Hurricane Harvey: prayer, support, & serving sister churches in Houston 

Hurricane Harvey: prayer, support, & serving sister churches in Houston 

 In such a short time 5 million residents of Houston have had their lives turned upside down. We grieve this tragedy and are praying for the overwhelming loss and suffering. As you pray for Houston, please pray for the church to shine beautifully in the midst of all the destruction and pain. Pray that Jesus' church in Houston would be a force of love, generosity, and peace. Pray she would live and serve together as one body. Pray that the aroma of Jesus would permeate from the hands and feets of Jesus’ children and that the Holy Spirit would tangibly comfort those who are mourning through his saints.

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Love of Neighbor and its Challenge to Racial Reconciliation

 Love of Neighbor and its Challenge to Racial Reconciliation

The tragic events from Charlottesville and the harsh debate that has followed in the days after have no doubt caused many of you heavy hearts, sorrow, and exhaustion. I'm thankful for the many, many pastors who are lamenting and seeking to continue to press in on important conversations that require a Jesus-centered response.

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A Naked and Vulnerable God

A Naked and Vulnerable God

How many times do we read these words during the Christmas season? These few verses are the inspiration for the nativity sets around our homes and churches. It is the inspiration for the Christmas pageants that children are currently practicing for. But even with reminders all around us during this season, I do not reflect enough on the reality that Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, Jesus, and laid him in a manger.

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8 Creative Ideas for Your Presidential Debate Viewing Party by Jim Mullins and Chris Gonzalez

8 Creative Ideas for Your Presidential Debate Viewing Party by Jim Mullins and Chris Gonzalez

Scroll two flicks on Facebook and you are sure to come across a hot take on the presidential election. The first debate is this Monday night and your timeline will be inundated with short incendiary clips of each candidate trading barbs followed by both sides claiming debate victory. 

We are both pastors of local churches. We are both teaching the people we shepherd Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.  And we both have a growing concern that our congregations can easily get swept into the circus of cynicism and the maddening mockery that has been this election season.  Our concern is that cynicism and mockery aren’t markers of God’s salt and light people. Also the vision of the Kingdom we see in the Beatitudes often looks different than the visions of lesser kingdoms the candidates are putting forth.  

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In light of the recent tragedies

Brothers and Sisters,

This past two weeks has been filled with lament and grief. We grieve the tragic deaths that took place before our eyes of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, along with the tragic murders of Dallas and Baton Rouge police officers. We grieve the deep division in our nation that surfaces week after week. We ache as we listen and watch a nation deeply divided spew words of hate and ignorance. And perhaps as church leaders, we are most grieved by the deep division and sin within the body of Christ that times like these reveal and sense the weight of the challenge to be faithful in the midst of such darkness.

Times like these often reveal our powerlessness as leaders. We see brokenness and desperately want to fix it. We want to act and act now. We gather to pray, we are learning to lament, we caution our congregations to be more wise on social media, and we are trying to become better listeners. Yet there seems to be a deep sense growing among many pastors that none of these things can be ends in and of themselves. I believe we are recognizing more and more how easy it is to act and speak in the height of the tragedy as a way to escape our sense that we are powerless and yet I also believe there is a collective sense among many of us that it is time to sit with the weight of what is going on and ask deeper questions.

Many of us have been wrestling with important questions on how to lead our congregations forward in the midst of our divided, fearful, and angry nation. This is not the first time in the last few years that we have walked through racial division with our congregations and we know it will not be the last. We know faithfulness as a church means pressing into the places of pain in our community and offering the radical love of Jesus in a way that challenges both systemic injustice and the individual idolatry that drives hate, racism, and division.

I have heard many leaders in the last week ask important questions, such as:

  • What does it look like to be faithful pastors and leaders in the midst of a rapidly changing cultural climate?
  • How do we move our people to engage in radical love of neighbor in ways that shine the beauty of Jesus into every corner of our city?
  • What does it look like to foster hope, humility, and perseverance in the people we are leading as they engage in overwhelming justice issues?
  • How would Jesus want us to walk alongside those who are spiritually deaf and blind in our congregations?
  • How would Jesus draw near to and minister to those who are injured by the blindness and deafness of their brother and sister in Christ?

These are heavy questions. Questions of which there are no quick and simple answers to. These questions that are often asked in the peak of our grief and lament but can easily be pushed aside until the next challenge our community faces.

As a network of churches, we want to offer a few more formats in the next six months to continue to grow as leaders and keep the conversation going.
SEE BELOW FOR A FEW OPPORTUNITIES.

We pray and hope the church would be a part of meaningful action that puts Jesus on display in our cities most especially in places experiencing injustice, pain, and division. These are only formats for learning, but we are praying the Spirit would use these times to move us forward in "spurring one another on toward love and good deeds."

Praying for you and your churches,
Dennae Pierre
Executive Director | Surge Network

 

 

September 23:
Latasha Morison with Be the Bridge to Racial Unity

8am-12pm (Pastors & Church Leaders) Training and discussion by Latasha Morison for how to equip your congregation to have important conversations around race and unity. RSVP HERE
6pm-9pm (Lay Leaders in your Church) This evening is for key people in your church who are passionate about justice. More info and promotion materials are coming your way, but this will be helpful for giving leaders practical ways to be bridge builders and patiently walk alongside others in your congregation who struggle with conversations around race. RSVP HERE

October 31-November 2: 
Round tables with Stephanie Summers with Center for Public Justice. Politics is not the only way to engage on issues of justice, but the current political narrative and polarization between parties is shaping and influencing the church in deep ways. There will be multiple opportunities to learn from the Center for Public Justice as Stephanie Summers discusses public and political engagement. Keep an eye out for details.

Join a book discussion: We will be convening for a 3 week book discussion on:
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. To get connected to a small group of pastors to discuss this important topic please email us at info@surgenetwork.com.

The sinking nature of work without the Gospel perspective

The sinking nature of work without the Gospel perspective

I’m the kind of guy that dives into work head-first. Night after night I’ll pour blood, sweat, and tears into my vocation. Fast days, long nights. Day after day, fighting against the clock to get as much done as possible. A lot of the time at work, it feels like I’m in the trenches while the opposing army keeps pushing closer and closer. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but hey, I do claims for a living. Because I’m the supervisor of my department, I feel a weight that is very difficult to articulate to other team members. The weight of ownership and responsibility and excellence and a million other things.

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