Monthly Archives: September 2008

The radical church model at Ephesus

As I’ve gotten to meet a lot of new folks at Ephesus over the last few months one common theme keeps popping up. People are saying they have to hunt and hunt for a church that is solidly biblical in their teachings and actions. Unfortunately, this hasn’t caught me as much of a surprise, but shouldn’t it be surprising? Christian churches that aren’t obviously putting Scripture right out front? This often includes putting Jesus (or not, as the case may be) right out front. People are truly hungry for Jesus and Scripture and tired of wasting their time with feel good theology that makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy, but leaves way too much open to debate and makes no, true, eternal change in people’s lives. As a pastor, and a church, we’re committed to God’s Word and Jesus. It’s amazing how “attractional” this has been in our early months as a church. I’m very excited about how people are landing at Ephesus, because they see a church that is biblical and loves Jesus. At the same time, it’s exciting to see people discover who Jesus truly wants to be in their lives and then seeing their lives change, while we follow our “radical” model of preaching Jesus and the bible every Sunday. I love our church!

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Charlotte Observer’s article about Ephesus Church!

Read the story here: Sorry, but the link is no longer working…doggone Charlotte Observer changed the link.

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Time Change

I wanted to let everyone know that starting October 12th, Ephesus Sunday service time is changing to 10:30am. Our ReLaunch will be our first service held at our new time. There’s great reasons for a morning and an evening service and in the near future, as we grow, we hope to start a second service in the evening. But, we feel right now 10:30am on Sunday morning is the best time for us to come together. If you are planning on coming to our ReLaunch, please make note of the time change! We are planning on moving back to Brevard Street next Sunday, 9/28, but will still meet at 6pm until October 12th. If you have any questions, please contact us at Also, tomorrow (Sunday) in the Uptown area’s local section of the Charlotte Observer there will be an article about Ephesus Church by Marty Minchin! If you don’t live in the Uptown area, you’ll be able to find the article on the Observer’s website or by going to a local store and picking up a copy with the Uptown “Friend’s & Neighbors” section. Exciting stuff happening for Ephesus, thanks for being a part!

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Follow up to The Vision-Revisited

This past week at Ephesus Church we looked again at the vision God has given us as a church in Uptown Charlotte. I was just looking over some notes from a sermon we had on what the church is supposed to be back about 5 months ago. I saw many things in that sermon that dovetailed very nicely with this past Sunday. So in a first, never been done before, I’m posting my notes from that sermon in their raw form. Basically I’m being lazy and not wanting to reformat and edit for the blog (the bullets and tabbing is off too, oh well!) so enjoy and get a taste of how I arrange my thoughts for Sundays while also digging deeper into who God has called Ephesus to be as a church…

The Church Pt. 5                                                          27 April 2008


REVIEW last week

1.    Ekklesia

o   “called out”

2.    an assembly of believers

3.    A place of belonging

q  Salvation was not meant to be spent alone

4. the church belongs to Jesus


  1. A place to discover Jesus
  2. A place to encounter God

q  Supernatural origins

  1. A healthy community

q  The church is designed for relationship

  1. A place to be challenged

q  Edification-building up and encouraging

q  Exhortation

5. A place to serve

q  Being in a church gives us a place to serve with eternal purpose



q  Giving adoration and devotion

q  Includes music and includes lifestyle


The Lord’s supper/Communion

1.    Remembrance

2.    Communion

3.    Expectation


How the church reaches out

q  Many names

  • q  Evangelism
  • q  Outreach
  • q  Missions

q  Many different ways it has been done in

  • q  Crusades
  • q  Tracts
  • q  Apologetics
  • q  Altar calls

q  All of these are fine within the right cultural contexts

  • q  Culture today has changed
  • q  Its full of slick marketing
  • q  Slick sales-pitches
  • q  Mass advertising
  • q  Creating events with mass emotional appeal
  • q  People are burned out on it
  • q  We see through the hype
  • q  We’re wary of it
  • q  We’re calloused and bitter most of the time

q  We have the most important message on earth but have to be challenged in how we present it

  • q  STORY> stripper turned Christian
  • q  Stef

                       o   Teenager

                       o   Drugs sex

                       o   Stripping

                       o   Boyfriend

                       o   Moved in together

                       o   Missing something

                       o   BUT didn’t want to be told what to do

q  Began with relationships

  • q  Began with a church and its people willing to accept her and her boyfriend where they were
  • q  AND pursue friendships with them
  • q  Not an emotional response to a big event
  • q  A process in which she was led to Jesus

q  People all over this city, need to be loved, need to find friends and need to know Jesus

q  Our vision as a church is “Loving Jesus, loving people, loving the city”

q  That begins with reaching out in love and building relationships with people

q  It is our biblical mandate:


Matthew 28.18-20

All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


1.   Jesus is the man

2.   Go make disciples

  • q  Get deep
  • q  Get real
  • q  Follow Jesus’ example

            o   He didn’t start with a huge blowout laser and light extravaganza giving out free donkeys
            o   He started by meeting a couple of guys down at the lake, doing some fishing, going to a party,                      turning a little water into wine

3.   Trust him when he says he’s with us to the end



1.   Focus on Jesus

John 12.32

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself


q  Jesus’ resurrection will draw people in

q  There’s the victory and hope we have

q  Jesus is alive, he defeated sin


2.   Understand, then practice Missional living

q  Change in American culture requires a change in how people discover Jesus

q  George Hunter-Celtic Way of Evangelism

                                              i.     Celtic population of the British Isles was reached through integrating into the culture

                                            ii.     Becoming a part of their lives, while still living by Christian principles-“lifting up Jesus”

                                          iii.     Through relationships the Celts discovered Jesus

q  This applies in our culture today

                                              i.     Peter Berger “Social Construction of Reality” wrote this in 1966 about how people can shift their worldview in our culture

1.   Person’s view of reality is shaped within the community into which they are socialized

2.   In a pluralistic society (of which we are certainly a part!) conversion, or changing the way one perceives reality, is opened up through conversations with people who live with a contrasting view of reality

3.   One adopts and internalizes the new worldview through resocialization into a community sharing that new worldview

q  What does that mean for us?

                                              i.     Get out there!

                                            ii.     Make friends, build relationships, have conversations

Colossians 4.5-6 MSG

5 Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. 6 Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

                                          iii.     Live life together

                                          iv.     Trust Jesus to be with you until the end of the age


3.   Bigger scale-Plug into the city

q  God loves the city

                                               i.     The bible ends with the city

                                             ii.     First missionaries went to plant churches in the city

                                            iii.     Nehemiah sent to rebuild the city of Jerusalem

                                           iv.     Jonah sent to the “great city” of Nineveh

                                             v.     Culture flows out of the city

1.    Change happens in the city

2.    Density of population

a.    More relationships

b.    More communication

c.    More openness to life change

q  We have to be praying a seeking how to better plug into Charlotte

                                               i.     Opportunities

                                             ii.     Key, strategic relationships

                                            iii.     Give back to the city in real tangible ways

                                           iv.     Make a positive name for ourselves in Charlotte


All this may happen before someone even comes to church

q  That’s tough for me

o   This is where I’m measured and judged right?

o   This is the big deal…


4.   When folks come Welcome and include everyone

q  As someone’s social network includes more and more Christians they may get plugged in

q  We have to be open and welcoming to everyone

                                               i.     Goth chick

q  Allow them to “belong, then believe”

                                               i.     Maybe they play in the band

                                             ii.     Help with the website

                                            iii.     Shake hands at the door

                                           iv.     Whatever

q   We have to be intentional about this

5.    Preach about Jesus

q  2 issues to avoid as we live missionally


1.    Culture becoming more important than the Gospel

a.    Dangerous because the Gospel is controversial

b.    In our fear of offending people we could water down the Truth of Jesus

Romans 12.2

do not be conformed to this world


1.    Making the church more important the Gospel

a.    This leads us to create a “holy huddle”

b.    We become protective of what we are and don’t engage people who don’t yet know Jesus

John 17.15

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.


q  Jesus is the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father

q  We do contextualize

  • o   We have to continually adjust our methods to bring relevance within the culture we live
  • o   Paul in Acts 17 in Athens
  • o   Missionaries around the world


o   If not, the church will die of irrelevance


6.   Baptizing

a.    As someone’s life is transformed through the Christian relationships they develop they to become a follower of Jesus

b.    May not be a precise moment of raising a hand or checking a box

c.    They fully grasp Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection

d.    Tell their friends and the church celebrates

e.    Then they are baptized as a public example of what has happened in their lives

                                               i.     This is an opportunity for others to see Jesus

                                             ii.     An opportunity for the church to celebrate

f.      More on my blog this week

g.    Do you want to be baptized?


7.   Continue living life together

q  Be real and be repentant

q  Romans 6-we’re free from sin, and become slaves to righteousness

q  So step up our lives and accountability as we journey together



q  Salt of the earth

Matthew 5.13-16

q  Will you be salt or will you be thrown out, marginalized?

q  This is the call on all of our lives


Ephesus is called to this city and the people-are you going to step up, are you willing?

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