Archives For Richwoods


in an earlier post, i mentioned brian mclaren. i’ve blogged a bit here and there about some of his thoughts, and extensively quoted his work ‘A New Kind of Christianity’ in my series on scripture here at the WayWard Follower. in many ways, that book literally changed my life – and saved my faith.

put bluntly – there is no other author, speaker, pastor or friend who has had a more significant influence on my spiritual development than has brian.

i was first given the opportunity to meet brian face to face as he was touring for his (at the time) most recent book, ‘Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? :: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World and had the privilege of sitting down with him afterwards. our discussion crossed over from inter-faith dialogue to the need for a more generous, gracious, hospitable approach to the church’s conversation with the LGBT community (this was mere months before i came to The Marin Foundation).

it was one of the most meaningful and significant conversations i’ve ever had.

it, in conjunction with spending two days later that same week with rob bell, led to me leaving the faith community i had grown to know and love and start out on a grand adventure. Continue Reading…

dirt matters.

mjkimpan  —  September 4, 2013 — 4 Comments


for those who’ve been following my blog for awhile, you’ll know that over recent years i found a faith community unlike any other i’d previously been a part of. tucked away in peoria, il is a place where i found redemption, restoration, friendship and grace. richwoods christian church served as an oasis to my soul during a desert of disappointment in my previous church experiences.

now, my friend  jim powell has written a book – Dirt Matters – and describes what values he found essential in the journey of creating a healthy culture within this congregation over the past 16 years as their lead pastor. while many church leaders focus on what is external and visible above the surface, jim candidly digs deep into the soil of what creates and dictates the DNA of a church’s culture. the size of the church doesn’t matter, but the culture within it does. Dirt Matters will show you what ‘church culture’ is, the role it plays and how to improve  it.

Continue Reading…

a place at the table.

mjkimpan  —  October 31, 2012 — 6 Comments

this week, i made an announcement and declared i’ll be devoting the next few posts throughout this week to helping others understand my journey toward my exciting new position at The Marin Foundation.

yesterday’s post highlighted why i’m so deeply grateful for my time at richwoods.

today’s post is about how the past three years at richwoods have prepared me for this new opportunity.

when i arrived in peoria, my goal was to re-enter and immerse myself into a faith community, which i hoped would result as a form of reference for a full time ministry position somewhere else. i had no intention of staying.

within a handful of weeks, it became increasingly apparent to me that i had found a home. not just in peoria (as great as it is, i’ve always missed chicago), but in the context of relationships with people who were deeply invested in my well being and spiritual growth. i found a place at the table – where in the midst of my mess, i was accepted, welcomed and affirmed.

Continue Reading…


mjkimpan  —  October 30, 2012 — 16 Comments

yesterday, i made an announcement and declared i’ll be devoting the next few posts throughout this week to helping others understand my journey toward my exciting new position at The Marin Foundation.

today’s post is why i’m so deeply grateful for my time at richwoods.

richwoods christian church has served as an oasis to my soul during a desert of disheartened illusions toward the christian faith of my earlier years.

after experiencing the unparalleled heartache and frustration of watching my well-formed theologies crumble in the reality of life (some of which i outlined here), i continually encountered a less than christian christianity.

it seemed the grace with which jesus so easily navigated his relationships with people seemed to be missed by many of those surrounding me who claimed to follow him. when i needed community most, the church turned its back on me.

this broke my heart, and destroyed my faith.

Continue Reading…


mjkimpan  —  July 28, 2012 — 23 Comments

this morning we had a leadership community gathering at my church.  our leadership community meeting is a quarterly gathering for any and all leaders within the richwoods community – staff, volunteers, leaders in the community, et cetera – an opportunity to come and engage with one another and be reminded of the ‘why’ behind what we do as we go about helping people find and follow christ.

our lead pastor, jim powell, spoke about life and growth – reminding us that when God is at work in a community of believers, that place should be ALIVE .  he said, ‘when God is present it shouldn’t be boring or irrelevant or dead, but full of life.’

jim further clarified he’s not simply talking about methodology or styles of worship -it goes deeper than that. he used an example of an episcopalian church he attended in colorado that had an energetic, vibrant, life-giving atmosphere even in the midst of ritual and traditions such as responsive readings.

it’s about people’s relationship with jesus. Continue Reading…

hipster ‘pastors’.

mjkimpan  —  June 18, 2012 — 25 Comments

this past friday, @PastorMark tweeted quite the helpful online resource :: ‘serious help for silly pastors’

in his post, he writes, ‘this tribe of ‘pastors’ spends a lot of time and mental energy trying to create for themselves innovative/cutting edge/avant-grande/unique/relevant/hip/ creative new titles.’

though at my church we’re pretty comfortable with the title ‘pastor,’ not all of us share that responsibility; therefore, i’ve taken the liberty of making a new list of potential titles for roles on our staff at richwoods ::

Continue Reading…


mjkimpan  —  May 5, 2012 — 33 Comments

this summer at richwoods we’re heading into a series entitled, ‘permission to enjoy.’

(addition :: listen to the first sermon from jim powell here)

taking a look at the garden early in the genesis narrative, we read ::

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

we often fail to realize the freedom that flows in this, the first command to humanity from the Trinity.

God’s original intent was permissive and positive, not prohibitive.

Continue Reading…


mjkimpan  —  April 30, 2012 — 20 Comments

our demons keep community at bay, because we are forced to encounter the very image of God in one another when we live life together.

many, myself included, are convinced that the greatest opportunity for spiritual growth happens within the context of community. true spiritual community mirrors the relationship of the Trinity – whose image in which we have been created. when we remove ourselves from authentic community and move toward isolation, it becomes much more difficult for us to hear the voice of truth; instead, we believe as true the false accusations and lies launched against our identity and integrity, denying and degrading the divine nature that is in each one of us.
Continue Reading…

SSD. day five.

mjkimpan  —  April 19, 2012 — 11 Comments

some final thoughts from dr. larry crabb’s school of spiritual direction with richwoods christian church ::

you cannot be engaged in everybody’s hurts. but we must ask the question, ‘am i involved in at least a few peoples’ hurt?’

the cross needs to be made central in our efforts of community. we do this through a humble brokenness over our own sin, present in each one of us, and a desire toward the hope of heaven.

teaching in a church is important, but it is not sufficient.

education cures ignorance; but it does not cure the flesh.

brokenness is necessary for passion-filled dynamics to be changed.

the story of the soul is the story of relating; so good conversations must reframe pain into the context of relationship.

there is not a person in the world who feels totally known.

a faith manifesto.

mjkimpan  —  September 1, 2010 — 11 Comments

we are convinced that people want to belong to a community that has a purpose; it’s what we call TRIBE.

TRIBE is a mob of displaced, disconnected, dispassionate, severed, disrespected, unnoticed, unknown and voiceless individuals who inspire movement together as ONE.

as ONE, this mob–this TRIBE–is committed to walking alongside our community, helping each other find and follow Jesus Christ.  as ONE, we will move with transparency.

as a TRIBE, we will celebrate our uniqueness as individuals; as a TRIBE, we will inspire one another; as a TRIBE, we will live with passion and purpose; as a TRIBE, we will find our voice in a hopeless world.

we are convinced that our hope, our identity and our joy is unwrapped in the person and work of Jesus Christ, who from day ONE has known each of us by name.