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Entry NPL LA

Praying for Los Angeles

When God called our family to leave our small town in the North Carolina mountains and move to Los Angeles, we knew we were embarking on a major journey. We had aspirations and assumptions, but we knew there was a lot we couldn’t know yet. That’s the way it always is. We have tried hard to posture ourselves as learners. We are joining the work God is already doing – we are not the answer, we are just a part of His answer here.

Engaging a diverse mega city is complex and difficult. One of the greatest challenges can be knowing where to start when there are peoples, languages, cultures, and unique districts everywhere you turn. Our city, metro Los Angeles, never ends. It sprawls and sprawls and sprawls. If you don’t pay attention to the small changes on street signs, you might not even know you’ve crossed from one town or city or county to another.

The sprawl looks the same at 10,000 or 30,000 feet from an airplane, but this sprawl is full of incredibly diverse life. There is tremendous beauty here, but there is tremendous brokenness here as well. Reaching this city will require an army of laborers sharing the gospel, making disciples, and multiplying churches in a vast number of languages, cultures, and religions. We start with what is in front of us, but because we want to reach our city, we are begging the Lord to send out laborers into his harvest – among every peoples and in every place (see Luke 10:2).

The slide deck below is an attempt to help focus my own prayer life, as well our prayers as a team. It is also for anyone who wants to labor with us through prayer. Just like our work in the city, this slide deck is a work in progress. I’ll be curating it as we collect more and better data. If you would like to pray over some or all of these prompts, you can either pause the slides below, or click the link to access the slides for your own use. If there’s a particular people group or other prompt that you want to adopt for prayer – I’d love to know that!

Please pray for our city and pray for the Lord to send out laborers to every part of the mosaic that we call Los Angeles!

Pray for Los Angeles

Categories
NPL LA

Problem Solving During a Crisis

In the midst of the COVID-19 shutdowns, our team has been trying to make the most of the days. For us, one of our highest priorities is the leaders we are working with. One thing that has been especially helpful for us is walking through what I’ve been calling a Next Generation exercise.

The essence of the exercise is visualizing the work that they are currently stewarding while addressing which people or groups/churches are closest to getting to the next generation, any barriers they may be facing, and some action items to take some next steps. We sprinkle in some encouragement, clarifying questions, and practical suggestions as well.

The facilitator is usually using an iPad and Apple Pencil and the whiteboard mode in Zoom to draw a simple representation throughout the conversation. Sometimes it is done on paper with a screen-share.

We aim to have at least 3 voices present in addition to the person presenting their work. Below is the basic outline for this exercise.

  1. What is God doing now?  (Tell the story as you/someone else draw)
  2. Who are your 1-3-9?  (or what are you looking for as minimums in potential leaders)
  3. What are you believing God for?
  4. What are your current barriers?
  5. What are some actions you can take to move things forward?

Others:
• Who are the ones close to multiplying?
• Ask about each of the 4 fields

Categories
Church NPL LA

Simple Churches in Long Beach

“Imagine that the pandemic swept through your part of the world, and that all public assemblies of more than three people were banned by the government for reasons of public health and safety. And let’s say that due to some catastrophic combination of local circumstances, this ban had to remain in place for 18 months. How would your congregation of 120 members continue to function – with no regular church gatherings of any kind, and no home groups (except for groups of 3)? If you were the pastor, what would you do?”

Collin Marshall & Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine, 165 (2009)

I read this book 10 years ago and really enjoyed it. Truth be told, I don’t remember reading this quote. It isn’t even underlined in my copy of the book. At the time, there were signs of a potential swine-flu pandemic coming. I remember that, but it never affected my life personally. Re-reading this section now feels like Marshall and Payne were looking into the future. Of course, the reality is that these things will continue to happen this side of eternity. What seemed like an interesting but far-flung thought process now resonates prophetically. Whether we are prepared to endure the storm or not, the storms will come. We are in the midst of one now. I have heard many stories of churches courageously enduring, I haven’t heard many stories of innovative advance.

I have been tremendously encouraged by the way God is working through our dear friend JT (Jeff Timblin) and Bridges Church. In this season of COVID-19, this church of 300+ has shifted completely to releasing all their members to do church in a simple format. This overnight shift couldn’t take place overnight, so watch the video below or listen to the podcast to hear the story and be encouraged with us! Jesus is moving powerfully here in Long Beach!

If you would like training for your church, let us know!