late update everyone. Here are the things to prepare for Sunday:

1. Please bring a firm number of how much you think you will tithe. This is so we can accurately make a budget.
2. Please bring some ideas about how we can begin our facility search.
3. Think about how we can do some "round table" type of discussions in areas where you may be. These can help us get the word out about Refuge and can also help us get some ideas of what our community needs/wants.
4. We are voting on how the leadership team is selected. Think and pray about how you feel about that.
5. Think about things we might want on a website and how we can get that made. I think webhosting is pretty cheap, like ten bucks a month, so we can definitely afford that. A good website will help us in a lot of ways.

I am excited for what God is doing among us and what he will continue to do in our world.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tacos and Squirt

That's right. We had tacos and squirt last meeting. I think we accomplished some good things, here is a brief recap:
1. We decided that we will have members, though we may end up calling them something else. We will allow anyone to join our church, they just have to go through our new members class. However, if someone is doing something that we believe contrary to God's will or that may hurt us as a church, we will encourage them to find ways to grow and to change their behavior.
2. In addition, we will have a leadership team to help make decisions. Initially, that will consist of staff (who must first be on the leadership team) and the rest of the founding core. Their job will be to make most minor decisions, and also to help facilitate the making of major decisions (such as buying a building, calling staff, budget approval). The leadership team will have town hall meetings leading up to the major decision, then they will present to the church an issue to vote 'yes' or 'no' on. Thus, the members of the church will have ratifying power, but we will not give multiple choice.
3. The distinction between staff and leadership team will be that staff will be selected to do a specific job within our church. They will also have the potential to be paid. I would like to license and ordain those people on the staff that we call 'pastor' (such as 'small group pastor').
4. We voted that Chad will be our treasurer.
5. We eliminated deacons from our church.
6. I will email a revised bylaws/constitution to everyone ASAP.
7. We discussed the need for a different kind of church in the United States.
8. We discussed how we can be an emotionally healthy church (Peter Scazzero, by the way, was speaking in the Denver Seminary chapel today).
9. I briefly gave a synopsis of 'Simple Church.'
10. Currently our staff roster is Jessica (church clerk), Chad (church treasurer) and me (pastor). We will add a small group pastor and hopefully a music pastor before long.

I think that is most of what we discussed. Please leave comments if you have thought of anything. And please leave prayer requests or praises if you think of any.

Next week we are going to cut down 'unChristian' to 5-10 minutes. I think we can do the book justice and save time for more difficult topics. Please remember, we need everyone to contribute to discussion. I am excited for what God is doing with us, and if you think there are things I can do to improve what we are doing or anything like that, let me know.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Ok team. We had our first ever meeting last night. We discussed various and sundry things, made some decisions and overall it was a pretty fruitful meeting. Here are some things we talked about and worked on:
1. We voted on a name. "Refuge Community Church" slightly defeated "Levi's Table" in the closest ever vote in our history. I think it would behoove us to use the name "Levi's Table" on some ministry or something because I think it does convey quite a bit of who we are/want to be.
2. Jessica Cogsdil will be our church clerk. This will be a perfect fit for her as she is very detail oriented and does a good job of taking notes.
3. We are voting on a church treasurer next week. Chad and Mary Arnold were both nominated, so they will decide who we will vote to confirm or deny. Either would do a fantastic job taking care of our money.
4. Next week we will discuss a little who will be our pastor/minister in charge of small groups. I have suggested either Grant or Tanner take on that role, and I think either would do a very good job. I think it may be something we might take a little time to think on, because we won't start small groups until June of next year. That gives us some luxury in taking our time to decide who will head that particular ministry.
5. We talked for awhile about how we will determine membership of our church or if we will. I think generally the majority favored a membership of some kind, though it was certainly not unanimous. This is something we will probably want to revisit at some point down the road. This is a large decision in the life of our church and will have a large impact down the road.
6. We are planning on voting on church bylaws/constitution next week. Please, PLEASE read them before then and take some notes. It will be much more fruitful if we are all prepared for that.
7. We talked about trying to find someone to lead our music. Let's keep that in our prayers.
8. We talked about everyone coming up with a number of what they can tithe every month and bringing it in next week. This will help us to make a budget and decide what kinds of things we can afford to do as a church.
9. We talked about facility search. This is something that I think we need to touch on again periodically. If we don't have specific tasks then nothing will get done.
10. We discussed briefly the procedure for establishing ourselves as a non-profit company. This is something we really need to do sooner rather than later.
11. I mentioned that I would like us to be a staff led church. I think many times that has been a bad proposition, but I think for who we want to be it would be a good thing. It would simplify our structure and make our church policy much better, in my opinion. We did not nail that down, it will be part of our ongoing bylaws discussion.
12. We discussed some fund-raising. I think most of us are against fund-raising in general, but if you happen to know people who would like to tithe to us for awhile, that would be awesome.

I think that is most of it, though certainly not all. Please post some thoughts, and remember, the best way for us to find what is right is sometimes to argue. It is good to disagree, as long as we can do it peacefully and lovingly. I am excited to be on this journey with all of you... looking forward to what God does in us, through us and with us!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Interest meeting(s)

Hey everyone,
We are having an interest meeting tonight at our casa, and then one again in about two or three weeks. We are hoping to kind of let people meet one another and develop a certain level of comfort before we actually start meeting, plus it can help people that might be on the fence make their minds up. I'm excited for the meeting, I think it will help some of us see some progress on this journey we are on.

We will need to be prayerful during this time. There are several things that we ask God to help us on. I am waiting to hear about a promotion at work, I am fairly pessimistic, but it would be fantastic if I got it. It would open up an entry level job that hopefully Tanner could get, which would help with two areas at once. Tanner did get a job, but he would like something more permanent. Jessica got on the sub teaching ticket, but we can continue to pray that something more permanent comes open for her. We are incredibly grateful to have them both here and ready to go. The Kinsers move in a couple weeks. We need to remember their needs, housing, jobs and the hassle of moving all you own. They'll stay with us until they find a place, so pray for our puppy... na we are looking forward to it. Pray for our friends Don and Mike. They are New Life Program guys here at Denver Rescue Mission that are very comfortable in their call to help us with this crazy church. Pray for their sobriety and strength as the program can be difficult at times. But I am incredibly grateful for the things that I believe they will add to our community. Pray for those on the fence that they would join us.

As the home church phase cranks up, I will post weekly about the upcoming meeting and the previous meeting. This will give everyone a reference point and help keep the meetings cohesive. We can also post random tasks we will need to perform through the weeks to help keep us moving towards the goals.

Please post prayer needs and if you want me to email you a copy of the handouts for tonight, let me know.

Friday, July 3, 2009


GUYS! It's almost time to crank this thing up and get started. I am pretty excited.

Robin and I were very excited to welcome Jessica and Tanner to Denver almost two weeks ago. Hopefully you guys are getting settled in and find jobs quickly. That is one thing on top of my prayer list at the moment. In just a few weeks we will be moving in Grant and Desiree. Bethany is going to delay awhile, but she is still looking to come. Then we have some people that are already here that are thinking about joining us. Overall, I think we will have a really good group for our fall home-church and then we will be in a good place to transition next spring.

The more I talk with people around our age and a little older, the more I get the impression that what we are doing, what we are going to be about, is exactly what they are looking for. The difficulty with our generation is that oftentimes we/they want to be involved with something great, but are not as willing to work hard to make it happen. So part of our challenge is to get people and let them know that serving needs to be a high priority.

All that to say, we need to be sure that teaching during our home church phase is a high priority to us. Those of you who have volunteered for certain topics, continue to think about those topics. I challenge you to think about ways that are less conventional to teach that. Video clips, quizzes, music, whatever you think will help to teach your particular subject better. We are part of an ADD generation, so keeping our interest is very important. If I can help in anyway, I would be happy. I may write up some thoughts I have had on your particular subjects and shoot an email with them, not that you have to use them or anything, but just to help get started. I have had a lot more time to think and stew on these things. Is there anything we can be praying for? Tanner and Jessica would probably like to find jobs. Grant and Desiree might like a place to live. Anything else? Looking forward to it!