Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Blogging Church

If you haven't heard about this, yet, Brian Bailey and Terry Storch are writing a book called...well, check it out here.

And just for fun, notice the "Blogging Sr. Pastors" on the sidebar...

I'm looking forward to this book coming out, and watching the process unfold on their site!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Coffee Shout Out

Mark Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C., and they are really doing some incredible things up there.

I made a comment on Mark's blog, letting him know about a cool retro coffee flick, and he gave me a huge "shout out" about it. Check it out here.

Thanks for the nod, Mark!

South Alliance Stirrings

I spent some time today at Starbucks visiting with my new friend, Richard Thomas. Richard is planting a church in the South Alliance area, and is still in the early stages of preparation. He is looking at a launch date of Easter 2006.

It was encouraging to hear about his calling, his willingness to learn and to observe his humble but steadfast spirit.

Richard also has a music background, so we definitely had some things in common. One fun fact to know and tell about Richard is that he spent some time as a band director in the Keller Independent School District - teaching Middle Schoolers! I'm thinking that's qualification enough, right there - If he could handle that, he can handle anything! :-D

Richard is the second person I've had actual human face to face interaction with as a result of blogging. I believe there are great things ahead for Richard and I enjoyed meeting him, today! Check out his new blog here.

Any other church planters in the Alliance, Texas area who'd like to get together for a cup o joe? Drop me a line!

Flippin' Sweet...

So I was driving home early in the morning yesterday on my way home from a workout when I passed a school bus. As I drove by, something caught my eye. (and we all know how painful that can be!) Dangling behind the bus was a long string....and an action figure bouncing along the road!

When I realized what it was, I started laughing out loud.

I'm thinking that the conversation in the bus three minutes before I passed it started this way:

"What are you going to do today, Napoleon?"

Those crazy kids.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

((Ardent)) Audio

this is an audio post - click to play

Had lunch today with Steve Dilla, the ((Ardent)) Follower. Steve's a great guy with an incredible future, and I really enjoyed hanging out with him for a while today. It was great to hear his story and how he wound up on staff at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, and what God is teaching him, right now.

Steve's the first real live human being that I've actually interacted with in the real world as a direct result of blogging. Very cool. Listen to the audio post above, then check out his blog!

Update: Steve posted about our lunch on his site - check it out here. Steve, you rock! And I mean that literally, since the Newsboys are leading worship for you guys this weekend....

Friday, August 19, 2005

Compass Airlines...

Kim has a great post on her blog that pretty much describes the vibe of Compass Church, right now...Check it out, here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Honk if you love whatever


So here's how my day gets going this morning:
(First realize that I'm driving our completely uncool van, which is uncool in more ways than one because the air conditioning is broken.)

I get Matthew to school by 7:00 a.m. (which is basically when Leona has to be at school)
I get Melissa to the Orthodontist by 7:30 a.m.
I get Michael to school by 8:00 a.m.
I pick up Melissa from the Orthodontist around 8:05 a.m.
I take Melissa to school around 8:15 a.m.
I go to the store to pick up a couple of extra things for Michael's birthday and arrive around 9:00 a.m.

And then things begin to get goofy.

Leona calls as I'm arriving in the parking lot. I turn off the ignition while I'm still on the phone, and suddenly there is this frightening and freaky buzzing sound. Then the horn starts honking. Loudly. On its own. Hooooonnnnk! Honk! Honk! Hooooonnnnk! Honk! Honk! The keys are not even in the ignition. I start it back up, and it keeps honking. At this point the people in the parking lot are beginning to stare, and Leona is beginning to laugh.

It's still honking. Did I already say that it is loud? Hooooonnnnk! Honk! Honk! Hooooonnnnk! Honk! Honk! I'm now driving out of the parking lot and heading to the mechanic that worked on the van a few days ago. Obviously, something has gone horribly wrong.

The thing honks all the way from Watauga to Keller, causing quite a bit of confused and befuddled looks along the way, I might add. It finally stops honking about two blocks from the mechanic, so I stop at another parking lot and kill the engine. I take a breath and turn the key again. Hooooonnnnk! Honk! Honk! Hooooonnnnk! Honk! Honk! I just about jump out of my seat.

As I drive into the parking lot of the mechanic, the thing is still honking like a constipated duck in a yodeling class. The people there are coming out of the building and looking at me like, "Whoa, chill out - we'll look at your van. Keep your shirt on! What's the matter with you?" I just lift up my hands like a prisoner and kind of wave at the steering wheel. They don't quite get it until I get out of the van and it's still honking the goose national anthem.

A couple hours later, the car alarm that we didn't even know was installed on our van has been surgically removed, and the haunting honking noise is just a mind numbing memory. The next several hours are spent with a makeshift lunch, picking kids up from school within an hour of each other, making a couple of trips to the store, stopping by the house for a cup of lemonade, and sweating profusely. Yes, it's about 100 degrees in the DFW Metroplex right now, and yes, reparing the air conditioning will have to wait till another day...

But believe it or not, I'm still thankful.

Because old "Chitty Chitty Honk Honk" is paid for. And I'm celebrating my youngest son's birthday, tonight. And I'm really getting excited about how the plan is coming together and all that's ahead for Compass Church. And I have a beautiful, smart and supportive wife. And I have great kids. And God is good. And heaven's gonna be great, one day and it probably won't be this hot or sweaty there... And once again, I'm realizing I'm still a pretty blessed guy.

And that's pretty honkin' cool.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Few Church Planters I Have Known...

I've had some great conversations and interactions lately with some other Church Planters in the Alliance, Texas area. Each of these guys have different personalities, passions and approaches to Church Planting, and they each have a unique vision and calling for the churches God has called them to plant.

There is definitely a unique set of challenges that Church Planters and their families face. Leona and I are looking at the possibility of forming a Church Planter's & wives' fellowship in our area that meets once every 2 months or so for prayer, fellowship and encouragement. I'm looking forward to seeing how each of these churches that God is forming has an impact for the Kingdom in this area over the next several years.

Let me introduce you to a few of my rowdy Alliance, Texas area church planting friends (at least the ones that I have talked with recently) :

John Henson | Highland Community Church
Douglas Shoelles | Church of the Resurrection
Brandon Thomas | Keystone Church

Check em out. They're good guys, and there are a lot of people who need the Gospel in this area. I'm confident that they will each reach and connect with people that Compass Church never will, and vice-versa. God is a big God, with a big heart, boys and girls.

And by the way, if you're planting a church somewhere in the Alliance, Texas area, and I haven't had the opportunity to meet you, drop me a line. Let's get a cup o joe and talk church planting!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Under the knife

Oops! Updated with a source link 8/17/05. I thought that line sounded familiar!

I once had a conversation with someone who wondered if a certain church planter was "cut out" for church planting.

The church planter in question had left a sweet ministry position he had been in for several years, moved his family to a new location, raised support, pulled together a makeshift team of people, left the security of the church staff position that he was in for the uncertainty and insecurity of planting a church - all because of a burning desire to reach out to the unchurched with the Gospel, and respond to what he sensed was the unmistakable call of God.

The church planter experienced a variety of difficult challenges on the field, however, and had not launched with the crowd that was originally hoped for. He had not seen the number of people baptized that he or his original supporters had hoped for.

Following a withdrawal of funds from a major initial supporter, and the exodus of a key team member family, the church planter had a "crisis of belief" (to quote Henry Blackaby), did a lot of prayer and soul searching, and came to the conclusion that God was still calling him to plant the church in the area. He believed that ultimately, he and the church had experienced a time of purging, preparation and planting that was necessary for the next phase, and not that he had a lack of calling, giftedness, talents or personality to fit the task.

So was and is this pastor "cut out" for church planting?

Hmm, "Cut out?" Well, I understand the question, and the intent behind it, but I'm not sure it's always the best question to ask when a church planter has had a tough go of things. Of course, sometimes it is, but not always.

Maybe we should ask if they are "called and being cut out." How much they are "being cut out" before they launch a new church is important information to know and work with ahead of time, but hanging in there and still having vision and a sense of call for the long haul says a lot to me about what has been and is being "cut out" in a church planter.

You know, if you step out in incredible faith and risk and respond to God's call to plant a church - not just talk about it, but actually do it - that says quite a bit about you already, doesn't it? (Thanks to John for the link) Unless course, you're just trying to prove something or you can't get another job or you just have a hard time getting along with people...

When a church planter hits a wall, the best questions should probably be more along the lines of, "Are you called, are you learning and still willing to learn, and are you making course corrections (nod to Ben) to achieve the goals God has set before you? (And if funding disappears, are you still in?)"

Every situation is different and every church planter is different. There are certainly some common characteristics among many of them, but I have to tell you, every church planter I have met is really different. Different in style, personality and voice. Different in talent, leadership ability and level of creativity. Different in background, education and in the number of people who started the adventure with them. They've all been, well...different.

But they have all had a sense of God's call to plant a church, and they have all had God do amazing "shaping" and "cutting" in their lives to get them to where they are and where they're going.

I know I'm not who I was when I first started planting. There was still much to cut out of me, for sure. And I'm a heck of a lot more "cut out" for it today than I was when I started. I have the scars to prove it. It's what happens when you go "under the knife" and let the Great Physician mold you and "cut you" into who He wants you to be.

Are you "cut out" for what God has called you to do? ...Or have you been called by God and is He is cutting you into who He wants you to be so that you can do what He wants you to do?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

"Hardest Part of Leadership" from an Ardent Follower

Steve Dilla has a great post at his blog, Ardent about the hardest part of leadership.

I added a comment that included this statement:

"The devil tends to distract me not with the overtly obvious temptation to commit, but with the subtly obvious temptation to omit..."

What are you not doing or becoming today that is keeping you from doing what God is calling you to do as a leader and keeping you from becoming the leader that God intends for you to be?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Compass "Values Added"

The "values" page is now updated on our church transition website. Check it out here.