Monday, January 4, 2010

The Jesus Scandals | coming Sunday January 24

"And they were scandalized by him..." ~Matthew 13.57

Controversy... What controversy?

We are now three Sunday's from the opening of Village Church and excited to see what God is going to do (and what he is already doing)!

I have been praying and thinking quite a bit about what to preach for the first sermon series. So many important things to discuss in regard to God and the gospel. I have decided to preach a sermon series called The Jesus Scandals, which will explore the God who scandalizes and challenges us. Who confronts us and our mistaken ideas about Him and ourselves in order to save us, find us, and restore us.

In this seven week series we will journey through some of the most scandalous parts of the life and teachings of Jesus, the most controversial man who ever lived, both to his own culture and to ours.

Throughout the study we explore his most controversial story, his confrontational claims and insults, his challenging teachings, his bold miracles, and his offensive death.

Come and explore the real Jesus | starting January 24th, 2010

Rosemary Heights Elementary School (Surrey, B.C.) - 10.00am

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Four Ministries, and a Fifth.

Village Church is launching in about ten weeks. It is amazing to think about what God has done in less than a year. Bringing people from all ages and all walks of life together around the vision of Village Church.

Since the beginning we have said that strategically we are not going to be a church that does tries to do everything because a new church which tries to do everything well, does nothing well. There are not enough people, leaders, or resources for a church plant to do everything well. So, we are not going to try. We are instead going to do our best to bring honor to God by a few things to start and to do those things with excellence.

1. Teaching Ministry
The ministry of teaching/preaching is, we believe, central to the life of the church. When the early church gathered one of their priorities was being taught the Bible (Acts 2.42). This is because being a disciple of Jesus is about being a "learner" (disciple means learner) of Jesus, which means we must be learners of Scripture, the book which is all about Jesus. This means we will unashamedly gather around the Bible every week to learn about what it looks like to love and follow Jesus in the twenty-first century.

In order to cultivate an environment of discussion and dialogue there will also be Q and A at Village Church, where you will have opportunity to ask any question you want, either on a microphone or through text messaging.

Village Church also has a Pastor (the only paid leader of Village Church) who is gifted in teaching and preaching the Bible in a challenging and relevant way, and who loves to interact with people around their questions about God, the Bible, and the cultural relevance of Christianity.

2. Worship Ministry
Worshiping God is also central to discipleship of Jesus. This is done with our whole lives, not with just singing. But singing to and about God (Acts 2.47; Eph. 5.19), reading Scripture, and expressing our love and service to Jesus through artistic mediums (original films, music etc.,) are tangible ways worship can be experiences when the corporate body of Jesus gathers.

Because this was a priority for the early church, like teaching/preaching, it is for us as well. Village Church has been blessed with some musically gifted people and a great worship leader. His desire is to serve those who gather by cultivating an atmosphere of worship each Sunday morning. Helping us focus on Jesus, in order to grow closer to Him in all things. By His grace God has gifted us with a great facility (Rosemary Heights Elementary School), and we are going to work to turn it into an fun, energetic, welcoming environment for everyone who comes and that it will help accomplish the mission of seeing lives transformed to become fully devoted followers of Jesus.

3. Children's Ministry (Village Kids) / Youth Ministry

South Surrey and the surrounding districts are full of young families. God has gifted us with two great Children's Ministry leaders. Both of them are qualified ECE educators, and directors of two separate daycare's in the GVA. Most importantly though they have a passion for both Jesus and kids. Their top priority is teaching kids about Jesus in a fun and safe environment. Rosemary Heights is a great school for the Children's Ministry of Village Church (called "Village Kids"), with lots of room, both indoor and outdoor, to play, learn and build relationships with other the kids.

What's amazing about the team God has brought together is that we also have men and women who are dedicated to seeing families flourish, and who are available to come alongside parents (together, single or otherwise) who have questions, struggles, and everyday pressures of raising a family, who are able to help carry the burden, as the apostle Paul instructs us to. We think this capacity to reach out and help young families in practical and tangible ways is going to be one way Village Church serves the community of South Surrey from the beginning.

As part of this as well we have a Youth Ministry led by a great youth minister (Jordan) who has a passion to see young people transformed to become fully devoted followers of Jesus. The Youth Ministry will likely begin with opportunities to connect relationally monthly, and a Community Group which gathers weekly to study, pray and encourage one another.

4. Community Groups
Jesus instructs His followers to love one another. One way we intend on cultivating a community of love is through what we call Community Groups. These are smaller groups (say of 10-20 people) who meet in houses, apartments, and condo's, to study,pray and support one another. This is where more intimate, authentic relationships are built and sustained. Where real community is cultivated.

These groups will give the opportunity for individuals to be shepherded, loved and guided by one another. When people are in hospital for instance, or struggling with relational issues, or any number of other things, these are the people who will help care for one another in an intimate and deliberate way. This kind of relational connectivity is one of the most unique things about Jesus' church, and we hope to establish these communities as very hospitable, and welcoming groups from the beginning.

5. Missional
The last thing to mention here is not really a ministry but an attitude, a DNA, which shapes every ministry of Village Church, and that is being missional. What we mean by this is that Village Church desires to reach people who do not yet know Jesus, and that the primary way we see this happening is that the peo
ple who make up the church, must be like Jesus in that they spend time with non-Christians to love, serve and tell them about Him. This is captured well by Ed Stetzer when he says "A missional church is not succesul by its dynamic leaders but by its dynamic members." To work and walk together, create and play together, debate and eat together, all to the glory of God.

This means that we want to be a church that lives to for the good of people and the good of the city. That serves the people of Surrey by being engaged and involved in the life of the city and its six districts. Surrey is a diverse city. The second largest in B.C. It needs missional churches to reach out and be involved in gospel-centered renewal of city-life. This is part of the long-term vision of Village Church. It must begin small though (focused on the Southern Surrey districts) and then as God leads us we will begin doing more and more to bless the city: planting churches, helping resource ministries, getting involved in community projects, etc.,. This missional DNA is adopted from our mother church, South Delta Baptist Church with its focus on church planting.

In past generations the desire to reach people for Jesus has led some churches to abandon the gospel, and others to water it down. It led some to focus only on preaching and others only on works of good deeds. For us, neither of these routes is faithful to God, nor ultimately successful in transforming people into fully devoted followers of Jesus. What is needed is a group of real and authentic people, living missional, gospel-centered lives, clearly pointing people to Jesus in both their words and their deeds. Speaking the gospel and embodying it in their actions as they seek to renew both individuals and the cities in which they live.

We want to call people to nothing less than this.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Support: Serving, Prayer, Finances

Its been exciting to see Village Church develop over the last year. From 16 people meeting in my home in April to now more than 40 people being on-board as volunteers and ready to serve come Launch Sunday (January 24, 2010).

God has been doing some amazing things among us. He has brought people around the vision of VC who are passionate about partnering with Jesus to love and reach this city.

People have asked us about how they can get behind and support the church right now, even before we launch. The following are three simple ways you can get involved in this great movement God is doing.

Support: 3 Ways
Serving: We envision starting Village Church with 50 volunteers serving in different capacities (worship ministries, welcoming, set-up/take-down crew etc.,). If you feel that God is directing you to help us launch by serving in any way, email us ( and let us know.

Prayer: Pray for the leaders of Village Church. That God would give us wisdom, and insight as we seek to accomplish the specific mission God has given to us as a church. Pray for the community which surrounds us as well: that many people who do not know Jesus would come to know him as Lord, Savior and Treasure through the people and ministries of Village Church.

Financially: People have asked us about how they can help support us financially. We have been very careful in answering that question because we wanted to develop the most precise budget we could in order to accomplish the goals God has given us. After a lot of research and prayer we now have a clear picture of what we need in order to start Village Church.

Available to you upon request ( is a budget complete with a detailed list of items (with prices) which include children's ministry equipment, community promotions, music/tech equipment, and a variety of other costs in order to best serve South Surrey and the surrounding districts with the gospel of Jesus.

Our deep desire is to see lives transformed to live for Jesus. These are ways you can partner with us as we begin this amazing missional work.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Update: Core Values and Launch Date

We are excited to announce that Village

Church officially has a launch date: Sunday January 24,

2010! All are welcome to come and join us as we

celebrate what God is doing among us and launch our first

sermon series!

Village Church Sunday worship services will be at Rosemary Heights Elementary School, located in South Surrey (on 36th Ave., just off of 152nd). God is doing some great things among us and going before us as we pray and seek out his will.

As we lay the foundations of Village Church, here is a preview of our general Mission and some Core Values. It is exciting to see God really galvanizing these things among us as we use these to shape the specific Vision and Ministry of Village Church.

Core Values
There are certain priorities that shape and drive the mission and ministries of Village Church. These are three.

Gospel: The highest priority for Village Church is Jesus himself. Knowing him, and making him known in whatever we do. This means that the gospel, the saving message of Jesus and the means of knowing God, will be the central thing which shapes how we accomplish the mission God has given us.

Whatever Village Church does (Church services, Community Groups, Serving, Mission); it will all be based around transforming lives through the gospel of Jesus.

Culture: We seek to transform both individual lives and the culture we live in through gospel-centered ministry.

Firstly, this means that we see every Christian as a 'missionary' in the sense that they are on mission with Jesus to reach the people in their immediate lives so they come to know Him.

Secondly, this means that we seek to impact and transform the city of Surrey. Which means we will be involved in the life of the city in a posture of servanthood with the hope that we can make a positive difference in the name of Jesus.

Community: Cultivating community is another priority for Village Church. God calls us to belong to something bigger than ourselves. To love, serve and care for others. This will accomplished through different ways at Village Church, the primary way being participation in Community Groups. Being a part of a Community Group is the way Village Church can care for one another, grow larger while growing smaller, and integrate more fully into the life of the church.


Our desire as a church is to see lives transformed to live for Jesus through the gospel, community and culture.

The amazing thing is, we haven't had to wait for January.

It is already happening among us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

DNA of Village Church: Christ & Community

On Friday July 17 we had our first Village Church information night. The intent was to do two things: (1) connect those interested in Village Church together, (2) to give an update of where we are in the roll-out phase of the church. These two things were accomplished. People hung out, talked about life, the church, and I shared for 15 mins or so about how we got to this point in the journey, and a few points of Village Church DNA. Here is basically what I said, with some extrapolation, highlighting Christ and Community.

Christ: First, and foremost we are a community of people who have as our top priority Jesus himself. To Know him and to make Him known. This means when we gather corporately (services, small groups etc.,) we will worship, preach, teach and honor Jesus unapologetically in everything we do week in and week out without fail. Our conviction is that Jesus is God, that he died for our sins on the cross, rose again from the grave for our salvation and that all who believe in him are given eternal life.

Community: Community is one of the top values of Village Church and it works in two directions. First, we will establish and nurture Christian community. The way people grow, are discipled and crafted into the image of Jesus, which is God's will for Christians (Rom. 8. 29), is communally. We want to be a loving community of people who care for and support one another.

The second direction Community travels in is being missional and community-oriented: how do we serve South Surrey and the surrounding districts to the glory of God? How do we serve the people who live here? We want to be involved in their lives, help them, connect with them as a church corporately and individually. Being missional means we take the incarnation of Jesus as our model and we live in their world, in their lives, and not expect them to simple "come to church" where we are comfortable but to live and move and have our being in their world. God got his hands dirty and came to earth to live and die beside us, for us, instead of us and because of us. The churches posture must never be removal from the surrounding culture but engagement from start to finish. Salt and Light not from the comfort of our pulpits, but from the shoulder to shoulder, day to day, life of the church in the midst of its community.

Simple Church: The Three "S's"
One thing that kills young churches is that they try to do too much. Every need that arises, and
every person who says "we should start a ministry" gets addressed and this causes them to be stretched too thin, because of limited resources and people, and while it may keep more people around for a few months, it is not sustainable in the long run. So we are going to be very selective about what we do and what we do not do as a church, especially in the early years.

We recognize that we cannot be all things to all people, so instead of doing many things poorly (shotgun approach) we will try to do a few things well. The book Simple Church by Thom Rainer is helpful here. He suggests a simple process of discipleship based around churches doing a few things well. Keep it simple.
Village Church is going to revolve around three "S's": Sunday Gather
ings, Small Groups, and Service.

Sunday Gatherings: In the scramble to do a hundred different ministries often Sunday's themselves are left until the last minute, making them stale, monotonous, unchallenging and uninviting. We will spend time making Sunday gatherings a place where people feel welcomed, engaged, and challenged through thoughtful worship and preaching.

Most people make decisions about community engagement within the first 3 minutes upon arriving at a place, if not sooner. We want to help people, especially new people, or the un-churched to feel welcomed. We will do our best to greet you and/or your family, give clear answers to questions and generally be hospitable as a church. We really are here to serve others as Jesus served.

We want to lead people in worship which, for Village Church, is about music, Scripture reading, and a variety of artistic contribution (i.e., short-films, original songs, etc.,). Worship ministry is about helping us to connect to God so we can know Him deeper and we want to do this using all the different avenues, technologies and talents God has given us.

Central to our gatherings, and our life as a church in general, is the Bible itself. We will preach and teach the Bible every week at Village Church in an intriguing and thoughtful way centered on Jesus and relevant to life at all different stages. In our age we believe preaching from Scripture is integral to the life of the church. Thus the most popular form of preaching at Village Church will be sermon series' which will go through whole books of the Bible verse by verse understanding it and applying it, and secondly, theme-based series' still centered on Scripture but addressing issues and theological themes (i.e., a series on the questions skeptics ask about Christianity).

*One of our top priorities for Sunday Gatherings as well will be Children's Ministry. We will serve the young families of South Surrey and the surrounding districts by having a top quality Children's Ministry with qualified teachers, and leaders teaching kids about Jesus, the Bible and the Christian Life in a fun and safe environment.

Small Groups
Small Groups will be groups that meet in homes all over South
Surrey and the surrounding districts which will meet weekly to grow together in prayer, study, accountability, and relationship with one another. It gives Village Church an opportunity to grow larger while at the same time growing smaller. Where a Small Group can care for one another, love one another in a more intimate and effective way than a larger church can. Small Group content will revolve around notes and questions connected to the sermon of the previous Sunday morning, or formal studies with set curriculum.

This is where the people who make up Village Church get to give back. There will be a lot of spaces to fill and a lot of things to do at the Village as we move forward, including people to do set up/take-down, coffee bars, music, art, welcome, hosting small groups, leading small groups, media, children's ministry, and a whole lot more. We want people to use their God-given talents and gifts to serve Him in a way that equips the church and serves those who may not yet know Jesus at all.

These are the three simple things we are going to begin with, and which we are going to ask Village Church people to engage in, and only as God provides us leaders and clear calling will we begin to add ministries to this. Which means we may not have all the ministries that everyone is looking for, and that is alright, there are other good churches in our area we can point people toward, but we are going to do our best to reach and serve as many people as possible being good stewards of the people, passions, gifting and resources God has given us.

If you have any questions please contact us at

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Anatomy of a Name: Village Church

Names are important. We talk about the names of our children for months, debating back and forth; companies hire other companies to think up names for their company for marketing purposes; writers wrestle torturously over what to name their books, only to have it changed by the publisher. I am writing a Masters thesis right now, and while I am only half done I already know my title - which no one will actually see except the panel of men and women who have to read, and the three or four Regent College students who look at it for a paper or something between now and the second coming of Jesus (they get bound and placed in the Regent College library). The title? The Gospel of God: A Critical Examination of the "Sonderweg" Reading of Romans 9-11. I told you no one would read it.

So, when it came to naming the church which we are planting out of South Delta Baptist Church in South Surrey the challenge was on. First, we knew we could not name it South Delta Baptist Church for obvious reasons - it was not located in South Delta, but in Surrey. We knew it had to be something that made sense to South Surrey, something that connected to the people who live here - it had to be a missional and incarnational name. Secondly, it had to convey some of our values as a church.

Things to Stay Away From
The basic rule of thumb for naming churches today is that you try not to be explicitly geographically bound in your name, because it is limiting. For instance, when a church is called by its town name it has to work harder to include people from other towns which may be attracted to the church. And as today's churches move toward multi-site venues, video sermons, and campuses connected through movie-theatres etc., it is again limiting. For instance if my friends church, The Meeting House in Oakville was called Oakville Church - then what sense would that make to their Toronto sites, nevertheless to their new Ottawa site that gathers at a Famous Players in Ottawa?

We also wanted to stay away from trendy names because the one thing we know about trends is that they don't continue - sooner or later they stop being trendy and become, well, just look at your wedding photos and you know what I'm talking about. Many in this category choose not to have the word "church" in their name. From the outset we wanted to have "church" in our name. We are not a company, we are not a abstract entity, we are a church and telling people that in your name is, we thought, very important.

From names of churches already in the GVA for obvious reason, though this is not a hard and fast rule, many churches share names with other churches even in the same city! There may be another Village Church in the GVA but we couldn't find it.

Names that sound more like specified ministries. Churches today sometimes name themselves so that they sound like ministries instead of churches: The Warehouse, Elevation, The Highway. I am not being critical of these names, again, very successful church are named in this category (Guts Church) its just not the direction we wanted to go.

Names that mean nothing to anyone who is not a Christian or who does not speak Greek or Latin. Some churches like to be abstract so they name their church with a very Christian word, usually from Latin or Greek (i.e., Ekklesia, Imago Dei, Koinonia) which is something we also wanted to stay away from.

Names that need a lot of explanation. Its not wrong to have a name that may need some clarification if, for no other reason than to get a conversation started. So something like Mosaic Church is alright because then people say why Mosaic - "well because it is made up of many different cultures, and a wide variety of people." But sometimes church names are too abstract and again too Christian and need so much explanation: The Holy Tabernacle of the Anointed Ones, The Foundation Stone Temple Worship Centre, Church of the Incarnation., etc., etc.,

Why Village Church?
This is how it happened. I was away on vacation in March reading and thinking about
everything in regard to the church (and swimming in a very cold "hot tub" with my daughter, but that is for another day): How are we going to reach people? Who lives in South Surrey? What should we be called? One evening on that vacation we were talking to two members of what would go on to be the Core Launch Team over Skype and she said "What about Village Church?" - I liked it initially, but knew it was one word away from being the same name of church as a great preacher I listen to every week - The Village Church (Matt Chandler). So I told my wife that and she said "Where is that church?"... "Texas, I guess that's far enough away right?"

So I stuck it in the back of my mind, and it kept surfacing throughout the months. Once the Core Launch Team was assembled I gave them the assignment: research South Surrey, read your Bibles, and email me ideas. I expected lists and lists of names but that was not the case - people kept saying they liked Village Church. And then we moved into South Surrey and it all started to make sense. Everything in South Surrey is marketed as a village. You drive in over
the highway and the first thing you see is a massive sign with big block letters that says VILLAGE LIFE, promoting the condo/shopping complex they are building. On your way out you drive past a sign for a real estate developer whose website is - and all the housing complexes are marketed as creating a village lifestyle -

When I saw that I began to warm up to the idea that maybe we didn't need something completely original - and Texas was a long way away. Then we began to talk about what the idea of a village conveys to people: community, relationships, depending on one another, small in the midst of big, hospitality, etc.,. All of these cut to the heart of our values as a church.

I tested the name out on people I knew. Different reactions. Some scowled and said "It reminds me a horror movie" (referring, of course, to the M. Night Shamaylan movie The Village), and others "it reminds me of the Village People," all of which I took seriously - because it matters. Others said "it sounds welcoming" and "it sounds like you are building a community" - "it conveys relationship" - and even some who originally thought of a horror movie started coming back and saying "it is growing on me, I like it now."

In the end the Core Launch Team really adopted it, leadership at SDBC liked it and we decided that it really did communicate well to our demographic here in South Surrey.

I am still debating though, on Launch Sunday in January 2010, whether I should dress up like a police officer, or a construction worker. We'll see.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Why Plant Churches? (Part 3) - Tim Keller

'But,' many people say, 'what about all the existing churches that need help? You seem to be ignoring them.'  Not at all.  We also plant churches because-- 


We want to continually RENEW THE WHOLE BODY OF CHRIST.  It is a great mistake to think that we have to choose between church planting and church renewal.  Strange as it may seem, the planting of new churches in a city is one of the very best ways to revitalize many older churches in the vicinity and renew the whole Body of Christ. Why?  


1. First, the new churches bring new ideas to the whole Body. There is plenty of resistance to the idea that we need to plant new churches to reach the constant stream of 'new' groups and generations and residents.  Many congregations insist that all available resources should be used to find ways of helping existing churches reach them. However, there is no better way to teach older congregations about new skills and methods for reaching new people groups than by planting new churches. It is the new churches that will have freedom to be innovative and they become the 'Research and Development' department for the whole Body in the city.  Often the older congregations were too timid to try a particular approach or were absolutely sure it would 'not work here'. But when the new church in town succeeds wildly with some new method, the other churches eventually take notice and get the courage to try it themselves.  


2. Second, new churches are one of the best ways to surface creative, strong leaders for the whole Body. In older congregations, leaders emphasize tradition, tenure, routine, and kinship ties. New congregations, on the other hand, attract a higher percentage of venturesome people who value creativity, risk, innovation and future orientation. Many of these men and women would never be attracted or compelled into significant ministry apart from the appearance of these new bodies.  Often older churches 'box out' many people with strong leadership skills who cannot work in more traditional settings. New churches thus attract and harness many people in the city whose gifts would otherwise not be utilized in the work of the Body. These new leaders benefit the whole city-Body eventually. 


3. Third, the new churches challenge other churches to self-examination. The "success" of new churches often challenges older congregations in general to evaluate themselves in substantial ways.  Sometimes it is only in contrast with a new church that older churches can finally define their own vision, specialties, and identity. Often the growth of the new congregation gives the older churches hope that 'it can be done', and may even bring about humility and repentance for defeatist and pessimistic attitudes.  Sometimes, new congregations can partner with older churches to mount ministries that neither could do by themselves. 


4. Fourth, the new church may be an 'evangelistic feeder' for a whole community. The new church often produces many converts who end up in older churches for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the new church is very exciting and outward facing but is also very unstable or immature in its leadership. Thus some converts cannot stand the tumultuous changes that regularly come through the new  church and they move to an existing church. Sometimes the new church reaches a person for Christ, but the new convert quickly discovers that he or she does not 'fit' the socio-economic make up of the new congregation, and gravitates to an established congregation where the customs and culture feels more familiar. Ordinarily, the new churches of a city produce new people not only for themselves, but for the older bodies as well.  


Sum: Vigorous church planting is one of the best ways to renew the existing churches of a city, as well as the best single way to grow the whole Body of Christ in a city.