Identity, Purpose, and Belonging with Joe Elliott Founder of Catalyst Collective [Podcast 33]

Joe Elliott knew that he needed to do something different if he were to reach young adults. During a brain-storming session with several other youth pastors, many great ideas rose to the surface. But they all knew that if they began doing much of what they put down on paper, they all would get fired.

But Joe was in the right place at the right time to begin applying some of the ideas. Out of that the Catalyst Collective was born.

Joe is married, the father of three children, a dreamer, motivator, connector, and speaker. I look forward to you hearing from him.

Here is the interview on His Hands His Feet:

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The Biggest Obstacle to Christians Living a Life On Mission

How God calls a Christian to live is clear and simple. You can phrase it any way you choose—engage others, share the story, live a missional life—it boils down to His call for us to live a life on mission. His mission.


The question is why don’t more Christians choose to live this way?

I don’t just mean going to another country as a missionary, either short or long-term. I mean living life in such a way that it drives every decision you make. But what does that even look like?

How does living a life on mission impact the way you spend your money; parent your children; spend your time; who you hang out with?

Maybe you have never given that much thought. Instead you make those decisions with no consideration how they impact your ability to live a missional life. In fact, if you ever think about living a life on mission it’s only a few times a year—like the end of the year when you consider making a donation to a “good cause” for a tax break.

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Want a Simple Way to Live a Missional Life?

When do you think about taking time out of your busy schedule to invest in another person’s life? Are you one of those super organized people who has it on your calendar each week or month? Maybe it’s when something is said at church or you read something that compels you to do something.

I find that I need a reminder. It’s not natural for me to think of others. Well, I will if it involves me in some direct way. Either the person is already close to me, like a family member or friend, or I derive some benefit from it—it makes me feel better.

Not a very pretty picture of myself, but I know that is who I am.

But when I press into God and spend time with Him, He changes me. He takes my eyes off myself. He gives me a heart of flesh instead a heart of stone. I care about the vulnerable, the hurting, the lonely…I care because that is who He is.

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How to Determine What Cause to Support

So many good causes. Social media does a fantastic job of spreading the news about those who don’t have a family, haven’t heard the gospel, need rescued from slavery, or just need a helping hand.

Such limited resources. All of us only have 24 hours in a day. Sure some have fewer commitments than others, but still. None of us has all the energy or money that it would take.

Downside is that this fact often keeps us from doing anything at all. If I can’t help everyone, I won’t help anyone. I don’t want to play favorites or make a choice.

If I had my choice, I would foster and adopt from right here in our community (which we did) AND be on the mission field in a foreign country while serving on multiple boards of nonprofits doing great things. Then every time I was made aware of a cause that needed money, I would give, generously.

The truth is I can’t be in two places at once. I only have so much time to devote to nonprofit volunteerism. And who among us has an unlimited amount of money?

The reality is that none of us can respond to every good cause. So, what do we do?

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4 Terrible Reasons to Do Missional Church

What Is a Better Way to Do Missional Church?

Missional church—a gathering of Christians devoted to the mission of Christ in sharing the Good News of who Jesus is by going to where the people do life entering their context and engaging them on their turf instead of expecting them to attend a church meeting on a church campus.

Photo Credit: SteveJM2009 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: SteveJM2009 via Compfight cc

Sounds appropriate right? What could be wrong with this approach to church?

I watched an interview with Steve Timmis, church planter, author, and missional thinker. You can watch the interview too by following this link—A Field Guide Conversation with Steve Timmis.

Steve Timmis fully advocattes the idea of a missional church.

The Gospel is a missionary word so the church must be mission – centered… The Church exists both THROUGH the Gospel and FOR the Gospel.Steve Timmis and Tim Chester, Total Church

However in the interview Steve Timmis comments that some reasons for “doing missional church” are not a good idea, in fact probably won’t work. I add two more reasons of my own.

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5 Ways to Help You Use Your Money as a Missional Tool

I bet tax time doesn’t make any top 1o favorite time of the year lists. Doing our taxes is more obligation than anything.

Photo Credit: fpsurgeon via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: fpsurgeon via Compfight cc

It’s not just tax time that is difficult when it comes to money. In most households “money” is a bad word. We don’t talk about it, or when we do, it causes a lot of stress.

I have heard the phrase, “use money as a tool”, and ” money is not good or evil”.

I agree with both. Yeah, easier said than done.

But how many of us view our money as a tool to further a mission? As a Christian, I view myself as the caretaker or money manager of the funds that come my way. I want to manage that money just as wisely as I expect my own financial planner to do with the money I invest with him.

When I think of it this way, I understand that all the money I have has been entrusted to me by the One who owns it all. And He asks me to use it to further His mission.

5 Ways to help you use money as a missional tool:

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Warning: Program Driven Church Can’t Sustain the Art of Neighboring

I grew up in the 60s and 70s when most churches ran between 100-500 in attendance. We didn’t need a lot of programs to bring us together. We just got together. To worship. To celebrate. To mourn. To live life.

Photo Credit: Leanne Michelle via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Leanne Michelle via Compfight cc

You really did know everyone regardless of age or stage of life. We lived relatively close to each other. I don’t recall people driving 30-60 minutes to get to church. Why would they do that when they had a local church much closer?

In the 80s, mega-churches became the rage. The goal became to get as many people to attend one location as possible. Pastors went to conferences to learn how to attract more people to their campuses.

Churches began to run 1000-2000 or more.

In order to meet the “needs” of the attendees, pastors  had to add event coordinating to their long list of responsibilities. The staff placed people into similar age or life stage groups to make programming easier.

People came from further distances creating an environment where many lived up to an hour from one another.

The intent behind a program driven church was good one.

But I think the pendulum is swinging back to local, community driven church, or at least gatherings.

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7 Financial Decisions that Will Help You Live Missionally

I know, it’s hard enough to take care of your own needs much less put any thought into what other people need. And yes we are entering that time of year where you get hit up by everyone from everywhere—school age kids selling chocolate bars you really love but don’t want lying around your home; mailers from some charity you gave to five years ago; phone call solicitors asking you to support a local organization; and now social media!

Some of us respond out of guilt or end up feeling a little resentful. How can anyone pursue the American Dream and give to every opportunity that presents itself?

I suggest you can’t nor should you.

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How to Live Life as Mission

Whether you visit my blog regularly or only occasionally, you might wonder what I blog about. My tagline says missional lifestyle. But what does that really mean?

Missional lifestyle— a life lived with intentionality; with a purpose.

A missional lifestyle doesn’t happen without intentionality. We tend to seek a comfortable, self-consumed life. Without intentionality we spend our time with people only like ourselves, in places we find the most convenient and the least stressful. We naturally gravitate to our “comfort zone”.

Many cringe when they think about “living on mission”. It sounds like adding something with an uncomfortable hidden agenda to their already busy life.

Instead, a missional lifestyle is simply one lived with an intentional focus on others with the desire they meet and know Jesus Christ. No need to add more to your schedule. Just refocus the intention of your schedule.

Caesar Kalinowski from Soma Communities puts it like this,

We need to move from a mindset of additional to intentional. What if God has actually given us this amazing way of seeing life that would make all of life one big, huge opportunity for discipleship and mission? Like everything we’re already doing, what if it’s already an opportunity, perfectly for discipleship and mission? He has. It’s the rhythm of life that he’s placed us in.

Here is a two drawings comparing the two mindsets:


From Verge Netowrk


Notice the difference of life and mission and life as mission. Life as mission is living life in your natural rhythm with intentionality.

That’s what I blog about. The intentional approach to living life as a mission.

But the question remains how exactly do we do that?

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Do You See Them?

When thinking about living a missional lifestyle, it is not that we don’t have the time or money or desire to live a life sent with the intention of sharing Jesus with others—His love, His life.

The question is do we see them? See who you ask. Them.

Jesus saw them. He didn’t look past them. He noticed them. Had compassion on them. Lived life with them.

Especially because we have a young child, I think about a Bible story told a lot to children. The story of Zaccheus the tax collector. If you aren’t familiar with the story, you can find it in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 19:1ff.

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”Luke 19:5 NASB

Jesus noticed Zaccheus. Even though he was not in His line of sight. Those with Jesus preferred to not notice this small, disliked man. Yet, Jesus not only saw this man in a tree, He insisted to eat dinner with him. He wanted to do life with him.

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