Monday, January 16, 2012

The Letter about Our Transition


Our story from yesterday's service at The Brook. More information coming about how you can be a part of this new transition in our lives.


There are about 200 million non-churched people in America, making America one of the four largest “unchurched” nations in the world.
Each year about 3,500 churches close their doors permanently. We either have to plant more churches or revitalize them or we will lose an entire generation.

Church planting is one of the most effective ways to reach people with the Gospel. 

Many of you might not know how I actually came to The Brook. In October of 2003, I was enrolled in a church planting class in seminary. Part of the course work was that I attend a church plant and interview the pastor. Because I was on staff at a church it made it very tough to find a place to go, as my responsibilities were great at my current church. But through a long time friend of Michelle’s, she shared with us about her church holding a Saturday night service. This made it much easier to be able to attend. So one Saturday night in late October 2003, I attended a service at The Brook. The first person who greeted me that night was David Smith and he shared with me a little about the church. As a part of the class I was required to interview the planting pastor. At the end of the service I found the planting pastor and in the most non creepish way I ask if I could interview him for the class. About a week later I met with Steve Lacy the founding pastor of The Brook to ask him questions about The Brook and how they started. The interview went really well and I left with all my information and wrote the paper. However, the interesting part is three or four weeks later I receive a call from Steve Lacy. He shared with me that actually during my interview of him he was actually in turn interviewing me. He shared how the current youth pastor was stepping down. He asked if I would submit my resume and the process began. On April 15, 2004, I started my first day of work as the Youth Pastor at The Brook.

It is hard to believe that Michelle and I were 26 and 24 years old with no kids. Oh how things have changed. My plan was always to be a youth pastor, forever. I often joked with fellow youth pastors and student ministry interns about why would I ever want to become a pastor and take “the step down.” God does has a sense of humor. Over the last several years God began to stir my heart in many ways. One of these areas has been church planting. At first, I honestly resisted God. I would often argue with Him about how I had been called to youth ministry for life and he had the wrong guy.

However after much fighting with God and conversation after conversation it became very evident that God was calling us to this area of church planting. It is our desire to always follow God no matter what or where. I am not certain about what every detail is to come but I know that God has called my family and I to step out in faith and plant a church.

I am so thankful for each of you in this room. We had our children here. We have grown in so many ways over the last almost 8 years here at The Brook. From a young punk to well still a punk at times.

Our desire has always been to give so much of our lives to you, but you all have done so much more then we could ever give back to you. You have been so caring and loving to my family. Your presence and encouragement has been incredible through so many great times and tough times. Your love for our boys. You have supported me to finish my Masters and in the ministry that we have sought to lead with passion.

We want to thank all the students and parents who have been a part of making the student ministry a huge success over the last 8 years.
We are grateful to an amazing adult leadership team both past and present who supported us and encouraged us even through all my crazy ideas. Their service and love is second to none.
We are grateful to our staff and management team and now elders who have supported us in so many different ways and have been behind us a hundred percent. They are each all stars.
We want to thank Brian. He has been a constant support and encouragement through conversations, emails, and phone calls. He has cheered us on and offered more support then we could have ever asked.

This is the unique part about this transition. The Brook will actually be a part of launching this new work. You guys will have an opportunity to have an active role in helping us plant.

I know many of you will have questions about what this all will look like over the next several weeks and months. We have narrowed down the target area to the Zierdt Road area. We know many of you will have questions about what the process will look like and we want to answer all those questions and more.

We hope you all know that you can email, call, or drop by anytime. We will be on staff at The Brook through the end of February and our hope and desire is that you will continue to be a very tangible part of our lives even after that.
We will have more information coming over the next several weeks about how things will progress over the next month.
We want to invite all of you to come and be a part of a special Vision Gathering held right here at The Brook on February 10th at 7:00pm. We will serve dessert and drinks. We are working on child care.  This will be a time for you to hear the entire story and how you can partner with us in planting this new church. Our desire is that every one of you will be at the Vision Gathering just to learn, know, and understand more about planting and what we will be doing.

We hope each of you know how much we love and care about you. You are all so special to us. We are excited about what the future holds for this new church plant but we are just as excited about what God holds in store for The Brook. This kingdom of God is on the move and this is just one reminder to Satan that his time is drawing near. I want to leave you with one of my favorite passages of scripture. Never forget these words of Jesus to Peter.

Matthew 16:18
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Teens & Texting

Looks like teenagers would rather text then talk. 

How will this effect the workforce and the church in the future. 

How can we help parents and students engage? 

Any surprises for you?

Teens & Texting


Looks like they would rather text then talk. 

What do you think of all this data?

Any surprises for you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Do You Want the Power?

If you want to see God do powerful things through your life, you must first live with God honoring obedience in your life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Keep it Same Sex

Over the last week allegations have been thrown around, women have stepped forward, and stories have been changed. Herman Cain has been accused of making various sexual advances on several women. The claims vary in magnitude and their are questions of legitimacy. In many organizations it is a common practice to meet one-on-one for a meeting over lunch, in the office, or ride in the car alone. This issue brings up something that every leader, organization, pastor, staff member, etc. need to consider. This might not seem like a big deal but it could lead to a slippery slope and . It is just a bad idea to meet alone with a someone of the opposite sex that is not your wife or a family member, without being in the view of others.

Reasons to Keep it Same Sex 
1. The meeting or car ride could be innocent but it could cause others to question what is really going on. (1 Thessalonians 5:22) If people can't see you they will question you. It doesn't mean we can't meet with someone of the opposite sex it just means we should make sure to keep the door cracked, blinds open, or better yet have a window on your door.
2. Emotions or feelings toward the other person could be innocent but the repetition of meeting could start to lead to mental, emotional, or physical attachment. Someone who you would never be interested in all of the sudden becomes attractive because you have opened yourself to them.
3. People might want to take advantage of you by saying things happened in private, even if they did not. If you never meet alone with a person of the opposite sex or at least in eyesight of others this will protect you from ever being accused of doing something wrong.
4. Be careful not to get caught in the trap of a person trying to manipulate you. Many people desire success at all cost. This is an issue for both men and woman. Solomon reminds us there are people who want to seduce us (Ecclesiastes 7:26). We must guard ourselves.
How do you protect yourself or guard against temptation or accusation? Do you have rules/policies in place to keep it same sex and protect you and your team from assumptions and temptations?
Remember our character and integrity matter more then our convenience. Let's make ever effort to guard ourselves against accusations or assumption.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Don't Live in Silence

I have to admit these findings about Coach Jerry Sandusky (Former Penn State Defensive Coordinator) of sexual abuse of young boys through his charity is very sad. (Here is an article.) Seeing people of power take advantage of people especially of children is tragic. Jesus called us to care for kids not molest them. This situation brings up several issues for the church and leaders to think about.

Questions to Consider
1. Is there a plan in place for how to handle abuse, both abused and abuser?
2. Who is responsible to oversee the carrying out of the plan? 
3. Who are the necessary people that need to know about the incident?
4. Do we know who to contact first beyond the local authorities?
5. Do we have a prevention plan in place?
 
In situations like this silence is never an option. The proper authorities must be notified and action must be taken immediately. Incidents like this cannot go unreported. As this story unfolds it will be interesting to see if any others will lose their jobs besides the Athletic Director and Administrator. Organizations must make it a top priority to proactively protect children.

What things/plan are in place in your organization to prevent and report an incident like this?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mentoring Strategy from youthministry.com

Thought these were great insights. I need to keep working on all these areas. Let's lead well.

Look Forward – Who Is Leading You?
It is imperative that you find someone who is a little further down the path than you; somebody a little older, and a little wiser. Many youth workers are pioneers, but the benefits of a seasoned mentor shouldn't be overlooked. Being mentored from a distance is possible, but having someone in real-life is a better option. Being mentored through blogs and books is also a possibility, but without access to discussion the dialogue is decidedly one way. Because things slow down a bit over the holidays, it's a great time to connect, reconnect or start a relationship with a youth ministry mentor.

Look Around – Who Are You Leading With?
There is nothing better than sharing in ministry with a close friend. They might be an incredible intern, a parent who jumped in to help or a volunteer who is so like-minded people think someone cloned your brain. In addition to the mentor who is leading you, make sure you are "doing life" with another youth worker and are journeying together.

Look Back – Who are You Leading?
God is going to do something special with several of the students in your ministry. His Kingdom is going to be built because of these young men and women. Why not pick one or two of them to pour a little extra into? Sure, you can lead the whole group from "up front", through your programs, but what could it look like if you hand-picked one or two and gave them some customized mentoring? If you take a second to think about your own experiences growing up, no doubt there were several people along the way that distinctively shaped you toward becoming God's man or God's woman. Pass that experience on!

Article from youthministry.com email by Kurt Johnson (juniorhighministry.com) and Josh Griffin (morethendodgeball.com). Dated 11/2/2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What I Need from Others

1. People who are proactive for me - These people see a problem, situation, or issue brewing and take care of it. I don't have to go to them and say, "hey can you talk to that disruptive student", they just do it. They hear gossip and shut it down. They see the student who hasn't had their medicine all weekend and go sit next to them because they know distraction is on the horizon.

2. People who protect me - I want people around me that I can trust. These people will have my back. They will fight for me if someone throws out something that is not true. They will keep me from putting myself in a bad situation.

3. People who are honest with me - These people care about me enough to tell me the truth about things. They will let me know if my talk wasn't so great but in the most compassionate way. They will be honest if the event was one of the best events we have ever put on. They have a spirit of authenticity.

4. People who care about me - These people know what I am all about. They know my heart. They know about my family and what is going on in my family. They spend time talking and really listening without being critical. They just love me for me.

What do you need from others?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leadership Development

A Simple Pattern for Leadership Development
I Do, You Watch
I Do, You Help
You Do, I Help
You Do, I Watch
You Do, Someone Else Watches You

Who are you developing?