Blog Blog
  • Authenticity

    I had a conversation with Dave Shuman this morning and was telling him that I had no clue what to do for this blog post. I told him that I felt like this was an opportunity to really say something important and nothing felt like it was enough. I told him how I love this program, and didn’t want to do something just to do it. That really wouldn’t be me. He looked at me and told me to say that. To just say everything that I had told him right then.

     

    So, being totally honest with you guys here…this blog post is roughly three weeks overdue. I got to the point where I dreaded thinking about having to do this and was trying to see if I could find a way to get out of it. This was hard for me because I love writing, I feel it is the medium that I best communicate myself in, so I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m struggling with it.

    It’s not for lack of trying, as I have written and deleted and written and deleted drafts for a month now and nothing came from it. It’s not for lack of things to talk about. I could write easily about the people I’ve gotten to meet and the amazing conversations we’ve shared. I could write how my faith has grown so much through the speakers, the workshops, and the stories that we’ve gotten to go through in our intern meetings and retreats. I could write about how much I’ve learned about myself and about how a ministry works. All of these things are true and incredible things that have happened this last year but none of them felt right on their own.

    I realized that I was struggling because I didn’t want to give out something fake. I could write a halfway decent post about a multitude of topics within this intern program but if it wasn’t really something on my heart then it wouldn’t be true. It wouldn’t be authentic.

    This is something that I strive for in my life. This thing called authenticity, this thing that is so incredible to me because it gives everything meaning. If something is done without it, the purpose is lost, the feeling behind the action is lost. It’s part of what makes us human and what makes love real.

    I just want to challenge you to live authentically, to go after everything with your entire heart. And when the heart isn’t in it? I challenge you to be honest in that, to pray that it may come out of love and sincerity and not just a sense of duty.

    Colossians 3:23 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters


  • Lead Love


    Being 20 years old, many people frequently ask me what I believe my calling is for the future and how I plan to get there. When I heard this question about a year ago, I had no idea I would soon be responding that I was going to apply for a 10 month long internship at Kensington Church. I had no idea this internship would be one of the best growing experiences God laid out for my life, in order to be even more equipped for where He is taking me. I had my plan of only focusing on school and working retail (where I was a year ago) until I would receive a degree and then look for work that I am truly passionate about. I am grateful that this internship has already allowed me to work from that passion. God is so good and I love resting on the fact that He knows exactly what He is doing every single moment. He was, is, and forever will be paying attention to every detail of our lives, even the details that seem small or unimportant to us. I knew the internship was a big decision, but I had no idea the fruit from saying yes to it would be so plentiful! How did I get to where I am now and how did I not see this coming or have a plan for it all? Simply because God’s ways and plans for my life are higher than mine, and I don’t have to question following His guidance ever. God brought me here. He led me to be in this moment, right now, reflecting on His glory and faithfulness so I would have the opportunity to express that as best as I can it in this blog.

    It seems crazy for me to believe I am entering the 7th month of being an intern at Kensington Church. So much has happened through it and I am still excited to see what awaits these last 4 months. Being on the worship team at Orion has inspired me, challenged me, empowered me, encouraged me, and taught me so much. I have always loved to sing and love the art of music, but everything of what we think we know of the art, changes when the Holy Spirit moves through a song. Experiencing God move through a song, through the opportunities I have gotten to lead worship at Kensington, has inspired me to become more passionate for the Lord. This internship has given me a way better understanding of how God can use anyone’s passion for the advancement of His heavenly kingdom to conquer the world we live in. I have a passion to let God use me through worship for Him to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8)

    Much of what God has revealed to me during this internship, some things of which I have already stated, come from Him speaking through Josh Korn (worship leader at Kensington Orion). I told Josh I had to give him a shout out, and he told me not to mention him in this post. Well, I’ll use the statement “sorry, not sorry Josh”. I have been honored to work under his leadership these past 6 months. God has gifted him with such an authority that he humbly uses to always operate out of his overflow of the Holy Spirit. It is obvious he is in love with Jesus, and from that, his passion has inspired me to be the same. Josh’s walk with the Lord, and countless hours of him investing into my life, is how I knew I wanted to grow in becoming a worship leader. He is one of the biggest influential people in my life, and the biggest reason I have grown so much as a warrior for the name of Jesus in this internship. I had to mention him because much of the revelation I am expressing in this post comes from God speaking through Josh.

    With that, I will do my best to share some of what God has drilled in me to know and grow in. As a worship leader, I have to be strong in my identity on the stage, just as well as I am confident in it off the stage. I did not think that this was that big of a deal until I led my first song “How He loves.” I thought I would be completely fine leading this song because I felt secure in who I was, but as soon as it started, the nerves of being in front of so many people were suddenly overwhelming. I ended up doing almost everything wrong you could think of such as starting to sing at the wrong time, and singing the wrong part of the song many times during the song. Yikes. That moment sucked, but then it became a humbling moment for me and gave me the chance to process and recognize I still needed to grow in knowing my identity. I realized I needed to believe in who God says I am rather than spend any of my energy worrying about what people thought. I have grown in believing that people’s responses do not and will never dictate my love for Jesus. I had already known that, but sometimes our experiences lead us to actually believing what we already know. I can know my identity, but my belief in my identity has become stronger especially for leading worship. This has helped me grow in confidence with the authority that Jesus has given me, and all I need to do is listen and obey His direction.

    What has probably been the most important thing I have grown in, and will continue to grow in, is knowing God’s love for people. Leading worship is not just singing songs that people can enjoy listening to. I have learned that while in that place of leading a song, I am responsible to listen and obey where the Holy Spirit is taking me to go. I am responsible to allow God to lead me, and people will encounter God through my obedience. It is not so I can just have a beautiful personal moment with the Lord, but so I will not get in the way of what God exactly wants to do in a song for His people to have an experience with Him. Knowing how to love people only comes from God revealing what love looks like. Our purpose is to be imitators of Christ, loving people into the kingdom of God. If I always live out of an overflow of the Holy Spirit, and always let God give me an understanding of His love for us, I will be so moved by the power in that to never want to get in the way of how God wants to move through me in a song. Loving people has given me a deeper hunger to desperately want others to experience a powerful moment with the Lord like I have through worship music.

    I have developed such a deep respect to value all the ways God uses us for His glory, from interning at Kensington. I love all the relationships I have formed from it. I love being in a place of knowing that there is so much yet for me to discover and grow in and I never want to miss what God is doing in me and around me. I am grateful to work with amazing people and can’t thank God enough for putting me here. 


  • Spirit of Competition

    "I don’t have to earn God’s love and approval by being perfect, or being the best, or having the most skills. He already loves me, I already have His approval, simply because He created me."

                Ever since I can remember, my family has been competitive. Everything has a competitive flavor. “I can run faster than you” “I can eat more than you” “I can be better than you.” It doesn’t help that we’re all musicians; think “Yeah, you’re better at piano but I’m better at guitar and she’s better in vocals than either of us.” Nothing is ever just good, much less good enough. It’s like Ricky Bobby saying “If you’re not first, you’re last.” The family motto might as well be “There’s always room for improvement.” There’s no such thing as satisfied with your work in any area; we always find the flaw. This constant comparison formed my outlook on life.

                Because of this, when I entered this internship on August 1st, I had one objective – to be the best intern Kensington had ever seen. After all, if you’re not the best, you’re the worst. I came in with an inability to admit what I didn’t know. Anything I was asked to do, regardless of my actual level of familiarity with it, was met with “I can totally do that!” I found myself feeling like a fraud, frantically googling how to do or perfect something and just praying I could do it well enough to pass with no one knowing I had no idea what was going on. I was terrified to admit when I didn’t know how to do something, because in my mind, admitting weakness meant I couldn’t be the best.

                This of course led to a lot of misunderstandings, frustration, and unmet expectations on both sides of any situation. I was upset and frustrated because I couldn’t be what I wanted to do. You see, God didn’t design any one person to know how to do everything put in front of them. We’re good at some things and not great at others, and we’re supposed to ask for help on those things were not great at. God created us to be in community; trying to do everything on your own isn’t just unhealthy, it’s just not how we were created. Instead of enjoying my time in my internship improving my skills in things I like to do, and learning from people who are good at the things I am not, I was constantly stressed over the things I didn’t know how to do, and not enjoying the things I was good at because of it. My God-given gifts were being passed over and ignored so I could pretend to be the best at everything.

                Deliverance from my self-imposed competitive prison came in the form of a serious call-out from my amazing boss, Richie. He looked at me during one of our meetings about how I was doing and said “You know it’s okay if you don’t know how to do something, right?”

                This statement was completely foreign to me. I literally said to him, out loud, “No, it’s not.” Let me tell you, the look on his face was hilarious. We dove into conversation about why I felt like this, why I felt the need to never show vulnerability, weakness, or anything less than.

                You see, in the moment, God revealed something amazing to me. God doesn’t want or need me to be perfect in order to do the job he’s set for me. If he did, he would have made me that way. No, God made me with a specific set of skills to complement the skills of the people He puts me to work with. What it all boiled down to was this; I don’t have to earn God’s love and approval by being perfect, or being the best, or having the most skills. He already loves me, I already have His approval, simply because He created me. The pressure that this revelation took off of me was visible almost immediately to everyone around me. Since that day, I’ve been more joyful, more relaxed, and more honest. Through this internship, I have become more emotionally, spiritually, and mentally healthy than I can ever remember being. And all because I realized the simple truth that I don’t have to earn God’s love; He freely gives it. 


  • Experiencing The Impact


    I love this internship. I get to come in to work every day and do what I love, using my talents to further God’s kingdom. I am gaining valuable work experience while being challenged and strengthened in my relationship with Christ. - That could really be the whole post right there, but I like to express myself through an excess of words.

    To be more specific, I am the Video Arts Intern at Kensington, and I get to work as a member of the team that creates all of the narrative video content that plays in the services. I have worked on testimonials, lyric supports, short films, interviews, documentaries, and so much more. The video team is comprised of industry professionals from several different backgrounds who have come together to spread the message of Christ and tell the story of Kensington and the church as a whole. I get to work one on one with each of them, receiving hands-on training in all aspects of production, building on the skills I gained in college, and applying them in a fast-paced working environment.

    With a new service every weekend, new projects are in high demand, and the video team puts in hours of work to deliver a final product that will spread the message of Christ and help to draw people closer to Him. Aside from all of the technical and practical experience, what really draws me in to the work we do is the sincerity of the message. The entire staff at Kensington truly believes in the mission of Christ; everyone does everything in their power to reach those far from God. And I have the privilege of working alongside them every day.

    I entered into this internship right before the 101 series, the most ambitious project the Kensington video team has ever produced. It is a series of seven short films, each pertaining to one of the core values of Kensington Church. Shooting this series took the team all over, from an abandoned church in downtown Detroit, to an early morning storm on Lake St. Clair, to the redwood forest in California. Each film featured one of Kensington’s teaching pastors delivering a message, accompanied with a story or visual metaphor to drive the idea. Not only was I a part of the team creating the project, I also was able to sit in the service each Sunday and experience the impact with the rest of the church. To experience a project that I worked on as a member of the audience is an invaluable experience for a filmmaker. I get to feel what the congregation feels, what works and what doesn’t, every single Sunday. And I get to see how the work I am doing for the Lord is impacting the church and the world, every single week. But the work is only half of the internship. The rest involves meeting up with the other interns and the intern director once a week for devotionals and leadership training. We get to grow together as a community to impact the world for Christ and to prepare ourselves for the work He will eventually do through us. Each week one of the interns leads the first half of the meeting with a devotional on a certain passage of scripture or a specific topic; sometimes we spend the entire time in worship. Afterwards we have a different guest speaker from the church come in and train us in the aspects of biblical leadership. We learn of different leaders who finished well, and those who didn’t, and we gain practical knowledge that we can apply to our lives and our ministry.

    We also meet up once a week in discipleship groups and dive deeper into scripture. These are smaller groups consisting of four or five interns and a spiritual leader from the Kensington staff. In these meetings we strengthen our relationships with Christ, and with each other. We openly share the struggles in our lives and help one another in staying on the right path. We tackle difficult biblical topics and cover different spiritual truths.

    “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

    We get to live this out every day as we grow both spiritually and professionally. I already feel like I’ve come so far in my own walk, and there are still four months left in the internship. I am excited to see what God has in store, both in the next four months and the rest of my life. But I know that I am absolutely where he wants me to be right now, and while I am here I want to continue to learn more about myself and about Him.

    Well, that’s it. That’s what I’ve got. I’m kind of surprised I didn’t throw any jokes in there, but I wasn’t really feeling it while I was writing. It really turned into more of a sales pitch for the internship (a genuine sales pitch, you should really consider doing this internship). I guess I’ll leave a link for the 101 videos, so you can see just what kind of work I get to be a part of.

    https://vimeo.com/185068867

    https://vimeo.com/186046822

    https://vimeo.com/187420854

    https://vimeo.com/188404262

    https://vimeo.com/189433103

    https://vimeo.com/190357990

    https://vimeo.com/191246908

     

     


  • Security Matters: How we can free people to worship in safety

    Our response to safety in our home = Our response to safety at church.

    Picture this…It’s the middle of the night.  The whole family is sleeping.  All the doors and windows are locked.  Security system is set to alert you if anyone tries making entry from outside.  Suddenly, the alarm goes off.  You wake up and respond to the hallway where the stairs lead up to.  At the bottom of those stairs is the front door where the alarm has been triggered.  The door is wide open and two men are rushing up the stairs with deadly weapons in their hands.  The hallway that you’re in is the same hallway which gives access to all the bedrooms, including those of your children.  You are obviously afraid for the safety of you and your family. 

    How do you respond?  What actions do you take?  Do you retrieve any items to protect you and your family?  Think about your response.  Now that you have thought of your response, I want you to now change a major detail…the location.  It’s no longer in your home, but now a Church building.  All your family is still present, and it’s obviously during the day.  Same scenario with two men armed with deadly weapons rushing towards you and your family.  Before proceeding, quickly think of your response. 

    How did your response to protect your family change?  If it did, why?  Did you have any reservations with using force as a reaction now that you’re in a church building?  Did you have something in your mind telling you to take the “godly” route since it was church?  Did that make you question whether or not your original response in the “Home” scenario was Christian enough?  I’m going to guess that you still wouldn’t change your reaction to be any less forceful in the home scenario…and I don’t blame you.  However, it’s the response inside the church building that I want to focus on… 

          Hi, my name is Michael Simmons.  I am an intern here at Kensington Church for the 2016/2017 year.  The focus for my internship is…Church Security.  Yes, Kensington, along with many other churches today, have members of their congregation who assist with the overall safety of the church family and guests…a.k.a. Church Security Teams.  If someone told me that I would be working in a church, I would have thought they were nuts.  All my life I have had plans on being in Law Enforcement.  I based everything on that idea…my behavior, my education, my way of life.  Yes, you would think God was enough of a motivator in those departments, but at that time I didn’t allow Him to be.  I moved my entire life down south and was a Police Officer down there until last July.  Being a Police Officer, I experienced many interesting things:  Tactical training, communication skills, physical altercations, verbal de-escalation techniques, perception of body language and facial expressions, life threatening situations…overall, the idea and application of protection and safety of others.  One of the biggest things I experienced is the evil that man CAN do.  Murders to robberies, sexual crimes to domestic violence.  Christians or non-Christians, victims are victims, and the evil of one can affect the physical safety of another.  Did you notice what I said?  I said “the evil of one can affect the PHYSICAL safety of another”.  I think it is important to understand this idea.  I’m not talking about the Spiritual safety of someone.  If we believe in Jesus and what He did for us, then our Spiritual safety is nothing to be concerned about.  I’m referring to the physical safety of people.  Just because we’re suddenly inside a church building doesn’t make us less of believers in God if we’re aware of our safety.  As Christians we utilize safe practices in all other areas of our lives, so why should our practices be different once we come into the church building, or vice versa.  So, the focus for my writings is based on the idea that Church security teams and protocols along with the overall response inside the church building shall be biblical, but as Christians, our response should be the same in all areas of our life.  To simplify what I’m saying:

    Our response to safety in our home and personal life = Our response to safety at church

    “Wait, is he saying that we should act the same at the home as we do at church?”  Yes, yes I am.  I apply that way of thinking not just in how we speak, what we watch, how we behave, but I also apply that to how we respond and take precautions when it comes to the safety and security of our lives.  I don’t believe Christians lack faith in God any less because of taking safety precautions within a church.  I say this because we don’t consider it as less faith when we apply safety precautions at home or in our personal lives.  We have fire extinguishers in our homes to combat possible fires.  Home security systems to protect our homes, people, and contents inside.  We lock the doors of our homes, vehicles, lockers, cabinets, etc.  Even in the church building itself, we support security precautions even without a security ministry.  The doors, walls, the overall structure follows strict codes to adhere to fire regulations.  The front entrances to the church building become locked after a certain time.  Certain entrances require keycard access-even certain floors are restricted to authorized individuals.  We have all these things in place to help secure the building, staff, volunteers, and guests.  Everyone is ok with these safety precautions and do not consider it as lacking in faith in God to protect us.  However, when it comes to Church Security teams, controversy begins.    

    Suddenly, Matthew 5:39 gets used, “But I say, do not resist an evil person!  If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also”.  Suddenly, according to one’s interpretation, it’s unbiblical to stop the evil that someone is committing against another because its occurring in a church, on a mission trip, during a Christian event, etc.  Even though if a deadly force incident occurred inside your home, you wouldn’t have any issues or doubts whether or not you were acting in a Christian manner.  However, because it’s related to church, we think we MUST NOT respond in a way that is defending or protecting ourselves and that we MUST witness to that individual at that very moment.  I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t witness to people because that is our purpose on this earth.  The issue is being inconsistent or trying to separate our response depending on where we’re physically standing at that moment.  God is working in us at all times and we’re required to be living a life under Him.  Therefore, no matter where we’re physically standing, we’re always spiritually standing with Him.          

    Is being persecuted for one’s faith in Jesus an amazing testimony to the power of Jesus? Yes, it absolutely is.  Is this world the end for us?  No.  It is merely a stepping stone to the Kingdom of God.  We are only borrowers of everything in this world-We are Stewards.  Our body, the words we speak, the thoughts we think, our actions…. they all belong to God.  After all, if we die at the hands of someone wanting to do us harm, whether it’s inside a church or not, we’re just losing something that never belonged to us in the first place and we get to join Jesus for eternity.  However, why don’t we apply that type of thinking to everything then, that way we can be consistent?  If we’re not supposed to “resist an evil person”, then why have any security measures in place at all?  Unlock all doors of your home, vehicles, and businesses.  Allow your children to interact with dangerous criminals in the middle of the night while you’re asleep.  Of course, logic and protection is now taking over and you wouldn’t be passive about the safety of your loved ones from the evil that lurks.  Well, fortunately, we’re not alone in this type of thinking.  Jesus wasn’t passive about the physical safety against the harm from evil ones either. 

    Matthew 5:39, in my opinion, implies an attitude to have the love for God and not seek vengeance.  Jesus gives examples with the disciples of being aware of evil, being proactive about personal safety, and taking measures to defend themselves.  Matthew 10:16, “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among the wolves.  So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves”.  In Luke 22:36, “And if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one!”.  Jesus was telling his disciples to be proactive with their safety, therefore, they could continue to live and spread the Good News.  That is the purpose for Church security teams, to protect those who are spreading the Good News. 

    I support Kensington Church and its initiative to protect our church family.  That’s why I am focusing on this area for my internship.  I believe we must be proactive with our safety and protection, even inside a church.  I also believe Kensington’s security teams must be more than just a group inside a church, but an actual ministry.  We must be training more than the arts and worship teams, but not just in physical tactics.  We must be training in spiritual tactics as well.  We must be servants of Christ as well as protectors.  That is my goal for the rest of the internship.  To join the efforts of the serving members of the security teams and lead the charge to being Warriors for Christ.  Please keep the Kensington Church security ministry in your prayers. 

    For more information in regards to data relating to incidents occurring on church property, please click the link:  http://www.carlchinn.com/deadly-force-statistics.html

    It happens more often than you think…

     

    Michael Simmons
    Kensington Church
    Security Intern

     


Loading...