Monthly Archives: August 2008

No Child Left Behind…Except This Week.

Revolution kicks off tonight at 7pm at the old Portsmouth High School Gym on Waller Street in Portsmouth.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer child care tonight.  However, we hope to have a spot for the kids next week.  Please check back and sorry for the inconvenience.  For the insurgents who will be joining us tonight, please be sure to dress down because it will be warm (and loud!).

See ya’ there!

Setting the Bar…

I feel like it is appropriate to set the bar for expectations with everyone. We as a group set forth on this journey many months ago, our goal, was simple, to provide a place where people who were either unchurched or dechurched could come and hear the truth of the story of Jesus, the gospel. Along the way, our final product has morphed, grown, shifted, through prayer and at times, physical barriers that were put in our path. First we had to decide what it would “look” like, once that was settled, we needed a place. We went months, chasing lead after possible lead. We exhausted nearly every possible scenario we could think of. Just in the nick of time, we though we had a place, at the very last moment, as we were crossing our T’s and dotting our I’s and preparing to tell the world, our request was denied. Again we were in essence homeless. Without a place to gather. I had been the one, who had been saying since the beginning, the building will happen, we will get a building, don’t worry, but at this point, even I had my doubts. Then, in the eleventh hour, PHS offered us their old high school gym. Was it perfect? Of course not, so big, the sound would nbot be perfect, what about child care, there were a host of questions, but it was a home. It was at that moment I realized, this is not ours, this is Gods. Sure I had been saying that, but it was so unbelievably clear to me then.
It all hit me. No matter how hard we work, how much we do, we are just four amateur church planters. None of us have done this before, and thank goodness it isnt up to us whether or not Revolution is a success. This is God’s church, for His kingdom. I have no doubts that finding a home for Revolution was merely the first bump in the road, and that there will be many more to come. THe bible is clear in the fact that there is spiritual warfare in this world, if we continue to bring the gospel to Portsmouth, I have no doubt that satan will begin to turn up the heat on us (pun intended). We welcome the next bump in the road, because it is then we can be assured that we are doing the work of the Lord. 
The time is now, the bar has been set high, the goal, take the gospel to our city. I pray you will come and help us fight for our city on Sunday night.
Justin Clark – Revolution Leadership Team

Two Fisted Approach to Storming the Gates of Hell

In another attempt to explain RevolutionI will steal a phrase from Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church who uses the “two fist” example to describe his church.   The idea is that everyone approaches ministry with two fists with beliefs in one hand and methods in another.  The breakdown is as follows:

Fundamentalists keep both fists closed.  They see that both their core beliefs (i.e., theology, doctrine, etc.) and their methods (hymns, pulpit, dress code, Sunday evening services, etc.) as absolutely necessary.

Liberals keep both fists open.  They are prone to altar their core beliefs in order to avoid offending the culture at large and they are normally (though not always) willing to play with their methods (i.e., drama or an interfaith dialogue instead of a sermon, etc.).

Missional churches keep one fist open and one closed. They contend for THE Gospel once and for all delivered to the church (Jude 3) but tailor their methods to contextualize the Gospel so that it is easily understood by those enveloped by the culture at large (1 Cor. 9:19-23).

Perhaps the best way to put it is this, the leadership team at Revolution has asked, “If we were missionaries dropped into southern Ohio by plane and charged with sharing the Gospel to the natives, what would that look like in 2008?” 

Sound like a challenge you’re up to? Join the Revolution which kicks off this Sunday at 7pm at the Old PHS gym on Waller Street in Portsmouth.  Look for the banner.

1st Sermon














Revolution kicks off this Sunday, 7pm at the Old PHS gym on Waller Street in Portsmouth.  If you are at or near the dorms at SSU then just walk up Waller Street past Temple Baptist and the old gym is the building on the left right before you get to Second Presbyterian Church.

The first sermon is entitled “Why Revolution?” It will be wrapped around music led by Ryan Rolfe and the World’s Most Dangerous Praise Band. 

Hope to see you there.

Hey, I may not even scream…much.

Go For The Gold

I had the opportunity to watch a good deal of the recently completed Olympic Games. It’s interesting to note that of all the dozens of post-race and post-competition interviews with the gold medal winners that I witnessed, not a single one went like this:

“You know, getting this gold medal really wasn’t worth it. I mean, I’ve worked my guts out in the gym, traveled thousands of miles taking part in competitions, forsaken all junk food & frivolous hobbies, and spent thousands of dollars on training & equipment – all for what – to get a stinking gold medal in the Olympics! What a complete waste of time!”

You never hear anything like this said because, for the athlete, all the work, money and pain involved in getting the gold medal positively pale in comparison to the thrill & glory of accomplishing this all-consuming life goal. To stand on the podium and hear the sweet sound of “The National Anthem” playing makes all the struggles & trials seem as nothing in comparison to that moment of joy.

As Christians, we’ve been promised a glory far greater than a mere gold medal yet, far too often, we tend to focus our attention on all the work, money and pain that may be required in following Jesus. We allow the “costs” to frighten us out of wholeheartedly pursuing ultimate glory. The opposite should be true. As Paul said, “…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:17)

Revolutionary Christians – those whose all-consuming goal is to follow Jesus – know that all the trials, troubles & travails of this life are totally insignificant compared to hearing the sweet sound of King Jesus saying, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Post by: Eron Elswick, Revolution Leadership Team

To All Of Our Critics–Part II

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, talks about the difference between Emergent churches and Emerging Churches and the different “teams” within the latter.  Revolution will be a member of the 4th team, i.e., orthodox missionaries in a postmodern world. 

An Open Letter To All Of Our Critics

Revolution will not launch for another six days (August 31st at 7pm at the Old PHS Gym on Waller Street) but already we have faced a great deal of criticism.  One area church refused to partner with us because they believe we are too conservative while another backed away from us from being too radical.  Thus, we are already taking shots from both sides.


One of the consistent criticisms has been our use of the motto ‘Revolution: Church That Doesn’t Suck!’  Many area Christians feel we are saying that their church ‘sucks’ or that we are simply using inappropriate language.
First of all, let me make it clear that the leadership team of Revolution in no way believes that we are infallible.  We are largely a bunch of young puritan punkers who will make mistakes.  If we have already made them then hopefully God will make that clear and we will apologize for them. 
Second, if you are one of those Christians who is offended then please hear me out.  We are trying to reach two lost generations.  What do I mean by that? An in depth survey by the Billy Graham Center at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary found that more than 66% of Americans born before 1945 call themselves Christians–that’s awesome.  However, they found that only about 33% of those born between 1945 and 1962 identify themselves as disciples of Christ–that’s a serious drop off.  Yet, that generation is darn near puritan compared to the following generations.  Only 15% of the so-called Gen-X’ers, or those born between 1962-1979, are willing to wear the badge of ‘Christian’ and, are you ready for this, only 3% of those born between 1980 and 1992 will identify themselves with Christ.  Shocked yet?  Wait, there’s more.
Last year George Barna, a Christian pollster, released a sobering survey.  Barna polled one of those two ‘lost generations’ asking them about their view of Christianity and here is what he found–only 16% of them have a favorable view of Christianity! 16% of Americans 16-29 have a favorable view of our churches!  When pressed for more details 87% stated that the church is “full of hypocrites”, 78% described churches as too “old fashioned”, 75% believe the church is too “political”.  A whopping 90% believe the church is “anti-homosexual.”  
I’ll take a minute to let all of that sink in.
Oh, and if you don’t believe me then pick up the book ‘Unchristian’ by Barna pollsters Dave Kinnamann and Gabe Lyons.
The leadership team of Revolution has been convicted by the Holy Spirit to go after the lost generations by planting a very different kind of church. So, when we say ‘church sucks’ we are talking about these generations’ view of the church.  We hope to meet them where they are BUT we will refuse to leave them there.  We want to disciple them! 

Yet, some have objected that if you use language like ‘church sucks’ then you will only attract a lot angry “de-churched” young people (i.e., those who love Jesus but have stopped regularly attending a church because they are mad about someting).  I agree and, in fact, hope we do attract them.  I mean, if they are angry then at least they care!  BUT, rest assured, we will not allow Revolution to become a place where young people come to grumble and complain about other churches while feeling self-righteous for attending the young, hip, cool church.  The people we are seeking obviously do not like most if not all churches for whatever reasons and, let’s face it, all churches have issues this side of the second coming, but we hope to re-focus that anger into true discipleship. 
Now, you may disagree with all of this but please know that our intentions are only to serve the Kingdom and that we truly believe we are being led by the Holy Spirit.  You may object that we cannot be led by the Holy Spirit if we use harsh language but I would gently remind you that Martin Luther regularly used profanity from the puplit, that John the Baptist, Paul and Jesus himself used language that was considered in their day to be very harsh (“vipers”, “your father is the devil”, etc.)

Also know that the leadership of Revolution will be praying for ALL area churches and will discourage any standing member of another church from leaving that church to attend ours UNLESS they state unequivocally that it is either Revolution or nothing!
Finally, if you are one of those who are not attending church or about to leave a church then please check out Revolution this week. AND let me make this very clear, we welcome all just as they are! Whether you are a 60-year old construction worker with a John Deer hat and a ring in your jeans from carrying a can of Copenhagen or an 18-year old skater punk with a Slipknot shirt or a 50 year old small business owner in khakis or a 21 year old single mom struggling to make ends meet, you are welcome at Revolution but, be warned, we are not here to put on a show for you, we are here to challenge you to follow King Jesus to storm the gates of hell if necessary.  If you have the guts for all that then check us out next Sunday at 7pm at the Old PHS Gym on Waller Street and to those who are angry with us, we will be praying for you.
Grace and peace to all of you.
By Matt Rawlings, Leadership Team of Revolution.

Don’t Look Back

The year was 1954. At the beginning of May, Roger Bannister of Great Britain had become the first man to run the mile in under four minutes. A mere six weeks later, John Landy of Australia also broke the four minute barrier and eclipsed Bannister’s world record in the process. Thus, the stage was set for a duel between these two great champions.

On August 7, 1954 the two men met for a head-to-head race in Vancouver, British Columbia. At the sound of the starter’s pistol, Landy – as was his custom – shot out quickly and began building a lead. By mid-race he was a good 15 yards ahead of Bannister, and most knowledgeable observers felt that his lead was too big and his finishing “kick” too strong for him to be caught.

Though undoubtedly discouraged at his prospects for victory, Bannister simply continued doing what he had come there to do – he ran and he persisted. Then, during the final lap, the unexpected happened. He began gaining ground on his opponent. Landy could “sense” that his rival was nearer than expected and as he rounded the final curve before the homestretch he couldn’t resist the temptation to take his eyes off the finish line and sneak a look over his shoulder to determine his opponent’s position.

This brief backward glance was all Roger Bannister needed to make his move. For, as Landy was looking over his left shoulder, Bannister charged past Landy on the right side and stormed the final ninety yards to victory. For Landy, it was a bitter defeat. He had worked so hard and come so far, and with the finish line – and victory – in sight, HE LOOKED BACK and the race was lost.

This is where we are with “Revolution”. We’re in the final week – the “homestretch” – before our first service. Lately we’ve been “sensing” our Rival creeping up on us in the form of adversity, doubt and mental & physical fatigue. The question is, “Are we going to charge the final few yards with unbridled passion and gritty determination – with our eyes set firmly on the prize – or are we going to look back with uncertainty during the most critical moment in the ‘race’?” The decision may mean the difference between glorious victory and bitter defeat. DON’T LOOK BACK – let the Revolution begin!

Post by: Eron Elswick, “Revolution” Leadership Team

What’s Your Dream?

On my way home from working on the lighting for revolution I caught several interviews on ESPN radio about the death of Gene Upshaw, former Hall of Fame football player and Players’ Union executive.  People were throwing around all his accolades and accomplishments, but after several interviews the same things were missing in all of them. I certainly didn’t know Gene Upshaw, but those who did always referenced his career. All the accolades were about Gene the player or the exec. Those comments made me think of myself a couple years ago. My goals were to have a career making $100,000, have a huge house, boat, vintage hot rod, and throw some kids and a dog in there too. At some point it hits you though, that stuff means nothing, and usually costs you everything that’s important. You sacrifice relationships with you family, friends, and sometimes God.  That’s the culture’s standards of happiness and fulfillment. I can guarantee there is no fulfillment in the “American dream.” Listening to all these “nice” references to Upshaw just cemented that fact. If for some strange reason people outside of my friends and family were to know of me, I wouldn’t want it to be because somehow I became a rich business man, or I was a famous guitar player. What if people said “hey that guy was part of the revolution” or “I saw him feed a homeless guy.” “Wasn’t he one of those guys that helped start a place to get people of the streets.” “Those people really changed this city.”  Those are the things that can have eternal ramifications. What are your dreams and ambitions? Who defines happiness for you? It’s easy to believe in culture, it takes faith to believe in something more.   

By Ryan Rolfe, Worship Leader and Revolution Leadership Team Member.

No One Left On The Sidelines

Hard to believe, but a new football season is upon us. As an avid fan of the NFL my entire life, it’s interesting to consider how the game has changed since my childhood. When I first began watching games on TV, “tear-away” jerseys and “stick-um” were still perfectly legal. For those of you too young to remember, “stick-um”  was a gooey adhesive substance, resembling molasses, that wide receivers slathered all over themselves, enabling them to make spectacular catches with not only their hands, but also their elbows, knees, legs, and any other body part covered in the thick goo. [Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely gave the receivers a little extra help holding on to the ball].

However, I think the biggest change that has occurred in relation to the NFL in recent years is something that doesn’t even take place on the field. The biggest change has been the phenomenal growth of “Fantasy Football Leagues”. From being virtually non-existent ten years ago, it is now a multi-billion dollar enterprise with tens of millions of participants.

In case you’re unfamiliar with this “virtual” world of football, the participants basically act as owners of NFL franchises: holding player drafts, making trades, setting rosters & starting lineups, etc… A scoring system is in place that calculates how well a real player does in an actual game and then credits your “virtual team” with those points if that particular player is on your fantasy team. The fantasy team with the most points accumulated during the season wins.

It’s interesting to note that the fantasy footballers don’t actually DO much of anything – they merely feed off the achievements of the real warriors of the gridiron. I think this is representative of what has happened within many churches. We have become “Fantasy Christian Leagues” where the vast majority of us don’t actually DO much of anything; we merely live off the toil and hard-fought accomplishments of a tiny handful of real Christian warriors.

A revolutionary church, on the other hand, is one where everyone engages in the work of the church. There isn’t supposed to be such a thing as a “fantasy” follower of Jesus who watches while others work. We’re all called to be committed workers for Christ. It’s time to give up the game of “virtual church” and join the Revolution!


Post by Eron Elswick, leadership team of Revolution.