Faith • Leadership • Life

3Circle Church

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This past weekend, COTES (Church on the Eastern Shore) became 3Circle Church. We changed the name of our church. Why would we do that? Our church is growing, healthy, and vibrant. We have experienced one of the strongest summers I’ve ever been a part of during my ministry. We did not experience the normal dip in attendance or financial contributions. So why change? Why take that risk and make that hard decision?

Simply put, we made the decision because we absolutely knew it needed to be done. Our church has an amazing 13 year history. Just over 10 years ago, two great pastors merged 2 passionate congregations and a great story began to be written. They didn’t just start a new church on the Eastern Shore, they started a different church. The vision was to reach people far from God. Under strong leadership and a unique vision, the church literally exploded. Chapter after chapter was written as people came to Christ and began to follow Him. I am grateful to the leaders who came before me as they worked, sacrificed, and led.

The name, however, was always a bit of tough spot. People would confuse the church with other Eastern Shore churches, and they would ask which church on the eastern shore it was since there are many. The church then abbreviated the name to COTES. This was great for those already in the church, but for anyone outside it became problematic and confusing. What is “COTES?” 3 years ago, the problem came to a definitive moment when the church decided to start multisite campuses. There is no “eastern shore” in Thomasville, AL where we have a campus! Also, the global impact of the church had grown tremendously. So the wrestling match took on even more urgency.

A year ago, I had the honor to become the new lead pastor at COTES. We have enjoyed a year of tremendous growth both deep and wide at our church. I preached a series in the spring called “3 Circles” based on Acts 1:8. It was out of this series that our team began to see the possibility for a new name. Through much prayer the elders of our church decided that indeed God was leading us to become 3Circle Church. We didn’t look for a cool name. We weren’t interested in a relevant name. We wanted a name that truly represented our identity, our mission, and our vision.

3Circle truly is who we are as a church. In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave us a mission to take the Gospel and make disciples beginning local (Jerusalem), next regional (Judea/Samaria), and finally all over the world (global). We have anchored ourselves to the mission of Jesus. He gave us a 3Circle mission and we are a 3Circle church! We desire to lead people to reach up (worship), reach in (grow), and reach out (share) in all 3 circles.

Our 3Circle name represents not only our mission but also our theology, Christology, governance, doctrine of man, and more. Keep checking in with my blog as I break this down. I’m excited about this next chapter of our church. We didn’t close the book of COTES, we simply began a new chapter called 3Circle. The story that was started 13 years ago did not end, it is continuing!! Join us in writing this next chapter.

Posted in: 3 Circles, Acts 1:8, Blog, perspective

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3 Circles

3CirclesNobckgrd

In Acts 1:8 Jesus gave the church and all believers a mission.  Jesus drew 3 circles for our mission, each one larger than the last.  As He told that first group to go into Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and all the world it became clear that He was giving us an order and a plan.  The way I see it, Jesus was calling us to be local, regional, and global in our mission.  As churches and people of faith we will find unique ways and methods to accomplish this, but the overall mission and plan was given to us by Jesus Himself.

I think the mission that Christ has given us is not only a command, but a gift.  Whether we realize it or not, we all deeply long for purpose in our lives.  We all can remember that pivotal moment when we began to ask the deep life questions of why we’re here and what life is all about.  It is in those moment that Jesus words to us become so full of life and hope.  We have a purpose and a mission!  We have a reason for still existing on this big spinning ball called Earth.

There’s few feelings more dark and hopeless than that of a total lack of purpose.  It is into this black hole of darkness and hopelessness that Jesus shines the light of life purpose.  To think that the God of Heaven would invite us to partner with Him to accomplish His work in the Earth is unfathomable, yet true.  In all of our weaknesses and unworthiness we are reminded by Christ that He made us worthy of the mission by taking our place and making us right before God.  It is Jesus who gave us the mission, empowers us to do the mission, and makes us worthy for the mission.

I find it interesting that Jesus gave the disciples and the early church their mission just before He went to Heaven.  Surely they would be in deep grief and possibly some confusion when He left.   There were going to be some really hard days ahead for this group.  Persecution, torture, and terror were right around the corner.  Many of them would soon die horrifically for their faith in Christ.  Knowing all of this, Jesus gave them a mission and purpose that would give them assurance and encouragement in their darkest moments.  He would give them power to partner with Him to reach the world.  Locally, regionally, and globally the Gospel message began to explode and spread.  This world has never been the same.

Much has changed in 2000 years, but the mission has not.  You and I are called to join our God in this quest to spread the Gospel and make disciples in our communities, regions, and across the globe.

Posted in: 3 Circles, Blog, Church, Community

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