Monday, October 27, 2008

I (Heart) October!

Here recently I have decided that October is one of my favorite months. Not only is it football season :) , but it's also a great time in the life of the church. Typically I see more new faces at church because people are getting settled into their regular schedules. I love to meet new people at Good Hope! I also get to go to my favorite conference (Catalyst) earlier in the month. On top of that we just had an AWESOME married couples retreat in the North Georgia mountains this past weekend. Last but not least...drumroll...our big Fall Festival outreach is later this week. Wow! That sounds really busy, and it is...makes me tired just typing it out...but it's just alot of fun.

I am very excited about our Fall Festival on Wednesday night. From what I hear over 1,000 people attend this event. We're trying really hard this year to be intentional about presenting the Gospel and to demonstrate a heart of service to our community. My prayer is that people see and hear the Gospel as they walk around the field on Wednesday. If you would, just take a moment and pray for Good Hoper's who are working this week to make this event a success. Pray that people will hear the Gospel and respond. Pray for good weather. Pray that the logistics of setting up and tearing down will go smoothly. Also pray extra hard for the follow-up evangelism after the event. I hope this event demonstrates to our community how much we love them.

P.S. We had one of the FUNNIEST moments at church yesterday. As I was introducing my parents I got a little "verklempt" and had to pause to regain my composure. Right when the pause occurred, the sound system backfired and made a rather loud sound that resembled the violent bodily release of flatulence :). I cracked up with laughter, the crowd roared, and I had to pull it together. I've included an audio file of that moment below.....Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Catalyst Conference Musings

We took our leadership team and a few other interested people from Good Hope to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta a week and a half ago. We had a great time. We got to hear from some awesome Christian/secular/business leaders and we got to participate in some awesome worship experiences. I love going to conferences like this because they inspire and motivate me. The difficulty, though, is in the take away. I struggle with what to do with all of this great info that I've learned. I try to ask myself what are the 3 things I learned that will change what I do from now on. So this little blog has a 2-fold purpose: for me to solidify what I learned and to share with you some tidbits that might help you. Here goes:

1) On a plaque in Andy Stanley's office is the following quote: "To reach people no one else is reaching we must do things no one else is doing." (quote by Craig Groeschel) I want to lead a church that isn't afraid to try new things for Jesus, even if it sounds off the wall to others. We can't just sit by idly and let our community slip away. The real question is, "What can we do that no one else is doing?" Creativity is hard because, sadly, much of what we do in the modern church is copying what worked at someone else's church. We have to really think of what we can do to contextualize and incarnate the Gospel to the greater Hartwell/Starr/Iva area.

2) “If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new CEO, what would he do? Why shouldn’t we walk out the door, come back in, and do it ourselves?” - (Only the Paranoid Survive, Andy Grove) What changes have to be made now at Good Hope that will make her more efficient and more effective to inact community transformation? Why aren't we doing it right now? We're burning daylight! This really hit me and I'm still chewing on this one. Sometimes you have to be patient with the vision God places in your heart. This statement challenges me, but it is also a secular business philosophy that may not apply always in the church.

3) “When your memories exceed your dreams, the end is near” - (Michael Hammer) We cannot revel in what we've done so far as a church. The best visions, life changes, and history are ahead of us and not behind us. Many churches celebrate what they've done and are satisfied with the status quo. I refuse to be satisfied with where we are. We have never arrived!