Friday, June 29, 2012

A Drought Resistant Church Plant

"Church Plant"
Recently following a VCC service a hip couple gave me a most unusual and most inspiring gift, a Cactus. They explained it was drought resistant, like VCC.

A drought resistant church plant.

I love a good pun.

They also gave me a letter and usually in my experience a letter from someone in your church is never a good thing, but this letter was different.  

This letter was map.

Three key landmarks for VCC to follow.

And I'd like to share this treasure with you.

Below are some excerpts from the letter, because I believe they are truths worth sharing.

Three key points of wisdom for a drought resistant church plant.

1. Planting Take Patience 

"Copious, absurd amount of patience.  The plant grows on it's own time. It is a test of faith.  But grow it will, it has no other choice." 

The temptation with any test is to look at your friends paper.  When the nerves come and clock ticks, sometimes all you need is a peak at another sheet to see if you are on the right track.  To see if you are where you are supposed to be.  To see if there really are a lot of 'C' answers.  

It's hard to not notice other church plants growing faster; getting noticed and getting ahead. 

Growing faster may make headlines but growing healthy makes strong roots.

There is a culture at VCC growing.
We are now laying the groundwork with a system of volunteers to support the growth that is coming.

That each volunteer plays a part to help those Find Hope in the Valley. 

2. Nourishing the Plant

"The ego of humans can get in the way of this process.  This is natural, and must not be taken personally.  God wants to see you getting your hands dirty."

A very obvious truth, but also deeply profound.  The definition for NOURISH is...  provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. 

We tend to gravitate to the first two health and growth, but what about good condition?

I want to check my ego at the door.
I want to be in good condition so that my church can be in condition.

I am interested in discovering the other substances necessary...

And that takes help.
It takes others.

Knowing that I do not have everything figured out.

Resting on the shoulders of God and those around.

My hope is for VCC to be a bridge not an island.

3. Planting is Trusting

"You are learning to listen to and trust your voice. To trust the still, small Voice."

There is a trend in the church to copy what is successful.

What is the latest series from the latest great pastor/speaker/author and lets do that in our church and see the same results.  How many pastors out there today are preaching someone else's message and passing it off as their own.

Either intentionally or unintentionally.  And we all have a tendency to want to copycat what 'works.'

My wife's grandfather has told me many times to be a Voice not an Echo.

His words reverberate in my head.
That is what I want for VCC.

David lamented to sing a "new song."
Jesus declared "I make all things new."

It is time for VCC to sing it's song and do something new.

(Thanks Gabe & Nikki)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jesus in the Bathroom: A Blog About Kid's Ministry

I always was a fan of Kid's Ministry.

It wasn't until recently that I became a believer in Kid's Ministry.

The impression of Kid's Min I had over the years was spiritual babysitting but with better snacks.  Following our services I always like to check in with our volunteers to see if the kids had fun, but then I started to receive feedback about the kid's having more than just fun, they really love the bible lessons; love Jesus.

As a church planter I knew we needed to have something for kids, I didn't realize it could change their life.

Last week this revelation really came to fruition.

We have been featuring The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson with our volunteer team during our service planning meetings, watching the DVD and reading the book as a team.

The Circle Maker has inspired my prayer life and our team.  No other book has redefined my approach to prayer like this one, and it has been encouraging to see what God has done with Batterson's church from the early stages in a school to the transition to the theater with 7 campus across Washington DC.

Last week I was engergized by Mark's prayer walk around Front St and Union Station in DC to do a prayer walk of my own around the community center grounds where VCC meets.

I took my two year old son and we started to walk.

When we reached the front of the community center he started to pull my hand to go inside and said repeatedly, "Net's house! Net's House!"

"Net" is one of our head Kid's Min volunteers, her name is actually Lynnette.  I always have confidence in her and know that she does a great job with kids; however this gave me a whole new perspective when I heard my son call VCC, "Net's House."

One of the most telling quotes from Orange a conference that focuses on Kid's Ministry was,
“What you do with kids now will have a profound impact on how they define church later.”

As a kid we all have that family member or neighbor whose house was cool and fun; where everyone wanted to hang out.  For my son and other kids VCC is that place.

Another comment I heard last week that made me tear up and crack up was from a post on our Facebook page from Sarah, a mom who attends VCC...

"So today we came home from church and my son told me " Jesus loves us mommy" I replied with "yes your right he does". He continued on to ask me who Jesus was and I wasn't really sure how to give an answer to a 4 year old that he would understand. My reply was "Jesus watches over us and is with us all the time". He wanted to know if Jesus was here right now and I said yes. Now he has been coming to me all day telling me that Jesus is over our house, and so far he's been on the couch, in Cason's room, in the shower and peeing in our toilet LOL!!"

I love it!

I love that at such a young age my son and other kids at VCC can have special connection to church, and that is because of people like "Net."

I love having a great Kid's Ministry not just for kids to have fun,
but for them to love a great God.