Monday, July 23, 2007

young leaders leading today...

When I was 21 and in college my pastor found out about my call to ministry. I sensed God wanted me to change my college plans and dedicate my work life to what God would open up. My pastor created a new part time job as Children's Minister, licensed me, and brought me onto the church staff and mentored me. I had so many chances succeed and many chances to fail. I did well sometimes and did terrible others but what happened to me was that I was able to learn as I served other people. People in my first church actually listened to me, allowed me to lead them, and encouraged me as I discovered what it meant to lead in the church. Young leaders need the chance to lead now. At Grace Community one of my hopes is to always be empowering young leaders to do ministry and learn while they serve. Yes it is messy but a young leader with someone to guide them can accomplish massive things for the Kingdom of God. They provide a viewpoint that we as older leaders (yes all of us over 30 are expereinced older leaders) lose as we age, this is the view of now, the current read on what is important. As our culture morphs and shifts it is so drastically important to listen to those who are young leaders, to empower them to give responsibility to them. In times past we delegated and commanded the people around us with the jobs that we felt needed to be accomplished as the "LEADER" Leadership today means that we actually collaborate with young leaders allowing them to shape the future of the organization now...we allow our experience and their enthusiasm to merge and we create.

I write what I am writing because it is amazing to see people limit the ability of young leaders to lead. Our churches are full of layers of PEOPLE in authority who all want to limit the control of young leaders because they might MESS SOMETHING UP - I promise they will make mistakes but why not allow them to lead, why not be a part of a young leaders journey rather than constantly tearing what they do down. Why hold up the past way of doing ministry as the best way or the only way or the so called right way. Many times I feel like traditional church leaders are only interested in making ministry closes, church clones who say the same things and live safe lives of leadership for the congregation. We would not want young leaders to stir things up or make someone mad. I can not speak for that the church as a whole needs to do. I am a part of Grace Community because I believe their might be a better way and new path that we have not thought of yet. For the little local church that I am a part of I pray that I end my ministry and look back on the lives of many men and women that I believed in and released to do ministry. I am only 31 but I have had the joy of being a part of a few staff people and interns that I love dearly and I pray they would say that I listened to them and I believed in them and I released them to become people of influence our student ministry. Sure they were always asking why questions and they were not perfect but like me when I was 22 they got a chance to do ministry and lead, and when each day was done we gave each other a high fives and went home. We collaborated, we dreamed, we had fun doing ministry. If you are a young leader pray God will help plant you with men and women who believe in you and support you. I thank God that Daryl Craft believed in me when I was 21!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

sherwood and painting - fun combo!

What a great o see Sherwood (a band for you guys who do not know them...look them up on myspace) at Rocket Town in Nashville and then got 2 days to be with my wife and paint. YEs I did say paint. I type in victory knowing that it only took us 2 months but we finally have the entire house painted. Tuesday night Chelsea too the kids to my mom to stay for a few days, I went to the concert with some students from Grace Community. The concert was amazing but I knew that when I got back home it would be painting time. Chelsea and I painted for 2 straight days. NOTHING but painting, it was wild. Our hands are about to fall off. I learned how to cut in, yes I was amazed. I am slow at that but man I can roll some paint fast. I might need to start my own company and go for it....NOT. Thrilled to be done! The colors look great.

About the concert on Tuesday, man it was great. The coolest thing was watching Sherwood go out there and outplay every other band. I am so serious, they really showed out. They were together, vocally amazing, and tons of energy - they were not even headlining! That was wild to see them give 100 percent when it was not even their tour. Lesson in that for all of us, at every opportunity give it 100 percent. The bible says do everything to the Glory of God. I know I get weird inspiration but it is true. No matter if you are working for a company, a church, our just having fun with a hobby give it 100%. We are only given this day - so why not go for it, no regrets. Effort is a choice, excellence is a choice - we will never be perfect but why not go for it!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Kelyn's baby dedication!

It has been a fun week getting things together for our Parent Child dedication this week. We have 14 families at Grace Community this weekend and it has been wild getting all the pictures of each one. With each email from a mom or dad came a moment to look at the gift of life that God gives through children. I never stop being amazed by my girls! Those parents never get over the wow of seeing their kids grow up. The gift of being a dad is a blessing and I thank God for every moment I have with my wife and kids. They are amazing. Both of my girls will ahve been dedicated here in Clarksville, with Clarksville folks. Norfolk friends will claim Kelyn, she was born in Chesapeake! The picture above is from VA Beach as we gatherer some sand to take with us to TN!

Just a few random thoughts from the week. Getting ready to launch a new student gathering at GCOM called REMIX. We will be meeting at St. B Christian Church on Sunday nights. I am stoked because we are going to be able to create a fresh new environment, partner with an existing church, and do some innovative ministry to teens here in Clarksville. It is going to be an incredible fall. If you read this please pray God would pour out his spirit on this effort as we try to connect with teens in Clarksville.

Heading to rocket town to see Sherwood with some guys on Tuesday, I am stoked, my first concert at that venue. I am sure we will have some pictures for the old Blog. Ethan Smith and Austin and Taylor Hughes are going with me so it should be fun.

Friday, July 6, 2007

who are we known by...

It has been amazing to move back to Clarksville and to get settled in our new neighborhood. For the first time in my almost 9 years of being a minister on a church staff I am coming to understand what it means to be known by those around me. I actually know my neighbors, love my neighborhood, and I am discovering the joy of caring about the needs of people outside my church family. As a staff member I have always been consumed with taking care of church people, loving church people, hanging out with church people. The problem for me was that Jesus had a way of connecting with both religious and nonreligious folks in his day but he caught much grief because he was accused of hanging out with people who were not "God followers". I am beginning to understand that Jesus did nothing more than just get to know the people around Him. He gave his time to people who were on the journey of life. I am amazed that there is an entire world out here outside our church community, outside our ministry bubble. These people outside of my church community are the exact people I am called to live with, to serve, to encourage, to hang out with to love as God loves. I know it sounds wierd but I am enjoying this little adventure. The incredible thing about loving people where they are at and coming to understand who they are is that every once in a while we get to shine God's light of hope into their life. That is point at which the message of Jesus becomes real, becomes more than religion. Our end goal is not getting to know people wo they will come to our church or believe as we believe but rather to care for them as God cares for them and YES Go does care about those who are far from Him!

I moved into my neighborhood and people began to ask what i did and of course I told them about Grace Community and my role as a pastor on staff. I think they are just stoked that I can carry on a real conversation with them! It is not always great for a pastor to move in next door (you know it is true) As I told people about our church people began to say - "oh yea that is that church that Chad pastors, I don't know his last name but he works at the YMCA" Chad Rowland is one of my best friends but and the wild thing is that he is one of our co pastors and has worked at the YMCA part time as Grace Community was launched. Chad has become known as the YMCA pastor! That is so funny, he is known most by people outside he church. He will kill me when he reads this but it is a great example of who we should be known by. It matters not how many church goers think I am great leader or speaker or GUY...what matters is that those on the outside know me as a guy who listens, takes time to know them, is genuine with my faith. It is a sweet thing when those who are distant from God are cool with being with us who call ourselves Christ followers. As they get to know us they might just see Jesus in our lives and rethink what being a Christian means.

This is a passage of Scripture that keeps coming back to me lately...check it out...

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good?14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
1 Peter 3:13-16 (NLT)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Well, I got to see Barry Bonds hit 751 and I am still in awe. You wither love Barry or hate him and I think I have done both. I have finally settled on respect. Bottom line is that he is 43 and one of the greatest players I have ever seen. Aaron Harang gave Barry one pitch to hit and he drove it out of the park in his 1st at bat. These pics came from the upper deck, the camera did great, GO FUGI CAMERAS! It was fun to watch both Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. play on the same field. AMAZING, got to hang out with students from First baptist Norfolk. The High School ministry is in KY for a mission trip and they came to the game. I was so stoked to see everyone and get to hang out. We had a great time. Brandon Reed is the man, he was leading the mission trip. That 22 year old is an amazing guy and he has done a great job serving there at First Norfolk after I headed to Grace Community. Happy 4th of July to all - our family spent the day at the Cincinnati zoo - it was sweet!