Tuesday, April 29

3 Words

All five of us were at staff meeting today. There will be a day when we look back and laugh about "remember when it was just us 5?" We went from 2 to 5 in less than a year, so 5 still seems like a pretty big staff to us.

Amy gave us a report from her experience at the Willow Creek Children's Ministry Conference. From the sounds of things it was a jam-packed deal with a lot of great sessions and insights. God is blessing our children's ministry and we all look forward to seeing what is next for "The Factory"!

We took some time in today's meeting to do something called '3 Words'. I asked them if I could share the results as I thought it might be interesting for others to see. Here it is:
1. If I was to sum up what God is doing in our church in 3 words...
refreshing, unbelievable, mental, stretching, challenging, blessing...
2. If I was to sum up what God is doing in my ministry in 3 words...
building, growing, transforming, stretching, revitalizing, encouraging, worrisome, humbling...
3. If I was to sum up what God is doing in me in 3 words...
stretching, breaking, teaching, forgiving, testing...
4. If I was to sum up what I need to do to grow and go to the next level in 3 words...
prayer, others, selfless, compassion, community, courage, lead, listen, learn, balance, organization...

What would you say?

Monday, April 28

It's a wrap!

Yesterday was the last Sunday of our church year, and what a year it was! We did a favorites day and invited people to vote for their favorite song, video, etc. We did 9 songs yesterday! The low point of the morning was Greg Ricker re-appearing as 'Wally' from "Uncle Phil's Diner" singing, "Johnny Be Good"! ;-) Actually, I loved it!

Another favorite that we brought back for yesterday was cinnamon buns and fruit trays! Nothing like a couple of big trays of food to help people mingle, relax and chat.

We also took 5 people into membership yesterday! Welcome to Kevin and Heidi Pawsey, Rob and Kristin Zwicker, and Jonathon Bragdon! We're glad that quality people want to be as involved as they possibly can.

What else is happening?
-Excellent turkey dinner here this past Saturday night as a fundraiser for the Mozambique Missions Team. The place was packed, the food was superb, and the wait staff was out of this world. ;-)
- The Alpha course wrapped up Sunday night with a potluck and video #15. The comments were very positive as people found the course to be helpful to their journey with Christ. If you are a new believer, pre-believer, or someone who needs a refresher course, consider Alpha the next time it is offered. Thanks to Stephen and Ruthie Woodworth for leading the course and to Debbie and Conard for handling all of the meals! What a team!
- Pastor Amy just returned last night from attending the Children's Ministry Conference @ Willow Creek, Chicago.
- My hard drive died on my Mac and I'm still not sure how much I have lost. Thanks to Brent Brewer for helping me to get back up and running. I'm now backing up every day, but it's a tough lesson to learn.
- The staff are getting together tonight at Conard and Debbie's. Good times!
- "Juicy Fruit" the series, starts this Sunday!
- Mother's Day on the 11th. If you've had a mother, you should be here. If you know a mother, you should invite her. If you are a mother, you'll be our special guest. Mother's Day is an easy day to invite someone to church! If nothing else, come for the Second Cup coffee and a chance to receive a special gift.

We were gleaning ideas for last week's service, and we reflected back on the many series we did at Olivet in the past church year. Here they are:
Just Walk Across the Room
Pirates of Relationships

This coming year will be filled with many more creative opportunities for you to invite someone to church!

Thursday, April 24


We've been in the process of switching over our media software from Easy Worship to Pro Presenter. We went through a few weeks of strange hums in our videos and other worship-distracting glitches.

Sunday's media was awesome! Way to go Glenn Grillo, Mark Brewer, Steve Brewer, AJ Guptill, Shane Hoyt and anyone else who happened to step into the 'great booth of media'! There was very little dead space, seamless transitions, and quick shifts to the next words of the song.

Media is the kind of thing that is most effective when people don't notice it. In other words, it's noticed most when something is going wrong.

Don't forget to tell these guys you appreciate what they do. Better still, toss perfectly good Tim Horton's cards their way once in awhile ;-)

Thanks for making us look good!

Natalie Symonds Brown

Yesterday we celebrated the life of Natalie Symonds Brown. At just 40 years old, Natalie's heart could go no further and she received a new body in heaven with Christ.

The tremendous crowd that packed in to Olivet was a huge lift to the Family. Every corner of the sanctuary was full and there was an overflow into the lobby. Andy Lapointe and Laura Biggar brought beautiful songs of comfort. Maridel Symonds pre-recorded a special song for Nat and it was stirring and heartfelt as only a mother could do. Terrific job Maridel! Allen and Ruth Wright traveled from Indiana and Allen brought a challenging eulogy to us all. John Symonds delivered an outstanding (normal for John) message that Natalie had requested titled, "The Gospel Truth". John is one of my favorite communicators on the planet. I thought that Shelly Symonds did an excellent job of bringing words of hope and remembrance to the family.

Most of our lives will settle back to normal today. For Dennis, Alex, Cassie, Jessica, and the Symonds family, things will never quite seem 'normal'. Remember this family in prayer. Make a note to send them a word of encouragement from time to time, and cherish your own loved ones for every day we have together is a blessing from the Lord.


Monday, April 21

Sunday Wrap-Up

Listening to: Matt Redman
Drinking: Second Cup, Paradiso, Dark
Reading: "Prayer", Philip Yancey
Working on: board meeting tonight, reports, agenda, etc
Snacking on: bananas

We've put some miles on the past few days! Wayne and Colleen Derr arrived at our place Thursday PM. We spent most of Friday touring Bethany Bible College. The new chapel that BBC is completing is a very impressive structure. President Medders gave us a 1 hour tour of the chapel! We did lunch with a few professors and staff. Thanks BBC, it was great!

Wayne was our special guest at our monthly seniors dinner on Friday night. The information on estate planning was very helpful. If you still have not looked into a 'will', let me know and I can get you some information to get you started. It's never too early.

We took off early Saturday morning and headed to King's Valley Wesleyan for the Huddle - a Children's Ministry Training event. After the huddle we went down to Comeau's in Pennfield, for a seafood dinner. Yum! After stuffing our faces we went down to Black's Harbour and happened to be there when the ferry was leaving for Grand Manan. It was a beautiful evening.

Wayne brought an excellent message on Stewardship on Sunday morning. The worship was awesome this Sunday. It was great to have Stephen and Ruthie back with us. (even with their Bahama-tans) It was really good for us to spend some time around the altars in prayer on Sunday. Thanks to Jason and Christine Blaikie for sharing their vision and call to Thailand with us. Don't forget to pray for them and if possible, support them financially.

Right after church we did some quick grilling on the bbq and then loaded up the van again. This time we went all the way to PEI! Hey, if you don't get to the Maritimes very often you might as well see it all. We crossed the bridge, went in a few circles, walked a beach, and then headed back to NB. The kids had a blast and would beach-comb all day. We stopped in to Moncton Wesleyan on our way back. The new sanctuary there is absolutely amazing. If you are ever in Moncton, go see it! Wow!

Before heading home we stopped in to Montana's for supper. Yum again! Wayne was talking to the waitress about how he wanted to see a moose this weekend. She came out a few minutes later with the big 'antler' hat and put it on Wayne's head! We laughed until the whole restaurant was looking at us. Then she brought out a second hat and gave it to Colleen. We've got pics that we are going to keep in case we ever need some bribery!

I mentioned yesterday that we are going to do some favorites from this past church year this Sunday. What a year we've had! It's pretty inspiring to look back at what has happened and then to look forward to the year ahead. MANY of you wrote down a favorite song, video or other element. No one wrote down a favorite sermon :-( I'll try not to take it too personally. Ha. It should be an excellent Sunday!

Saturday, April 19

Training Day

"Sweet 13!" -- Thirteen "Oliveters" left Freddy 7:30 this morning and spent the day at "The Huddle", a children's ministry training day. The event was sponsored by HQ of the Wesleyan Church and hosted by King's Valley Wesleyan, Quispamsis. There were around 100 children's ministry people from around the Maritimes and Maine.

The day was crammed with energy, helpful breakouts, new resources, and idea-sharing. I kept asking our gang, "how was your day?" and the answers were ultra-positive! Way to go Pastor Amy for blow-torching the vision, rallying the troops, and getting us there!

My brother in law, Randy Brownlee, brought a team from Grand Manan. I think he earns extra points for spending 3 hours on a ferry and 2-3 hours in a car to gain some new insights for children's ministry in his church! Randy, I owe you a coffee ;-)

It's Saturday night and I am looking forward to our services tomorrow morning. Wayne Derr is going to challenge us on being good stewards with God's stuff in every area of our lives. Also, Jason and Christine Blakie are going to share with us on their vision of being Missionaries to Thailand. Should be a great day!

Thursday, April 17

Down with the old, Up with the new!

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John...as soon as Jesus was baptized he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." -Matthew 3:13-17

Baptism is a way to publicly declare that you are following the example of Jesus. If you have crossed the line of Faith and made the decision to be a Christ-follower, then you are invited to step into Baptism. There probably won't be doves or voices from heaven, but your friends will all cheer and you will know that you have taken a great step forward in your faith.

Though the actual process is really quite simple, the spiritual symbolism is deep, rich, and full of meaning. Baptism demonstrates that the 'old you' is dead, gone, buried, toast, etc. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" -2 Corinthians 5:17 Going under the water tells the world that you are now 'washed' in Christ. He has forgiven everything and made you a new person. It's grace. It's a fresh start! When you arise out of the water you are celebrating the power of the Risen Christ who rose victoriously over sin and death so that you could experience eternal life with him! Other words such as 'regeneration' and 'justification' are also symbolized in baptism.

What do I have to do to be baptized? The first step is to know that you are a Christian. If you are clear on that, you are probably ready to be baptized.
Do I need to say something in front of everyone? It's always a bonus when people hear you verbalize what God has done for you. However, we understand that not everyone is comfortable with talking in front of a crowd. At a minimum we will share a bit of your story and ask you a couple of questions of confirmation.
What's my next step? Call the church @ 452-7110 and let us know you are ready. Or email us @ mail@olivetwesleyan.ca

We're hoping to have some people ready for baptism for April 27 in either the 9:00 or 10:45 services!

Wednesday, April 16

Future Planning

One of the things that we have been intentional on is 'future planning'. We're trying to plan ahead of growth so that when it happens, we'll be ready. This approach seems a little capricious to some because you are 'acting bigger than you are'. However, trends and stats show pretty plainly that when we aren't prepared for growth, and growth happens, we will fade back to where we were.

Our two-service campaign "Olivet Double Double" was a good example of that. It pretty much shattered my expectations and we are running 8 months ahead of where I thought we would be.

We're heading out to Staff Meeting in a few minutes for more future planning. We'll discuss our summer segue, keeping some momentum over the summer without killing everyone, and ramping up for the Fall. Events will be evenly spread out and strategically planned. I love it! We already have our kick-off theme for September and I think it is going to be a ton of fun and spiritually challenging.

The packets and handouts for Friday eve's "Estate Planning" seminar with Wayne Derr arrived today. They look great and I'm sure that this is going to be a very helpful event. It's not too late to register if you would like to attend. Call or email.

For those of you reading this from outside of NB... There is still some old snow lying around. It's supposed to be quite warm (60's) the next few days and we are hoping that the snow will be gone for good!

Monday, April 14

Wrapping up "Comfortable"

Man, Pastor Mark really brought the Truth yesterday morning! If you weren't challenged or uncomfortable, you should check your pulse. Here are a few quotes from Mark's message. (Yes, I was taking notes, Don't you always take notes??)
- We cannot compromise the cost of discipleship to get a crowd
- God is after your heart, not your stuff
- We follow Jesus, he transforms our lives, and then he uses us to transform the world
- When you get comfortable you care less and less about other's discomfort (ouch)
- Don't let your eyes adjust to the darkness around you, don't get comfortable with the dark

Jordon Leblanc led us in worship yesterday. "How Great Is Our God" was my favorite tune of the day.

Kelly singer opened with an 'uncomfortable' welcome. You had to walk around and greet someone on the other side of the church. Some were probably surprised to find out that there is another side of the church!

Yesterday was our last day to enjoy the big comfy chair on the stage. Thanks again to the good folks @ Valley Ridge for loaning us a chair that you really don't want to get out of!

Pastor Conard and Debbie had us over for lunch yesterday. The roast beef was amazing! The butterscotch pie was too good! Kicking back and chillaxing while watching "Planet Earth" on Conard's 47" Bravia was pretty sweet too! I was battling TV envy big time. Actually, I wasn't really battling, I was giving in. ;-)

Conard and Debbie, Nora-Lynn and Glendon did a full blown turkey dinner for Alpha last night. It was equally superb! And of course, there was more pie. I now weigh over 500 lbs! Haha. Needless to say, I hit the treadmill 6:30 this morning.

Coming Up:
-"Estate Planning" workshop with Wayne Derr, General Director of Stewardship Ministries for the Wesleyan Church, this Friday, 6 PM. If you haven't signed up yet, drop me a line.
-"The Huddle" - children's ministry training day @ King's Valley Wesleyan, this Saturday. We're taking a crew down! Contact Pastor Amy if you would like to attend.

Thursday, April 10

Ministry Budgeting

For those of you in ministry, or for those of you who wonder how we make budget decisions, here is a document that we recently introduced to our staff. It is a general overview of how a ministry budget should be approached.

Budget Prep

A budget is a guideline. It’s a way of staying on track without being so rigid that there is no room for flexibility, change, or creativity.

Your budget should reflect your vision. Don’t start with numbers, start with prayer. What is God wanting to accomplish through you and your ministry in the coming year? What would be a ‘win’? What are you envisioning that, unless God helps you, can’t be done?

What will your vision cost? Vision always exceeds budget. There is always going to be a challenge between what we would like to accomplish and what we can afford. However, God is not limited by our budget. This tension simply forces us back to prayer and creativity. If God wants it done, it will get done, and that is the real bottom line.

Budget/Vision Questions:
• Am I clear on the vision of the church and the Lead Pastor?
• Is my ministry currently in line with this vision?
• Are there obvious adjustments I need to make to come in line?
• How much have I prayed for my ministry, this church, and it’s leaders in the past month?
• Have I taken the time and isolation necessary to hear from God?
• What are the strengths of my ministry that I should build on? (riding the momentum of where God has already blessed)
• What are the weaknesses in my areas that need to be focused on? *there are some weaknesses that won’t necessarily cripple your ministry (you can’t be an expert on everything) and then there are issues that you know are holding you and/or your ministry back. These are the ones to focus on.
• What opportunities has God placed before you?
• What threats do I need to be aware of? *The last 4 points is a ‘SWOT’ analysis.
• Have you clearly distinguished things that are needs and things that are wants? What do you ‘have to have’ versus your wish list.

Budget/Vision Process:
• Start with monthly recurring items that you know you absolutely have to have.
• Schedule large expenses like curriculum, special events, equipment, software, etc and when you will be making that purchase. Remember that you are usually purchasing the item a few weeks before you actually need it.
• Create room in your budget for larger outreach events. You don’t need the details at this point you just need to keep it in focus so that the budget is there when you want it.
• Add up where you are at right now for May 01, 2008 – April 30, 2009.
• Go back to your vision/goals/strategies. Will this help you to achieve your goals? How much fundraising will you have to do?

Vision creates goals. Goals must have detailed strategies for execution, delegation, and completion. Strategies require budget. Budget is given to vision. That’s the circular process of ministry budgeting.

Remember, people give to vision not need.

Your budget should be kept on a monthly template where you can evaluate your spending with ministry effectiveness. A monthly budget update needs to be submitted to the Lead Pastor before each monthly board meeting. Our goal is to ensure that you are sufficiently funded to see your vision accomplished for God’s glory!

Wednesday, April 9

'Juicy Fruit' the series...it's gonna move ya!

You can expect to be singing and humming the corny theme song to the "Juicy Fruit" commercials. (Get your skis shined up, grab a stick of juicy fruit...the taste is gonna move ya...) Our next series is going to be on the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22,23 and we are hoping that it will 'move ya'. We've already had some pretty hilarious creative planning. "Comfortable" wraps up this Sunday. We have a special guest, Wayne Derr, on the 20th, and we are going to spend the 27th taking a look back at all the ways God has blessed us in this past church-year.

Wayne Derr is the General Director of Stewardship Ministries for the Wesleyan Church. His wife Colleen is the Director of Children's Ministry for the Wesleyan Church. Wayne is going to be doing a seminar with us on Friday April 18, 6 PM, on Estate Planning. He's also going to be sharing with us in the morning services on the 20th on "The Blessing of Biblical Stewardship". Colleen is in NB for "The Huddle" a Children's Ministry Training Day @ King's Valley Wesleyan Church, Quispamsis, April 19th. Email Pastor Amy @ amy@olivetwesleyan.ca if you would like to go to the training day. There will be a 'crew' of Oliveters there!

"Juicy Fruit" starts May 4th. Spread the word!

Monday, April 7

Comfortable 2

Yesterday was an amazing day for Olivet! We were on week 2 of a 3-week series titled "Comfortable". We took a look at God's principle of tithing and how money can make us uncomfortable. Tithing is living on God's terms, not mine. There were many of you who stepped up and said, "Count me in, sign me up, I want to be a part of what God is doing, I'm committing to tithe!" This is awesome. Somewhere in eternity we will realize the full impact of our faithfulness and trust in God.

The worship was very powerful yesterday. Shea did an excellent job! 'Hosanna' was pretty much amazing and God's presence was in the house. There were a lot of new faces yesterday! Woo Hoo! If you know someone who brought someone or if you have any connection to someone who is quite new to Olivet, forward them this Blog.

Double Double Update: Yesterday was week 4 of our 2-service format. We looked at attendance trends, momentum we had last fall, and better weather and then decided to launch 2 services on Palm Sunday. When we announced the 2 services we weren't full to the point of obviously needing more space. However, we believed that God was going to continue to bless us and we knew that we had to take some risk in order to see barriers broken. Well, the barriers have been smashed! After only 4 weeks, there is no way that all of us could meet in one service without some serious chair-cramming. When you subtract the doubles (people in both services) we had 290 here yesterday. (Run around your computer 3 times with your hands in the air!!) That's 100 more than we averaged a year ago. I'm not sure what to say other than, "To God be the glory".

Comfortable 3 is on its way. Pastor Mark is an excellent communicator and I am really looking forward to hearing him share with us this week. He's looking forward to crawling into that big comfy chair. Which by the way, will likely be sold by the end of the series and never make it back to Valley Ridge Furniture.

Hope you have a fantastic Monday!

Thursday, April 3

Comfortable 2

A few more days and I'll be able to crawl back in that big comfy chair from Valley Ridge Furniture and continue our current series, "Comfortable". Last Sunday we looked at how it can be easy for us as a church to get comfortable and how Ephesians 6 tells us to armor up because it's going to be anything but comfortable!

This week we're going to really get out of our comfort zones and talk about tithing. People who tithe don't mind hearing about tithing :] Actually, church is the best place to hear about money. If you are going to follow God, you need to know what God says about money. I'm actually looking forward to it, and I think it will be a great day in the history of our church.

What else is happening?
- Great 1st Wednesday service last night. The worship was very powerful. We were all challenged.
- Yesterday's staff meeting was exceptional! We're all thankful to have Conard back!!
- "Aftermath" for Shakedown Teens starts today. Teens can come to the church right after school, finish homework, have supper together, and help set up for the Shakedown. Very cool.
- The snow is disappearing!
- We're in Saint John Fri-Sat helping my parents move. (Moving is from the pit!)

Tuesday, April 1

Tuesday Happenings

Another miraculous sign that there is a God... Amy made coffee today! Mark and I have been applying intense peer pressure to turn her into a coffee drinker. So far she has been a cappuccino drinker or a caramel macchiato if we are at Starbucks. Well, she's starting to show signs of being an actual coffee drinker. She brought a butterscotch flavored coffee to the office this morning and brewed it up! It was quite yummy and made the office smell like heaven. Thanks Ames. What flavor are you bringing next??

I'm studying for 1st Wednesday and I thought that some of the keeners out there might like to hit the scripture before tomorrow night. Take a good look at Psalm 96. What is a 'new song'? How do we declare 'his glory'? Why would I bring 'fear' into worship? How would you describe his 'splendor and majesty'? What is meant by 'his sanctuary' for us today? Verse 9 is particularly interesting. How can we possibly comprehend the 'splendor of his holiness'? Come prepared to worship.

The altars of our church were full this past Sunday morning with people praying about a variety of issues, each relating to being 'comfortable'. So, how are you doing? Are you too comfortable? Are you truly open to anything God wants to do in your life? Have you stepped out of your comfort zones in any way this week? Trust Him. He will guide you and bless you.

Creative Team meeting today at 1...Can't wait!

Conard and Debbie Symonds are back from Florida!!! Woo Hoo!!