Tuesday, November 21

What I'm Reading

One of the first questions I ask of other leaders is, "What are you reading". My District Superintendent up in Atlantic Canada, HC Wilson, makes his reading list available so that others can get in on some very valuable resources. The last time I was at a Willow Creek Conference, Bill Hybels and others printed their reading lists for us.

Not that I am assuming that anyone out there really cares what Tim is reading, but these thoughts may spur you a little bit to look into some new titles, ask other leaders what they are reading, and stay as sharp as you can.

"The Present Future" by Reggie McNeal - this is a re-read for me. Rich Moorlach from WIF was so excited about this book that I decided to pick it up again. It's a must read for anyone who gives a rip at all about the church.

"How to Start a New Service" by Charles (Chip) Arn - I met Chip out in California recently and his book is one of the required texts in the master's class I'm currently taking. Written way back in '97 ;-) This book is still filled with relevant ideas. Think about it: Your church can probably reach new people simply by starting a new service.

"Simple Church" by Thom Rainer - Another must read

"The Rhythm of Prayer" by Mark Moore - A solid book by a solid guy with a creative edge

Free Starbucks

Maybe there is a Santa...
This morning as we arrived to work there was a Starbucks Van setting up right on the front step @ HQ. The Starbucks "Cheer Patrol" served free Christmas Blend, Gingerbread Lattes, and Peppermint Hot Chocolate for an hour! And, they are coming back this afternoon.
I've had two cups of Christmas and a sample of the hot chocolate. The caffeine has affected my hand writing, but hey, I'm typing way faster than I usually do!

Thursday, November 16

Senior Adult Ministry Conference

Last week I had to leave the cold gray Indiana rain to attend a two day conference on Senior Adults in sunny L.A. (I'm sure you feel really bad for me!)

I've been doing a lot of generational study lately. My Masters class right now is on building a multi-generational church, and as the Director responsible for Seniors in our denomination, I am always looking for new knowledge and ideas.

I've bulleted some of the highlights from some of the sessions for those of you who are also on the constant look out for ideas:

- Don’t group all of your ‘seniors’ in one 50+ pile. They may have 40 years of life left, and 40 years is too broad a span to place everyone in.
- Boomer-specific ministry is the cutting edge.
- Don’t even use the word ‘seniors’, it carries too many negative connotations
- There are 2 states where everyone is a minority, New Mexico and Hawaii. By 2050 it will be every state
- “If you are 40+ you are an immigrant in today’s culture. If you are -40 you are a national.” Len Sweet
- If you are trying to have a ministry that appeals to everyone you will end up with a ministry that appeals to no one. (the speaker was taking a swing at blended worship)
- People want options, provide as many as possible
- One church refers to their boomers, builders, and seniors as the “Go Go’s, the Slow Go’s and the No Go’s”
- Getting people involved in ministry is about growing people in Christ, not filling slots
- Dr. James L. Knapp, Professor of Sociology at Oklahoma State University gave a seminar on “Understanding the Generations”. Knapp says you need at least three living generations; one to connect with history, one to be relevant, and one to look forward. He used a continuum to show each church how they can evaluate their current generational effectiveness. “It’s important to be connected to your heritage but not controlled by it”.
- Many speakers touched on “blending the generations”. This came across as an emerging study that no one was really sure how to approach. The speakers noted its necessity and then apologized for not having enough data yet to effectively communicate a strategy for it.
- Charles (Chip) Arn also gave an excellent presentation on, “Issues and Challenges for Bonding the Generations”. Arn suggests that inter-generational bonding should not be our priority but rather the product of our priority. He quoted McGavran, “There is only one essential thing the church must do…and that is the priority of Jesus (Luke 19:10) to seek and save the lost.” That said, Arn agreed that inter-generational bonding can happen through common age, marital status, family status, interests, concerns, and ethnicity. ***Here is a key thought from Arn that was also supported by many other speakers: Ministry-based Outreach is the most successful way to connect people, to reach people, to get people involved, and to reflect the heart of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 14

Florida Holynext

I should have blogged this a long time ago, but I was waiting for the pictures of the event to arrive in Indiana. Why would it take so long in this digital age for pictures to travel from Florida to Indiana? Simple, I left the digital camera in a golf bag that I had borrowed while I was there!
Thanks to Patty David for inviting me to come to Florida, for organizing and promoting Holynext, and for sending lost digital cameras back to Indiana.

Once again, people gathered for a dedicated time of listening to God, surrendering every area of our lives, confessing all, worshiping and praying with completely focused hearts. For those who were there, Holynext was a powerful experience!

Special thanks too to Pastor Mark James and the wonderful group of volunteers at Christ Community Church. Beautiful sanctuary! Side note: Pastor Mark really knows how to serve a guest a huge bowl of ice cream! ;>

Friday, November 3

Dealing with Distraction

I'm out of the office this morning. I'm not out of town, just out of the office. Every once in awhile I need a change of scenery to help me get creative and work on some of my larger projects.

My place of choice today? Panera Bread. If you don't have a Panera in your part of the world you are at a loss! Free Wi-Fi, refillable coffee, and a cinnamon crunch bagel that is over the top.

In an earlier post I mentioned the book, "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. (Get and read this book!) I recently came across a great article at his site on the subject of dealing with distractions. Though I am far from perfect, I have attempted many of these principles and my life is measurably more organized because of them. Here is the link to the article, check it out if you find yourself bouncing from one demand to another without the level of productivity you really want: http://www.davidco.com/coaches_corner/Meg_Edwards/article45.html