Sunday, December 30
Somewhere between faith and foolishness God brought His Son into our realm - in human skin. It seems foolish to many, and certainly requires faith. But for those of us who accept Him, he has brought blessings too many to mention.
Olivet Wesleyan stepped out in a small measure of faith this Christmas and 'attempted' two services on Christmas Eve. We prayed, we invested in a professional-marketing invite piece, we programmed, we practiced, we prayed some more...the result: 470 people showed up to hear about the Baby born in Bethlehem! We were speechless. Maybe that's the best way to be before God...speechless, simply in awe of God.
Now we are looking at 2008 and wondering what God has in store. We believe that He has given us an opportunity to make significant Kingdom-impact in our community. If that is going to happen, we will need to be a people who are willing to walk the line between faith and foolishness. There will be times when we simply have to trust God, trust His Word, and be as faithful as we can.
On a personal note - I feel privileged to Pastor such a great group of people who care more for the lost than they do about their own comfort zones!
Sunday, December 23
Now our focus shifts to Christmas Eve. We were joking around in the lobby after church today - taking guesses at how many we would have at our two services. I will be stoked if we have over 300 total. We've got a few surprises up our sleeves, and I think it's going to be one of our most meaningful services yet.
I heard that Zellers re-opens at 12:01 tonight. Anyone going ;->
Yesterday, as part of "Olivet Youth Give Back", I was able to take some of my gifts over to the church and have them wrapped by teens and Pastor Mark. Sweet! Thanks Pastor Mark and others who were helping out. You've kept me from staying up into the middle of the night wrapping gifts!
See you tomorrow: 4 PM or 6 PM Come half an hour early, drink some cider, coffee or hot chocolate, enjoy a cookie, and have your family photo taken!
Tuesday, December 18
Indiana was getting a 'severe winter storm' (anything over 3 inches is severe for them!) >ha,ha<. We pretty much followed the storm home which made for a long trip. We holed up just west of Cleveland Sunday night and drove 24 hours from Cleveland to Fredericton Mon-Tues. After a few hours of crash time this morning, I went straight to, where else, the Irving for a cup of Peruvian and a piece of banana bread. Yum.
We spent a couple of nights in Indiana with Wayne and Colleen Derr. Wayne is the General Director of Stewardship Ministries for the Wesleyan Church and Colleen is the Director of Children's Ministries. Colleen had recently been to Guatemala and brought home some really sweet coffee. More yum. Other drinks to keep the driver awake included Starbucks Christmas blend, Dunkin Donuts original, Krispy Kreme, and even a surprisingly good sip from a BP gas station and their Wild Bean Cafe. Even more yum.
We also spent a couple of nights with Jon and Mel Steppe, their kids Leah, Jasmin, and Tyler, and their Yorkie Poo, Mocha. Mel was our chauffeur for a lot of the shopping. (thanks Mel!!) Jon serves as a Director with Global Partners. Thanks for the good times Jon and Mel!
Hitting the ground running:
We have our December board meeting tonight. Who plans a board meeting on the day after a 24hr drive? Oh yeah, that was me. ;-> Looking forward to it!
We had 4 people accept Christ at our December 9th service! Woo Hoo! (very technical term for Praise the Lord - I have my masters degree!) One of the highlights of this service was a Roman soldier tearing apart the manger and turning it into a cross. Very cool effect.
I have heard many 'glowing' reports of iWish 3 ...iWish for Peace. Way to go Pastor Mark and team for creatively communicating the most important message in the world. For those of you who like to know these things, there were 242 here on Sunday.
iWish 4...iWish to worship the Child is coming this Sunday. We'd like to find 3 wise men to help illustrate the message, but we can't find any. Hahaha. That was lame.
Our 2 Christmas Eve services are coming up next week. Hard to believe!! 4 and 6 PM, identical services, candlelight, carols, children's presentation, a Christmas pic of your family, and a few other surprises. Have you invited a bunch of people??
Thought for this Sunday...We might come to worship on Sundays thinking, "I hope I get something out of this...". Worship is not about what you get, it is about what you give. The wise men brought their gifts of worship. What is yours?
Monday, December 3
I hope you enjoyed being in church yesterday! If you weren't, here are a few highlights:
- We opened the "iWish" series with the song "Winter Wonderland"...members of the praise team came in dressed in winter garb, giving out candy canes
- The Morris family led our Advent scripture readings and the lighting of the first candle of Advent
- Sam Robinson, one of our members who has been significantly challenged with health issues this year, gave the Advent prayer. Sam also shared a testimony and word of thanks to the church. It was very fitting, timely, well -said, and meaningful. Thanks Sam!
- We moved from the Advent ceremony right into the sacrament of communion. It's only right to connect the manger to the cross as we prepare our hearts for Advent
- I preached faster than I have ever preached before! I give a copy of my sermon to the media team, and they noticed all the parts that I skipped ;->
- We used a scene from the movie, "The Nativity", during the sermon
- We had a time of prayer around the altar, asking God to do the impossible in our lives
- We took a 'retiring' offering, no I'm not retiring, it means that we gave our offering on our way out of the sanctuary
- I did not mention the Toronto Maple Leafs in my sermon, even though they beat Pittsburgh Saturday night and Montreal lost. I may not mention the Leafs again in public until they get their act together!
- I did mention 'coffee' in my sermon. I like coffee ;-)
- Church was full again!
1ST WEDNESDAY is this week!! We are looking forward to another impacting evening of worship and the Word. Those of you who have been to the 1st two installments of 1st Wednesday know how much we enjoy this service. Looking forward to it! Many have asked about the menu for Wednesday... It's going to be a hearty, winter-casserole. It's going to be yummy, and a great improvement over pizza in a box.
The Youth Christmas Formal was last night, and yes, the rumors are true, I played a plunger on the platform. Kenny G never sounded better.
I'm always impressed to see people pull together to make things happen at the church. This weekend was no exception. Special thanks to the gang who gave a big part of their Saturday to help decorate the church. Also, thanks to the gang who worked behind the scenes to make the youth formal a success. You are appreciated!!
Thursday, November 29
I've been studying Mary's story, the Annunciation, Incarnation, and a few other plots from Luke 1. Obviously, God is creative, unexpected, and faithful. Maybe the impossible will happen in your life. Do you believe?
We're also looking forward to kicking off Advent this Sunday with the lighting of the Advent candles, scripture readings, and the sharing of communion.
The church is being decorated for Christmas this Saturday. Can't wait!
Remember, it's not a season to endure, it's a Saviour to enjoy!
See you Sunday!
Monday, November 26
Can you believe that this Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent? Crazy! We will be launching our Christmas series: iWish. The theme for this week is: "iWish...for the Impossible". Before the birth of Christ, people couldn't begin to imagine how God would deliver the Messiah. God often works in unexpected ways to do far more than we could ever dream of. Are you facing any impossibilities? Do you believe that anything is possible with God?
1st Wednesday December is just a week and a half away!
Wednesday, November 21
Last weekend was huge! I'm not creating hype, it was simply huge! Thanks to the many volunteers who worked in so many ways to make Uncle Phil's Diner a great success. Around 350 people took in the show and heard how Jesus had made Uncle Phil a new man. We were 'Rockin Around the Clock', quite literally ;-> I didn't know so many of you could dance! Where did you learn those moves???! It was a ton of good fun and good ministry.
Many of you have asked how many we had in church Sunday. We only had a couple of front rows left to put people in. There were 260 in attendance. "To God Be the Glory, great things He has done".
Our theme this Sunday is, "Your Christmas Survival Guide". Christmas brings the best out of some people, and the worst out of others. We're going to talk about keeping the main thing the main thing, and Jesus is the main thing!
Looking ahead, our theme for the 4 Sundays of Advent is: iWish
Just before Jesus' birth, people were 'wishing' for a lot of different things. Come to think of it, we do a lot of wishing ourselves. The impossible can happen, the Messiah is here, we can know Peace, and we can worship Him for all He's done. That's the series in a nutshell.
Spread some joy today!
Tuesday, November 13
This week is Uncle Phil's Diner!! The sanctuary is already being transformed into a 50's diner. To coincide with Uncle Phil, our theme for Sunday Morning is "Happy Days". I'd like to preach in a leather jacket and jeans, but I'm not too keen on slicking my hair back. (Though it would take much 'slick'!)
Let's get the wheels turnin'...
What are "Happy Days"? What makes you happy? Do you think Christians are supposed to be happy ALL the time?
Coffee update: Saturday it was a Tim Horton's with my Dad. First thing Sunday morning it was a Peruvian from Irving. Yesterday afternoon Gayla and I shared a Peruvian. (Yes, I take my wife to the Irving on dates. Hahaha) This morning we are brewing Java Moose in the office and it is quite yummy. I knew you were dying to know what I was drinking! Humor me.
Last word: Great crowd @ 9 AM Sunday Morning! Some of you looked a little groggy with the early start hour, but all in all I think it was a good plan to clear the way for us all to go to the Community Service of Remembrance. Back to normal this week!
Saturday, November 10
TOMORROW'S SERVICE IS @ 9:00 AM!! Don't forget to set your alarm and join us for an early service. We're meeting early so we can join the Remembrance Day Service at the Cenotaph in Marysville @ 11. Lest we forget.
I'm sending this post from the sanctuary. We're hosting a district (Atlantic Canada and Maine) Men's Ministry training event. We've got around 20 men here, eager to see men's ministry grow in their churches. Also, as I write, Pastor Amy has a crew downstairs painting the main room for "The Factory". It is already looking immensely better and it is going to look awesome when it is complete.
There are people coming in and out dropping off Samaritan's Purse boxes...it's a pretty busy Saturday around Olivet!
See you tomorrow!
Thursday, November 8
This Sunday is Remembrance Day. Don't forget, service is @ 9:00 a.m. After service, most of us will walk or drive down to the Cenotaph for the Service of Remembrance.
I'm praying at the Remembrance Service @ Marysville Elementary tomorrow. Neat!
Pastor Mark is preaching this Sunday. The title is, "Freedom isn't Free". It's going to be another great weekend at Olivet. I say that alot, but we really have been blessed this Fall. Plus, when I say it's going to be good, it puts a lot of pressure on Pastor Mark ;->
There is a District Men's Ministry Training Event @ Olivet Saturday morning. Ken McGeorge, the District Director of Men's Ministry is one of our own and is giving point leadership to this event. All men are most welcome to come. I'm doing the opening session on , "God's Unique Call to Men".
I hope you are having a great week. Have you gotten your 1/2 hour of silence yet??
Tuesday, November 6
Monday, November 5
Sunday, November 4
I'd love to hear your stories on how you carved out the time, when and where you spent your half hour, and even a report of what you sensed God saying to you.
We're looking forward to 1st Wednesday November - it's 3 days away! We have 102 pre-registered for Wednesday! That's awesome.
Don't forget, Sunday November 11, service is @ 9:00 a.m.
Thursday, November 1
Our November @ OWC got off to a great start... Alice McKinley showed up with cinnamon rolls, still warm from the oven, at 10:09. So, an impromptu staff coffee break ensued ;->
The Youth Halloween Outreach on Crockett St was a huge success!! Way to go Pastor Mark, Liz and all the youth leaders and teens that made it a great night. It was so good to drive by (as I did about 20 times) and see AJ Guptill with video camera and lights, free Tim Horton's Hot Chocolate, a big banner for the youth ministry, etc. Very cool.
Streaming sermons - Starting next week, we are going to be streaming the sermons from our website, www.olivetwesleyan.ca
There will be a media page launched next week with the sermons.
Uncle Phil's radio ads hit the airwaves this morning on the two Christian stations. Tables are selling. If you are planning on being here and bringing people with you, you should probably call in to reserve your tickets.
Facebook 3 is coming...can't wait.
BIG NEWS: We have released the menu for next week's 1st Wednesday...drum roll please...
PIZZA!!! Catered pizza, child care, an awesome program for your kids, and an intense time of worship and teaching. It doesn't get any better than 1st Wednesdays! Nov 7, 5:30 supper, 7:00 service. Sweet.
Clocks roll back Saturday night. Enjoy the extra snooze :-)
Nov 11th Sunday service is @ 9:00 a.m. This is not a typo. Church will be out by 10:30 to let everyone go to the cenotaph. Lest we forget...
Have a God day,
Tuesday, October 30
Last night, at the Atlantic concert, he suggested we do a series playing off of the movie "Transformers". Awesome idea Eric.
The Gospel message is that Jesus wants to transform your life. He wants to take your junk and give you a new life. That's the message of grace. You don't have to stay the same, you can be transformed. Sweet.
Monday, October 29
Are you ready for all the little spooks this Wednesday? I didn't address Halloween in particular on Sunday...I encourage you to let your light shine, love your neighbors, love the children, and don't hide. Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world!
Facebook 2 was highlighted by an extended time of worship and pastoral prayer. It was powerful to see many people at the altar, being ministered to by God during the pastoral prayer. The message focused on the 'masks' that we wear, challenging us to be real with one another and real with God. We don't always wear masks, and there are times when we just can't spill everything in front of everyone. The point is, don't always bottle everything up. Take it to God. Share life with others. Be who God intended you to be.
This week is Facebook 3 and the theme is "Prayer". We've had a Facebook Wall up in the lobby for the past few weeks, encouraging you to post your prayer requests there. We're going to look at prayer and how easy it is to communicate wall to wall with God.
Coffee update - I just about froze my face off walking over to the Irving for a Peruvian today. Yeah, I know, it isn't February! Still, the wind was right up my nose ;-> The peruvian was well worth the trek. Had a Starbucks Friday night...very yummy...grande bold with just a bit of cream. Been making Java Moose here at the office. We had a meeting this morning and the java moose hit the spot!
Have a great week!
Friday, October 26
Are you wearing a mask? Do you have any one, or any environment, where you can get real and just be who you are without trying to impress others? A great place to do that is in a small group. Mike and Diane Saunders are starting a new small group to give you a 'taste' of the small group experience. It's going to run for the month of November. That's your only committment - 4 weeks in November. Think about it.
Pastor Mark and Liz made it back from San Diego! It sounds like they had an amazing time at the conference (Youth Specialties).
Do you have 1st Wednesday marked on your calendar? November 7th is our 2nd 1st Wednesday. Based on the excellent response from our 1st 1st Wednesday (yes, that is confusing!) November's service should be even better! Supper @ 5:30...Children's Ministry program for the kids...youth-young adults-adults in the sanctuary...
One more thing...there are many new faces @ Olivet. Make a point this Sunday to seek out someone you don't know, introduce yourself, and get to know them a bit. We'll grow larger as we grow smaller!
Praying for you,
Monday, October 22
This week is Facebook 2: Edit Your Profile. Without giving too much away, let me say that we are going to talk about authenticity, getting real, and being who God has made you to be. I had people who couldn't make it this coming Sunday ask me what was going to be happening in the service this week because they hate to miss anything. Hating to miss church...what a concept!
Have a great week. See you on Facebook. See you Sunday!
Tuesday, October 16
Sunday was awesome! On a cold and rainy October morning the parking lot was absolutely crammed! Woo Hoo. (very technical, spiritual term) Pastor Mark preached a very relevant message on why we do ministry to kids and teens. The band was cooking as usual and worship was straight at Jesus the way it should be. I had someone (from another church) tell me recently, "Preach good, do worship right, minister to kids and you will grow a great church".
The Facebook Series starts this Sunday!! If you aren't already on Facebook, now would be a good time to sign up, find a bunch of Oliveters and get into the series. If you are never going to sign up for Facebook, no worries. the series will still make a lot of sense to you as we look at how God wants believers to be connected, to be authentic, and to stay dialed in to him.
Here is a classic text for you to ponder this week as Facebook prep: Acts 2:42-47
We had our October board (Leadership Team) meeting last night. I am continually thankful for this risk-taking, outside the pew, faith believing, do something different, all about changed lives, group of leaders!
Tuesday, October 9
On the radar: Uncle Phil's rehearsals start this Sunday. Dust off the poodle skirts :-> If you haven't heard, Uncle Phil is making a return by popular demand, Nov 16 & 17. This Sunday we are focusing on "Reaching the Next Generation". Isn't it good to come to a church where the youngest person isn't in their 50's??! New series kicks off on October 21st: "Facebook". We're going to look at connecting, community, authenticity, prayer, etc. We're going to look at Scripture and see how God has intended for us to be connected with others and connected to him. You'll even have an opportunity to post on God's wall! If you are Facebook, get connected with all the 'Oliveters'. If you aren't, why not open a Facebook account for at least the next few weeks?
It's Tuesday...but Sunday's 'a comin'!
Saturday, October 6
1st Wednesday was an excellent evening! It was so good to see the families eating together, sharing together, watching kids together, etc. Joy Cummings and her team did an outstanding job at feeding 100+ people spaghetti, garlic bread, caesar salad, dessert, coffee, tea, etc all for $3/adult! Way to go Joy!
I'm looking for the right words to describe the service. Unrushed would be one that comes to mind right away. We were simply able to worship, take communion and focus on the Cross without worrying about announcements and stuff. Ruthie led us in a perfect blend of Cross-centered worship. Very powerful! Can't wait until November's 1st Wednesday service.
Tomorrow is the 4th and final week of our LOST series. It's been a lot of fun and I know that God has used this series to help people see the ways we can be "LOST" and FOUND! Tomorrow's theme weaves into Thanksgiving with a focus on grace and the question: "Are You Who You Want to Be?" The text (for all you keeners) is 2 Corinthians 9:10-15
We had our first "staff get together" at the parsonage last night!! Pastor Conard and Debbie, Pastor Mark, Liz, Emily and Abbie, and Pastor Amy all joined us for food, more food, and then some food. Oh yeah, we also played "Catchphrase". Good times for a great team.
Back to my Irving Peruvian Coffee (I'm hooked) and getting ready for tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 3
- Robert Jarvik, Artificial Heart Developer
--Great quote from our District Superintendent's newsletter.
A great sense of expectancy is building for tonight's "1st Wednesday" service. Hope you are planning on being here with us!
Monday, October 1
Yesterday was an amazing God-blessed day at OWC. If you missed it, buy the DVD. Oh yeah, we don't have DVD's. You'll have to talk to someone who was there. It's pretty obvious that God is blessing, new people are coming, lives are changing, the Spirit is working, and momentum is building.
There were 234 in attendance and over $10,000 in offering. That is not a typo. Pick your mouse up off the floor, do a dance, and thank God. :-)
This Wednesday is 1st Wednesday!!! We have 108 pre-registered for the Spaghetti supper! It's going to be an awesome night. Dinner for the whole family @ 5:30, worship @ 7:00. The theme is "Nailing it Down". We have a few surprises up our sleeves for worship, and Pastor Amy and her team have some really neat stuff planned for the kids!
This coming Sunday is Thanksgiving! Who are you bringing to church? Thanksgiving is a natural day for folks to at least visit a church. It'll be the last Sunday of our LOST series. The theme on Sunday is Grace. Amazing.
For all the keeners who love to read ahead...here is the text for Wednesday night: Colossians 2:6-23 Read it slow and start to soak it in. It is loaded.
See you Wednesday!!
Tuesday, September 25
Sunday was awesome! Week 2 of LOST, "Flashbacks", helped a lot of us to realize that God wants to free us from our past. It was so good to see people at the altar turning everything over to God.
Thanks to all who helped to make the BBQ at the Robinson's a huge success! We had a great crowd. Wasn't that the best meal you've ever had for $5??! It was a tremendous day all around.
I'd like to upload some recent pics of stuff that's been happening but Blogger is not liking my new Mac laptop. If anyone has any clues on how to upload pics from a Mac to blogger, I'd love to know.
Our staff is leaving today for our annual ministers retreat at Beulah Camp. We're back Thursday a.m. I always look forward to this event, the learning, and the chance to share life and ideas with my peers.
This Sunday is LOST 3: "Rich...and still LOST". You guessed it, take a look at Matthew 19 and the rich young ruler. We're looking forward to another powerful opportunity in God's presence. Tell someone what's happening @ OWC.
Have a great week!
Wednesday, September 19
God is working in people's lives, and that's what it's all about.
LOST week 2 is coming up...the theme this Sunday is "Flashbacks". Throughout the series, the characters keep having Flashbacks to their lives prior to the plane crash. We're going to look at the life of Joseph, consider flashbacks in our own lives, and see how God can take all that has happened to us and make something amazing come out of it.
I was in worship team practice for a few minutes last night and I can tell you that worship this week is going to be awesome!!
We had another terrific board meeting Monday night. I know I keep going on about board meetings, but how many meetings have you been to that keep you up all night for good reasons??
Staff meeting today was at Starbucks. Another sign that God is working @ OWC ;->
Men's Retreat @ Beulah this weekend and the Worship Arts Conference at King's Valley is this weekend as well. That means I'm going to be in two places at the same time!
Tuesday, September 11
We have big news to report from the church office today: We brewed our first pot of office coffee! I know, it's hard to believe!
We're brewing the Costco coffee, Kirkland, which says right on the package, "Roasted by Starbucks". It's probably the b-quality stuff that Starbucks won't serve for $3/cup! Now you can come by and see us and share a cup of java. If it's not on, we'll put it on. Or, better yet, you could stop by with some of your favorite blend and we'll throw that on!
This past Saturday we took the Board (Leadership Team) and spouses and Staff and their spouses on a 3-church road trip. It was an excellent, jam-packed day, full of new ideas and insights!
Sunday I got installed. Sounds funny doesn't it. Well, it's official, you are stuck with me!
Yesterday Pastor Conard and I went to Saint John to visit Gracie Schriver. She's doing well, and might be home soon!
Today is more work on our LOST series that kicks off this weekend. Week 1 is: "I Don't Understand". If you are familiar with the show, you will remember the first episode and how people are trying to make sense of it all. Life is like that...it's hard to understand why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing. The service is going to be powerful and the church should be packed! I hope you are inviting someone! Here's a hint on Sunday..."if you are a believer, you remember when Jesus pulled you from the wreckage..."
It's 1:17, I think I'll go make a fresh pot of afternoon coffee! Cheers.
Tuesday, September 4
I for one am thankful to be over the "Labor Day hump" ;-) Although there was an excellent crowd on Sunday, I'm looking forward to the next few weeks and having most of our crowd back. Thanks to the band from Sussex for helping us with worship Sunday, and way to go Pastor Mark for delivering God's Word the way you did!
If you missed Sunday, the BIG announcement was the introduction of Conard Symonds as Assistant Pastor of Seniors, Pastoral Care and Missions and also Amy Smith as Children's Pastor and Administration. Woo Hoo! We are so blessed to have these two professionals join the team @ OWC!
"1st Wednesday" - We also announced a brand new worship experience coming to OWC this Fall. October 3rd will be the launch date of our "1st Wednesday" service. Intense worship. Focused Prayer. Deeper teaching. We will have children's ministry available so that the entire family can come out. I fully believe that 1st Wednesdays can become something that we all look forward to as we worship together. Make yourself a reminder to be there :->
Thursday @ 2; Funeral service for Merle Smith. Merle was 87 and lived a life of devoted service to Christ! We celebrate her life and what she meant to so many. Visitation is Wednesday 2-4, 7-9 @ Bishops.
Please pray for Gracie Shriver as she goes into bypass surgery this Friday in Saint John.
On an entirely different note...this Friday we will be cleaning out the storerooms in the basement of the church and 'freeing' us from some itmes from who knows when, for who knows what, that will never be used again. Fear not...we won't throw obvious valuables. But, if you have something in the basement that you don't want thrown, you need to email me at email@example.com before Friday or it will be on its way to that big pile of 'stuff'.
Our DS, Dave LeRoy will be preaching @ OWC this Sunday and installing me as your Sr. Pastor. We're looking forward to a great service.
LOST - Our Fall Kickoff series starts Sept 16th!! Invite a friend for a service that will make sense, play off of pop culture, teach the Bible in relevant terms and have the best music in the City! (Yes, I said that publicly!)
Tuesday, August 28
I'm enjoying a cup of Peruvian coffee from Irving in the Ville and it is yummy!! Highly recommended ;->
We had a terrific board (leadership team) meeting last night! I am thankful to God for such a group of forward-thinking, faith-believing leaders.
Any Mac people in the church?? Make yourselves known ;-> I've switched over to Mac this summer and now I'm wondering, "Why doesn't everyone use a Mac?"
Oh yeah...there were more stories at our meeting last night of OWC'ers 'walking across the room'. Sweet!
Hope you have a blessed day,
Monday, August 27
Yesterday we talked about 'taking next steps' as we walk across the room to do simple, relational, evangelism. How's it goin'?
After the service yesterday I was being introduced to a couple who have been to OWC for the past two weeks in a row (very exciting!) and the husband pointed at one of our members and said, "She walked across the room in our lives". How cool is that?!
We currently have 28 teens and youth leaders on a camping trip to Fundy National Park. Let's hope most of them come home.
The August Board meeting is tonight -- I refer to them as the Leadership Team. Doesn't that sound better than "Local Board of Aministration"?
Don't forget...BIG Announcement coming this Sunday!!
Saturday, August 18
We had 6 pre-teen girls over last night for a High School Musical 2 sleep over birthday party! They had a blast and I think they actually got some sleep. I got some sleep, so I am thankful ;->
Hope turned 11 back on August 1 but due to all of our moving-renovations and camp on Catons Island, she decided to put it off until the HSM2 release.
I picked this up off of Perry Noble's blog and it resonated with me...Here are 5 things for me to consider as I lead OWC:
1. Am I listening to God? Listening to people is important, especially when they have a need to be heard. I want to 'hear' what is on people's hearts and what they are passionate about. But, ultimately I need to be listening to God. God has a vision for OWC that he wants downloaded to us. It's just crucial that I listen carefully to God's voice.
2. Am I taking risks? I think OWC has already sensed that I am a risk-taker. There is a fine line between faith and foolishness and that's the line we need to be on. The opposite of taking is risks is doing 'safe-church', comfy church, maintenance church, etc. I need to lead us into the faith zone where God can bless us. It boils down to this - What are we doing that will fail miserably unless God helps us?
3. Am I understanding how big God is? Sometimes we breeze over statements like, "God wants to save the soul of every person in our community". We hear it, we nod, we might even say 'Amen', but we don't really believe it. My prayer is that we would get a fresh sense of the immensity of grace. Can we believe that God can use OWC to literally transform our communities?
4. Am I surrounding myself with the right people? Let me say this publicly - I am already BIG TIME thankful for the Board members of OWC. They are positive. They are forward-thinking. They are risk takers and they are in love with Jesus. I love being around people who stretch me, challenge me, and make me better.
5. Am I giving it my best? Obviously, I want my church to feel as though their Lead Pastor is giving it 110% all the time. But bigger than that, I will be held accountable someday for the effort I have put in to reaching this community with the Gospel. There is nothing more important than the Gospel - and I am convinced of it. It requires my very best.
What about tomorrow?? Week 1 of "Just Walk Across the Room". I've talked a lot this summer about being a church that reaches out to spiritually lost people. For the next few weeks, we are going to take some of the stigmas off of evangelism and talk about how each of us can be developing relationships for eternity.
Fall Kick Off - Sept 9 is the day when most of our people will be back from summer vacationing, etc. We are launching the Fall with the series, "LOST". This is a great opportunity for you to invite someone to church. We won't embarass you or them. It'll be a quality worship experience with teaching that makes sense.
Monday, August 13
We spent last night at our cottage with my brother and his family, my folks, Gayla's folks, and a couple of butterscoth pies! We also had the fire fired up for some smores and hot dogs. Cottage life at it's best!
Yesterday morning we wrapped up the Gone series with Gone Hiking - How to get in the Word and Stay in the Word in order to stay on the path that God has for you. Remember the 3 points...G - P - S??
This week we are setting our sights on a series titled, "Just Walk Across the Room". It's based on Bill Hybels book of the same name which you can pick up at the Lighthouse. (It's also based on Scripture!)
Have a great week!
Friday, August 10
Our 'stuff' arrived on Tuesday! Yaayy! It was like Christmas - seeing all that stuff we hadn't seen for quite some time. It's all in, but it is far from unpacked.
This week's big thanks goes out to Kim Henry who has helped many days at the parsonage! Thanks Kim! Also, Brian MacDonald has been in doing a lot of electrical work for us. Way to go Brian!
If you'd like to get a head start on Sunday, read Psalm 119, especially the first 16 verses. Go over it a few times...read it slow...pick out some keywords...it is full of powerful truth! We are continuing our GONE series with the 4th and final week - "Gone Hiking". We are going to talk about GPS and how we can stay on the trail God has laid out for us. P.S. As a follow up to last Sunday...Did you spend time this week listening to God? How did it go? I'd love to hear your story.
See you Sunday!
Thursday, August 2
Thanks again to all of you that brought gifts to our pantry shower/fellowship! It was greatly appreciated! We are almost ready to move into the parsonage. Our stuff is being delivered by the movers this coming Tuesday. The men of our church have been working so hard, through this hot weather, to get us ready to move in. The painting, landscaping, etc all looks terrific! We're really excited about settling in.
Pastor Mark, Liz, Emily and Abby leave for vacation tomorrow. Please keep them in your prayers. Have a great time Brewers!
This Sunday we are in part three of our 'Gone' series, "Gone Camping". We're going to have a little fun with this service, so come expecting some creativity and a good time!
If you want to be looking at the texts of this week's message, read Matthew 16:13-28; 17:1-13 In 17:4 Peter was ready to put up a shelter, kind of a 'tabernacle-tent' deal. His intentions were good, but Christ knew that there was a lost world waiting at the bottom of the mountain and that was where he needed to be. There will be plenty of time to 'camp' when we get to heaven. In the meantime, we need to keep moving for Christ.
See you on Sunday!
Saturday, July 28
It has been a very busy and productive week. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting up to speed on OWC, Marysville and Freddy. Hey, speaking of Freddy, we visited the new Frank's Diner last night. Very yummy Fish 'n Chips :-)
We're gearing up for a great time of worship tomorrow. I hope you are looking forward to it. Come expecting!
Plan to stay after church for the fellowship time. There is an old Wesleyan proverb that says, "If you cook it...they will come."
SPECIAL THANKS!! To all who have been working on the renovations at the parsonage!! There has been a crew of volunteers over there every day working in the heat! You are awesome!!
See you tomorrow OWC!
Monday, July 23
Hey, we had a great start to our GONE series as we looked at Gone Fishing...Jesus call to the Disciples and his call to us to be Fishers of Men. (and Ladies!) Ruthie and the band led us in meaningful worship!
Coming up this week is Gone Boating...Pastor Mark is preaching and we are going to look at Peter's water walking experience and what it means for us to step out and take great leaps of faith for Christ.
Are you fishing this week? Remember, God has placed us in the middle of a stocked pond! Build intentional relationships...invite someone to church...put out as many hooks as you can!
Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday. Oh yeah, this Sunday after church we are going to EAT! Well, we always eat, but we are going to fellowship together as a welcome to our family.
See you then,
Thursday, July 19
This Sunday we begin our summer series, "GONE". This Sunday we are going to look at Jesus' call to go fishing...fishing for lost souls!
We had a great creative team meeting this week...Sunday is going to be a great time of worship!
If you want to get into the Scriptures that we are going to be looking at, start in Ezekiel. Hundreds of years before Christ was born, Zeke new that Jesus was going to be fishing for spiritually lost people. Ezekiel 34. Also, check out Matthew 4:18-22 and Luke 5:1-11.
See you Sunday!
Wednesday, July 18
Monday was running around with Gayla and the girls making decisions on tile, etc for the work being done on the parsonage...
Tuesday was a blur! ;-) A good blur though. Pastor Mark, Natalie and I had fun getting up to steam on a bunch of things...and of course Pastor Mark and I started on the right foot - we headed straight for Tim Hortons!
Today I met the group going to Magic Mountain @ 7:45, wished them well (thanked God that I wasn't on that bus!) and headed in to the office. It looked like a large group of very excited teens and some half-awake adult leaders. They'll have a blast!
This Sunday we start a 4 week series titled, "Gone". A fitting theme, since many of our folks are "Gone" during the summer ;-> This week is "Gone Fishing". We're going to look at Jesus' call to his disciples (and to us) to be Fishers of People. A good book to read along these lines is, "Just Walk Across the Room", by Bill Hybels.
My email for now is firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great day OWC!
Thursday, July 12
OK Olivet, this Sunday is my first Sunday! Woo Hoo! Even though most of you are @ Beulah (which is going amazing despite the rain -- Steve DeNeff is preaching up a STORM!!) I am stoked about my first official Sunday @ OWC.
Ruthie is coming up to lead worship, and I am preaching on what Olivet meant to Christ, and what Olivet means to Marysville, Fredericton and beyond. Basically, I'm going to draw from my recent Israel trip, standing on Olivet, and how my heart is beating for our community.
If anyone knows why the name Olivet was chosen for the church in Marysville, I'd love to know that story.
That's it for now. See you soon.
Thursday, June 21
My first Sunday as the Lead Pastor of Olivet Wesleyan Church is July 15. www.olivetwesleyan.ca
So, what would you do in your first year at a new church? What you do your first month? Your first week?
I thought it would make for an interesting discussion...
What kinds of mistakes have you seen pastors make in their first year? What smart moves have you seen pastors pull off in year one?
Tuesday, May 8
All in God's perfect timing, I get to arrive at our new church fresh off a trip to the Holy Land and literally walking through the Bible. Unbelievable!
Yup, I'm taking lots of pics and video!
Wednesday, May 2
The buyer is the Pastor of the Nazarene church in our town. That's very cool as well!
Looks like a June 1 closing date.
Monday, April 30
Friday, April 27
This is my 'official' post to say that I will be transitioning this blog from a "HQ Spiritual Formation and Ministry" blog to my own personal blog to share whatever is on my mind as I lead Olivet Wesleyan Church www.olivetwesleyan.ca
If you are tracking with the Spiritual Formation Department of the Wesleyan Church, you can keep checking their site for all of the updates and new initiatives in Adult Ministries. Dr. Jim Dunn is going to oversee Adult Ministries and he will have some very sharp people helping him.
I don't actually start at Olivet until July, but we most likely will be moving back to Canada in early June ***still praying our house will sell***.
Thanks to all of you who have been tracking my blog and getting a useful nugget here and there. If you are in love with the local church and believe that it is the hope of your community, stick with me...I think we will have some pretty sweet stuff to discuss in the future!
Thursday, April 26
Tuesday, April 24
Waiting in the lobby I picked up the copy of Nationl Geographic/Adventure and found a very interesting article on a young man who decided he wanted to be the youngest to sail solo across the Atlantic. When Michael Perham was at the grand ol age of 11 he informed his parents of his goal. There's a lot I like in this story...Michael's dream, his focus, his passion, his parent's trust, the way they supported his dream, the risk, the adventure, the commitment, etc.
In the magazine interview, Michael gives his lists of 'musts' that helped him reach his goal. They are fantastic!
Get an early start
Be true to yourself
Don't get distracted
Keep in touch
Stay the course
Savor the moment
Push the envelope
What if you and I approached our churches with this list? What if we saw even our biggest obstacles as merely oceans that can be voyaged, conquered, explored?
Oh yeah, the title of the article on Michael..."What It Takes".
Thursday, April 19
This is just awesome. Don't just do groups. Don't just meet. Don't just study. Be missional!
I'll let Mark's post say the rest...
In Minong, Wisconsin, a missional small group from our congregation decided to love their neighbors to Jesus. They were willing to step out of their comfort zone, and be the launch team for a new church. Last Sunday, 135 people celebrated Easter as a result of their dedication.
Tim and LeeAnn host a missional small group at their home. One day, three years ago, God gave them all a very clear sense that they were to lead a team to Guatemala. Since then, four teams have gone from our church, to do Vacation Bible School, build houses for widows, distribute shoes, and to sing in the choir at a huge evangelistic crusades. Last fall, almost 600 people responded to the invitation to receive Jesus.
A missional small group of young adults decided to host a "Trunk or Treat" here at the church. The whole church jumped in, and almost every kid in town showed up! It was quite an amazing outreach. The moms in our community buzzed about it for weeks afterwards.
Through a missional women's Bible Study at our church, God laid it on Pat's heart to start a jail ministry. Three of the women in this group are now actively involved in weekly outreach at the local jail.Jesse and Layla's missional small group of young couples volunteers once a month to watch the children of single moms in our Mentoring Future Families program.
Our missional senior saints are sending money to help a World Hope orphanage in Zambia.
Pandora's missional group of gals from last year's Alpha headed up the meals for Alpha this year.
Josh's missional "Band of Brother's" group drove north an hour and a half to Superior and put a new roof on Safe Harbor Church.
The Paint Daubers is a missional group of retired gentlemen who meet for breakfast every Thursday morning, and then go out into the community to perform various acts of kindness-- painting porches, chopping firewood, and fixing furnaces.
Ralph's missional small group is tackling a massive, GOLIATH clean-up project at the home of a former member who moved out of state. It's an overwhelming task, bigger than the group. Yet, love compels them to do it. "Are you sure you want to do this?" I asked Ralph. He replied, "Well, what would Jesus do?"
Our missional Knit One, Prayer Two Group makes prayer shawls for the sick and hurting. They meet together and have sweet fellowship while they use their hands to create blessing for others.
Some small groups meet only for study.Other small groups enjoy good fellowship.Our best small groups meet for study, enjoy good fellowship AND joyfully bring God's love to others.Great groups not only KNOW Jesus-- but they also SHOW Jesus by their deeds.
Monday, April 16
I'm not going to completely unpack the article here, you can read more at www.rev.org or at www.thediscipleshipproject.com
Here's the teaser: They identified the barriers to discipleship (great starting point, look at your congregation and ask 'why don't people get involved in discipleship?'). Then they set out to remove the barriers one by one. Here are the barriers they saw in their church:
1. People are busy...remove the barrier with credibility
2. People are unique...remove the barrier with flexibility
3. People want to see results...remove the barrier with visibility
The 'tool' that they use to promote and track discipleship is really quite simple and doable for most churches. Check it out.
Monday, April 9
See if you notice any parallels to being physically ..emotionally.. spiritually running on empty!
Unprepared: Not starting out with a full tank!
Leaks: Having an unknown leak that is quietly draining you!
Availability: Can’t find a filling station!
Finances: Can’t afford gas - so you keep procrastinating
Presumption: Assuming you have what it takes to keep going, Lying to self. Wishful
Inattention: Being distracted & not watching your gauges or don’t believe them(broken)
Hurry: Driving at high speed which causes you to run out faster
Pressure: rapid acceleration , putting the pedal to the metal
Ego: Trying to drive to far and not knowing the limits of your tank
Busyness: Being too busy to stop and refuel
Lack of Knowledge: When you don’t know how to fill the tank
Overload: When you’re carrying too much weight
Wednesday, April 4
We had our monthly HQ chapel service this morning and Don Bray talked about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the basis for all of our ministries. Don reminded us that when we see a changed life, someone who has given their life to Christ, we are seeing the Resurrection power at work.
Nothing excites me more than seeing the power of Jesus Christ transform a life. It keeps me up at night and it gets me up in the morning.
Friday's descent is coming, and we will all remember the price that was paid for our ransom. "Sunday's a comin" (wish I could preach it like TD Jakes) and let's all pray that many people will choose to surrender to the Risen Savior and experience thier own resurrection.
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Monday, April 2
Passion week is also an opportunity for us to relay the meaning of Easter to those who don't know Jesus or the real meaning for the Cross.
Many Wesleyan Churches are engaged in a Spring/Easter emphasis called "SpringLife". www.wesleyan.org/springlife
Here is a powerful SpringLife testimony we received today:
Thanks for sharing SpringLife with us. What a blessing! We have been intentional about preparation the last 6 weeks and now we feel as though we are prepared for Easter. Yesterday during our worship services we did the "cross" activity that was suggested in the SpringLife material. (The one where those who have a friend or loved one that they have interceded for bring their name on a card, dip their finger in red water, put it on the card, and pin it to the cross.) We had over 100 people participate and 80 different names were pinned on the cross. Praise God! We are expecting unrealistic things to happen in the coming days and especially with our Easter celebration. Just wanted you to know what a blessing this has been to our church and we are committed to remaining diligent in delivering Christ to the world in every possible way using every possible means.
Adult disciples who are new Christians and/or new church members need ...
To develop relationships with other members
To know the church's vision and commit themselves to it
To know and begin to use their spiritual gifts
To develop a plan for continued growth in discipleship
Adult disciples who are growing in spiritual maturity need ...
To know and live out God's plan for their lives
To apply ethics in everyday life
To know how to make right choices
To know and use their spiritual gifts
To be able to share their faith with non-believers and unchurched persons
To understand biblical doctrines
To develop a disciplined devotional life
To understand and deal with personal issues and emotional problems
To understand substance abuse and learn how to overcome it.
Adult disciples who are strengthening their family relationships need ...
To develop positive parenting skills
To strengthen husband-wife relationships
To develop growing relationships with other family members
To help aging parents.
Adult disciples who are being equipped for leadership and ministry need ...
To know how their spiritual gifts can be used most effectively
To develop the mind and attitude of a servant
To develop skills needed to function effectively in a chosen ministry
To develop effective and flexible teaching skills.
This link is from Lifeway and it's an exerpt from Michael Zigarelli's book, "Freedom from Busyness". You might want to copy and paste the link and send it to your group/Sunday School leaders, or print the list and give it to each of them. Better yet, buy each of them a copy of the book as a thank you and encouragement.
Wednesday, March 28
I thought it would be interesting to throw it out on the blog to see what some of you think every Sunday School teacher needs to know. (No, I'm not out of ideas and using this as a cheap way to get you to do my work!) This is not the time to tell me all the reasons we shouldn't be doing Sunday School...so resist the temptation. This is a resource for the many hundreds of churches we have who are doing Sunday School and are interested in seeing people become more like Jesus Christ.
So, what would you say?
People are saying, "Our church is missional...". What do they really mean by that? Are they really ready or willing to be missional at any cost?
You can tell if a church is truly missional by talking to its members. Do they know what the church is passionate about? Can they repeat the mission statement or mantra? Are they aware of clearly marked on-ramps to get involved in the 'mission'? Can they point to recent results of their church being missional?
You can also tell by looking at the church's media (worship guides, websites, etc). I've heard recently that you have 8 seconds to convince me whether or not I should listen to you. Apparently, 8 seconds is the max time it takes a web page to load with high speed. If it's not there in 8 seconds, we move on. I visit a lot of church sites and I often wonder, "Why is it so hard to find out what this church is all about?" If they are so passionate about being missional, why isn't it upfront?
What do you think? What does missional mean? Heard or seen any good mission statements lately?
Monday, March 26
Here's a top ten list I borrowed from Tony Morgan. Tony was on staff at Granger before moving over to be with Perry Noble at New Spring. www.tonymorganlive.com
10 Signs You're not Ready for Change
1. You see other organizations as the competition instead of the idea incubators.
2. You're trying to avoid criticism that comes when you fail...and when you succeed.
3. You're afraid of the culture.
4. Your life is fast and cluttered and there's no space to dream.
5. You value getting it right over getting started.
6. You believe conflict is a bad thing.
7. You've stopped asking questions.
8. You think systems and strategy are the enemy of creativity.
9. You're expecting to receive credit for your ideas.
10. You think you've already arrived.
Friday, March 23
Thursday, March 22
The last session was Ed Young wrapping things up with some random thoughts:
- Luke 19; He likened Zacchaeus to people who are in a "seek-him-more" tree (say it fast and it might rhyme with sycamore)
- Take people where they need to go, not where they want to go
- The best volunteers are the people you have to go after (he mentioned that the ones who keep popping up wanting to run different ministries often have agendas/issues, he went on to give a funny illustration about de-kooking your church once a year!)
- Do the toughest jobs 1st
- 80% of a Sr.Pastor's job is preaching, preaching is huge
- "It's all about the weekend stupid" (this is a bit of a mantra around Fellowship, I heard it the first time I was there, and it shook me up in that it made me really think about what was the biggest front door opportunity for the unchurched. Fellowship puts almost all of their eggs in the weekend basket and it is paying off.)
- If you don't take breaks...you will break
- Leadership is measured when you aren't there
- If it's worth doing, it's worth delegating
- Delegate and then celebrate
- Have a funeral in your mind for negative people (had to be there, we were all laughing)
Wednesday, March 21
To all of you who have been tracking my blog, thanks!
It's always a privilege to hear Bishop Jakes live. He has presence, passion, and a way of unpacking scripture that few people have. His message from C3 '06 is an absolute must have. Buy the DVD, it's amazing.
Ex 4:1-12; last year he preached on the 10 Commandments of Leadership from the life of Moses. This year, he picked up where he left off and gave us More Mo to think about.
- You haven't had faith until God has taken you someplace where you have never been
- You can't do ministry, you're not prepared, you have to be driven to your knees
- If you aren't progressive, you will worship where God 'was' (that is good stuff right there)
- The Shepherd's Source - know how God has uniquely created and gifted you; Moses means, 'drawn out', his mother drew him out of the water, but God was going to draw him out for leadership; God has or will equip you for everything you need to do
- The Shepherd's Spirit - something unique that God does in your heart; something that God gives you a passion for; what is special about your ministry? do people know your one vision?
- The Shepherd's Staff - what is in your hand? Have you ever felt like the whole world was pressing in on you and all you had in your hand was a stick?; If you don't stretch your staff, you will lose them; you have to be able to lean on your staff;
- The Shepherd's Stutter - why does God ask us to do what we feel incapable of doing?; write down whatever your stutter is;
After his session they had a Q & A and the Bishop offered these thoughts on sermon prep:
- Study yourself full
- Think yourself clear
- Pray yourself hot
- Let yourself go
He hit the stage preaching and he did not let up. It was very powerful. His text was 1 Cor 15:1-4
About the Gospel message, he said:
- It's Continual -- it reminds us
- It's Proclamational -- it tells God's story
- It's Personal -- "you received"
- It's Eternal -- there is no life, hope, joy apart from the gospel
- It's Central -- it's of 1st importance
- It's Eternal -- handed from one generation to the next
- It's Christological -- it's all about Jesus
- It's Penal -- it's the Way and the only Way
- It's Substitutional -- in the great exchange, God became our sin
- It's Eschatological -- it shows us our future
2 Enemies to the Gospel and our ministry
1. Idolatry -- You won't break the other 8 Commandments if you keep the 1st two; When we elevate 'good' things to make them 'God' things, that's idolatry; We create a 'functional-savior' to get us out of whatever 'hell' we are in; We get angry at the real God for not serving our false god;
2. Religion -- Religion doesn't understnad the Gospel; Religion says if you obey, God will love you - the Gospel says God loves you, you can obey; Religion says the world is about good people and bad people, the Gospel is about repented and unrepented (if the world was an old western movie, we'd all wear black hats); Religion is all about our birth family, the Gospel is all about our new birth family; Religion is about what I do, Gospel is about what Jesus has doen; Religion is about getting from God, Gospel is about getting God; Religion is a stick, God is a pinata (I love that line); Religion sees hardship as punishment, Gospel recognizes that not all suffering is bad; Religion is about me, the Gospel is about Jesus; Religion ends in pride or despair, Gospel is about Jesus.
Powerful Stuff. How does this affect what you are doing today?
Tuesday, March 20
OK, what did Groeschel say at C3? If you are unfamiliar with Craig, you need to see his deal at www.lifechurch.tv If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “One church, many locations…” Craig is the pioneer of that movement. Media, creativity and an insatiable appetite to reach the lost for Christ would describe Craig.
Here are some point form highlights. (Order the DVD’s from www.creativepastors.com if you are interested)
Acts 4 was his text, “You’re an idiot” was his title.
He went on to say that whenever someone says, “Bless your heart…” they are really saying, “You’re an idiot”. It was so funny! Especially since I was sitting with Dawn Marie Colaw who is always saying, “Bless your heart Tim”. Now I know what Dawn has meant all along ;->
Satan wants to talk you out of your dreams
Who does God use to turn ‘what if’ into ‘what is?’ Insecure, Risk Taking, Pain Enduring, Idiots Acts 4:13
Insecure: we tend to want everyone to like and approve of everything we do; if you blame yourself when attendance declines, you’ll be tempted to take the credit when things increase
Risk Taking: Let’s be in a perpetual state of discomfort; risk-taking leaders need to hear people saying, “that will never work”
Pain-Enduring: People come to God hoping that he will eliminate their pain; Jesus didn’t die to make us safe and comfortable; The difference between where you are and where God wants you to be is your unwillingness to endure the pain to get there; pay the price, play hurt, toughen up, take it for the team, pain is a part of the ministry deal; What painful decision have you been avoiding?
Idiots: Not just any idiots, these guys had been with Jesus (Acts 4); Failure is mandatory; learn from your risks and mistakes; learn from being aggressive and progressive, not from being safe; Listen to your wife, pray like crazy
Don’t insult God by dreaming too small
Review the history of your church and its ‘unbelievable beginnings’, and dream on how to do it again in a new way
Tuesday, March 13
-Delegation: Your people are the staff of your church
-Delegation is not relegation. It's not just getting things off your plate
-Delegation is the catalyst of creativity. You have to delegate to create the time and the margin to be really creative.
-What keeps me from delegating? Conflict-I don't want to mess with it, I want to be liked; Chaos-It's messy stuff, if someone does a good job, it'll mess with my pride; Carnage-there will be casualties
-Things you can't delegate: Vision-you are the only one who can cast vision for your deal; Team Building-You are the only one who can motivate the team; Organization-you must make the big moves; Investigation-the leader has to be the one evaluating what's going on
*Bonus thought - Churches are basically about Bodies, Baptisms, and Budgets
Monday, March 12
If You Weren’t On Staff At Your Church, Would You Worship There?
Last week on the Swerve Blog, Craig Groeschel asked three questions that I want to pose to you this Monday Morning. How you answer these questions will have great implications on your ministry and your church. They are questions that will shape how you view your job; how your prioritize your tasks today; and how effective your church will be tomorrow. Here are the three questions Craig asks...
1. If you weren’t on staff at your church, would you worship there? I think we’ve all served at churches that we wouldn’t worship at. (I know I have). And many times we are in the process of transitioning them into a church that we’d love to attend. If you’re in that position right now, this is still a great question to ask. Why wouldn’t you want to worship there? And what is keeping other people away from the church that you serve?
2. If you didn’t know ANYTHING about Jesus, what would you know about him after a normal weekend at your church? Think about your service yesterday. If you didn’t know squat about Jesus yesterday morning; what would you know about Him or think about Him today? This is a question that we need to ask each and every week. How does your church communicate Jesus?
3. If you had a loved one who didn’t know Christ, and they had one week left to live, would you take them to your church or another? In this last question, it goes one level deeper. How’s your church doing at communicating the main message? Truthfully; would you take your dying unsaved mother to a service at your church or another church across town? How clear is the gospel presented in your church?
These are some pretty heavy questions. But they are important questions. Questions we all need to answer… right now.
Back in February my Adult Ministry Cabinet and myself attended the C3 Conference at Fellowship Church, Dallas. www.fellowshipchurch.com www.creativepastors.com
In the next few postings, I'll do my best to unpack some of the main ideas from this very inspiring conference. This was my third trip to this conference, and it never disappoints.
The theme this year was, "What If?" The idea was to challenge us to start asking brave, visionary and even dangerous, "What If" type questions. Here are a few thoughts from the inside of the note-taker journal deal they gave out:
What if the church was more than a collection of the already convinced?
What if the church challenged tradition while at the same time protected the integrity of Christ's message?
What if everyone who walked through the doors could understand the message?
What if the church provided real answers for real life?
"In effect", it goes on to say, "we want you to turn what if into what is".
How long has it been since you just closed your eyes and really allowed yourself to dream crazy, God-sized dreams for your ministry? - Tim
If you are looking for a solid resource to help your couples be best prepared for the journey ahead, this is definitely worth looking into.
Monday, February 19
Dr. Crabb defined spiritual transformation in the context of small groups as a mystery that happens when, "what is most alive in you comes out of you and comes into me so that what is most alive in me gets stirred up." We literally pour into each other when real transformation takes place in the setting of a small group. We have to get beyond what Dr. Crabb called "cosmetic change" or "good enough Christianity" to real change.
The first session was entitled "Freedom: What should we do?"
How can we relate to each other in a way that non-Christians can't? His answer was that we can admit what is ugliest about us and expect to hear a lone song based on forgiveness not tolerance. (Zephaniah 3:1,2 - ugliness, Zephaniah 3:17 - love song) In this session Dr. Crabb addressed the difference between vulnerability and authenticity. Vulnerability can be self-obsession, telling our stories to pull others in, "sharing" with a goal in mind (attention, sympathy). Authenticity is knowing where I am going in my journey, but not demanding anything, not holding it against you if you back away, not entitlement, but mercy. An authentic relationship would allow for curiosity not just empathy. It would allow a person to take a genuine interest in the discipleship and maturity of the other.
The second session was entitled "Fullness: What are we after?"
Colossians 2:10 says we "have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." Are we after the blessings of heaven now or are we after the fullness of Christ? He contends that many Christians will and do trade our first priority (Christ) for seconds (not bad things, just not first) our marriage, good kids, health, nice home, etc.
He said, "A small group will be spiritually forming to the degree that the battle raging in every human soul is entered, seen and touched. The effect of entering, seeing, and touching the battle is to create space in the soul that only God can fill. That space will be experienced as profound emptiness and God will fill it in this life with hope, not satisfaction. Fullness of hope now; fullness of satisfaction later.
Being crushed and empty is a gift that makes space for God to do His thing." Dr. Crabb says that as long as we are here on earth, we should be longing for home and the hope of heaven is sometimes the only hope we can give people. We may not be able to give them satisfaction here and now. We try and decorate our lives to get ready for home with seconds (marriage, kids, etc.), but it really doesn't work. We can't measure the rightness of what we are doing by how everyone feels. You won't truly get built up without being crushed. The narrow road crushes the demanding spirit and releases our thirst for God.
The Flesh vs. the Spirit – The Real Battle
Flesh – taught by experiences in this world that is ruled by the devil.
- False definitions of LIFE and DEATH that create demands.
Spirit – taught by God’s WORD through God’s SPIRIT among GOD’s people.
- true definitions of LIFE and DEATH that stir DESIRE.
What definitions are our lives being shaped by?
The third session was entitled “Formation: How does it happen?”
The ASCENT to God begins with a DESCENT into self – Calvin
- Transformation depends on my sin meeting grace. My spirit of entitlement (I do so many good things, my life should work out like I want, shaking our fist at God when things don’t turn out like we want) The mystery of this transformation cannot be replaced by the management of my life. There is no secret formula, just my sinfulness meeting the grace of God.
Crabb puts this into 3 experiences.
1. The ECCLESIASTES experience: the beginnings of emptiness, the stripping away of our idolataries, taking away the consuming pleasure of second things
2. The JOB experience: the beginnings of brokenness, Satan’s theory with Job was that all Job wanted was God’s blessings. Do we really want God or just his blessings?
3. The SONG OF SONGS experience: the beginnings of hope, when we are fully seen and fully wanted.
The BATTLE will be fought till death
A VISION of what another will become releases spiritual energy! What vision do I have for others in my small group, myself, my family? Imagine the power that will come when we start to see people this way!
FREEDOM: looking bad in the presence of love based on forgiveness, not tolerance.
FULLNESS: the hope of satisfaction now, the experience of satisfaction forever.
FORMATION: seeing yourself, fighting the battle, moving toward the vision.
Dr. Crabb’s ministry website is www.newwayministries.org
Thursday, February 15
It's a printed resource titled: abclinks, connecting personal and small group studies with this week's sermon.
Features: This week's core belief, how to use abclinks, a summary of the theme and study, time and place (biblical context), storyline (biblical context), scripture, today's prayer, an outline for a bible study, helps for small group discussion (warm up, dive in, take action).
In order to make a resource like this happen, the small groups department needs to know the Pastor's sermon text and direction 6 weeks in advance. As the date approaches they continue to tweak the information as the message takes shape with the Pastor. Copies of abclinks are available in the lobby after the service. Individuals and small groups are encouraged to grab a copy on their way out and continue to study the theme and text during the week.
Wednesday, February 14
Oh yeah, those who are also working with Assimilation meet an hour early just to discuss retention.
So what did I learn??
Bill Layle, Pastor of Discipleship, Kentwood Community Church (Wesleyan, 2500 avg attendance) shared with us their "Small Group Curriculum Schedule". One of the things that smaller churches need to understand is that many of the best ideas by the largest churches are simple and inexpensive. This is a prime example of that.
The curriculum schedule is two 81/2 x 11 full color spreadsheets covering a 28 week period. There are three main areas to the spreadsheet indicated by three different colors. (I told you it was simple :-> ) The categories: 1. All groups study the same curriculum; 2. Group choice with a recommendation provided; 3. Purposeful change of pace. Example: Jan 7 - Feb 11 SG Recommendation - "Take It To the Limit" 6 Week DVD
When all groups are studying the same curriculum it usually means that they are studying something that is directly connected to the weekend sermon series, like "Just Walk Across the Room". I think they find that when they recommend a series, most groups go with it rather than trying to hunt down something different. "Purposeful change of pace" can be anything from 1-3 weeks where they encourage their groups to host a neighborhood party, serve, or just take a week off.
In two pages a group leader can see exactly where the program is heading over the next few months. Sweet!
Thursday, February 1
Kentwood Community Church is having Larry in for a Small Group Conference:
Walking the Narrow Road Together
A Realistic Look at Small Groups
Saturday, February 17, 2007
8:30 - 3:00
Kory spoke of "Waymarkers", things to mark and guide us on our travels...an icon to direct a specific course of action.
1. Holy Times: Rare or regimented times that help one (or several people) to distinguish not what is good and bad but what is good and better.
2. Holy Places: "thin places" where earth and God's kingdom come closer. Those times when you feel you could reach out and touch God.
3. Holy Objects: Often common things that point to a deeper reality of God.
Lead your small group through this! It's excellent.
Wednesday, January 24
Lifeway has launched a brand new website resource for young adult ministry. YA continues to be one of the toughest ministries to pull off in the local church. In my two years here at HQ I have had many requests for anything at all that can be helpful to those struggling to keep the young adult culture engaged.
Well, here it is. Point your browser to www.threadsmedia.com
I'd love to hear what you think.
Friday, January 12
Here is another tool that I came across this week: http://www.lifeway.com/lwc/files/lwcF_PDF_DSC_Spiritual_Growth_Assessment.pdf
If that link doesn't work, just use www.lifeway.com/discipleship You will see the link on the bottom left hand side.
What tools of measurement are you using to encourage your people in their quest of Christlikeness? If it can't be mesured...it didn't happen.
Wednesday, January 10
But, how do we know when we are spiritually growing?
I just received an excellent article today from Discipleship Journal. In it Donald Whitney gives 10 questions to help you discern whether you are maturing spiritually. Here is the link to the article and here are the questions in abbreviated form:
10 Questions to Ask To Make Sure You Are Still Growing 2 Peter 3:18
1. Are you more thirsty for God? Psalm 42:1; Phil 3:10
2. Are you more and more loving? 1 John 4:7
3. Are you more sensitive to and aware of God than ever before? Romans 6:11
4. Are you governed more and more by God's Word? 2 Tim 3:16-17
5. Are you concerned more and more with the physical and spiritual needs of others? Luke 9:11
6. Are you more and more concerned with the Church and the Kingdom of God? Ephesians 5:25
7. Are the disciplines of the Christian life more and more important to you? 1 Timothy 4:7
8. Are you more and more aware of your sin? 1 Tim 1:15
9. Are you more and more willing to forgive others? Ephesians 4:32
10. Are you thinking more and more of heaven and of being with the Lord Jesus? Phil 1:23-24
Here is the link: http://www.navpress.com/EPubs/PrinterFriendly/1/1.97.9.html
Monday, January 8
Here is my two cents, unbiased and objective, even though I work at the mother ship:
1. Getting Wesleyan clergy together for a concentrated time of worship, teaching, training, cheer-leading, and fellowship is a home-run idea. That is obvious by the tremendous response. If you stayed home because you thought it was a silly idea or just not worth the cash, I believe you missed a very synergistic event.
2. The Gathering was very well executed by those in charge. If you don't think so, you try planning an event, having your registrations go through the roof, and then try finding places to put everyone. Yes, the halls were crammed, some seminars had people sitting on the floor and cramming around an open door, and we had to use a video room for overflow. However, the production and overall flow of the conference went very well. I'm sure that the rally offficials learned a few things, but hey, this was a first-crack at something that had never been done. I give them credit for making it as smooth and seemless as it was.
3. We don't need mega-speakers/pastors/preachers. I thought that our preachers (Anthony and Kevin) were as good as anything you will hear anywhere. I'm not convinced that many people went to Florida to hear Hybels preach a message that he's already preached many times. I have the 'four last gasps' talk memorized. It would have been nice to hear Hybels challenge this small holiness denomination to something specific rather than the same old stuff he teaches everywhere to everyone. I would have loved to hear Earle Wilson give us a stirring 'rise-up-church' message!
4. I'm sure there will be another 'Gathering'. It will be on one site (not at hotels with long walks in the rain) and it will be ready for the large crowds. When you see it advertised, register. The networking and fellowship alone are valuable. Also, there is something about getting us in the same room that reminds us of our diversity and our mission. It is inspiring. Yeah, you won't like all of it. So what. When was the last time you went to a conference and loved everything from start to finish? If we believe in our denomination, if we want to see it as a missional movement reaching forward in relevant ways, we can show our support by being there and cheering it on.
5. Keep it in a warm locale and keep it in early Jan. We are all burned out on Christmas and turkey...we may as well travel and get renewed for the year ahead.
6. Give more time to worship and soul-care. Robin Mark was phenomenal in the little time slots they left for him to lead worship. My guess is that pastors and their spouses (who don't get many opportunities to worship side by side) need this retreat as a time to stand, kneel or bow in God's presence through un-rushed worship. If there was a prayer room, I wasn't aware of it. If there were people available to talk to or pray with, I wasn't aware of it. We speak publicly about the stress of ministry and what some people are going through , but we don't offer avenues for people to download some garbage and genuinely get refreshed in their spirits.
Well, it's time for another coffee! What did you think of the Gathering?