In an effort to focus on giving rather than receiving this Christmas season, Summit Crossing (our church here in Huntsville) is raising money for different mission projects through their their annual Advent Giving campaign. Last week they hosted an Advent Market in which dozens of local artisans offered their work to be purchased as Christmas presents. A percentage of those profits will go toward building clean water wells in India through an organization called NeverThirst. This year, in addition to the international emphasis of the NeverThirst project, Summit Crossing has added local and regional missions options to give toward as well.
This year, Union Church is being platformed as the regional option. As part of the roll out for the Advent Giving campaign, Summit Crossing recently posted an interview I did for their church blog in which I talk about the need for multi-cultural churches in the South and how college towns are strategic in advancing that goal.
Hope you enjoy reading this short article and will consider financially giving toward getting Union Church off the ground this Christmas season.
“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” – Luke 10:2
This verse seems to suggest that the Lord is eager to produce spiritual fruit but somehow limits or slows its growth to match the availability of workers and the authenticity of our prayers. This is not a precise formula that activates a genie from the lamp, but there is some type of mysterious participation that God is waiting for before He acts. John 15: 5 goes even further by saying, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Several years ago, a friend told me Continue reading “Pray for Laborers”
There is always that one pundit on cable news who will inevitably draw comparisons between the policies of whatever party he/she doesn’t like… and the Nazis. As if the Third Reich is the inevitable trajectory of anyone who disagrees with him/her. This historical hyperbole can be drowned out and dismissed easily enough but the recent events in Charlottesville, VA has knocked our country on its heels – because this isn’t dramatic rhetoric anymore, these are actual, swastika waving Nazis! We’re reeling, not only because innocent people are being killed but because we seem to be experiencing (or probably more accurately re-experiencing) a cultural moment where multiple environmental factors are colliding together to allow Alt Right/White Supremacist/Neo Nazi violence to occur… right in front of our eyes!
I believe this perfect storm is made up of at least five elements: Continue reading “Nazis and College Towns”
We have officially crossed the one month mark of living in Alabama. The last of the boxes have been unpacked, we’re not constantly lost anymore, and we have a firm grasp on the best restaurants in town. Finally, we feel settled into our new home. Not only are we a step closer to planting our church in Auburn but the whirlwind of having a second child, selling our house, and moving across the country is behind us, and we are starting to enjoy this new season rather than simply trying to survive the transition.
Here are a few of the highlights from the past month: Continue reading “First Month is in the Books”
We are literally down to our last few weeks in Norman. This is what our remaining timeline looks like:
May 4 – Pack moving truck.
May 5 – Closing.
May 7 – Prov Road Baptism Service. Continue reading “Timelines and Fundraising”
A lot of life has happened in the last three weeks. Our second child, Eleanor Jane, arrived at 8:01 a.m., March 26, and weighed in at 6 lbs, 3 oz. Ellie and Cara Jane are both healthy and doing great. Two weeks after coming home from the hospital, we accepted an offer on our house in Norman. Both of these things were huge milestones for our family and the top 2 items on our “to do before moving to Alabama” list. Continue reading “Ellie’s here.”
My primary position over the last several months could accurately be described as overwhelmed. There has not been one day in which I have not thought to myself that we have bitten off way more than we can chew. We are moving 800 miles and 5 states away from our friends, family, and the church we helped build from scratch. We currently have less than 50% of the money we need to make ends meet, and my wife could literally go into labor any minute with our second child.
Our objective is to plant a church that is intentionally multi-ethnic in a part of the country that literally fought a war to prevent that from happening. Our primary strategy for this church plant is to engage college students and minorities, two people groups not historically known for their financial stability. Furthermore, I am convinced that my skill set and personality are nowhere near sufficient for the task ahead. There is nothing on my resume that suggests our church plant will be wildly successful. I’m not trying to be self-deprecating – I believe I’m both qualified and called to this task – I’m simply trying to express the enormity of what is on the Bristers’ plate.
On the bright side, desperation and spiritual poverty seem to be what the Spirit is attracted to (Matthew 5:3). Continue reading “Prayer”
As of today, we are two weeks away from the due date for little Ellie Jane and three months away from moving to Alabama. Our house in Norman has been on the market for six days now and we have already shown it four times. These last few weeks have been incredibly hectic as we try to juggle these different priorities, but we’ve resolved to take things one day at a time. I’m honestly just really ready to meet Ellie and introduce her to Bo.
Because CJ could go into labor literally any day now, I have backed off of traveling and fundraising for the time being. However, a few weeks ago Continue reading “Financial Support Update”
Since I recently blogged about our relationship with the Soma Family of Churches, I wanted to do the same with the Acts 29 Network. Acts 29 is an interdenominational network of churches who are committed to global church planting. I have been a part of Acts 29 churches for the last eight years and have found a theological and philosophical home there. Continue reading “Acts 29”
Cara Jane and I were recently invited to the Soma Pastors’ Retreat in San Diego, CA. With the fast-approaching arrival of baby # 2, the selling of our house, fundraising, and finishing up the semester in Norman hanging over our heads, three days in southern California did not require much arm-twisting.
Soma is a family of churches under the umbrella of the Acts 29 Network. It began as a few churches on the West Coast, but now their distinctive theological and missiological emphases have spread across the country and has been, in many ways, the primary influence on our church planting journey. Continue reading “Soma in San Diego”