Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Do We Look Like A Pageant?

OK, I have to air out a frustration here. For those of you who like to think planting a church is always wonderful, God-inspiring work - you may want to turn your head for a minute.

This has happened a few times since we started, and some of the names and places have been changed to protect the innocent: Said Christian family visits the church one Sunday and grabs me after the service to begin the game. Stop me if you've heard this before - they have been shopping around for a church for a while, and we seem to have a few things that might interest them. "Could we meet for lunch sometime this week so you can give us the full sales pitch?" I say "sure", because I'm always there for food and we set a date.

At lunch over burritos, I share my heart and they probe for why we would be more deserving of their attendance than the last 5 churches they have tried out. I'm a nice person, so at the end of the interview I pick up the check and tell them I hope to see them on Sunday.

Said Christian family shows up a couple more times to kick the tires a bit...see what other incentives we could offer them to join...could we possibly throw in a leadership position to be named later? Something obviously goes horribly wrong because suddenly they disappear for a couple of weeks.

That's all fine - I kind of understand most of that - but here's what really gets me: said Christian family decides to call me one day to let me know that they have prayed about it - a lot, and we just are not the church for them. But if the other church somehow fails to fulfill their duties as their church of the month, we might still be the winner! O glory be!!!

Sometimes, lost people just seem to be nicer than us Christians. Why is that?

Alright, I'm done. It's safe to look again... :)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sitting In The Airport

I am right now sitting in the Greenville/Spartanburg airport waiting for my flight to Dallas. This is my first time to fly out of GSP, and so far I am impressed. For one thing, they have wifi through the entire airport. A very cool thing that Atlanta needs to add. They also have clearly marked outlets at every gate for plugging in your "gear". Nice. Here are a few thoughts heading into this week:

1. I am going to Dallas this week to work with Leadership Network on their meeting facilitation teams. It's sort of a think-tank for churches and leaders from around the nation. This one is on church planting. I am excited about being a small part of a great organization.

2. We had our biggest Sunday ever yesterday! The worship was awesome, the message was off-the-hook, and we played a Journey song! What more could you want from a service?

3. I am stoked about getting our small groups started again this week. I am looking for over 85% participation this semester. I think they are that important for the spiritual health of our people. If you are not in a small group yet, what are you waiting for?!?

4. We are in the planning stages for our Sunday morning youth ministry called Nitro. It's going to be awesome! More about that later - they are calling my flight!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Early Bird Might Not Always Get The Worm

Allow me to rant. I have been reading several guys lately who love to talk about how early they get up in the morning and get to work. 5am is nothing to these guys. I have something to admit: I do not like the morning. Wait, that wasn't strong enough...I HATE mornings! My family knows not to ask me anything important before 10am. It will either be answered with a grunt, or by something that will be retracted immediately when I have found my senses.

I have tried to like the morning. I have tried to make peace with early people. I once heard a speaker that I respect - say that he does 90% of his creative thinking before 8am; so I resolved to start my work days by at least 7. That lasted 2 days. I ended up staring at my computer screen for 3 hours and wishing I was dead. The only creative thing that I did was to stop showing up at 7!

Don't get me wrong - I'm not lazy. In fact, I have a very difficult time with people who do not work hard. I think that was instilled in me by my dad. (God is working on my patience. :)) I just do it a different time than most people.

I am a musician. I really think that we are wired differently. I am most creative from about 9 - 12 at night. Maybe it's from so many late gigs and rehearsals through the years...I don't know. I just know that it's time to own it.

Am I wrong? Am I the only one? I can't be...speak up night people!!!


Seems like everyone is listing their favorite books from the last year, so - not to be left behind, here are my top 10 of '05:

1. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Great book that really flipped my thinking. Books like this are dangerous, they make you reconsider things you always believed. Which leads to my next book:

2. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
After all of the hype, I had to read it. Man, I'm glad I did! Challenged me on almost every page.

3. 7 Practices Of Effective Ministry by the Northpoint guys
A great play-by-play of how and why they do the things they do. They do them well and with purpose.

4. Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Should be a must read for every pastor and staff in America. Extremely applicable to the church.

5. Seizing Your Devine Moment by Erwin McManus
I actually read this in 'o4, but I have reread it several times since. I noticed that it has been re-released as "Chasing Daylight". A GREAT book that changed my life. (also read "Barbarian Way")

6. God Is Closer Than You Think by John Ortberg
Maybe my favorite writer. Totally challenged my view of prayer.

7. A Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg
A Biblically based manual for living a God focused life.

8. The Secret: What Great Leaders Know--And Do by Ken Blanchard & Mark Miller
Good business book that teaches you how lead a team.

9. The Best Question Ever by Andy Stanley
Really easy read that makes total sense. A must read for anyone who counsels people.

Traveling Mercies : Some Thoughts on Faith by Ann Lamott Another one of those "challenge your thinking" kind of books. A very effective, entertaining writer.

Books I'm currently reading or about to read:
Bird By Bird - Ann Lamott; Searching For God Knows What - Donald Miller; Now, Discover Your Strengths - Marcus Buckingham; Five Dysfunctions Of A Team - Patrick M. Lencioni

Anything you would suggest for me in '06?

Oh yeah - HOOK 'EM HORNS!!!