Monthly Archives: April 2013

Should We Stop During The Summer?

Beach-Summer-Ocean

School is starting to wind down, vacation plans are being made, but what about our small group? Summer time is tricky for a lot of groups, because if you forge ahead with the normal schedule, you will likely have shrinking attendance.

Most of our groups at Cross Point take the summer off from meeting every week, but that does not mean that they stop as a group. If your groups will plan ahead, summer can be a positive, growing experience.

Here is how we advise our groups to handle the summer schedule – bring a calendar to a meeting in May and lay out the next 3 months:

  • In June, plan 1 social event and 1 serving opportunity. For us, that is an Adopt A Block at our Cross Point Dream Center on the first Saturday.
  • In July, plan an outdoor social event (July 4th is perfect) and another serving opportunity. An easy one at Cross Point is our Serving Saturday on July 20th.
  • Put in the calendar what your first “official” meeting back in August will be. Our yearly DNA series always starts the 2nd Sunday in August, so that week is a natural one to start back with.

If they will follow this schedule, the group will not only not disappear during the summer, but will most likely grow stronger.

Advertisements

Baptism

Yesterday was baptism day at all of our Cross Point campuses. I have been in full-time ministry for 20 years, and I am still amazed at the power of seeing someone take their first public step of faith through the simple act of baptism.

I felt tears come to my eyes every time that person would emerge from the water with a look of excitement about things being made new and beautiful. I watched as people would spontaneously run from their seats during worship, just to be included in baptism.

I snapped this picture backstage as this couple held each other and cried for at least 5 minutes following her baptism.

baptism

Baptism reminds me that God is still in the life-change business. I pray that I never take moments like this for granted.

We Just Want To Belong

Left out

I tweeted this earlier this week: “I tell my kids they are silly to worry about being left out of something, then it happens to me & I am consumed with it.”. The tweet was inspired by an emotion that may seem silly on the surface, but strikes at something that never goes away – the need to belong.

I remember standing on the sideline in 2nd grade as teams were chosen for soccer and being crushed as they fought over who had to take me last.

The many lunch tables through the school years that I would have killed to be invited to sit at.

The Friday night parties that I hear second hand about on Monday.

The big project at work that I wasn’t asked to be a part of.

No matter what kind of image we put out, underneath the surface, all of us have this longing to belong. We just want someone to ask us to be a part of something. Most new people do not walk into your church looking for amazing music. They can find that somewhere else on Saturday night. They aren’t just looking for preaching that will have them laughing and crying at the same time. They could have stayed home and found that on tv.

They want to matter to someone else.

Discipleship should be the goal, but friendship is the entry. Everyone needs a tribe and we have to work extra hard to help them find it. Anyone up for a game of soccer?

Is Anyone Following?

leadership

One of my favorite Ted talks is about how to start a movement by Derek Sivers. He uses a video from a music festival in Europe as an example of how a movement is built in about 3 minutes.

One of the things he says is that “the first follower turns a lone nut into a leader.” In that way, the first follower is almost as important as the leader. The old proverb says, “He that thinketh he leadeth, and hath no one following, is only taking a walk.”

When we get desperate for leaders, it’s easy to start by looking for the stereotypes.

Do they look the part?

Are they young?

How much Bible knowledge do they have?

Can they gather a crowd?

We sometimes miss the most important part – is anyone following them? Skills for leadership can be taught, but the ability to go from a lone nut to a leader is innate. Leaders that start movements find a way to be heard, but unless you recognize and nurture them, it may not be at your organization. It may be time to start the music and see who leads the dance.

Community Is Not An Option

130416-joe-andruzzi-boston-rescue-jsw-918a.photoblog600

Like everyone on Monday, I watched in horror as the tragic events in Boston unfolded on my computer screen and tv. I will never fully comprehend why there are sick people in the world who desire to inflict death and injury on innocent people that they do not even know.

My heart is hurting right now as I think about the pain the parents of the 8 year old child who was killed are going through. My youngest is 9. I cannot imagine life without her.

What struck me from the images were the people that were rushing immediately into the chaos to help those who were injured.

They didn’t know if another bomb was going to go off (one did 10 seconds later).

They didn’t know the people that they were going in to help.

I am positive that they did not want to see what they eventually saw when they got there.

There was a picture of one man in a cowboy hat walking along side a man in a wheel chair as he put pressure on his severed artery. A former Pro Football player carried an injured woman to an ambulance.

It reminded me that community is not an option. We may never have the opportunity to rush into a tragedy, and I pray that we never have to, but there are hurting people on every side of us right now. In my community group alone, there have been 3 major family crises in the last month.

We as the Church are called to be a hospital to a hurting world. Let’s not run away from the pain, but lean into it with the peace that passes all understanding.