Wednesday, December 31, 2008

mistake made - lesson learned - move forward

Yesterday it was 68 degrees, YES, 68 degrees so there was no way I could not go play golf on a 68 degree day on December 30, wow! It was great. Larry Parks, my father in law, came to Clarksville and went with me. Again, it was great! Enough about the greatness of hitting a golf ball. Every time I play, with kids that is not a alot, I am blown away by how many lessons for life you can learn playing the game. I know some of you are rolling your eyes but really there are tons of life and leadership lessons there on the course. One of those lessons is that when you play golf you have to constantly live in the present. Every shot matters. The last shot you made is DONE. No matter how your last shot turned out the next shot is the one that matters. Your last shot may have been amazing but still the only shot that matters is that next putt you have to make. Your last shot may have been an utter failure but still the only thing that matters is how you get out of the mess you are in. Your next move matters. So here goes...for life and leadership here is the formula.

MISTAKE OR SUCCESS = lesson learned = move forward

Both mistakes and successes draw us to dwell on them. They want us to stay focused on the immediate situation and live right there in the past. Just like on the course, that moment is over and we have to LEARN and move FORWARD.

I am not sure where you have been in 2008 but learn from the past and look forward. 2009 is here, well it is here in a few hours!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

hard to get rolling...

It was a great Christmas break! A ton of folks ask me about how I blog so much (my blog posts to my facebook account). I like to blog because it is a thought journal for me. Blogging is just a commitment to share life with other people. It helps me to think out loud, to vent and celebrate about stuff in my family, and to share leadership thoughts. One of the keys to blogging is to keep typing, keep thinking, keep posting...I am struggling to get it rolling this week! My blog confession!

Friday, December 26, 2008

the simple things...

This is my favorite picture from Christmas this year because it reminds me of this simple things that make Christmas so incredible. There have been so many moments over the past few days that help me remember the blessing of family, the joy of the simple gift, and the reality that Jesus came to earth to be among us and live life with us, to deliver us. We got our kids some incredible things this year but this picture on the blog is of Kelyn getting a new "lovie". She has had a pink one like this since she was born but we needed a backup and it came this year. When she opened it she ran around the room hugging it! Another incredible moment was when Kozbi asked why no one was talking about Jesus yesterday with our visits to family. Her solution was to go make pictures of the nativity and give them away to family members, IT WAS INCREDIBLE! I know this time of the year can be stressful but it is a great time to connect with family, to look back on the year, to celebrate God's gift in Jesus, and to let other know how much you do love them.

Hope you enjoy the rest of the Christmas is a week long thing for us!

the new BAYNE ride...

We have been planning on buying Chelsea a new car and there is no better way for a husband to earn brownie points when you get your wife a car at Christmas. After test driving, looking, praying, thinking, planning we landed on the Ford Freestyle a "crossover" Its like a van, suv, wagon all crammed together and my girls love it (it has a dvd player built in so koz and kelyn are in heaven, chelsea and I like the room and the 27 MPG it gets on the highway!) The reason for the post is that THE CAR NOW IS A BAYNE FAMILY has its University of Tennessee plates on the front. Go Vols!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

merry christmas and happy new year!

I am going to take a little break from my blog this week, yes a blog fast for a few days. Wanted to take just a minute and wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I was reminded at church this morning how amazing Jesus coming to be WITH US, in our mess, born as a baby 200o years ago. It was an amazing morning to worship Jesus, He was and is the greatest gift. Thanks to the GCC team for working so hard to create an environment where people can encounter God.

Here are my final thoughts before Christmas 2008...Merry Christmas, cannot wait for mom's pecan pie, Girls are gonna love what Santa brings, and GO TITANS, this has been an amazing season!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

give back...

I have talked about this movement here on the blog before but I wanted to give it one more shot. During this season it is so important for us to find ways to give back not just to those who are on our gift list but tho the "least of these". The ones on the outside looking in. The ones who really have little. We have the chance to really make an impact in the lives of people all over the globe when we find ways to be generous. Soles 4 Souls is an organization simply trying to put shoes on kids feet around the world. 5 bucks buys 2 pairs of shoes. If you gave up a fast food lunch you can buy 2 kids shoes. When you travel in a third world country you will see kids running around barefoot in dangerous places. It seems so basic, shoes! Think about clicking on the website and making a quick 5 buck donation!

If you have a blog or facebook account make a post about the 50,000 pairs in 50 days challenge! Join the movement!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Home sick today, this was not in my plan for Wednesday December 17, 2008. I really do not like being sick. Most of the time when I feel bad I just go on to work and roll on. Yesterday whatever I had drove me to a halt and I spent last night and this morning trying to get it together. Much better to be sick today rather than next week in the middle of Christmas. There are a few good things that comes from times when we face sickness. Welllllll maybe just one. It makes us realize that we are not permanent. This thing we call life, is a gift from God. Health is not guaranteed, it is a gift from God. I really convince myself that I am in control, I can work through anything, nothing can keep me down....NOT. When I am able to get up, live life, serve others, hang with my family, have fun...THAT IS A GIFT. So here from my bedroom at home I say, thanks God for all the days when I can get up and live life. Sickness sucks and health is so much better. Thanks God for the good days!

Just a reminder for all of us not take this all for granted!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

youth pastor Christmas present from Youth Specialties

Free graphics, videos, loops, etc. are always music to a student pastor's ears. Once again this year Youth Specialties is giving away all their graphics and videos to student pastors to use how they want. Just click on the graphic above and start downloading. It is a great look to use for a filler series and you will not believe all the great stuff they are giving away to support it!

For all of you out there serving teens in the local church...THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO!

Monday, December 15, 2008

good day in Clarksville...

People are a little excited here in Clarskville today. Yes...Hemlock Semiconductor is coming to Clarksville. You can check the news release out of the Leaf Chronicle and get all the details. 1.2 billion dollar investment, 500 immediate jobs, thousands more coming over the next few years. I am excited a company like HS is coming to invest in the community.I have said this before, I LOVE THIS CITY. Chelsea and I want to spend our life serving in this city. This is a big day for our community. I am proud of the good job our local government has done in making this a reality. This has been a 3 year process an the hard work has now payed off. We are excited about the new challenges this will bring to us at Grace Community and excited about what God is going to do here in Clarksville!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the CHRISTMAS is ordered!

The most stressful picture time of the year is NO DOUBT Christmas card time. My mom bought the outfits and the pressure was on to get my crazy girls to be still long enough to the the right shot in. Funny thing is...this was our second picture taken and it was one. After lots of chasing girls around the house and a few fits of crying picture time was over. Well, we made it through the yearly Christmas card photo shoot and life in the Bayne home is back on track! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Am I the one that feels Christmas Card STRESS every year?

Friday, December 12, 2008

remix band leading worship at Horizon Pointe church

This weekend the REMIX band is leading worship with Duke Boles at Horizon Pointe Church in Ohio. Duke was the worship leader last year at REMIX and left in 2008 to go help plant HPC. It will be exciting this week to see how God is working at the church and to catch up with Duke and Amanda. Each week at REMIX I am blown away by the REMIX band. Nate, Claire, Aaron, Clark, and Lauren (with Mike Grayson leading them, Mike has done a great job!) guys do an amazing job each week. Pray for the team as they lad this weekend and as we travel. Pray God will bless Horizon Pointe as they strive to reach their community! Here are a few pics of the REMIX band...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tribes by Seth Godin, get it and READ IT!

Go to and order this book right now, do not wait, do it now. At Catalyst Seth Godin gave an incredible talk setting up the idea that with leadership today anyone from any level of the organization can influence and lead. After the talk he gave 13,000 people a copy of this book. I got home, read it, was blown away by it! The concept is simple, lead...and people will follow. I am going to do a little experiment, my copy has marked pages all through it...randomly I am going to spit out some GREAT Seth Godin ideas about leadership, then YOU go get the book, lead your TRIBE, and lead well!

"Odds are that growth and success are inextricably linked to breaking the old rules and setting your organization's new rules loose in an industry afraid to change." - p.76

"In industry after industry, the market leader isn't the one who develops the innovation that turns the industry upside down. In organization after organization, real leadership rarely comes from the CEO or senior VP of leadership. Instead it happens out of the corner of your eye, in a place where you weren't looking." - 122

"Ideas that spread win. Boring ideas do not spread. Boring organizations do not grow." - 45

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

last REMIX of 2008...

Tonight is the last REMIX (the weekly gathering of relevant student ministry) of 2008. I cannot believe the fall has moved by so fast. When we started the year we had no idea how this season of REMIX would go. We changed nights to Wednesday and the rest is history. I so resisted moving off of Sunday night. God birthed the idea in the heart of our team and we took the risk of change and it paid off. Really everything about leading a ministry is based around RISK and FAITH and God has taught us that over and over this fall. If we are not taking risks then we are not living by faith and we are trusting in our won effort more than trusting God to show up. I want to thank God for showing up right now and right here. God has delivered every week this fall as we have invested in the lives of teens. God provided an amazing team of adults who have led lifegroups. God provided an amazing band to lead us each week. God provided a location for us to meet at St. B Christian Church. God allowed us to see teens inviting teens to REMIX. This has been the most amazing part of REMIX this year, teens and parents inviting other people to check it out. I cannot wait to see what God does at REMIX in 2009. Tonight we cast a vision of each lifegroup adopting and taking action to support a cause (poverty, human trafficking, clean water, etc.) in 2009. Lets not just meet and talk about faith, lets live our faith out and do something now. Teens unleashed to serve are a powerful force.

Thanks to all of you out there who have been a part of REMIX this year, 2009 is going to be exciting!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

pics from Cross Street Live!

Just a few shots from Cross Street Live last Sunday night! We have more on facebook and if you have some good shots email me!

Monday, December 8, 2008

what every kid needs!

It was so incredible to have the chance to speak at Grace Community Sunday morning. It is always so fun to get to connect with the adults and teens in the theater on Sunday mornings. For those of you who came you had the chance to see our Cross Street Live set, WAS THAT NOT COOL! Just so you know, we had our first CSL that night and had 475 parents and kids come experience their first family production. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make that happen. The kids were so excited and everyone did a great job! More on that this week with some video and pics!

Sunday morning we had the chance to help parents think through the idea of investing in their kids spiritually. We do a great job with academics and athletics but many times we miss the chance to help our kids discover the greatness of the God we serve. Parents, you are the greatest spiritual influence in your kids life and we want to partner with you at GCC and give you the tools you need to make a difference in your kids lives. We think your kid needs 5 basic things in their life...
We commit to you that we will do everything we can to empower you with environments at church that teach the Bible, build real relationships, are really exciting, and provide resources for you. Thanks for allowing us to partner with your family!

Friday, December 5, 2008

multitasking 101

Today I was on the phone, buckling up Kelyn in the car, telling Chelsea goodbye, grabbing my laptop from her car, and leaving the YMCA when I looked around and noticed I didn't have my book or the Diet Mt. Dew I was drinking. In my rush to multitask I left it on the top of Chelsea's car and it ended up in the middle of Madison Street being rushed over by passing cars. Yes, I rescued this book, which is very good. I almost got hit in the process but hey, it was an adventure. I never found the Diet Dew, but the point is that when we multitask we leave ourselves open to make mistakes. We are a multitask generation and I have joined right in. We get tons done but we leave ourselves open to silly mistakes. They will happen. We have a small staff here at GCC for the amount of people we serve each week. We are used to multitasking, we all do it. We all also have had to learn to be patient when we miss small things or make annoying mistakes because we are juggling too many tasks. This has been the multitask week of the year for me as me and the team have gotten ready for remix, Sunday morning environments, and the kickoff of our first family production Cross Street Live. The rule is for the weekend, enjoy the productivity, deal with the mistakes, rely on God, and enjoy the moment. We have all worked hard, we have all balanced different things on our plate and now we get to see it all come together. If I can go out in the road and get this book back surely we can get through the weekend. The key I am finding is not to let the hectic pace distract me from the joy of serving people and God being glorified! So enjoy the multitasking, but do not forget to slow down and see God work!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

dating, students, and changing the world...

Remix is our weekly gathering we do with Relevant Student Ministry ( This week we finished up a series on dating and relationships with the old OPPOSITE sex and it was a great close. Chelsea and I talked about the service tonight when I got home and really processed if the series was effective. After processing it for a while we both landed on the idea, IF WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT WHO WILL? The Bible has tons to say about relationships even though dating is a "american" cultural phenomenon. Tonight we allowed teenagers to submit questions while we had a small panel answer them. They had some great questions and yes some that were really funny but we could not ask them but they were really funny! I just hope when teenagers leave our environment they know God does care about their lives and God loves them more than they will ever understand. God's way is the best and we have to allow the Bible to reveal that path. It has been a fun series. Thanks to all of ya who came the past three weeks and for all our leaders who invest in teens each week in our Lifegroups!

NEXT week at Remix we get to talk about 4 global issues we are going to address in 2009. Yes, this generation wants to make a difference. It is not enough to talk about a issue or problem, this generation wants to be the solution and they can be. It is going to be fun to see how each Lifegroup works to be a SOLUTION and not just a observer of injustice, poverty, sickness, and slavery in our world.

Monday, December 1, 2008

why launch a family production at GCC???

Why launch a family worship experience for kids and parents???? Because kids matter...because parents are the biggest spiritual influences in a kids life...because the church needs to PARTNER with families. Really I am most excited for my girls and how it will help Chelsea and I communicate with them about Jesus, faith, the Bible, and life. We launch our family production, CROSS STREET LIVE this Sunday at 5:30 at Rossview High. We cannot wait to see what God does through this new adventure for Grace Community. For more info about CSL go check out

Sunday, November 30, 2008

thanks coach fulmer...

No bowl game this year for Tennessee but finishing 5-7 and beating Vandy and Kentucky is enough for me. What a great way to end the year. I have been one of the guys asking for change at UT this year. I am excited about the hiring of a young new coach to lead the Vol nation. Coach Fulmer was once a young assistant coach with no head coaching experience on the college level and that tuned out great. It will be fun to see what Lane Kiffin will bring to UT and at least we will not be running the SPREAD, I may be the only person in America that is already tired of it.
I have been watching Coach Fulmer lead Tennessee since I was 15 years old. I was thrilled when he took the job from Johnny Majors and he did what he said he would do . Coach Fulmer took Tennessee to the next level. I just want to say thanks. I watched his last game and was once again blown away by the class act that is Phil Fulmer. Just a few things I took from watching Coach Fulmer lead UT...
  • Spend your life doing something you would do for free because you believe in it that much. Coach invested his life in a University and football program he was a part of at every level. He loved his job.
  • Relationships matter...Phil was a great recruiter and always invested his life in his players and coaches.
  • Praise the TEAM when you win and take the heat when you loose! Coach Fulmer never played the blame game in a loss and never took all the credit in a win. it was about the team and the program.
  • Empower leaders to LEAD. I loved that Coach Fulmer let his staff of coaches actually coach and make the big calls. Fulmer always had had a stable staff for that reason.
  • Let your family be a part of your career! It was so cool to see Fulmer's daughters with him on the sidelines over the years. Coach Fulmer's family was a part of the University family.
Thanks Coach Fulmer! It has been a fun 17 years. Thanks for all you did for the University of Tennessee.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

have a great thanksgiving...

Honestly this is one of my favorite weeks of the year, yes I like it more than Christmas. I think I feel this way because we get to just be together and look back on the year and the goal is thankfulness. So the day before thanksgiving I thought I would make a THANKFUL list. Through the good and the bad God has been there shaping molding, goes...
  • I am so thankful for another year with my wife! I am married to the most amazing and beautiful woman in Clarksville TN...this will be our 13th year being married and it has been amazing!
  • Kozbi and Kelyn, you are amazing little girls. I am so thankful for all the times I have got to walk in the door at night and have you run to give me a HUG, that rocks. Love you girls!
  • Friendships...God has given my wife and I some amazing relationships here in Clarksville. Some of you go to GCC some of you do not, but you guys make our life better.
  • Seeing Relevant Student Ministry make a difference in the lives of teenagers here in Clarksville.
  • Grace Community Church...I could say so much. I love that I mis church when I am gone, love the team I serve with, love that my kids love church. Thanks Grace!
  • Lilly, our Compassion International kid, our family can not wait to meet you face to face one day in Kenya!
  • Our neighborhood FAMILY - we live next to some amazing people!!!
  • Jesus...I know that sounds very churchy BUT I am thankful I am seeing the heart and mind of Christ a little more clearly. Thanks God...
  • Another year of health for our family...we have a great extended family here in Shelbyville. Love all of them so much!
  • Struggles...there have been many this past year but God has used them to make us who we are this year.
  • Hate to say this...I am thankful for the has been a huge blessing to my family!
  • Ok this is selfish..FOOTBALL, love my Vols even when they stink up the joint, and 10-1 Titan, it has been a fun year! Go Vols, Go Titans!
Ok enough! What are you thankful for? Take time to think back on the year this weekend. Take time to tell those around you how much you love them. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

please stop saying " MAIN CAMPUS"

Naming "something" is a big deal today. I was listening yesterady to Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio talk about how he had stayed away from a great restaurant becaue of a poor designed logo and odd name. It just did not look like a place he wanted to eat. When he went, he loved it...the NAME of somthing can be very important.

Tons of us in church life are wrestling with multi-campus, multi-site, multi-venue ideas for the churches we lead. Many of you work in churches that have multiple locations. At First Norfolk we had 2 campuses and now they have three...working on four...VERY COOL. I was reminded today of a NAMING thing that bugs me about multiple campuses. Here is goes, get ready, this may not bug you but it does me>>>>CALLING YOUR ORIGINAL LOCATION THE MAIN CAMPUS>>>> I drove by a local church that had on their sign the time of the service at their MAIN CAMPUS and the time for the other location. BLAAAAAAAAAAAA nothing sounds worse to me than MAIN CAMPUS. At First Norfolk we had to fight the battle that the MAIN CAMPUS name brought with it. That name automatically made the original campus seem more important and nothing could be further from the truth. It took months of work and relationship building to get our team at our Chesapeake location to know we were FOR them and wanted to partner with them. The MAIN CAMPUS name hurt the kingdom work we wanted to do and it can hurt your effort in the church you lead.

So now that I have that out of my system, please empower your other locations and come up with another name for your original location besides MAIN CAMPUS. I promise it will help empower your teams leading in your other locations. PROMISE!

Monday, November 24, 2008

the sex challenge...

You may have heard but Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship Church in Dallas TX (Grapevine actually) gave his church the greatest or maybe oddest challenge I have ever heard. This is amazing...he challenged all the married couples at Fellowship to have sex for the next seven days in an effort to improve marriages. DUDE I have been challenged to do tons of things at church but never to have sex. The sex challenge...I been told to wait but UH OH this is new. JUST AMAZING...I am married, love my wife, think it is a better challenge than lots of others I have heard but in response you have to read this post from my friend Matthew Paul Turner...GREAT POST...enjoy the read, this is priceless! Just to clarify, God created marriage, and sex, and His plan is the best. I hate the church has not helped people understand His plan! Anyway, enjoy Matthew Paul Turner's post!

weekend thoughts...

  • new series at GCC was great! Go check out to see the logo...good job Ron, and creative team for leading us Sunday. It was great to see our team press on and launch a new series on a day when it is easy to mail it in for the usual thanksgiving talk. Good job!
  • Cross Street Live (Dec. 7 at 5:30 / is coming together. The set is looking amazing. I am so thankful for the job Jim Wilcox is doing leading this effort. Our folks have really done a great job making this come together. CSL is going to be amazing!
  • Got to lead in Cross Street this Sunday with Nate Edmondson, it is always cool to see kids connect with God. Church should be the best stop of a kids week. WHY DOES CHURCH HAVE TO BE BORING? It does not have to be, our God is amazing! I am thrilled to serve at an exciting church where adults, teens, and kids love coming to church!
  • We have a break at REMIX this week but we finish our LOVESICK series Dec. 3 with a talk back session where teens get to ask questions, YES they get to talk and we get to answer, could be dangerous!
  • It was fun to speak at First Baptist Owensboro for D-Now. Matt mason has done a great job leading that student ministry.
  • Got to go see Madagascar 2 with the family Sunday. It was great, I laughed out loud so many times.
  • MTSU wins, Vols beat Vandy, Titans forget to show up. I forgot what losing on Sunday was like. it is no fun. The Jets looked really good...they have the Patriot offense working. Hope Titans get another shot.
  • I am really ready for the break this week. I have had the chance to speak a ton this month and work on the CSL launch...mentally I am tried baby! TIRED!
  • Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I am so thankful for so many things...will blog later!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

more on where you work and what you do!

Have I told you that I am a big fan of Seth Godin...this was his post today...Go check his blog our Now and check out this little nugget. I just finished TRIBES his new book, it is amazing, will blog about it next week. Here is his post from today...

"Just doing my job"

What a bogus excuse.

If you take a job, you've bought into what the company does. You're responsible.

If you work for a company headed off a cliff, hey, you're going too. The fact that you're just doing your job doesn't make unemployment any better. And if the company is hurting people or the world you operate in, it doesn't matter who told you to do it, you still did it.

It's not just your job. It's a big part of your life. And you're way smarter than you're giving yourself credit for. Speak up, change things or get out. Whining later is a low-return strategy.

Sorry for the rant. Been getting a lot of email this week from people explaining why they work for companies doing dumb things.

Friday, November 21, 2008

who do you spend your day with?

Who do you work with? Most of us work and most of of spend most of our time with people at work. The sad fact is that most people do not like the people they work with and spend each day hoping the clock will hit 5 and the weekend comes quick. Obviously my post about Ben Reed littering was a joke. Yes, I deserved that trash bag on my truck, yes I put pizza boxes in his truck, yes it was fun. I love the team I work with at Grace Community. When you believe in the organization you work for, and you have great relationship with the team around you...WORK IS MUCH BETTER! For the past several years at several churches I have had the privilege of working with people I love. Steve Griffith, Dick Baker, Phillip Herring, Gail Motley, Debbie Hoffius, Brandon Reed, Eric Thomas, Steve Harper, Leland Parks, Jay Albritton, Shawn Lowery are just a few (had to cut the list off here sorry to my other work friends!) We did ministry together and we connected as friends. WORKING WITH PEOPLE YOU ACTUALLY HAVE FRIENDSHIPS WITH MATTERS! It makes work so much more meaningful!

I know you can not change this overnight but you can start working toward being in an organization with people you love and respect. DO NOT SETTLE! Sure there will always be struggles with people you work with but you can have relationships of significance as you work, plan, build, tear down, TOGETHER. So, who do yo work with?

Grace Community doing life with all of you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

litter is bad, BEN REED, bad

For some reason Ben Reed did not learn in elementary school that littering is a bad thing. You ask how I know this???? well just look at the proof. I am so sorry Pete, your son loves to put trash on others trucks. Ben has given in to the temptation of a trash fight, someone left pizza boxes on his truck and now he is lashing out at victims who have been victimized by a TRASH FIGHT. The innocent suffer here. Does Ben love God? not sure! Is Ben now qualified to be a community groups pastor? NOT SURE! Maybe we have taken this grace idea too far and I need to go out and start a legalistic church to help people understand the rules of following Christ and not littering...oops, this just in, there are plenty of those places already. I guess I will have to stand against trash fights ALONE and lash out in vengeance when it is least may be my only choice. I will be starting a victims of trash group on facebook tonight, please join!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

are we CLEAR are we answering real questions?

What does following Christ look like in my life today? That is what people are asking. People are not against God, against Christ, against faith but they are confused about what being a Christ follower looks like. This year we have been able to really get personal with our gathering of teens and try to answer some questions kids are asking. (and some they do not know to ask) This month we are tacking a series on dating called lovesick at REMIX . (if you like that look and the series idea go check out and jump on the collaboration train!) TEENS WANT ANSWERS TO THE DATING QUESTION and so many times we look at hard issues, confusing issues and just tell them to avoid IT. This is just not enough. Teens are asking questions, they need guidance, and Jesus cares more about who they date and how they date than we do. Jesus has something to say! Our job is to translate the message of Christ into their language. Many of our ministries are not answering questions that real people are asking and they are not communicating clearly. Small group leader, pastor, youth minister, speaker,Sunday School teacher, whatever you are called I am begging you to engage people with God's Word and strive to communicate in a way that your audience can understand. People deserve to know God actually has something to say to them and we owe them good communication that is clear. I hope we will quit blaming people for not beg interested when it might just be our method and style of communication that confuse people. We are communicating the one truth that can change a is amazing...lets communicate it clearly. Lets answer questions, stir debate, encourage thought, and embrace truth!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

cross street LIVE is COMING...Dec. 7

Ok this is real...cross street LIVE is coming to Clarksville on Dec. 7. How do I know this? We start construction on the set in the morning. It is ON, and our team is so excited. We have been dreaming about launching a service where kids and parents could worship together since we began the journey here at Grace Community three years ago. We have been waiting for God to put the right people in place to make the jump and that time is now! It is really NOW since we have all this wood, paint, STUFF at Rossview High ready to be assembled. We are in promo mode now and we want to ask people to plan on being at CSL, to pray for CSL, and to spread the word about CSL. Cross Street Live is open to families all over Carksville. SPREAD the WORD! If you want more info about what we do each week in our Cross Street environment for kids go check out [] for all the details.

This week we have a commercial ready to run about CSL but I wanted to post a video here on so you could see what we are about to tackle. This video is from our friends at North Point Community Church in Atlanta a few years back. This is where we are headed! I also want to thank Cross Point Community, New Work Fellowship and Reggie Joiner at RETHINK for helping our team dream about the possibility of having a service for families at GCC! Check this out...

Monday, November 17, 2008

rethink Christmas?

This week at Grace Community we set aside one week to help our church rethink Christmas. I know for Chelsea and I we are trying to incorporate generosity and serving others into our family plans for the Holiday season. Celebrate, give gifts, worship Christ, have fun with friends, but please do not let Christmas morph into a time where we simply go into debt to make sure our kids and family get stuff they do not really need. Why talk about this now? BECAUSE WE ARE IN PREP MODE FOR CHRISTMAS! My wife went shopping today so I know it is ON. I love Christmas and I want my kids to understand it is about giving not just getting more STUFF. We are finding ways to help our girls get it. My hope is that you will think about why you to the things you do at Christmas. RETHINK CHRISTMAS...

One place I hope you will go check out is [ ] and see what some friends of ours are doing to help people change their idea of the Holiday season. If you are on check out this video from the Advent Conspiracy...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

what does a good sunday look like?

Getting to see God work in the lives of teens this morning at a retreat, making it back to GCC for the end of our 11 am service, getting to play with the girls at chuck-e-cheese and hang with some friends from church, watching the titans go to 10-0...that is a good day! Looking forward to this week!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

fbc smyrna (that name for now) is doing some great stuff in Middle TN!

2 years ago I was invited to come here to Garner Creek Retreat center to do a middle school retreat called the plunge for First Baptist Church Smyrna, TN a thriving church close to Nashville. Right now as I type I am back for my second time with this team and it is amazing to see what a great job the student ministry staff has done. It is so much fun to come into a retreat environment when the kids have been prayed for, the volunteers are supportive of the mission, the interns are serving with passion, and there is a expectancy for God to do something big in the lives of kids. Chris Hollomon, David McCaman, and Melanie Hill have just done an amazing job investing in kids here at FBCS (they are about to change their name, VERY COOL). If you want to check out what God is doing through this church and student ministry just click on the PLUNGE logo above and go to their website. God is doing some great things at First Smyrna!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mike Yaconelli, wow...thanks man

Looking back there have been several guys who made a huge impact in my thinking about what it meant to follow Christ. Mike Yaconelli was one of those guys. Mike founded and led an organization called Youth Specialties. Mike's writings and the conferences he led for Youth Specialties made a huge impact in my life. Half the time Mike made me mad with some of the things he said but the cool thing is that HE MADE ME THINK! My friend Terrace Crawford found this video on you tube and I wanted to share it today. Mike passed away a few years ago but his legacy keeps working in lives today! Thanks Mike!

If you are on facebook you can check this video out at by clicking here. If you are on check this out...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

when we are sick...

It has been one of those crazy weeks when we have sick kids in our house. Kozbi has been ok, just simple allergies, but Kelyn has been really sick for the past 3 days. It is wild how we change gears when our kids are sick. We go out of our way to take care of them and show them we will help them get better. Really, the rules go out the window. We really try to watch how much TV our girls watch and make sure they sleep in their own room each night. Not when they are sick; we just throw all that junk out the door! Kelyn has watched one million episodes of Dora the explorer, ended up in our bed the past 3 nights, and drank juice like a drunk at a keg party! We just want her to know we are going to help her rest and get better. We will go to any extreme to make sure she gets better.

It is so cool for me to read in the Bible where Jesus compares our love for our children to the extreme love God has for us. Jesus asks his followers if they know how to give good gifts to their children how much more will God do the same with His children? It is crazy that when we are spiritually sick we try to run from the very one that wants to help us get better. When we are stuck in the hurt of sin and its consequences we run away from the one place of healing. As I take of my little girl this week it just reminds me that my Heavenly Father is there to heal the sickness that traps me so often.

Are you spiritually sick? Are you hurting? Are you confused? Are you sacred? God is there! He is ready to help! Instead of running away run in His direction.

Monday, November 10, 2008

unique experiences...

This week we wrapped up our unique series at Grace Community and Ron talked about how we all have unique experiences that shape our life. We had everyone take home a small card with four simple questions on it so they could process their own story and how God is and has worked through their life. I thought I would work through these 4 here on the blog. Here goes...

List three negative experiences that have shaped your life.
  1. my parents divorce
  2. the loss of some close friends to cancer
  3. dealing with the consequences of sin in my own life (this would take a BOOK)
List three positive experiences that have shaped your life.
  1. marrying chelsea parks NOW chelsea bayne
  2. getting to parent kozbi and kelyn!
  3. growing up with parents who love Jesus
List three spiritual experiences that have shaped your life.
  1. salvation and learning what it means to follow Christ!
  2. having the chance to mentor and invest in the lives of teenagers
  3. finally embracing the fact God called me to innovate and create as I serve the church
Describe how you think God could use those experiences to bring Himself glory.
When I look back at all my experiences He has prepared me to be right where I am now. God has prepared me for this moment in my life. For the first time I am surrounded not just by people who go to my church but real people, living real life, in this city. It is very cool to be able to invest in those around me and learn with them what it means to follow Christ.

Really every situation, every problem, every relationship, every good and every bad is all to shape and mold my life for God. I look back at everything and understand God has had a plan and my choices have not surprised Him. It is amazing how God uses the past to get us ready for the next adventure we will face. I am so thankful God can use my good and bad.

Have fun if you want to do this short homework project. Ron, good job Sunday! Thanks for being open with us about your life and pointing us to follow after Jesus with our life.

go check our

There are billions of people all over the globe that struggle to have the basic food, water, shelter and clothing they need day to day. Imagine not having shoes to wear to work, school, soccer practice, or just to go outside. soles4souls is an amazing charity located in Nashville that has one mission: get shoes to people who need shoes. Over 300 million people around the world don’t have shoes and are forced to walk around unsafe and in potentially life-threatening conditions. Not only is it unsafe physically, but having to look down all the time causes these people to also live without dignity and confidence.

Here is the idea... what if we could raise enough money to buy 50,000 pairs of shoes in 50 days? The goal is simple and you can be a part of the movement. Go to and donate 5 bucks. 5 dollars buys 2 pair of shoes! Join the movement on facebook. Blog about it today on your blog. Tell your friends about what is going on. Many of you have already embraced this idea through Toms Shoes. This is just one more way we can meet a basic need for kids living in poverty all over the globe.

Go for it...this is an amazing charity and you can be a part of making a difference in the lives of people all over the globe. Here is some info about souls4shoes...
Nashville-based Soles4Souls(TM) facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Since its inception, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 3.5 million pairs (or one pair every 23 seconds) to people in 61 countries, including Honduras, Romania, Thailand, and the Sudan. The charity has been featured on CNN Headline News, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, ABC News, FOX, CBS, and hundreds of regional outlets around North America. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS; donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit for more information.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

sunday night MIND DUMP...

Great weekend here, just have been thinking a few thoughts today as it wraps up...
  • Praying for Katrina Watts our director of grace acres here at GCC...she lost her grandmother this weekend. Praying for her and her family, Katrina is doing an amazing job with our preschool team!
  • Ron and the worship team did an amazing job this morning in our gathering at GCC. Go get the podcast! I will post some more thoughts from Sunday later this week. Thanks guys for leading us this morning.
  • This week we have a big meeting about launching the first KIDSTUF in Clarksville. Kidstuf is a worship experience where kids and parents worship together. We are really excited!
  • Ready for a change in Knoxville with my Vols. How do you lose to Wyoming???
  • Go Titans, we are that good!
  • Got to go to homecoming at MTSU this weekend. MTSU has done an amazing job thinking like a BIG SCHOOL. The facilities are amazing and if they can ever string together a few winning seasons they are going to really build their fan base! Go Blue!
  • My wife and kids are amazing! It was great to be with them all weekend. Since there is no school we are gonna hit the pool at the Y in the morning. Should be fun.
  • Get to speak at a retreat for FBC Smyrna this coming weekend. I am really excited...
  • Look for some big news on a ton of blogs in the morning, big announcement and big push coming all across the country.
  • At Remix we start a new series on dating, go look at
  • About to watch amazing race with my wife, YES! love that show!

Friday, November 7, 2008

one more worship song?

14 But I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more.
15 My mouth will tell about your righteousness, about your salvation all day long. Even then, it is more than I can understand. Psalm 71:14-15 GWT

This summer I began to question, why do we need more worship songs? Why do we search out new artists singing new songs about this God we serve? No matter what style of music you like there is a desire for that new song, that new idea, that new melody. When we hear it we grab on to it and make that thought part of our lives. New worship music is needed and helps us to think new thoughts about a God we will never be able to contain.

From some people I hear this complaint about our consumption of worship music. It is almost like there is something wrong with the way we engage new music. It is like the enjoyment I have from a new song about God is bad! I keep coming back and questioning how desiring new ideas about God expressed through new music can be a bad thing. The real desire for new music flows from a desire within all of us that longs to connect with a God we have a hard time grasping. Art (music) helps us express how we feel about God and understand truth about God when we struggle to find ways to express it. Here are some places I have landed when it comes to music in the Christian faith...
  • When it comes to music we need to strive to create rather than copy. Regardless of style make good art that honors and amazing God. (GOOD ART, not stuff that is "safe" enough to get played on Christian radio - HA)
  • Embrace the new and the old. Can we ever say enough about the God who created the universe?
  • We learn our theology from music. Yes we need lyrics that express truth, God's word, and solid doctrine in our music. We learn about God as we sing about God. This goes for every age group in the church.
  • Music can challenge the way we view God and view life! Controversy and be good when it makes us think. we ave to allow artists to stretch the way we view following Christ. THINK DEREK WEBB, that guys challenges the process. You do not have to agree with him but let him express his art and think?
  • Great worship music leads us to this amazing God we serve and exalts Him. Worship music should be God centered.
  • Lets give artists the freedom to create and quit being so FEARFUL that someone might say something wrong. Why ask artists to stop expressing thoughts about God and life???
So for those of you out there writing new music, keep rolling! Thanks for helping our hearts connect with this amazing God! Thanks Steve Fee, Hillsong United, Charlie Hall, Daniel Doss, Eddie Kirkland, Kristian Stanfill, Robbie Seay, Todd Fields, and so many more for stretching our view of God through your music.

Thursday, November 6, 2008 A GREAT IDEA!

One of the wild things about Grace Community is that we do our best to empower people with ideas and then give them support so that they can go carry out that idea. A few months ago, a few people passionate about adoption came to our team and asked about hosting an event to help people understand the adoption process. GREAT IDEA! We had 2 choices. They could go out and make it happen or they could wait until we hired a pastor to lead that effort. (yes we have been told at other churches that every ministry of the church has to have a staff person to help lead it or watch it or make sure it does not go cRaZy) We decided to let this team go for it and now we have an adoption event coming this month for our community! Go to and check out what is going down. This just makes sense and there are babies and future babies all over the globe needing homes with moms and dads who want them. Spread the word here in our community and think about hosting an adoption event in your community. Supporting the pro-life movement is way more than voting for a president. The movement must help give people looking for abortion options that make sense. Thanks to all of you who work to provide wise options for scared women who need a different way of handling an unexpected pregnancy and do not want an abortion.

Go check it out //

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

so what now?

We all know who our next President will be now. For many of us our "guy" did not win the election. for some of ya you got the "win". It is wild how we walk away from every election day with some feeling thrilled and some devastated. I love to follow politics but my true hope does not lie in who wins or loses an election. A perfect politician does not exist and every politician with every party will make many choices that you and I do not support. Many mistakes will not not be seen because we do not have access to that level of political life. As followers of Christ it is so critical we pray for the good of our nation. We pray that God will bring salvation to millions far from Christ. We pray God will give wisdom to the men and women who represent us in government. We pray that God will give wisdom and guidance to our president elect. As I was working out this morning at the Y God worked through my shuffle on my mp3 player...yes God does work that were two songs that played in a row, just a little sample from each.

Steve Fee - Faithful
You were before time
and You'll be when it ends
for you have no beginning
and no end
Your word shall endure
without change it is sure
on Your promises
we will stand secure

You are ever faithful,
You are ever faithful
to us, God
You are crowned all-powerful
all the world will bow before
You, Oh God

Kristian Stanfill - Lord of All
There is none so High and Holy
King of Kings the One and Only
You are adored, You are the Lord of All

We are not defined by a party, denomination, government, or man made organization. We serve a God who Reigns on High! Live, Dream, Serve, and Love in and through Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

youth pastors...PLEASE empower your team...

This weekend we pulled off our second CRAVE weekend of relevant student ministry history (that sounds official!). The band (Matt Blair led!) did great, Jay Strother did an amazing job speaking, but the real difference makers in the weekend were our lifegroup leaders. Yea, we call our adult group leaders lifegroup leaders. We love what happens in each session. We are passionate about the teaching and worship times at every retreat. We love havinf fun, but when I look back at last weekend the most important thing that happened was the relational bridges built between the teens and their lifegroup leaders. The group times that went down at CRAVE come back to Clarksville with each group. The crazy things that happened come home with each group. The ideas that God impressed on each kids heart come back with each group. What happened on retreat keeps SWIRLING back at our weekly gathering because our lifegroup leaders took the time to go with their kids to CRAVE. Thanks so much to our team for doing such a great job.

I think the most important thing every youth pastor can do is empower their adult volunteers to move from "youth worker" to youth minister. It has to be OK that students call their group leader when things go wrong. It has to be OK that our group leaders are at their ballgames and plays instead of us. It has to be OK that our group leaders have input into the direction of the student ministries we lead. Instead of trying to be "super minister" each of us responsible have to stop doing it ALL, taking all the credit, and empower the team we lead. Your team is there to serve, minister, and lead not just be bossed around doing all the junk you do not want to do! Empower your team, listen to them, serve them, pray for them, and then step back and watch God work as you multiply your ministries effectiveness! (Oh yea, your juniors and seniors can be great leaders also, we know because we have some of the best! Do not be scared to empower High school students!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

happy halloween LATE...

Ok, I was gone on Halloween getting setup for our Crave Retreat last weekend. This is a picture of my girls at a Halloween party that our friends put on. WOW, are not cute. Our kids love Halloween and they are the ones dressed up in the hat and purple ballerina dress. My girls get to go to Grace Community with these kids every week. We all are going to start a community group in January. Chelsea and I are just grateful for the relationships God has blessed us with here at GCC. OK, I will stop being sappy, here is a late HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

you can vote however you like

Yes we go vote in the morning. Chelsea and I are going to take turns hanging out with the kids so we can both go and vote. It is very exciting to see so many people passionate about this election. If you know me then you know I love a little political action. It has really been cool to have friendships with democrats, republicans and independents and hear their ideas and passion for this election. Yes you can be a follower of Christ and be any of these three options. We need a viable third party in America for all of us who really do desire reform ans who have been burned by either the blue or red. Jesus is not involved in anything but advancing the Kingdom of God. So for all of you who have your ideas of what will is the best plan for America, good luck. The best thing we can do as Christ followers is vote, pray, live out our faith, and serve others. We can make this country a better place to live, raise a family, and work as we as followers of Christ live as Christ. I am so thankful that God has given us freedom here in America. Go out and vote. Not matter who wins, our God reigns! Oh and watch this video to inspire you to go vote on Nov. 4!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

more from catalyst 08...

I still have so many notes from Catalyst and now I am going back and listening to the pre-conference sessions I missed. You need to hear Reggie Joiner's pre-conference talk! If you did not go to Catalyst this year go check out their conference experience pack. Get it for your team and start digesting it. I thought tonight I would get out some insight that I gained from hearing Jim Collins, YES THE JIM COLLINS for those of you who loved Good to Great and Built to Last, speak. Yes, I have read both of those books multiple times. Looking back at my notes here are some great things I took away from his session...

Good is the enemy of great!

When you start compromising the quality people on your bus (your team) to gain fast growth you will fall.

Growth must not get ahead of the ability to have the right people on the bus. UNDISCIPLINED PURSUIT OF MORE!

If we get the right "WHOS” we get better WHATS! Life is people! Our lives are shaped by the people we surround ourselves with.

The only thing you can control is WHO you do life with! Who are you going with!

Many churches are dependent on a powerful personality this sets them up for failure. Personalities end, the measure is after the personality leaves.

If you build a great church doing great things we must help it be ENDURING with the right people in leadership!

Work is infinite, time is precious

Yes, Jim Collins is an amazing leader and thinker, go check out

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Am I making a difference?

Woke up at 5:20 this morning just trying to get out of bed and head to this men's gathering and small group environment called Men's Fraternity. The first thing that popped in my head was a small whisper saying, you have remix tonight, does it really matter, why do you do this, is it really making a difference? It was quick, it was quiet but it was filled with dread and self doubt. I quickly screamed back, in my head of course, YES IT MATTERS, THIS MATTERS and went on about the morning. Do you have these thought? I have had them my entire time of following Jesus. Even as a volunteer it seems Satan has wanted to fill my mind with doubt about my worth, my effort for the Kingdom, the value of serving others. No matter how close I am walking with God these thoughts come and attack and I have had to learn to rest in the fact that my this is all God's plan and I am His servant and He cares more about His kingdom advancing than I do. For all of you serving kids and teens, please fight back against self doubt. Please rest in the fact that God is using you to advance His Kingdom. Just as yourself thee questions...

What is the most imporatant thing about a human soul? If it is that they have a relationship with God then move forward with confidence...

Is investing in the lives of kids and teens important? If you say yes then move forward with confidence...

Is spending your time, money, faith, and, career advancing the Kingdom of God worth it? If yes then move forward with confidence...

Do you believe in the mission and process of your organization (your school, church, young life group, fca, community group, business, or church)? If yes then move forward with confidence...

Jesus said in John 10:10 about Satan, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Choose life today and move forward with confidence.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MNF and the titans! with some other thoughts...

Got to go to the Titans / Colts game last night and experience MNF for the second time in my life. The last time I saw the Titans on Monday night Steve McNair and Frank Wycheck were leading the way and then last night I got to see them honor both players and Eddie George on the same night. The crowd was amazing and what the team did on the field topped it all off. There is no doubt that the Titans are for real. To bad there is no mid season trophy. All of us here in the Nashville area want to see these guys take it to Tampa on Feb. 1 We have a long road ahead but this has been a great start. I had a great time.

I hope if you are out there doing ministry you have a place you go just to relax and have fun. I love sports. It is my distraction from the demands of leading and it gives me a mental BREAK. We all need it, get out there and take a break. Go fishing, hunting, play music, go to a game, hiking, running, WHATEVER. Serve God, invest in others, work hard, invest in your family with passion, and take time to rest. Life is way to short, take some time to enjoy it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

CRAVE weekend

Getting ready for our CRAVE retreat this weekend. Yea, retreat. for some of you that sends chills down your spine because you have already done your fall retreat and you are still wiped out from it. I understand and I have been there before. With all the extra work that a retreat brings, I am still excited about the weekend. We are different than most busy student ministries. We have said no to busyness to strive to make what we do the best it can be. The big deal for us here at RELEVANT is our weekly ministry. Even with that, we do one thing each week called REMIX and we strive to make that one things the best it can be. Each fall and spring we focus on one weekend so we can help teens get away and connect with God, their lifegroup leader, and with their friends. For all of you who have to plan busy ministries so that you can provide a social calendar for your church kids, I am sorry. Some of your choose bsuyness and some are forced to do it that way. I hate you have to spread yourself so thin and take so much time away from your family. My advice is to slow down and focus on what you can do BEST for the teens you invest in. I thought today I would post some thoughts I have been thinking about retreat the past few years...
  • use as many of your weekly leaders as you can - this is where relationships really grow. Give your volunteers the chance to invest and make memories with your kids!
  • use youth pastors you trust to speak - there are tons of youth pastors you know who are good communicators. It will save you a ton of time and allow your kids to hear a fresh voice speak into their lives.
  • make sure your retreat format supports your weekly ministry format - make sure what you on retreat looks much like your weekly experience. RETREATS should support and enhance what you do each week.
  • make sure your teens have time to have fun - PLEASE MAKE ANY RETREAT YOU DO FUNNNNNNNNNNNN. Not sure who said fun was not holy. Fun softens hearts and builds relationships.
  • think outside the box - go places and do things your kids will not expect. We go to major cities and stay in nice hotels, WHY because we are tired of teens getting second best. They need to know they are worth the investment. You do not have to do every retreat in the woods even thought roughing it can be great. One of my friends does a great retreat each year with house boats at a local lake, GREAT IDEA!
  • partner with other youth ministries - any size church can hold a great retreat and numbers help bring momentum. If you lead a small church and have a small group, gather with five other churches and bring the momentum!
  • focus on the kids who go - we are all terrible at worrying about why kids do not go on an event we plan. Invest in the kids that go, give them your total attention.
  • pray, pray and pray some more - so many time we plan great things but forget the most important thing, TO PRAY! We need God to show up more than anything. Get people praying for your retreat.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


This morning I went to see Brock Rowland play football. The little guy is a great football player and his coach is a good friend of mine, well Go COACH CHAD. The team did not pull off the win but it was a great game. After the loss I watched the fans of the team cheer the team on, I watched Chad gather the boys and encourage then on a game well played, and I saw a ton of parents proud of their kids! I have met a ton of senior pastors in my day but this is the first one I have met who will give his time to coach a team of kids 2 afternoons a week with a game on Saturday to serve a group of families who want their little kids to play football. Sure, I know Brock is on the team. That is a huge investment in itself. Thanks Rowland for caring about investing in people (our community) not just the church you lead. final word - Good game today Brock, I can not wait to see you run the ball at RHS or CHS! (wherever you live then!)

Again today I ask where are you serving or giving that has no direct connection with your church? How are you involved in your community?

Friday, October 24, 2008

fall festivals = big crowd = good times

Kozbi's school had a fall festival tonight and of course we went. Yes, it was amazing, well amazing in terms that my kids loved it and the school basically threw a great party and raised a ton of cash for the school. Here are some thoughts from the night. I know you can not wait!
  • We did the cake walk 4 times and did not win cake. SOLUTION the girls and I went to Food lion and got ice cream and a brownie mix. BAM, take that cake walk%^%^&%^&%
  • The food at the festival, not that good but it was Kelyn's favorite meal. Pizza and Cheetos!
  • The crowd, wow it was packed and got to see a ton of friends. Good times!
  • The girls got to play a ton of games and the highlight of course were the TATTOOS, fake of course since it may be a little early for the real thing!
  • Chelsea volunteered the final hour while I cooked the brownies. we had a sweet after festival party at home.
  • KOZBI loves her school. Good job to the staff there, you guys and gals are amazing. We have great schools in Clarksville.
  • OUR FAMILY had a great time!
Of course here is the ministry lesson I thought of tonight. Our hope is to connect with people and help them discover Jesus Christ. If we are going to do that we might want to care about the things they care about. Good schools, the arts, city sports leagues for kids, safe cities, taking care of the environment, safe environments for kids to have fun and learn, and the list can go on and on. Sometimes I think we care about our own needs as followers of Jesus instead of the needs of those far from Christ. So go on out there and care about something that is not on your church calendar. Go ahead Jesus will be pumped even if you church friends are not, heck bring them along!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

what is God doing?

I feel like for the first in a long time God is giving me clarity to see what He is up to in our family ministry here at Grace Community. I am in the middle of year 2 here at GCC and all around me right now God is softening my heart and giving me WOW moments just to be amazed at what He is up to. Relevant, Grace Aces, and Cross Street are full of kids and teens connecting with God like they never have before. We are seeing parents and teens worship each week together and actually talk about what God is doing in their lives. We see kids and teens excited about coming to the environments we create each week at GCC. It amazes me that teens want to be at church and out student gathering and it is not just about seeing their friends (we know they love connecting with each other). I feel like right now God is helping me to rejoice in what He is doing all around our team here at GCC. My heart needs to be thrilled every time I see something go down that makes the heart of God joyful. I need to be pumped about what God is pumped about. Once again God is teaching me. Sometimes my own drive for more and better crushes the ability to celebrate God's goodness. Drive is good but it can crush joy in God and rob the state of being content in what He is doing all around us. We put this video of our student video together last week and every time I watch it I am blown away and thankful for what God is doing here in Clarksville. The video is from our weekly gathering for teens called REMIX.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

more about being "churched" as a kid...

I had to follow up from my post about Matthew Paul Turner's book called Churched. Yes, as I read the book I was reminded of all the crazy things I experienced and "picked up" as a kid in church. There are also some amazing things that happened while I was growing up in church as a kid. Here are just a few things I learned, discovered, or noticed while growing up in church in the 80's and early 90's...
  1. I became a follower of Jesus Christ.
  2. I learned that my spiritual family (the local church) matters and a I met some amazing people who loved me and my family.
  3. I discovered that real manhood could be lived as a follower of Jesus out as we live daring lives in and for the Kingdom of God. I encountered many REAL men who loved God and loved others.
  4. I found truth and wisdom in the Bible. I learned I could meet God there in those pages.
  5. I understood eternity was real and that what we did in this life would matter in the next.
  6. I learned to stand up for what I believed in.
  7. I learned that people where made in God's image and every human has value.
Yea...God did wild things in my heart in those early years. No local church is perfect and it gets messy because people are messy. My prayer is that we will all struggle to help our local churches become places that point people to think, live, work, parent, dream, and serve in a way that looks like and honors Jesus Christ. I pray that we will begin to live out the ways of Jesus in our local churches. What are some of the lessons you learned and took away from "church" when you were young?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

show me the money!

It has been amazing to watch our country go into PANIC mode about the economy. All of us who lead and work in non profits feel the pinch. Yes, we are in an economic slow down. Yes, these are difficult times for many people around the world. But, do we have to stay in panic mode? The question we have here on our team is how will we react? In staff meeting this morning we talked about the economy, how it is effecting giving at Grace Community, and how we will move forward from this time. Yes we are planning on moving forward. We do not have the option of PANIC mode when we serve the God who holds it all in His hand. We must move forward, make wise choices, and trust God to accomplish His plans here through GCC. I have fallen in love with Google Reader. I wanted to post what the campus pastor at Buckhead Church in Atlanta shared on the Buckhead Church blog today. Yes, this came through the glory of GOOGLE READER, google is taking over, WOW! Anyway, I think this sums it up...

The economy has generated a lot of concern among businesses, families and non-profit organizations. And understandably so.

At Buckhead, we want to lead very well during this season. Last week, I shared with our leadership team that I want us as a church to “respond but not retreat.”

This simply means that I want us to respond to the situation by continuing to use the financial systems we have in place allowing us to make wise stewardship decisions. At the same time, I do not want us retreating at all from the mission God has placed before us.

We will continue to do our very best to be wise stewards of the resources entrusted to us. And we will also move with confidence and faith that God is with us.

As your campus pastor, I greatly value your continued confidence and support which allows us to respond wisely to the current economic situation but not retreat one inch from leading people into a growing relationship with Christ.


Churched by Matthew Paul Truner

Started reading this book last Thursday and just have not been able to put it down. Matthew Paul Turner ( is a writer, blogger, thinker, follower of Christ. The book i simply his story of growing up in a fundamentalist church in the 80's. As I read I just could not stop laughing. The book is an honest on open look at life in his church growing up. I have not connected with a book like this since Blue Like Jazz, and I fully recommend it for all of you out there trying to get over your churched upbringing.

I am so thankful that my parents were Christ followers but the with my church experience it was difficult to connect church and the teachings of Jesus. It was almost like we believed we could never be like Jesus because He was perfect so we need all these rules and this institution to keep us all on track. The amazing thing is that I became a follower of Jesus at a young age but even then I wondered why church had to be so boring and non- Jesus like. Jesus was amazing, the churches in our town really were not.

I think I connected with the book because it is my story. So many of the stories in the book were situations I lived out and experienced. The difference for me was that my Dad as the pastor. I was able to see God change my Dad's view of FAITH as He changed me personally. By the time I was in college I began to see the possibility of church. I felt called to the movement of church not the institution. Now I serve at a church where we are striving to recreate church as a movement and not an institution. We are striving to create a place where we can remove distractions and allow people to gather, commit to community, and serve each other each week. We hope to create a space where people can be honest about their broken lives and the pastors do not have to pretend to be spiritual superheroes that have it all together. We are just a group of people trying to think, live, parent, work, and serve like Jesus Christ. So I thought today I would just make a list of some of the funny things I learned in my days of being a kid and teen in church. Yes these are funny but sad at the same time, this is what I had to GET OVER...

  1. Revelation movies about the rapture are VERY SCARY! I had many nightmares!
  2. You should always dress up for church because God expects that we give our best. We need to look, PROPER, at church. (in middle school my parents started to let us wear Air Jordans to church, I told my Sunday School teachers when they complained that my shoes cost more than their whole outfit!)
  3. Southern Gospel is God's kind of music.
  4. Rock and Roll is devil music. (this one ticked me off then BAD, I remember hiding my tapes of ACDC and early rap music, NWA, go Easy E)
  5. Only sinners go see movies rated other than G.
  6. It is ok to call out from the "pulpit" people who smoke, gamble, drink alcohol,lie, steal, are homosexual, or have had any moral failure.
  7. If you are not a Christian then you are "stupid".
  8. Christians are Republicans.
  9. When you are at camp you have to wear pants to the worship service at night because that is what God wants and the best way to be respectful and NO GIRLS can ever go swimming with a 2 piece bathing suit.
  10. Handing our tracks and carrying your Bible to school or work are the best way to tell people about Jesus. If they do not accept Christ, then oh well, they are going to Hell and they deserve it.
  11. You cannot be friends with people who are not Christians because they will WRECK your life and THEY ARE DANGEROUS.
  12. The goal for kids it to get them saved so they will not burn in Hell. After salvation we can make them good "church" people.
  13. You always have to go to church 3 times a week on Sunday morning, night and Wed night!
  14. Revivals that last 7 days are awesome. The longer it goes the better it is!
So there are some of the wild things I heard and picked up at church growing up. I am just glad my kids will have a different experience! What are some of your crazy "growing up at church" memories?

Monday, October 20, 2008


I love innovation. I love seeing things get better. One of the cool tings about Apple as a company is with all their products they are on a mission to make them better. They never arrive, they are always trying to make the products and services they have better. The environment I work and strive in is a church. In my day to day life at GCC I have a passion to see our team make this local church the best it can be. I love that we have the freedom to innovate, create, start, quit, and dream. When we meet as a staff we are always asking ourselves how we make things better. Part of innovation is simply exploring new ideas. The idea of the Internet being our second campus here at GCC is not a new idea but the idea of "Internet church" or "Internet campus" where people can connect with each other and with God is new. Imagine someone claiming to go to Grace Community totally by an online experience. That would be very new for us but the reality is that we have hundreds of soldiers doing this every week overseas. If you have time check out Pete Wilson's post about Internet church. Check out the comments posted and think about it. Goof stuff Pete!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

mind dump...

Just got home from GCC today and I was just blown away with all God impressed on my heart. It was a great day. I just wanted to get some thoughts out from the morning...
  • Grace Acres and Cross Street (our kids ministry were both amazing this morning. I got to hear both groups in their music time and those kids were singing to God.
  • In Cross Street the kids are singing Broadcast by Steve Fee! Man I wish I had music like that when i was a kid. Broadcast is an amazing song for kids to grab hold of. Go check that song out.
  • Dr. Kent Hughes (Kent as I like to call him) spoke today in our gathering about communication in marriage. It was a great talk, go get the podcast. In tough time Satan attacks marriages. we just want to everything we ca do to help families thrive.
  • Grateful for my wife today, she is amazing! Love ya baby! (got to get that in after that talk on communication)
  • In our gathering the band led Everlasting God, love that verse saying that "strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord", WOW...just a reminder that I am always in process and always in need of His strength!
  • With the end of fall break we had an amazing crowd, I was just reminded how much I love the people God is bringing to GCC. There is an amazing vibe and it is great to see people connect before and after service.
  • Got to have lunch with a group of high school and college students who feel called to ministry. What a blessing, God is calling out incredible people to serve Him.
  • I am a better person when the Vols win! Now I am going to watch the Titan game on DVR and spend the evening with my family. Go Titans!