Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Mind Dump - June 12

Today will go down as one of my best days at PCC in a long time. 

Not because of some flash in the pan, but because of our church’s health.  Our internal systems are working good, new structures are shaping up, a new cadre of leaders are at the helm, volunteerism is high, God is pruning dead wood from the vine, giving was good, and a number of people are ready to be baptized.  All of this (and much more) adds up to good things in our future.

There was a high energy feeling in the house today too.

I was in the atrium as the first service began.  It was loaded with people as the band started.  About half way through the first song, the sanctuary doors were still open, the music was boiling out, and people were still coming in through the front doors with their families in tow.  Some were walking straight into the adult service, while others turned left down the children’s hallway for check-in.  It was really exciting to see.  I walked down the children’s hallway and there was so much excitement going on.  Man, I loved seeing this.

After the first service, people seemed to hang around forever.

Really loved the song used for the offertory:  “There’s Power in the Blood.”  As I looked across the congregation it was very visible to see that a LOT of people enjoyed it too.  Not just the old timers, but the younger ones as well.  Faces lit up, hands were raised, and there was a lot of handclapping.

You should check out the mural that has been painted on the wall in the nursery.  Amanda S. and Samantha W. worked on this project over the weekend.  All I can say is wow!  It made a very good first impression.

I think it might be a little contagious.  Others were expressing an interest in doing the same thing in their rooms too.

We have a really good team of people put together right now – in all areas of our church – and I am very encouraged by this.  In the past we have had as many people working against us as we have had working for us.  It’s a new season at PCC!  The right people are sitting on the bus.  In fact, I am more encouraged than I have been in a very long time.  Not because we are setting the woods on fire, but because of the people we have.

Together we’ll be setting the woods on fire soon.  Just watch.  The team will do it.

With all these good things in place, it is time to strike while the iron is hot.

Our church is poised right now to go to the next level, and I’m confident that we are going to have a very strong summer.

I have come to realize that I have to be very deliberate and intentional about leading our church to breaking the 500 attendance barrier.  Of course, to assume responsibility for growth invites the possibility of failure.  Taking a stand on church growth is a bold thing to do because it’s all about declaring goals.

Then of course, there are always plenty of people who are waiting to remind the pastor of his failure should the church not grow. The world is full of experts, who,  from the comfort of their armchairs, can’t wait to knock people down who have dared to take a stand.  Nevertheless, the pastor must assume responsibility for the church to grow.  The buck stops here.

It also means getting the right people in the right places.

Churches that daydream about growing never get anywhere.  It’s one thing to say we want to grow and that we plan to grow one day, but if all we do is say those words then year after year that’s all we’ll be doing – daydreaming about it.

Serious changes will have to take place.  It’s going to require that I learn a new set of skills.  It’s going to require our staff learn a new set of skills too. 

Breaking through this barrier is going to be very challenging.  Here’s why:  although we are larger than most churches in our area, the small-church mentality is still alive and well in a congregation of our size, and given half a chance many people would gladly return to a church size of 150.

Our current staff and other ministry leaders are up to the challenge.

The current message series (Uncovering the Heart of a Servant) will conclude at the end of the month with a Ministry Fair.

This summer we are having a baptism service (in July).

We are also reinstituting our Newcomers Coffee/Luncheon this summer (in July)

Teen Camp this summer (August).  I've even been invited to speak there!  :)

It’s raining at my house right now.  It also came with a very severe lightening very storm.  I had to unplug my laptop and use the battery so my computer won’t get zapped.

Some of my favorite quotes from the message today:

--We serve God the best when we are serving other people.  It’s easy to say “I serve God” because He's invisible and out there somewhere and no one can challenge it or verify your claim.  But when you serve other people, people who are made in the image of God, that’s the place where your service becomes tangible and takes on skin.

--Acting like a servant is not very popular today.  Our culture has conditioned us to be self-serving with a “me-first” mentality.  In fact, it’s in our very nature to be this way.  As a result, consumerism has infected the church.  Some people’s only interest in a church is what the church can do for them instead of what they can do for others. They are more interested in getting all they can get, than they are in sacrificially serving.  They are easily offended and constantly comparison shop.  Jesus, however, measured a person’s greatness in terms of their sacrificial service to other people.

--The Christian life begins with God identifying with us.  But as we progress it becomes more about us identifying with God.

--Jesus, the founder of the church, has made the decision to advance His work primarily on the shoulders of ordinary people who live in the real world of family, business, and community.

--The power of the church is the power of everybody.  It means everyone, men and women, young and old, offering themselves to God’s redemptive plan.

--Being “deep” in the Lord is staying put in the church where God has planted you and working your way through the tough stuff with other people, instead of changing churches every 18 months.

--Being deep is not only what you believe; it’s how you behave.

--Deep is obeying the Greatest Commandment.  You can’t get any deeper than that.

The raining has stopped.  I just went outside to check it out.  Not only is the air clean, but the temperature feels like it has dropped 30 degrees.  Nice.

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