Apr 302007

Through some of my reading I came across an interesting article in Outreach Magazine by Dan Kimball.  Dan is a pastor and author and has a heart to reach out to people who have yet to connect with God and the church.  You can check out the entire article here.  This article hits home for me because my passion is to connect with and reach the people that are the least likely to go to church and the people that seem to have been neglected by much of the church in our culture.  Here is a summary of the article and thoughts on what I am learning:

Unchurced or de-churched people would like:

  • A church that offered a continual conversation exploring issues of faith rather than a sermon with nicely wrapped conclusions.
  • A church that places as much emphasis on relationships and conversations taking place during the week in smaller groups as they do on church services during the weekend.
  • A church that focused less on programs and more on relationships and internal spiritual disciplines.
  • A church that affirms love for all people rather than for people who think just like them.
  • A church that focused on the teachings of Jesus and taught about the life of Jesus.  Most people outside the church are respectful and open to Jesus, it is people in the church they have a problem with.
  • A church that simply has people that would invite them to join in the conversation.  They want to be invited through a trusting relationship rather than through a strange encounter on the street.

I would love to hear your comments on some of these thoughts.  Feel free to agree or disagree and offer your personal opinions on how we can relate to and connect with people that are outside the church.  If you are someone that has yet to connect with the church, I would love to hear your comments as well.

Go ahead, share a comment!

Let’s pray for how we can authentically, accurately, and genuinely reflect Jesus to a world that needs hope!

Most people come to faith in Christ on the arm of a trusted friend!

Part two coming NEXT TIME!

 Posted by at 1:57 pm
Apr 282007

I am sitting here on Saturday evening looking over my sermon and praying for God to do something incredible tomorrow in the lives of people through our Gathering.  I can’t help but think of how awesome God has worked in such a short time in the life of Church at the Grove!  Although I am thankful and amazed I know it is just the beginning!  I can’t help but dream of what God will continue to do.  Here are a few things I am dreaming about:

  • I am dreaming of the near future that we will open another campus and become one church in two locations in a nearby community!
  • I am dreaming about the day that we will become the primary sponsoring church of a new church plant in a nearby community!
  • I am dreaming about continuing to invest in new churches beginning in the near future.  Check out River Hills Church that will launch this fall!
  • I am dreaming about the prospect of land and a permanent building home for Church at the Grove.  This is not to build a monument to people or for our benefit, but it is add credibility to what God is doing and to show the community we are here for the long haul.  Our desire is to one day have a facility that would benefit our community as well as provide a place for our gatherings.
  • I am dreaming about seeing massive numbers of people being baptized as a result of a connection with someone from Church at the Grove!
  • I am dreaming about continuing with our commitment to reach out to the people that are the least likely to go to church!  Many churches have turned their back on people that have never been to church or haven’t been to church in a long time.  We dream of being a church for all kinds of people.
  • I dream of beginning a foundation for those in the Law Enforcement Community that would provide for help as they endure the challenges and the consequences of the sacrificial life of serving and protecting their community.
  • I am dreaming of continuing to develop our relationship with the schools in our community and building on our reputation of being a church that loves teachers, faculty, and administrators of our local schools. 
  • I am dreaming of the near future when we will have a church planting school that will train and equip young leaders to plant and lead churches that effectively reach people with the gospel of Jesus!  We will recruit, develop and send out young talented leaders to plant churches that create relevant environments for people to hear the message of redemption through Christ!
  • I am dreaming of a day when we can provide resources for global partnerships that will reach people around the globe with the love of Jesus!
  • I am dreaming of the day that we will be sending people to respond with ministry immediately following natural disasters and crisis situations all over the country!
  • I am dreaming of seeing more and more people come on Sundays that have yet to hear of the mercy and grace of Jesus because YOU have invited them!

I am seeing a dream become a reality……..I am LIVING THE DREAM! 

Will you join Me?

 Posted by at 8:56 pm
Apr 252007

Yesterday (Tuesday 4.24.07) I had the privilege and opportunity to ride with Bryan Hoover to a workshop led by who I think is one of the top leaders in local church ministry in the country.  Tim Stevens is the Executive Pastor of Granger Community Church and authors a blog called Leading Smart.  We attended a workshop at Westridge Church in Dallas, GA put on by wiredchurches.com.  These are the guys from Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana.  For a point of reference, they are very close to Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana.

Here is a few things I learned:

  • We must focus on reaching the unconvinced!  These are people that have not yet turned to follow Christ.
  • We must provided accessible “on-ramps” for people to enter their spiritual journey.  What are the easy steps a church provides people to join others in the journey to follow Christ.  The steps must be simple.  Sundays, Community Groups and inviting friends are easy “on-ramps”. 
  • We must be creatively redundant!  Saying and repeating the same biblical principles in fresh ways help lead people to follow Christ.
  • Bigger is better!  It’s not the size of the church that matters but a church must be unapologetically committed to grow through reaching people for Jesus!
  • We must be cross-cultural missionaries in order to reach people effectively with the message of Jesus.  Basically we must understand the culture we live in and bridge the culture to reach more people.
  • Pop culture is the language of the culture in America!
  • We must take the greatest message ever given and communicate it to people in GREAT ways!
  • It is a sin to make the gospel of Jesus boring!
  • We must make sharing the message of Jesus our focus!
  • We must share the message in ways and manners that are fun!  People love to laugh and it is ok to have fun in church!
  • Changed lives is our measurement for success!

Check out Tim’s blog ‘Leading Smart’.  He offers great insight to business leaders as well as church leaders. 

I am committed to being a learner and growing in my faith and my ability to lead.  Join me on the journey of following Jesus and becoming a more effective leader of people!

 Posted by at 9:53 pm
Apr 232007

I know I should not be amazed at what God is doing, but yet I continue to be amazed as He continues to work in amazing ways!  Isn’t that amazing?

To see how we continue to grow in the number of people coming to our Sunday gatherings at Church at the Grove and to hear the stories of what God is doing is absolutely incredible!  Listen to this:

  • Yesterday Craig Story nailed it with the sermon on what Jesus would say to those who have screwed up their life.  That may be the best from Craig yet, but I bet it will get better.  There is not a better guy in the universe.  I can’t help but get tickled when I hear Craig talk about sin in his past.  There is not a guy who is more squeaky clean than Craig in the whole world.  I think Craig may have smoked a crayon when he was in preschool but that had to be the worst thing he has ever done!
  • We had a total of 285 people present in both services combined.  That is absolutely awesome and our servant volunteers are making it happen.
  • We had incredible setup and breakdown teams!  I can’t help but thank Billy and Melinda Guy, Alison and Wayne Reid, Craig and Belinda Hodges, Jim and Olen Smith, Melissa Willet, Brian and Trina Peart, Jeff and Felicia Durr, Kevin and Kim Gibson, and Craig and Tonya Calhoun.  All of you guys Rock!  Your kids are awesome too for coming and helping.
  • I have to make special mention of Chris and Pam Atwell and their kids.  Chris made a trip back from Charlotte, N.C. after his grandmother passed away simply so he, Pam and the kids could come and help setup and serve in our children’s ministry!  They did all of this and then were leaving Sunday to head back to Charlotte for a funeral.  NOW THAT IS COMMITMENT!  They get the “FREAK OF THE WEEK” AWARD!
  • The Band!  What else can I say, but the band, WHOA, the Band.  Dave O and the guys continue to take it to another level on a weekly basis.  And you haven’t seen anything yet.  Wait to you hear what they have in store for our upcoming series!  They have been writing their own original songs for our future teaching series.  You dont’ want to miss it.
  • I wish I could tell you the stories of what God is doing in the individual lives of people coming to our gatherings and those connecting to Church at the Grove.

This coming Sunday is the last Sunday in our “Dialogue: Welcome to the Conversation” series based on what Jesus would say to different people.  This Sunday is “What would Jesus say to the self-righteous and legalistic?”  IT IS A SUNDAY YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS.

On May 6 we do a one week teaching called “INKED” based on the marks of a follower of Christ.  We will be asking for people to sign up for our next Baptism service on Sunday June 3!

Beginning May 13 (Mother’s Day) we will begin a series called “Fuel”: Because you need it for the Journey!  It will be a great 3 week series utilizing Racing as a metaphor for our spiritual journey. 

Our next membership class is Sunday night May 6 in the home of Russ and Jill Butcher. 

What a weekend!  Don’t stop praying!  Don’t stop inviting!  Get up and walk outside and talk to a neighbor!  Walk across the street!

I am thankful for good hair gel.  I am thankful for what God is doing!

 Posted by at 10:14 pm