Front Porch on KSPR

Here’s a story that ran last Friday on Springfield’s ABC News affiliate, KSPR 33. Not too bad for a short spot, I’d say. My only (minor) complaints are that we’re called “Core” instead of “The Core” and I am listed as “Youth Pastor” instead of “Pastor” (I guess the subtitle people assumed the word “pastor” was a mistake, judging by my… a-youthful a-ppearance.) Also the fact that it took them a week and a half to get it up on the web. I’ll try to get the video onto the “media” page of our website soon, too. Enjoy!

0 thoughts on “Front Porch on KSPR

  1. What fine journalists Springfield harbors. πŸ˜‰ Nice little piece, though.I always shudder when reporters strain out soundbytes from their context. Something to be cautious about when being interviewed is not to say something that, taken out of context, could be untruthful. I realize even public figures who spend countless hours in front of mics and cameras have difficulty with this, but just a word of caution.I’m gonna be a little scrutinous here and ask about the impetus behind the quote, “We don’t have an agenda.” What else could that mean but, “We don’t have a purpose” or “…a mission”? Is the above quote accurate, that the FP serves no ultimate mission? Is the mission simply that people would feel welcome?

  2. What fine journalists Springfield harbors. πŸ˜‰ Nice little piece, though.I always shudder when reporters strain out soundbytes from their context. Something to be cautious about when being interviewed is not to say something that, taken out of context, could be untruthful. I realize even public figures who spend countless hours in front of mics and cameras have difficulty with this, but just a word of caution.I’m gonna be a little scrutinous here and ask about the impetus behind the quote, “We don’t have an agenda.” What else could that mean but, “We don’t have a purpose” or “…a mission”? Is the above quote accurate, that the FP serves no ultimate mission? Is the mission simply that people would feel welcome?

  3. Fair enough… I try to clarify the word “agenda” frequently, but sometimes I myself am guilty of using it carelessly.Outside of the most harmless settings, such as in a meeting, the word “agenda” has picked up a bad connotation because of how often it has followed the word “hidden”. I myself was implying the word “hidden”, saying that we didn’t have a hidden agenda.If you were a stranger stepping into the Front Porch for the first time, there will be lots of things we do that you don’t know or care about. But they’re not a secret. We will have motivations that you don’t know or care about. But they’re not a secret.The mission is not <>simply<> that people would feel welcome, but that is our mission at its absolute most basic. What is true welcome other than hospitality? And what is true hospitality other than love?In that sense, people are tapping into our highest purpose, love, from the very outset. It is what we hope love does to them (transformation) that they may not expect. But to jump ahead of God… to skip pure and simple love and start expecting things out of people right up front would be a <>failure to love.<>Although love is often mysterious, sometimes painful, and rarely understood fully by its recipient, hidden agendas and love cannot co-exist.

  4. Fair enough… I try to clarify the word “agenda” frequently, but sometimes I myself am guilty of using it carelessly.Outside of the most harmless settings, such as in a meeting, the word “agenda” has picked up a bad connotation because of how often it has followed the word “hidden”. I myself was implying the word “hidden”, saying that we didn’t have a hidden agenda.If you were a stranger stepping into the Front Porch for the first time, there will be lots of things we do that you don’t know or care about. But they’re not a secret. We will have motivations that you don’t know or care about. But they’re not a secret.The mission is not <>simply<> that people would feel welcome, but that is our mission at its absolute most basic. What is true welcome other than hospitality? And what is true hospitality other than love?In that sense, people are tapping into our highest purpose, love, from the very outset. It is what we hope love does to them (transformation) that they may not expect. But to jump ahead of God… to skip pure and simple love and start expecting things out of people right up front would be a <>failure to love.<>Although love is often mysterious, sometimes painful, and rarely understood fully by its recipient, hidden agendas and love cannot co-exist.

  5. “Hidden” makes all the difference in the world. I wonder how they would have taken it if you had said “hidden agenda”?“What is true welcome other than hospitality? And what is true hospitality other than love?”Welcome = hospitality, yes. Hospitality = love, not quite. Hospitality may be one expression of love (and is an absolutely necessary expression), but they are FAR from synonyms. You are obviously aware of this. So what do you mean when you say that the mission of the FP is hospitality “at the most ‘basic’ level”?Let me just boil my concern for you down to the ‘most basic level’: When I hear you say that the basic mission of the FP is hospitality, <>outside of the stated understanding that it is hospitality for a particular Kingdom-centered purpose<>, it sounds like you’re advocating a liberal ‘social gospel’. And to those who are even less sympathetic to such ideas than I am (not to mention those who are virtually ignorant of The Core to begin with), “we have no agenda but love” is code for “we have no agenda but to make people feel good about themselves,” which not only has nothing to do with the Gospel, but is actually counter to it. That’s what that <>means<> to 99% of listeners. What I’m saying is, “meaning is not in words; meaning is in people” (I.A. Richards). And when you communicate something, whether or not you can convince yourself that what you’re saying is true is irrelevant. What matters is, How does what you say some across to others? If you’re out to make enemies of every ‘conservative’ pastor, church, and ministry in Springfield, then go ahead and communicate to them that you’re a flaming liberal. Because that’s honestly the vibe you’re putting out. Am I making sense?One final question:To what extent is the glory, the name, the reputation, the renown of God your all-consuming mission? When people read, hear, or watch something about The Core, what is the message that is left resonating in their ears? Is it “God is glorious”, or is it “The Core is really special”? Does God <>receive<> the glory, not through some ethereal, inductive leap, but through the mention of His name, His worthiness of the sacrifice of our lives, the great things He has done on our behalf? Because if He doesn’t receive glory in this way, He doesn’t receive it at all.Consider the following profound words straight from the mind of God:β€œI am the Lord; that is my name! <>I will not give my glory to another<> or my praise to idols.” (Isa. 42:8)β€œBut for the sake of <>my name<> I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations they lived among and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites by bringing them out of Egypt.” (Ezek. 20:9, 14, 22, 44)β€œFor the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that <>my name<> might be <>proclaimed<> in all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17)God is jealous for His glory. How obsessed are <>you<> with it? When you dig deep down inside yourself, what is your truest, deepest motivation for spending your life the way you do? I’m not asking what your theological reasons are. What <>motivates<> you? What’s on your mind as you scurry about, making phone calls, coordinating FP volunteers, updating the website, preparing a Bible study or discussion topic, getting ready for an interview? The answer to that question will shed some light on the motivation question. These aren’t questions that can or should be answered hastily. Take some time to really think about it, and I’ll look forward to your honest response. As you meditate on this, remember “finishing well insight #2”.God’s grace is sufficient for us, brother.

  6. “Hidden” makes all the difference in the world. I wonder how they would have taken it if you had said “hidden agenda”?“What is true welcome other than hospitality? And what is true hospitality other than love?”Welcome = hospitality, yes. Hospitality = love, not quite. Hospitality may be one expression of love (and is an absolutely necessary expression), but they are FAR from synonyms. You are obviously aware of this. So what do you mean when you say that the mission of the FP is hospitality “at the most ‘basic’ level”?Let me just boil my concern for you down to the ‘most basic level’: When I hear you say that the basic mission of the FP is hospitality, <>outside of the stated understanding that it is hospitality for a particular Kingdom-centered purpose<>, it sounds like you’re advocating a liberal ‘social gospel’. And to those who are even less sympathetic to such ideas than I am (not to mention those who are virtually ignorant of The Core to begin with), “we have no agenda but love” is code for “we have no agenda but to make people feel good about themselves,” which not only has nothing to do with the Gospel, but is actually counter to it. That’s what that <>means<> to 99% of listeners. What I’m saying is, “meaning is not in words; meaning is in people” (I.A. Richards). And when you communicate something, whether or not you can convince yourself that what you’re saying is true is irrelevant. What matters is, How does what you say some across to others? If you’re out to make enemies of every ‘conservative’ pastor, church, and ministry in Springfield, then go ahead and communicate to them that you’re a flaming liberal. Because that’s honestly the vibe you’re putting out. Am I making sense?One final question:To what extent is the glory, the name, the reputation, the renown of God your all-consuming mission? When people read, hear, or watch something about The Core, what is the message that is left resonating in their ears? Is it “God is glorious”, or is it “The Core is really special”? Does God <>receive<> the glory, not through some ethereal, inductive leap, but through the mention of His name, His worthiness of the sacrifice of our lives, the great things He has done on our behalf? Because if He doesn’t receive glory in this way, He doesn’t receive it at all.Consider the following profound words straight from the mind of God:β€œI am the Lord; that is my name! <>I will not give my glory to another<> or my praise to idols.” (Isa. 42:8)β€œBut for the sake of <>my name<> I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations they lived among and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites by bringing them out of Egypt.” (Ezek. 20:9, 14, 22, 44)β€œFor the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that <>my name<> might be <>proclaimed<> in all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17)God is jealous for His glory. How obsessed are <>you<> with it? When you dig deep down inside yourself, what is your truest, deepest motivation for spending your life the way you do? I’m not asking what your theological reasons are. What <>motivates<> you? What’s on your mind as you scurry about, making phone calls, coordinating FP volunteers, updating the website, preparing a Bible study or discussion topic, getting ready for an interview? The answer to that question will shed some light on the motivation question. These aren’t questions that can or should be answered hastily. Take some time to really think about it, and I’ll look forward to your honest response. As you meditate on this, remember “finishing well insight #2”.God’s grace is sufficient for us, brother.

  7. Believe me, I definitely struggle with the question of whether God’s renown is my primary motivator. I’m sure you do, too.But the expression of God’s renown is not the same from person to person, or from ministry to ministry. Cleaning someone’s toilets for them expresses God’s renown as much as preaching the Word. If you are doing what God has gifted you, and called you to do, you are expressing his renown, and should not compare yourself unfavorably to people who express it in more “glorious” ways.Did I not talk about transformation? Did I not talk about love being sometimes painful? For a complete stranger, love IS hospitality. In the interest of being wise as serpents and innocent as doves, we can’t just start walking up to people and tough-loving them. At the beginning love must be gentle, and needs must be met. It doesn’t take a liberal to understand that.When I was talking to the reporter, I was talking about first impressions. And if a first-time visitor has experienced simple and genuine welcome, they have experienced exactly what we’re about FOR THEM AT THAT TIME… no hidden agendas. Because when we are being welcoming, we want to be fully in that moment, not simultaneously strategizing the potential of this stranger… prospective convert? Prospective member? That’s not love. And you can’t get away from love being the GREATEST COMMANDMENT. I’m very concerned that we fulfill the Great Commission, but you have to admit that a focus on straightforward, hospitable LOVE should not be relegated to the “flaming liberals”. It’s the GREATEST COMMANDMENT!And I’ve said it a thousand times… Biblical love, I Corinthians 13 love, leads us to all of God’s other purposes. It’s not touchy-feely… it is powerful and transformative. And it is truthful even when the truth is hard.I hope the point you’re making is that I need work communicating this to the public, and not that I’m having trouble understanding it. Because otherwise I’d swear that you’re only reading half of what I write.

  8. Believe me, I definitely struggle with the question of whether God’s renown is my primary motivator. I’m sure you do, too.But the expression of God’s renown is not the same from person to person, or from ministry to ministry. Cleaning someone’s toilets for them expresses God’s renown as much as preaching the Word. If you are doing what God has gifted you, and called you to do, you are expressing his renown, and should not compare yourself unfavorably to people who express it in more “glorious” ways.Did I not talk about transformation? Did I not talk about love being sometimes painful? For a complete stranger, love IS hospitality. In the interest of being wise as serpents and innocent as doves, we can’t just start walking up to people and tough-loving them. At the beginning love must be gentle, and needs must be met. It doesn’t take a liberal to understand that.When I was talking to the reporter, I was talking about first impressions. And if a first-time visitor has experienced simple and genuine welcome, they have experienced exactly what we’re about FOR THEM AT THAT TIME… no hidden agendas. Because when we are being welcoming, we want to be fully in that moment, not simultaneously strategizing the potential of this stranger… prospective convert? Prospective member? That’s not love. And you can’t get away from love being the GREATEST COMMANDMENT. I’m very concerned that we fulfill the Great Commission, but you have to admit that a focus on straightforward, hospitable LOVE should not be relegated to the “flaming liberals”. It’s the GREATEST COMMANDMENT!And I’ve said it a thousand times… Biblical love, I Corinthians 13 love, leads us to all of God’s other purposes. It’s not touchy-feely… it is powerful and transformative. And it is truthful even when the truth is hard.I hope the point you’re making is that I need work communicating this to the public, and not that I’m having trouble understanding it. Because otherwise I’d swear that you’re only reading half of what I write.

  9. Your last statement is accurate… it’s about what people outside of the Core leadership enclave “hear”. But ultimately, it’s what they perceive that matters. From a PR standpoint (and that’s what we’re talking about here), if the distinguishing characteristic of the FP is “this is a place where people are accepted or welcome”, then I think you’re overly optimistic about how many ears are going to be perked by that. If you were to ask 100 people downtown on a given Friday night whether they felt “accepted” at the MudHouse or Ernie Biggs or (choose a bar), I’d be willing to bet money that at least 85 of them would say, “Well, yeah… sure.” You and I (and Maslow) know that acceptance is one of mankind’s most fundamental needs, but it’s not something people are generally conscious of, and therefore, the huge majority of people aren’t going to make decisions based on a cognizance of that motive. They need something a little more, shall we say, superficial to motivate them. Either that or something infinitely transcendent, like finding their place in the Grand Story of God.As much as you and I cringe at the concept of “marketing church”, we can’t get around it, even if we choose grassroots “marketing” (word of mouth, interviews, etc.). Your current marketing spiel is “The FP is a place where you can be yourself and feel accepted (which is not the case most other places you go, which is what makes us unique)”, which may appeal to a troubled teen who devotes significant cognitive energy to “being accepted for who I am”, but comes across as juvenile to almost everyone else. What I’m saying is, the “marketing message” is overly simplistic and generally insulting to the intelligence of the average person whom you’re really interested in reaching.Again, I’m not making a moral pronouncement here, just public communication observation. I could be totally wrong. But just to be sure, I’d recommend getting some honest feedback from several people whom you know are not “on the same wavelength” as you, and thus are not going to read into your statements. Have a focus group, mail out a survey, offer incentives for these. I’m tellin you, it’ll be worth it. Heck, run the questions by me if you decide do something like that.As far as “glory” goes, it seems like you and I just have opposite views about how that has to happen. My view is that God is not glorified unless we have both word AND action. Giving Him lipservice is a stinch in His nostrils, but so is doing good works without acknowledging Him as the driving force and ultimate purpose behind those works. It’s got to be both, not just for me, but for everyone who ministers in His name. It’s <>every<> Christian’s calling, and it certainly has nothing to do with gifting.

  10. Your last statement is accurate… it’s about what people outside of the Core leadership enclave “hear”. But ultimately, it’s what they perceive that matters. From a PR standpoint (and that’s what we’re talking about here), if the distinguishing characteristic of the FP is “this is a place where people are accepted or welcome”, then I think you’re overly optimistic about how many ears are going to be perked by that. If you were to ask 100 people downtown on a given Friday night whether they felt “accepted” at the MudHouse or Ernie Biggs or (choose a bar), I’d be willing to bet money that at least 85 of them would say, “Well, yeah… sure.” You and I (and Maslow) know that acceptance is one of mankind’s most fundamental needs, but it’s not something people are generally conscious of, and therefore, the huge majority of people aren’t going to make decisions based on a cognizance of that motive. They need something a little more, shall we say, superficial to motivate them. Either that or something infinitely transcendent, like finding their place in the Grand Story of God.As much as you and I cringe at the concept of “marketing church”, we can’t get around it, even if we choose grassroots “marketing” (word of mouth, interviews, etc.). Your current marketing spiel is “The FP is a place where you can be yourself and feel accepted (which is not the case most other places you go, which is what makes us unique)”, which may appeal to a troubled teen who devotes significant cognitive energy to “being accepted for who I am”, but comes across as juvenile to almost everyone else. What I’m saying is, the “marketing message” is overly simplistic and generally insulting to the intelligence of the average person whom you’re really interested in reaching.Again, I’m not making a moral pronouncement here, just public communication observation. I could be totally wrong. But just to be sure, I’d recommend getting some honest feedback from several people whom you know are not “on the same wavelength” as you, and thus are not going to read into your statements. Have a focus group, mail out a survey, offer incentives for these. I’m tellin you, it’ll be worth it. Heck, run the questions by me if you decide do something like that.As far as “glory” goes, it seems like you and I just have opposite views about how that has to happen. My view is that God is not glorified unless we have both word AND action. Giving Him lipservice is a stinch in His nostrils, but so is doing good works without acknowledging Him as the driving force and ultimate purpose behind those works. It’s got to be both, not just for me, but for everyone who ministers in His name. It’s <>every<> Christian’s calling, and it certainly has nothing to do with gifting.

  11. One more thing that absolutely cannot go without saying…“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it…” (Matt. 22:27-38).“Love” is not the greatest commandment. “Love God with every ounce of every kind of your capacity” is. The first three of the 10 Commandments explicitly refer to our respect for the exclusivity and majesty and holiness of God. “There’s just something about that name…” goes the old song… and goes the Bible, from start to finish. It behooves every one of us, not least those who serve as pastors, to make it our #1 priority to magnify the <>Name<> of Jesus with every opportunity we get.Why does The Core exist? “To magnify the <>name<> of Jesus Christ through loving Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and through loving one another as He has loved us.” Booyah, there you go. It’s as simple as that. It takes balls to say it, and there’s a lot of uncertainty of how people will react, but be certain of this: GOD is honored when you say it. HIS heart is blessed, and He promises to bless you and your ministry in return if you give Him the glory.

  12. One more thing that absolutely cannot go without saying…“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it…” (Matt. 22:27-38).“Love” is not the greatest commandment. “Love God with every ounce of every kind of your capacity” is. The first three of the 10 Commandments explicitly refer to our respect for the exclusivity and majesty and holiness of God. “There’s just something about that name…” goes the old song… and goes the Bible, from start to finish. It behooves every one of us, not least those who serve as pastors, to make it our #1 priority to magnify the <>Name<> of Jesus with every opportunity we get.Why does The Core exist? “To magnify the <>name<> of Jesus Christ through loving Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and through loving one another as He has loved us.” Booyah, there you go. It’s as simple as that. It takes balls to say it, and there’s a lot of uncertainty of how people will react, but be certain of this: GOD is honored when you say it. HIS heart is blessed, and He promises to bless you and your ministry in return if you give Him the glory.

  13. Romans 13:9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: <>“Love your neighbor as yourself.”<>This is not Paul disagreeing with Jesus. This is Paul helping us to see that we cannot distinguish between loving God and loving our neighbor. It’s impossible even to say that the first is more important, because they cannot be separated.Therefore, the greatest commandment is to LOVE. (And stop acting like we disagree on the meaning of the word “love”, because we don’t.)Lastly, if you think that just because something is worth saying, it’s worth saying to every person in every situation, you may have balls, but you do not have WISDOM.

  14. Romans 13:9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: <>“Love your neighbor as yourself.”<>This is not Paul disagreeing with Jesus. This is Paul helping us to see that we cannot distinguish between loving God and loving our neighbor. It’s impossible even to say that the first is more important, because they cannot be separated.Therefore, the greatest commandment is to LOVE. (And stop acting like we disagree on the meaning of the word “love”, because we don’t.)Lastly, if you think that just because something is worth saying, it’s worth saying to every person in every situation, you may have balls, but you do not have WISDOM.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *