Monday, June 30, 2008

End of June already?

It's been quite a good week, good weather, dinner date with Dawn (albeit interrupted by tornado siren), and steady pace at work. The surprise highlight of the week was just how well my new classes are going!

I had pictured online learning as an modernized version of the old correspondence courses I've done in the past - content-based, a lot of material to cover, a ton of reading, and basically no interactions with other students as you go at your own pace. In my first week at Rockbridge Seminary, I just couldn't be any more wrong - it's been a fantastic week in my first course on Developing a Focused Life.

The two major focus areas for the week are: getting to know your fellow students, and spending some serious time reflecting and thinking about what God has been calling you to be, and calling you to do with your life. In just a week of activity in the forums I've come to know several folks more closely than I have 95% of my classmates in traditional classrooms, as we have shared together our hopes, passions, and concerns. They are a great group of people, diverse in age (20's to 60's), educational background, personalities, and ministry passions. The common ground is a desire to grow closer to God and to be more effective and confident in using the gifts we have been given by Him to serve others. So far it's been quite exciting, and a definite myth-busting experience about online learning and seminary training!

Twitter Success Story

This weekend Pastor Chuck mentioned Twitter in his sermon on Communications. In this he stressed the need to be speaking the truth, speaking it in love, and in forming friendships and relationships in which this can happen authentically. (He also mentioned my recent blog on The Evolution of Communication, which mentioned Twitter :)

Twitter describes itself as "a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: 'What are you doing?'" Basically, you broadcast short messages (140 characters or less) which can be seen by your friends, or really by anyone who cares to follow your Tweets (your messages). Pastors and Ministry Leaders are starting to use it more and more to keep their people in the loop, to share prayer requests, and just to be more accessible. You can view these Tweets online, or even have a text message sent to your phone when a given individual twitters. Tweets can be sent via computer, Instant Messaging, or via your cell phone. Just so I'm not behind my pastor on the technology curve (how embarrassing would that be?) I signed up for twitter today (ltbaxter). For more info, see "17 Ways to Use Twitter".

One really cool story about Twitter was one I read just this week by a blogger I read - 'The Day Jesus Saved My Twitter'. Carlos is a pastor, musician, blogger, and Service Programming Director at Buckhead Church in Atlanta, GA. His friends and many random people and blog readers follow his tweets at http://twitter.com/loswhit. Well, last week Carlos missed a flight at the Dallas airport and was told he would have to sleep at the airport. Exhausted and frustrated, he twittered about his problem. Within 2 minutes he had 7 emails, 3 phone calls, and a bunch of tweets. Before long, someone came by and with a big smile handed him a room key to the Hyatt next door. Wow! Is that using technology to connect and see God minister or what?! Your mileage may vary if you get stranded in a random city and use Twitter, but you never know...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Volunteer Ministries Coordinator

This week, in support of our Vision Path and as a complement to seminary studies in Ministry Leadership, I have taken on a new role as ‘Volunteer Ministries Coordinator’ at Calvary. I’m excited about the opportunity to love and serve those who are stepping up to serve God and one another in our church and community.

What is a Volunteer Ministries Coordinator?

It’s a person who champions the purpose of Ministry – a servant who encourages and equips volunteer ministry leaders, helps people find their SHAPE and get plugged in, identifies and develops new leaders, and coordinates efforts in our various volunteer ministries. Similar to how I describe a Small Group Coach, the priorities are: 1) show love to those involved in ministry, 2) support them as needed to help their ministry to transform lives, 3) help other leaders understand the church’s vision of developing fully-devoted followers of Christ and set their own ministry goals as they pursue this vision.

At Calvary we structure and staff according to our purposes: fellowship, discipleship, ministry, missions, and worship. Someday I pray God will allow us to call full-time ministers for each of these, but for the short-term we’re relying on part-time and volunteer leaders to serve. “Every Member a Minister” is a key part of our vision, and something I really believe in. My main prayer request would be for strength and balance as I’m still a full-time engineer, husband and father of four, student, and trying to do what I can to as a part-time volunteer ministries coordinator!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Review - Transform Your Church With Ministry Teams

I just finished a very interesting book by E. Stanley Ott - "Transform Your Church With Ministry Teams." Ott spent some significant time in ministry right here in West Lafayette, Indiana, while attending Purdue University as a Graduate Student. He is currently pastor of the Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church and president of the Vital Churches Institute. Online there is an excerpt of the first chapter. The book addresses a key question - "Is there a better way to 'Do Ministry?' than is seen in most churches today?" (Ok, I know this post violates "Less for More"... I'm so weak!)


Ministry teams are not simply a name change for committees. Rather, the type of ministry team he proposes has at its core a commitment to building relationships within the team, a dual-focus (building up the team as well as carrying out the tasks of ministry), and connecting like a small-group. Ott suggests "They multiply in the life of transformational congregations and have a major impact on the lives of the people in those congregations and in their surrounding community. They foster friendships among their members and 'grow' them into disciples."


There are several strong benefits to such an approach, including:
- Genuine experience of fellowship (koinonia)
- Growth in discipleship
- Development of new leadership
- Continuity of leadership within teams
- Mobilizing and empowering people for ministry
- Growth in interpersonal ministry as well as program-based ministry.


These are all outstanding benefits, and address several other vital needs within the church (e.g. growing disciples and growing leaders). "The ministry team becomes the consummate opportunity for leadership development within the church because it blends at least three different leader-developing processes into a single composite entity." (referring to small groups, apprenticing, and 'with-me' ministry).


Throughout the book Ott helps to understand the distinctiveness of ministry teams, how to shift a congregation towards such teams, what they look like and what they do, developing team leadership. Other important points that caught my attention in the book:

- "Every team is centered in the defining vision and practices of the congregation"
- Try to incorporate at least twenty-minutes of small(er) group time into any meeting for the ministry, including Word - Share - Prayer.
- Takes the idea of 'never launch a new ministry without a leader' one step further: 'never launch a new ministry without a core leadership team' for the new ministry.
- Encourage identifying and developing 'the next ring out', a broader set of willing-to-serve people not on the ministry team itself
- To further the goals of "dual focus" in ministry, the leader and leadership team must focus strongly on encouraging and developing their team members
- Being sure to strongly welcome and get to know new people on the team whenever there is a team meeting or training event
- "Loose-Tight" balance: tight when it comes to sticking close to the vision, practices and priorities of the church, loose in having a lot of freedom to carry out the ministry as the team sees beset as long as it stays within those boundaries.
- Discerning, casting, sustaining vision for ministry is vital


As far as nurturing ministry team life, he suggests several practices:

- Small-group time together, including Word-Prayer-Share
- Establishing prayer partnerships among team members
- Sharing meals together
- Going on a retreat (e.g. annually)


To promote leadership development one of the approaches he suggests is called "Action Learning", described by Marquadt. I hope to describe it in more detail in another post, but it's basically an on-the-job learning approach with a dual focus of meeting a need and of developing leadership in a team of people along the way.


There's quite a bit I like about the book, but there's one overarching concern that bothers me: How would this work out in practice in a setting where people are very busy, leaders are overworked and involved in several areas of ministry, and where there is an active and growing small group ministry? In particular, I can see the time commitment and level of interaction to be rather high for groups like bulletin stuffers, IT/web techies, landscaping team, or other ministries where the people are drawn to the ministry because they either like to work alone or enjoy the task. What's not clear is whether this approach to ministry is meant to be across the board at all levels of the church... does it replaces a "small groups" ministry... do they expect people to only participate in one ministry?


There seems to be a middle ground available - where there is a team leader that cares for their people, encourages them, and creates opportunities (not expectations) for fellowship within the team. For example a 'Grounds Committee' might meet formally, enumerate and divide up the tasks among themselves, and really have no further interaction. The 'Ministry Teams' approach by Ott would have the lawn mowing team as a small group, who meet regularly to share from the word, pray for each other, share meals, and grow as disciples and friends. While the latter approach would definitely be of great value for those who chose to participate on that team, I'm just not sure that approach would be a good fit for everyone seeking to play a part in taking care of the grounds. Is this a situation where "an outer ring" applies?


It's possible that my own lack of experience is more of a problem than the approach. I've been involved in a lot of ministries and teams but have never seen one taking this approach. I've also been in many different small groups, and across the board our SHAPE, interests, and the ministries we were involved in, have been completely different. I can see it potentially working very well for some churches or teams, but have a harder time seeing it as a widely applicable approach to be considered for all ministry teams in a church.


I would love any feedback or experience on this approach to Ministry Teams. There's enough benefits to the idea and enough good ideas in the book that I still feel like I want to learn more about this approach to Ministry Teams.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Giving Facebook a Chance

Last week I decided to give Facebook a try. For those more in the dark than I, it's a social networking portal originally designed to help college students keep in touch, but which has skyrocketed in popularity. I had heard about it quite a while ago, but wasn't really able to wrap my head around what it was, or what it might be useful for. After hearing more positive comments about it, I had a friend demo it for me, and thought it was a good time to jump in. So far... it's been great! Now I'm seeing just how common it is. Just today I saw a post from a blogging Pastor, Mark Batterson in Washington DC, saying he was jumping into Facebook. Even Pastor Chuck is using it, and we're seeing some quiet people in the congregation get better connected through Facebook. (It's kind of scary to see how my wife is getting into it... she joined the day after I did :)

Why Facebook?
  • You learn a lot about what's going on in your friends and family
  • You get to see as many (or as few) photos of friends as you like
  • You can better understand your teenage child's world
  • You can control who gets to see what information, share as much
    or as little about yourself as you feel comfortable with
  • You can ask a hundred or so people if they want to go see a
    movie this weekend without sending out a spam email
  • Get back in touch with friends from high school or college
  • It's a great way to share things you find on the web (or your blog)
    with those friends of yours that are more social and less techie
  • It's a fun way to better connect, build relationships and make new friends

So what other reasons do you need? Give Facebook a try.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Brevity is Beautiful

Teach less so others can learn more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More weekend reading

My recent session with Covey's 8th habit was followed up by two other books that I didn't find all that useful either. The first was 'Emotional Intelligence' by Daniel Goleman. Way too 'fluffy', with a lot of hand-waving, psuedo-science, with a touch of the metaphysical. Ok, there's more to being smart than mental horse-power and more to success than mental acuity - the heart matters and one's emotional and social maturity play an important role too. No argument, but it was quite hard to find anything 'actionable' in this book. It's possible that the book is a gem that further study and reflection would discover, but for now, I'm not seeing what others find so compelling about the book.

The next book was 'The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable' by Patrick M. Lencioni (2002). Set in an illustrative business novel, the book looks at what is called the five common dysfunctions of a team, that if eliminated would greatly improve the effectiveness of any team. These dysfunctions are described as a pyramid - from bottom to top:

1) Absence of trust (from an unwillingness in the team members to be vulnerable)
2) Fear of conflict (inability to engage in unfiltered, passionate yet constructive debate)
3) Lack of commitment (no buy in and commitment expected)
4) Avoidance of accountability (without commitment to goals, hesitate to call others on actions)
5) Inattention to results (individual needs put above the team's goals).

The book has received quite high praise in a number of circles. I found it modestly thought provoking, but two factors detracted from the book. First, there's really no data or compelling reasoning why these set of issues should be considered as the key dysfunctions of a team; rather they seem to be one person's reasonable thoughts on the subject, but not altogether convincing. Second, how to address or eliminate these barriers was not well covered in the book. It was mostly an exercise that the fictional characters did while we were 'not watching' - which makes it difficult to apply the principles suggested in this book. At least it was a fairly easy and quick read -- it would probably be helpful to next look at one of the follow-up books which look more at application.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Review: The 8th Habit

Very nice weekend, good time with family, friends, picnics, and weather that paused its storms just long enough to enjoy some time outside. But when the family decided on some naps, I headed over to Borders for some extra reading :)

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen R. Covey.

To be honest, I was not nearly as impressed by this book as his better known "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." (That one is definitely recommended. I also liked The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families.) I agree completely with the title of one of the reviews on Amazon: "Valuable Synthesis Presented Abstractly and Ponderously."

It starts pretty basic, "Discover Your Voice", "Express Your Voice", "Inspire Others to Find Their Voice", but the plot thickens quite quickly. Discovering your voice involves understanding your three magnificent birth gifts and developing each of your four intelligences/capacities. Then one must cultivate these four manifestations: "vision, discipline, passion and conscience". Once you've discovered your voice, it's critical to help others find theirs. The two key factors that allow you to do this include Focus and Execution. Execution involves Aligning (Goals and Systems to Results) and Empowering (Releasing Talent and Passion) The book concludes with a call to use our voice to serve others. So overall, there are a number of interesting ideas in the book, but it's not an easy read. (Reading this book after understanding the principle of "Teach Less for More" didn't help)

Here is my own condensed (and possibly inaccurate) summary of the whole book, applied to ministry... Beyond the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, what is the key new habit -

Discover your SHAPE, understand the needs around you, listen to what God may be calling you to do. Then do it! Encourage others to find what SHAPE God has given them and what He has called them to do.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Developing the Focused Life

Tomorrow starts my first day 'back at school' - Rockbridge Seminary online. The first course (R5400) is required and it's called 'Developing the Focused Life'.

Focused life? I have focus! You're talking about a guy who can be studying so hard in one room that he doesn't smell the smoke pouring out of the toaster oven in the next room. A guy who can't hear a second person speak if he's listening to someone else (just ask my wife!) Or are they talking about a different kind of focus?

Developing the Focused Life "guides students in an examination of their call to ministry; including their unique design and shape and an assessment of ministry competency. The course also orients students to Rockbridge Seminary’s virtual classroom and learner-focused model of study." Ah, ok. That does sound helpful.

You know what else is cool? Someone else at my Calvary has decided to enroll at Rockbridge, likely starting in the August term! A third is actually pondering it now. Not only am I doing something I wouldn't have imagined even a short time ago, now friends are too?!

Anybody else? Give me a shout if you are even remotely thinking of it!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What is a Small Group Coach?

Recently our Small Group Support Team has put in place something new to help small group leaders and to encourage the development of disciples as well as more groups for people - Small Group Coaches. It's kind of early to tell, but I'm wondering if we're not seeing resistance from some of the current small group leaders.


The Small Group Resources blog highlights that this is actually quite common when putting in place a coaching network:

"The arbitrary assignment of a small group leader to a coach is problematic. This is especially true when the assignment is attempted after the small group has been in existence for longer than about 3 months.If they've made it this long without your help...they will almost always resist the idea that they need what you're offering. Works much better when the assignment is made at the very beginning or where there is an existing relationship that has a mentoring quality."

Regardless, I thought it might be useful to share - as a coach - what the top priorities are for small group coaches at Calvary...


Top priority - love the small group leader and their people! If we do nothing else other than model the shepherding love we hope small group leaders will display for their people, that's a great start.


Second priority - assist and support the small group leader in trying to make their group experience the best it can possibly be! How? By praying for them, being a sounding board, helping them set their own goals (not set ones for them), helping them find new members, or whatever else might be useful for the group.


Third priority - help small group leaders understand the overall vision for encouraging the development of fully-devoted followers of Christ, which is the mission of our church. Serve to improve communications, in both directions, between what's going on in the group and what's going on elsewhere in the church.


I have to think that if all our small group leaders clearly understood these priorities and how we're trying to love them and help them as coaches, there really shouldn't be any resistance. I guess that's why they say that casting the vision (and not once, but repeatedly) is an essential ingredient in any kind of change.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Evolution of Communication

A friend asked recently about Twitter, which is not the easiest thing to explain. As I thought about this, it struck me as pushing out the end of what is a spectrum of communication media. In modern times the ability for an individual to communicate, across great distances, and with ever increasing speed, has allowed for a number of new forms of communication to emerge. Consider the following diagram (click to enlarge), which shows the evolution of one-to-one communication methods (from snail mail to email and text messaging) as well as one-to-many methods (journals to blogs and now to twitter). As the speed of communication changed, the formality has almost universally decreased. But one interesting feature is that the potential audience has changed. Blogs, for example, are often read by a small number of friends and family members, yet they are open to the public, and can be found by people you never would expect to find them. Overall, this has led to an increase in transparency, a personality aspect that has become quite highly valued. What's the point? Twitter is yet one more extension of the ability to communicate with others, no less valid than a research journal. It's another tool in our communication toolbox, and one whose value lies more with the desires of potential readers than with the content of the message itself.



 

Friday, June 20, 2008

Going Back to School

“I’ve enrolled in seminary!“ - those are words I really never thought I would say, but it’s true.

I’m going to be pursuing a Master’s of Ministry Leadership from Rockbridge Seminary. Rockbridge is an online seminary that focuses on practical biblical education for those already actively involved in ministry or otherwise unable to ‘put life on hold’ and attend a traditional seminary. Rockbridge offers a Purpose-Driven curriculum balancing training in worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, and ministry – all with a focus on supporting the mission of the local church as it lives out the Great Commission and Great Commandment.

There are three tracks – M.Div., Master's of Ministry Leadership (MML) and a Diploma in Ministry studies. MML students are required to complete 12 courses to earn their degree over a two-year period. While they take courses, students also must conduct church-based projects that demonstrate their mastery of 35 ministry competencies. Participants must be serving in a ministry role (whether full/part-time, paid or volunteer), and have local mentors. Co-founder Sam Simmons states: “Our learning model uses the student’s local church ministry as the primary learning platform.”

Why seminary? Two main reasons – I love learning, and I love serving Christ and encouraging others to do the same. This seems to be a great opportunity to bring those two passions together. In addition, the verse II Tim 2:2 is something that's really been speaking to me.

Why Rockbridge? Well, I’ve taken a few post-graduate courses from seminaries before. Homiletics, N.T. Greek, Harmony of the Gospels (probably my favorite), N.T. Survey. While I enjoyed them, I struggled with how what I was learning was so unrelated to what I was doing. While debating whether Galatians was written to the people of North Galatia or South Galatia is a fascinating exercise, that’s really not helping me answer the question ‘How can I be a better Small Group Coach?’ or ‘How do we encourage people to step up in leadership within the church?’ Previous reviews of what seminaries had to offer had not changed this impression. Recently though, I learned about Rockbridge and its unique approach. Biblical? Definitely. Practical? Oh my, yes. Accessible? Yes, both on cost and on flexibility. Develop a Ministry portfolio as a required component? Hmm, that’s cool. Incorporate mentoring, and focus on building up the local church? Wow, that’s different! Appropriate degree? Ministry Leadership degree? I can’t imagine a better fit for what I’m looking to learn! Finding the extra time for this will of course be a challenge, but I’m thankful that the writer’s strike early this year has paved the way for extra time for study, and as a night owl, I’m glad to be putting those late hours to better use than vegetating :)

So I’m really excited about this next step for me as I try to better understand and live out God’s calling on my life. With the blessing of Pastor Chuck and Calvary, I’m definitely looking forward to applying what I learn, as an new 'intern' helping with Volunteer Ministries.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Response to our Vision Path

In response to our recent Vision Path for the next two years, the Deacons at Calvary were asked to prayerfully consider this Vision and direction, and answer the following question:

Because I now understand _____________, (an insight)
I am going to _________________________, (an action step)
so that _______________________________. (an outcome or purpose)

Having spent a lot of time working on the Vision Path, and with a lot of other prayer recently on my purpose and calling, I really gave this question a lot of thought. In fact, I felt led to consider taking a step in each of our four top priorities: 1) upcoming sabbatical for our pastor, 2) becoming a church of small groups, 3) intentional leadership development, and 4) building a strong financial base. So here's how I answered the question...

Because I now understand that it is up to every one of us, together, to do our utmost to serve out a kingdom purpose, and that God has SHAPED me to encourage and equip others for ministry…

I am going to…

… step up as a Volunteer Ministries Director,
     so that we can more effectively engage people in ministry during the sabbatical.
… serve as a Small Groups Coach,
     so that small group leaders will be better supported as they shepherd their groups.
… study diligently on the practice of developing leaders and on effective ministry (more on that next post)
     so that I can learn more about how to be an effective leader and developer of ministry leaders.
… give away my ‘economic stimulus’ check as an offering towards the Connection Center
     so that we don’t have to take away funds from our operating budget to pay for the building.

I just don't think we can afford to sit around and play games with ministry when God has called us to be agents of change, transforming lives in our community and in our church, as he longs to call many unto him and build them up as followers of Christ, loving and serving one another. Let's roll!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My Personal Purpose Statement

I thought it would be useful to write out a declaration of purpose, a personal statement, based on recent reflection on mid-life and the powerful grip of II Timothy 2:1-2 - “So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me… to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others.” (paraphrase of ‘The Message’. See also: Luke 10:27, Philippians 2:3, II Thess 1:11-12)

"Today, recognizing God’s call and purpose for my life, I commit myself wholeheartedly to serving Him with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength and all my mind, loving my neighbor as myself. I commit to being a fully-devoted follower of Christ, and by his grace and power devote myself to encouraging and equipping others to be who God has called them to be, and do what God has called them to do. No longer content with living for myself and things that will fade away, I want to labor for things that will last. I want to step up to God’s call for my life, that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose in me, all for His glory. Considering what Christ has done for me, I can no longer be content with giving less than my all, for God’s desire is not just to touch lives, but to transform them."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mid-life Opportunity

Well, this year I’ll officially be “Middle-Aged”. That’s being kind – I'm not just entering the middle third of life, but my age is now one-half of my life expectancy. (Thankfully, that expectancy is up with recent changes in diet and exercise, heck one website says my ‘Virtual Age’ is only 30! :)

Time for a crisis? No – more like an opportunity (which is defined as: “an appropriate or favorable time”). I don’t like to wait until milestone birthdays to start thinking about how I’m getting older, but like to take a look at my life in advance of the big day, and take some action that goes against the flow of getting older. This year has been no exception, and I’ve been taking stock of my life. I honestly feel like things have never been better. I have a wonderful wife, four fantastic kids, I’m in the best shape I’ve been in over the last couple of decades, I love my work, and feel like I’m using my gifts well in ministry. But… what’s next?

Over the course of the last few months I’ve been on a team looking at strategic planning for our church, which has really helped to clarify what we need to do and what we need to focus on over the next couple of years. One key priority is leadership development. In the course of researching and studying leadership and developing leaders, I’ve come to find myself falling quite short of where I would like to be. In particular, I’m really not as good a leader as I thought. I have an attitude of “get ‘er done” and can take charge of a project just fine, I’m comfortable in leading, speaking, willing to step up to challenges. But the more I think about it, I’ve been far more of a ‘doer’ than a leader. I’m fairly good at meeting goals or leading a task, but where I fall way short is in developing other leaders. In the terms of Jim Collins (Good to Great), I’m a level 3 leader. That’s someone who can lead a team of followers and get something done, but a level four leader is one who effect­ively develops other people into leaders. (A level 5 leader can do that for a whole organization, and create a culture of leadership development that really allows greatness to emerge.) So what’s so bad about that?

A level 3 leader has limited impact. He or she adds value to a team, or an organization, but without further development really isn’t capable of seeing “multiplication”. Whether in business or in ministry, if you’re “doing” and not intentionally developing other leaders capable of doing what you can do, independently, all you have is the power of one. That’s the problem – I don’t want to have an incremental impact on my family, my community, on God’s kingdom – I want to be a significant part of God doing great things.

In the first half of my life I’ve become as successful as I possibly can be at being a doer… For the next half, I want to become the leader God has shaped me to be, pouring myself into the lives of others, encouraging and equipping them to be the very best they can be, and help develop others into servant leaders, faithful and able to teach others. I’m hearing the call of Paul in II Timothy 2:2. In volleyball, though I play hard, I play to have fun. In my life, and in my ministry, I want to compete to win, and hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Monday, June 16, 2008

Huge Success on Outrigger Island

Our children's ministry team and 75 volunteer helpers absolutely knocked it out of the park last week! We just finished our VBS Summer Camp - "Outrigger Island" and it was our best one ever. Not only did the kids have a great time, not only did we see an 18% increase in attendance, not only did the Youth attendance increase 150%, but the week went more smoothly than I've ever seen it. Quite a few commitments to Christ as well!

Great job, and a huge round of thanks, to everyone involved!

Too early to start thinking ahead to next year for "Boomerang Express" an Austrialian outback themed VBS? Not for our team! :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day! Every year on Father's Day I'm so thankful for the fantastic Dad I have, who's always been there for me, and who has taught me so much. In the past few years, I've also come to be very thankful for the amazing kids I have, who have taught me more about love than anyone else than my maker ever could.

Last week I got to see Connersvine in concert. My favorite song of theirs is "Hero", which Hunter wrote for his son, talking about how he wants to be there for his boy, and pass something on that lives beyond him. We were scheduled to play this song for Father's day, and I knew I was going to cry if we did, so I'm glad when we switched it out. :)

Little did I know that our Worship Leader would instead swap in a video of this song by Brad Paisley - "He Didn't Have to Be". Embedding is disabled, but you can view this song on YouTube - check it out.

It's about a Dad who was special because he chose to be a dad to this boy, a father who was special because he didn't have to be. As an adoptive father of four, I of course lost it on stage. I hate when I do that. But it's ok... it's Father's Day :)