Generation Church Blog

The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation

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I remember first learning about Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement at West Kingston elementary school. I memorized his I Have A Dream speech and would practice my own delivery to my classmates. I was riveted by his conviction and courage. My dad is a preacher and the fact that M.L.K. was also a preacher made him all the more intriguing. Even though I was young and grew up in a town that was predominantly white I remember understanding the significance of M.L.K. and the civil rights movement. I also remember thinking that racism had died and that we had reached the promised land when it comes to racial reconciliation.

Some years later I fell in love with Hip Hop, especially Tupac Shakur. Tupac and others spoke about racism from another perspective and forced me to confront the messiness of our racial history. I began to read and realized that our racial history is often more harsh than what’s recorded in history books or taught in school. We constantly need to be aware of racism, the temptation to explicitly or implicitly hold a belief or practice that distinguishes one race over other races. Over the years I have seen the continued racial divides in our country and how politics seemed to divide people even more. After living and studying theology in Chicago, eventually training as a pastor in Providence and recently planting a church back in our hometown; I have become increasingly passionate about racial reconciliation as a follower of Jesus.

Through the teachings of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament and the 21st century influence of Dr. John Piper and Matt Chandler, I began to see how the issues of racial reconciliation and the sanctity of human life are Gospel issues. These men would preach on these issues in consecutive weeks, year after year. This is a tradition that I want to continue in the early days of Generation Church. My burden and prayer is that the people of South County and the people of God will not look to Fox news, MSNBC, CNN or the present day cultural shifts when it comes to clarity on racial reconciliation or sanctity of human life and beyond. Instead we would all be life long learners who will not only read history books and the news but also look together in the 21st century to sacred Scripture and ultimately the good news (the Gospel) of Jesus to see how God has spoken to the heart of these issues.

These reasons and more are why I’m looking forward to these messages. I feel the great responsibility as a Pastor and new father to engage this generation with the unstoppable grace and truth of Jesus.

I’m excited for you to join us. We will have a time of discussion after morning church.

Pastor Stephen Mook

Seeking God in 2015

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Our vision and prayer for 2015 is that we will passionately seek our Sovereign Lord.

Yet it’s hard to seek, hard to hear, hard to see with endless distractions in front, behind, all around and inside of us. But God. We give thanks to God our Father for seeking us. Pursuing, speaking, relentlessly seeking us. The lost generation now found in Jesus name. So now we seek in the power of the Holy Spirit: “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in his presence.” Psalm 27:4

We believe that 2015 is going to be an unforgettable year for Generation Church and the larger Church in Rhode Island. We have already seen God do immeasurably more then all we could ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us in these first months of church planting. This is just the beginning. Jesus is better, greater and more faithful then we could ever dream or realize.

Now is the time to press forward and meditate with single minded devotion on the beauty of God as missionaries who have been rescued by God and sent into South County and beyond to imitate Jesus, make disciples of Jesus and spread the global fame of Jesus for the joy of all generations.

“You have said, Seek my face. My heart says to you, Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Psalm 27:8

Happy New Year!

 

Finally Alive

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December 14, 2014 was an unforgettable celebration for our church family. We celebrated the good news that Jesus doesn’t just make us good but Jesus makes us alive. Finally alive.

One of the great joys of this season has been seeing God’s faithfulness and grace on display through endless stories of people waking up to the wonder and imperishable joy of Jesus.  One of the brightest ways that we see God’s faithfulness and grace on display is through the celebration of baptism. Baptism isn’t just a rite of passage that good religious people do at a certain age but baptism is a testimony that religious people and people far from God can be raised to new life in Christ. Baptism declares to the world that we are finally alive by God’s glorious grace.

When God gave us a burden to come back to South County to start Generation Church it wasn’t to advance religion or keep our faith private. No. We came back to South County to spread the fame of Jesus to a land and people that we love. We had a kingdom dream to see Jesus exalted in the lives of the religious and irreligious. We had a kingdom dream to see South County awakened to the imperishable joy of God. We wanted to create a welcoming space for everyone to hear and respond to the greatest news in the world because if we can be passionate about sports, education, the environment, our children, sports, local politics and beyond; we can consider and even possibly get passionate about Jesus with our lives. 

This is why Sunday’s baptism celebration was unforgettable. It was a reminder that the movement of Jesus doesn’t only advance through passionate church planters and pastors but the movement of Jesus advances through passionate followers of Jesus who have been given a glorious mission to make disciples and spread the good news of God for the joy of all generations and the global fame of Jesus.

This Sunday we were reminded about why we start new churches. We were reminded that God is faithful and the movement of Jesus is unstoppable.

Pastor Stephen Mook
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In Rhode Island As It Is In Heaven

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Here’s a brief recap of our launch series through the Lord’s prayer.

The movement of Jesus is unstoppable. This is why Generation Church was planted in South County. The prayer that Jesus teaches his followers to pray reminds us of this reality. The Lord’s Prayer is more then just a ritualistic prayer that religious people pray but is the ultimate blueprint for how we should pray and live on earth as it is in heaven.

The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13

Matthew 6:9-10: The Supremacy of God
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:11-13: Our Dependency on God
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil/evil one.
God’s kingdom has come in Rhode Island as it is in heaven.
We believe that there are greater days ahead in Rhode Island. God our Father, and Jesus our Redeemer and King through the power of the Holy Spirit has come to rescue and revive the people of God. A people passionate to see the name of Jesus honored as holy and awesome. A people in awe of the beauty of his holiness. A people joyfully dependent on God in everything and for everything. A people called to be a blessing within South County, Rhode Island and beyond. A people empowered by the Spirit with a kingdom mission to make disciples and spread the global fame of Jesus in each generation.  May we know more of this reality on earth as it is in heaven. May we know more this reality in Rhode Island as it is in heaven. May we be a part of the unstoppable movement of Jesus.
***Here’s the final sermon in our launch series and overview of the Lord’s Prayer: http://generationchurchri.org/sermon/the-unstoppable-movement/

We Should Grieve

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr. 

Reflections on Eric Garner

We Should Grieve…

We should grieve because he was made in the image of God.

We should grieve for his family.

We should grieve because we don’t want to raise our children in a culture and country where any injustice is allowed.

We should grieve because people should be able to share their pain and frustrations without being accused of hating all cops and law enforcement.

We should grieve when people choose violence to protest against violence.

We should grieve when we forget that every life matters from the heart beating aborted child who is no longer peacefully breathing to Eric Garner who declared to the world that he couldn’t breathe. 

We should grieve and call for justice as the local church.

Pastor Stephen Mook

Click below for more on the Gospel, Eric Garner and the call for justice from Russell Moore. Moore is the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/12/03/eric-garner-and-the-call-for-justice/

Welcome House Family Christmas Adoption

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We went to our local homeless shelter in South County to see if they had any specific needs during this holiday season.  

The Welcome House has given Generation Church the joyful opportunity as a church family to adopt seven families and buy Christmas gifts for their children. We plan on going above and beyond this holiday season to make this an extra special Christmas for these families. The Welcome House shared with us that parents put down a lot of Gift Cards (GC) for the kids and themselves, but they highly encourage us to be creative. Some of the families have a hard time making lists as sometimes they feel uncomfortable asking for things.

We have attached the lists with anonymous identifiers for the families such as AR, HE etc. along with the gender and age. Please contact us with any questions. When you have chosen what gifts that you will be purchasing for these families, please let us know. 

Every Sunday leading up to Christmas we’ll have an updated list for our Christmas family adoption:

Narragansett Pier Theater | 3 Beach St. 10am.

There is good news for everyone.

Welcome House UPDATED List:

HU – Dad:

Sweater – Men’s Size L

Gas GC

Men’s Watch

Sears GC

HU – Mom:

Shoes/ Flats – Women’s Size 8

Wallet

Socks – Women’s Size 8

Cardigans – Women’s Size L

Walmart GC

HU – 13 Year Old Boy

GameStop GC

Sweater – Boy’s Size M

FYE GC

Sweatpants – Boy’s Size M

HU – 10 Year Old Girl

Jewelry

Toys

HU – 18 Year Old Boy

Sneakers – Men’s Size 11

Warwick Mall GC

Gas GC

HU – 16 Year Old Girl

Makeup

Boots – Women’s Size 7.5

Head Scarves

Shirts – Women’s Size M

Socks – Women’s Size 8

BR – Mom:

Walmart GC

Job Lot GC

Robe & Slipper Set – Women’s Size L

Wallet

BR – 14 Year Old Boy

Anime and Manga Movies or Books

GC for shoes

Games

BR – 18 Year Old Girl

Body Wash & Spray

GC for shoes

Victoria Secret GC

Wallet

HE- Daughter

Sweater Size XL

FYE GC for movies or music

Supernatural Series DVDs

Purse

RU-Mother

Gas GC

Wet Seal Gift Card

Walmart Gift Card

RU-14 year old

GameStop Gift Card

Footlocker Gift Card

Dicks Sporting Goods Gift Card

AR- Mother

Sweater- Women’s size small

Jewelry (i.e. Earrings, necklace)

GC for manicure

Stop & Shop GC

AR-16 year old son

FYE GC

Olympia Sports GC

Jeans- Men’s size 36×32

 

Praying for Ferguson

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It’s understandable and often overwhelmingly easy to believe and feel that our prayers do very little to change anything. Especially when it comes to global or national events such as Ferguson.

However, we believe in the power of prayer. We believe that prayer changes things both personally and globally. This is why we are praying for Ferguson and for our world in this fragile moment in our history. We are praying based upon the promises and truth of God that through Jesus our Father hears our prayers and acts through his people to accomplish his kingdom mission and will on earth as it is in heaven.

We join with the larger Church in praying for Ferguson. We don’t need to live in Ferguson to mourn and pray for peace in our cities and communities. Our prayer is that our church family and the larger Church would truly represent Jesus and his kingdom in this pivotal moment.

Many of us can be burdened with our own daily needs, trials, heartache or challenges within our own home or hearts to even think about praying for something so far away from our own neighborhood. Thankfully we can and should pray for peace not only in our own lives and families but in Ferguson.

Please join us in prayer: 

1. Pray that we would be slow to speak and quick to listen to one another, especially when we disagree or see things from a different perspective or worldview.

2. Pray for Michael Brown’s family and the community within Ferguson.

3. Pray for Officer Wilson and his family. Pray for the police and civic leaders in Ferguson.

4. Pray for the businesses within Ferguson.

5. Pray for the peace and prosperity of this city and every city.

6. Pray that the voices of peace and nonviolence would be heard the loudest.

7. Pray for the local pastors, churches, teachers, schools, the parents and other people of influence in Ferguson and St. Louis as they seek constructive action steps going forward.

8. Pray that we will not grow cynical or bitter but that we will find our hope and peace in our crucified and risen King and Savior.

9. Pray that after we listen to one another that we would seek to speak the truth in love.

10. Pray that we would all do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. No matter if we live in South County, Providence, or in Ferguson.

11. Pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done in Ferguson, our nation, and in our own lives as it is in heaven.

“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Jesus + Matthew 6:9-13

May God be glorified and honored in our lives, our homes, our communities and in Ferguson.

Community Groups

Community Groups are the heartbeat of Generation Church.

Generation Church began as a Monday night Community Group. We would meet in different homes and eat together, sing together and spend time studying and applying God’s word for our new church plant in South County. Our hope was that we would be a local church not just on Sunday but throughout the week. This continues to be our hope and mission as we aim to have Christ centered relationships flourishing and disciples made through Generation Church.

When the church started in the book of Acts, it didn’t start as a new religion, but rather as a movement. Instead, there were small groups of people living deeply in community who shared a belief that was radically different than any other belief in the world. They believed that Jesus was God, that he was murdered for claiming to be God and rose from the dead signifying that he is God and Lord of all as the Savior of the world. Community groups should not be an alternative for authentic Biblical community where people do life together, meet each other’s needs, care for one another, hold each other accountable and love one another well. True Biblical Community cannot be accomplished only through structured meetings every week…they must be a lifestyle. Community Groups are designed to enhance the Holy Spirit’s work of building the body of Christ in community.

Living in community is one of the foundational desires of our church. A community group is a group of 6 to 15 adults (and families, in some cases) who gather weekly in a home to build one another up, grow in their faith and remember our mission.

Our Four Community Group Distinctive’s:

Family:

A Community Group is a group of believers who live and experience life together like a family. God is their heavenly Father because of their faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the new life provided by the working of the Holy Spirit. A Community Group seeks to love each other well, by knowing each other’s stories, strengths and struggles in regards to belief in the gospel and it’s application to all of life (John 1:11-13; Romans 12:10-16; Ephesians 5:1-2).

Missionaries:

Just like Jesus, we are all sent by the Spirit to fulfill the Great Commission and to share the gospel- the “good news” of Jesus. A Community Group is made up of Spirit-led and Spirit-filled people who structure their lives around the mission of making disciples. This means people’s schedule, resources and decisions are now built around reaching people together (Matthew 3:16-4:1; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 13:2).

Servants:

Jesus is Lord and we are his Servants. A Community Group serves those around them as though they are serving Jesus. A Community Group serves in such a way that it demands a Gospel explanation — lives that cannot be explained in any other way than by the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 2:16).

Disciples:

We are all learners of Jesus who has given us his Spirit to teach us all that is true about Himself and enable us to live out his commands. Jesus commanded us to make disciples who believe the gospel, are established in a new identity and are able to obey all of his commands (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Community Group is the best context in which this can begin to happen. Disciples are made and developed: 1) through life on life, where there is visibility and accessibility, 2) in community, where they can practice the loving, serving, and building-up of one another, & 3) on mission where they learn how to live out the gospel and make disciples.

*These four distinctives have been adapted for Generation Church by Jeff Vanderstelt

We currently have three community groups in South County meeting on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. We would love to have you join us at one of our Community Groups. If you’re interested or if you have any questions, please contact us at generationchurchri.org

A New Season: Welcome to Generation Church

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November 2, 2014 marked a new season for Generation Church.

We had a special celebration for our launch at the Narragansett Pier Theater. It was a joy to see our church family and so many volunteers coming together for an unforgettable day. We welcomed new faces and families and it was great to have larger spaces for both our Generation Kids and Nursery. We loved singing together in our new space and we heard the good news of Jesus preached from the Lord’s Prayer. The heartbeat of our church family is our Community Groups which meet throughout the week but it’s still vital that we gather together on Sunday and celebrate in light of the resurrection of Jesus and God’s kingdom that has come in Rhode Island as it is in heaven.

We also had fun together. The photo booth was a blast. We celebrated baptisms in the hotel hot tub next door, read Scripture together and remembered the mission that God has given us. We’re thankful for all the people who made our launch a special day. We have the most amazing and selfless volunteers. Above all we’re honored to be a part of the movement of Jesus in our generation and to spread his fame in Rhode Island, New England and throughout the world.

We look forward to the days ahead and welcoming more of our neighbors, friends, strangers and people all over South County and Rhode Island. We want to welcome everyone no matter where they are when it comes to their faith, doubts or reservations with religion.

This is just the beginning. There is good news for everyone.

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Baptism Celebration

 

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Recently our church family had a baptism celebration at the Narragansett beach.

We celebrated stories of grace and declared to one another and to our South County neighbors that we belong to Jesus our King and Savior.

The beauty of baptism is that the event displays the drama of the gospel. Baptism doesn’t save us, Jesus saves and in baptism we proclaim the reality of God’s saving grace to a world groaning for redemption. We all were at one time on the path of death and destruction as our own king and savior. We were all dead to any desire for God our Father before Jesus stepped into our story to make us finally alive by His glorious grace and the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Not only does baptism reflect God’s saving work in our lives but baptism reminds us that we have been enlisted into a new kingdom with an urgent mission as the people of God. The reminder of our immediate mission as the local church was one of the many highlights from our baptism celebration. After the actual baptism we gathered together and we read the words of Jesus about the mission that we have now been given by His grace.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Please pray for these new followers of Jesus and for the many people who will be baptized and become followers of Jesus through their testimonies and ministries of mercy.

God is with us and has empowered us by the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses in South County, New England and to the ends of the earth.

We belong to Jesus.

Praise the Lord.