Friday, March 22, 2013

The Dream Card

So thankful for Woodlands Point allowing me the opportunity to teach March 10. You can check it out here. Scripture is from 1 Corinthians 7:17-24.



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fast-Food Mission

I remember when Taco Bell was built in my hometown 20 years ago. All through junior high and high school we would travel just outside of our town to find the nearest one. We would always talk amongst ourselves saying, "Why don't we have one of these near us?" ...Now there are four.

It seems coffee shops, burger joints, drug stores, convenience stations all pop-up in our cities and neighborhoods like popcorn in the microwave. We are exponentially growing as a population with exponentially growing needs. 

You might see a new coffee shop and say, "Really?!?!...another one??" Thing is, a business counts on the people who say things like, 
"Wow, I would've never experienced this if it wasn't so close to me." They strive to make a life long customer.

These places operate on mission statements as most successful organizations do. Part of McDonald's mission statement says "Our worldwide operations are aligned around a global strategy called the Plan to Win." 

As common place as these establishments might become in American society we find it newsworthy to broadcast these concepts across the world as they open in new cultures and contexts making international headlines. I remember the news on TV as a teenager... McDonald's burst on the scene in Russia. That was BIG NEWS! Check out this excerpt from this article...

"At dawn on 31 January 1990 more than 5 thousand people came to be the first at its opening. That day Moscow McDonald's set a world record: it served more than 30 thousand visitors. People stood in line for over 6 hours, willing to get a taste of this unusual food. At that time it was the first fast food place in the whole country."
Through the book of Genesis God reestablishes His covenant with us and says, "be fruitful and multiply." I'm sure God knew about the Big Mac phenomenon in that statement and maybe shook His head, but don't forget, we ARE image bearers of God...we were created, hence, we create too. Granted, we are broken, sinful and evil...guess that's why someone created the Mega Mel Burger. We think, we plan, we build and then we do it all over again. It's easy to relate to because we have physical needs and desires and they lie on the forefront of our mind as we consider what to create next. 

Just as these successful organizations have a mission they run hard for...the follower of Jesus does to...the Mission Statement we received from Jesus Christ himself: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Matthew 28:19

When Jesus said to "go, therefore and make disciples of all nations," there is no distinction between home and overseas missions. He didn't mean it was only about foreign missions. Jesus came for all. Our mission is just the same here as it is there. McDonald's and Starbucks might get more publicity as they open up in overseas locations but in their mindset they are all important and all matter.

How do you view the local church's mission in your city and context versus the missionary sent to overseas? How do you view the pastor and the people in your local church? As Christ followers we are all sent and commissioned to bring the Gospel to those in our contexts and cultures. Some are sent globally but most are still in their hometown. 

A fast-food chain that has been in our hometown for years just doesn't seem as newsworthy or as explosive as it is to build one on the other side of the earth, yet it has been serving the local community faithfully and consistently day in and day out, year after year. Why do international efforts seem to be more glorified then the needs of the Gospel in our hometowns? Is it really safe to think ALL have heard the Good News of Jesus there?

Tim Chester and Steve Timmis say it well in their book Total Church...

"If someone was being sent as a missionary to a hostile context overseas, our attitude would be something like this: We would expect to pray often for them. We would expect progress in building relationships and sharing the gospel to be slow. We would be excited by small steps – a gospel conversation here, an opportunity to get to know someone there. We would thrive on regular updates from the frontline. But the truth is that the lives of many Christians in work, and play, are just like the life of that far–flung missionary! They are lived out in tough environments where progress is often slow and many factors make evangelism extremely difficult. The challenge is to make news from the staff canteen as valued as news from the overseas mission field." 
Most local churches don't pop-up overnight. There is lot's of prayer involved and a planting of the Gospel in people to see something grow out of that. It's not just the church planter guy spear heading the effort... it is people.

Too often Gospel planting efforts in our cities and hometowns are overlooked like the American fast-food chain that has been around the corner for 20 plus years. They are passed by with a slight glance ("Really...another one??"). In our culture it's not as "newsworthy" in our minds when we hear about someone leading three guys in weekly discipleship group or when we hear about one person confessing Jesus as their Savior in a living room. These don't make headlines. It's those that work out of the spotlight, the missionaries to our local context that make the lasting impact. They have a passion to make disciples and baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and teach them about Jesus.

God works through people for people. How often do we pay real attention to our neighbor and ask God to use us? How can we open our eyes to new Gospel centered work in our city-mission fields as web developers, physicians, stay-at-home moms, church planters, students, teachers, engineers, analysts, realtors, restaurant managers, etc? 

Starbucks mission statement - "to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
How can we make the Gospel newsworthy everyday and celebrate the transformation in those "under the radar" efforts from the city-mission fields that are making huge impacts in one person and one neighborhood at a time for the Kingdom? 

We must make it newsworthy because there are people out there right now...your neighbors, co-workers, classmates...that are saying, "Wow, I would've never experienced this if it wasn't so close to me." 

Go make a lifelong customer.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Residency [Christmas] Update :: free song download

Work continues as a church planting resident at Woodlands Point. Thanks for your prayers, as they are most important of all!

Classroom theology and leadership training kicked-off in November 2012 and runs the next twelve months. We started with assessing personalities and sharing stories among the residents. "Spiritual Leadership" by J. Oswald Sanders is the first of readings amongst other articles on church leadership during our first of four modules. 
"A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position by the inward leading of the Holy Spirit and the press of circumstances..." -A.W. Tozer

In all of this I am privileged to provide practical pastoral care as a coach to community group leaders, serve alongside and consult in children's ministry, as well as help manage the weekly logistics of set-up and tear down. Of course, there are many ways in which a resident is called to can follow me @JohnShaw76 and track #TheShaw as I upload pics, quotes and just some fun stuff we do in the community.

Living in community with each other is the pulse of the church and the applied practice of how we are being propelled by the Gospel to be on mission for Jesus. Recently I was co-leader in a training class of twenty-eight leaders and apprentices as they are responding to how God is using them as influencers of the Good News of Jesus in their community. 
"I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can."  -George Bernard Shaw

Children’s ministry is also foremost in the minds of our leaders at Woodlands Point and I have been able to help lead and consult as we are continuing to grow.
"Nearly half of the adults who attended church regularly as children and now bring their own offspring to a church do not even know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior." -George Barna

As Christ followers, we are called to be the Church and sent as agents of the King into our neighborhood, city, region and the world. Currently we made a move to the other side of the school into the gym. A gym is seen as a place of athletics and pep rallies, yet it is a place of worship for the believer and seeker on Sunday. The fact of not going to a church building, but that we ARE the Church, is a reminder every week that all spaces are redeemable for God's glory as we do that every week setting up and tearing down. 

Please be in prayer specifically as Joni and I have kept the idea of adoption close to our hearts over twelve years of marriage. Through The Orphan Care Network we have taken steps to partner with Arrow Child and Family Ministries to pursue what it might look like for our family to foster-to-adopt a child. This is not a warm and cozy idea for us but a picture of sacrifice, sanctification and redeem-ability of us and a child that God might so graciously place in our care. We started with orientation this week!

Balancing these roles can be enough, however, in the midst of all this I am continuing to fundraise my annual salary for the purpose of development and future launch support. Fundraising prepares and gives great perspective on what it takes to move the Gospel forward as a missionary to the city. 

I have received one-time gifts which help kick start the process, however, monthly partners are key. Presently, monthly donations are at the goal of being at a part-time salary but my hope is to be at full-time in 2013.

I have sought out part-time jobs for support but these take significant time out of a weekly schedule and barely fit the bill, as well as inhibit the process. Your partnership helps with monthly living expenses as well as cost of conferences, travel and extra supplies needed.

As 2012 comes to an end, please consider support of us as missionaries to the city.

  •  You can give safely and securely online at my specific residency link ---> CLICK HERE 
  • You can send a support check to: --- PO BOX 131533, The Woodlands, TX 77393 --- Checks can be be made out to “Woodlands Point Community Church” --- MEMO “John Shaw”
  • All proceeds 100% Tax Deductible
Your Kingdom partnership means so much as a faith covenant in which I don’t take lightly.

[Check Out] Woodlands Point "The Songs of Christmas" Series -- a [FREE SONG DOWNLOAD] of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"

   Merry Christmas!

   John Shaw

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I am set to begin residency full-time at Woodlands Point in September. Exciting times! I truly feel like God has placed me in this community to be refined before being sent out as a church planter. My leadership and experience will be utilized in children's ministry, shepherding & training community group leaders, and launching a community group ourselves (aka small group). There will also be formal classroom training involving required readings, listeningassignments, papers, and assessments. Lot's coming up! 

Fear, anxiety, doubt, and more have crept in as Satan has seemingly whispered in our ear, "You can't do this." The enemy certainly knows us and knows our plans to further the Good News of Jesus Christ and is trying to wedge and distort these plans. John 10:10 - "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." We are being made more aware of the the first part of that verse for sure but HOLDING STRONG to the latter.

This is where prayer is EXTREMELY needed from our extended family in Christ! We need you prayer warriors! 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

I launched this prayer and financial support campaign a couple weeks ago. It has all happened so fast! Joni and I are seriously hitting our knees! This is a shotgun start where most people might have a few months or more but we are working on a tight time frame.

As of Aug 23, 2012, based on next 3 months, our giving report is (8% RAISED SUPPORT / 92% NEEDED SUPPORT). We need to raise the first 3 months of salary before we even receive a check to go toward living expenses. If you would please prayerfully consider financially partnering with us as missionaries to this city as a monthly or one time donor, Click-->HERE

We covet your prayers, we can't do any of this without your support.


Follow Me:
YouTube (Support Video)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Welcome...take a look!

Would you let your best friend go through all of the drawers in your house?? Clothes, utensils, socks, junk, towels, journals, pens, pictures, toys, t-shirts, personal effects, flash drives, money, files...the list could keep going and going! We use drawers to stuff things, organize things, and throw things. To be authentic is to be masks. Imagine your home with every drawer open. I hope that this blog will be a way for me to share with you the journey we are starting on and be an open drawer for you to peak inside my messy and grace-filled life that I experience as a follower of Christ, husband, father, pastor and church planter trying to figure it all out on the way. (Check out my video below)

Please stay tuned for updates as we desperately need your prayers all along the way and selfishly ask that you would become partners in prayer with us as we seek more of Him and less of us. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “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.”

How to Partner :
    • PRAYER - Subscribe to this blog and/or follow me on Twitter @JohnShaw76
    • You can give monthly or one time safely and securely -- Click >>HERE 
    • All proceeds 100% Tax Deductible

Personally, your partnership means so much to us in furthering God’s Kingdom as we glorify Jesus Christ and the Good news of his saving power and grace that he extends to us through the cross. May His Grace and Peace abound!