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Where Do We Go From Here? My Future in Ministry

By on Feb 5, 2016 | 4 comments

With the closing of our church at the end of last year, many people have asked what that will mean for the future of my time in ministry. This post is an attempt to answer that question.

It’s the End of Our Church as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

By on Nov 11, 2015 | 3 comments

After six incredible years of ministry, our church is closing its doors. Are we sad? Of course, we’re sad. But we’re not too sad about it. Let me explain why…

What’s REALLY Wrong with the Church

By on May 6, 2015 | 0 comments

I’ve seen several blog posts floating around on social media lately, popping up in my feed multiple times over the past few months. These posts argue for different opinions of what’s wrong with Christian churches across America. And then well-meaning Christians have been sharing these posts more virally than a common cold making its way through an understaffed daycare. I get it, we are all really good at seeing what’s wrong with stuff. This post isn’t an attack on those posts. I felt like the few posts that I read were written with heartfelt honesty by people with pure intentions. At least, the posts seemed to come across that way. So I’m certainly not attacking them. In fact, there were very few ideas in the posts that I read that I would disagree with at all. I found a lot, if not most of the critiques they made against the church to be fair and accurate. I did have an issue, however, with how these issues were being presented. No, I don’t mean through blog posts. I obviously don’t have an issue with blog posts. This isn’t the pot calling the kettle black (whatever that means?). I actually had an issue with the pronouns being used throughout these posts. Before you label me as a grammar snob and line me up before the firing squad of normalcy, let me explain what I mean. The one commonality between the posts I read that jumped out at me (other than the common purpose of criticizing the church) was that each of the posts’ authors referred to the church in the second and third persons. In laymen’s terms: they called the church “you,” “it,” and “they.” Let me oversimplify and summarize the arguments: The church [it] has a problem. People are leaving the church [it]. That’s because the you [the church] say and do a lot of stuff that you [the church] shouldn’t. So you [the church] need to stop doing/saying these things. And you [the church] need to start doing/saying these things. If you [the church] don’t shape up, then people are going to keep leaving you [the church].   Remember, these are posts written by self-professing Christians and spread like wildfire over social media by other self-professing Christians. They’re not critiques from the outside looking in. They’re critiques from church-goers. Insiders. But they’re all about what someone else needs to do in order to fix the church, an institution referred to as if it could be pointed out somewhere down the street over there, somewhere clearly other than where the posts’ authors and sharers are coming from. And in this subtle nuance you find, in my opinion, what is really wrong with the church: We don’t see ourselves as part of the church. We see the church as something out there, an institution that exists outside of our own direct influence. We talk about the church as if it was some company trying to win our business. But the church is not any of those things without us. I think the real problem is that if we stopped viewing ourselves as outside the church and started seeing ourselves as part of the church, we would logically have to own up to two conclusions: We’re a part of the problem. And…   We’re supposed to be a part of the solution. Imagine what would happen if we started accepting the fact that we’re part of the reason the church is in the state that we’re in today. I expect that there would be a lot less complaining about the problems and a whole lot more working toward fixing the problems. We tend to do that when we realize that we caused the problem in the first place. But it’s a lot easier to just complain about someone else’s problem than it is to work to fix our own problems. Unfortunately, our society doesn’t help. In fact, it just adds fuel to the fire. We live in a replacement-oritiented society. If something is broken, we see it as cheaper and easier to just replace it than to go to the trouble of fixing it. A button stopped working on your TV? Just go to the big box store and get a new one. Is your car starting to sputter a bit? Just trade it in for the newer model. Your marriage doesn’t seem to be  working out the way you expected it to? Just call the smiling face on the billboard offering to do your divorce papers for an easy $200. In our minds, if something is broken, you can always just replace it and get a newer, nicer model. This replacement mentality unfortunately bleeds into our understanding of the church as well. Have you noticed a problem at your church? No worries! Just run down the street to one of the hundreds of other ones! Our initial reaction to most broken things is to replace them. So why should the church be any different? I recently experienced this concept first-hand. I purchased my microwave used. I know, I’m cheap. Deal with it. But unfortunately, being cheap sometimes carries negative consequences. A few days ago, that previously-owned microwave started beeping unconsolably and displaying what I could only assume was a very angry error code. My initial thought was: It’s time for a new microwave! But then I looked at my bank account and decided...

Free Motion Backgrounds

By on Jan 30, 2015 | 0 comments

I teach my kids to that sharing is caring. It’s short. It’s pithy. It rhymes. What more could you ask for, right?   I guess you could ask that I practice what I preach.   Recently I learned a lesson from God that I needed. I was doing some Internet searching for high quality church media to go along with a sermon series I was planning to preach through the book of James. In my search, I ran across a Vimeo account for a larger church on the East Coast who is really using media well in their Sunday gatherings. On their Vimeo page, they had a video bumper for a sermon series on James that was really top-notch. It said everything I would have wanted in a sermon bumper for my upcoming James series. And it was really well produced to boot! At this point, I was faced with a decision. I could do one of three things:   1. I could use one of the various video ripping services and “borrow” this church’s hard work (let’s call it what it is: I would be taking it without asking, so it would be stealing).   2. I could be impressed with their hard work and move on in my search for free high quality materials that expressly state they are posted online for the purpose of sharing (let’s call this what it is: a wild goose chase).  Or…   3. I could roll the dice and contact the church to see if they would be willing to share their hard work with me (let’s call this what it is: a gamble that may or may not pay off).   Their response to my gamble taught me a lot about what it means to be the church. They did not give me permission to rip their sermon bumper off of Vimeo. Instead, they sent me the high resolution file of the bumper video, along with all the Photoshop files for the sermon slides and advertising materials for the series. They were more than willing to help out a small church that couldn’t afford a full-time creative pastor or media team. They were willing to SHARE. It was refreshing. They weren’t looking to make any money off of me. I’m not judging ministries that are in the business of selling media. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a living (even a good one!) off your trade, and creative people need a paycheck just as much as non-creative types. But it was nice to see that this church, who had already paid their creative guy for his efforts, was willing to share the fruits of those efforts with some people who couldn’t afford it. It was nice to feel that the passages that speak of the disciples “having all things in common” and giving “to each as he had need” could still apply in our capital-driven society. So here is my small attempt to pay it forward…  I recently came across a handy little app called Shift. It allows a person with a decently artistic eye to create some really simple but classy motion backgrounds for worship presentations. So I put my hand to the plow and made a few. I don’t claim that these are super high quality. But they were good enough that we plan to use several of them during our weekly worship gatherings. If you find them helpful, I offer them to you here completely free with no strings attached. I don’t need you to pay me, credit me, or even thank me. Just pay it forward whenever you have the chance. Share something you have or something you can do with someone else who could use it!   You can preview the different motion backgrounds below. If you want to download any of them, just right click on the name of the video you are interested in below the video player and choose “save link as” to save it wherever you like on your computer. Enjoy!   [P.S. I’m not terribly good at website coding, so… You may not be able to view all of these on your mobile device. But you should have no problem viewing or downloading them from your computer!]   HD01HD02HD03HD04HD05HD06HD07HD08HD09TW01TW02TW03TW04TW05TW06TW07TW08     _______________________________   Note: This blog is maintained and funded personally by Justin Hase. If you appreciate the content of the blog and would like to support its future posts, please consider making a small donation to help with the cost of maintaining this website....

Why Skip the Oasis?

By on Aug 12, 2014 | 0 comments

The word “oasis” probably evokes one of two images in your head. If you are from my generation, then the word probably turns your mind back to the mid-90’s when the British rock band, Oasis, was tearing up the charts like a champagne supernova in the sky. If you are from one of the generations that has no clue what a Wonderwall is (admittedly, my generation doesn’t really know either), then your mind probably conjures more traditional images.  Most people know an oasis to be an area in a desert where vegetation surrounds some water source like a spring or a well. It’s an area of safety and a source of life in the otherwise lifeless void of the desert. For the desert traveler, an oasis is the difference between life and death on a long journey. In fact, oases are the only reason travelers can actually make long journeys through the desert. Needless to say, they are kind of a big deal. An oasis provides the traveler a great deal of amenities otherwise unavailable in the barren waste of the desert. There a person can find rest in the comfort and relative safety of the trees and their protective shade. Canteens can be replenished and camels can be watered. Oases also provide an excellent opportunity for the traveler to recoup, reflecting on the road traveled thus far and mustering the courage necessary for the road ahead. Again, an oasis is kind of a big deal. So why on earth would anyone intentionally skip the oasis in the desert? Skipping the one life-sustaining pit-stop on the desert road would be ludicrous (not the rapper, note the proper spelling). No one in his right mind would travel on by the rest and replenishment afforded by an oasis. But I believe Christians are guilty of this irresponsible insanity on a regular basis. I see the regular, weekly gathering of my church as an oasis in the desert. Let’s be honest: life is pretty brutal. Monday carries a nasty stigma for a reason. It represents the beginning of a spiritual battle for Christians where they will face innumerable dangers between the end of this week and the beginning of the next. During this barren trek, the Christian will be tested, tried, and tempted in an incredibly hostile environment. The rain dries up and the sun blazes down. And every step along the path of this dry and barren trek, we will desperately need a respite from the sweltering heat.  That respite comes when the church gathers. It’s our oasis. The oasis provides rest in the shade. By regularly gathering with your church, you find safety amongst friends and comfort knowing that you don’t have to worry about being attacked by like-minded travelers (or at least you shouldn’t have to, but that’s a whole other post). The oasis gives you an opportunity to fill your canteens and water your camels. A regular church gathering gives you an opportunity to be replenished and refreshed by the Spirit of God, experiencing His grace poured out abundantly through various means. You are encouraged, challenged, held accountable, and supported by all that you find of the Lord in and through His people. The oasis allows you to work up your nerve and plot your course. Church gatherings provide the environment you need to make the hard decisions of life before you are ever faced with the hard decisions of life. Temptations are going to come. And they are not easy to deny. We rarely make the right decisions in the heat of the moment. Odysseus knew this truth when he was approaching the island of the Sirens. That’s why he decided beforehand to lash himself to the mast of his ship and sail on by. We make a lot of poor decisions in the heat of our week. But we make a lot of good decisions surrounded by God’s people, learning God’s Word, and worshiping in God’s Spirit. We make good decisions in the oasis. That’s a pretty strong argument to put a high premium on a regular stop in the desert oasis. And it’s a strong argument to place regular church gatherings in a high position of priority in our lives. So why would we ever skip it? I’m not talking about missing your church gatherings because you’re sick or because you go out of town for the occasional vacation. I’m talking about people who allow almost any manageable or avoidable excuse to keep them them from gathering with their local body of believers.  I hear it all the time. People skip out on church because… Their show is on or there is a football game they don’t want to miss. They’ve been working really hard this week and just need to rest. They haven’t had any time with their spouse in a while and it’s just a good time for it. The reasons are numerous, and many of them could have been avoided with a little effort and planning. But I’m not trying to shame you into gathering with your church. The truth is that I just don’t understand how you do it. Let me explain… I need the church. I need the oasis to get me through my week. I need the rest in the safety of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I need the accountability that comes from people trying to live...