Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Tye with Eric Bramlett
Bob, Tye, Gary, Erin and myself just returned from a two day Multi-Site Practicum at Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois. Community Christian has 19 services at 8 different locations in the Chicago area. This past weekend they launched their latest site in Pilson, the second largest Hispanic community in the United States. They have been doing multi-site ministry since 1998 and are considered one of the pioneers in the movement.
It was a great experience for the five of us to interact with the Community Christian leadership team the past two days. There were over 20 churches in attendance from all over the United States. Among other things, we learned the 7 Moves to Going Multi-Site and worked on a 5 Step Strategy. You can click on the picture above to see a short slideshow of our time.
Last evening after dinner, Eric Bramlett, their Creative Arts Director, led a segment called Pardon the Interruption. Churches were encouraged to send up a representative to be "interviewed" by Eric for one minute. Tye volunteered from our team and endured 60 seconds of Eric's good-natured humor and fun. Thanks Tye for taking one for the team!
This Practicum was a great way for us to learn about what is involved if we choose to launch an additional site in the future. Our long range vision includes resourcing and helping small churches in rural areas. In addition, we need to look at how to creatively deal with our space constraints over the next four years before we relocate.
This a journey of faith. The past several days we learned about how one church is pioneering new territory in their passionate quest to help people find their way back to God. This is no time to sit idly by as people pass into a Christless eternity. We need to understand the times and help people awake from their slumber. Pardon the interruption.
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11
Sunday, February 26, 2006
We had a great Welcome Lunch today with about 90 people in attendance. We had 11 tables set up and guests were seated at 10 of them. The Kitchen Team did a great job as usual and Ken's chili was outstanding! Click on the picture above to see a short slideshow of our lunch.
I love the environment that the Welcome Lunch creates. Our staff, elders and deacons were scattered out throughout the room, engaged in conversations with our guests. The Welcome Lunch is a place where those who are new can meet others, ask questions and learn more about New Covenant. It's a place where introductions and connections are made. It's a place where God is free to work in the lives of people. Good stuff!
Monday, February 20, 2006
Last week Nicole Riehl from The Gazette called to interview me regarding an article she was writing about how young adults should go about selecting a church to attend. The article appeared in today's newspaper. For those of you who don't subscribe to The Gazette, you can click on the above picture to see a larger image of the article that is readable.
Of course I also shared about the importance of finding a church that basis its teaching on the Word of God. But all in all, I think the article could be helpful to young adults who are seeking a place to worship.
I couldn't help but be somewhat amused by the graphic layout that The Gazette used for the article. The seeker is coming into a dark, foreboding building with the only light flooding in through the doorway from the outside.
This is not the New Testament picture of what the church is to be like. Followers of Christ are the light of the world. We are to so penetrate our culture and community that everyone can see our good works and give glory to God! Let's take the light of Jesus with us this week into our neighborhood, place of work, and family activities.
I like the lyrics to the song Shine by the Newsboys.
Shine. Make ´em wonder what you´ve got, make ´em wish that they were not on the outside looking bored. Shine. Let it shine before all men, let ´em see good works, and then let ´em glorify the Lord.
What's the best way to find a church? Look for a follower of Christ and then follow the light!
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Steve Jenkins~Mr. Halftime
We are launching a new ministry at New Covenant called Ignite. The purpose of Ignite is to equip believers to finish strong. It's for those who have reached the midpoint of their lives and want to move from success to significance.
We are excited about the upcoming Halftime Conference on March 31 - April 1. Lloyd Reeb will be the featured speaker. You can learn more about the Halftime ministry here.
The Halftime Vision Casting event is scheduled for Friday, March 31 from 7:00-9:00 PM. Lloyd Reeb will share his personal halftime story and a compelling vision for what a significant second half looks like.
The Halftime Summit is scheduled for Saturday from 8:00 AM-12:30 PM. Each participant will explore the concept of halftime and discover how to lead a life of significance by getting a grasp on your God-given design and desires, write a personal mission statement, and develop an action plan for specific next steps.
I'm thankful for Pastor James work in forming the Ignite leadership team, and for his behind the scenes efforts to help launch this halftime ministry. And a special thank you to our great Ignite Team: Steve Jenkins (chairman), Carol Akey, Tye Male, Kim Pagel, Mike Pearson, Dave Sanders and James Wartian.
Join us as we trust God to ignite a movement of men and women who seek to impact their world for Christ.
The Friends Class concluded today. Click on the picture above to see a short slideshow of those who were in the class. Over 25 people attended one of the six sessions, but there were about 18 who came every week.
This was a very special Friends Class. You know that God is at work when you reach the end of the six weeks and you don't want the class to end. It never ceases to amaze me how you can grow to get to know and care for people in such a short time!
New Covenant is a family of growing disciples. God's hand is on our church in a special way. It's a joy to be involved in what He is doing. We are a family that is committed to making space for one more person. Help me welcome these new friends to our family!
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Sharon got a new Bible this past week and wanted me to put a Bible index on it. I had learned how to do this in college, and have put an index or "ladder," as we called it, on all of our Bibles. But over the years I had misplaced the instructions. No problem, I'll just go online to find out how to do it. And to my surprise I couldn't find anything.
The end of the story, or so I thought. As we were moving some old files I found my Bible index instructions. And so I'm posting How to Index the Edge of A Bible here on my blog for all the world to see. As far as I know, this is the only place on the web where you can go to learn how to do this.
- Materials needed: soft-leaded pencil, extra-fine point pen with black ink (I use .2 mm pen by Micron), and art gum or other soft eraser.
- I suggest that you practice your first index on an old Bible.
- Spread out the edge of the Bible at an angle to the right and with a soft-leaded pencil make seven parallel lines across the edge approximately 1/3 way down from the top of the Bible and 3/16 of an inch apart.
- Take seven of the sections* at a time and place between each of them an index card so that when spread out there is a distinguishable space between each section. Beginning on the bottom pencil line with Genesis, make ink lines across each section and up the edge of the first page of the next section. I find that it works best when making your horizontal line to move the index card out past the edge of the Bible so that you know where to stop the line at. When the top pencil line is reached, make the vertical line down the first page of the next section to the line below. Click here to see a picture of what a completed ladder looks like.
- Taking 1/3 of the index at a time, spread out an angle to the right and hold down tightly with the left hand while lettering and strengthening the lines. All pen strokes must be made straight up and down or to the right to prevent catching on the edge of the page.
- Spread out the whole Bible at an angle to the right and erase the pencil lines with an art gum or soft eraser, making all motions up and down and to the right.
* A section is a book or group of books like those put together in the illustration shown. Note the books that are grouped together in the sections of the index. In some cases all of the books are marked; others are not for lack of space. Groupings are as follows:
- Judges, Ruth
- Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
- Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
- Daniel, Hosea
- Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah
- Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah
- Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
- Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians
- Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, Philemon
- Hebrews, James
- Peter, John, Jude
Good luck with your ladder. They are really slick. And most importantly, make sure to spend time with God, allowing His Word to shape and conform you into His image.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Wow, I couldn't believe my eyes! The Red Hatters had a Fashion Show this morning. I think it was more "show" than fashion. But don't take my word for it, go ahead and click here to see for yourself.
I can't believe that they allow this kind of thing to go on in the church. Bernice must be behind all of this. I was really glad that Bernice let Joyce do most of the talking. Joyce was awesome, as usual!
The hi-lite of the day? 30 women made commitments or recommitments to Christ! Hey, with results like that, maybe we could get Bernice to come to the Men's Steak Out this summer!
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
With the Super Bowl behind us we can now get on with more important matters. Need I remind you that Major League Baseball's Opening Day is only 52 days away! I've bought my fantasy baseball magazines and I'm studying up on off season moves, pre-season rosters and player evaluation. In the next couple of days I will be signing up for my Yahoo fantasy baseball drafts. And then the countdown begins with the anticipation of the online drafts, then the first Baseball Tonight and then Opening Day!
There's just something exciting about spring time. Spring holds the promise of a fresh start and new birth. The crocus are in bloom, the red bud trees are in blossom and the smell of spring is in the air. The spring time of life always brings anticipation and hope - the hope of a new beginning and the promise of a better future.
In the spring 30 teams dream of a World Series Championship. A team that has not won a World Series in 88 years goes to spring training believing that this may be their year. Miracles do happen. Against all odds, the White Sox beat the best teams in baseball to claim the championship trophy and ring.
29 teams spent the winter anticipating a new season and a better future. In 52 days the President of the United States will throw out the first pitch and a new season will be underway. The Cubs will be tied for the league lead and hope will spring eternal. Opening Day is right around the corner. You gotta love this game!
Monday, February 06, 2006
Pastor Bob and I spent four days in Dallas last week. We attended a two day conference and spent an additional two days visiting five different church who have or are planning to build or relocate.
We toured seven churches in all. We were a bit on overload by the end of the fourth day! I enjoyed every minute of it, and brought back 650 pictures to document our trip! We saw some impressive churches and facilities. You can click on the picture above to see a short slideshow of some interior shots.
It was interesting to observe the uniqueness and difference of each church. We came to realize that a churches values and vision are reflected by the way they design and use space. We saw space that reflected creativity and color. We experience majestic space, inviting space, connecting space and relaxing space. And then there was some space that just looked fun; like The Tubes at Irving Bible.
Bob and I returned excited to apply what we learned at New Covenant. What space could we create that would help people become wholehearted worshippers, faithful witnesses, caring community members, Christlike models and equipped servants.
It's exciting to dream about what the future holds. A future that is not defined by the nature of our facilities but by the character of those who worship there. We are committed to creating space that reflects our values in order to accomplish our mission.