On September 16, 2007 I sent this email:
You may or may not notice, but I am typing a full half octave higher than before. If you show up on September 16, I’ll explain in more detail. But in the meantime, if you want to get a read on what happened to me, go rent Braveheart and forward it to the end of the movie. You know, the part where he is strapped the table screaming freedom!?
Shannon and I have missed you all so much these past few months. I have missed getting to share with you all of that TMI stuff that was so cathartic for me, and so kind of you to humor me by reading. I have missed getting to search the scriptures with you.
In my down time this summer, God began to stir something inside of me. I began to ask myself a lot of questions that I had never asked before. I began to see stuff in the Word that I had never noticed before.
Through this process I started thinking…
• What if there was a gathering of people that got together weekly and didn’t “study” the Word like some sort of academic exercise, but searched the scriptures for the treasures that lie within?
• What if that last question was not just semantics?
• What if it was a gathering that was simple, no fancy programs, no org charts, no fancy research, no pencil pushing consultants with clipboards and opinions?
• What if in simplicity there was almost zero over head in the budget?
• What if big impact didn’t have to mean big attendance numbers?
• What if it could meet in a neutral location on a main street that is highly visible?
• What if this gathering found out that the Word is exactly what God promised it would be to us?
• What if the water of the Word softened our hearts, allowing the Potter to mold us into the image He desires?
• What if we get into the Word and begin to care about the things that Jesus cared about?
• What if every week an offering is taken just like normal, but the vast majority of it is given away to the front lines of feeding, clothing, and housing those in need all around the World?
• What if we could partner with just a handful of organizations and move just a small amount of the abundant resources in this region to places with nothing?
• What if together we really could do more?
• What if?
The picture that I believe God showed me was of a conduit. What’s that you city boys and girls ask? A conduit is a fancy word for a pipe. If you were to tear the sheet rock off the walls in your home you’d find conduit throughout that house all of the electrical wiring transferring power safely from one place to another. If you’re driving around the Midwest and see farmers watering their crops, the sprinklers, nozzles, etc are all connected to a conduit which goes to where the water is; allowing it to freely move from a place with plenty of water to a place with no water.
A conduit is not fancy. It’s not expensive. It has no moving parts. It’s all around you but you never see it. And yet, without it there is no electricity in your walls and no water in the fields of Nebraska.
And thus, on September 16, 2007 at 7pm at The Listening Room in Downtown Franklin we will launch the Conduit Bible Study. We will search the scriptures verse by verse. We will feed on the milk and the meat of the word. And lest we become spiritually fattened for the kill, we will respond to it with action. Not Faith or Works. It’s Faith that Works.
We’ll follow the model that Paul gives us in 2 Cor. 8 & 9. There will be no pressure, no emotional strings being pulled. We will just all give what we can in a strategic manner, giving what we each personally can, and when it’s combined together we can put it in the bucket, and almost immediately funnel it, or “Conduit” it to organizations who are taking care of the poor all around the World. (for those of you following along, they are the “nozzles” in this analogy)
I hope this all makes sense. I’m more excited about this than I have been in a long time. If you want to be prepared for what is coming read in the first few chapters of Acts how the early church worked. Read 2 Cor. 8 & 9 and see that those verses we love to quote about God blessing us for giving, are talking about giving to the poor.
If you don’t mind, would you send me a quick email letting me know if you plan to attend? It would just be helpful if I could get a rough estimate of what to expect on our launch night. The Listening Room isn’t a giant place and I want to make sure we’re prepared.
That sound you hear is the heart beat of God.
Like any living and breathing organism, Conduit has grown and matured. In the early days I spent a lot of energy trying to define Conduit by what it was not, more than by what it is. I was pretty adamant that it “isn’t a church”. After all we don’t have a children’s pastor and I actually “go” to church at a real church.
As Conduit has grown, so have I, and those that have been apart of this little corner of the Kingdom of God.
When I look back at the initial vision, I see that short of us still being in downtown Franklin, we have absolutely held true to the vision.
We’ve been a Conduit.
Conduit of His Resources: We’ve taken in and given away over $100,000 dollars. Those resources are feeding, clothing, educating, serving in Christ our brothers and sisters in Haiti. They have served our brothers and sisters at Place of Hope who are battling for their lives against addiction. Refugees were fed in Myanmar. A school is being built in Ghana to train young men and women to be Christ like leaders to serve their nation. 96.5% of what has been taken in to Conduit has been given away.
Conduit of His Love: We’ve taken trips to Haiti where we served our brothers and sisters spiritually and physically. The medical clinic we held in Jacmel, Haiti was profound. We witnessed first hand the food that is being given to the children there through our work. Uganda, Haiti, Indonesia, have all seen Conduit “boots on the ground” in the past 2 years.
Conduit of His Word: We continue with our original vision of being a Bible Study that actually studies the Bible. We’ve dug deep in the Word and found that the treasure of Jesus is found on every page.
As for the future? It’s looking good. God is continuing to write our stories individually as well as the story of Conduit collectively. For starters, we’re no longer defining Conduit by what it’s not. What is it exactly you might ask? In the coming weeks and months we’ll unpack that.
Tomorrow night we’re NOT going to be meeting at Journey Church. Instead we’re going to be meeting at my home in Franklin. It’s going to be a mini celebration of 2 years of God moving in our lives. We’ll hang out on our patio, light up the fire pit, and talk about Jesus.
If you plan on attending, please email me and I’ll gladly get you my street addy.
If you could bring some sort of drink, side dish, secret recipe something, feel free to do so.