Monday, June 15, 2009

All Good Things Come to An End...

This blog is done...

Well, I will still leave it up and if the mood hits me I will write something and link it on my facebook page or twitter about it so you will know to come visit.

But as far as feeling the pressure to update it on a semi-regular basis - done!

It was fun! Thanks for coming along for the ride.

If you happen to stumble on this blog and you want to get a feel for it, here are a few of my favorite posts:

Lead Like a Follower

Behind the Scenes With Pastor Furtick

It is My Fault

The Selfishness Test

Piece vs. Part

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

This is Broken

As a staff, we recently did an exercise that we called "this is broken". We took the concept from Seth Godin who did a twenty minute talk on the idea at the Gel conference in 2006. If you get a chance to check it out sometime, it's pretty's the link.

We found this exercise to be very helpful and it has changed the way we look at things.

So the other day I was pumping gas and saw this picture:

At first glance this seems promising, right? I mean, the economy is tough! I'd like an extra 15 bucks, wouldn't you? Unfortunately, this add scheme is broken. Take a look at the fine print:


Give me a break! I would be better off going through the hassle of getting a part-time job at McDonalds and quitting after 4 hours if all I wanted was $15. The thing that is so amazing about this add is that someone was sitting in a conference room somewhere discussing the fact that they needed people to sign up for their credit card and THIS was the plan that they came up with. In the words of Seth Godin - "Broken!"

Of course, before I get too frustrated about this add I need to say that I'm guilty too! There are things at Elevation Church that I want people to experience like participating in our 4 Gs: giving, using your gifts as a volunteer, getting into a group, and growing the church by inviting your lost friends. Am I making it easy to commit to these Gs? Or, does the person who is trying to get involved feel like I felt when I read this credit card add?

I have broken systems that I oversee right now. But if you have fallen victim to some of them at Elevation Church, please know that we are committed to fixing that!

Friday, May 8, 2009

To Pastor Furtick...

Wednesday night I was able to go with Pastor Furtick and other members of the leadership team to a conference.

This particular conference was was a little different...there was a point in the evening when Elmo was hyping the crowd to very loud gospel music. The sermon was intense...and over an hour long. In the sermon there was a 10 minute instrumental breakdown that provided us with an opportunity to praise God and dance before Him - it was awesome! If you haven't had the opportunity, or if your mind is too closed to enjoy a good, old-fashioned, charismatic ho-down then you're missing out...

The very next day, we were at a different church. There were greeters at the door, free coffee and lots of conversations going on in the lobby. Pastor had an opportunity to preach a phenomenal message (that was very different then the one we had heard the night before). The music was unbelievable! This experience was much different then the previous night, but equally as awesome!

These two churches could not be more different in look and feel. They are cut from different molds and employ different methods. They have different philosophies and approach their communities from very different positions.

On the other hand, they are both doing everything they know to do to make an impact for the kingdom of God. They are reaching lost people and Jesus is being exalted.

The most profound part of this story, however, is that we seemed to fit in at both churches.

There are some stupid lines that we (denominational believers) have drawn and I am glad that I serve a leader who has been gifted to walk freely back and forth over those lines. We serve a leader who is confident enough in what God has called and gifted him to do that he can engage with just about anyone and come away with something that will help us achieve the vision God has given him.


Thanks for creating a culture that allows us to seek God fully without conventional, man-made, self-limiting restraints. In the same breath, thanks for being so convinced of who you are, and of what God has uniquely gifted you to accomplish that you can see everyone as a potential partner in ministry. It's an honor to be part of the vision God has given you to reach our city. Through your gift thousands of people will come to faith in Christ, and thousands more will go on to be used by God in the advancement of His kingdom!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

16 Days of Silence...

It has been 16 days since my last blog post...

That's because in that time I:

- Took a mini vacation in the form of a 900 mile motorcycle trip through South Carolina and Georgia.
- Was caught up in all of the details that surrounded bringing Ted and Gail Haggard's to our church.
- And, participated in the planning and execution of our "non-conference" THR3E.

It's been a busy 16 days...I am now planning to get back to my regular posting (once or twice a week).

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Don't Deserve Any Of This...

Our Lead Staff went through an exercise the other day where we listed out the top ten statements that we felt described what it's like to be part of the culture of Elevation Church.

My #1 statement was, "We don't deserve any of we will remain grateful."

After an Easter Weekend like the one we just experienced (check out Pastor Furtick's blog for details) I find myself sitting in my chair wondering how I got here...

Five years ago you would have found me building decks in Shelby, NC trying to make some cash to help supplement my wife's income while she was paying my way through school. I had my plans for my life, but I had no idea what it meant to follow God's plans for my life.

Now, on the Monday after 740 people received Christ at Elevation Church I am having a hard time figuring out how the steps I was taking then were leading me to this office chair! It's like putting 2 + 2 into a calculator and having 4,000 come out!

I really don't deserve any of this and for that reason I will remain grateful.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Student Small Groups Director

Elevation Church has a lot of students. In fact, we have students who drive 45 minutes every week to spend most of the day serving.

Any time we pull together our leaders for a special vision-casting event you can count on a few rows of rowdy students to be there. They’re the loudest and proudest group of “bought-in” owners of the vision of our church.

So here’s the irony:
We don’t do very much that is specifically for our students!

We have tried a lot of different things from hype events to revivals for students. For the most part they have been pretty successful.

We’ve got small groups for students, but students get involved just like adults do…by seeking them out.

We have a lot of students who volunteer but that’s because when we ask the whole church to volunteer they walk to the table on their own and sign up.

We did a study recently of the top 10 fastest-growing churches and the top 25 most innovative churches and discovered statistics like the following:
• 23 of 25 have a Student Pastor on staff
• 20 of 25 have a separate worship experience for students
• 7 of 10 have a website designated for students

In every statistic we looked at we were the odd one out...

This always troubles me until spring break when our attendance drops and our volunteer teams are thin. Our students are involved! They are serving. Many of them are taking advantage of the opportunity to be in groups. And, probably most importantly, they are here!!!

So, because we want to steward the momentum that God has sent us through our students and, because we want to harness that momentum to make a bigger impact in our city, I’ve got an announcement to make:

We are hiring a Student Small Groups Director! (NOT a Youth Pastor!!)

Check out this link for the job description and if you think you have what it takes, ask five trusted friends and an enemy or two…if they agree you have what it will take, you should consider applying!

Friday, March 27, 2009

That Mountain!

Yesterday I wrote a post about some of the things I'm learning from Matthew 28. I'm going to pick it up where I left off so read this to catch up if you want...

So here's my thing with the Great Commission...the scope of what Jesus intends for us to accomplish is unbelievable!

"All nations...All commands..."

Both of those directives seem pretty overwhelming!

To add to it, the "all commands" part took on new meaning when I stumbled across this little detail in verse 16 that I hadn't ever noticed before.

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

I thought, "I know Galilee, that's Jesus' hometown...but what's this mountain?"

And then it hits me! Jesus preached a famous sermon at the outset of His ministry that we have nicknamed the Sermon on the Mount...

Sure enough, Matthew 4:23 puts Jesus in Galilee and Matthew 5:1 puts him on the mountain to preach his famous sermon.

In other words, Jesus tells His disciples to go back to the exact spot where it all started and then Commissions them to go and make disciples of ALL nations...teaching them ALL commands, on top of the same mountain that He was standing on when He preached the Sermon on the Mount!!!

The disciples were so blown away the first time they heard Jesus preach this message that Matthew wrote this about their reaction, "28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law."

Imagine what they must have been thinking after seeing all they had seen over the three years of Jesus' ministry.

"I mean, Jesus was dead 24 hours ago, and now we're back where it started except it's our turn!!!"

That's probably enough for be continued!