Saturday, August 13, 2011


Have you started upon the iPath? The Annual Conference 2011 theme – the iPath – is not a thing of the past but the ever present journey each healthy, growing church must be on. Superintendent Mark challenged every church to develop an iPath plan the coming year. Many are already engaging the iPath.

So then, what is the iPath? 

The iPath is the path from skepticism to Christlife. Each step of the way is guided by the Way, the Truth and the Life – Jesus. Everything we do must target becoming increasingly identified with, in love with, engaged with, overcome by, filled by, energized by, living for Almighty God, revealed in the person of Jesus, infusing the church by the Holy Spirit. 

A church can realistically state that it is bringing glory to God when those who call that church their spiritual home are consistently engaged in a life style and mindset that is visibly moving toward being more like Jesus. That’s a dangerous proposition.  People willing to turn their cheek to abuse heaped upon them for their beliefs, rather than fighting back with harsh attitudes, unkindness or violence.  People willing to sacrifice comfort and the American dream in order to share resources with those who have less. People who intentionally devote themselves – really DEVOTE themselves – to the Apostle’s teachings (learning and living them out), to prayer, to being together in faith, and to blessing, encouraging, loving and rebuilding the communities in which they live. People who bless their persecutors, courageously stand by their convictions without demanding that others share them and who exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Such people have changed the world. I want to be part of a movement that still does.

Before anyone can begin to grow into Christlife (a journey to be sure) they must be iNvited. Any Christian group that desires to iNcrease must create an environment where seekers and newbies are welcomed, nurtured and pointed in productive directions. The only real way to allow people to explore and express their faith is to iNvolve them in hands-on ministry. Jesus spent more time discussing the proper use of money than he did faith, so too we must not shy away from building in opportunities to iNvest in kingdom work – which is in fact a form of Christian love.

There it is … the iPath. • iNvite • iNcrease • iNvolve • iNvest. 

What are the intentional and corporate efforts your church employs to bless the community so much that when you iNvite skeptics to explore Christlife they seem to want to? What are the intentional and outrageously hospitable means you use to ensure that visitors and seekers feel welcome and want to return? What are intentional and systematic ways that your church allows everyone, young and old, sinner and saint, seeker and preacher, to be actively involved in some way in the work of God on earth?  CONTROVERSY ALERT! If there is no room for seekers and sinners to participate in your ministries then your church will die and it should. Who initially followed Jesus into town after town to do ministry but liars, thieves, rebels, unstable, anger-prone, thick-skulled, ambitious group of people we call the Apostles… They changed as they walked along the iPath with their Savior! Oddly enough, it always true that people who are personally and actively engaged in an endeavor iNvest in that work, and usually true that people not challenged to personal involvement will – go figure – be uninvolved and divested rather than invested in the ministry. 

WEIRED SPELLING ALERT! Why small “i” and big Path?  Because Jesus (the Way, the Path) must increase, and “I” must decrease (“i”).  Why the capital “N” within iNvite, iNcrease, iNvolve, iNvest?  “N” represents the up and down journey of moving from skepticism to Christlife, and that journey ALWAYS ends on an UP swing!

Please, send news about your church’s iPath plans to Superintendent Mark via!  NCC, change the world!