Project 12

Discovering Discipleship in the 21st Century

Archive for the ‘“Church (the)”’ Category


Posted by gkaiser on May 1, 2010

Hi and thanks for having a look! We are also now on Facebook:

The mission trip/tour looks promising, all have been rehearsing, the students have an actual production that includes music, testimony, poetry and we trust will speak to a lot of people throughout the tour.

As you’ll see, there are many stops and a lot of ground to cover so thanks for your prayer support and interest. Please come see us on the road if you’re able!


Tues. & Weds. May 4th & 5th
Koinonia Cafe
27 W Main St.
Morehead KY
Contact: Pastor Bruce or Drew McNeil

Thu. & Fri. May 6th & 7th
Berea Campus Ministries House
Berea, KY
Contact: Niki Fischer or Kimberly

Sat. & Sun. May 8th & 9th
Random Row Books
315 W Main St.
Charlottesville, VA
Contact: Ryan & Erin DeRamus

Mon.-Thu. May 10th–13th
The Hebron Center
7790 North Fish Road
Bloomington, IN
Contact: Alan or Kyle

Fri. May 14th
Come2Go Ministries
323 West Baker St.
Fort Wayne, IN
Contact: Brad Etters & Jan Krist

Sat. May 15th
Café Aroma
301 West University Drive
Macomb, IL

Sun. May 16th
Madison Avenue United Methodist Church
11 a.m. Service
3201 NE Madison Ave.
Peoria, IL
Contact: Pastor Bill (Bulldog:)

Weds. May 19th
Rock Church
1081 Upper Spring Bay Road
East Peoria, IL
Contact: Pastor Chuck or Kristy
309-699-4ROCK (4762)

Fri. May 21st
The Chelsea House
920 W. Wilson
Chicago, IL
Contact: Ami Moss or Ed Bialach

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Glenn, Toronto & P12

Posted by gkaiser on March 1, 2009

Tonight at a Toronto concert I spoke a message laced with things I often emphasize with Project 12 students.

Core issues included: We cannot live our Christian life vicariously through our Christian heros, our parents, pastors or musicians, etc.. We MUST have a genuine personal (though shared and accountable) walk with Jesus. My other key point was that our first mission field is exactly where we are, not where we think we’ll eventually be.

It does no good to think that we have a growing spiritual life when we are in reality camping out on a plateau of sorts, fairly dead in the water. Some think “I’m saved, I’m a believer, what else is essential?” My response is that Jesus calls us to follow Him, not simply know we’re saved by grace and end up living a kindergarten Christian life for the next 30 or 40 years!

I’m often reminding P12’ers that if they have at times rightly judged older Christians in terms of lethargy, stagnation and surface living, they will not be one bit more mature in Christ themselves unless they take God’s Word (commands as well as promises) seriously and apply the simple teachings in their daily relationships.

Loading up with information -even the very Truth of God’s Word itself- does not automatically equal spiritual formation and growth.

I support, uphold and -do- a lot of travel in the world as a missionary. JPUSA as most all churches Christians would consider healthy and full of life, does daily mission work on many levels. But some of us think we can pay others, pray for others and basically expect others to BE missionaries -for- (or instead of) us.

Nobody reflects Jesus to your neighbor, the needy person in a church service, the stranger near you or your next-door neighbor much less the person you see in school or at work or socialize with: like you can or must! It’s largely relational and your favorite Christian leader likely doesn’t attend your school or work where you do. It’s not their job to do your job in terms of reflecting Jesus to those around you.

Regardless of spiritual gifts and callings, all Christ-followers are called to such ministry.

Therefore, all of us can make a difference as opposed to merely “doing Christian stuff” and taking a “Whatever?!!” attitude toward the Lord, His Word or our neighbor.

Sadly, many choose “average” when in fact average is nearly synonymous with “shallow” if not fully “slack”.

A. W. Tozer said “Refuse to be average”. Amen! We must not pretend the “average” Christian life is what we should aim at!

God help us move beyond “the norm” if/when the norm is sterile and uninspiring to those around us.

Posted in "Church (the)", Christian Experience, Evangelism / Missions, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »


Posted by gkaiser on December 31, 2008

First, thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

Project 12 will resume from our holiday break in the next few days, and just as I bring this charge to JPUSA, I bring it to P12 staff and students, myself… and you 🙂

God give us grace to truly walk closer with Him and really reflect Jesus in more caring, serving ways in 2009!

Blessings in Jesus,



2 Cor. 1.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Father of mercies and God of all comfort;  4 who comforts us in all
our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any
affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted
by God.

Jesus Christ Himself must become our ultimate Value, the Holy Spirit
our actual Source of comfort. It’s just too common to seek comfort and
thus place undue value in other forms and places. In fact, seeking
comfort chokes our ability to grow spiritually just as it affects our
ability to empathize and serve others in their area of need.

I am convinced that if we will go to God the Holy Spirit as our real
Comfort -THE Comforter- we will find our deepest needs met. This is a
simple but needed word for me as well as any follower of Jesus,
especially when so many other things call for our attention, time and

In one very real and deep sense, our spiritual growth is connected
with and affected by where we go for comfort.

Quoting John Ortberg: “The decision to grow always involves a choice
between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus
you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.”

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Project12 Continues to Track, Target “God Hates Fags” / Westboro Group

Posted by Jon on December 8, 2008

Last Thursday, a van load of us Project12ers went downtown to protest a group called “God Hates Fags.” The latter, however, didn’t show as they’d said they would (though did show up elsewhere later in the day after we’d gone home).

Today, I couldn’t get our Project 12 students sprung from their job and class responsibilities to go downtown with me. The G. H. F. people again had promised to show up, this time to picket President-Elect Barack Obama, who they (so predictably) say is the Antichrist.

And they were there this time as advertised.

“God Hates Fags”… and Barack Obama. Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church
displays their signs on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wabash, Dec. 8, 2008.
[Photo: Jon Trott]

I took up a spot across the street from them, not wanting anyone to think I was part of their group. My own signs read “Gays are Our Neighbors” and “Jesus’ Answer to Hate was the Cross.” Holding both signs was awkward, and it was quite cold, but since Monday had also prevented anyone else from showing up in opposition to Westboro, I stayed until they left around an hour after it began.

Chicago’s well-known gay newspaper, Windy City Times, did cover the event (the reporter is an old friend from days when she was part of Queer to the Left and we worked on homelessness and poverty issues). A van pulled up, a guy jumped out and… well, let’s say what he did with a water bottle mimicked one of Westboro’s signs. A few minutes later, that van pulled up to me and I noted they were filming. Those inside told me they were doing footage for Showtime, asked me for a waiver (which I gave), and then drove off.

I handed out fliers to a few passers-by, mostly those who saw I was in opposition to Westboro and stopped to thank me. (The flier’s contents I’ve posted in my Dec. 4 bit on Westboro.)

We hope to be present when Westboro shows up again in Chicago, perhaps this Saturday. By the way, Westboro… God LOVES you. Just thought you should know.

Posted in "Church (the)", Accountability, Bible, Christian Experience, Evangelism / Missions, Family Issues, Homosexuality, Philosophy, Women, Men, and God | Leave a Comment »

Discipleship & The Vote

Posted by gkaiser on November 3, 2008

Regardless of your chosen candidate in the U.S. presidential election, true Christ-follower, disciple or not… real love for God, country and for that matter, world- is all about Jesus, not winning or losing

I had a friend recently send Wendi and I a brilliant email listing the top 10 things that would happen no matter who won:

Top 10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins the Election
1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed teaching and preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him..
-God has approved this message!

Pretty right-on, no?! Further, it does seem a real follower of Jesus votes conscience, not simply on the basis of self-interest, status quo or under pressure of this or that group.

It must be about being prayerful, being informed, caring deeply about God, one’s neighbor as one’s self, caring about the world and the literally billions of people affected by our government.

I’m on record as being a fully independent voter and have been for many years. My wife and I already voted last week and were happy to be able to do so.

Many pundits have made much (and I think they’re correct) about how the younger generations of voters will or could surely make a huge impact on the election. In the near future we’ll know from stats how they did or did not. One thing I strongly urge- though there may well be times to abstain I don’t personally think this is one of  then. Younger voters are often frankly, not as willing to patiently stand in line, etc., but getting engaged in the political process is so very important I’m praying and encouraging all who are of voting age to show up and vote.

Just as a biblical disciple is a listener, a learner, so we must listen, learn, pray and get directly involved in the process that affects so many souls throughout our nation and world.

No matter who wins/won… pray for your leaders and ask Jesus to bless, guide and direct them that there may be a climate in which those who love and serve Jesus first may find favour to share Him in greater measure! Let’s also pray our younger people will become something other than angry, mean, cynical and fully DISengaged from the process as too many adults have.

Faith, hope and love will in the end conquer all- no matter who “wins” this or any election of humankind.


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Posted by gkaiser on January 29, 2007

In many ways JPUSA (Jesus People U.S.A., the parent of Project 12 discipleship training) was from the beginning, a huge and growing house church. It’s just that it meets in a BIGGGGG house 🙂

The deal is that we don’t “go home”, rather we live and serve God, one another and our neighbors in a zillion ways via a multitude of ministries based out of our intentional/community for X length of time. We consider where we -are- home. Of course we visit family and friends from time to time, have breaks, vacations and so on, but our life- as long as each of us senses the continuing call of God to do so- is lived at JPUSA.

Now, those who are not “members” of JPUSA continue to learn and grow during their Project 12 experience, which in total lasts 3 trimesters. Those 3 trimesters also include breaks, time to visit family and so on, but after a person completes the last trimester they are encouraged to pray, hear God for themselves and decide IF He is calling them to continue serving for X length of time at JPUSA in Chicago, to return to their home church or move elsewhere to serve God and others.

For those living with and committed to JPUSA in Chicago, we call this home, at least for that period of time we’re here. And it is in that sense, a house church… one that’s been going for 35 years. Due to the large number of people, the incredible needs presented by those who seek help, and the gifts God gives (spiritually and in the practical sense) of those in P12 and JPUSA we are blessed to do A LOT, serving many people in many different ways. It is in fact, a mission field and always has been.

Further, JPUSA joined the Evangelical Covenant Church (a denomination) over a decade ago, and this at a time when many believers were leaving denominational churches.

I often laugh when people talk of the life and fruitfulness of our relatively small (appx. 280 adults) fellowship as they hear we’re part of “a denomination”… they don’t get it and wonder how we can do all the subcultural things we do without hindrance by what they’d consider a sort of “big brother”! The fact is that style or form don’t mean much when you really get into the heart and guts of the matter.

Love, commitment to the Word of God and simple sharing of what we have (in the Ev. Cov., JPUSA and P12) begins and continues at the individual level. It matures to a group level but in the end, individuals choose to serve… or not, just like anywhere. Due to the majority of people really loving God and others and the willingness to sacrifice and offer whatever God gives to help others, we’re seeing God’s gracious hand and lasting fruit.

The prayer and sometimes financial support, the blessings of wise and long-proved biblical council of our brothers and sisters and the lack of “majoring in the minors” has made the Ev. Covenant a truly great fit for us.

I think one of the most important and right issues re. the house church/emerging church movement is reference to “the conversation”. Which is of course, always a two-way street. I think the deep and obvious need for relationship, a real and not contrived sense of family and belonging as well as “being” rather than “doing” offered is healthy and correct. A large part of this happens because we not only visit but live together in literal Christian community on a daily basis. This happens to be something few house churches do with the exception of the family who owns the particular house, and of course few if any traditional churches live together.

I think that the flexible, non-stagnant and even casual “form” or lack of form in most house churches and many emerging fellowships is excellent. People can come and be “as they are” in such a setting.

It’s no secret that many either start or join alternative churches (or “fellowships”) as a point of rejection of traditional churches, sick of church politics, or due to real or imagined abuses.

Sometimes it’s really just a matter of exploration, people are praying for something more or other than what they’ve experienced in typical church life. Sometimes it’s a matter of the Spirit calling rather than discontent. It often has to do with finally “feeling like I’m truly welcomed and can use my gifts here”.

The thing I’m concerned about isn’t all the above, rather it’s that an imbalance towards healing hurting or dis-satisfied Christians or offering alternatives to “church as we’ve known it” or the “founding a home church, cell church or alternative church so we can do -mission-” can really end up a mess some years later.

Balance is illusive and the pendulum indeed swings as it will (and should!) regardless which side of the fulcrum.

For example, if evangelism/mission to the pre-Christian is a (the?) key motive for forming an hc or alternative group, what about discipleship among those who come with hurts and cares (most all of us!) and who really need to grow up spiritually? If there are sizable numbers of people coming to real faith in Jesus Christ, what are you doing to help them “grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus” regardless of your form (or non-form) of local gathering?

On the other hand, if your core motive (or one main motive) for forming the local gathering is to “feed the sheep”, what are you doing to truly offer a witness of the risen Christ in the neighborhood and beyond? Is anyone who does not follow Jesus turning to Him as a result of your “being”?

When Jesus told Peter to “feed my sheep”, I would posit that He meant Peter must accept His call to disciple the disciples, to lay his life down and care for them spiritually. In Peter’s case, via the Spirit’s gifts of leadership, pastoring and such it was the call of God on his life. But Peter also evangelised in practical as well as verbal sharing of the Good News. Discipleship AND evangelism, not either/or… rather both/and.

Can we agree that “being” wasn’t all Jesus called Peter to?

When Paul was called as an apostle and teacher, it’s clear his missionary journeys largely consisted of evangelism — the preaching of the Good News where ever he went. It’s equally clear he discipled believers and both established and helped others (i.e., Timothy) establish local churches. Again, both/and, not either/or.

I would suggest that one key factor in ANY alternative / house / home / cell / local congregation regardless of basic character and personality or “leaning” is that we pray for and seek to encourage balance and “flow”. Please know, when I use the term “flow” in this article I specifically mean the Holy Spirit calls us to be -and- to do, to witness -and- disciple people in accord with the Word of God. The Spirit moves us to do both.

Any healthy, balanced church must not only focus on those who regularly show up, but also on various poor, widows, orphans (see James on this point) and those who have not heard nor in some cases seen real, flawed yet consistent Christianity via Christ living in His disciples. The Holy Spirit continually flows in both directions and so must we regardless of how we “do” church.

IF Christ is “the head of His body, the church”, IF the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” and IF we believe as Weymouth translates it — “you know the critical period at which we are living, and that it is now high time, to rouse yourselves from sleep; for salvation is now nearer to us than when we first became believers” we must both be and do.

We must take care that comfort isn’t the real motive of how we “do” or “don’t do” church. Many have rightfully criticized traditional churches as mere “social clubs”. Careful prayer, consideration and at times choosing the UNcomfortable for His and others’ sakes are part of the call of God on all our lives.

Form doesn’t answer character, it takes the Comforter Who Himself is God, to bring both comfort and at times, discomfort via His call upon us to love others “not merely in word, but in deed and in truth” that validates a local church as authentic.

May God help us live and serve in His love, within and beyond our local expression of “church”.

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