Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Community BBQ a big success

This weekend Calvary Baptist Church held our 9th Annual Community BBQ. There were pony rides, a moonwalk and obstacle course, dunk tank, and enough food to feed a small army. (The elephant ears and the BBQ chicken were amazing!)  The music was outstanding too, featuring Indianapolis-based 1000 Generations, local artist Joel Brovont, as well as our own XL Youth Praise Band. (XL was my favorite, but I'm biased!)  My kids really enjoyed the Boilermaker train ride (see below). The attendance this year... almost 1200 people, which is our biggest turnout ever. Fantastic jobs to all who volunteered - you guys rock!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New book out today - Wild Goose Chase

Released today is a new book by Mark Batterson - it's called "Wild Goose Chase."  You might not guess it from the title, but the book is about living a life that follows the Holy Spirit. Here's a summary of the book:
"Most of us have no idea where we’re going most of the time. Perfect.

“Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something….

Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure.” --from the introduction."

Author bio (from the press release): Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of Washington, DC’s National Community Church, widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative churches. NCC meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the city, as well as in a church-owned coffee house near Union Station. More than seventy percent of NCC’ers are single twentysomethings who live or work on Capitol Hill. Mark is the author of the best-selling In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and a widely read blogger (www.markbatterson.com). He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children.

I really enjoyed "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" and look forward to reading this as well. Expect a review before too long - if I get a chance I'll be reading it this week as I visit my family in NC.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Power of Vision plus SHAPE

Getting a little creative with our volunteer leader meeting...

Last week we had a special meeting / thank you luncheon for our ministry leaders whose focus is on equipping others or who are actively building a team for ministry. It was originally supposed to be a fairly basic meeting to encourage them and keep them aware of what's coming in the fall, plus a light lunch. Well, that's not the way it turned out - but no thanks to me. Instead it went down something like this...

Guests arrived to a decorated room with tables setup for a formal luncheon, classical music in the background. Their table server handed them a carefully designed menu with a quite a selection of dishes. Appetizers included Brushetta, Cream Cheese and Bacon Roll-ups, and Stuffed Mushrooms. Entree choices were Chicken Cordon Bleu and New Potatoes with Garlic and Cilantro, Creamy Mushroom Alaska Salmon Bake, and Beef Stronganoff. Sides available were Herbed Asparagus, Green Beans Almondine, and Glazed Carrots. There was a separate dessert menu offereing Chocolate Mousse, Irish Creme Brulee, and Strawberry Shortcake, with an optional cappuccino. During the appetizers I shared about what was coming up this fall in ministry, and over dessert I got to share our church's vision for ministry that blesses those who serve as well as those served.

I was just going to serve chili, so how did this happen? It's the power of vision combined with SHAPE. I asked some friends to help me with the lunch part of the meeting, but instead of focusing on the food I explained to them the purpose of the meeting and the vision I was looking to share, about loving your team, caring for people as person not just for what they do, etc. A few days later they came back with "We know what we want to do for the lunch."  "Oh, really? What's that?" I asked. They showed me a menu, the one listed above. Once I picked my jaw off the ground I asked if there were serious. Indeed they were. Well... I definitely was going to need a room setup and some table servers if that's the new plan. So I asked the new leader of our First Impressions Ministry if she would like to have a chance to demonstrate their teams' motto of 'Creating a Wow Experience for our Guests' (this would involve her serving instead of being served). "Sure! How can I help?" My wonderful wife with her gift of hospitality also wanted to help serve, and another friend with experience as a waiter in the top restaurant in town was also happy to help when I shared the vision of the meeting. Two wonderful ladies who love kids were willing to provide child care (and lunch for the kids) during this.

Here’s the principle – if your people know they are loved, are presented with a vision that is compelling to action, and they are given a chance to decide how they are going to pursue the vision – stand back and look out!! This has been a ton of work for several people, especially Jeff and Terry, but they’ve been so excited about doing this. The people involved are getting to use their SHAPE, their gifts of helps, organization, administration, hospitality, leadership, with a goal of showing love to you ministry leaders – with hopes that they in turn will show that kind of love to their team. We got to visually demonstrate I talked about in the last post - love your team!  Thank you so much Jeff, Terry, April, Val, Kari, Charles and Dawn - you guys rock!

This Thursday's post is linked in to Creative Chaos at the blog of Ragamuffinsoul.com.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A New Command for Ministry Leaders

Jesus did not come to add to or take away from the law - not in the slighest (Matt 5:17-19). And yet in the New Testament he had precisely one new command. It wasn't a new law but a new application of the greatest law. Out of all the important things He could have told His disciples, what crucial new assignment did Jesus actually have for those He loved? John 13:34-35 tells us: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

So today, ministry leader, if you (like me) have focused much on the tasks and goals of ministry, I have a new command for you: Love - your - team. You guys have a heart for the people you serve or you wouldn’t be doing what you do. What the Lord is saying, what I’m asking you to do, is to “Love on those you equip and serve with, not just those you serve.” Share your heart, passion and vision. Go beyond the task. There is a dual-focus of ministry – the way you treat your people, and the way you love those you serve. Here is what I had to share with my ministry leaders at Calvary last week...

Why have I become an intern in Volunteer Ministries at Calvary, and why I’m now going to seminary to study Ministry Leadership? It’s because as I look back over the first half of my life I see a man who while He loves God has been focused on the task, a skillful doer who would rather just do something himself than get slowed down by a team, a person focused on the results. That half of my life is over – for the rest of my life, starting today, I want to live for God by serving others, by investing in people and building up leaders, by encouraging and equipping my brothers and sisters to fan into flame the gifts and passion God has given you – in ministry that transforms lives! I want to be there for you guys, I want to encourage you and equip you and challenge you to be who God has called you to be, and do what God has called you to do. And today I ask you from my heart – Love your team. Build them up. Invest in them. See beyond the task of ministry, as important as that is, and start to think in terms of empowering others to transform lives.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart

On this day 22 years ago I had the special blessing of marrying my best friend, Dawn. We've had many happy years together since, been through a lot, and despite the usual rough patches, we have not only survived but grown deeper in love. God has been so good to me, blessing me immensely with Dawn and with my four wonderful kids. So I just wanted to take a moment today to give thanks back to Him, and publically tell Dawn... I love you!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ministry Spotlight this Month

Last month at Calvary we had a series of testimonies on Small Groups - some great words on how people have found friends, comfort, challenge, and support in times of crisis, through the people in their small group. For August we're going to be focusing on 'Ministry', and we hope to share how getting involved in ministry has had great impact on both the people getting involved as well as those they serve. We'll offer our Life Development 301 class "Discovering your Shape for Ministry" over two Sundays (August 10th and 17th). Toward the end of the month we'll have a ministry fair of sorts, spotlighting some opportunities to serve. Throughout the month Pastor Chuck will be preaching on various aspects of ministry. Why all this emphasis? Ephesians 2:10 tells us that serving others isn't an afterthought or something optional - "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." When we understand that, and as we start to figure out what God has designed us to do, we find that serving moves from being a duty to becoming a joy.