Welcome to the unSeminary podcast. This week we are joined by Tim Lucas, lead pastor of Liquid Church in New Jersey. Liquid Church’s name is a reference to how Jesus called Himself the living water; the founders of Liquid use the name as a way to remind people that church should be refreshing, especially in a spiritually dry region.
New Jersey is not a place where churches easily grow and thrive, so Tim joins us to talk about what can be done to connect with people, especially Millennials and Generation Z.
- A journey, not a guilt trip. // Many people are starting at a post-Christian level of thinking where they have negative feelings about Christ and church is viewed as dry and boring. One of the slogans at Liquid is: faith is a journey, not a guilt trip. They use a flip-flopped discipleship sequence – people now want to belong before believing. Millennials in particular, for example, may want to join mission trips where clean water wells are being drilled in Africa, even though they’ve never attended services at church.
- Enter their world. // It’s not enough to have compassion for people who need help, we need to try to enter their world. This approach looks like not simply writing a check to groups trying to help people in need, but rather thinking of ways to engage your people in that reality. One thing Liquid Church did was to have a night where people could better relate to the homeless by sleeping in the church parking lot in boxes. For every person who slept outside, the church donated $30 to an organization that helped the homeless. One third of the people who participated didn’t attend Liquid currently, but friends invited them to come to the outreach. The result was viral evangelism at a grassroots level.
- A picture of the early church. // When Tim first met the woman who would later become his wife, he attended church with her one Sunday. Her church was the complete opposite of his and different from everything he knew. At the end of the service all kinds of people, many coming in from the streets, went up to the altar to give their lives to Jesus and receive prayer. Tim’s future mother-in-law took several people home for lunch. This experience was a picture of the early church and the inspiration that Tim used in founding Liquid Church.
- Focus on the service, but also the Holy Spirit. // Some attractional churches may feel like they are focused on perfect performance, as if they are putting on a show. Liquid has learned and grown from where they began as a more attractional model, and now focuses on leaving more room for the Holy Spirit to break in. The service can neither be too long and freeflowing, nor too focused on just performances. Liquid seeks to strike a balance by planning the service, but also leaving room for the Holy Spirit to work.
- Systems you can use. // Tim’s book Liquid Church: 6 Powerful Currents to Saturate Your City for Christ discusses six ministry currents that Tim sees the Holy Spirit using to reach spiritually thirsty people. New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the nation, so one of the currents is Love the Overlooked which documents the systems in which Liquid Church serves families affected by special needs. Another ministry current is Ignite the Imagination in which Liquid weaves together not just scripture, but story and symbols together to engage visual kinesthetic learners in their services. Each of these six currents have helped Liquid reach out to people in society, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, who need the gospel message to be communicated in a new way.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway