Saturday, June 26, 2010

Veritas Church

We've chosen a name. Before I tell you why we chose "Veritas", let me start by saying that naming a church was such a funny process.

It's like naming a child only 1000 times worse. There are way more opinions, and you have the same problems, but compounded. You know how it is with a child, "you can't name him ______...he'll get made fun of on the playground" or "not _____, there was a kid in my first grade class with that name who always picked his nose and..." or "that name is too 80's" or "that name is cool now, but will be out in 5 years"

After sifting through name ideas, "The Well" "Anthem" "Cornerstone Church of Iowa City" "Anchor", to name a few, we went with "Veritas."

"Veritas" is the Latin word for "truth." In John 18:37, Jesus said to Pilate, "for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth." Our church exists for the same reason. We use the Latin word as a reminder that we join history in the pursuit of truth, which is often elusive and polarizing. Truth transcends cultures, nations, and history itself. There's at least one thing we share in common with the Ancients, namely, this quest for truth.

It's academic, maybe a little Catholic, hints of transcendence and pursuit of meaning and purpose... all of which seem to fit the ethos of this area.

At the end of the day, we can't take ourselves too seriously. The people will make the name, not the name the people. You can have the church name, "The Edge", but be living safe, insulated, and ineffective lives. Or, you can have the name "Wall Street Baptist" and be a dangerous, reach the poor and oppressed kind of church.

So there you have it: Veritas Church. What we will become I don't know. But I'm filled with vision for all that God is going to do.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fellow artists, listen up

"Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration.

'I write only when inspiration strikes,' he replied. 'Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.'

That's a pro... by performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration, as surely as if the goddess had synchronized her watch with his. He knew if he built it, she would come."

- The War of Art, p. 64 by Steven Pressfield

Now, Ryan and Bobby, if you get your albums out, I'll finish my books. Deal?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thune's sell their house!

"Glorify the Lord with me, let's exalt his name together" Psalm 34:3

Against all odds, the bank accepted the offer on the Thune's house in California. This is just one of a thousand ways God has provided for those stepping out in faith on this adventure to Iowa City.
Alright, Lord. Now to the Bodin's...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Church Planting Axioms

Here are some principles I've been thinking about. Some of them I'm sure I've ripped off other people. I gave credit where I think it's due.

1. You name it, we don't do it (Andy Stanley?)

Here's our program- connection grps. Doing life in community. Which leads to our second axiom...

2. Ministry is relationships (Brent Thomas?)

This will keep us from becoming a Christian country club. My second greatest fear is that I will neglect my responsibilities as a pastor in favor of becoming the activities coordinator on the titanic...Rearranging chairs and planning parties on a sinkng church

3. Let the theologians shape the content, let the artists determine the color

Fluorescent lights, drop ceilings, and white walls won't do.

4. No one starts a ministry unless someone starts a ministry (Stanley?)

Person: "Hey, Mark, have you ever thought of..."
Me: "That sounds like a great idea, and a great ministry for you to lead..."

5. What to do when we don't know what to do...2 Chronicles 20:12

Most of the time we won't know what to do

6. Beware of de-churched people with an agenda

If you're leaving your church because they didn't share your conviction about end times, breast-feeding, homeschooling, Calvinism, children's curriculum, or politics... you make me nervous. But if you have a desire to serve and be a part of what God is doing, you're wanted! Or, if you've never been to church or are giving church one more shot...come check it out! Who knows, we may be one more reason you decided to stay home and watch football or you might meet Jesus.

7. Speak English

Here are some non-English phrases we may try to avoid:
"if you want to go to heaven, accept Jesus into your heart"
"we trust you've had a wonderful week in the Lord as you've walked in the promises"

8. Our primary strategy for helping people meet Jesus: be normal

9. 18-29 year olds may not pay the bills, but they will change the world... Don't tolerate their mess, harness it

10. Be a local church with a global vision (Cstone Ames)

Our hope is that somehow Malawian orphans and unreached Hazara will be touched by Jesus.

11. The more risk and change averse we become, the older we are becoming. Old things die.

12. The wisdom of Solomon + Inaccurate facts = Fool's decision (Larry Osborne)

That's all for now. Maybe you have some advice, or an axiom you'd like to add to the list. Thanks ahead of time.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Where have we been?

Great question. The last month has been a blur with our move to Iowa City. Pictures tell a thousand words, so I'll go with that. But first, the timeline...

May 1/2- Commissioned at our last official Cornerstone services. Spoke on "Worship"
May 3-25- Tying up loose ends from 15 years in Ames. Most "loose ends" didn't get tied. I can't even think about all the people we didn't get to hug and say "thanks and goodbye" to.
May 25- Left Ames for the last time. Officially closed on our house in Ames June 1.
May 25-June 2- Spent some time in Omaha
June 2-early September- At our temporary home until our house is finished. On with the pics..
Aug 25- TSC in IC kicks off
Sept 12- First church service in IC
Cleaning out my office brought back a lot of memories. This is late Grandpa Bill's (click here) copy of "Pursuit of God", which he quoted all the time. It's one of the few books I've read more than a few times. It's this "pursuit of God" (my pursuit of him and more importantly his pursuit of me) that has brought this wonderful craziness upon us... a move to Iowa City.

Above: Jeff and Ashley Thune, our new partners in ministry, lived with us for 2 weeks in May. We had a blast...what an awesome couple! We put Jett on the table and let them compete over who Jett would go to first. Jeff won in this case... I think the jar of honey had something to do with it.

Below: I was hunting for a ball in the grass- a common occurrence when I golf- when I almost stepped on this huge snake. I screamed like a little school girl. Jesse Reyes manned up on the snake and pulled it out of the grass. Then Jeff took over. Notice I'm behind Jeff, a safe distance from the serpent.

Above: Recording in Minneapolis for the new Anthem album, which is going to be awesome. It should be out in late August if all goes well. I'm very pleased with how it sounds so far.

Below: One challenge with moving was that our strategies for containing our 10 month old were becoming less effective. He's escaping and going head first into the lego bin. The problem is that he doesn't think ahead of time how he's going to get out (below)

Leatha has been building some furniture for our new house (click here for link to knock-off Dad helped us take it to the next level on our new dining room table with his finish carpenter skills.
Above: Dad playing with Jett
Below: How fitting. The very last items in our house were 3 boxes of kleenex. Leaving Ames was like losing a loved one; lots of grieving in the last days.
But we had a good time with family in Omaha after leaving Ames. I wonder how much longer Beck will see both his great-grandma's, both in their early 90's. Grandma Rena on the left, Grandma Marge on the right.

Above: All the travel and moving has been exhausting.
Below: One of the pleasures in Omaha... skating with longtime friend Curt (middle) and my brother Steven. I'm lobbying Leatha for a skate ramp in our back yard at our new house.
Above: Kids sleeping at our temporary home
Below: This is the best picture we could come up with for our support letter. The thing we realize is that the bigger our family gets, the harder it is to get a good picture.
Please pray for us. There is not a mountain ahead of us with this church plant. It's a mountain range. We covet your prayers and support ("support" is the subtle way of saying "money").

Speaking of money, I hate writing this more than you hate reading it...

But if you are interested in giving to the church plant in Iowa City (we're still deciding on a name), click here. It's easy from there (after clicking "one time gift" or "recurring gift", put in the amount and scroll down for my name). Or if you want to go old school, just write a check out to Cornerstone Church with "Iowa City- Mark Arant" in the memo and send it to Cornerstone Church, 56829 U.S. Hwy 30, Ames, IA 50010.

I'm sure I'll be doing more blogging in the days to come. Stay tuned for the adventures that lie ahead.