Jan 302012
 

We have experienced enormous blessing over the last year and specifically over this past month as we have launched our new campus in Social Circle!  We continue to see new people added to both our campuses this month!   We are growing and it is exciting!

Here is my BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL and desire for Church at the Grove right now!  Are you ready?!
Let’s keep growing!  Yeah, I said it!  Let’s keep growing and here are the specific areas I want us to focus on growing:
Let’s keep growing numerically!  
  • I will never apologize for wanting and desiring our church to grow numerically.  Do a word study in the book of Acts on the word “numbers” and you will see that Luke records over and over when people were added to the church.  If our mission is to lead people to follow Jesus and Make Disciples then we should be adding people.
  • I want to see 100 people baptized this year!  There, I said it!  I believe it can happen.
  • I believe that we can average over 500 people in attendance by September this year!
Let’s grow spiritually!
  • I want us to have more people reading their Bibles daily.
  • I want to have more people engaged in serving their community.
  • I want to have more people being transformed into the image of Jesus in every area of their life.
  • I want to see more people sharing the gospel with their family and friends.
  • I want to see more people investing in people and inviting them to our Sunday CATGrove gatherings.
  • I want to hear about more families having a nightly family devotional/prayer time.
  • I want more marriages to grow stronger and healthier.
  • I want to see more people involved in Community Group Bible Study.
Let’s grow relationally!
  • I would love to set a record this fall for how many people are involved in Community Groups.
  • I challenge you to make more time to simply develop your friendships and relationships this year.
  • Make time for people.
  • Come early and stay a little late on Sundays so you can have a conversation with some people you don’t know that well.
  • Plan to get to know some of our newer attendees over this next month!
  • Remember, we are about PEOPLE!
I love Jesus!  I love what He is doing.  I love Church at the Grove!
 Posted by at 11:26 pm
Jan 272012
 
In February of 2008 I was ready to quit.
We had planted Church at the Grove in September 2006 and had an exciting launch and quick growth in the first year and a half.  There were several disappointing circumstances at the end of 2007 that led some families to leave the church.  Our attendance was stagnant and I was simply tired and discouraged.  Our financial support would be ending later in the year and the numbers did not add up for us to be self-sustaining.  I spent some time on more than one occasion looking at the classifieds in the paper thinking I could get a “regular” job and be a great volunteer leader to a pastor somewhere.
I called one of my most encouraging friends, Mike Linch, pastor of NorthStar Church in northwest Cobb County where I had served almost 5 years as student pastor.  I knew Mike understood what I was going through after planting NorthStar several years earlier. He shared with me some of the ups and downs he personally had experienced and then gave some simply, yet profound advice.
Don’t Give Up! Hang in there!  Give it some time!  Think Long!
I listened and God has blessed my “Thinking Long”!  I am in this for the long haul!  I love church planting!  I love Church at the Grove.  I intend to honor God and spread the gospel through a long term commitment to a local church that plants churches!
I am reading Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around your Biggest Dreams and Biggest Fears.  In the book Batterson issues a challenge to “Think Long” in our prayers, dreams and ambition to see God move.
He states,
“We live in a quick-fix, real-time culture. Between the news ticker and Twitter, we’re always in the know, always in the now. We don’t just want to have our cake and eat it too; we want the instant brand. We want to reap the second after we sow, but this isn’t the way it works with dreaming big and praying hard. We need the patience of the planter. We need the foresight of the farmer. We need the mindset of the sower.”
Batterson goes on to tell this incredible story about “Thinking Long”:

“On the Swedish island Visingsö, there is a mysterious forest of oak trees; mysterious because oak trees aren’t indigenous to the island, and its origin was unknown for more than a century. Then in 1980, the Swedish Navy received a letter from the Forestry Department reporting that their requested ship lumber was ready. The Navy didn’t even know it had ordered any lumber. After a little historical research, it was discovered that in 1829, the Swedish Parliament, recognizing that it takes oak trees 150 years to mature and anticipating a shortage of lumber at the turn of the twenty-first century, ordered that 20,000 oak trees be planted on Visingsö and protected for the Navy. That is thinking long. For the record, the lone objector was the Bishop of Strängnäs. He didn’t doubt that there would still be wars to fight at the end of the twentieth century, but he was the only one who anticipated that ships might be built of other materials by then.”
Chances are some pastors and church planters reading this might be in the midst of some discouragement and doubt about continuing on.  Listen:
Don’t give up! Hang in there! Give it some time! Think Long!
 Posted by at 7:10 pm
Jan 262012
 

Most of us are familiar with the powerful story of the Apostle Paul’s conversion.  He is on the road to Damascus in route to persecute more followers of Jesus when he is surprised by a bright light and an unfamiliar voice.  He is blinded and was led to Damascus where he stayed for 3 days without sight, food or water.

Enter the forgotten hero!
Ananias is mentioned simply as a disciple of Jesus and God speaks to him in a vision.  Acts 9:10-12
Ananias responded in obedience to what would have been the more modern equivalent of making a visit to “Adolph Hitler” for the purpose of laying on hands and giving sight back.  Ananias was skeptical but made the walk and carried out his small part in the miraculous transformation of a former 1st Century terrorist.
Ananias played a small but vital part in the sovereign plan of God to use the Apostle Paul to spread the Gospel!
Ananias has been called one of the forgotten heroes of the faith.  
Forgotten heroes are those that play seemingly small roles in Kingdom Advancement but in reality their roles are indispensable in the Kingdom of God!  
Who are the Ananias’s of our day?
  • Those that setup and breakdown in a church plant.
  • Those that hold and take care of babies so young couples can hear the gospel.
  • Those that quietly serve the sick, hospitalized and troubled behind the scenes.
  • Those that serve and teach our children on Sundays in an age appropriate setting where they can hear the gospel.
  • Those that help and serve the poor in a community but never get notoriety nor want it.
  • Those that love on our teenagers weekly in our student worship environment.
  • Those that count money, stuff envelopes and lick stamps.
  • Those that pull trailers, swing hammers and replace broken things.
  • Those that run sound, cameras and edit video.
I could go on and on and on…….
I am thankful for the forgotten heroes in my life and in the life of Church at the Grove!  We could not do it without you!
Are you willing to be a forgotten hero?
 Posted by at 12:16 pm
Jan 242012
 

I am so thankful for the people that God has put in place to lead CATGrove forward in our mission to lead people to follow Jesus and Make Disciples!

We have launched another campus in Social Circle!
This past Sunday we launched our Social Circle Campus with 95 people in attendance at Social Circle Middle School!  Wow! Praise God for His faithfulness in seeing this dream become a reality.
I am so thankful for all the people that have invested so much energy and time making this campus in Social Circle possible. Nathan’s strong leadership has been a blessing in making this launch possible.  I am thankful for all of the leaders and volunteers that have invested so much time and effort to get us going in Social Circle.
I am so excited about our new teaching series “PLUNGE” that began this past Sunday!  We will address each one of our “ministry filters” or “core values” over these six weeks.
Here are our ministry filters:
Biblical Faith
Persuasive Compassion
Missional Responsibility
Authentic Relationships
Intentional Simplicity
Faithful Stewardship
This past Sunday:  The Word of God is a revelation of Himself and when we see Him as He is, we are transformed.  
Join us as we journey through the Bible at www.youversion.com Essential 100 Bible reading plan!  Go here to see it: http://www.youversion.com/reading-plans/the-essential-100/settings
Martin Luther said, “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold on me.”
Let’s commit to reading and applying God’s Word on a daily basis.
I am so excited about what God is doing in and through Church at the Grove!  Please continue to invest your life into the lives of others in our community!  Let’s continue to move forward with the mission God has set forth for us.
I love you and I am praying for you.
 Posted by at 3:47 pm