learning on the run…

31 03 2006

running the race…that is – yea, i'd like to be the one touting the basic benefits of a good morning or evening run – but there are other bloggers doing that – why take up space (and lie)? So, I'm talking about running the race that God has for us – you know the one Paul referred to…

I've been learning a lot this year…it seems some of my focus has been on marketing/presentation. I've explored hundreds of church websites scanning for design elements and effectiveness. I've scanned dozens of web companies that offer design/hosting/etc for websites (still haven't found the right one that balances cost effectiveness with simplicity – we're not code-geniuses @ COTN – and also with beauty/attractiveness) – is there one out there? If you know of one, I need to know about it.

I've also gained an education in the logo design field (no, I'm not an artist) – that is, the process that's needed to go through to get the right image and representation. We've finally connected with I believe the right designer and the check's in the mail (hope you're reading this Jason).

Finally, I've learned a little about the process of being involved in a newspaper article (the good variety of course). I mentioned it in yesterday's blog…that the Oconee Enterprise had picked up a story and God gave us great favor with them in terms of the press we received. Here's the article headline – Building a Nation – can you ask for a better one? Being the critique'er of words (and now the inventor of words…is critique'er a word, it is now!), I have read the article several times and each time I'm left with the feeling that we were well represented, God is pleased and His favor rests upon us for such a time as this! I'll try to scan the article into pdf next week and post – unfortunately, because it's a local, rural, weekly paper there's not a copy to read on-line.

So, all this learning while on the run has benefited me greatly – hopefully COTN and the Kingdom! It's a sheer joy to serve Christ in these times, at this church, with His people, with His favor and blessing – ministry is fun!

Finally, I know many seasoned ministers have faced these situations before and now do so with relative ease – simply put, I'm happy for you (I really am…no sarcasm there). I just know for me, that in every season of life, I'm to gain the fruit that that particular season offers (or else I go through it again) – I think it's called learning a lesson…





favor of God

30 03 2006

so…we're planning towards Easter – the band & choir are kicking into overtime with extra prep time…we've got tickets we're giving out to everyone to challenge them to give them away – this is our first attempt at leveraging the power of buzz – here's how I see it coming together…

First, we had our "Taking Ground" Service (I'll post about this creative way of doing the typical Groundbreaking Ceremony) last month…I submitted press releases to the local papers…1 of them picks up on it and decides to run it as a feature in the paper that's mailed out to EVERYONE in the county (subscribers as well as non-) – God's favor!

Several weeks ago I came across something that Rick Warren used to do (maybe still does…?) – the concept hit me as being God's timing. I will send out a letter, passionately appealing to everyone to get the word out. How's that differ than anything else? Because our people won't be expecting it – they're used to seeing "stuff" from the Sr. Pastor or Exec. Pastor – but not me, and they haven't been challenged like this in quite a while (meaning I don't know when) in the form of a letter. I will painstakingly review every word/phrase/paragraph to make sure it communicates: passion, authentic

We're also taking out ads in the Athens paper to support and help increase awareness – the ads will reflect the artwork that's going to be printed on the tickets…

All of this is a synergistic effort to capatilize on 2 things: 1.) Buzz; 2.) Momentum…

What a great church…a great time to be serving in the Kingdom…can't wait to see what God's going to do

I've included copies of the tickets we'll be mailing out to everyone for you to take a look at…

easter ticket front.pdf

easter ticket back.pdf





the past and the present

28 03 2006

During prayer this morning at church we focused on several things… the blood of Christ, vision, our "Go Deep" services, our Sunday morning services…praying for our youth and children…praying for the upcoming launch of CARE Ministry…prayer for our members and the people that call COTN home.

Here's what God was speaking to me…the blood of Christ covers the past, the vision of God takes us into our future.

Pastor Mel has been teaching in various settings how the vision that God has for us (teaching from Habakuk 2) isn't meant for the past or the present – it's what God has for us for the future!

Later this AM, I'm scanning through my daily blog read and come across Brad's post about God's favor in terms of provision for locations and church planting…I took a few minutes to tune into his podcast and heard these two statements below. The first one…he mentioned the author (I don't remember) – the second, I'm pretty sure, has been recently stated by Mark Batterson

"We need to be reminded more than we need to be informed."

"We tend to remember what we need to forget and forget what we need to remember."

So, I'm processing these two comments in light of the "past" they tend to emphasize and the vision ("future") that we're embracing for us…here are my thoughts.

In Habakkuk 2, where the writer tells us to write the vision on tablets so that someone may run with it – it's not speaking of running with tablets – its speaking of having seen the vision, then we run with it – which means we remember it! …which means we remember the vision that God gives and move forward with it – we carry it – we are the carriers of the vision – but, first, we've got to see it!





this word keeps popping up…

23 03 2006

culture…

The word surfaced last week while I was prepping for a talk I would be leading here at our church…i’ll bottom line it here…culture is the sum total of our habits – i.e., our habits create our culture.

Here’s the cool thing, I’m reading through my blogs that i read everyday and Mark is talking about how he’s pondered the idea of hiring a Pastor of Culture…I say, bad choice, instead, put into every staff member’s job desription that they are the carriers of the culture or the keepers of the culture…spread the load so that everyone carries the responsibility…that’s my take…I’ll e-mail him these thoughts…in his words…for what it’s worth!

Also, two other things on my mind, one, Gary‘s hitting the nail on the head on his blog – we’ve got to be true to who we are in Christ – God redeemed us as we were – sure, there’s change involved, but conformity is a world away from change – God changes, man expects conformity! Something to think on…I’ll stick with conforming to Christ…and all that entails…
Then, Perry (although a Clemson fan, there’s hope), blogs about the priority our marriage should take over our ministry – check it out…

Finally, I want to add some subscription buttons along the side of my site – can someone help me out with the idiots guide to this…point me in the right direction…





what i’m reading

21 03 2006

Just a quick post to highlight a couple of blogs in the sphere that are hitting the proverbial nail on the head…I thank God for this avenue of interaction…it provides an opportunity for challenge and perspective. Brad is a pastor up in the Detroit area that’s building for future generations…if I’m ever up in the area, his is a church I’m gonne check out – check out what he has to say about change and transitions. It’s so cool to see the Kingdom advanced and expanded…. Also, Mark is – as always – teaching with incredible insight and wisdom…the thing I like about both of these guys is that we share the same DNA (not in a literal sense, only in a spiritual sense). God is using these guys to speak into my life, check my thinking, challenge my motives, and aid me in keeping an eye out for the big pic…

Now, I’m going to go eat some of my wife’s incredible spaghetti…watch American Idol later (no feedback needed, I’m pulling for Mandisa, the sister’s got game when it comes to the pipes!!!) – plus, she’s a worship leader for Beth Moore at some of her conferences…praying for the sista!

Finally, on a totally unrelated note…funny video here 





processing

20 03 2006

So, I’m still processing all that I took away from the Granger Regional Workshop in addition to what took place in a class that I was teaching yesterday here at COTN…here’s what’s going on…culture is the sum total of our habits. In other words, we have a culture of ______ because we have a habit of _____. So, how do we change that…well, as me and someone else were discussing, it’s not through a program a ministry or a discussion – it’s action baby! It takes us changing our actions to recreate the culture. Our habits are created by our actions – those things we do over and over.

There’s a challenge facing us here @ COTN that we need to overcome…I’ll not go into details, but suffice it to say that our culture needs some “modification.” How’s it start? Glad you asked…it starts with me. I can’t put the blame on someone else, it’s me. It’s others too, but it starts with me.

Man, these are great times we’re living in…God is pushing us forward, bringing growth, adding people to the core of our church, causing us to re-think how we’ve done things, developing a team-spirit here that I’ve never experienced – great times. God, help us to embrace everything you have for us, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!





value the Word…

20 03 2006

Isaiah 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (NASB)

Isaiah 55:10 The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (NLT)