2011 annual report
OUR MISSION is to renew the city socially, spiritually & culturally with the Gospel of Jesus
Table of Contents Page 1 | retrospect & prospect Page 3 | family stories Page 7 | numbers are (not) everything Pages 10 | disproportionate influence
Retrospect & Prospect Austin City Life 2011-12 Twenty Eleven | Slow, Focused, & Creative In 2011 we set out to be a slow, focused, and creative church. We slowed down by staying in one location on Sundays (after having 4 different locations over the past four years)! We took time to consider why we’re so busy, and to counter our culture by giving up on working to rest in order to give in to working from our rest in Christ. We continued this theme in the EXIST series, where we repented from disordered loves (loving anything more than Christ), in order to return to our one, true Love. I think we’re all learning this is a lifelong endeavor! We also spaced church trainings and events in an effort to be more focused, launching a
great website to streamline communication. We creatively made lots of babies, a new EP, a second successful year with Music for the City, and hosted an awesome SXSW showcase. There’s lots to celebrate, so let’s be grateful to God for slow, focused, and creative growth as a church! Diving deeper, many of you experienced increased devotion to Jesus, one another, and the city this year. You began to “look up” more to see God in the Scriptures and everyday life and increased your commitment to one another and your neighbors. Twenty-five people went through the City Seminary class, 12, to spread the grace of God through intentionally discipling others. On top of that, we celebrated new spiritual life at our baptism in Barton Springs. One of my greatest joys this year was sharing life and the gospel with our elder candidates, who have trained themselves PAGE 1
in godly character, gospel doctrine, and shepherding skill for the good of this church. God has given us a real gift in Nate Navarro, Haydn Schwedland, Jesse Lovelace, and Luke Dodson, and I look forward to commissioning them as qualified elders early next year. What a joy to see the Spirit of God so active in our church! Twenty Twelve | FAITH! If 2011 was slow, focused, and creative, we want 2012 to be all about faith. We want faith to do things, old and new, for the glory of God. Interestingly, God says anything not from faith is sin (Rom 14:23). Without faith in the gospel, we can’t renew the city socially, spiritually and culturally. Sure, we can do stuff on the outside, but we might be rotting on the inside. Unfortunately, that happens. Paul promises a much better alternative when he says that though 2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
the outer man might decay, the inner man can be renewed daily (2 Cor 4:16). All renewal comes through faith in the God who makes all things new. We exist to renew the city socially, spiritually, and culturally with the gospel of Jesus. We have the gospel, but do we have faith in it? Do we trust Jesus Christ as Lord or do we really trust ourselves? Jesus said: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains” (Matt 17:20).
gospel of grace, faith to serve the poor, faith to create great culture, faith to show off God’s beauty and grace to transmit the aweinspiring news that Jesus Christ is Lord. Let’s uncork this grand gospel together and spray our city with grace. I’m not sure what this will lead to, but I’m passionately confident of the call. I’m committed to fighting with you for faith in a great gospel, faith to move mountains, renew people, and change a city.
What if we had tiny faith to do great things, to move mountains of sin and social injustice, to marvel at Christ and to make great culture, to seek the renewal of all things? In 2012, God is calling us to believe, to have faith that moves mountains. Faith to repent, faith to worship, faith to disciple, faith to give away the PAGE 2
2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
FAMILY STORIES Evidences of God’s Grace As a church of City Groups, we often don’t get to hear how God’s grace has been working throughout our church. The following stories capture a few of the evidences of God’s grace among us this year! Sarah Hampton | Community At the beginning of the year, we announced we were pregnant with our first child—Emery Hendrix Hampton. The immediate response from Austin City Life was a showering of love, prayer, and excitement. In the weeks and months following, we continued to be blessed by everyone who encouraged and prayed for us as we prepared to be parents. The amazing part is that our community didn’t stop at words, but helped meet many of our needs. By God’s grace and the generosity of
others, we received so many handme-down baby items that we hardly had to buy anything for Emery! What’s more, once she was born we had 7 weeks of meals brought to us. Several people offered to run errands for us and care for other needs we had. God lavished his grace on us with every person who walked into our house. We felt loved by God and our church!
His grace and blessing has been incredibly apparent throughout this whole process. In the celebration and struggles of becoming parents, PAGE 3
our community has consistently reminded us of the goodness of God and the truth of his promise to his children. We are grateful for the people that God has placed in our lives and couldn’t imagine doing this without them. We’ve truly experienced church as family. Claire Gillen | Gospel Change When I came to Austin City Life, I was already a Christian. For years, I had known about Jesus, read the Bible, and listened to many sermons. However, more recently I have come to realize that my understanding of the gospel was incomplete. Over the past few months, I have come to understand that the gospel not only saves us from something—sin and death— but also that the gospel saves us to something—Jesus and his mission. I am thrilled to be learning how great the gospel is. It does much more than save me from hell, but it actually applies to the day-today situations of my life. Through 2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
the community at Austin City Life, God is graciously showing me that the gospel is the foundation of my faith in Christ and that it is meant to affect every part of our lives—it applies to even the smallest detail every day! Recently, I have started to see how the Gospel transforms my relationships. In the past, I didn’t see how the gospel applied to how I thought about other people. Often, without even realizing it, I would compare myself to others to see if I was more or less fortunate than them. Secretly, in my heart, I would wonder if my marriage was better than theirs, or if I had it more together than someone else did. I never realized how this became a hindrance to meaningful relationships with others. Thankfully, I am beginning to see that the gospel shows us that we are all equals at the foot of the cross. No one has the perfect marriage, the perfect life or even the
illusion of having it “all together.” We all need Jesus, and the gospel tells us that he enters into our every insecurity, every flaw, and has taken the blame for our every sin. The amount of time I have spent in my life comparing myself to other people and keeping a mental tab of what I have together and how people might judge me is really ridiculous. The gospel has freed me to engage in genuine relationships because I see that we all need his grace for our insufficiencies and failures. Garrett Coles | College Life Being a part of Austin City Life for the last year and a half has dramatically shaped my understanding of the gospel and what it means to be the church. In the past I consistently tried to find my significance in things like grades, morality, and various leadership positions. I used these things to gain the approval and acceptance of other people. So long as I did well, people loved PAGE 4
and respected me. As I have grown in my understanding of the gospel and its many implications, God has shown me that I don’t need to find significance and approval from others because I am already a beloved son of God, wholly accepted in Jesus. As I trust more and more in this promise, I have been released from the slavery of the approval of other people and began to experience true freedom. In the gospel, I am now free to work hard in school without the overwhelming pressure to be the best. I am free to love others genuinely instead of as a means to build myself up through their approval. I am also free to be honest about my life, allowing people to see my deep imperfections because I am not relying on my perfect morality but on the grace of Jesus that covers over sin. In August, I got the opportunity to begin leading our College Life City Group. Stepping out to lead this community has brought on many 2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
challenges. In many ways, I am still tangled in my desire for approval, whether it’s from my City Group or the church leaders. I am thankful for the gospel because it reminds me that my significance comes from Jesus and his grace alone, not my performance. My hope as I continue to press into this year is that others would experience the new life I have found in Jesus, particularly UT students. Already, through our City Group, several students have encountered Jesus. Many of these students have begun to take their first breaths in Jesus, and I am praying that they would develop into disciples that love and follow Jesus and seek to share him with others in their own lives. Patrick & Mary Monkton | Mission Patrick and I moved to Austin in the summer of 2007. We were brand new to Austin and only knew a few people in the city. Despite this we instantly fell in love with this city. We moved into an
awesome neighborhood that was warm and welcoming, and quickly became friends with an amazing group of people. At the same time, we came to find Austin City Life through an online search for churches. Being apart of the community of Austin City Life has radically changed us as a couple. God has used this community to grow our faith in him and love for our neighbors. One of the more challenging issues we have faced is becoming a part of the amazing community of Austin City Life, who share our belief in Jesus, while still sharing life with our already established group of friends in Austin. Just as we describe our church community as family, we truly believe our non-Christian friends are family too. In many ways, they have been very Jesus-like to us. They have opened their homes, provided abundant generosity, taken care of us when we were PAGE 5
sick, and adopted us during the holidays. Over the past few years, we have come to learn that our calling as Christians is to demonstrate the difference of what it truly means to live and share the good news of Jesus versus participating in acts of kindness with empty motivations. We believe that the gospel—the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus—is our ultimate motivation for loving others. This is how Patrick and I try to be “setapart.” Sharing the story of how God changed us with people in our daily lives is not something that always came naturally to us. However, in this past year God has truly been working on our hearts to be more intentional in the way we interact with our friends, neighbors and co-workers.
2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
Erin Tyrrell | Mission I’ve been a part of Austin City Life for three years now. In that time, I’ve heard the word mission or missional used quite often. It was usually accompanied with being a regular in a coffee shop, with your co-workers, or neighbors, but whenever these discussions came up in City Group, I often felt embarrassed and would stay out of the conversation because I wasn’t sure how this worked in my life. I knew I needed to be a part of it, but I wasn’t sure how to make it happen. As a stay-at-home mom, I really wasn’t participating in any of these activities (or, honestly, even looking for opportunities) and struggled to see what my role was in being missional. I honestly thought maybe I’m just supposed to love and support the people in our community who do mission well. We did regular visits to the retirement center and helped feed the
poor, but I knew that wasn’t really what it meant—at least not for me. It wasn’t until I found my “regular” spot that I started to understand and see where God was calling me to serve and love other people. As my girls got older and were able to do more, we started visiting our neighborhood park regularly. I started to develop relationships with other parents, and I could start to see what it meant for me to live missionally in my neighborhood. It happened so organically. We were going there anyway, why not use this as an opportunity to do what God had been wanting me to do? I have one friend, in particular, that the Lord has placed on my heart. She is the nicest, most loyal friend, but she needs more than niceness; she needs Jesus. I am trying to be intentional with her. I call and text her, and we meet for play-dates. Sometimes I struggle with it because I think it can’t be this easy. PAGE 6
Other times, I wonder if I am sharing enough and I get scared because I don’t want her to think I’m a Jesus freak. Honestly, I am about Jesus, and because of that I get to trust Him with our friendship, knowing it is developing as it should. Being a stay at home mom can be a lonely job. This has helped me connect to others and, in the process, be an example of love, grace, and acceptance I have in Christ. God is so gracious and he is teaching me that even stay-at-home moms have a role in God’s mission.
2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
Numbers are (NOT) everything Reflecting on a year From the beginning, Austin City Life has been committed to being a gospel-centered, city-renewing church for Austin. By God’s grace, this is happening. God has been gracious to use a church of our size to do disproportionate things. What did our generosity accomplish? Although numbers aren’t everything, they do reflect (some) of what God has been doing through our community. A large part of what we accomplish is driven by the generosity of our people, which is one way God fuels his mission. In 2011, God did amazing things through your gifts and offerings. Here are a few places where our generosity was put to work:
Uganda, Africa In July of this year we sent a team of five to Kampala, Uganda to provide theological education for pastors and to aid Sojourn Ministries, a local church plant, in renewing the slum of Wabigalo. We dug out sanitation ditches and taught theology classes. This trip marks our third consecutive year of working in Uganda to serve some of the poorest people in the world.
Church Planting Austin City Life is active in helping plant other churches. By participating in international and local orgaPAGE 7
nizations like Acts 29 and PlantR, we get to coach church planters, train pastors at conferences, in order to help plant hundreds of other churches around the world. This year we gave over $20,000 to organizations like the BGCT, Acts 29, and our local Baptist Association to see the gospel go forward. Resources God also continues to use Austin City Life to produce influential gospel-centered resources. This year our worship band put out a new worship EP that is already being used in other churches. Several of our worship songs, such as “Fullness of God” and “Community Song” have been played at national conferences. This year alone we have given away over 26,000 podcast downloads, and generated other content for websites like the Resurgence, Gospel Centered Discipleship, Relevant Magazine, and many more. 2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
Office Space One of our goals for 2011 was to move into a church office. Previously, our staff had been working in out of coffee shops and home offices. As the church and our mission grew bigger, the limitation of these decentralized “offices” became increasingly apparent. By God’s grace, he allowed us to move into a space that is well beyond our price for almost nothing! This has been a huge blessing to our staff and an answer to prayer. These are simply highlights of what we can measure. They don’t include the countless number of lives that have been changed by the gospel through our generosity. These things should encourage us, not because they make us look great, but because they remind us that God delights to use our gifts! Financial Giving Throughout this year we periodically shared our goal to become a
financially self-supporting church by the end of 2011. Unfortunately, as the year comes to an end we have not met that goal, nor are we consistently meeting our (small) monthly budget. Since the inception of Austin City Life, we have depended on outside financial support of other churches, ministries, and private donors to make up for the loss. This has been a grace, but like a child who needs to grow up and feed itself, it’s time for Austin City Life to become a self-supporting church that pays its bills, supports its leaders, blesses one another, and gives generously to advance the mission of God in the city and world. To reach a level of health and financial sustainability we need to either trim an already lean budget, or ask our people to respond to God’s generous grace with personal generosity. Here are a few observations that we believe are contributing to our financial instability: PAGE 8
Giving is Unbalanced Currently, only a few families are contributing to the majority of our financial needs. • 20% of the families/individuals that consistently support Austin City Life meet almost 50% of our budget. In other words, half our financial needs are met by handful of people. This is due, in part, to differences in incomes; however, it also represents a deficient response to the gospel and needs of our church. 2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
Giving lacks Generosity When comparing the number of people who are involved on Sundays and in City Groups throughout the week with the average number of gifts given per month the contrast reveals, on the whole, that our church lacks a spirit of generosity. • Just 65% of people involved with Austin City Life consistently give to support our mission. Of those who give, only 35% give over $160 per month.
Giving is Sporadic and Inconsistent Finally, the trend of giving at Austin City Life tends to be sporadic and inconsistent, which makes it hard to budget for the future. Over the span of the last 11 months, we have seen a monthly high of $20,500 (April) and a monthly low of $12,950 (August). This is a difference of over $7,000. A consistent month-to-month fluctuation creates an enormous amount of financial instability in our church. Currently, we are $37,691 behind budget. In presenting this to you, our desire is to raise an awareness of our church family’s financial need and call us to be a church of radical generosity. We want the light of the gospel to shine into every nook and cranny of this city, so that more people can experience the joy of the Lord. To do this, we need to take seriously our call to honor God with our finances and PAGE 9
use our resources for the advancement of the gospel. In conclusion, the last thing we want you to hear is that we just want your money (you know better). Your generosity is needed, but more importantly we want your heart to be so captured by God’s grace that you are compelled to give generously!
Financial Snapshot Income and Expense Income
*As of November 30, 2011
2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
DISPROPORTIONATE INFLUENCE Gospel renewal in Austin and beyond By God’s grace, Austin City Life continues to be a church of disproportionate influence. Our far-reaching influence is utterly disproportionate to who we are but is a marvelous reflection of God’s glory and grace. Here are a few ways God is using our church family to bless others. Gospel Spreading Ministry Because of your faithfulness in being a gospel-centered, city-renewing church, Pastor Jonathan is frequently asked to speak to leaders and churches around the country on leadership, discipleship, and missional community. This year he represented ACL in Brazil, Canada, Georgia, Florida, Memphis, and Texas, where God is doing some
“Thank you so much for coming and giving such a clear, concise, actionable, and balanced vision for the Gospel and its application in holistic discipleship. There have been and will continue to be reverberations from this weekend. It was exactly what we needed to hear at precisely the right time…Thank you to your wife, children, church…” – Orlando Grace Church After Jonathan spoke the first night at the Man in the Mirror Summit, Patrick Morley, the President and Founder of MIM, called hundreds of men to respond in repentance over self-reliant discipleship as Jonathan led them in a prayer of repentance and faith in Jesus! They wrote: “We were all very honored to have you at the Summit. You were the highlight of the entire Summit. Refreshing. Thank you!” – Man in the Mirror Ministries remarkable things! Here’s what a couple people had to say about God’s work there: Many churches contact ACL regularly for counsel and training and have adopted Fight Clubs and City Groups to make disciples in their local congregations. We’re grateful to God for the small part we get to play in these churches and want to celebrate his grace with you. PAGE 10
PlantR: Church Planting in Austin We’re thrilled to be helping plant Redeemer Round Rock with Josh Reeves this year. Josh had this to say about his church planting residency with ACL: “The residency has been a wonderful blessing to our family and our young church plant. I am convinced that every church planter needs this!” 2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
In addition to our own church plant, ACL supports PlantR, the Austin Area Church Planting Network, led by Jonathan and other Austin leaders. PlantR resources, encourages, and networks about 60 planters from across the greater Austin area. This year it started MicroConferences & Missional Hubs, which are designed to stimulate movement and foster missional partnership between churches in our city. God is doing some great things through these churches! Check out the website at www.plantr.org Gospel Centered Discipleship.com GospelCenteredDiscipleship.com is a website that exists to promote discipleship resources to help make, mature, and multiply disciples of Jesus. It posts gospelrich articles on a whole range of discipleship issues each week, as well as publishes free eBooks. GCD was launched on a shoestring budget and the tireless work of a few
City Lifers (notably JT Caldwell). Though the website has been live for only three months, it receives 1,000 visits a day. By God’s grace, disciples from across the U.S. and throughout the world are being equipped. GCD resources are being translated into Chinese and other languages, used in campus ministries, and republished in both church and seminary newsletters. Join us in thanking God for the influence of GCD.com and how disciples are being changed into the image of Christ! Austin City Life Worship We believe the gospel compels us to make great culture. This includes things like photography, arts and music, business, and cookies! God has been extremely gracious to give us a handful of very talented musicians and artists, evident in the music produced by Austin City Life. This past year, Austin City Life Worship wrote several new songs to bless our community. These songs PAGE 11
were so encouraging we wanted make them available throughout the week. In November 2011, the City Life music team recorded and produced our third release: GLOW a four-song EP aimed at helping us reflect the glory of the Lord. From the indie folk of “Beautiful Love” to the pop of “You are God and I am Not”, the songs share a common theme of reflecting the glory of Christ. Drawing on the riches of the gospel, we hope these songs will draw you away from your own glory and provoke you to glow with Jesus’ glory. May he be worshipped as our Lord and as our King!
2011 annual report | austincitylife.org
Music for the City Music For The City is a community of artists and Austinites investing their time and talent to be a positive, caring, and renewing presence in our city. Simply put, Music For The City is empowering Austin artists to make a difference in our community. In 2011, we continued our after school art education programs in partnership with the east Austin Boys and Girls Club, we launched “Music For The City Saturdays’ at The Austin Children’s Shelter, providing art education in music, photography, and dance to the children being care for by ACS, and our artists partnered with Mobile Loaves and Fishes to make a difference in the lives of Austinites who are experiencing homelessness. 2011 was also the release of Music For The City Volume 2, a compilation album featuring 14 up and
coming Austin bands and benefitting Austin-based Mobile Loaves and Fishes, who are working hard to promote dignity and provide food, shelter, and clothing to those experiencing homelessness.
erings in January 2012. Several de-churched people have joined Redeemer to live on mission in Round Rock. Pray for our friends not yet following Jesus! Josh writes:
Redeemer Round Rock | Church Planting Just over 11 months ago, the Reeves family moved to Round Rock to plant Redeemer Church. During the first 8 months, they did a residency with Austin City Life. As things developed at Redeemer Josh received constant coaching and equipping from the City Life leadership.
“Austin City Life has been a vital part of our growth and development. Much of what we do has been shaped or influenced by the leadership of City Life. They have been a huge blessing to Redeemer. We look forward to partnering in future efforts as we continue to work together to see Jesus transform our city.”
In March of 2011, they launched their first missional community (city group). By August of 2011, they had their first multiplication, and in late October 2011 they held their first Sunday gathering for corporate worship. They now have 35 committed adults and will begin our regular Sunday gathPAGE 12
REEVES FAMILY 2011 annual report | austincitylife.org